Rob Smyth

Author's posts

Nov 22

Ashes first Test dos and don’ts: what England can learn from Gabba in 1986-87 | Rob Smyth

In Test cricket there is always a precedent to inspire hope. In this case it’s the first Test at the Gabba in 1986-87 when an England team given no chance won so emphatically all the doom was transferred to AustraliaThe last one-off Ashes Test took pla…

Permanent link to this article:

Nov 20

‘Let him die of thirst’: Douglas Jardine and the long history of Ashes sledging

In an extract from his book of Ashes quotations, Rob Smyth tells how it is sometimes Australian spectators who deliver the hardest lines to England sides “Don’t give the bastard a drink. Let him die of thirst.”Douglas Jardine’s mission was almost compl…

Permanent link to this article:

Nov 04

West Ham United 1-4 Liverpool: Premier League – as it happened

Mo Salah scored twice as Liverpool shredded an abysmal West Ham on the counter-attack at the London Stadium 7.21pm GMT Peep peep! That was a hideous 90 minutes for West Ham, who were routinely shredded on the counter-attack by an excellent Liverpool at…

Permanent link to this article:

Nov 04

Stoke City 2-2 Leicester City: Premier League – as it happened

Peter Crouch came off the bench to equalise for the home side in an entertaining, ding-dong game at the bet365 Stadium 2.34pm GMT Related: Stoke City dig deep to deny Leicester and Puel thanks to Peter Crouch 2.26pm GMT That was a pretty enjoyable ga…

Permanent link to this article:

Oct 28

Liverpool 3-0 Huddersfield, West Brom 2-3 Man City, Arsenal 2-1 Swansea – as it happened

Manchester City restored their five-point lead withanother impressive performance at the Hawthorns, while Arsenal and Liverpool were also victorious 5.01pm BST That’s it for another busy clocko. These are the final Premier League scores, and we’ll have…

Permanent link to this article:

Oct 22

Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 Liverpool: Premier League – as it happened

The unstoppable Harry Kane scored two and made one as Spurs punished some appalling Liverpool defending to win again at Wembley 6.13pm BST Amy Lawrence’s match report from Wembley: Related: Harry Kane double leads Tottenham Hotspur to emphatic win over…

Permanent link to this article:

Oct 22

Ipswich Town 0-1 Norwich City: Championship – as it happened

James Maddison scored a superb winning goal as Norwich continued their hold over Ipswich with a confident performance at Portman Road 1.53pm BST Norwich are still the Pride of Anglia! There wasn’t much in the game but Norwich’s superior class told in t…

Permanent link to this article:

Oct 21

Chelsea 4-2 Watford: Premier League – as it happened

The substitute Michy Batshuayi scored twice to grab victory for Chelsea in a highly entertaining game against an excellent Watford side 2.29pm BST Still want more? Well here you are. Related: Huddersfield v Manchester United, Manchester City v Burnley …

Permanent link to this article:

Oct 15

Derby County 2-0 Nottingham Forest: Championship – as it happened

Matej Vydra scored after 24 seconds before David Nugent sealed an ultimately comfortable victory for Derby against their local rivals 3.06pm BST Derby retain the Brian Clough Trophy with an ultimately comfortable win. Matej Vydra scored after 24 second…

Permanent link to this article:

Oct 14

Watford 2-1 Arsenal: Premier League – as it happened

Tom Cleverley’s injury-time winner lifted Watford to fourth in the table and gave them their first home victory over Arsenal since 1987 7.24pm BST Watford are fourth in the Premier League after beating Arsenal at home for the first time since 1987. The…

Permanent link to this article:

Oct 14

Liverpool 0-0 Manchester United: Premier League – as it happened

David De Gea’s awesome save was the highlight of a dull game in which Liverpool were dominant without creating many clear chances 2.42pm BST And here’s Daniel Taylor’s match report from Anfield. Related: Liverpool left frustrated again by David de Gea …

Permanent link to this article:

Oct 01

Newcastle United 1-1 Liverpool: Premier League – as it happened

Rafa Benitez’s side defended admirably to earn a draw against Liverpoo, with Philippe Coutinho’s superb effort cancelled out by a strange goal from Joselu

6.24pm BST

That’s a fine result for Newcastle, who defended admirably against a Liverpool side who dominated most of the game. They stay ninth, Liverpool drop below Burnley into seventh. Thanks for your company, bye!

6.23pm BST

That’s it!

6.22pm BST

90+3 min Diame’s shot actually hit Lovren’s hand but, as with the appeal against Newcastle in the first half, it deflected onto the arm after he originally blocked it with his feet. A penalty would have been extremely harsh.

6.21pm BST

90+2 min Ritchie’s left-wing corner dips over everyone at the near post and falls to Diame, whose snapshot has the sting taken out of it by Lovren and is claimed by Mignolet.

6.20pm BST

90+1 min There will be three minutes of added time. Newcastle have their first corner of the match …

6.19pm BST

90 min Newcastle bring on Mohamed Diame for Ayoze Perez.

6.18pm BST

88 min Matip screams a long pass towards Moreno, who lobs the ball back into the area from the left touchline. Oxlade-Chamberlain gets to it first, under pressure from Manquillo, and heads over on the stretch. What a chance! I think the ball was out of play before Moreno crossed it, but it wasn’t given so the goal would have counted.

6.17pm BST

88 min “There’s a fantastic player somewhere inside Shelvey,” says Matt Dony. “It’s a shame he seems like he’ll never truly fulfil his potential, or at least not with any consistency. He’ll always have a special place in my heart though, thanks to the magnificent verbal volley he unloaded at Ferg while trudging off the pitch for an early shower.”

6.16pm BST

87 min A long goalkick from Elliot is headed down by Lovren to Perez, who sees Mignolet off his line and tries his luck from 30 yards. It goes well wide.

6.14pm BST

85 min Another Coutinho blast is blocked by the admirable Shelvey, who looks weary now.

6.13pm BST

84 min Coutinho’s flat cross towards the near post is headed just wide by Solanke, who did well to stoop and twist his neck to divert the ball anywhere near goal. Elliot may have had it covered.

6.12pm BST

84 min Oxlade-Chamberlain replaces Mo Salah, who has been the best attacker on the pitch.

6.12pm BST

83 min Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is about to come on. Liverpool are attacking with an urgency that verges on desperation, but Newcastle are just about managing to repel them.

6.07pm BST

79 min Newcastle bring on Liverpool’s bogeyman, Dwight Gayle, to replace the goalscorer Joselu.

6.06pm BST

77 min Newcastle have settled, or been forced to settle, for a draw. They are under increasing pressure and look pretty tired. When Salah swings a corner beyond the far post, Lovren’s looping header back across goal is cleared from under his own bar by Shelvey.

6.04pm BST

75 min Gomez’s excellent cross just evades Solanke before Elliot punches clear. Liverpool have moved Salah back out to the right, with Coutinho on the left and Firmino playing behind Solanke.

6.03pm BST

74 min Liverpool make a double change, with Roberto Firmino and Dominic Solanke replacing the disappointing pair of Sturridge and Mane. Newcastle are also making a change, with Isaac Hayden replacing Merino in midfield.

6.02pm BST

72 min Shelvey gets plenty of criticism but he has been excellent today, without and especially with the ball.

5.58pm BST

69 min For all Liverpool’s dominance, Elliot has not had that much to do. Newcastle’s defence has been excellent.

5.55pm BST

67 min Salah is playing as a No10 now, with Liverpool switching to a 4-2-3-1, and Newcastle can’t get close to him.

5.54pm BST

65 min Salah plays another dangerous through pass to Sturridge, who this time is rightly flagged offside.

5.52pm BST

64 min Salah clips a fine pass over the defence, and Elliot hares from his line to get to the ball a split-second before Sturridge.

5.52pm BST

63 min There’s an excellent atmosphere at St James’. Just imagine the scenes when they next win a trophy.

5.51pm BST

60 min Joselu drives an excellent crossfield pass to Perez, who is nonetheless going nowhere when Moreno hacks him down. He might have been booked for that. The resulting free-kick is cleared and then tossed back into the box. Ritchie heads it right across the face of goal, with Mignolet unsure whether to stick, twist or pray. It’s headed back in the six-yard box by Clark and eventually Liverpool clear.

5.47pm BST

57 min Gomez is booked for an inept high tackle on Atsu. Newcastle’s players and supporters wanted him sent off, and for time it looked as if that might happen. Don’t ask me whether it was the right decision; I no longer have any idea what is and isn’t a red card.

5.45pm BST

56 min Coutinho’s free-kick hits the wall. Actually it was Perez who was booked, for kicking the ball away, rather than Merino.

5.44pm BST

55 min Merino is booked for an innocuous-looking tackle on Salah. It’s a free-kick to Liverpool, 30 yards from goal, and Coutinho is over it…

5.43pm BST

54 min Perez plays a good pass down the left to Atsu, who brushes Gomez aside and scoots into the box. Matip comes across to make a vital tackle, diverting the ball onto Atsu. This time it rebounds for a Liverpool goalkick rather than a Newcastle goal.

5.42pm BST

53 min Joselu screams in agony after a challenge with Mane, whose studs landed on his ribs. I’m pretty sure it was accidental.

5.40pm BST

51 min Moreno’s cross deflects towards Coutinho, whose shot is blocked by the charging Merino.

5.39pm BST

50 min Clark makes a monumental Horlicks of a routine clearance, slicing it behind him to put Sturridge clear on goal. His first-time shot is blocked by the right foot of Elliot, and Salah volleys the rebound over the bar. Both should probably have scored.

5.38pm BST

50 min Tacticswatch: Salah and Mane have switched sides.

5.37pm BST

48 min Salah’s outswinging cross from the left is just too high for Wijnaldum, whose header curls away from goal as a consequence.

5.35pm BST

47 min “Liverpool today remind me of Liverpool at the tail end of the 1990-1991 season,” says Stephen Worsley. “All over opposing teams but still managing to throw away matches by conceding goals against the run of play. If Liverpool then were to descending towards mediocrity, are Liverpool now emerging towards greatness? Probably wishful thinking on my part.”

5.34pm BST

46 min Peep peep! Liverpool begin the second half.

5.24pm BST

Half-time chit chat

“Liverpool today remind me of Liverpool at the tail end of the 1990-1991 season,” says Stephen Worsley. “All over opposing teams but still managing to throw away matches by conceding goals against the run of play. If Liverpool then were to descending towards mediocrity, are Liverpool now emerging towards greatness? Probably wishful thinking on my part.”

5.18pm BST

Peep peep! It’s deja vu for Liverpool, who have played some thrilling attacking football and should be ahead, but aren’t due to the concession of a vaguely shambolic goal. See you in 10 minutes for the second half.

5.16pm BST

45+1 min “My uncles are Maltese Geordies (now that makes for an impenetrable accent) and members of the Toon Army, so we were talking this morning about whether Klopp would move to Bayern and Rafa would then return to Anfiel,” says James Debens. “Newcastle’s loss would, I feel, be our gain; I was guilty of implicating Rafa in the shenanigans of Gillett and Hicks back in 2010. I do admire Klopp but our league performances would improve. We’re rather like Keegan’s Newcastle at the moment, somewhat behind Rafa’s Liverpool. Eddie Howe would be a good match for Newcastle.”

5.16pm BST

45 min Two added minutes. It’s still all Liverpool.

5.13pm BST

42 min “Ah,” says Matt Dony. “I’m going to really miss Coutinho after January…”

5.12pm BST

41 min Liverpool have responded with furious anger to that equaliser and are camped in the Newcastle half. I’m not surprised. That goal wasn’t just against the run of play; it was an affront to the run of play.

5.10pm BST

39 min Liverpool win a corner on the left, and when it comes into the area Matip is wrestled away from the ball by Clark. It could have been a penalty, but it wasn’t.

5.08pm BST

Joselu equalises for Newcastle! It was a comedy goal, but who cares? Joselu looked fractionally onside as he galloped into a huge gap between Matip and Lovren to meet Shelvey’s superb long through pass. He dithered for ages as Mignolet came out, so much so that Matip was able to get back and make a desperate tackle from the side – only for the ball to hit Joselu and spin past Mignolet into the net!

5.04pm BST

33 min Coutinho wallops another 25-yarder towards goal. This time it’s high over the bar.

5.03pm BST

33 min Salah leads another superb break, running sixty yards before Clark makes a crucial tackle to concede a corner.

5.01pm BST

Pick that beast out! Coutinho has given Liverpool the lead with a storming 25-yarder. He moseyed infield from the left, away from Shelvey, and whipped a fast rising shot that curled away from Elliot’s right hand and into the net.

4.57pm BST

27 min Liverpool are starting to control this match, with Newcastle struggling to get out just now. They really need to get out more.

4.55pm BST

23 min: Liverpool hit the post! Gomez’s good low cross is volleyed over his own bar by the stretching Clark. The corner is swung out towards Wijnaldum, who hooks a clever volley that smacks off the near post. The ball ricochets around the box, with Lovren having a shot cleared off the line and Mane dragging the rebound wide. File under How The Eff Did That Stay Out?

4.52pm BST

21 min “I’m feeling all Natalie Imbruglia right now as this match leaves me torn,” says Hubert O’Hearn. “Liverpool is the team of both my boyhood and what’s laughably termed my maturity, yet when I lived in the Northeast I developed a real love of Newcastle and the Geordie fans. It’s like having a son and a daughter, both brilliant tennis players and it’s easy to cheer for both, except today is a mixed doubles match and they’re on opposite sides. Torn.”

4.51pm BST

19 min Sturridge turns smartly on the halfway line and plays a good pass behind Clark for Salah, who eats up 40 yards before Yedlin comes across to make a vital interception. Salah is so good to watch: decisive, electric and intricate.

4.48pm BST

18 min Gomez’s deep cross is volleyed wide from an impossible angle by Mane.

4.47pm BST

16 min Coutinho’s brilliant first-time pass finds Sturridge, whose shot hits the arm of Lascelles. Liverpool want a penalty but Craig Pawson turns down their appeals. I don’t think there’s much Lascelles could have done – the ball hit his leg and then, as he fell, rebounded onto his arm.

4.44pm BST

12 min Ritchie tests Mignolet with a nice curler from the edge of the box after a crisp forward pass from Shelvey. It wasn’t right in the corner and Mignolet held on comfortably as he plunged to his right. Shelvey and Ritchie book look sharp, as does Salah for Liverpool.

4.40pm BST

9 min Both sides have started brightly, with Newcastle certainly not parking the bus.

4.36pm BST

5 min Shelvey hits a long-range curler too close to Mignolet; at the other end, Sturridge chips high over the bar from 20 yards.

4.35pm BST

3 min A super counter-attack from Liverpool. Shelvey’s shot was blocked by Henderson and ricocheted to Salah. He moved past the halfway line and waved a wonderful through pass to Mane with the outside of his left foot. Lascelles did well to hold Mane up on the left side of the area, and eventually Mane overhit a return pass to Salah.

4.31pm BST

2 min “I can see this ending as a draw,” says James Debens. “Lascelles will trouble us all afternoon at set pieces and shackle Sturrridge as well. I’ve been hugely impressed with Newcastle’s defensive setup this season. In fact, could we buy Lascelles please in January, and perhaps allow Rafa to jobshare with Klopp, each man taking half of the pitch and half of the outfield players?”

If Klopp ends up at Bayern Munich, there must be a chance of a return, no? If anybody can make a silk purse out of this Liverpool defence, it’s probably Rafa.

4.31pm BST

1 min Peep peep! After a rousing blast of Going Home, and a minute’s applause for the late Freddy Shepherd, Newcastle get the match under way.

4.23pm BST

“How can you do this to me, Rob?” says Ian Copestake. “Not only do I have to put up with the return of “football’s nicest man” and his inspirationally positive team assessments, but you have to rub my face in his face rub! I thought you were special.”

You’re about as useful as a winger from Wolves playing centre-forward, mate.

4.07pm BST

First World fears department

“My big concern is seeing Liverpool go in 3-0 up at half-time,” begins Matt Dony, “and Rafa walking down the tunnel with a glint in his eye…”

3.59pm BST

This fixture has produced so many great moments. I’m sure we all agree which one sits top of the list.

3.33pm BST

Newcastle (4-2-3-1) Elliot; Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Manquillo; Shelvey, Merino; Ritchie, Perez, Atsu; Joselu.
Substitutes: Darlow, Lejeune, Gamez, Hayden, Diame, Murphy, Gayle.

Liverpool (4-3-3) Mignolet; Gomez, Matip, Lovren, Moreno; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Coutinho; Salah, Sturridge, Mane.
Substitutes: Karius, Milner, Klavan, Can, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Firmino, Solanke.

3.16pm BST

Hello and welcome to coverage of Rafa Benitez Day, when the fans of Newcastle and Liverpool compete to demonstrate their love for a shy Spaniard. The background entertainment will be provided by 22 men attempting to win a football match.

Liverpool need the points more than Newcastle, who have done enough in the first few weeks to suggest this will be a season of relatively comfortable consolidation. Liverpool start this game eight points behind Manchester, so even a draw would be unsatisfactory.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article:

Oct 01

Arsenal 2-0 Brighton & Hove Albion: Premier League – as it happened

A sparkling performance from Alexis Sanchez helped Arsenal to a comfortable victory in an enjoyably open match

1.51pm BST

And for your next fix…

Related: Everton v Burnley: Premier League – live!

1.50pm BST

Peep peep! Arsenal finish an excellent month [it’s October now you eejit – ed.] with a win that takes them up to fifth. Alexis Sanchez was ridiculously good, particularly in the second half, and Nacho Monreal and Alex Iwobi scored the goals. Brighton showed enough at both ends of the pitch to suggest they have a decent chance of avoiding relegation. Thanks for your company, bye!

1.48pm BST

90+2 min Gross tees up Propper, who guides a short just wide from 22 yards.

1.47pm BST

90 min The board says three.

1.44pm BST

87 min Another excellent inswinging cross from Gross skims off the head of Mustafi and goes just wide of the far post. Knockaert’s corner is flicked on by Propper and cleared crucially by Bellerin.

1.42pm BST

85 min Cech comes a long way from goal to punch the ball off the head of Duffy. Arsenal have been under some unexpected pressure in the last few minutes.

1.41pm BST

84 min Gross puts in an excellent cross in from the left, and Murray gets in front of Mustafi to flash a header into the side netting at the near post. That was a pretty good effort.

1.39pm BST

83 min Arsenal’s final substitution: Elneny on, Xhaka off.

1.38pm BST

80 min A fine one-touch move from Arsenal falls down when Walcott misplaces his pass in the area.

1.33pm BST

76 min Iwobi’s goal ended the contest at a stroke. Since then Brighton have offered little in attack.

1.33pm BST

76 min A double change for Brighton: Murray and Knockaert replaces Izquierdo and Brown.

1.32pm BST

75 min A scurrying surge from Sanchez is ended by a foul from Dunk 25 yards out. He has been so good since half-time. But he’s ot good enough to score the free-kick, which is whipped over the bar.

1.28pm BST

72 min Brighton make a change as well, with Schelotto replacing the impressive March.

1.27pm BST

71 min A couple of Arsenal substitution: Giroud and Walcott replaces Lacazette and the goalscorer Iwobi.

1.27pm BST

70 min Arsenal in total control now, with Sanchez full of mischief and menace.

1.24pm BST

67 min Sanchez plays a nice through ball to Lacazette, who is denied by an outstanding recovery tackle from Dunk. He has had a fine game at the back.

1.23pm BST

65 min Ryan did actually get a touch on that shot from Sanchez in the 61st minute, though it would still have gone in without Dunk’s touch.

1.23pm BST

64 min These days, sports fans are encouraged to learn a minimum of five things from every match. I’m not sure we’ve learned anything from this, but Arsenal’s next five league games should tell us a bit more about their prospects for the season: Watford (A), Everton (A), Swansea (H), Man City (A), Spurs (H).

1.19pm BST

61 min The brilliant Sanchez has a shot cleared off the line by Dunk. He ran infield from the left at Duffy, beat him with ease and sidefooted the ball across Ryan. It was sneaking in the corner until Dunk appeared from nowhere and deflected it just wide of the post. From the resuling corner, Kolasinac’s towering header is cleared off the line by March. Sanchez has been entirely magnificent since half-time.

1.17pm BST

59 min “How many games has Iwobi played?” says Andrew Hurley. “I think his time can still come.”

Yeah, I would argue that better players have had bigger flaws at the age of 21. I think he’s an excellent squad player.

1.14pm BST

58 min Sanchez, who was quiet in the first half, has been majestic since the break.

1.12pm BST

That’s a lovely goal. Sanchez, surrounded on the edge of the area, backheels the ball ingeniously into space for Iwobi, who drives it high past Ryan.

1.12pm BST

55 min Dunk makes an excellent interception on the halfway line, strides forward like Morten Olsen and drives a strong low shot that is well held by Cech down to his right.

1.11pm BST

54 min Sanchez’s teasing inswinging cross is headed towards his own goal by the stretching Duffy, who is relieved to see the keeper Ryan claim the ball comfortably. Duffy had to go for it because Ramsey was behind him waiting to score.

1.10pm BST

53 min A summary of the excitement in the last few minutes:

1.06pm BST

49 min Sanchez eases a pass into Lacazette, whose snapshot is excellently blocked by Duffy. Lacazette is so sharp around the box. He’s very good at hitting shots before the keeper is ready.

1.04pm BST

47 min “I’m inclined to agree that for all his talent Iwobi is sorely lacking in end product,” says Matt Loten. “He seems unfortunately to be following a familiar pattern for starlets at Arsenal in the late Wenger years: plenty of chances, flashes of brilliance, but lacking the drive (or managerial guidance) to truly explore the outer reaches of his talent. Possibly Bellerin aside, has there been a young player (bought or Academy-raised) since Fabregas who you could look at and say ‘yes, he pushed himself to be the absolute best player he could be’? Perhaps Wilshere would have without the injuries, but Walcott, Chamberlain, Chambers, Song, Coquelin, Song, and even Aaron Ramsey, you could argue, have burst onto the scene and ultimately fizzled out or stagnated.

Some would argue that Yaya Sanogo fulfilled his potential, though that wouldn’t compromise disprove your argument.

1.02pm BST

46 min Peep peep! Brighton begin the second half.

1.01pm BST

Half-time chit-chat

“On the subject of snappily named back fours, didn’t Charlton once field a defence that read Young-Fish-Costa-Fortune?” writes, er, Panini Cheapstakes. “Also, my own Saturday team could once field Burn, Burn, Birnie and Fry – surely the hottest back line in all football.”

12.47pm BST

That was an enjoyable half between two neat footballing sides. Monreal scored, Lacazette and March hit the post with storming efforts, and Ryan made an excellent save from Ramsey. See you in 10 minutes for the second half.

12.45pm BST

45 min Bong marches forward from the back and slips a ball down the side of the area to Izquierdo, who holds Mustafi off and plays a short pass back to Propper. He doesn’t have much room to work with and his attempted curler flies over the bar.

12.43pm BST

43 min “Has anyone ever written a sentence where the words “Iwobi shot” and “comfortable save” don’t appear together?” says Martin McKeefry. “Just checking.”

In his defence, he’s 21 years old. I could barely do my tie up at that age.

12.43pm BST

42 min Cech makes a mess of a corner but gets away with it and Arsenal break in numbers at devastating speed. Bellerin and Kolasinac tee up Ramsey, whose close-range shot is brilliantly saved by Ryan. He was going the wrong way and stuck out his right foot to divert it wide.

12.39pm BST

38 min Duffy is booked for a naughty swish at Sanchez, who had turned him superbly.

12.38pm BST

37 min “There was a period when Swansea had both Angel Rangel and Jazz Richards on their books,” says Matt Dony. “Two of the finest names in the whole league, sharing one position. Brighton might just have them beat, though. Has there been a more satisfying back line than Bruno, Duffy, Dunk, Bong?”

Good call. It sounds like a cryptic itinerary for a stag do.

12.36pm BST

36 min Since Arsenal went ahead this has been an enjoyable game, with both sides showing plenty of flair.

12.35pm BST

35 min A poor header from Mustafi goes to Izquierdo, who makes space for a shot that is well blocked by the charging Holding.

12.35pm BST

34 min A poor pass from Gross puts Dunk in trouble and he can only divert the ball to Lacazette. He moves towards goal and shoots straight at Ryan from inside the D. He should have done better there.

12.33pm BST

33 min “I like the idea of an unofficial nicest manager of the year award, but Hodgson has it stitched up,” says Bill Hargreaves. “Rumour has it he does the Santa at the PL managers’ Christmas bash, or was down to until Mourinho got upset and was awarded to role to avoid conflict before the mince pies were out.”

I suspect approximately 100.00 per cent of Liverpool fans would offer an alternative view re: Hodgson’s niceness.

12.32pm BST

32 min Another team who were superb at punching above the weight – Brian Clough’s late 80s/early 90s Forest side. I think they finished third in the league a couple of times but even when they were mid-table they were the scourge of the bigger teams.

12.31pm BST

31 min Dunk fouls Lacazette 25 yards from goal. Sanchez or Xhaka? Xhaka or Sanchez? It’s Xhaka, and it hits the wall.

12.29pm BST

29 min “The gruesome Wimbledon sides of the late 80s/early 90s hovered either side of eighth place in the top flight and could, with the wind behind them (literally as much as metaphorically) dole out some terrible beatings (yep, literally as much as metaphorically),” says Gary Naylor. “I was at Plough Lane to see Everton’s 1987 title-winning team hammered (and I mean hammered) 3-1 by Fash the Bash and his not so Merry Men. Just look at that line-up of steely pros who could all put a foot in – pretty much anywhere on the body too.”

12.29pm BST

28 min The lively Iwobi goes on a long, meandering run before driving a low shot from the edge of the area that is comfortably saved by Ryan.

12.25pm BST

25 min Brighton should try this attacking lark more often. They have been superb since going behind, with March causing plenty of problems on the right wing.

12.25pm BST

23 min March hits the post with a brilliant effort! Brighton worked the free-kick beautifully: March touched it to Stephens, who put his foot on the ball as Gross made a dummy run towards the ball as if to cross into the area. Instead Stephens pushed it square for March to run around the ball and whack a fierce rising drive from 25 yards that flashed past Cech and rattled off the post. The ball rebounded to Dunk, who diverted it wide of an open goal from 10 yards. The ball came to him so quickly that I wouldn’t be too critical.

12.22pm BST

22 min Brighton have shown more attacking intent since going behind. Izquierdo drives a fine crossfield pass to Propper, who is bundled over just outside the area by the endearingly oafish Kolasinac. The free-kick is a long way to the right, so you’d expect a cross rather than a shot…

12.21pm BST

21 min “Coming to you live and direct from the only sports bar in Ubud,” says Robert Petersen. “Some thing that Australians like has just finished, and I’m hoping Mount Agung doesn’t erupt mid-match. Interesting/exciting team selection from Chris Hughton. I’m looking forward to getting a proper look at Izquierdo. Bit concerned about Bong, though. He often looked outclassed in the Championship, so I don’t much fancy him in the Prem. Does Suttner have a knock?”

Nope, he’s on the bench.

12.19pm BST

19 min March drives a dangerous low cross that is kicked behind by Mustafi. Cech punches the corner away.

12.18pm BST

18 min Gross was booked for protesting about the goal.

12.17pm BST

Nacho Monreal drives Arsenal into the lead. Brighton are unhappy because they thought Xhaka’s free-kick went out of play before Lacazette headed it back into the area. Replays suggest he just kept it in play, and his header led to a game of pinball in the area. Mustafi had a shot kicked off the line, Bellerin’s follow-up was blocked and finally Monreal scored from 10 yards.

12.15pm BST

15 min Brighton will be happy that Arsenal have created no clear chances, although it’ll be hard to defend this deep for 90 minutes.

12.13pm BST

13 min Sanchez plays a nice little pass into the area for Iwobi, whose low shot is comfortably saved by the sprawling Ryan.

12.11pm BST

11 min Arsenal have had 77 per cent possesion so far. Brighton’s 4-2-3-1 is, in practice, a 4-5-0-0-1.

12.08pm BST

7 min Sanchez’s long-range shot is comfortably saved by Ryan.

12.06pm BST

5 min A half-chance for Brighton. Gross curls in a good free-kick from deep on the left that is helped on by the head of Brown and drifts a few yards wide of the far post. I don’t think he was trying to score so much as help it into a dangerous area. He managed that, but there was nobody following in.

12.05pm BST

4 min Arsenal have started with a lot of confidence. Brighton are playing dangerously deep, with nine men behind the ball most of the time.

12.03pm BST

3 min “A few years ago it seemed that out and out strikers were becoming an anachronism in elite football and the thing to be was some variation on Lionel Messi, Robin van Persie or Thomas Muller,” says Phil Podolsky. “With the likes of Lukaku, Morata and Lacazette, is the tide turning? I mean I’m sure you could cherry pick names to make the case for the opposite trend but I’m not one of those demanding intellectual rigour of football chatter.”

Yes, most tactics are cyclical aren’t they. See also three at the back and two up front. I’ve even heard rumours of an uninverted winger!

12.02pm BST

2 min Lacazette hits the post with a monstrous strike from 25 yards! The ball sat up perfectly after a return pass from Iwobi, and he sweet-spotted a stunning effort that roared past Ryan and smashed off the face of the post.

12.00pm BST

1 min Peep peep! Arsenal kick off from left to right. They are in red; Brighton are in yellow.

12.00pm BST

The players are on the pitch. Arsene Wenger and Chris Hughton, two outstanding contenders for the unofficial title of Nicest Man in Football, greet each other warmly on the touchline.

11.56am BST

An email!

“Arsenal maybe the best sixth-placed team in memory?” says Neill Brown. “I like this kind of idle speculation. Let me ask this: which Premier League team that never finished higher than, let’s say eighth, would ‘on their day’ give any team a proper mauling? For what it’s worth, I think the Di Canio era West Ham could potentially have outclassed the traditional big-hitters on a regular basis.”

11.04am BST

Arsenal (3-4-2-1) Cech; Holding, Mustafi, Monreal; Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Iwobi, Sanchez; Lacazette.
Substitutes: Ospina, Mertesacker, Maitland-Niles, Wilshere, Elneny, Walcott, Giroud.

Brighton (4-2-3-1) Ryan; Bruno, Duffy, Dunk, Bong; Stephens, Propper; March, Gross, Izquierdo; Brown.
Substitutes; Krul, Goldson, Schelotto, Suttner, Molumby, Knockaert, Murray.

10.11am BST

Hello. Football is a peculiar elderly pastime. Take today’s match at the Emirates. Arsenal will probably win, yet they can’t win; Brighton will probably lose, yet they can’t lose.

Whether it’s fair or not, Arsenal’s season will be judged almost entirely on their results away from home and/or against the rest of the Big Six. Whoever finishes bottom of that mini-league will probably be the best sixth-placed team in Premier League history, and Arsenal are favourites to claim that dubious honour. They have responded well to their humiliation at Anfield in August and will expect to continue their superb home form today, yet they know only a draw or defeat will stop the press.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article:

Sep 23

Leicester City 2-3 Liverpool: Premier League – as it happened

Philippe Coutinho starred and Simon Mignolet saved a Jamie Vardy penalty as Liverpool edged a controversial and richly entertaining match

7.24pm BST

Peep peep! Liverpool just about to deserved to edge a raucous, richly entertaining match between two likeable, flawed teams. Jurgen Klopp grits his teeth in celebration; that’s a big result for him after four games without a win. Thanks for your company, night!

7.20pm BST

90+2 min Vardy is booked for a foul on Moreno. He has had a storming game; it’s a shame his missed penalty will probably cost Leicester a point.

7.19pm BST

90 min There will be five additional minutes of high blood pressure in the away end.

7.17pm BST

88 min Liverpool look relatively comfortable just now but, with the way this match has gone, you’d expect Leicester to get one last chance.

7.15pm BST

87 min “Liverpool fan here,” says Scott Chesters. “I have no arguments about Mane´s red card but about the penalty; Mignolet challenged for the ball, got the ball, no matter how softly, then the two collided. Can´t see how it is a penalty myself.”

I see what you mean, and it was a slightly confusing incident. Isn’t the argument for a penalty that, after Mignolet miskicked, Vardy would have had an open goal had he not been sent flying?

7.14pm BST

86 min “Fascinated by Matt Dony’s marriage (70 min),” sniffs Pete Salmon. “So he has to watch Strictly, but can also check the min-by-min? On laptop, full exposure? Or loo every five mins with his mobile? If the latter, I’m as tense for him as I am about the game.”

7.13pm BST

85 min Wijnaldum misses a decent chance, slicing just wide from Oxlade-Chamberlain’s cut-back.

7.13pm BST

84 min Slimani plants a header just wide from a great cross from Vardy. It wouldn’t have counted because either Slimani or Morgan had been penalised for fouling Matip.

7.11pm BST

83 min Thias has been a monstrously entertaining game.

7.11pm BST

82 min Sturridge, with almost no backlift, whips an excellent long-range shot that is palmed around spectacularly by Schmeichel. Sturridge has looked close to his best since coming off the bench.

7.08pm BST

80 min And now Leicester make their last change: Albrighton off, Islam Slimani on.

7.08pm BST

79 min Liverpool make their final substitution, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replacing the pretty wonderful Philippe Coutinho.

7.06pm BST

76 min Here’s Mac Millings. “Do assure the 70th minute’s Matt Dony that, after a number of full and frank discussions with Mrs. Millings, ‘we’ have not watched any football at all for quite some time, so he has that to look forward to.”

Love is in the air/when Mac Millings is around, doo doo doo doo doo.

7.05pm BST

75 min Sturridge slips classily past Maguire, comes back on his left foot and shapes a beautiful curler just over the bar from 20 yards. He looks really sharp tonight. By the way, Can was pretty lucky not to concede another penalty for handball moments after Vardy’s kick was saved by Mignolet. There was so much going on that I forget to mention it. So sue me!

7.03pm BST

74 min Both sides make a change: Milner for Can, Iheanacho for Okazaki. This is pulsating stuff.

7.02pm BST

Vardy smashed it as hard as he could, and Mignolet moved to his right to push it away. He has an outstanding record of saving penalties, and it’s even better now. That said, it was a poor penalty from Vardy – nowhere near the corner, and not straight down the middle.

7.01pm BST

Mignolet is booked. He’s had a shocker here. He was so flustered by the presence of Vardy that he miskicked the ball completely, and his momentum was such that he then sent Vardy flying. I didn’t think it was a penalty at first but replays show it was a definite penalty.

7.00pm BST

Mignolet is penalised for a foul on Vardy, and Liverpool are furious again.

7.00pm BST

70 min “The first 47 minutes or so were very entertaining,” says Matt Dony. “But at half time, I had a full and frank discussion with my wife and, long story short, ‘we’ decided that the Tv would be showing Strictly rather than the second half of the game. So I’m entirely in your hands. Please keep the good news rolling”

6.59pm BST

It’s not over yet! Albrighton does brilliantly to beat Gomez down the left and crosses beyond the far post to Gray, who chests the ball up and swishes a spectacular shot towards goal. Mignolet leaps to his right to make an excellent save but Vardy heads the rebound into the empty net. Vardy may have been offside when Gray hit the original shot, I haven’t seen a replay yet.

6.57pm BST

Liverpool finish Leicester off with a clinical counter-attack. Maguire sauntered forward from the back, but when he lost the ball Leicester were in trouble. Coutinho and Sturridge combined to find Henderson, who came back inside the recovering Maguire and reversed the ball smartly past Schmeichel.

6.56pm BST

67 min Coutinho and Salah have shots blocked in quick succession, and then Matip makes a vital block from Vardy, who might have gone down in the area after a challenge from behind.

6.54pm BST

66 min “Liverpool’s great coup in the transfer window was keeping their best player, who – and I still can’t over this fact – they somehow signed for £8.5 million in the first place,” says Phil Podolsky. Coutinho’s agent must be some California businessman not too conversant with this soccerball nonsense, because it’s always been clear he’s a stunning player.”

Fair point. He looked really good as a teenager when Internazionale beat Gareth Bale 4-3 all those years ago.

6.53pm BST

65 min Daniel Sturridge replaces Firmino for Liverpool.

6.53pm BST

64 min Morgan is penalised for shovng Wijnaldum, who then handles the ball in his own area as he goes over. It was a soft foul, but probably the right decision.

6.49pm BST

62 min A change for Leicester: Mahrez off, Demarai Gray on.

6.49pm BST

61 min Coutinho’s fierce long-range shot is well blocked by Morgan, and then Firmino – who has been unusually poor today – drives high over the bar.

6.47pm BST

58 min Leicester have some excellent attacking options on the bench: Slimani, Gray, Iheanacho.

6.46pm BST

57 min A decent chance for Can, who heads Henderson’s dipping cross over the bar from the corner of the six-yard box. He was under pressure from Simpson, who did enough to ensure Can struggled to get on top of the ball.

6.45pm BST

56 min Coutinho’s superb dipping corner lands on the head of the off-balance Lovren, who can’t steer it on target. He wants a penalty, having been manhandled by Maguire. Anthony Taylor says no and then books Lovren for dissent. Maguire was certainly holding him, though Lovren was giving plenty back.

6.43pm BST

54 min Leicester are having a decent period of pressure, with Mahrez starting to look sharp.

6.41pm BST

53 min It’s been a manic start to the second half, with both teams lacking composure in possession.

6.40pm BST

52 min “Am I the only person who thinks Klopp is right in not buying bang average defenders,” says Mel Lynam. “Liverpool have enough of those over the years. Dortmund were built on Hummel and Subotic, and a decent holding midfielder. Klopp system demands ball-playing defenders, Keita is the holding midfielder. So for all the Kloppo-out eejits, be patient, I went to BVB v Hertha on a cold Friday night when I thought they were the two worst teams I ever seen, one got relegated (which I support) the other won the next two German titles.”

6.40pm BST

51 min There have been plenty of emails, only some of them abusive, about the foul by Matip on Vardy that ultimately led to Leicester’s goal. The consensus is:

a) it was a clear block from Matip, and anyone who says otherwise just doesn’t understand football.

6.37pm BST

48 min “Hey Rob,” says JR in Illinois. “I went to the farmer’s market at halftime of the West Ham-Spurs game. I bought some potatoes, red peppers, sweetcorn, and a loaf of bread (whole wheat sourdough). Let’s see if you publish this.”

I’m not too proud to acknowledge another man’s superior eye for edible produce.

6.35pm BST

47 min Henderson’s cross is headed up in the air by Can and drops to Coutinho, who sidefoots a wobbling volley straight at Schmeichel from the left edge of the box. His technique was beautiful but the shot was too close to the keeper.

6.34pm BST

47 min “Is some of the Klopp backlash maybe just the media and the public getting tired of their shiny new toy?” says Shaun Wilkinson. “I have always liked him, but his behaviour on the touchline can be obnoxious. Also, he does need to stop speaking as if he has just inherited this team when questioned about its flaws – he has been here two years now. We saw a similar trend with Mourinho, where everyone was gushing when he was arrived but that soon faded. Is it just that the novelty of Klopp in England has begun to wear off at a time when the team is coincidentally having a sticky patch?”

Yeah, I’m sure that’s a factor. It’s all very infantile.

6.33pm BST

46 min Peep peep! Leicester begin the second half.

6.29pm BST

Okazaki’s disallowed goal “Have a look again Rob,” says Ricky Gill. “Maguire was offside when the freekick was taken. It doesn’t matter if Okazaki was onside or offside because Maguire was offside in the previous phase of play. Let’s see if you publish this.”

Why wouldn’t I publish it? It’s not a custodial offence to admit being wrong. (And you’re right; I’ve since seen a replay and it was the correct decision.)

6.22pm BST

That goal should enliven the second half. Okazaki didn’t do that much to Mignolet but it was a foul. Jordan Henderson was still chuntering to the referee as he left the pitch. See you in 10 minutes for the second half!

6.21pm BST

Mignolet produced an excellent save to deny Vardy, only to make a mistake from the corner and let Leicester back in the game. Or so it seemed. Mignolet waved haplessly at the corner and got nowhere near it, with the ball rebounding towards goal for Okazaki to stab in from two yards. So far, so familiar – except replays showed that Okazaki was slyly holding Mignolet’s arm when he first tried to come for the corner. You can see why Liverpool are so aggrieved.

6.18pm BST

Liverpool are furious about this.

6.17pm BST

45+2 min Matip is booked for cynically blocking Vardy, who was trying to close down Mignolet just outside the area.

6.16pm BST

44 min “As a Liverpool fan I’m firmly in the ‘Klopp In’ camp,” says Matt Dony. “Yes, it is frustrating that he didn’t buy a centre half over the summer, BUT he had identified Van Dijk as his ideal target, and initially tried very hard to sign him. Van Dijk wanted to move, and he clearly has a set of qualities that Klopp wants. Yes, there are other defenders around, but Klopp (like all top-level managers) knew exactly what he wanted, and refused to settle. Bearing in mind how the Neymar transfer skewed fees across the continent, any defender who would have been a clear upgrade on Lovren would have probably been in the £35-40m area, and really, does anyone want to see a club they support spend that kind of money on a ‘back-up plan’? Matip is a fine defender, I have hopes for Klavan, things could improve. I’m not saying they definitely will, but it’s not outside the realms of possibility. And then go back for Van Dijk next year.”

I’d love to support a Jurgen Klopp team. I admire his willingness to play the long game with Van Dijk and Keita, though it’s a risky tactic in modern football.

6.14pm BST

43 min Firmino misses an excellent chance to make it 3-0. Liverpool broke decisively through Coutinho and then Can, who played a simple reverse pass to put Firmino clear on the left side of the box. He went for the first-time shot with his left foot and drove it a few yards wide of the far post.

6.11pm BST

40 min Okazaki has a goal wrongly disallowed for offside. A free-kick was lumped towards the edge of the area, at which point Okazaki was deliberately in an offside position. By the time it was headed into the area by Maguire, Okazaki was being played onside by Henderson and finished smartly past Mignolet. That counts as a different phase of play and so the goal should have counted.

6.05pm BST

35 min With a two-goal lead, Liverpool are content to play Leicester at their own counter-attacking game. Leicester are having more of the ball as a consequence, and Chilwell’s dangerous low cross is well claimed by Mignolet.

6.02pm BST

33 min “Any chance Moreno getting a bang to the head in the foul leading to the goal might knock some sense into him?” says Keith Tucker. “And now he might be able to defend?”

That sounds like a great idea for a David Lynch football film: Twin Peake, in which Coventry defensive stalwart Trevor Peake suffers a blow to the head and starts playing like Jesper Olsen.

6.02pm BST

32 min Moreno’s long-range shot is blocked by a player in blue, possibly Simpson.

6.00pm BST

30 min “On Klopp, whilst football is of course ridiculous with its continual crisis mentality, doesn’t he deserve quite a bit of criticism?” says Andrew Hurley. “His football looks great when they are up against those who can’t defend and non-triers (Arsenal), but his failure to either play a striker (to win games they should) or buy a central defender (who can do that thing they’re supposed to, defend) is very strange indeed. His stubbornness doesn’t make much sense.”

Oh definitely. Every manager deserves criticism, even Conte and Pochettino. It’s the tone and extent of the criticism that is so lamentable.

5.57pm BST

28 min Leicester make a mess of the free-kick. Shakespeare out!

5.57pm BST

27 min Mahrez slithers through a group of Liverpool defenders and is fouled by Moreno, 30 yards from goal.

5.54pm BST

24 min Klopp out!

5.53pm BST

Oh yes, yes, yes. Coutinho puts Liverpool 2-0 up, curling a magnificent free-kick over the wall and into the corner. That was nigh-on perfect, an absolutely brilliant goal to go with his excellent cross for Salah’s first.

5.51pm BST

22 min After a good break from Liverpool, Ndidi is booked for a foul on Moreno 25 yards from goal. The free-kick is in a great position for Coutinho.

5.48pm BST

18 min This is a very entertaining game. Mignolet, dithering over a backpass, is closed down superbly by Vardy and screws the ball straight to Okazaki 35 yards from goal. He shoots first time and Mignolet, by now outside his area, stretches his left leg to divert the ball behind for a corner.

5.47pm BST

17 min Albrighton is booked for a foul on Salah.

5.47pm BST

It was made by Coutinho, who curled a beautiful inswinging cross beyond the far post from just outside the area. Schmeichel was slow to get across his line, perhaps thinking the ball was going out of play, and Salah sneaked behind Chilwell to squeeze a header into the net at the near post. That’s an extremely good header, because the angle was so tight. The cross from Coutinho was a gem.

5.45pm BST

Mohamed Salah redeems his miss with an excellent goal!

5.44pm BST

13 min Salah misses a great chance for Liverpool! Emre Can drove an excellent low shot from 25 yards that hit the inside of the far post and rebounded straight to Salah, who clipped it wide from 10 yards. That was a bad miss, because Schmeichel was still on all fours after trying to save Can’s shot. The one mitigating factor is the speed with which it rebounded to Salah. He should have scored though.

5.41pm BST

12 min “What the hell is Lovren doing?” says Cian McMahon. “Seriously? What is he doing? Terrible passing. Out of position on Vardy’s attack… he will be the bane of us today… mark my words.”

It’s odd as he looked so good at Southampton. See also: Schneiderlin, Morgan; Shaw, Luke; and Chambers, Callum.

5.41pm BST

11 min Liverpool have had 78 per cent of possession, yet it feels like Leicester have been more threatening.

5.39pm BST

9 min Leicester look sharp on the counter-attack. Every defence knows what’s coming, but there’s not a lot they can do about it. It all revolves around Vardy, possibly the fastest England forward I’ve ever seen.

5.37pm BST

6 min The first chance goes to Leicester. Okazaki played a good pass down the left wing to Vardy, who was played onside by Lovren on the other side of the pitch. Matip couldn’t catch him and Vardy made an angled run into the box before curling a shot that was beaten away by Mignolet. The ball bounced up for Mahrez, who came on the blind side of Lovren and clipped the bouncing ball over the bar. That was a deceptively good chance for Mahrez, less so for Vardy because of the tight angle.

5.35pm BST

4 min These days, erery self-respecting attack needs an acronym these days. Today, Liverpool have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

5.33pm BST

3 min A quiet start to the game. Liverpool are eight points behind the Manchesters, though a win would take up them to fifth.

5.30pm BST

1 min Peep peep! Liverpool kick off, from right to left if you like to paint televised pictures in your noggin. There’s an excellent atmosphere.

5.29pm BST

Another email! Here’s Andrew Hurley. “Wenger (rightly) got criticised for the mess that was Arsenal’s transfers this summer (no midfielder, waiting for last minute to bid properly for Lemar, Sanchez staying/going/staying) but he did very very well, even in this market, to get nearly £40m for Oxlade-Chamberlain, a player given countless chances and who is, despite huge natural talent, frustrating, position-less, often lazy and very little end-product.”

I’m loath to judge that transfer for a couple of years – his current performance level is not worth £40m, I agree, but his potential is worth more. If Klopp can’t get the best out of him, nobody will.

5.26pm BST

An email! “Is it possible for the Premier League Crisis Baton to pass between players as well as clubs?” says Matt Loten. “If so, I would wager that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain must be warrant a spell in possession – jumping ship from Arsenal, only to find he can’t even make a Liverpool lineup shorn of Mane, Lallana and, until today, Coutinho. Given that we live in an era when managers can be sacked four games into the season, surely we can call time on Chamberlain’s Liverpool career before the end of September?”

I’m not sure what took you so long, Matt. You need to stop sitting on the fence. This is the age of Sav, not the 1990s.

4.52pm BST

Leicester (4-4-1-1) Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell; Mahrez, Ndidi, King, Albrighton; Okazaki; Vardy.
Substitutes: Hamer, Fuchs, Amartey, Iborra, Gray, Slimani, Iheanacho.

Liverpool (4-3-3) Mignolet; Gomez, Matip, Lovren, Moreno; Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Coutinho.
Substitutes: Karius, Klavan, Alexander-Arnold, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sturridge, Solanke.

10.34am BST

Welcome to 27 Days Later, a divisive tale of expectation, premature denunciation and Dejan Lovren. It’s four weeks tomorrow since Liverpool dismantled Arsenal with an exhilarating performance, yet in that short time the mood around Anfield has changed considerably. Liverpool are on a despicable run of FOUR games without a win, and Klopp has become the topic du jour for many an entitled blowhard.

You don’t know what you’ve got until you’ve got rid of it. In years to come, Liverpool fans will go a big, rubbery one as they recall the swaggering football played under Klopp. Yet a fair percentage of those same fans are currently aboard a bandwagon to have him sacked. He isn’t perfect, and it’s hard to understand his blind defensive eye, but the anti-Klopp grandstanding is little more than reactionary nonsense in a sport that has lost all contact details for reality, logic and decency.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article:

Sep 23

West Ham 2-3 Tottenham Hotspur: Premier League – as it happened

Harry Kane scored twice and hit the post twice as ten-man Spurs withstood a late onslaught from West Ham to win an eventful London derby

2.27pm BST

That was a game of three thirds. West Ham were superior for the first half hour, Spurs were magnificent either side of half-time to go 3-0 up – but they had to survive a late onslaught after the sending off of Serge Aurier. Thanks for your company, you can follow all the 3pm games here.

Related: Southampton v Manchester United, Stoke v Chelsea and more: Premier League – live!

Related: Manchester City v Crystal Palace: Premier League – live!

2.24pm BST

Spurs have held on to win their third consecutive away game in the league this season.

2.24pm BST

90+6 min Yellow cards all round: Carroll, Llorente and, I think, Alderweireld.

2.22pm BST

90+5 min It’s all kicking off now! It started with a foul by Carroll on someone, and now players on both sides are shoving each other. It’s a bit more than manbags, though I don’t think any punches were thrown. Chicharito, who has already been booked, might be in trouble.

2.21pm BST

90+3 min Ayew is booked for a lunge at Davies.

2.20pm BST

90+2 min Carroll’s long-range shot deflects behind for another corner. Cresswell curls a lovely outswinger towards the far post, where Carroll arrives imperiously … and then heads the ball away from goal! He ended up ahead of the ball. Did he mistime his run or was he shoved by Sanchez? Carroll thinks the latter. There was some contact, but it’s hard to judge whether it was enough for a penalty.

2.18pm BST

90+1 min There will be four minutes of added time. Spurs suddenly looked ragged.

2.18pm BST

90 min Masuaku, who has made a significant impact on the left wing since coming on, wins a corner for West Ham. Cresswell takes it short to Masuaku, gets the return and stands up a gentle, deep cross that Lloris can only fingertip towards the right corner of the box. Reid runs round the ball and wallops it into orbit. He should have lifted that back into the area before Lloris was out of his goal.

2.17pm BST

89 min For Spurs, a cheery stroll has turned into a grim struggle for survival. They make their final substitution, with Fernando Llorente replacing the magnificent Harry Kane.

2.14pm BST

Oh my. Is something brilliant happening? Masuaku beats Winks on the left and curls in a beautiful cross to the far post. Kouyate attacks it at pace, gets above Davies and thumps a memorable header through the leaping Lloris. That was a brilliant goal.

2.10pm BST

82 min Carroll, who has had an absolute beast since coming on, ruins a promising attack with a needless foul on Davies.

2.09pm BST

81 min Chicharito is booked for a foul on Dier. Spurs are pretty comfortable, even with 10 men.

2.08pm BST

80 min Alli and Kane break dangerously for Spurs, but Alli can’t find the moment or angle for a shot and the danger passes. Moments later, Kouyate is booked for something or orher.

2.07pm BST

79 min Chicharito’s volleyed backflick hits Sanchez in the chest. While everyone is appealing for a penalty Chicharito collects the loose ball and smashes a shot from 15 yards that is beaten away by Lloris. Had that been anywhere near either corner I think he’d have scored.

2.05pm BST

78 min Another Spurs change: Kieran Trippier replaces Mohamed Sissoko at right wing-back.

2.05pm BST

77 min Carroll drags a shot well wide from the edge of the area. West Ham have been far too excitable since Spurs went down to 10 men.

2.02pm BST

75 min “It’s nice to see there’s at least one cavernous, divisive London stadium in which Spurs can win,” honks Matt Dony.

2.01pm BST

74 min A substitution apiece: Harry Winks for Christian Eriksen, and Arthur Masuaku for Jose Fonte. West Ham have gone to a back four, Spurs are now playing a 3-5-1 formation.

2.00pm BST

73 min West Ham need to calm down a bit. The red card has given them fresh hope, but they’ve been a little giddy in the few minutes since, hammering cross and shots from all angles.

1.59pm BST

71 min Spurs have moved Sissomo to right wing-back in a 3-3-2-1 formation.

1.58pm BST

70 min He’s an accident waiting to happen, this chap. He lunged at Carroll, who was leading a West Ham break, and a second yellow card was a reasonable decision from Michael Oliver.

1.57pm BST

68 min Noble crosses from a deep position on the right to Hernandez, who strains his neck muscles like a cuckolded Bruce Banner to power a header towards goal from 15 yards. It’s too close to Lloris, who saves comfortably, but it was a good effort.

1.55pm BST

67 min “To be fair Rob, Danny is right,” says Alistair Donegan. “West Ham look a bit poo.”

They do now. I thought they were the better team for half an hour.

1.54pm BST

66 min Andre Ayew replaces Marko Arnautovic for West Ham.

1.54pm BST

West Ham have got one back. Cresswell’s excellent corner is headed across goal by Fonte, and Chicharito backpedals into space to head in from four yards. A classic Chicharito goal.

1.52pm BST

64 min Serge Aurier has been asking for a yellow card all day and now he’s got one for a foul on Carroll.

1.51pm BST

63 min Kane hits the other post! He ran at Reid on the left side of the box, shifted the ball down the line and cracked an early left-footed shot that rattled off the outside of the post. It seems Hart got a slight touch with his right foot as a corner has been given.

1.50pm BST

62 min Spurs were subdued for half an hour, but since the goal they have been quietly majestic. They are such a lovely team to watch. All right-thinking neutrals should want them to win the league this year.

1.48pm BST

Game over. Kane, on a hat-trick, hits the post with a sensational free-kick, whacked across goal from an absurd angle on the left. The ball comes to Aurier, whose deflected cross bounces nicely for Eriksen to sidefoot a classy half-volley into the corner from 15 yards.

1.44pm BST

56 min Sissoko slides a straight pass into the area for Alli, who tries a clever turn back inside Reid and goes over. His penalty appeals are ignored by Michael Oliver. I thought Reid got something on the ball but replays show he didn’t. Whether he got enough of Alli to warrant a penalty is debatable; you could also argue that the sharpness of the turn was the main reason for Alli going down.

1.42pm BST

54 min This game is really open now, with West Ham trying to rough Spurs up. The next goal feels even more important than usual. This game could conceivably end 3-2 or 0-6.

1.39pm BST

52 min West Ham are starting to lump a few crosses into the area for Carroll. So far Spurs have dealt with him comfortably.

1.37pm BST

49 min Eriksen fouls Noble just outside the area on the right. Cresswell dinks in the free-kick and Vertonghen heads clear. Spurs break three-on-two only for Alli to overrun the ball.

1.36pm BST

48 min Arnautovic and Cresswell combine to win a corner. It’s headed away by Alderweireld.

1.33pm BST

47 min “Not sure what game you’re watching to call this scoreline a lie – West Ham had some dangerous looking runs into the box early on but no clear chances to speak of (Aurier’s hands on Arnautovic during his brilliant tackle would have been a soft penalty to give),” says Danny Michaux. “Spurs usually take a while to find a rhythm, and since Kane’s offside miss 25 minutes they’ve looked comfortably in control, even more so since Antonio came off injured.”

Cheers Danny. I don’t know if I could this do this without you.

1.33pm BST

46 min West Ham begin the second half, kicking from right to left.

1.18pm BST

There are lies, damned lies and this half-time scoreline, but Spurs won’t care about that. Harry Kane scored twice in four minutes to flatten a buoyant West Ham, who have a job on to get anything out of the game. See you in 10 minutes for the second half.

1.16pm BST

45+1 min “Arnautovic + Carroll, time for some kick and rush?” says Yoann Lechenault. “Come on England, we know you want it!”

1.15pm BST

45 min Alli flips a lovely pass with the outside of the foot to usher Davies towards goal. He gets on the inside of the last man Zabaleta, who just does enough to ensure Davies can’t get a clear run at the ball. That was excellent, if slightly desperate defending.

1.14pm BST

43 min Spurs, so subdued until they scored, are now swaggering around like they own the place. West Ham looked a bit stunned, not unreasonably, and desperately need to hear the half-time bell.

1.12pm BST

41 min Kane demonstrates his stratospheric confidence by shooting from a ridiculous angle on the left, curling the ball across goal and a few yards wide. Hart had it covered.

1.11pm BST

39 min West Ham have been mugged.

1.10pm BST

Harry Kane gets another one! Eriksen and Vertonghen combined smoothly down the left to o put Alli through on goal. His first-time shot was well saved by the outrushing Hart but it rebounded straight to Kane, who had an open goal from 12 yards.

1.06pm BST

Spurs take the lead against the run of play with an excellent goal. Eriksen, picking up a loose pass from Carroll just past the halfway line, puts Alli clear down the right with a fine angled pass. He takes a touch and clips a fast cross towards the near post, where Kane stretches to flash a header in off the far post. That was clinical: from the moment Carroll played a poor pass on the halfway line Spurs needed just five touches to score.

1.05pm BST

33 min Arnatuovic’s long, dipping free-kick hits the arm of Aurier, who mistimed his attempted header. There were no real appeals for a penalty by West Ham.

1.04pm BST

32 min Noble ploughts through Sissoko, taking man and ball, and the players square up to each other. The excellent Michael Oliver sorts it out with the minimum of fuss and the two players shake hands.

1.02pm BST

31 min Eriksen plays a brilliant cutback to find Kane in space in the D. He tees himself up and hits a fierce shot that is crucially blocked by Fonte.

12.59pm BST

29 min “Well, Rob,” says Paul Neilan. “What’s the Sissoko situation? Where/how/why/who/which is he playing? We must know this information(s).”

He’s playing as a kind of inside-right midfielder in a loose 3-3-3-1 formation.

12.58pm BST

28 min Carroll does replace Antonio, so Chicharito will presumably move to the wing. Unless Andy Carroll is going to roam up and down the flank like an inverted Ormondroyd.

12.56pm BST

27 min Antonio is struggling with what looks like a thigh injury, and Andy Carroll is going to replace him.

12.56pm BST

24 min Harry Kane misses an open goal, though it wouldn’t have counted. Spurs worked the ball neatly until Sissoko eased a through pass to Aurier on the right of the area. He blasted the ball towards the far post, where the partially unsighted Kane diverted it wide from three yards. Just as hundreds of non-Spurs fans were deliriously preparing some banter, the linesman’s flag went up to thwart them.

12.52pm BST

22 min “So wrapped up as I am in my own team’s looming crisis I have lost track of the repercussions of Alli’s finger-gate,” says Ian Copestake. “Did he get a rap on his knuckle?”

No idea. I’ve developed a sophisticated internet tool that blocks anything with even a whiff of faux outrage.

12.50pm BST

20 min Spurs aren’t playing well, though much of that is down to the quality of West Ham’s defending and counter-attacking.

12.49pm BST

19 min Arnautovic runs at Alderweireld and wafts a poor cross straight out of play. He is getting in some dangerous positions, though, and has been the most threatening attacker on either side.

12.48pm BST

16 min West Ham break and Noble curves a superb long pass towards Arnautovic. He rumbles thrillingly into the area, between Aurier and Alderweireld, before Aurier makes a brilliant recovery tackle. I say brilliant: replays showed he had a fair chunk of Arnautovic’s shirt as he did so. That should have been a penalty.

12.44pm BST

15 min The game has been pretty low on intensity for a derby, certainly when compared to the match at Ibrox. West Ham look slightly sharper at the moment.

12.43pm BST

13 min Eriksen’s deflected shot is shovelled over the bar by Hart, who didn’t risk trying to catch it as it dropped out of the sky. Nothing happens from the corner.

12.41pm BST

11 min Antonio drags a through ball towards Arnautovic, and Lloris hares from his area to clear.

12.39pm BST

8 min West Ham are starting to play some good stuff. Chicharito plays a one-two with Antonio and whips an extravagant, long-range curler onto the roof of the net. Lloris had it covered but it was a decent effort.

12.38pm BST

6 min Spurs seem to be playing more of a 3-3-3-1 formation, with Dier just in front of the three defenders and Sissoko, Eriksen and Alli playing behind Kane. Tactics are so damn hot right now.

12.35pm BST

5 min Arnautovic beats Alderweireld with a stepover on the left side of the box and drives a dangerous low cross that is cleared from inside the six-yard box by the stretching Sanchez.

12.34pm BST

3 min Spurs have started confidently, with some smooth passing in the West Ham half. Alli plays a through pass round the corner to himself, in a manner that evokes Dimitar Berbatov’s awesome goal against Charlton all those years ago, and Cresswell comes across to cover.

12.30pm BST

1 min Spurs kick off, from right to left as I look at my 23-inch HD TV screen. They are in white; West Ham are wearing claret and blue.

12.30pm BST

Opta stats show that West Ham fans are precisely 0.00 per cent enamoured of Tottenham Hotspur, and there’s a decent atmosphere at the London Stadium as a consequence.

12.27pm BST

“It might indeed get nawty – which, naturally, turned my thoughts to Danny Dyer,” writes Gary Naylor. “Twelve years ago, he was brilliant in The Business, a film that more pseudo-highbrows than just me treasure as a guilty pleasure. So, betting without Wilson Phillips and the OC, what’s yours Rob?”

Good question, Gartholomew. Does Masterchef count? When I was a twentysomething kid my guiltiest cinematic pleasures were crap postmodern slashers and the American Pie films, though I reckon I could still go into bat for the American Pies. The slashers, not so much.

11.52am BST

This isn’t the only early kick-off today. The Old Firm derby is taking place at Ibrox, and you can follow that with Barry Glendenning.

Related: Rangers v Celtic: Scottish Premiership – live!

11.34am BST

West Ham (3-4-3) Hart; Fonte, Reid, Ogbonna; Zabaleta, Kouyate, Noble, Cresswell; Antonio, Chicharito, Arnautovic.
Substitutes: Adrian, Masuaku, Byram, Rice, Ayew, Carroll, Sakho.

Spurs (3-4-2-1) Lloris; Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen; Aurier, Sissoko, Dier, Davies; Eriksen, Alli; Kane.
Substitutes: Vorm, Trippier, Walker-Peters, Winks, Nkoudou, Son, Llorente.

3.03pm BST

Hello and welcome to live coverage of the lunchtime meeting between the homesick henries of the Premier League. Spurs have away advantage against West Ham, and really need a win to keep the Mancunian pacemakers within sight. The next few weeks are likely to determine whether Spurs will challenge for the title again, or whether this will become a bit of a lost season in which they end up focussing on the cups.

West Ham have started to pick up after a difficult start to the season, though Slaven Bilic still has reason to look over his shoulder. And he keeps having those weird dreams about Rafa Benitez and Anne Boleyn. Both sides need a result, they don’t like each other, and Tottenham want to avenge the May defeat that ended their title challenge. It should be lively, it might be nawty; it kicks off at 12.30pm.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article:

Sep 21

England v West Indies: rain forces abandonment of second ODI – as it happened

Only 2.2 overs were possible at Trent Bridge before heavy rain forced a frustrating washout

4.20pm BST

The umpires have accepted the inevitable and called the game off. I’m sure you’ll agree that this has been a triumph for all concerned. Thanks for your company, bye!

4.19pm BST

And Haseeb Hameed has suffered another broken finger, which presumably ends his hopes of being in the Ashes squad. That’s a blessing, I think, even if his poppadom fingers are a concern.

Related: India v Australia: second one-day international – live!

4.16pm BST

The left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav has taken a hat-trick for India against Australia at Kolkata!

Related: India v Australia: second one-day international – live!

4.04pm BST

No need is bad news: it looks increasingly unlikely that there will be any play before the cut-off time just before 6pm.

3.42pm BST

The next match is in Bristol on Sunday. The forecast is much better – there is a 1 per cent chance of precipitation, it says here.

3.39pm BST

Rain update It’s still raining.

3.31pm BST

“Unlike you, I want to see a boring Ashes squad,” says Chris Anderson. “Pick the same XI from the last test plus few broken-finger-on-the-morning-of-the-game replacements. Hopefully this would send the message that the management are confident in the players selected. Then you put all your wildcards and young talent in the Lions squad, giving them experience of aussie conditions before some of them are inevitability drafted into the Test team when we are 2-0 down after two Tests.”

Ha. That reminds me of something I wanted to do to raise money in memory of our dear friend Dan Lucas: £10 each, everyone predicts the England XI for the fifth Ashes Test, the winners (if there are any) split half the cash and the other half goes to JDRF. Any interest? Let me know if so and I’ll try to arrange it.

3.26pm BST

“I don’t think the squad will have any surprises,” says Kevin Wilson. “Australia’s not the place to introduce anyone green or else they might return with a case of the Kerrigans. I reckon Hales will go because he covers two spots, Dawson probably will go because he’s a steady bloke and they like Wood even though I can’t see him having a long term Test career. Finn might be tacked onto the squad as an extra bowler or if TRJ gets injured. The Lions squad should be interesting though.”

As Mike Atherton said the other day, I don’t understand the argument about Hales covering two bases. He said he doesn’t want to open in first-class cricket any more, and we know he struggles in that position against high-class Test bowling. I could understand it back in the day, when you needed a squad to cover lots of bases, but the Lions will be nearby so they’ll have back-up openers there. I would probably pick a third opener in the squad, with a view to batting him at No3. I don’t think that will happen though.

3.22pm BST

I have a theory about Ballance (wait! Come back!) that his ugly style counts against him, just as the beauty of Stokes and Moeen’s batting makes it feel like they score more runs than is actually the case. For example, I think most people would tell you Ballance had a shocker v South Africa earlier this summer, yet his scores were not disastrous: 20, 34, 27, 4. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t pick him for this tour, but I can’t remember the last time there was such a strong aesthetic prejudice against an England batsman.

3.18pm BST

“Stokes, Woakes AND Foakes, he jokes?” croaks Andrew Benton. “Must be a hoax, folks.”

3.17pm BST

“What am I missing that Ballance gets repeat opportunity after repeat opportunity?” sniffs Jeff Smith. “Maybe having the captain be selector is a bad practice. Yes they basically run the team but every bad Test side ever assembled was basically picked by the captain, right?”

What about the good ones? I wouldn’t pick Ballance, certainly not in Australia, but the argument in his favour says he has a better Test and first-class average than all the other contenders, and clearly has the necessary temperament to succeed in Australia. But I’d agree with those who think the Aussie quicks will have a field day with that technique, certainly if he bats at No3.

3.14pm BST

“I read the Mark Nicholas piece covering much the same ground as everywhere else,” says Tony Harlow. “He does have the benefit of seeing the Aussies a lot at home and being inside their brains so those bits (must be able to play properly, must be aggressive …) are worth thinking about. I am quite persuaded by the idea of Patel being ready as a batsman. Sort of pick that would confuse the Aussies and might work. And the idea of a non-Adonis Test player is amusing too. But reality says the idea is fanciful and he should have been tried during the summer if it was an option.

“The Vince idea is also fanciful and to my mind a bit of home town picking by Hampshire favouring Nicholas. Loose outside off stump at Brisbane? Not such a good idea. But the omission seems the most obvious flaw .. what has Sam Robson done wrong. Why is he on the outer? He has clearly improved since his chance (in which he did as well as anyone else), he has had as good a summer as anyone else, he has a grounding on Australian wickets and he has the motivation to play well against old friends/ team mates. And he’s right handed. And to make it even better Stoneman was a number 3 for a long period so comfortable there but scores quicker than Compton. So for me: Cook, Robson, Stoneman, Root, Hales or Patel or Malan, Stokes, Bairstow, Moeen, Woakes, Broad, Anderson.

3.02pm BST

I do hope England pick a wildcard in their Ashes party, in the name of nostalgia if nothing else, but I suspect this will be the squad: Root (c), Stokes (vc), Cook, Stoneman, Ballance, Malan, Hales, Bairstow, Foakes, Ali, Dawson, Woakes, Wood, Broad, Anderson, Roland-Jones.

Any thoughts? About anything?

2.39pm BST

“Greetings from soggy Trent Bridge, Rob. Having a look at the rain radar out in the press box and (courtesy of a colleague who has paid for the predictive element) the algorithm suggests the wet stuff could stop falling circa 4.30pm. The question then would be whether the outfield can dry in time for a 5.56pm start time that would allow a 20-over match. West Indies may be keen to start the birthday celebrations with Chris Gayle early … although the Universe Boss is spending a chunk of his 38th having a scan on that twanged hamstring. Here’s hoping it’s not tour-ending…”

2.34pm BST

On the subject of Cricinfo, this piece from Mark Nicholas on who might be in England’s Ashes squad is so accomplished, knowledgeable and thought-provoking as to be almost thrilling.

2.24pm BST

According to Cricinfo legend Andrew McGlashan, the cut-off time for a 20-over match is 5.56pm. I think the rain wil have stopped by then, but I’m not sure the ground wil be playable.

2.06pm BST

Australia are in the malodorous stuff in Kolkata

Read all about it here.

Related: India v Australia: second one-day international – live!

2.05pm BST

“What are the views on playing international cricket in England until the end of September?” wonders Neil Taylor. “I stopped buying tickets for matches in September as I’m a delicate flower. Can’t imagine the Windies are loving this much.”

There’s no alternative, is there? In a better world we would do unto the schedule as Freddy Krueger did unto the residents of Elm Street. But that’s not going to happen in a cuture where more is less and even more is barely sufficient.

1.52pm BST

The forecast improves around 5pm,

just in time for me to do one and lump Nick Miller with the remaining 97.4 overs of the match
so we should get a reduced game, maybe 20 or 25 overs per side.

1.48pm BST

Case closed, Columbo

“Nice idea,” says Ian Black, carefully lining up the inevitable ‘but’, “but the playing regulation that allows free hits also allows for the circumstances where the no-ball is as a result of a fielding restriction breach. From the ICC ODI playing regulations:

24.2 Free Hit

In addition to the above, the delivery following a no ball called (all modes of no ball) shall be a free hit for whichever batsman is facing it. If the delivery for the free hit is not a legitimate delivery (any kind of no ball or a wide ball) then the next delivery will become a free hit for whichever batsman is facing it.

1.45pm BST

There is live cricket in Kolkata, where Australia are chasing 253 to beat India. You can follow that with Adam Collins.

Related: India v Australia: second one-day international – live!

1.33pm BST

The covers are still on. It’s going to be a while before we see any play.

1.30pm BST

Richard O’Hagan is the Umpire “Every umpire knows that sometimes you have to apply Law 43 – use your common sense. I would allow the fielding side to move the fielder closest to the striker’s end umpire in front of square.”

You can legally move the field if they rotate strike, can’t you? Though in theory the batting side could just swing for boundaries and not run.

1.17pm BST

You are the Umpire “A conundrum to ponder during the rain break,” writes our old friend Mike Selvey. “It came up over a few beers in Lahore last week (yes, the Pearl Continental does have a bar). In white-ball cricket, a no ball is called because 3 fielders behind square on the legside, which means a free hit. But the field cannot be changed for the free hit. And so the game goes on forever. Or does it?”

1.13pm BST

Play will not restart at 1.15pm, because it’s raining again. Great stuff.

1.02pm BST

The covers are coming off, a bit earlier than expected, and play wil restart at 1.15pm.

12.52pm BST

It’s raining in India as well. But if you just need one more hit of live cricket, Will Macpherson has some methadone for you.

Related: County cricket: Middlesex v Lancashire, Surrey v Somerset and more – live!

12.47pm BST

It’s the Ashes! Rain may have stopped play but it won’t cure Ashes fever, and it certainly won’t impinge upon gratuitous plugs. If anything, it’ll facilitate them. To wit: I’ve updated this history of the Ashes to include the 2015 series, and you can read it free if you have Kindle Unlimited! No, I haven’t got a clue what Kindle Unlimited is either!

12.43pm BST

2.2 overs: England 21-0 (Bairstow 9, Hales 10) After 14 balls, rain stops play. Nice one. It’s fairly heavy and it could be a while before the players return. We should get a reduced game, however, as the forecast is much better this evening.

12.40pm BST

Mind the Windows, Tino

Wish I had bowl at this one Hales bk then let’s see u pulling at 90+ not 84mph lol would of enjoyed cracking that Nut hahah

I faced you in 2010 mate in your peak. You literally couldn’t land it on the cut strip #90mphDross

12.40pm BST

2nd over: England 20-0 (Bairstow 8, Hales 10) Hales, who looks in devastating form at the moment, blasts consecutive off-side boundaries off Jerome Taylor. He’s not quite in the same class but the way he is bullying bowlers brings to mind the best of Matthew Hayden.

“Anderson was commentating during the first ODI,” says Kevin Wilson. “Is it a shoot-out for the one fast-bowling commentary spot when they both retire? For what it’s worth, someone really ought to suggest Anderson goes into coaching as he’s got so much expertise to share it would be wasted in the commentary box. Broad’s more extroverted and would be more of a natural fit with the Sky boys.”

12.35pm BST

1st over: England 10-0 (Bairstow 7, Hales 1) England’s last ODI here was the festival of record-breaking against Pakistan, when Alex Hales made 171 in a score of 444 for three. After the first over of today’s match, bowled by Jason Holder, their projected score is 500. Holder started with two leg-side wides, followed a by a leg-side non-wide that Bairstow clipped for four. Bairstow was lucky to survive the penultimate delivery when he and Hales took a ludicrous single to Kyle Hope at point. A direct hit at either end would have brought a wicket; Hope went for the striker’s end and missed.

12.15pm BST

Stuart Broad is part of the Sky team today. We already know his cricket brain is Mensa-level; early impressions are that he is very good at articulating his insights.

12.06pm BST

England are unchanged, West Indies are changed: Devendra Bishoo and Chris Gayle are replaced by Kyle Hope and Miguel Cummins. Gayle, 38 years cold today, has a hamstring injury.

England Bairstow, Hales, Root, Morgan (c), Stokes, Buttler (wk), Moeen, Willey, Woakes, Rashid, Plunkett.

12.02pm BST

That’s a straightforward decision given the weather forecast, even though the pitch looks a belter. Eoin Morgan says England would have done bowled as well.

11.59am BST

The weather forecast has improved in the last few hours, so there’s every chance we’ll start on time. The toss is imminent. Meantime, Australia have scrapped their way back into the game against India in Kolkata.

Related: India v Australia: second one-day international – live!

10.36am BST

England are a damn fine one-day team. Since the last World Cup they have the best win percentage (66) and run rate (6.23 per over) of any team in the world, and they’ve won 14 of their last 17 matches at home. They would be healthy favourites for the 2019 World Cup, to be staged in England, were it not for that confusing bloody defeat to Pakistan in the semi-final of the Champions Trophy.

We should try to ignore that match. The final at Lord’s four days later confirmed that it dosen’t matter whether you’re the hosts, the holders or the best team in the world. When the force is with Pakistan, it’s no longer your film. It’s not easy for England to forget that defeat, however. It’s there all the time,sat in the corner, smugly telling us that next time, there’ll be no next time.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: