Kevin De Bruyne settled the match with a stunning goal, just reward for City who were on top for the duration.
That’s about as comprehensive a one-goal victory as you’ll ever see. City bossed the game from the get-go, creating many a chance. It’s a credit to Chelsea’s defensive stubbornness that City required a moment of blistering brilliance from Kevin De Bruyne to make the difference. City return to the top of the table at the expense of their neighbours United. Chelsea stay in fourth, at least until tomorrow, one point behind Spurs and six shy of the Mancunian duo. A two-horse race for the title? Too early to be sure, but the signs are there.
90 min +3: Fabregas takes the corner quickly, and it’s not very good. Kante clatters into the back of Gundogan, and the pressure on City is released. And then De Bruyne is swapped for Danilo.
90 min +2: Azpilicueta, out on the right, hoicks long. Walker is forced to head out for a corner! Late pressure from Chelsea, and City are living on their nerves!
90 min +1: There will be three added minutes. One has already elapsed without incident.
90 min: The free kick is sent long by Fabregas to Christensen, who sends a header high and wide left from ten yards. That was a real chance to claim a smash-and-grab draw!
89 min: Willian looks to pick up possession down the right. He’s upended by a ludicrous tackle from behind by Otamendi. A booking, and a free kick in a very dangerous position, just to the right of the City box!
87 min: Jesus and Bernardo Silva exchange crisp passes down the left. Silva hits long towards Sterling, lurking to the right of the Chelsea goal. Cahill is forced to head behind for a corner. Fernandinho meets the set piece with his head, but it’s a weak effort, heading for the bottom right. Courtois claims.
85 min: Gundogan comes on for Sane, City looking to see this one out in the professional manner. His first move is to send Sterling into acres down the right. Sterling loops long for Jesus, who opens his body up and sidefoots a powerful volley towards the right-hand portion of the net. Courtois is beaten, so it’s lucky that Rudiger is on hand to block. The resulting corner comes to nothing. What a move that was by City, and what a shot by Jesus. A fine, fine defensive block by Rudiger denied a picture-book goal.
83 min: Jesus takes a ball from the air and kills it with one touch. He slides a pass right for Sterling, who can’t return it with interest for the tap-in. Chelsea are beginning to take risks at the back.
81 min: City stroke it around the back in the clock-bothering style. It’s textbook game management. Chelsea buzz about in frustration.
79 min: Ederson kicks the ball this time. Pantomime boos.
78 min: Batshuayi crosses from the left. Delph misses his clearance, allowing Azpilicueta to pick up possession to the right of goal. But his whipped cross from the byline is confidently picked by Ederson. The keeper flings the ball out in the basketball style, coming pretty close to running out of his own box as he does so. The crowd scream for a free kick, but they’re not getting it.
77 min: Alonso romps down the left, and his low cross isn’t far away from finding Pedro in the box. Then Fabregas nearly slips Pedro clear down the middle, but the pass is a little overcooked. Chelsea have finally upped their game.
76 min: City swap their Silvas. David off, Bernardo on.
75 min: Azpilicueta sends a ball into the City box from the right. With Batshuayi lurking, Otamendi is forced to bundle the ball out for a corner. Stones deals with the set piece. Chelsea need more of this, and quickly.
73 min: The rain is coming down now. Willian lands on the sodden turf, having just taken an accidental arm from Otamendi in the face. He’ll be OK to continue, by the looks of it, but that was a sore clatter.
71 min: City are still dominating possession. Chelsea have to make a couple of changes. And so on come Pedro and Batshuayi, in place of Hazard and Bakayoko.
69 min: City did quite a lot of cavorting after that goal. They deserve to be in the lead; it came just before frustration set in, having just missed a series of chances. It was their 14th attempt on goal.
It’s fair to say this had been coming. De Bruyne, perhaps frustrated at watching his team-mates blow chances with over-elaboration, keeps it basic and simple … albeit with some style. He powers down the middle of the park, drifting right to left slightly, then smacks a stunning riser into the top right! Belt! Courtois had no chance whatsoever! What a player De Bruyne is, and that really is some strike!
66 min: Room for Sterling in the Chelsea box on the right, set free by Walker. He cuts back for Silva, who must score from the penalty spot. But instead of shooting first time, he takes a touch, and his shot is eventually blocked. City come again, Sterling crossing from the right. Silva was waiting to tap home, but Jesus flicks the ball away from his own man. Chances being spurned here.
65 min: De Bruyne, deep on the right, curls low into the Chelsea box. Jesus sticks a boot out, but can’t connect 12 yards out. The ball sails through to Courtois, who claims easily.
63 min: City get back on the ball. Tap-tap-tap. Sterling makes off down the left suddenly, and nearly breaks into the box, but the ever-superb Azpilicueta sticks to his shoulder and eventually hustles him out of it.
61 min: Fabregas wrong-foots a sleepy City by shaping to shoot, then sliding a pass down the left. Hazard has the ball at his feet in the box. He shoots hard from a tight angle, and Ederson parries well. City have been in total control since the restart, but they’re beginning to allow Chelsea back into the game.
60 min: So having said that, out comes Martin Atkinson’s yellow card for the first time. It’s Fernandinho, who has severely tested the ref’s patience 60 seconds after getting a good talking-to, by clipping an in-full-flight Hazard. Free kick, 30 yards out.
59 min: Willian wants to burst off down the right wing. Fernandinho cynically barges him off the ball. Free kick, but no booking, which is fairly generous in today’s climate. Still, the ref has been even-handed with his laissez-faire decision-making tonight, so nobody really complains. The crowd don’t even bother getting irate.
56 min: Sterling dribbles in the troublesome style down the left and into the Chelsea box. He can’t get a cross or shot away. The ball breaks to Silva, whose shot isn’t up to much. It’s deflected out for a throw, and the danger is gone.
54 min: Another City attack, as Sane and Jesus chase after a ball down the inside right and into the area. Sane is lightly tapped by Alonso, and goes down wanting a penalty. Nope! They earn a corner, though, from which Sterling has time on the edge of the area to line up a shot towards the top right. He gets far too much oomph behind it. Goal kick.
52 min: Hazard and Willian try to combine down the left wing, hoping to launch a rare Chelsea attack. But Chelsea’s passes aren’t sticking. Frustration plays across their coupons.
51 min: Jesus scampers after a ball prodded down the right wing. He clatters into Christensen, and wants a penalty kick. He’s not going to get it. An honest shoulder charge, the defender easing his man off the ball.
49 min: … nothing much happens. But Chelsea struggled to keep hold of the ball in the first half, and City are immediately back on top in this second period. They’re hogging possession.
48 min: Sterling lifts a gentle pass down the right wing to send Jesus zipping towards the Chelsea area. Rudiger is forced to slide out for a corner. De Bruyne takes. Willian clears, but City are soon coming back at their hosts. Fernandinho, Silva and Sterling combine beautifully down the left, the latter reaching the byline and earning another corner. From which …
47 min: City are immediately on the front foot, Sane probing down the left and nearly breaking into the box. He earns a throw which leads to nothing. Silva has a wee look down the same flank. He’s upended by Rudiger. The free kick is tapped backwards. Finally Otamendi tries to send Sane scampering down the wing, but his pass clanks into touch.
Here we go again! No further changes. Chelsea – after being made to wait by City – set the ball rolling for the second period.
Half-time reading: To mark the 40th anniversary of Pele’s retirement. Love, love, love.
This is what can happen when you get two tactical geniuses in the dugouts. It’s been interesting … but not particularly exciting. City have had the upper hand, by 309 to 130 passes, give or take. And Courtois has been the more active keeper. A fascinating second half awaits us!
45 min: Free kick for City, deep on the right. De Bruyne sends a glorious curler into the box. Azpilicueta is forced to stick out a toe and poke the ball out for a corner on the right. De Bruyne takes, and Fernandinho meets it with a crashing header, 12 yards out! It looks like it’s the opening goal, but Courtois makes a stunning reaction save, the ball heading for the bottom right at pace.
43 min: De Bruyne faffs around in the midfield, letting Bakayoko make off with the ball in the candy-from-baby style. He drives down the left, glides inside, then looks to release Azpilicueta free down the right with a crossfield pass. He’d have managed it, too, were it not from an excellent sliding interception from Delph. An uncharacteristically dozy moment from the normally outstanding De Bruyne, though. Very strange.
41 min: More pretty City triangles. Eventually Sterling comes in from the right. De Bruyne gets involved, and curls one towards the far post. Jesus eyebrows it on, in the hope of finding Sane, coming in from the left. But he gets too much on it, and the ball flies harmlessly out of play for a goal kick.
39 min: Free kick for Chelsea out on the left, Willian stopped illegally by De Bruyne. Chelsea load the box. Willian takes, and his delivery is preposterously bad, blootered straight into the only man standing ten yards away. There goes that danger, too.
37 min: City tap it around quite a lot. Then Silva dribbles at intense speed into the box from the left, and fires a low pass into the centre, where there are three burgundy shirts waiting to take up possession. However, the referee blows, possibly for offside, possibly an obstruction. It’s not clear. But the attack is over.
35 min: Morata’s match is over. He feels the back of his leg, and limps off, shaking his head. No risk taken with a tight hamstring. Willian comes on in his place, Chelsea taking the opportunity to beef up their midfield a wee bit.
33 min: Fernandinho tries to release Sterling down the inside-right channel with a flat, hard diagonal pass. It’s an ambitious idea, all right, but it very nearly comes off. Just a few inches ahead of Sterling. Goal kick.
31 min: De Bruyne makes off down the right. His low cross earns a corner. Otamendi meets the set piece with his head, six yards out, but the effort flashes well wide left of goal.
30 min: Silva one-twos at pace with Sane down the left, and unleashes a low shot towards the bottom left which is well parried by Courtois. Chelsea go up the other end. Hazard lob-wedges an outrageously good pass down the right to release Kante into the City area. But City have pushed up, and that’s offside.
28 min: Morata spins and sashays his way down the inside-left channel, earning his side a corner. The set piece comes to nothing, but Chelsea are beginning to work their way back into this match after a slightly impotent spell.
26 min: Azpilicueta crosses from the right looking for Morata. It’s half cleared. Azpilicueta picks it up again, and shoots from the right-hand corner of the area. Ederson half-saves, half-spills, and that’s a corner. He makes up for that slightly nervous moment by plucking the set piece out of the air with great confidence. City stream up the other end, through Sterling down the right. His low cross somehow evades Silva at the far post. Phew.
25 min: Azpilicueta sends Delph tumbling as the City man makes good down the left. A free kick and another chance to put it into the mixer. But this time they opt to take it short and whistle it around in pretty triangles for a while. Mixing it up. Eventually Sane adds some zip down the left and very nearly finds De Bruyne on the edge of the Chelsea box. But it’s not an accurate pass.
23 min: Stones, all fixed, is back and in the thick of it, by the way.
22 min: Chelsea are struggling to get out of their final third right now. City are closing the hosts down at great speed, and snapping into the tackles as well. They’ve made 161 passes to Chelsea’s 57 so far.
20 min: City push Chelsea back with some of their new-fangled relentless passing. Eventually the ball drops to Delph, who looks to lash a shot goalwards from 25 yards. It clanks off Rudiger and out for a corner. The set piece is worked back out to De Bruyne, who from a deep position on the right, looks for Stones by the left-hand post. Under pressure from Rudiger, he heads wide and goes down. And he looks to have hurt his finger, or perhaps his wrist, can’t quite see, as he fell. He’s busy getting the end of his arm taped up now.
18 min: Another free kick for City in the middle of Chelsea territory. City pack the box, and De Bruyne does the old-fashioned thing of sticking it in the mixer, hoping someone will stick their nut on it at the back stick. Wallop! He overcooks it, and the ball flies out of play for a goal kick. City are not afraid to mix it up.
16 min: Kante gives the ball away in the centre circle. Silva threatens to break clear down the left, with options inside. But he hesitates, allowing Bakayoko to put a stop to his gallop.
14 min: This is lovely end-to-end, ping-pong entertainment. Ping! Hazard nearly sets Azpilicueta free down the Chelsea right. Ping! De Bruyne tries a cross from the City right. Pong! Alonso looks to have set Morata clear past a rashly sliding Walker down the Chelsea left, but the flag goes up for offside. The correct decision, but that was poor from Walker, whose intercept-or-bust slide nearly cost City dear.
12 min: Walker goes on another power jog down the middle of the park. For a second, it looks as though he’ll go the whole way, but eventually he’s surrounded. He flicks the ball to Silva on his left. From the left of the D, Silva tries to thread a shot into the bottom right. Not quite. Goal kick. From which Courtois faffs around, and his clearance is blocked by Jesus. The ball could go anywhere – in the net, for example, for the keeper is on the edge of his six-yard box – but the gods are good to him, and it balloons over the crossbar.
9 min: Fabregas has options: Morata on his left, Azpilicueta wide right. He gets caught in two minds, and plays an uncharacteristically witless ball down the middle. City mop up easily. City have seen more of the ball in these opening exchanges, but Chelsea will gain succour from that little half-chance of a dangerous attack, even if it wasn’t taken.
7 min: Otamendi and Bakayoko come together in the midfield, both sliding in to win a 50-50. The Chelsea player comes off worse, and grimaces quite a lot. When the game eventually restarts, Rudiger takes an age to make a common-or-garden clearance upfield, and is nearly robbed by Silva, closing his man down in the fashionable style. He gets away with a lazy one.
6 min: City stroke it around the middle of the park for a good 90 seconds or so. Suddenly Sterling turns on the jets, cutting in from the right and going over under a (fair) challenge from Rudiger. Sterling wanted the free kick, just to the right of the D, but he’s not getting it.
4 min: And now it’s a free kick to City, 30 yards from the Chelsea goal in the centre of the park. De Bruyne flashes a direct shot towards the top right, but it’s easily gathered by Courtois. This is already a lot of fun.
3 min: A fast start, this! Azpilicueta slips Kante free down the right. He reaches the box and chips towards the near post, where Morata flashes a header off target. He should have worked Ederson at least. A let-off for City.
2 min: Morata contests a high ball down the left wing. He’s unfairly nudged off the ball by Stones. Free kick, and it’s taken super-quickly by Fabregas, who nearly slides Morata free down the inside-left channel! Morata shifts to make space to shoot just inside the box, but Stones covers well, making up for his earlier error.
One last rousing blast of Blue Is The Colour … and we’re off! City get the ball rolling, and stroke it around the back awhile. Walker immediately thinks about bombing with pace and power down the middle, but can’t quite control. An early sign that City want to get on the front foot, though.
One of the big fixtures of this season coming right up! It could define an entire campaign, especially with Manchester United currently lording it at the top of the division, and not looking in the mood to slip up any time soon. Accordingly, there’s a wonderful anticipatory atmosphere at Stamford Bridge, the Home of the Champions, to quote a massive sign thrown up outside the place. No doubt everyone’s hoping for a cerebral tactical battle, but I’m simple folk, and a shapeless goalfest would do just fine. Or a bench-emptying brawl. Perhaps at various points we’ll get all three, and everyone will be happy*. Anyway, the players are out, Chelsea in their famous blue, Manchester City in second-choice burgundy. They players are shaking hands and tossing up;we’ll be off in a minute!
* Thinking-of-the-kids caveats may apply
Antonio talks! “There are players who maybe needed to rest, but I have picked a lot of players who played in Madrid. Victor Moses played the last two games, and expended a lot of energy. To play three games in seven days is not simple.”
Pep speaks! “Unfortunately Sergio had an accident. We are so happy he is not injured so dangerously. Fabian Delph is a guy who can play in several positions. He played really well in the Champions League so he continues to play.”
Chelsea make two changes to the team who were the bosses of Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night. David Luiz is suspended while Victor Moses drops to the bench. In come Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.
City just make one swap from the side that saw off Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday, and it’s enforced. Sergio Agüero is out with a broken rib, so Raheem Sterling is the first cab off the rank.
Chelsea: Courtois, Rudiger, Christensen, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Kante, Bakayoko, Fabregas, Alonso, Hazard, Morata.
Subs: Caballero, Pedro, Moses, Kenedy, Zappacosta, Willian, Batshuayi.
Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Delph, De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva, Sane, Gabriel Jesus, Sterling.
Subs: Bravo, Danilo, Gundogan, Mangala, Bernardo Silva, Alexander Zinchenko, Toure.
… in which the champions Chelsea, increasingly impressive after a slow-ish start, welcome the freewheeling Manchester City, who have scored 16 times in their last three Premier League outings. City are on a seven-game winning streak; Chelsea have won seven of their last eight. Good luck predicting this fixture, then, especially upon consideration of City’s last three visits to Stamford Bridge, which have ended 5-1, 0-3 and 2-1.
No Sergio Agüero, but it’ll be star-studded nonetheless. It’s on, and it kicks off at 5.30pm BST.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/sep/30/chelsea-manchester-city-premier-league-live
Harry Kane took his September tally to 13 as Spurs won big on the road yet again.
And that’s that! Spurs win their sixth successive Premier League away game, and their fourth this season. They were thoroughly dominant, with Harry Kane relentless as ever. That’s ten goals in three matches on the road in eight days. Can they play away from Wembley every week? Spurs move into third place, at least for a couple of hours, while Huddersfield fall to tenth, their goal difference finally taking a bit of a knock. The Terriers were outclassed today, but there’s no shame in that: Spurs are doing this everywhere they go right now.
Son drives at Huddersfield with the home side light at the back. Davies is set clear down the left. He flicks into the middle, where Sissoko must score. And he does, but only after miscontrolling and seeing his shot, aimed for the bottom left, flick off the boot of Schindler and into the bottom right.
90 min: Nope. There will be three added minutes.
89 min: Space for van la Parra down the right. His cross is deflected out for a corner. Can Huddersfield – who, to be fair, hit the woodwork in the first half, and could easily have been awarded a penalty – grab a consolation?
87 min: No hat-trick for Kane; he’s replaced by Son. The substitution allows the away fans to give their favourite son a deserved standing ovation. The home fans, to their great credit, generously join in.
86 min: Alli slips Sissoko away down the right. Sissoko drops a shoulder to zip past the sliding Schindler, but his shot flies straight into the chest of Lossl.
85 min: Malone has looked lively since coming on, though. He has another busy run down the left, though the cross doesn’t work out.
84 min: Billing, sat very deep, sprays a glorious right-to-left pass towards Malone. Spurs are a little light at the back; sadly for Huddersfield, Malone falls flat on his face upon taking receipt of the ball.
82 min: A change apiece. Hogg is replaced by Whitehead, while Trippier makes way for Walker-Peters.
80 min: Alli floats a chip down the middle of the park and very nearly releases Kane into the area. Jorgensen wins the battle and the ball goes back to Lossl.
78 min: Not that Spurs would say no to another goal or two, should they happen to come along. Sissoko uses his fresh legs to bustle his way into the box down the right, but his cross isn’t up to much.
77 min: We’re in Training Mode now. Both teams would be more than happy to call it a day now, by the looks of it.
75 min: Spurs make their first swap. The hugely impressive Eriksen is replaced by Sissoko.
74 min: … there’s nothing.
73 min: Kane sprays a pass wide left for Davies, who powers past Smith and earns a corner. From the set piece, Dier picks up possession on the edge of the box, and looks to sidefoot a clever one into the bottom right. It’s deflected out for another corner, this time on the right. From which …
71 min: Eriksen chases after a chip down the left. He beats the flapping Lossl to the ball, on the byline to the left of goal. But his attempt to find Kane in the middle with a floating cross is no good, and Lossl makes up for his error by claiming back the ball.
70 min: The Huddersfield fans have finally found their voice, and are giving it plenty right now. Is there a better noise in football than the defiant support of the defeated? Malone responds with another fine run down the left. He reaches the byline and dinks a fine ball into the middle. Kachunga can’t meet it at the near post, and Alderweireld flicks away.
67 min: Eriksen sashays infield from the left, leaving Jorgensen and Hogg in his wake. His low whack towards the bottom left is easily gathered by Lossl. “It’s worth pointing out that Dele Alli is now a yellow card away from receiving simultaneous suspensions from Fifa, Uefa and the FA,” notes Danny Michaux, who I’m guessing wouldn’t have him any other way.
65 min: A booking for Kachunga, who came second-best in a high-kicking contest with Vertonghen, as the pair attempted to deal with a disobedient bouncing ball. There really wasn’t much in that.
64 min: Malone tries to snap the match back into life. He makes off down the left and curls a low cross into the centre. Vertonghen doesn’t clear, but there’s nobody in blue-and-white stripes lurking, and Lloris claims with ease.
63 min: This match has slipped into Testimonial Mode. The away supporters are still enjoying themselves.
61 min: Huddersfield make a double change: Malone and Billing come on for Mooy and Lowe.
60 min: Vertonghen latches onto a loose Hogg pass in the midfield. He’s got options to feed team-mates in on goal, but takes a blooter from 30 yards instead. No good!
58 min: Alli dribbles his way past Schindler and into the area down the left. He looks to poke the ball past Lossl from a tight angle, but over-runs it, then goes over theatrically before he reaches the keeper. It’s not a very good dive, and he’s booked for it. He grins sheepishly as he jogs back upfield.
57 min: Huddersfield stroke it around the back awhile. The clock ticks on. It’s like that already. Eventually they’re forced to move upfield, and lose the ball in short order.
55 min: Tripper insists he’s good to go again, and the physio agrees. He’s quickly back into the action, nearly getting on the end of a pass down the right wing.
54 min: Ince clatters into Trippier, as the pair legitimately contest a high ball. The Spurs full-back comes off worse, having taken a whack to the back of his head. All accidental. A break while he’s quizzed by the physio and wiped down with a cool, wet sponge.
51 min: Kane wheels down the right wing and nearly finds Alli and Davies in the middle with a floating cross. Not quite. Huddersfield are in damage-limitation mode, but they’re in danger of shipping more goals yet.
49 min: Davies dinks Eriksen away down the left. Eriksen can’t get a shot away from a tight angle. He tries to cue up Kane, but Schindler is on hand to block. Eriksen has another go, and the ball squirts out for a corner on the left. From the set piece, Dier flicks on, and Kane should batter home from six yards, but he mistimes his leaping kick and the ball flies out to the right of goal.
48 min: Winks wedges a pass down the inside-right channel with a view of releasing Kane into the Huddersfield box. Schindler is on hand to battle and eventually force the in-form Spurs man out of play. Goal kick.
47 min: Lossl launches it long. Depoitre briefly threatens to break clear, but there’s to be no good old-fashioned 1980s route-one goal, as Sanchez steps across to ease the Huddersfield striker out of the road.
And we’re off again! Huddersfield get the ball rolling for the second half. No changes by either side.
Half-time reading: There are some supporters who would give anything to be on the end of a half-time scoreline like this …
So that’s 13 goals in September for Harry Kane. Seven in the last in seven days. And Spurs have scored three on the road for the fourth match in a row, following games at Everton, West Ham and Apoel Nicosia. (Just the two at Newcastle on the opening weekend, the slackers.) Poor Huddersfield.
45 min: Winks, Dier and Eriksen combine to confuse each other in the centre circle, and for a second it looks as though Depoitre is going to take advantage and scoot clear. But he’s not got the jet-power, and his attempted pass to send Kachunga away down the right is weak and misplaced.
43 min: Depoitre bombs down the inside-right channel, and with no other option but to go it alone, sends a powerful rising shot towards the top right from 25 yards. It pings off the top of the crossbar and out. A little bit lower, and Lloris was picking that out of his net; he wasn’t getting across to it. Huddersfield have been comprehensively outplayed, and yet they’ve hit the woodwork and had a fair shout for a penalty kick. The margins in the Premier League are fine.
42 min: … Spurs do very little. But Hogg makes an awful hash of a clearance, another fresh-air swipe. He eventually gets the job done, but he’s betraying Huddersfield’s frayed nerves.
41 min: Spurs hog the ball for a bit, then Davies turns on a little speed and wins a corner down the left. From which …
38 min: Trippier reaches the right-hand corner of the pitch and whips a glorious cross into the Huddersfield box from a tight spot. What a ball. Who needs Kyle Walker?! But Kane can’t get on the end of it, and Schindler lifts clear.
36 min: Dier, quarterbacking from deep on the left, finds Kane in the area, cutting in from the right. Kane sticks a leg out and guide the ball first-time into the bottom left. But it’s no hat-trick – yet – because the flag goes up for offside. Kane has a face on, but it was the correct decision.
35 min: Or are they? A couple of decent attacks, both involving Kachunga, who breaks down the right, and nearly finds Ince in the centre with a fine low cross that’s deflected away by Vertonghen, then draws a foul from the same defender to the left of the D. Mooy’s free kick is hopeless, but Huddersfield recycle the ball. Mooy nearly makes amends with a fine chip into the box from the left; Lloris fingertips it away from the lurking Depoitre.
33 min: Davies and Kane combine down the left, nearly splitting Huddersfield in two. But there’s a loose pass, and the move breaks down on the edge of the box. Huddersfield are already desperate to hear the half-time whistle.
31 min: Eriksen dances down the right and slips a pass inside for Alli, who enters the box, sends Jorgensen off to the wrong fire with a simple drop of a shoulder, and curls a shot past Lossl and off the base of the left-hand post. Davies curls the ball back into the box from the left wing. Alli isn’t far away from guiding a header into the top right from a tight angle. Huddersfield are being ripped to pieces at the back by the movement of Eriksen, Kane and Alli.
30 min: Huddersfield venture forward once or twice. Ince has a probe down the inside-left channel, but has to turn back. Then some space for Lowe down the left. He earns a corner off Trippier, from which Mooy’s eventual cross is easily claimed by Lloris.
27 min: Huddersfield try to take the sting out of the game with a little sterile possession in the midfield. It’s all they can do. It’s fair to say Spurs have quietened this stadium.
25 min: On the touchline, David Wagner wears a textbook thousand-yard stare. His team have been swept away by the astonishing Harry Kane, who could quite easily have had a 14-minute hat-trick. Ah well, just the two brilliant finishes will have to do.
Oh Harry Kane’s got a bit of credit in the bank all right! He’s a football genius. He picks up possession with his back to goal, 30 yards out down the right. He’s got two men on his back. No worries! He spins round into space, shifts the ball left, and curls a vicious shot into the top left! “He’s just a one-season wonder,” trill the away support.
21 min: To be fair, Kane’s got a bit of credit in the bank right now.
19 min: BREAKING NEWS! HARRY KANE DOES SOMETHING WRONG! Lossl makes an awful hash of a common-or-garden kick upfield. A fresh-air swipe. Kane nips in, takes the ball off him, and should square to Eriksen for a simple tap into an unguarded net. But he opts to round the keeper, who is desperately spreadeagled in an attempt to make up for his whiff. Lossl snaffles the ball back as Kane over-elaborates and falls over. Oh Harry!
18 min: Kachunga bursts down the inside-right channel and dribbles into the box. He’s brushed to the ground by Sanchez. It’s a clumsy challenge, too much shoulder from behind and a boot stuck in there too, and you’ve seen penalties given for less. The crowd go wild, but the ref isn’t having any of it.
17 min: Spurs are smooth and confident. Kane makes a little bit of space down the left and attempts to lash a dipper into the net from the best part of 30 yards. It’s just over the bar, but not too far away at all.
Some pretty triangles down the right by Spurs, Eriksen at the heart of it all. And suddenly Eriksen is breaking clear down the inside right! He dawdles towards the box, and is caught up by Schindler and Jorgensen, who operate a pincer movement. But the ball squirts out between the defenders and to the left, where Davies is totally free! He steps into the area to meet the ball, and gently wedges it past Lossl and into the net.
15 min: Smith curls a ball into the Spurs mixer from the right. It drops to Mooy, 12 yards out, level with the left-hand post. He can’t quite get the ball under control. When he eventually manages it, he’s forced to spin around a bit to create space to shoot. When he shoots, it’s quickly blocked. But for half a second there, it looked like Huddersfield had created a chance to equalise.
13 min: Trippier is fortunate to escape a booking after leaving a high boot in on van La Parra. Both sides have been gifted one now.
11 min: That was a real sucker punch for Huddersfield, the goal coming as it did after a couple of promising attacks. The atmosphere quickly evaporated when Kane sent the net billowing, that’s for sure.
A kick upfield by Lossl is headed back into the Huddersfield half by Trippier. Lowe should clear, but Kane nips off with the ball instead, racing down the right, entering the area, and slamming an unstoppable shot into the bottom right. This guy is hot.
8 min: A really poor crossfield pass in the midfield by Alli allows Smith to scamper upfield on the break. He very nearly slips Depoitre away down the inside-right channel, but Sanchez gets in the road. The ball breaks left for Ince, whose shot is deflected wide left of the goal. Corner, from which nothing comes.
6 min: And now a little bit of space for Mooy on the left. His looping cross is aimed for Depoitre at the far post, but Vertonghen is first to the ball and clears the danger.
5 min: Huddersfield aren’t in the Premier League to make up the numbers, this we already know. And they make their first statement of intent, Smith taking a crack from 25 yards out on the right. It’s a belter of a shot, headed for the bottom left, and Lloris does very well to stick out a strong arm to parry it clear.
3 min: Jorgensen is slightly fortunate to escape a booking after a pointless challenge from behind on Eriksen in the midfield. He’s got a fine “Who me?!” shrug in his locker, the big defender. A roll of the shoulders, palms to the air. Textbook stuff.
2 min: The first corner leads to a second. Neither cause Huddersfield serious issues. But that was a fast, confident start by Spurs. A statement of intent.
30-odd seconds: And it didn’t take long for something to happen. Trippier rolls a ball down the inside-right channel, finding Kane in the area. For once, Kane is a wee bit hesitant, because a first-time shot could have seriously tested Lossl in the Huddersfield goal. But he takes a touch, can’t work space for a shot, then turns and tries to pass to Alli. The ball’s bundled out for a corner.
And we’re off! Spurs get the ball rolling. It goes out for a throw in double-quick time. More breaking news as we have it!
A rare old atmosphere at the Kirklees Stadium. The place is bouncing. Huddersfield Town (champions of England in 1924, 1925 and 1926) and Tottenham Hotspur (champions in 1951 and 1961) take to the pitch, the former wearing their famous blue-and-white stripes, the latter in second-choice deep purple. Or is it deep blue? You can picture it.
David Wagner speaks! “To be fair, for us, the first six games were big, our first matches in Premier League history. Now we are playing one of the teams who are probably playing for the title this season. I am excited, we are looking forward to seeing how everyone adapts. We want to show what we are about. They are in good form, but it makes no sense to be focused on their form. We have to make our details right, we have to be clear every single second, concentrate every single second, and we can see what we can get out of it. We are capable. We have an attitude to work together. We must be brave enough to create our moment. At the end, we have to deliver on the grass.”
Mauricio Pochettino speaks! “Always our mentality is to win games, whether away from home or at home. We want to keep up the level of our performance. Today we have a tough game, they do not concede too many goals. It’s a massive challenge. They are a very energetic team with a lot of good-quality players. I admire Huddersfield, they are fantastic. It is important to recognise that. It is a great challenge after tough games in the Champions League and against West Ham.”
Huddersfield make one change to the side held to a goalless draw at Burnley last Saturday. Abdelhamid Sabiri drops to the bench, making way for Rajiv van La Parra.
Spurs welcome back Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Jan Vertonghen to their starting XI. Missing from the team sent out against Apoel Nicosia: Heung-Min Son and Moussa Sissoko, who drop to the bench, and the suspended Serge Aurier.
Huddersfield Town: Lossl, Smith, Jorgensen, Schindler, Lowe, Mooy, Hogg, Kachunga, van La Parra, Ince, Depoitre.
Subs: Malone, Whitehead, Billing, Sabiri, Cranie, Green, Hadergjonaj.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Trippier, Winks, Dier, Davies, Eriksen, Alli, Kane.
Subs: Son, Vorm, Nkoudou, Sissoko, Llorente, Foyth, Walker-Peters.
… in which Huddersfield Town, without a win in five matches, look to rediscover some of that early-season sass. Meanwhile Tottenham Hotspur consider their chances of scoring three on the road for the fourth match in succession, after victories against Everton, West Ham United and Apoel Nicosia.
It’s Huddersfield’s first big test of the season. It’s on, and it starts at 12.30pm BST.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/sep/30/huddersfield-town-tottenham-hotspur-premier-league-live
Alexandre Lacazette scored twice to earn the points for Arsenal, though West Brom will point to an early penalty that never was.
Just enough time for Ainsley Maitland-Niles to come on for Aaron Ramsey. A few seconds of running about for Maitland-Niles, and that’s his lot! Arsenal were the better side, and deserved their win. One massive caveat, though: on another night, West Brom would have been awarded an early penalty, after which things might have panned out differently. But they weren’t, and they didn’t, and Arsenal move up to fifth. West Brom, having acquitted themselves well, drop to 12th. It’s been a blast. Thanks for reading. Nighty night!
90 min +2: Arsenal press and probe for that third goal, but it doesn’t look as though they’re going to get it.
90 min: There will be three added minutes.
89 min: West Brom press Arsenal back a bit, Phillips causing a bit of bother down the right. He feeds the ball into the box. Mustafi slices an awful clearance, but the ball somehow squeaks through a forest of players and suddenly Arsenal are breaking upfield! The ball ends up with Ramsey, to the right of the box and one of many options. He shoots low and hard, and his effort is kicked away by Foster.
88 min: Some pretty Arsenal passing. Then the ball loops to Giroud, level with the left-hand post, ten yards out. He brings it under control, spins, and lays off for Xhaka, who leans back and hoicks a shot over the bar from the edge of the box. A three-goal defeat would be cruel on West Brom. Arsenal have been the better side, but the Baggies have played their part in a good match, without getting the breaks.
86 min: West Brom have given a good account of themselves tonight. And have a couple of hard-luck stories to tell. But their race looks run now. Arsenal press them back. Bellerin hooks in from the right. Dawson rises to batter a header clear with Giroud lurking.
84 min: The corner leads to nothing of note.
83 min: Before the corner can be taken, Lacazette and Sanchez are replaced by Giroud and Ozil. Not a bad bench Arsenal have there, huh.
82 min: Some head tennis in the West Brom box leads to a corner for Arsenal on the right. From the set piece, the ball’s worked to Bellerin, on the edge of the box. He unleashes a fierce riser towards the top right. It’d be in the net were it not for Rodriguez, who bravely got in the way, the ball pinging off his bonce and out for another corner.
80 min: Dawson comes through the back of Sanchez. He gets a little of the ball, which is what probably saves him from getting a second yellow. That was taking liberties in his situation, though. He was really chancing his arm. He’s very lucky to still be on the pitch.
78 min: More of that lull. And then Monreal turns on the jets, races down the inside-left channel, one-twos with Sanchez, and very nearly breaks clear into the box. The ball breaks back to Sanchez, who tries to guide a cheeky curler into the top right from a very long way out. Foster gathers.
76 min: It’s been a rollercoaster ride all evening, but suddenly the match has gone a little flat. Shame, but we’ve had value for money so far.
74 min: A final roll of the dice by Tony Pulis: a still-seething Allan Nyom is replaced by Matt Phillips.
73 min: And now Rondon pops up on the right, turning into space from a throw and busting into the box. He earns a corner, which is dealt with easily enough by Arsenal.
71 min: Rondon threatens to burst clear into the Arsenal box, chasing a long pass down the left. But he’s getting harried and hassled, and can’t quite get the ball under control.
70 min: Lacazette is so close to his hat-trick! Sanchez, deep on the left, finds Lacazette in the area down the inside-right. The striker takes the ball down from the air wonderfully, and rounds Foster on the right, but slices hysterically over the bar. That would have been something.
69 min: Arsenal really have their tails up now, and tear at West Brom en masse. Poor decisions from Lacazette and then Monreal put a stop to their gallop, though, the move breaking down on the edge of the area.
Lacazette slots the ball into the bottom right, and though Foster went the right way, he had no chance. Perfectly placed, and sweetly struck. Nyom, who was booked for his role in the penalty award, applauds the referee sarcastically. Careful, now!
66 min: After the events of the first half, a decision like this was inevitable. Ramsey bursts down the left, reaches the byline, and runs into the box. He’s barged to the ground by Nyom, who has attempting a shoulder charge but hit his man from behind. On the touchline, Tony Pulis sinks into a quiet seethe, the most frightening type.
65 min: Bellerin one-twos his way down the inside-right channel, first with Elneny, then Ramsey, and earns a corner. Bellerin’s been very bright tonight. The set piece is dealt with easily enough, though.
64 min: London Buses dept. Salomon Rondon replaces Hal Robson-Kanu.
63 min: The first change of the evening is made by West Bromwich Albion: James Morrison comes on for Jake Livermore.
61 min: Sanchez twists and turns down the left, and very nearly finds Ramsey free on the penalty spot with a cute ball inside. But Ramsey can’t quite battle his way into possession, and isn’t able to get a shot away.
60 min: A free kick for West Brom, deep on the right. Krychowiak sends a teasing floater into the Arsenal box. Cech comes a long way off his line and punches confidently clear, taking out Hegazy as he does so. No foul, all part of the rough and tumble of Premier League football. But the West Brom defender felt that all right.
59 min: West Brom launch their first sortie into Arsenal territory in this half. Nyom wins a throw deep down the right, and takes it himself. It’s easily cleared. All of which is not much. But it’s something. Before that little sequence, only four percent of the second half had been contested in Arsenal’s final third.
57 min: And now Krychowiak goes into the book for a cynical clip on Elneny, who had checked back as the pair scampered down the Arsenal left. A free kick just to the side of the Baggies box. Sanchez takes, and again looks to cause trouble at the near post, but there’s nobody there to attempt mid-air video-game gymnastics this time.
55 min: Rodriguez is lucky to stay out of the book after stepping on Monreal’s tootsies. It wasn’t aggressive, but it was late and clumsy.
53 min: Free kick to Arsenal wide on the right, from a deep position. Arsenal load the box. Koscielny’s delivery is appalling; he fails to beat the first man. But Arsenal are soon coming back at the Baggies, Bellerin forcing a corner down the left. The set piece is flicked to the near post, where Mustafi spins and nearly dispatches a mid-air back-heel into the top left from a tight angle! That would have been something else had it whistled into the net, but Foster was right behind it and gathered cleanly.
52 min: Kolasinac bursts down the inside-left channel. He’s got ahead of Nyom, and fires low into the West Brom box. Elneny traps and spins, setting up Lacazette on the penalty spot. He must score! But his shot is deflected over the bar by Gibbs, a marvellous last-ditch challenge, and the resulting corner comes to nought.
50 min: Dawson is booked for a pointless hack at the back of Sanchez’s legs near the centre circle. That was fairly witless, and he’ll needlessly play the rest of the match under unnecessary pressure. With Evans also on the tightrope, Sanchez and Lacazette could do worse than embark on a dribbling frenzy.
48 min: Lacazette buzzes around the front of the West Brom box. He slips the ball wide right for Bellerin, who lashes a stunning ball along the face of goal. Had any Arsenal attacker taken a gamble … but they didn’t, and the ball rolls harmlessly out to the left of goal.
47 min: Sanchez tries to zip down the left, but runs into a wall called Nyom. West Brom attempt a break upfield through Livermore, but that move falls apart. The ping-pong continues as Sanchez has another look along the left flank, but his shot-cum-cross from 25 yards isn’t much cop.
And we’re off again! West Brom, who were bright and impressive in that first half, get the second period underway. No changes. Meanwhile here’s Sean Swift with more reasoned observations, and from a referee’s perspective’s to boot: “I’m a new referee working my way up here in the States, but even at the U-13 level that I’m working at right now, we’re strongly encouraged to let play go on in any case where the play can still possibly develop, such as when the fouled player stays on his feet. In most cases we can stop play after a few seconds and bring it back for a free kick, but I can sympathise with the referee that bringing it back for a penalty kick after already playing advantage would be a massively brave decision … especially with the bright lights and TV cameras of the Premier League.”
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Nothing comes from the second corner, and that’s that for the first half. Phew! The scoreline doesn’t tell half the story. Both sides have legitimate penalty-related grievances, while West Brom have also missed a couple of gilt-edged chances. A highly entertaining first half, with the promise of more fun coming up soon. Don’t go anywhere, now!
45 min: It’s half-cleared by Arsenal. Then Evans sprays wide right for the excellent Krychowiak, who loops into the middle. The ball’s missed by Cech and Bellerin. Barry, just to the left of goal, keeps the ball in play with a cushioned header. Rodriguez tries to poke home into the bottom left. His effort is deflected out for another corner.
44 min: Dawson is impeded by Kolasinac as he attempts to bomb down the right. Sanchez doesn’t like the decision to award a free kick, and is booked by the referee for making his point a little too forcefully. A light case of hands-on. The ref calls his captain Koscielny over, in the hope of calming Sanchez down. Sanchez eventually puts a lid on it. And then the free kick, which is eyebrowed out of play for a corner. From which…
42 min: Another chance for West Brom. Nyom, tight on the right touchline, whips into the Arsenal box. Robson-Kanu flicks on. Rodriguez slides in, but misses the ball by a toenail. The ball flies just wide left of goal. Arsenal are clinging onto this lead right now. Meanwhile here’s everyone’s favourite voice of reason, Gary Naylor, on that penalty non-decision: “I don’t think football (okay, association football) has much to learn from rugby on or off the field, but I do like their advantage rule. Allowing a phase of play to be completed before returning (if required) to the foul, seems fair and would cut out some diving. Oddly, it is applied from time to time by referees but not consistently, so it can be done.”
40 min: The resulting corner comes to nothing. But Rodriguez is soon coming back at Arsenal, desperate to make amends. He sends a low fizzer inches wide of the left-hand post from 20 yards, though Cech had it covered.
38 min: How are West Brom not level?! Krychowiak powers down the left with Arsenal light at the back. He floats a ball across towards Rodriguez in the middle, with Cech nowhere to be seen. Rodriguez heads down, and goalwards, though not powerfully. That allows Monreal to high-kick off the line, and over the bar, having shaped his body in mid-air like a treble clef! What a clearance! Though it probably has to go down as a chance spurned. Monreal should never have been given the chance to play the hero.
36 min: Sanchez sends a dipping, curling effort past the wall and down towards the bottom right. It’s not far away. Just wide. Another magic effort. And once again, Foster would have been nowhere near it had it been on target.
35 min: Lacazette looks to round Evans in a central position, 25 yards from goal. Evans hangs a leg out. Lacazette goes to ground, while Evans goes in the book. Another free kick in a dangerous position. Sanchez’s eyes twinkle.
33 min: Arsenal are beginning to turn the screw. Sanchez slides a pass down the inside-right, which very nearly results in Ramsey rounding Foster on the outside and scoring. But he can’t get a shot away from a tight angle. Then Ramsey quarterbacks from deep towards the left, forcing Nyom to head out for a corner. From the set piece, sent deep, Krychowiak tugs away at Sanchez, who goes over and slips into an animated funk. Yet again, no penalty kick. On another day, we’d have had three now.
31 min: Meanwhile as advertised, here’s that alternative view on the penalty non-decision, courtesy of Ben Simmons. “Isn’t that a perfect advantage played by Madley? West Brom had two shots at goal as a result, one of them pretty much an open goal from around the penalty spot.”
28 min: Before that, though, here’s Monreal breaking into the West Brom box down the left, being sent scampering into space by a lovely pitching wedge of a ball from Sanchecz. Monreal’s never quite in control, juggling the ball in the hope it’ll sit up for a shot. Nyom is right on his shoulder, and tugging away like billy-o. Eventually Monreal toe-punts the ball well wide left. It would have been a harsh penalty, but you’ve seen them given, and Nyom was certainly taking a risk by repeatedly nipping away at his opponent. Had Monreal elected to tumble, the ref would have had a decision to make.
25 min: Good work by Sanchez down the right, and he’s very nearly finding Lacazette in the middle. Arsenal were looking shaky before the goal, but the lead has given them a real confidence boost. “Surely the one thing that encourages players to dive more that anything else is a referee not giving a penalty when a player stays on their feet despite being fouled?” asks Jim Denvir. “What possible incentive is there not to go down if you get penalised for staying on your feet?” An alternative viewpoint coming up, what with us all being adults.
23 min: West Brom continue to look dangerous down the left flank. Robson-Kanu chases after a long ball, brings it down, and lays off for Rodriguez, who looks to cut inside. But he’s never quite in control of the ball, and Mustafi is able to skelp clear. Arsenal transfer the ball up the other end in short order, and the on-fire Lacazette looks for yet another home goal with a chase down the middle. But he can’t quite latch onto the hoof. This match has been good breezy fun so far.
Sanchez looks for the top right with a lazy wave of the magic wand. He looks for the top right. Foster tips lightly onto the post. The ball drops to Lacazette, who can’t miss from a couple of yards with his header. West Brom aren’t particularly happy with the award of that free kick, suggesting there wasn’t too much contact between Evans and Elneny. But it’s no good: the home side take the lead, and the Emirates is bouncing!
18 min: Sanchez and Bellerin buzz around the edge of the West Brom area. The ball breaks loose. Elneny gathers it and is immediately upended by Evans. A free kick to the right of the D. From which …
15 min: West Brom are giving as good as they’re getting in these early stages. Arsenal look a little uneasy. Koscielny, under no pressure whatsoever, flies a simple pass deep into the stand. The crowd react accordingly. “Barry would have played 733 Premier League matches had he not been suspended for all those yellow cards,” quips Gary Naylor. “But, as an Evertonian, congratulations and thanks are due from me.” And from Xabi Alonso, for his indirect role in his big move to Real Madrid?
12 min: This match is lovely and open. Robson-Kanu troubles Bellerin down the West Brom left, the Arsenal man only able to half-clear. Gibbs, rushing onto the scene, goes for the spectacular, and very nearly achieves it, lashing just wide and high of the top left from 20 yards. That would have been some strike by the former Arsenal man!
11 min: Space for Bellerin out on the right, found by a lovely crossfield pass from Elneny. Bellerin chips high to the near post, where Ramsey aims for the top right with his header. But it’s high and wide, from close range.
10 min: On the touchline, Tony Pulis indulges in a light fume. You can’t really blame him. Arsenal really got away with one there.
8 min: A lull. And then Rodriguez is sent scampering down the inside-left channel. He checks when he’s in the area, and is clipped towards the ground by a sliding Mustafi. It’s a penalty all day long, but the ref doesn’t blow, partly because Rodriguez is too honest, springing to his feet and curling across Cech towards the bottom right. Cech tips the ball onto the right-hand post. It comes out to Livermore, who, surprised, slaps a first-time shot wide right. West Brom are within their rights to feel very annoyed.
5 min: Sanchez, exchanging crisp passes with Lacazette down the inside-left, doesn’t need asking twice to go to ground when brushed by Dawson. It’s a foul and a free kick to the left of the D, purchased very cheaply. Sanchez, having earned it, takes the free kick himself. He sends a dipping screamer over the wall and towards the bottom-right corner. It’s millimetres wide. Had that been on target, it was a goal, because Foster was rooted to the spot, Sanchez having given him the eyes. A glorious effort.
3 min: The set piece doesn’t lead to much. Kolasinac tries to find Lacazette in the middle with a cross from a deep position on the left, but it’s nowhere near his man.
2 min: Some space in the middle for Ramsey, who attempts to switch the play to the right with an ambitious crossfield ball towards Bellerin. Gibbs, back on his old turf, steps forward to intercept and blooter clear. But Arsenal are coming straight back at West Brom, Sanchez winning a corner down the left.
And we’re off! Arsenal get the ball rolling. Two players, Lacazette and Sanchez, by the centre spot, you don’t see that so much these days. The hosts keeping it old-school.
The teams are out! Arsenal are in their storied Herbert Chapman clobber, red shirts with white sleeves. West Bromwich Albion sport their equally famous navy-and-white-striped tops. A blast of noise at the Emirates as the Gunners and the Throstles take to the pitch. We’ll be off in a minute!
Tony Pulis speaks! “We caused Manchester City a lot of problems going forward last week. Fingers crossed we can carry it on tonight. We have worked to make sure we are tight at the back, so we can be a bit loose on the other side of the pitch.”
Arsene Wenger speaks! “We have responded well to the defeat at Anfield. We have to make it up, we are focused to picking up points. At home we have done well and we are looking to continue that. Alexis Sanchez looks as though he is back physically and ready to play. West Brom are an uneasy team to play for everybody: their commitment, their organisation, they are dangerous on the counter, and of course their set pieces. We have to improve our concentration.”
Gareth Barry speaks ahead of breaking the Premier League appearance record. “It’s a nice moment for myself. I’m very proud. But I’m going to put it to the back of my mind, and just try to win the game. I can think about it afterwards.” An old pro to his boots. One of the reasons he’s lasted this long, huh.
A couple of changes for Arsenal. Danny Welbeck is injured, while Alex Iwobi is left out. Mohamed Elneny makes his first start since the opening day of the season, while Alexis Sanchez is named in the starting XI for the first time this campaign at home.
West Brom make three changes. James Morrison, Chris Brunt and Matt Phillips drop to the bench; Allan Nyom, Jake Livermore and Hal Robson-Kanu step up.
Arsenal: Cech, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Bellerin, Xhaka, Elneny, Kolasinac, Ramsey, Sanchez, Lacazette.
Subs: Mertesacker, Wilshere, Ozil, Giroud, Ospina, Walcott, Maitland-Niles.
West Bromwich Albion: Foster, Dawson, Hegazi, Evans, Nyom, Livermore, Krychowiak, Barry, Gibbs, Rodriguez, Robson-Kanu.
Subs: Yacob, Morrison, Rondon, Phillips, Brunt, Myhill, McClean.
… in which Arsenal try to build more momentum after their decent showing at Chelsea, while West Bromwich Albion hope to rediscover their early-season form, having given Manchester City a scare in the League Cup last week.
The Baggies haven’t won at Arsenal since September 2010. But they did give the Gunners a working over at the Hawthorns in March, and were only seen off here last time round very late on Boxing Day. So while Arsenal are hot favourites tonight, Tony Pulis and his men will fancy their chances too. Should be fun. Kick-off at the Emirates is at 8pm BST. It’s on!
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/sep/25/arsenal-v-west-bromwich-albion-premier-league-live
Tottenham’s wait for a Premier League win at Wembley goes on.
And that’s that. Still no Premier League win at Wembley for Spurs. Swansea were magnificently resilient … though Spurs will point to that late non-penalty decision, and Harry Kane clattering a shot onto the crossbar. They’re getting closer. Spurs rise to fifth spot; Swansea 14th. Manchester City and Crystal Palace aside, this is one tight division tonight.
90 min +4: And now Routledge needlessly barges into Alli, out on the Spurs left. A chance for Spurs to load the box! Eriksen floats it in. Fernandez clears.
90 min +3: Routledge is booked for wasting time.
90 min +2: Eriksen floats a ball down the inside right. Llorente wins the header. The ball drops to Aurier, who has been excellent since he came on. But he can only flash a first-time shot wide right from a tight angle, close range.
90 min +1: Aurier gets into more space down the right. His cross is headed behind by Mawson. Fernandez half clears with a header. Trippier meets the dropping ball, and sends a screamer inches wide of the top-left corner. What a goal that would have been! But it’s just a goal kick.
90 min: There will be four added minutes.
88 min: Alderweireld is booked for complaining about the non-decision. Insult added to injury.
87 min: Aurier busts into the box down the right, chasing a cute Dier pass. He goes over, the ball smacking off his arm as he falls. He’s booked for diving, though it did look as though there was a little contact from Ayew, tracking back behind. Not much, but enough. That should have been a penalty kick.
86 min: Routledge comes on for van der Hoorn. Carroll is booked for impeding Trippier as he tries to take a quick throw.
85 min: … the ball’s hit deep. Alderweireld tees it up for Vertonghen, just to the left of goal, 12 yards out. Vertonghen slices a terrible effort high and wide left.
84 min: Dier bursts down the right wing and earns Tottenham’s tenth corner of the evening. And from the set piece …
83 min: Ayew embarks on another sortie down the left. He ends up down a blind alley, but creativity’s not his priority: he holds up the ball for a precious period, and the clock continues to do its thing.
81 min: The free kick comes to nothing. The Spurs faithful give it one last push, hoping their team are similarly energised. The home side faff around in the midfield awhile. They appear to be going nowhere. But suddenly Vertonghen shuttles the ball forward, down the inside-left channel. Kane picks the ball up, 30 yards from goal but facing the wrong way. He turns inside, takes a stride, and unleashes a low fizzer which whistles just wide of the left-hand post. Not sure Fabianski had that covered were it on target. So close to the breakthrough at last!
80 min: Spurs are beginning to show signs of frustration. Fer turns Sanchez down the left wing, and that’s another free kick near the corner flag. Another chance to load the box, and it’s also eating away at the remaining time.
78 min: No! The free kick’s half cleared to Clucas, who chests down on the edge of the box and dreams of Matthew Le Tissier style glory. He shanks it away to the left, and is mocked by the masses for his trouble.
77 min: Ayew hotfoots it down the left, and draws a foul from a clumsy Aurier. A free kick near the corner flag. Could this be the classic smash and grab?
75 min: Aurier dribbles with purpose down the right. His cross is deflected off Olsson’s high arm, and out for a corner. No penalty, but again, that’s a reasonable shout, because the defender’s arm was up and out. More side than arm, maybe. The referee’s certainly not convinced, anyway.
74 min: Former Swansea striker Fernando Llorente comes on for Son. He’s making his Premier League debut.
72 min: Bony comes on for Abraham.
71 min: Swansea can’t get a sniff of the ball. This is attack versus defence. But they’re holding firm. Eriksen loops another cross in from the right. It sails harmlessly out of play on the left.
69 min: A spot of admin: Aurier has come on for Sissoko. Meanwhile Spurs continue to flash the crosses into the Swansea box: Eriksen chips in from the right, only for Alli to miscue his header horribly from six yards with the goal gaping.
68 min: Some breaking news of a former Spurs boss: Harry Redknapp has left Birmingham City, after Preston left St Andrews with all the points today, Blues’ sixth defeat in a row. Oh Harry.
66 min: … Eriksen flicks a header at the near post. It’s flying into the top right, but Fabianski tips it over the bar. Another corner, and Vertonghen drags a shot wide left from distance.
65 min: For the second time tonight, Wembley celebrates a goal when Son in fact ripples the side netting. Son had danced along the byline to the left of goal, very nearly scoring a twinkle-toed effort from a tight spot. But it’s just a corner. From which …
63 min: The first yellow card of the evening is shown to van der Hoorn, for coming through the back of Alli once again. Swansea will feel aggrieved Sanchez didn’t beat their man to it a couple of minutes ago, as the Spurs defender impeded Abraham on the halfway line as the pair chased after a Swans clearance. But the referee didn’t even give the free kick. Abraham would have been away down the right otherwise.
60 min: With Swansea in danger of being over-run in midfield, Sanches – who has been quiet since the restart – is replaced by Fer.
58 min: Spurs come so close to scoring three times in quick order. First Son sends in a daisycutter from distance. Fernandez smothers. Then Son has another belt from a tight angle on the right. Not quite. Finally Sissoko picks up possession to the right of goal and tees up Kane, eight yards out. Kane leans back and twangs the crossbar with a fierce belt! How on earth are the home team not ahead?
56 min: Trippier sweeps a cross into the Swansea box from the left. The ball sails over Alli’s head, then hits the hand of Olsson, whose left arm was hanging out. The player was surprised at Alli missing his header, but you’ve certainly seen them given for that.
55 min: Dier has a lash from 25 yards. It’s blocked by Fernandez. Swansea now can’t get out of their final third.
53 min: Space for Eriksen down the right. But his cross is way too deep, with the box full of team-mates. A little frustration spills down from the stands, though it’s soon drowned out by roars of encouragement. Swansea are being pushed deeper, and can’t get out of their own half.
51 min: Spurs are very much on the front foot, playing at a higher tempo now. Alli drops a shoulder and very nearly breaks clear in the Swansea area down the left, but Naughton does well to usher him away from danger. Then Trippier cuts inside from the same wing and nearly feeds Kane with a cute pass down the channel. Finally Son tries to burst into the box down the inside left, but overhits the ball he wants to chase after, and runs into van der Hoorn in the hope of buying a cheap free kick on the edge of the area. The referee’s not falling for that one.
49 min: Alderweireld goes on a power run down the right, hoping to break into the area. He smashes straight into Olsson, the pair falling to the ground. Alderweireld demands a penalty kick, but he’s not getting one.
48 min: Eriksen is given too much time and space 25 yards from goal. Eriksen looks to thread one into the bottom left, but he doesn’t quite get enough purchase on the ball and Fabianski is able to flop on the shot and smother.
And we’re off again! No changes. Spurs get the second half underway. Kane goes on an immediate run down the left, but after he offloads to Trippier, the move breaks down. Son has a dribble down the right, but ends up down a cul-de-sac. Then a third thrust, as Alli swings a cross in from the left. But it’s too high for Son at the far post. A strong start to the half by Spurs.
And that’s the end of the first half. Spurs have been dominant, up until the final third anyway. Swansea have held their shape well, and go into the break deservedly on terms. It should be a very interesting second half: Spurs will no doubt try to turn up the pressure, while Swansea look to hold firm and think about a smash-and-grab raid on the break. Don’t go anywhere now!
45 min: Vertonghen, 30 yards from goal, tries to curl a dipper into the bottom right. It’s a very decent effort from the centre-back, but Fabianski is behind it all the way.
43 min: Swansea hoick long into the Spurs box. The ball comes off the back of Fernandez, but Swansea are awarded the corner. Unfortunately for those who like to get really angry about things on the internet, van der Hoorn’s header from the resulting set piece flies over the bar.
42 min: Abraham flips the ball round Vertonghen, out on the right, and makes to zip off. The Spurs defender puts a stop to his gallop by pulling his shirt. It’s a free kick in the midfield, and should be a booking. But the referee is once again lenient. Both teams have benefited now.
40 min: Son appears out on the left this time. He whips a fine cross into the area, but nobody in white takes a chance. Fabianski gathers. It’s gone rather quiet.
38 min: Trippier sends Son scampering into the Swansea area down the right. Son fires low into the centre. Fernandez slices the ball hysterically over the bar from six yards. From the resulting corner, Trippier has a dig from distance. Nope.
36 min: Sanches is doing a fine job in front of the Swansea defence. He’s won his fair share of possession, nicking off with at least three balls he should never have been able to snaffle, always looking to launch quick breaks. Nothing’s quite come off, but it’s a promising performance so far.
34 min: Alli is once again upended down the Spurs left, van der Hoorn coming through the back of him and catching his ankle. The Swansea defender is fortunate to escape a booking. Alli offers his frayed sock as evidence. The referee remains unmoved.
32 min: Alli tries to squeeze through a gap down the Swansea left, and earns a free kick just to the side of the penalty area, Naughton again penalised. Eriksen loops the set piece into the mixer. Fernandez rises and clatters a clearing header back upfield. Wembley has fallen a little quiet as the home side struggle to break Swansea down. The away fans are still giving it plenty, though. Ar hyd y nos.
30 min: Olsson gets down the Swansea left and whips in a dangerous cross. There’s nobody in red in the middle. Son makes a hash of trying to clear from the other wing, allowing Carroll to probe again. But a promising position comes to nought. Spurs clear their lines.
28 min: With this in mind, Eriksen mixes it up. He drops deep and curls a cross in from the right, looking for Son on the penalty spot. Son’s winding his neck back for a header, but Fernandez sticks his nut up first and eyebrows the ball out for a corner. Nothing comes from the resulting set piece.
27 min: Alli has a dig from 25 yards. It’s charged down the very second it leaves his boot. Swansea will be the happier side right now; they’re restricting Spurs to long-range efforts.
25 min: Sanches instigates a fine move by Swansea with a pass from deep that sends Abraham skedaddling down the right. Sanchez comes over to intercept and makes a total hash of his attempted tackle, allowing Abraham to burn past him and reach the byline. He pulls back for Ayew, and Spurs are very light in defence here. But Ayew can’t get his shot away, and the danger is over. Sanchez has looked very uncertain so far.
23 min: You’d expect Dier to flip one over the wall and aim for the top left, but he looks for the top-right corner instead. It’s a pretty lame effort, flying high and wide of the target. Fabianski, already over there, calmly watches it fly away from danger.
22 min: Son flips a pass down the inside-left channel for Vertonghen, who channels his inner Beckenbauer and threatens to dribble into the area. Naughton takes urgent action and brings his man down just in front of the area, to the left of the D. Free kick in a very dangerous position.
20 min: Carroll robs the ball from Kane in the middle of the Swansea half. He launches long, quickly, for Abraham, who threatens to bust clear of a slightly shaky looking Sanchez. But the new Spurs defender gathers himself and eventually wins the tussle. Just as well he did so, because Abraham would have been one-on-one otherwise.
18 min: The first lull of the match. Both teams take a little time to knock the ball around in the midfield. Then suddenly Spurs break down the left, Son exchanging passes with Eriksen, then Kane, then finally Alli as he drifts inside. A shot from the edge of the D flies miles over the bar, but what a pretty move.
15 min: Son tries to clear from the left-back position, and is stopped from doing so by Abraham and Ayew. He eventually works a pass out of trouble, but for a second he was in a spot of trouble there. Swansea are pressing well.
13 min: Sanchez plays a sloppy backpass to Lloris without properly looking. Or thinking. Abraham very nearly nips in to intercept. Lloris blooters clear just in time. A nice open feel to this game now.
12 min: … Sissoko blasts wildly over from 20 yards. Spurs are beginning to dominate.
11 min: Sanches loses possession in the middle of the park, and suddenly Sissoko is racing down the left. He slips the ball inside for Son, who smashes a shot goalwards from a tight angle. It’s heading into the top left, but Fabianksi sticks out a hand and turns it into the side netting. The ripple confuses half of Wembley, who cheer a goal, then settle for the corner. From which …
9 min: Kane curls a stunning free kick around the outside of the Swansea wall and towards the bottom right. Fabianski does very well to turn the effort, hit with pace, round the post. The resulting corner comes to nothing, but that was something else from the Spurs striker. That free kick was a long way out, he had no right to force the keeper into serious action.
8 min: Alli diddles Clucas in the midfield with a crisp turn and a nutmeg. Clucas clips him to the ground. A free kick, 35 yards out in a very central position. Kane appears to fancy it.
6 min: Lloris falls backwards while attempting to launch a simple kick upfield. The ball drops to Ayew, 25 yards out. He slashes a first-time volley six miles wide to the right. That was an awful clearance by the keeper, though.
4 min: Spurs keep hold of the ball for the first lengthy period of time. Eriksen then breaks the sterile mood with a burst down the left. His low cross is half cleared. Alli takes up possession and launches an effort towards the bottom left from 25 yards. It flies harmlessly wide of the post. The crowd respond with their favourite jazz spiritual.
2 min: A quiet start, Swansea seeing a little more of the ball than their hosts, but failing to string anything meaningful together.
And we’re off! Swansea get the party started. Hats off to Renato Sanches, by the way, for being the first footballer in about 20 years to acknowledge one of the cameras circling around the players during the warm-up, as opposed to staring into the middle distance with a studied supercool. A little raise of the eyebrows as if to say hello to everyone at home. What a polite young man. Hello, Renato.
The teams are out! Spurs are in their famous lilywhite, while Swansea are in second-choice red. It’s an aesthetic delight. Wembley looking resplendent as ever; a rare old atmosphere at the old/new place. We’ll be off in a minute!
Paul Clement speaks! “We had a very honest reflection period after the game against Newcastle. Focus has to be on this performance now. We just want to make sure we don’t make the same mistakes again moving forward. We have a great opportunity today at a fantastic stadium against a really good side, and we’re going to be tested, that’s for sure. We’ve shown in the past that we can get positive performances at good stadiums against good sides, so we have to have the belief that we can do that here. We have to defend very well collectively, but I have put a team out that can cause Spurs some problems themselves.”
Mauricio Pochettino speaks! “The team is playing well in different shapes, in different situations on the pitch. We are so flexible, we try to give some freshness to the team. And we try to give minutes to the whole squad, physical condition is so important in the Premier League. We try to win every game, we have a really strong squad, and everyone can play. But Harry Kane wants to play every game, his mentality is so strong, he is a fighter and a warrior.”
Mauricio Pochettino makes three changes to the team he sent out against Borussia Dortmund the other night. Serge Aurier, Ben Davies and Mousa Dembele drop to the bench, allowing Kieran Trippier, Moussa Sissoko and Dele Alli to take their place.
Paul Clement makes just one change to the selection he named against Newcastle United last weekend. Leroy Fer makes way for defender Mike van der Hoorn.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Dier, Trippier, Sanchez, Sissoko, Son, Eriksen, Kane, Alli.
Subs: Vorm, Llorente, Dembele, Foyth, Aurier, Winks, Davies.
Swansea City: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, Sanches, Clucas, van der Hoorn, Carroll, Abraham, Ayew.
Subs: Bony, Fer, Narsingh, Nordfeldt, Routledge, Rangel, Roque.
… in which Tottenham Hotspur, having seen off the mighty Borussia Dortmund midweek in a mature display at Wembley, look to finally make the national stadium feel like home in the Premier League too. Meanwhile, goal-shy Swansea City hope to make it two wins out of two this season in London, after besting Crystal Palace on their last jaunt down the M4.
Tottenham are hot favourites, winning the last three meetings between these clubs to an aggregate of 10-2. The Swans haven’t beaten Spurs since 1982, and last avoided losing at their place in 1930. Nothing lasts forever, though, so you never know. Kick off is at 5.30pm. It’s on!
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/sep/16/tottenham-hotspur-v-swansea-city-premier-league-live
Roy Hodgson’s honeymoon period at Palace lasted six minutes, as Saints made off with the points at Selhurst.
And that’s that! No dream start for Roy Hodgson, then: his team remain rooted to the bottom of the Premier League, pointless and goalless. Saints meanwhile launch themselves up the table to fifth, for a couple of hours at least. Hodgson congratulates his opposite number Pellegrino – “Well played!” – then trudges off with the weight of the world on his shoulders. He’s got quite the job on here.
90 min +4: Ward looks for the top-right corner from 25 yards. He finds the top-right corner of the stand.
90 min +3: Schlupp tries to clear upfield, but Ward-Prowse hassles and harries. The episode ends in a goal kick, but there’s more time eaten up successfully by Saints.
90 min +2: Benteke comes back into his own half to win the ball back. But all he does is bowl Romeu over, and that’s a free kick that’ll allow Saints to run down the clock a bit further.
90 min +1: Gabbiadini comes on for Long.
90 min: Palace throw it into the mixer. Forster gathers. Van Dijk waves his arms around, organising in the I’m In Charge style. There will be five extra minutes.
89 min: Cedric twists and turns down the right and slaps a shot goalwards from just inside the box. It’s gathered easily enough by Hennessey.
87 min: Tadic is replaced by the returning Virgil van Dijk. He seems to get a fair enough reception from the away support. Almost as though most of the heat and noise surrounding transfer talk is generated by the media and on the internet, well away from the real world.
86 min: Bertrand earns a corner for Saints down the left. It’s hit long, and Ward tries to hook a ball over his own head and into the top right from the right-hand corner of the box. Ambitious, to say the least. Up the other end, Yoshida blasts a common-or-garden clearance into the back of Lemina. The ball rebounds into the arms of Forster.
85 min: Ward-Prowse comes on for Redmond.
84 min: Townsend shimmies in from the left, and curls deep for Sako. But Bertrand stands firm and blocks his man in a fair tussle. The ball flies out for a goal kick.
82 min: Dann miscontrols in the midfield. Long goes scampering off. Dann has no option but to drag him back. That’s Palace’s fifth booking of the game. It’s not been a dirty match, this, but there you have it. I’m feeling old.
81 min: Once again, Saints find a bit of joy down the right. Cedric and Tadic combine, though eventually the ball’s run out for a goal kick. This flank has been a serious problem for Palace all afternoon.
80 min: The impressive Lemina goes on a George Best skitter, left to right on the diagonal, and nearly works enough space in the area for a shot. But he’s swarmed by Palace defenders, and slips the ball wide left to Redmond. Redmond hesitates, though earns a corner. Nothing comes of the set piece.
78 min: Hodgson is booed by his own fans! The reason? He replaces the impressive Loftus-Cheek with Sako. Only a smattering of dissent, to be fair, but even so! They work fast round Palace these days.
77 min: Long is booked for complaining, no free kick forthcoming after his being brought down by Ward.
76 min: Cabaye’s delivery is appalling. Easily cleared by Saints.
75 min: Palace are awarded a very cheap free kick out on the right, Ward losing control of the ball, but being lightly brushed in the back by Redmond a split second afterwards. A chance for Palace to load the box.
73 min: Fosu-Mensah goes down holding his ankle. That looked a sore one, but he’s up quickly enough, after a bit of treatment, and looks good to continue.
71 min: Palace enjoy a little possession in the midfield. They go nowhere, but they’ve not kept hold of the ball well today, so it’s better than nothing. Small acorns, and all that.
69 min: McArthur is hooked in favour of Milivojevic. And there’s another good run by Loftus-Cheek down the left. He earns a corner, which is headed out harmlessly by Dann, but this is a little better from Palace, who have improved in this second half, even if that’s not saying a whole lot.
68 min: McArthur is booked for a clumsy slide on Bertrand. Then the lively Loftus-Cheek goes racing down the left, gets the better of Lemina, and crosses for Benteke. But Hoedt contorts his body to hook away.
66 min: For the 387th time this afternoon, Tadic is sent away down the right, this time by a clever reverse ball from Long. To give Schlupp some credit this time, he hares back and stops Tadic in his tracks with a glorious saving tackle, but it should never have come to that. Long races over to try to latch onto the loose ball that’s sprung from the tackle. He pings off Schlupp and goes flying into the stand in the slapstick style. All good knockabout fun.
65 min: … there’s nowt of note.
64 min: Tadic is once again found in preposterous space down the right. This is a joke; Palace haven’t closed him down this afternoon at all. He should set Long free down the inside-right and into the area with a diagonal sliding pass, but plays it too close to the back-pedalling Dann and the defender slides across to block out for a corner. From which …
62 min: A free kick out on the right for Saints, Cedric having been upended by a combination of McArthur, Cabaye and Puncheon. The latter, having already been booked, is the recipient of a stern lecture by the referee. He’s on his final warning. To be fair, he hasn’t really done much that’s so awful this afternoon, it’s only fair he’s cut a little slack.
60 min: Cabaye, in the centre circle, quarterbacks long for Benteke. The big striker rises on the edge of the area, and clanks a header miles wide left, and high to boot.
59 min: It is tipping down in south London. Stair rods. Meanwhile the Saints, after rocking early in the half, have reestablished their earlier dominance. They’re first to everything again.
57 min: Ward is booked for a foul committed a couple of minutes earlier, when he dallied on the ball, allowed Davis to run off with it, and rugby tackled him to the floor.
56 min: And now it’s Southampton’s turn to pass up a great chance to score. They ping the ball around awhile, then Redmond bursts into the box down the right. His cross is missed by everyone, then recycled by Tadic out on the left. Tadic chips the ball back into the centre, and Long should plant a header home from six yards. But he fails to connect properly, and after a little pinball, the danger is gone.
54 min: Virgil van Dijk warms up on the touchline. Meanwhile on the pitch, Saints have slipped into game-management mode. The referee has a word as Long takes his sweet time over a throw.
52 min: Thing is, Palace have been pretty poor so far, all told. And they still could, arguably should, have scored on three separate occasions. That surely augurs well. They just need the dam to break.
50 min: Puncheon is booked for a frustrated clatter into the back of Tadic. And a period of pressure is released.
49 min: It’s a slightly subdued Selhurst. And then the roof suddenly nearly comes off! First, Loftus-Cheek dribbles down the right, reaches the byline, and fizzes a low ball through the six-yard box. How did that stay out?! How did Cabaye and Benteke miss it? Then Schlupp drifts in from the left and sets up Puncheon, who has to score from six yards, but Forster blocks brilliantly and Lemina knocks it clear calmly. Much better from Palace, who should be level! When will they score?
47 min: It doesn’t lead to much, but Lemina sells McArthur an outrageous dummy in the midfield, a trick that incorporates a subtle drag-back. He looks a very fine signing indeed.
And we’re off again! Saints get the ball rolling for the second half. No changes.
Roy Hodgson storms off in the businesslike fashion. He’ll need to give his team a good talking-to. They’ve been bossed by Saints. The plus points: they’ve nevertheless still managed to create a couple of chances, while their opponents are a little blunt up front, despite their dominance everywhere else. It promises to be a fascinating second half.
45 min +1: So having said that, Palace nearly equalise, Townsend scampering after a long ball down the inside-left channel and sending a screaming, dipping shot just over the bar from an angle!
45 min: The half-time whistle can’t come quickly enough for Palace, who are reduced to a shambles. They’re second to absolutely everything. Redmond crafts more space for himself, this time in a central position, but his shot from 25 yards is weak and easily gathered by Hennessey.
44 min: Palace are hanging on here. Redmond skedaddles into their area from the left, then cuts the ball back for Tadic, whose shot from the penalty spot is blocked.
43 min: Saints ping it around nicely, as they’ve done for the majority of the half. After a few pretty triangles, the ball’s clipped down the inside-left channel for Lemina by Davis. A bit too much juice behind that, or Lemina would have been clear.
42 min: Saints launch yet another attack down the right. This is getting old. Long very nearly scampers clear, but Dann comes across to harry him off the ball.
40 min: Hoedt, deep on the left, sprays a golden pass wide right to release Tadic into acres. Schlupp is on walkabout, goodness knows what his game is. Thankfully for Palace, Tadic’s low cross is dismal. The home side should have been in serious trouble there.
38 min: Cabaye floats a reasonably aimless cross into the Saints box from the right. It’s not what Benteke is after, and the big man communicates this point in the direct style. A few whistles. Both players and punters getting irritated.
36 min: Davis chips forward, down the middle for Redmond, who chests down on the edge of the Palace area with his back to goal. He turns and very nearly slides a clever pass forward to release Long. But Fosu-Mensah and Dann get in the way. Palace are living a little dangerously, and will be thankful that Saints have a few goalscoring issues themselves right now.
34 min: Yet again, Tadic is afforded too much time out on the right. Not entirely sure what Schlupp is up to this afternoon. Fortunately for Palace, Saints haven’t exactly over-committed, and they can easily deal with the resulting cross. But this surely can’t continue. Saints have the run of this flank.
33 min: Cabaye is booked for leaving his foot in on Lemina, as the Saints midfielder whipped a pass away. He can have no complaints, having landed his boot on Lemina’s toes.
31 min: Loftus-Cheek so nearly scores a glorious goal! Townsend wins a ball he had no right to win 35 yards from the Saints goal in a central position. He slips it to his right for Loftus-Cheek, who drops a shoulder once, then twice, and zips past a couple of despairing Saints challenges on a slight left-to-right diagonal run. He enters the area, makes enough space, then looks to whack low into the bottom left. But his effort is deflected out at the last, and the resulting corner comes to nothing. Still, that’s much better from Palace.
29 min: Loftus-Cheek and Benteke one-two in the midfield, allowing the former to have a pop from 25 yards. He sends a glorious low fizzer inches wide of the left-hand post. Had that been on target, I’m not sure Forster was getting to it.
27 min: Tadic finds more space down the right. His cross takes a nick off Schlupp and threatens to loop into the top left along a crazy arc, but Hennessey claims well. Then another Saints attack, as Redmond springs Long free down the inside-right channel. The flag goes up, and it’s the correct decision, but it was very close indeed, and had the linesman kept his flag down, it’d have been an understandable error. Palace playing with fire.
26 min: Something of a lull, but Saints remain in command, keeping hold of the ball. Palace are unable to get anything coherent going.
24 min: An encouraging spell for Palace, who knock it around in the midfield for a while. Schlupp sashays down the inside-left channel before shuttling the ball inside to Cabaye, who sends a speculative effort, aimed for the top left, high and wide from 20 yards.
22 min: Saints continue to hog the ball. Some patient passing, hither and yon. Eventually Redmond takes a whack from 25 yards. It’s straight at Hennessey, albeit oscillating in the air enough to pose the keeper problems. Hennessey deals with it well.
20 min: A pretty dribble down the middle by Saints’ club-record signing Lemina. Ball-on-string stuff. But with options either side as he advances towards the Palace area, he gets giddy and drags an ambitious effort wide left from distance. He had options either side. The home fans beginning to get a little edgy as Saints probe for a second; Palace can’t afford to ship another right now.
18 min: The corner leads to another corner, and that second one comes to nothing. What a chance for Benteke, though. Palace still haven’t scored a goal this season. After that Benteke effort, straight at the keeper, and Scott Dann’s late close-range header at Burnley last week, Palace will be wondering if they’ll ever break their duck. But at least they’re creating chances.
16 min: Redmond slips and allows Townsend to make off with the ball down the right. A pass is slipped forward to Loftus-Cheek, who crosses low. Benteke must score from six yards! But he doesn’t connect powerfully, and Forster is able to claw the ball away. Corner.
14 min: Saints are completely bossing this game right now. They’ve enjoyed nearly 70% of possession in these early exchanges. “I do hope Mr. Hodgson does not moan at the lack of ‘famous support’ his team are getting,” quips Ian Copestake, with reference to Mr Hodgson’s famous stint at Anfield a few years back. Oh Roy!
12 min: Davis swings a cross into the Palace box from a deep position on the right. Ward and Fosu-Mensah are all over the shop, and nowhere near Long, who is drifting in from the left. Long opts for a spectacular header, looking to guide the ball first time into the top right from a position to the left of the D. His effort flies miles wide right. He had time to take that down, and will wish he did so now.
10 min: Townsend goes racing down the right and falls over Hoedt’s extended leg. The ref doesn’t give the free kick, much to the home support’s collective annoyance. Probably the right decision. To be fair to the Palace support, they don’t slip into an extended sulk, and after ironically cheering a decision in their favour 30 seconds later, go back to making a hell of a racket.
8 min: A free kick for Saints out on the right, and a chance for the visitors to load the box. Davis loops it in. Schlupp heads away powerfully, and in any case the whistle goes for some Saints pushing. On the bench, Hodgson has assumed the pensive pose, chin on palm, eyes fixed on some point in the middle distance.
So much for Roy Hodgson’s honeymoon period. Davis slides a pass down the inside-right channel for Tadic, who drops a shoulder to waltz past Schlupp. He reaches the byline and fires into the middle low and hard. Hennessey can only parry out to Davis, who had been following up and sidefoots confidently into the bottom right. On the bench, Hodgson tries his best to appear calm. He just about manages it.
4 min: Space for Tadic down the right, set free by a lovely crossfield pass by Redmond. Cedric goes deep on the overlap. A cross, and Palace make a pig’s lug of clearing the ball. Davis has a whack from the edge of the box, though he doesn’t connect properly and Hennessey claims easily enough as the ball bounces apologetically towards the bottom right.
2 min: Townsend races after a long ball down the right wing. Hoedt comes across to shepherd the ball out of play for a goal kick. Palace are certainly on the front foot in these very early exchanges. A fine atmosphere at Selhurst Park, incidentally, though that’s hardly breaking news. There’s always a fine atmosphere at Selhurst.
And we’re off! Palace get the ball rolling and they’re out of the blocks quickly, Benteke romping down the left, checking his run, spinning, and looping a cross into the centre. Townsend sticks out a telescopic leg but can’t control and the ball squirts out for a goal kick, to the left of goal. Hopefully as far as Palace are concerned, that’s not the end of Hodgson’s honeymoon period.
The teams are out! Crystal Palace are in their usual red and blue, while Saints sport their Rank-Xerox-era-referencing blue-and-very-dark-blue stripes. Or is it blue-and-black? Hm. Anyway, they’re in that. Roy Hodgson waves at the crowd, then gives the cuddly mascot a hug and his best PR smile. We’ll be off in a minute!
Roy Hodgson talks! “I thought Palace’s performance last week at Burnley was a good performance, the team was unlucky. But Loftus-Cheek is fit again, so I thought it was good to bring him back. We are very eager. For the players, it is another new start, but we believe in the players and their experience and quality. There is only one way to prove that they are a good team, and that is on the field, and that’s what they hope to do today.”
Mauricio Pellegrino speaks! “Virgil van Dijk is training well. But he is coming from eight months without playing the game. Hopefully he can be ready to play. Physically he is good, but he needs more time to be at the same level with his team-mates.”
It’s not quite a case of If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It for Palace. But they did play pretty well at Burnley last Sunday, without reward, so there’s only one change to their starting XI. Lee Chung-Yong, whose poor early backpass sealed Frank de Boer’s fate, and ushered in the Hodgson Era, loses his place to Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Saints by contrast ring the changes, having gone down miserably at home to Watford last week. Out go Jack Stephens, James Ward-Prowse, Sofiane Boufal and Manolo Gabbiadini. In come Maya Yoshida, Mario Lemina, Dusan Tadic and Shane Long. And who’s that on the bench? Why, it’s only
Virgil van Dijk, ready to be reintegrated away from the white-hot heat of St Mary’s.
Crystal Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Fosu-Mensah, Dann, Schlupp, McArthur, Cabaye, Puncheon, Townsend, Benteke, Loftus-Cheek.
Subs: Speroni, Van Aanholt, Milivojevic, Tomkins, Lee, Sako, Kelly.
Southampton: Forster, Cedric, Yoshida, Hoedt, Bertrand, Romeu, Lemina, Tadic, Davis, Redmond, Long.
Subs: Stephens, McCarthy, Ward-Prowse, van Dijk, Boufal, Gabbiadini, Targett.
… in which Roy Hodgson returns to club football, desperate to end his long career on a high note by hauling his boyhood heroes out of trouble, while goal-shy Southampton continue to search for their misplaced mojo.
Let’s not kid ourselves: recent form suggests this might not be a free-wheeling classic. Palace have lost all four of their Premier League games so far this season, and have yet to find the net; Southampton have played five matches in league and cup, and have failed to score in four of them. But something’s got to give at some point, and it may as well be today. Especially as we’ve just tempted fate by making a big thing about it. Goal frenzy, please!
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/sep/16/crystal-palace-v-southampton-premier-league-live
The visitors battled back to earn a deserved draw in a highly entertaining to-and-fro at Anfield
And that’s that! After the whistle goes, Klopp gets involved in a screaming match with what remains of the Sevilla bench. “Why are you shouting at me? What did I do?” Dignity, Jurgen, dignity! Liverpool were the better attacking force for the majority, but Sevilla the smarter side. And the visitors played their way back into contention during the second half, after nearly losing sight of Liverpool during the first. A missed penalty and the usual defensive frailties cost the hosts, but they were up against a very good team who weren’t going to let them off with their mistakes. A deserved draw, and it’s a mixed bag for the Reds on their return to the Champions League. Last word to our very own answer to Mystic Meg, Jon Taylor: “Yep. A dance as old as time.”
90 min +4: Gomez walks for a late lunge in the midfield on Muriel. A second yellow, he can have no complaints.
90 min +3: Coutinho takes, and hits deep. Wijnaldum rises, but a soft header flies into Rico’s arms like a feather. Then Sevilla go up the other end. Muriel latches onto a long ball. Gomez gets confused under it, and suddenly Muriel is free! But he slides his shot wide left when it was easier to score!
90 min +2: Good old-fashioned bustling from Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sturridge earns a throw deep in Sevilla territory down the right. From the throw, Oxlade-Chamberlain wins another corner.
90 min +1: Oxlade-Chamberlain forces a corner down the right. Sevilla half clear it. Henderson returns a header, but it’s an easy snaffle for Rico.
90 min: There will be four added minutes.
89 min: Now Lovren slaps a simple clearing header straight to Escudero. Once again, the crowd are not fully impressed with his contributions.
88 min: Under no pressure whatsoever, Lovren shanks a pass into the stand down the left. The crowd let him have it. Then Liverpool’s final change, as Salah is replaced by Oxlade-Chamberlain.
87 min: Correa forces a corner off Moreno down the Sevilla right. Sarabia wanders out slowly to take it. Correa is allowed to flick on a header at the near post, but fortunately for Liverpool, there’s nobody in white in the six-yard box to bundle home.
86 min: Liverpool’s final-third passing is all over the shop now. It’s all very scrappy. Meanwhile Maribor have equalised against Spartak.
85 min: Coutinho drops a shoulder and, for a second, looks to have opened up a huge flank of space down the left. But he’s crowded out of it on the edge of the box.
83 min: A change apiece. Jesus Navas is replaced by Sebastien Corchia; Sadio Mane by Daniel Sturridge.
82 min: Salah and Coutinho attempt to power their way down the left, but they’re never in total control of their dribbles. A hint of desperation in Liverpool’s play now. Their earlier dominance went some time ago; now the fluency’s gone too.
80 min: Coutinho, quarterbacking from deep, chips a pass down the inside-left for Salah. But the pass is overcooked, too much for even the whippet-fast Salah. Had that been weighted properly, Salah was free.
79 min: Matip slices hysterically into the air under no pressure whatsoever, and concedes a corner under pressure from Muriel. Fortunately for the centre back, the set piece comes to nothing. But Anfield, warm and wobbly earlier on, is cold and shaky now. A lot of nerves crackling around.
78 min: Henderson hoops a ball down the right. Kjaer tries to usher it out of play. Salah makes sure he concedes a corner. Lovren rises to meet the set piece, but there are no Dortmund-style heroics here, as his header flies harmlessly high into the Kop.
76 min: Can is replaced by … Coutinho. And the little Brazilian is given a warm reception as he runs on, then a cheer as he takes his first touch.
74 min: Mercado, already on a yellow, stands in the way of Mane as the Liverpool man makes off down the left. The referee waves play on, then does nothing as the Liverpool move peters out. Which is fair enough. Both sides have had the benefit of one now.
Out of nothing, Sevilla are level! From a throw, Muriel bustles in from the left. Nobody bothers to challenge him. He flicks a pass down the inside-left channel, and Correa is free in the box! He opens his body and curls powerfully into the top right, leaving Karius with no chance! That penalty miss looks costly now!
71 min: Moreno cynically gets in the way of Sarabia in the midfield. Sarabia waves the imaginary yellow card that would see Moreno sent off. The referee doesn’t react. Moreno got away with one there.
69 min: Luis Muriel comes on for the Sevilla goalscorer Wissam Ben Yedder.
68 min: Henderson curls it into the mixer. N’Zonzi heads it out to Wijnaldum, who arrows a low shot towards the bottom left. Rico does very well to turn the ball around the post, seeing the ball late through a crowded box. The resulting corner is easily cleared.
67 min: Moreno crosses from the left. Jesus Navas sticks up a hand, and that’ll be a free kick just to the left of the Sevilla penalty box.
65 min: Salah wriggles out of a thicket of players out on the right, reaches the side of the area, and finds Mane on the edge of the D. Mane, his back to goal, smoothly spins and looks for the top left. He finds the top left of the Kop. That would have been a very pretty goal had it gone in.
64 min: Banega swings in the resulting free kick, and the offside flag goes up.
63 min: Spartak Moscow have taken the lead at Maribor. Meanwhile back in Liverpool, Gomez is booked for a cynical tug on the brilliant Correa’s shirt as the Sevilla star goes down the left.
62 min: Salah has a bobble from 20 yards. It’s not very good, but Rico turns it around the right-hand post anyway. The resulting corner is a non-event. Liverpool are soon coming back at Sevilla, Firmino turning N’Zonzi this way and that. He drags a shot meant for the bottom left wide of the post from 25 yards.
60 min: The Sevilla panto continues! Coach Berizzo catches a ball sailing out of play. Instead of handing it to Gomez, standing right next to him, he ostentatiously throws the ball down the touchline. There’s only going to be one outcome after the earlier, very similar brouhaha: the referee sends him to the stands! He departs, but only after accusing Klopp of getting him sent off. Klopp did have his say, it’s true, but it’s probably best that Berizzo takes ownership of that one.
59 min: Mane drops a shoulder out on the left and looks to Coutinho a shot into the top right from distance. Nope!
58 min: Salah shimmies down the right before scooping a poor cross out of play with options in the box. His shooting and decision making is a wee bit erratic, but he’s a bundle of energy and always involved.
56 min: Mane busts down the left, rides a couple of challenges, and squirts the ball inside for Can, who has a larrup from 25 yards. It’s going wide left, and hits Firmino on its way through anyway. A poor shot, really, as the ball was sitting up very invitingly with no Sevilla player in position to close down in time.
55 min: It’s beautifully poised, this game. Sevilla are in control again, passing it around with ease in the middle of the park. But this Liverpool side are a coiled spring. Good luck guessing who’ll score next. It surely won’t end 2-1.
53 min: But suddenly Liverpool crank up the pace. A couple of surges starring Salah down the right. Then from the halfway line, Matip decides to go on a Beckenbaueresque dribble down the inside-right channel. He nearly breaks clear into the box! But in looking to make space to shoot, he passes up the chance to set up Wijnaldum on his inside. It would have been the better bet, but you can’t fault him for getting giddy. That was a glorious skitter!
52 min: Sevilla are on the front foot right now, re-energised by the half-time break. Liverpool’s momentum appears to be broken. Pass, pass, passity, pass.
51 min: Philippe Coutinho is warming up on the touchline. He hasn’t been hit by a wet fish, rotten tomato or flying cabbage yet. Do you think the Anfield faithful are preparing to forgive him? The early signs are good.
49 min: Good work by Sarabia down the right, but the Sevilla sub couldn’t find Ben Yedder in the middle. Then another phase of attack by the visitors, the relentless Correa making good down the left. His fizz towards the near post is nearly trapped by Ben Yedder, but not quite.
48 min: Sevilla coach Eduardo Berizzo is given a ticking off by the ref for brazenly flinging the ball away as Liverpool prepared to take a quickthrow in the midfield. Good knockabout stuff. All it needed for pantomime perfection was added Jose Mourinho.
46 min: Henderson hooks a pass down the left to send Mane scampering dangerously goalwards again. He cuts inside and shoots, but the effort’s blocked pretty much at source by Pareja.
Here we go again! Sevilla get the ball rolling for the second half. No changes. Liverpool are shooting towards the Kop now. It’s goalless in the other Group E game between Maribor and Spartak Moscow, by the way. And here’s Jon Taylor: “Since at least Roy Evans’ era, one of the most maddeningly frequent phrases you’ll hear when watching Liverpool is ‘We’ll, we did wonder if they’d come to rue those missed chances.’ This has the feel of another of those games.”
Half-time reading: So we’ve had yet another penalty in the Champions League. What’s going on? Barry Glendenning p.i. investigates.
Just time for Sarabia to swing a free kick into the Liverpool box from the right, Karius to punch powerfully clear, Liverpool to break, and Moreno to flash a shot at Rico from a tight angle down the left, with Salah and Firmino nearly getting to the rebound in the middle! Yes, just enough time for all that. There goes the whistle, and it’s half time. That fair whizzed by. Excellent entertainment, both teams looking very lively in attack, but Liverpool especially so. It promises to be a fun second 45. Don’t be going anywhere now!
45 min: Confirmation that Banega was the Sevilla man booked after Liverpool’s second goal. Meanwhile Pablo Sarabia comes on for Guido Pizarro, who has developed a limp. There will be two added minutes.
44 min: The much-maligned Moreno has been excellent tonight. He tears down the left and wheechs a gorgeous ball along the corridor of uncertainty. Any red shirt nearby, and it’s a tap-in. But both Mane and Firmino are just off the pace.
42 min: A John Aldridge stutter by Firmino. He sends Rico the wrong way, but with the right-hand portion of the goal gaping, hits the right-hand post! The ball clanks away from danger. It wasn’t the worst penalty kick you’ll ever see, but bottom line is, it hasn’t gone in.
41 min: Moreno wins a header he never should win out on the left above Mercado. Mane scampers into the area and looks to clip the ball past Pareja. There’s a hint of handball, but the referee doesn’t have to make a decision on that one, as Pareja then brazenly takes Mane down from behind!
39 min: Moreno is booked for a ludicrously late leg across Jesus Navas. A Sevilla player got booked for protesting Salah’s challenge on N’Zonzi in the lead-up to the goal, incidentally, but I’ll need to get back to you on identity.
Firmino exchanges rat-a-tat passes in the middle of the park with Wijnaldum. He sprays it wide right for Gomez, who slips inside for Salah. Salah’s first touch is poor, and it looks as though the danger is gone as N’Zonzi strides away. But N’Zonzi is striding away in the insouciant manner, and allows Salah to get back at him, steal the ball, turn and shoot. The ball takes a huge deflection off Kjaer, and loops into the top right over the stranded Rico! Not much of a shot, but brilliant persistence from Salah!
35 min: Mercado is booked for a late clip on the back of Firmino’s leg. That will have been a sore one, studs on ankle, but it didn’t look malicious. Mercado has the good grace to go up to Firmino and offer his apologies.
33 min: Sevilla continue to ping it around like Benitez’s Valencia. But one loose pass is cut out by the head of Gomez, and suddenly Can is in acres down the middle. His shot is deflected out for a corner on the left. And from that, Wijnaldum instigates a game of pinball with another speculative dig from distance. Sevilla eventually flipper it away.
31 min: Sevilla are bossing possession now. And pushing up high, which may or may not be asking for trouble. We’ll see. As things go right now, they’re stroking the ball around very nicely, and with great confidence, though it’s all sterile stuff in the middle of the park.
29 min: Liverpool go up the other end, Mane and Firmino attempting to prise Sevilla open with a one-two down the right. But the latter’s return pass has too much juice on it. Goal kick. This is a fun, open match. Both sides are going for it.
28 min: Confusion between Moreno and Karius, neither knowing who should be dealing with a loose ball down the Sevilla right. Ben Yedder senses the danger and hovers, doing enough to force Moreno into the concession of a corner. Karius, to be fair, does very well to pluck the set piece from the sky, cleaning up his mess.
26 min: Jesus Navas annoys Liverpool down the right for 60 seconds or so. Liverpool eventually bundle the ball away from danger. Henderson very nearly spins and sends Salah away down the right, but doesn’t get enough oomph on the sprayed pass, and he’s clattered by N’Zonzi anyway. Free kick, and while the break’s not on, at least the pressure is off that rickety Liverpool defence.
24 min: On the touchline, Klopp bounces around and shouts quite a lot. He enjoyed that last sweeping counter attack, even if it didn’t result in a second goal.
23 min: The excellent Correa drops a shoulder down the left, and nearly zips past Matip, but the defender does very well to whip the ball off his toe. Counter. Wijnaldum, down the right, slips the ball inside for Mane, who shuttles it further left for Can. He’s in the area, with only Rico to beat! But it’s a tight angle, and though he dinks the ball past the keeper, he pulls his shot across the face of goal. The ball bumbles apologetically out of play, inches wide of the right-hand post.
But this is lovely by Liverpool! They pass it around hither and yon, as patient as you like. Suddenly Moreno turns on the jets, exchanging a quick one-two with his captain Henderson. He’s free in the area! He reaches the white line, zips a ball into the centre, and Firmino is on hand to turn it in from close range! That’s got Anfield going again!
19 min: Gomez is seeing a lot of the ball out on the right. His crossing is a bit erratic, but he’s getting into good advanced positions. Sevilla are happy to sit deep, though, especially with that early goal in their back pocket, so it’s difficult to find anyone in the box.
18 min: Mane is brought down by Jesus Navas as he scampers down the left. A chance for Liverpool to load the box, but they do nix with the free kick. The home crowd are trying to lift their team’s spirit. They’re trying to lift their own spirits. Full marks for ambition but it’s not happening for Liverpool yet.
16 min: Ben Yedder is hot in form right now: that was his fourth goal in his last four-and-a-very-small-bit games. He nearly bursts clear down the inside-right channel, after a clever Jesus Navas flick. But he’s sandwiched out of it and Liverpool mop up.
15 min: Liverpool are dominating possession, though. Salah is found in acres down the right, but needlessly loses possession with a panicked pass inside. Then another phase of attack, with Gomez swinging in high from the right, Can rising but sending an aimless header angling off the top of his head, high and wide left.
13 min: Gomez hugs the right touchline and does very well to dribble past Correa. But then Correa battles back, and blocks just as Gomes reaches the byline and looks up for a red shirt in the middle. “There we go,” begins Matt Dony. “I’ve really missed the Champions League. An opportunity for Liverpool’s defence to embarrass themselves on a whole new stage.”
11 min: … another corner’s won. Swung in from the right, Firmino meets it, and powers a header over the bar from ten yards. He should have got that on target, and holds his head accordingly.
10 min: Sevilla take their turn to look a bit jittery at the back. Salah beats Kjaer to a high ball down the right; the defender really should have cleared. He reaches the byline and cuts back for Mane, whose weak shot is aimed towards the bottom right. Rico parries and fumbles, forcing Kjaer to poke out for a corner. From which…
8 min: Mane goes off at breakneck speed down the left wing. He approaches the box and is cynically barged to the floor by Pareja, just before the white line of the area. But the referee doesn’t award a free kick. Anfield was bouncing a few minutes ago; it’s not such a happy place right now.
7 min: That’s the worst possible return to Champions League football for Liverpool. Wijnaldum attempts to respond quickly with another Liverpool shot from distance. His effort is deflected wide left of goal, but the resulting corner is a complete non-event.
Can and Gomez both have the chance to clear. They both fail. Correa turns on the jets down the left, reaches the byline, and crosses low. Lovren must block on the corner of the six-yard box, but misses the ball completely, and it flies through to the in-form Ben Yedder, who sticks out a telescopic leg to poke home!
4 min: Salah has a dribble down the right, and the ball’s worked inside for Henderson, who shoots from 25 yards. The shot is weak and blocked. Sevilla go up the other end, Jesus Navas crossing from the right. Matip half clears. Then…
3 min: Sevilla get their first touch of the ball, and stroke it around the back awhile. A successful attempt to put a stop to Liverpool’s early gallop.
2 min: Liverpool start fast, as they often do. Mane has another turboramble down the left, but upon reaching the byline his cross is snaffled by Rico.
50-odd seconds: Salah, out on the right, sprays a diagonal pass towards Mane, who enters the area. He sets the ball back for Can, who tries to curl one into the top right. There’s no whip on the shot, and Rico claims it easily.
Pennants are exchanged, hands are clasped, coins are tossed, and we’re off! Liverpool get the ball rolling; Sevilla will be kicking towards the Kop in this first half. Which means the home side will face that way in the second, exactly how they like it. Matip knocks it long. Can heads down for Mane, who thinks about making off down the left, but runs out of road. That’s the first eight seconds covered.
Everyone’s favourite number from Carousel gets a spin. And at Anfield, that can only mean one thing: we’ll be off in a minute! The teams take to the pitch, Liverpool in their Shankly red, Sevilla in their own first-choice white. A typical European atmosphere at this famous old stadium!
Jurgen Klopp speaks! “This is the most special competition in Europe for club football. You want to be part of it, and when you are part of it, you want to perform. We are ready. If I would have spoken only about the City game for the last few days, that would have not been right, because we have also had some good games. But if you have a knock, you have to respond, get up, and do your best. And that is what we will try to do tonight. We are well rested. A few people will say we rested in the last game. [Mugs to camera, titters.] Coutinho is ready, that’s why he’s on the bench.”
Pre-match reading. While we’re waiting to hear from Jurgen Klopp, here’s a preview of this game from our man Sachin Nakrani.
Liverpool make three changes to the team routed at the City of Manchester Stadium last Saturday lunchtime. Loris Karius takes the place of Simon Mignolet in goal, as he’s set to do for the entire run in Europe. Meanwhile Joe Gomez replaces Trent Alexander-Arnold at right back, while Dejan Lovren gets in ahead of Ragnar Klavan in the middle of the defence. And who’s this on the bench?! Philippe Coutinho, all fit, healthy and still employed by Liverpool! It’s the same starting XI that routed Arsenal 4-0.
Five changes meanwhile to the Sevilla side Eduardo Berizzo sent out at the weekend. Simon Kjaer, Ever Banega, Joaquin Correa, Guido Pizarro and captain Nicolas Pareja return to the starting line-up at the expense of Clement Lenglet, Daniel Carrico, Pablo Sarabia, Paulo Ganso and the injured Nolito.
Liverpool: Karius, Gomez, Matip, Lovren, Moreno, Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Subs: Mignolet, Milner, Coutinho, Sturridge, Klavan, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Robertson.
Sevilla: Sergio Rico, Mercado, Pareja, Kjaer, Escudero, Nzonzi, Banega, Pizarro, Jesus Navas, Ben Yedder, Correa.
Subs: Soria, Corchia, Carrico, Krohn-Dehli, Sarabia, Muriel, Vazquez.
… in which Liverpool return to the Champions League after a three-year absence, and attempt to avenge their defeat by Sevilla in the 2016 Europa League final. The five-time European champions welcome the five-time Uefa/Europa winners, whose last visit to these shores saw them come unstuck in the quarter-finals of this competition at Leicester City.
Sevilla have never won in England in five attempts. Seeing they’re coming off the back of a 3-0 win in La Liga over Eibar, while Liverpool have just been skelped 5-0 at Manchester City, they may fancy their chances of breaking that particular duck this evening. Liverpool, for their part, will have a little payback for That Night In Basel on their mind. It’s perfectly poised. It’s Anfield on a European night! It’s on!
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/sep/13/liverpool-v-sevilla-champions-league-live
The Hammers haul themselves off the foot of the table with a hard-fought but deserved win over the Terriers.
And that’s that. West Ham deserved their win, even if they needed a huge stroke of fortune to break the deadlock. They rise off the foot of the table, while Huddersfield taste Premier League defeat for the first time. ♫ Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Slaven, happy birthday to yoo-o-ou! ♪ ♫
90 min +3: Rice comes on for Obiang.
90 min +2: West Ham are happy to sit back and admire their work. Mooy scurries about, trying to make something happen for Huddersfield, but he can’t prise the Hammers open.
90 min: There will be four added minutes.
88 min: Mounie and Ince combine well down the inside-right channel, but the latter’s shot is blocked, its energy removed, and deflected into the arms of Hart. West Ham go up the other end, Antonio snatching at a shot from the right of the D. He’s been excellent tonight, though, and has deservedly won the man of the match award.
87 min: West Ham let Huddersfield string a few passes together in the midfield. Once the visitors get near the penalty area, the space is closed down.
85 min: A sense that this game is done and dusted, which it pretty much is of course. A celebratory atmosphere in the London Stadium.
83 min: A couple of changes. Carroll is hooked for Sakho, while Billing is replaced by Depoitre. “I’d just like to let Gavin Hutchinson (15 mins) know that there’s a word for a John Charles / Marco Van Basten cross,” writes Geoff Wignall. “Well, two words actually, neither of them Andy or Carroll: Denis and Law. Once of Huddersfield of course.”
81 min: From the set piece, there’s a half-arsed claim for a penalty as the ball brushes Obiang’s arm. They’ll not get that. But then the ball finds Ince on the edge of the area. He lashes a rising shot goalwards. The ball smacks the bar, having taken a little nick along its way. What an effort! And it’s all for nothing, because that’s what the next corner comes to.
79 min: West Ham deserve their lead on the balance of play. Mounie tries to respond with a snap shot from the right of the West Ham D. Hart is forced to tip the ball round the right-hand post before it sneaks into the corner.
Clear daylight for West Ham! A corner’s won down the right. It’s whipped towards the near post, where Fonte attempts to bundle the ball home. It’s blocked on the line, but squirts out of a melee and sits up for Ayew, who pokes home from a couple of yards! The atmosphere is bubbling up nicely now, and it looks like being a very happy birthday for Slaven Bilic!
75 min: Sabiri comes on for Kachunga.
74 min: Obiang’s shot was probably going wide left, on second view. That may well go down as a Jorgensen own goal.
Huddersfield finally concede a goal in the Premier League, and they’re awfully unlucky! Ayew zips in from the right and slides the ball to Obiang, who has a dig from 25 yards. He’s aiming for the top left. The ball twangs off Jorgensen’s back, loops up, and flies along an unstoppable arc, dropping into the top-right corner. Lossl had no chance, and the London Stadium explodes in relief!
71 min: Antonio is stopped in his tracks down the left by Jorgensen, a light slap to the chops. There wasn’t much in that, though the defender wants to watch himself, on a booking as he is. The resulting set piece is swung in by Cresswell, whose delivery has been excellent tonight. Three West Ham players line up in the middle, but none of them can make contact.
69 min: Cresswell crosses deep from the left, forcing Malone into an acrobatic clearance for a corner at the far post. The set piece is gathered, after a jugging fashion, by Lossl.
68 min: Mooy has a bash from distance. It’s always rising. But it’s something. Huddersfield have been very quiet in attack.
66 min: It’s all got a bit scrappy again. Thank goodness for this report’s co-author Paul Beaumont, then. He’s got news of a “PLOT TWIST IN NORWAY! The Christian Party has just announced that it will not join nor prop up a coalition that allows FRP (read UKIP) to stay in power: ‘The distance between us is too big.’ The left may take back power after all! No sign of Huddersfield plot twist mind. Clean sheet record hanging by a thread.”
64 min: Both teams make a change. Lowe is replaced by Malone; Hernandez is replaced by Ayew. The home fans don’t like that decision at all, and meet it with a smattering of boos. “You’re getting sacked in the morning,” trill paying punters of unidentified stripe. It’s his birthday, for goodness sake!
62 min: Zabaleta hovers on the right-hand corner of the Huddersfield box, receives a pass, then scoops a cross to the far post, nearly finding Carroll. The big man can’t get his head on the ball. But there’s a sense that chances are a-coming, at both ends.
61 min: It’s opening up, this game, now. Huddersfield win a corner down the right. Some head tennis. West Ham clear their lines. Then the visitors come again, Ince having a dig from 25 yards. It clanks off Reid’s ankle. The sting removed, the ball loops into the air and into the arms of Hart.
59 min: And now it’s time for Huddersfield fans to take a sharp intake of breath, as Schindler makes an awful hash of controlling a long West Ham punt, and slices it out of play to the left of his own goal. The corner comes to nothing, but that was nearly disastrous for the visitors.
58 min: Mounie threatens to break clear down the inside-left channel with West Ham very light at the back. He’s flagged offside. Hart then tries to take a quick free kick with a rolling ball. He batters it straight at Mounie, who wasn’t ten yards away, and gets a second go. A few West Ham hearts in mouths there for a second.
56 min: Fonte curls a cross in from the right. Hernandez, on the edge of the D with his back to goal, plays a cute reverse pass down the inside-right channel for Kouyate, just inside the area. Never quite in control, always battling with Schindler, Kouyate nevertheless manages to fire a low shot meant for the bottom right just wide of the post. That’s a lovely move: simple, crisp and effective. And so nearly the opening goal.
54 min: Hart’s hands are warmed for the first time this evening, as Billing drops a shoulder to make room for himself 25 yards from goal, and sends a heatseeker towards the bottom right. The West Ham keeper is behind it all the way, smothering without fuss.
53 min: All a bit scrappy this. Hernandez tries to release Antonio down the inside-right channel but his pass clanks into the first blue-and-white shirt. “It’s election time down here in New Zealand too, or will be in 11 days,” reports Paul Cockburn. “I empathise with our Huddersfield-supporting Norwegian friends, because we too have the chance to turf out the incumbent right-of-centre government in favour of something bold and new. Tonight though, Kiwi Hammers (of which there are quite a few watching via MBM or at the pub at 8am in various cities; we have a Facebook page and everything) are just hoping that we can scrape up one more vote off Andy’s pony-tailed nut to settle this, and to take some of the jitters away. This could be a long 45 minutes otherwise.”
51 min: Huddersfield launch a quiet sortie into West Ham territory, Mooy slipping the ball wide left to Van La Parra, whose cross is way too deep. Goal kick. Meanwhile Paul Beaumont is back: “How we (Huddersfield) have not conceded here is beyond me. We have West Ham’s profligacy to thank for that. I reckon Huddersfield’s lethargy stems from Mooy being off-colour – our star bald Aussie midfielder – who has often struggled when coming back from international duty. However, there are some reasons for optimism. West Ham seemed to tire towards the end of the half: one can’t press for 90, and I reckon they are probably burnt out. Also, Wagner has a history of being able to make game changing substitutions to secure late goals. Prediction: Kelsey Palmer comes off the bench for Ince and repeats his goal scoring exploits for the England Under-21s with a tidy finish from 18 yards. 1-0 Huddersfield. You heard it hear first. Meanwhile if you are living in my house in Norway you are already miserable as it appears the Green’s are set to fall short of the 4% threshold necessary to gain a proportional number of the seats. Meanwhile, Norway’s Ukip, the Progress Party, look set to more or less retain their 15% of the vote.”
49 min: Zabaleta whips a fine cross into the Huddersfield box from the right. It causes no danger. Frustrated, he slides in on Van La Parra, and is correctly booked for the lunge.
48 min: Hernandez looks for the top right with the free kick, but converts in the rugby style instead. West Ham have started the second half in very positive fashion, though.
47 min: A long ball forward by Collins drops to Antonio on the edge of the box. He takes a fresh air shot. But West Ham come back again at Huddersfield, who only half clear, and Schindler clumsily clatters into Antonio. A free kick, 25 yards out.
And we’re off again! West Ham get the ball rolling. More pretty bubbles in the air.
Shameless half-time plug. I’ve written a new book. An oblique nod to Abbott and Costello, it’s called The Title, and it’s the history of the old First Division before the Premier League circus rolled into town. Huddersfield are naturally well represented, and there’s a fair bit of West Ham too. The Observer kindly published an extract: the bit they chose is light on Terriers, but heavy on dog.
Van La Parra strides down the middle and slips the ball to Ince on his right. Ince reaches the area. A sucker punch by Huddersfield right at the end of the half? Nope. Ince doesn’t really connect with the shot and it’s blocked. And that’s that for the opening 45. West Ham have been the better side, but Huddersfield still haven’t conceded a goal in this year’s Premier League. Don’t go away! Back soon!
45 min: Billing is booked for hanging an arm into Zabaleta’s face. That looked accidental, too, though Zabaleta isn’t too happy about it, feeling his lip gingerly.
44 min: After a brief tussle in the midfield, Reid can-cans a boot into Mounie’s face. It’s the craze of the week. It’s unintentional, and after the magic sponge is applied to the Huddersfield striker’s coupon, we play on.
43 min: A free kick for West Ham, 30 yards out in a central position. Cresswell looks to curl one into the top right, but gets it all wrong. The ball flies harmlessly over the bar. “I think it’s safe to say Bilic has not lost the dressing room,” observes Paul Beaumont of 12th-minute fame. “West Ham are playing for their lives and beating Huddersfield at their own gegenpress here. Meanwhile here in Norway, it looks like the right will squeak it, but its too early to know for sure.”
40 min: After a brief lull, West Ham spring into life again. Cresswell hoicks a cross into the Huddersfield box from the left. Carroll cushions a header back to Antonio, on his own on the penalty spot! But Antonio sends a harmless bobbler wide right of the target, disappointing a crowd expecting the net to ripple.
37 min: But West Ham keep coming back at Huddersfield. The extremely impressive Antonio drops a shoulder to cut in from the right, and looks to shape one into the top left. His effort is deflected over the bar. The corner is another of the great non-events.
36 min: Carroll has a lash from 25 yards. It’s deflected wide left of the goal from a corner. And that’s another set piece which goes by without Lossl having to work.
35 min: A rare Huddersfiled attack, with Kachunga dribbling in from the left. But he loses control and slides in on Kouyate, conceding a needless free kick. West Ham have looked extremely comfortable at the back.
34 min: Cresswell whips a fine cross into the mixer from the left. It reaches Carroll at the far post, but for once the big man isn’t on the front foot, and the ball sails away to the right, the danger gone. West Ham are giving this a good go.
33 min: West Ham have had six attempts on goal to Huddersfield’s none. But the Terriers still haven’t conceded this season.
32 min: Zabaleta charges down a Lowe clearance and very nearly breaks clear into the Huddersfield area down the right. Lowe does well to regain his composure, get in the way, usher the ball out of play, and purchase a cheap free kick while he’s at it.
30 min: And now Antonio wins a corner down it. Lossl comes off his line to claim the set piece, and gets nowhere it. Carroll rises and sends a header goalwards. It’s deflected off a nearby defender for another corner, from which Kouyate goes down, feeling the breath of Smith on the back of his neck. He’s incensed, sure he’s been shoved to the ground, but there was very little in that, and the referee isn’t the least bit interested.
28 min: Zabaleta has been extremely lively down this right wing. His relentless pressing forces Lowe into a panicked backpass, then Lossl into a shanked clearance. Nothing comes of it, but West Ham are enjoying themselves down this flank.
26 min: … and it’s met by Collins, eight yards out. He really should score, but his downward header is fairly weak, and snaffled by Lossl before it can sneak into the bottom right. He holds his head in his hands, knowing full well one’s got away there.
25 min: Antonio bursts down the left at great pace. Mooy is left standing. Jorgensen is forced to come across and scythe him down in the traditional style. That’s a booking, a free kick, and a chance to load the box. Though I wonder whether the referee could have let play go on for a little bit, as Hernandez had picked up possession on the left-hand corner of the six-yard box, albeit with his back to goal. Anyway, free kick it is …
24 min: … nothing much. Huddersfield dealt with that without too much problem, surrounding Carroll and giving him little opportunity to attack the ball.
23 min: Good work by Hernandez, Zabaleta and finally Fonte down the right, the first two dribbling around, the latter forcing a corner. From which …
21 min: Carroll battles for possession just outside the Huddersfield area. He does extremely well to win the ball, but then sends a weak dribbler straight at Lossl. A chance to make the keeper work spurned.
20 min: Huddersfield are slowly getting a foothold in the game, though. Smith nearly finds Mounie in the centre with a cross from the right, but there’s not enough height on the ball. Then he exchanges passes with Kachunga down the same wing, a move that goes nowhere, but was pretty enough at the time.
18 min: Now Ince tries to instigate an attack down the right, but somehow manages to clumsily handle the ball as he’s dribbling with it! The home crowd enjoyed that. It’s almost as though they’ve got issues with his pop.
17 min: Ince tries to send Van La Parra away down the left, but his attempted threaded pass is way too weighty. Huddersfield have shown very little in attack so far.
15 min: Carroll is penalised a couple of times in short order for common-or-garden fouls in the Huddersfield half. He’s putting himself about all right. Meanwhile Paul Beaumont (12 min) is not the only Terriers fan living with the fear. Here’s Gavin Hutchinson: “It’s the hope that kills you, and I’ve gone from enjoying the sheer novelty of being in the top flight to now fearing the inevitable first Huddersfield defeat. Andy Carroll has morphed into some mix of John Charles and Marco van Basten in my head. Can you remind me it doesn’t matter? Please?” Sorry, can’t. But at least you don’t have an era-defining general election to worry about, look at it that way.
13 min: Antonio turns on the jets down the right, skinning Lowe with great ease. He reaches the byline and pulls the ball back for Hernandez, who should score from 12 yards but leans back and twangs the crossbar with his shot! The affair earns West Ham a corner in the end, but they do nothing with it. That was a magnificent run by Antonio, though.
10 min: … there’s a bit of head tennis, then Billing goes down with a sore noggin and the referee stops play. “The fact that Bilic is bigging up Carroll and talking about playing ugly suggests he has hit upon our Achilles heel from last year,” begins Paul Beaumont. “Big lads, set pieces, and direct football led to Huddersfield losing quite handily to seemingly mediocre opposition (e.g. Preston). We seemed to get better as the season went on but whether we can cope with Andy Carroll is another question. Perhaps Mounie (‘got a head like a foot’) will cancel him out from set pieces but I maybe not. I was feeling confident before I read the teamsheets, now I am quiet anxious. PS. Am writing from Norway which is having a general election tonight. Hopefully will end up watching Town squeeze out a win and the the ruling blue-blue coalition (think Tories ruling with Ukip) get ousted. Or, and this seems more likely, watch Huddersfield shunted back to earth with a bump while Norway votes to further undermine its Nordic utopia.”
9 min: Persistence by Zabaleta down the right. A deep cross is met by Carroll, whose mere presence forces a corner. From which…
8 min: A lot of rain. Ince glides in from the left and momentarily worries his dad’s old team. It’s a tricky jink, but he ends up down a dead end and Zabaleta sorts the situation out for West Ham.
5 min: Collins takes a whack upside the head while dipping into a challenge with Ince. That’s a sore one, but he’s up as quickly as he’s down, and there was no Ederson-Mane dynamic there. We play on.
3 min: It really is tipping down in Stratford. On the touchline, Slaven Bilic’s suit is already drenched. Happy birthday! Zabaleta makes some space down the right and finds Carroll, who can only hook high and wide. But this is a positive start by the home side.
And we’re off! The visitors get the ball rolling. The bubble machines still giving it plenty. Ditto the crowd, who have waited a long time for their home season to start. Huddersfield waste no time in streaming forward, Mounie trying a cheeky flick down the inside-right channel. But it breaks down and the Hammers flood up the other end. Carroll chests down a right-to-left diagonal ball, and suddenly he’s clear of Smith in the area! He blasts a low cross through the six-yard box. Antonio is a toenail away from sliding in and poking home, but Huddersfield escape. Nearly a fantastic start by Carroll and West Ham!
The teams are out! West Ham take to the pitch at the London Stadium for the first time this season. They’re in their famous claret and blue. Huddersfield are in their equally storied blue-and-white-striped shirts. Plenty of pretty bubbles in the air. And a lot of rain. It’ll be a decent surface for passing all right. We’ll be off in a minute!
There’s a lot riding on this game for Slaven Bilic, whose coat is hanging on a shoogly peg. While we wait for kick off, here’s our man Jacob Steinberg’s expert take on the situation.
No song for David Wagner tonight; his 46th birthday isn’t for another month. “Tonight’s challenge is a big one, a difficult one. But we should be focused on ourselves, and hopefully we are prepared. I did not realise we have named the same side three times in a row until you said. We wanted to find a set-up where we are competitive, it wasn’t in my mind to keep the same 11 players but it’s happened! We are excited, this is a great occasion. We like to make ourselves independent from the circumstance, but it is easier to play in this occasion than another game in the Championship on a Tuesday night! Nothing is better than this. We will be focused on ourselves and try to cause West Ham as many problems as possible.”
♫ Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Slaven, happy birthday to yoo-o-ou! ♪ ♫ Bilić, 49 today, speaks: “Andy Carroll always has a big impact on the game. He is fit, and looks sharp. We didn’t want to push him before. It’s a big boost for us. But it’s about the team, not just about Andy. Lanzini, Noble and Fernandes are injured, but we have changed the formation a bit and we still have a good team. We are going to fight and try to win the game. A good performance doesn’t always mean sexy football; a big performance has to be solid, to have a lot of spirit and energy. We definitely need a good performance!”
Three-time FA Cup winners West Ham United have lost their first three matches, shipping ten goals along the way. By comparison, three-time title winners Huddersfield Town have won two of their first three games and drawn the other, and have yet to concede a goal. And all of this is reflected in the team news.
West Ham make five changes to the team that went down 3-0 at Newcastle United. Out go Angelo Ogbonna, Mark Noble, Edimilson Fernandes, Declan Rice and Andre Ayew; in come Jose Fonte, Cheikhou Kouyate, Pedro Obiang, Michail Antonio and Andy Carroll. Big Andy is making his first start of the season.
West Ham United: Hart, Collins, Reid, Fonte, Zabaleta, Kouyate, Obiang, Cresswell, Antonio, Carroll, Hernandez.
Subs: Adrian, Sakho, Ayew, Ogbonna, Byram, Masuaku, Rice.
Huddersfield Town: Lossl, Smith, Jorgensen, Schindler, Lowe, Mooy, Billing, Kachunga, Ince, van La Parra, Mounie.
Subs: Malone, Sabiri, Coleman, Williams, Depoitre, Hadergjonaj, Hefele.
… and welcome to our coverage of the Monday night football. In which West Ham United attempt to save their manager’s skin, while Huddersfield Town hope to keep partying like it’s 1925. Could be a cracker! It’s on!
Kick off: 8pm.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/sep/11/west-ham-united-v-huddersfield-premier-league-live
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting scored twice to earn the hosts a hard-fought but deserved draw in a highly entertaining match, as United returned to the top of the table.
And that’s that! A wonderfully entertaining game ends with the spoils shared. It’s a fair result, because both teams sparkled in attack, going for it pretty much from the get-go. Stoke move into the top half of the table with that point, while United reclaim top spot on goal difference over their neighbours Manchester City.
90 min +4: A bit of head tennis on the edge of the Stoke area. Pogba tries to Mark Hughes a spectacular bicycle kick home from 12 yards. It’s high and wide.
90 min +3: Diouf takes possession of the drop ball at the restart, and delivers it back to Manchester United, who were on the attack. On the touchline, Mourinho applauds the sportsmanship.
90 min +2: … the ball’s swung deep, flicked on by Jones. With Pogba lurking, Zouma deflects the ball towards the bottom left. It’s going in, but Butland parries it with a strong hand! A fine save! Zouma clears, and then play’s stopped for a head injury to Wimmer.
90 min +1: United are pinning Stoke back. It’s the way they’ve rolled historically. Jones bustles down the right and earns a corner. In it goes, and …
90 min: Lukaku blooters the set piece straight into the wall. That wasn’t very good. There will be three added minutes.
89 min: Matic rakes a long pass down the middle. Stoke don’t really deal with it, and the ball breaks wide right for Mata, who looks to return it inside for Lingard. But Butland smothers the cross. United come again, though, Martial switching the ball from the left to the right. Mata picks up possession, and is clumsily clattered to the ground by Allen, just to the right of the D. A free kick in a very dangerous position!
87 min: Zouma is upended by Martial as he zips down the right. Shaqiri’s free kick is a bit better this time, but not much, and Valencia clears easily enough from a tight spot out on the Stoke left.
86 min: There’s been some handbags between the managers on the touchline, incidentally, Mourinho encroaching into Hughes’s technical area, and receiving a light go-away shove in the chest as a result. Nothing particularly serious, to be honest, all part of the pantomime.
84 min: Before the corner can be taken, Lingard comes on for Mkhitaryan. Then the set piece, which leads to Darmian converting in the rugby style.
83 min: Shaqiri curls a dreadful effort into the arms of De Gea. United scoot up the other end, Mata crossing dangerously from the left. Allen, tracking back, is forced to head behind at the expense of a corner.
82 min: Pogba shoves Allen over in the playground style, as the Stoke man scuttles down the right. A free kick, and a chance to load the box.
81 min: Martial turns on the jets and makes space down the right. He curls a stunning low cross into the area. The ball sits up on a plate for Lukaku, six yards out. He must score, but leans back and shins it over the crossbar. What a chance!
79 min: United spend a little time hovering on the front edge of Stoke’s final third, but the home side hold their shape and there’s no space for the visitors to break through.
77 min: Berahino, Zouma and Shaqiri take turns to annoy Bailly on the edge of the United area. Bailly has the opportunity to clear, but doesn’t, and eventually concedes a corner. Shaqiri takes, and attempts to catch De Gea out with a cheeky curler towards his near post. For a second it looks like flying in, but ripples the side netting instead.
76 min: Pogba makes a little space for himself 30 yards out with a cute drop of the shoulder, before sending a pea-roller straight at Butland.
75 min: Jese is replaced by Saido Berahino.
74 min: Mata’s first act is to drop deep on the right and look for his fellow sub Martial with a curling cross into the area. There’s too much weight on the ball and Butland claims with ease.
72 min: A double change by Manchester United. Juan Mata and Anthony Martial come on for Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera.
70 min: Choupo-Moting is brimful of confidence. He shimmies in from the left and has a whack from 25 yards. The effort flies well wide left. United counter through Lukaku, who attempts to find Rashford in the middle with a dinked cross from the right. Butland reads and snaffles.
68 min: Some good work by Choupo-Moting, who rides a couple of weak United tackles in the middle of the park before swinging the ball wide right for Jese. The resulting cross back into the area is overcooked, but Stoke have their tails up once more.
67 min: One corner leads to another. Butland punches the second miles clear. Valencia tries to return it with extreme prejudice, shooting low for the bottom left from 25 yards. It’s just wide. This match is great fun.
65 min: United come straight back at Stoke, Valencia, Matic and Pogba busying themselves down the right. Eventually Pogba breaks into a bit of space and smacks a shot goalwards from a tight angle. Butland does very well to turn the ball round the post for a corner.
So this starts with a wonder save by David de Gea! Pieters hooks a cross in from the left. Jese meets it, flashing a shot from the corner of the six-yard box. It has to go in, but De Gea somehow fingertips it over! What reactions! And what a futile effort, because the resulting corner, coming in from the right, is hit long, missed by Jones, and Choupo-Moting rises to slam a simple header into the top left from close range! Both teams have taken turns to give up a lead in short order!
61 min: Bailly plays a quick ball forward from deep. Mkhitaryan spins and shuttles it further down the inside-right channel, releasing Rashford on goal. But the flag goes up. The Stoke fans cheer ironically, presumably convinced Lukaku was offside for United’s second goal. But both decisions have been correct.
59 min: Jese’s over-elaboration on the Stoke counter really cost his team there. Harsh to say, because he had eaten up half of the pitch with a marvellous run upfield. But he dillied and dallied with options either side, was stripped of possession, and United showed him how to counter in the fuss-free style.
Rashford pops up on the right and earns a corner. Once again, United let Stoke stream upfield from their set piece. Jese makes good down the right. But he runs out of steam, and is stripped of the ball. United counter the counter. Mkhitaryan chips a clever pass down the middle to bust Lukaku clear. Lukaku’s first shot is parried brilliantly by Butland, but he picks up the rebound and knocks it home!
55 min: So having said that, the game suddenly turns a little scrappy. But out of a midfield nonsense, Allen bursts down the middle with the ball and slips it forward and right to Jese, who threatens to break into the box and shoot. Darmian comes across to cover brilliantly.
53 min: This is a free-flowing, open game, and both sides appear hell bent on attack. Surely there will be another goal, though good luck calling the team to score it.
51 min: Pogba shovels a pass down the inside-right channel to release Mkhitaryan into space. Mkhitaryan chests down and lashes a low shot goalwards. Butland kicks clear, and it turns out the United midfielder’s offside anyway.
49 min: Now it’s Stoke’s turn to earn a corner, Allen setting Pieters away down the left with a fine crossfield pass. Pieters crosses deep, forcing Darmian to head behind. Choupo-Moting attempts to chest the set piece down in the six-yard box, but the ball doesn’t fall for a shot and United clear.
48 min: … another corner’s won. The second is half cleared, though Pogba is given time and chance to shoot from 25 yards. His effort goes straight down Butland’s throat.
47 min: Pogba blasts through a couple of challenges in the midfield and sets Rashford off down the inside left. The striker looks to curl one into the top right, but Zouma blocks. United come again, though winning a corner down the right. From which …
Here we go again! Bruno Martins-Indi comes on for Geoff Cameron, who has picked up a knock. United get the ball rolling for the second half.
Shameless half-time plug. I’ve got a new book out. I know, I know, but a man needs to eat, and anyone interested in the history of English football before the Premier League circus came to town could do worse. An oblique nod to Abbott and Costello, it’s called The Title, and contents include: Stanley Matthews throwing a diva fit; Terry Venables and George Graham’s late-night casino shame; the trenchant political analysis of erstwhile Leeds full back Bert Sproston; and a qualified doctor green-flagging a pre-match booze-and-fags frenzy at the Arsenal. Enjoy!
A lively end-to-end half which promised goals, and ultimately delivered. Stoke will be fuming, having given up their lead after a couple of minutes, but the scoreline seems about right. It’s been entertaining. More to come!
Mkhitaryan loops the ball to the near post. Matic rises and flicks on. Pogba flashes a header goalwards from six yards. The ball takes a deflection off Rashford, and flies into the top right! Pogba celebrates the goal, and Rashford doesn’t claim it, but it’s surely Rashford’s goal.
45 min: United try to respond immediately, Darmian winning a corner off Diouf down the left. And from the set piece…
United win a corner, but do nothing with it, and Stoke stream upfield. After a few patient passes hither and yon, Fletcher, on the left, sprays a magnificent ball towards Diouf on the opposite flank. Diouf is in plenty of space, and he flashes a wonderful cross towards Choupo-Moting, who hammers a sidefoot home from six yards! United finally concede a Premier League goal this season, and it’s a peach!
41 min: Some fine pressing at high speed down the Stoke left by Allen and Choupo-Moting. Lukaku caught sleeping. Shakiri is eventually sent scampering down the touchline, but his ball inside is aimless and United break upfield, very nearly releasing Rashford on goal. Not quite.
39 min: Some head tennis along the front of the United area. The ball drops to the feet of Choupo-Moting, who tries to release Jese into the box with a cheeky backheel. He doesn’t connect properly, but full marks for ambition. That’s a rare sortie into opposition territory for the hosts, though. After a promising start, they’ve retreated into their shell somewhat.
38 min: Another free kick for United out on the right, Fletcher again the culprit. Matic’s delivery is appalling, with the box loaded. It was nowhere near to beating the first man. Stoke hack clear.
36 min: It’s gone slightly flat. Stoke are doing nothing in attack. United are dominating possession, but are happy to play a patient game, stroking it around in the middle of the park quite a lot.
34 min: United are beginning to turn the pressure up a little bit. More joy for Valencia down the right. He’s in loads of space, but opts to shoot from a tight angle. Marco van Basten would have thought twice from there.
6 am, Saturday 27 January 1973. The BT Sport clock has now disappeared totally, and I’m not sure if it will ever return. We know exactly where we all are, though, don’t you fret.
31 min: Valencia tears off down the right, exchanges a one-two with Lukaku, and fizzes a dangerous low ball towards Rashford at the near post. Zouma hacks it behind for a corner that results in Matic’s wild shot from distance. Zouma’s intervention wasn’t far away from an own goal, incidentally; the Stoke fans certainly had their hearts in their mouths as he flashed that one away.
30 min: Shaqiri, his dander up, has another go from 25 yards out on the left. It’s a rising diagonal effort which looks on target for the top right, but De Gea is behind it all the way and holds on spectacularly. This match is threatening to turn into an entertaining affair. Just not quite yet. On another day, though, there would have been goals already. It’s not been for the want of both teams trying.
28 min: Good work by Allen and Diouf down the right, some crisp passing. They set up Shaqiri, to the right of the United D. Shaqiri has a dig towards the bottom right. It’s a fast bobbling effort which De Gea does extremely well to collect. And there’s more quality goalkeeping up the other end as United attack through Rashford down the inside-left. A strong hand palms the shot away from the bottom right. Lukaku, looking to pick up the pieces, is flagged offside.
26 min: Shaqiri hoicks a long ball down the inside-right channel with a view to releasing Jese. A little too much on the pass, and De Gea is able to collect.
24 min: Bailly, quarterbacking from deep, slips a stunning pass down the inside-right channel to release Rashford. The striker enters the area, and lashes a low shot towards the bottom left, but Butland clears well with his feet. United’s best moment so far.
22 min: Shaqiri does well to win a ball in the midfield and set Stoke away on the attack. He feeds Jese, who is very close to slipping Pieters into an awful lot of space down the left. But Bailly and Valencia are on hand to snuff out the danger.
25 o’clock: BT Sport still haven’t fixed their on-screen timer. I must buy a watch. But worry not, I think we’re on top of this situation.
20 min: Valencia earns a corner down the right. It’s half cleared, but United regain possession and Matic very nearly releases Lukaku into the area with a chip down the inside-left channel. The flag goes up for offside.
19 min: This is a bit better from Choupo-Moting: an attempt to chest down and Le Tissier a volley into the top right from the best part of 40 yards, De Gea having wandered off his line. It’s high and wide, but not by a ridiculous amount. A decent effort, though De Gea was never in serious danger of being embarrassed.
18 min: Rashford plays a ridiculous crossfield pass straight to Choupo-Moting. United are light at the back, and Stoke have men over on the right. But the striker dillies and dallies for the second time in this game, and the chance to put United under some serious pressure is gone.
16 min: United knock it around the middle awhile. Stoke keep their shape. Eventually Herrera gets fed up and chips a ball down the inside-right channel. No black shirts near it. Butland comes out to gather.
14 min: Fletcher flaps his hand at a ball and concedes a free kick out on the United right. United load the box with big lads, but Mkhitaryan opts to fire a low delivery. Not a great idea. Shaqiri batters clear.
12 min: United stroke it around the back awhile. Jones slips and for a second looks like letting Shaqiri away on goal, but regains his balance and sorts himself out. After a very open and hectic start, this has calmed down a tad.
10 min: After that early flurry, a bit of a lull. United try to up the tempo as Darmian bursts down the left and sends in a cross for Lukaku, but once again Stoke deal with the situation pretty well.
8 min: Rashford is sent scampering down the left by a fine Pogba pass, but he can’t dig out a cross; Cameron closes him down and tidies up. Stoke have started fairly confidently here, but this United side don’t look the sort to panic.
986 min: Incidentally, the clock on BT Sport is up the spout, so please forgive me if my timings are a wee bit out. I’ll try my best to work things out.
4 min: This is quite the start! Jese makes good down the right and dribbles a shot across the face of goal and out of play on the left. Then there’s another Stoke attack, Diouf making his presence felt on the right. A corner, which De Gea claims, but only after letting the ball slip from his grip and onto the turf. Fortunately for United, there were no red-and-white shirts around him to benefit.
2 min: There’s a minor brouhaha as Choupo-Moting falls over in United’s crowded box. No penalty. United then zip up the other end through Rashford down the right. United are two on one! Rashford also turns down an opportunity to power into the box, slipping the ball to his left for Lukaku. But the big striker can’t get the ball out from under his feet, and Zouma is able to block. It really should be 1-1.
1 min: Within 30 seconds, Jese hooks a ball over his own head down the right wing and sets Choupo-Moting clear down the flank! But the striker glides rather than drives into the box, and instead of powering a shot on goal, he allows the ball to be bundled out of play for a corner.
After a last blast of Delilah, we’re off! The home side get the ball rolling. A rollicking atmosphere at Stoke, but when is there ever not?
The teams are out! Stoke City wear their famous red-and-white-striped shirts (think Stanley Matthews); Manchester United are in 1990s retro-chic black (think Sharp Viewcam). We’ll be off in a minute!
Jose Mourinho meanwhile takes the opportunity to show Stoke some respect, but doesn’t say much else of note. “Of course we have an important match on Tuesday, but we are focused on this match first. It’s difficult enough to do that.”
Mark Hughes speaks! “We’ve started brightly enough at the beginning of a new season. But today is a big test, we’ll have to play well. There are always elements of play we think we can take advantage of. It’s important to get Kevin Wimmer out there for his home debut, though it’s a blow to lose Ryan Shawcross to a back injury. But our back three are all good players.”
Stoke City make two changes to the team sent out at West Bromwich Albion before the international break. Ryan Shawcross is unfit while Bruno Martins Indi drops to the bench. In come new signing Kevin Wimmer and Mame Biram Diouf.
Manchester United relegate three of the side that started the Old Trafford victory over Leicester City to the bench. Daley Blind, Juan Mata and Anthony Martial step down; Matteo Darmian, Ander Herrera and Marcus Rashford take their spots.
Stoke City: Butland, Zouma, Wimmer, Cameron, Diouf, Fletcher, Allen, Pieters, Shaqiri, Jese, Choupo-Moting.
Subs: Berahino, Tymon, Martins Indi, Adam, Crouch, Haugaard, Sobhi.
Manchester United: de Gea, Valencia, Bailly, Jones, Darmian, Herrera, Matic, Pogba, Mkhitaryan, Lukaku, Rashford.
Subs: Mata, Martial, Smalling, Lingard, Carrick, Blind, Romero.
… in which Manchester United look to reclaim top spot in the Premier League. The form book suggests they’re in good shape to do it: they’ve won their first three matches without conceding a goal, while scoring ten. Stoke, by contrast, have only managed to find the net 11 times in their last 14 Premier League games.
Still, one of those came at the Bet 365 Stadium against Arsenal, and it proved the Potters have what it takes to see off the big boys. They’ll also take heart from their recent home record against United: they’ve not lost this particular league fixture since April 2013, winning two and drawing two, a record that would have been three and one were it not for a last-minute Wayne Rooney free kick back in January.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/sep/09/premier-league-stoke-city-v-manchester-united-live
City thrashed ten-man Liverpool, who had Sadio Mane sent off for a reckless challenge on Ederson.
And that’s that! City go top of the Premier League, at least for a couple of hours, with a five-goal skelping of Liverpool. They were already leading when Sadio Mane clattered into Ederson and received his marching orders; the game was only heading one way after that. Kevin De Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus, Leroy Sane and Benjamin Mendy were magnificent. And Ederson is back on the touchline, with a plaster on his jaw but otherwise looking healthy, which is the most important thing of all.
Scrub that! There’s time for Sane to pick up possession just to the right of the Liverpool D. He takes a touch and curls one into the top left! A beauty, and this is now officially a rout.
90 min: Everyone would be happy to hear the final whistle now, if the keep-ball going on in the middle of the park is anything to go by. That’ll be sounded in two minutes’ time.
88 min: De Bruyne, quarterbacking from deep, slides a pass down the inside-left channel for Sane, who crosses low. Aguero slides to meet the ball at the far post, and guides it goalwards, but Mignolet spreads himself to save well.
86 min: Solanke sprays a fine ball down the right for Henderson to chase. Out comes Bravo to smother. Henderson thought about going in for the 50-50, but opted out of the challenge, understandably so in the circumstances.
85 min: Sane comes straight through the back of Moreno. Not sure how he’s escaped a booking for that, but it’s just a wee chat.
84 min: 4-0’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has a run down the left. It doesn’t lead to much. Liverpool have had no outlet in this second half. Was it such a good idea to take Mo Salah off?
83 min: Fernandinho curls in a cross from the right. Can tries to trap it with his buttocks, perhaps not the wisest idea. The ball clanks to Aguero, who turns Can on the outside and smacks a shot into the side netting on the right.
81 min: Can is booked for a frustrated slide on Aguero. The resulting free kick comes to nothing.
79 min: More keep ball from City, whose fans are now in Party Mode. Penny for erstwhile Arsenal player Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s thoughts, now facing two 4-0 defeats in a row with different clubs. If not something even worse.
This had been coming. Another powerful run by Mendy down the left, and another peach of a cross. He slips it inside to Sane, who fires a first-time effort into the bottom left. Mignolet was beaten at his near post, though in truth he’d have done very well to stop that crisp shot, with Liverpool all over the shop at the back.
74 min: Mendy is rampant right now. He strides again down the left and Henderson does very well to swivel and hoick his cross away while standing in front of goal. The away fans are making the most noise right now, as supporters so often do when their team are in an awful pickle like this.
72 min: A brilliant reaction save by Mignolet, from his own player! Mendy whips a low cross in from the left. Matip hangs out a leg, and the ball flashes towards the bottom left. Mignolet does very well indeed to keep the effort, such as it is, out with a strong arm.
70 min: Eliaquim Mangala comes on for Nicolas Otamendi.
69 min: Solanke’s first contribution is to win the ball in midfield with some determined scrambling. He sets Milner off down the right. Milner is clipped by Danilo, and is happy to sit on the turf awhile, running down the clock. The resulting free kick comes to naught.
68 min: Alexander-Arnold is forced to tap out for a corner under pressure from Mendy, pressing hard down the left. From the set piece, Silva and Sane nearly open Liverpool up with some pretty quick-fire passing down the wing, but the offside flag goes up after a crisp one-two.
67 min: Firmino hasn’t stopped chasing, despite the desperate situation Liverpool find themselves in. But his race is run: he’s replaced by Dominic Solanke.
65 min: But suddenly City spring into life, Sane turning on the jets out on the left. He pulls back a cross for De Bruyne, who, breaking news, finally does something that isn’t superb! He leans back and blooters a shot miles over the bar, with the goal at his mercy.
64 min: City with more of the sterile keep-ball. Liverpool will take this, in the hope of avoiding a cricket-score thrashing. Meanwhile here’s Rory Craig again: “After letting myself calm down, and confirming that my unbridled bias towards the Reds got the better of me, that probably was a red card really. But it might not have been. I don’t know. Hardly matters, we probably would have still lost.”
62 min: City play a bit of keep ball in the middle of the park. Walker threatens to break free down the right but Klavan just about manages to keep him away from the danger zone.
60 min: Liverpool can’t get out of their own half. The home crowd are enjoying this.
58 min: James Milner comes on for Georginio Wijnaldum. The City fans give their former player the bird. Always time for a bit of panto in the Premier League.
57 min: The brilliant Gabriel Jesus, who has scored two and had another goal disallowed, won’t be getting his hat-trick. He’s replaced by Leroy Sane.
56 min: … some intricate triangulation which releases Mendy into space. He rolls a ball across the six-yard box, with Jesus again hovering. Mignolet smothers. Yes, Liverpool have to watch themselves here.
55 min: This could get embarrassing for Liverpool. David Silva slips a pass down the left for Mendy, who hooks towards the near post, where Jesus lurks. The ball’s deflected out for a corner by Klavan. And from the set piece…
City have the ball in the net again, and it’s another disallowed goal, Aguero clipping a right-wing cross home but from an offside position. No matter! Seconds later, they intercept a Liverpool hoof upfield. Fernandinho slides a pass down the middle, splitting Liverpool’s new back three, and Aguero is away! He unselfishly passes to Jesus on his left, and the young man finishes with Mignolet utterly stranded!
51 min: … nothing occurs.
50 min: Firmino has a couple of runs at the City back line, clearly not of a mind to let this one go yet. The second earns a corner down the right, from which …
48 min: All a bit quiet at the Etihad, however, with a general sense that this is pretty much over, unless Otamendi, for example, manages to get himself sent off. Meanwhile in the interests of balance, which everyone loves on the internet, here’s Rory Craig: “Yes, Mané’s boot is high, but is he not allowed challenge for the ball? Calling the keeper defenceless is a bit of an overstatement I think; his half-hearted challenge for the ball put himself in more danger than if he had dived for it, but that’s just from my view of the challenge.”
46 min: Gary Neville is still standing his ground, incidentally, in his belief that the Mane-Ederson incident was unfortunate, but just a yellow. I guess we’ll be hearing more of it. People like talking points, huh? Adults with differing points of view? Still, how football has changed. This wasn’t even a free kick!
Here we go again, then! And what a moment for Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain to make his Liverpool debut, as he comes on for Mo Salah. The home side get the ball rolling for the second half.
Hats off to Jon Moss. Because, yes, that’s a red card. On first viewing, it looked an innocent coming together. But Sky have run a few other angles, and while Mane was clearly fixated on controlling the ball, he had his boot recklessly high, and poor Ederson paid the price. Plenty of you agree…
Peter Van: “Mané doesn’t intend to harm Ederson, but he lunges recklessly into a defenseless opponent. You might argue he doesn’t know Ederson is there, but that’s just not true; the way he extends his leg lets you know he is aware of the keeper’s presence. He didn’t intend to harm Ederson, but he did not do all he could to avoid a clash that might have – did have – dreadful consequences. It should be a red.”
Well that escalated quickly. City were already leading when Sadio Mane was sent off for a high-footed attempt to round Ederson that went horribly wrong. They’re now two goals and a man to the good. The result is theirs for the taking. Back soon!
45 min +8: Salah embarks on another fine dribble down the right, but once again his decision making is poor and he delivers neither cross nor shot.
No mistake this time! De Bruyne tries a cross from the left, and it drops on the head of Jesus, who plants a fine header past Mignolet! That was another peach of a cross! City are in control now.
45 min +5: Liverpool are desperate to hear the half time whistle. They can’t get hold of the ball. “I thought it was harsh at first bust looking at the replay I think Moss has got it spot on,” writes Kasete Skeen. “Mane’s foot was high, high enough to hit Ederson in the head and the fact they converged so forcefully makes it all the worse.” Yes, you might be right. Who’d be a referee?
45 min +3: De Bruyne, deep on the right, curls a glorious ball into the middle. Jesus rises and plants a header past the flapping Mignolet. That was some cross, he couldn’t miss! But the flag goes up, correctly, for offside.
45 min +2: Mendy whips a gorgeous cross into the Liverpool box from the right. Aguero, at the far post, seems surprised and can only force a corner. From which…
45 min: Ederson departs, and Claudio Bravo comes on. There will be eight extra minutes added to this half.
43 min: Was Mane unlucky to be sent off? Maybe. Maybe not. Certainly, poor Ederson has come off worst in physical terms, and he’ll take no more part in the game. He’s being carefully loaded onto a stretcher.
40 min: Ederson is down getting a bit of treatment. To be fair, he did take an awful clatter in the face there. But it looked like an honest coming together in an innocent 50-50. I guess folk will have different opinions on the decision, but on Sky both Gary Neville and Thierry Henry think it’s harsh on Mane, regardless of Ederson’s injury. On the touchline, Jurgen Klopp is beside himself with anger. Moss comes over to calm Klopp & Klopp down.
37 min: A long hoick down the middle. Mane springs the offside trap and goes after the ball. Ederson comes out of his area. Mane looks to nick the ball past the keeper on the left. His raised leg connects with the keeper, who goes down. It’s a free kick, sure. But there’s shock in the air as Jon Moss brandishes red. Nobody expected that! That looks a slightly harsh decision, with Mane looking at the ball as the pair collided. Having said that, the keeper did take an unfortunate one in the face.
36 min: City were looking nervous before that opening goal, but now it’s Liverpool who appear jittery. Passes aren’t sticking any more, and the home side are beginning to win most of the battles in midfield.
34 min: Liverpool have been awfully ponderous in defence. Now it’s Klavan’s turn to faff around unnecessarily, and he’s closed down by Jesus, who races off with the ball. Klavan does pretty well to get back and blocks Jesus’s shot from a tight angle. From the resulting corner, the ball drops to Stones, six yards out! He must score, but hits his effort straight at Mignolet, who kicks away well.
33 min: That goal means Aguero has become the top-scoring non-European in Premier League history. How’s that for a contrived stat? He’s got 124 now, one more than Dwight Yorke.
31 min: A wonderful spin by Mane in the midfield, and he slips a pass down the right for Salah. He’s clear. He steps into the box, but telegraphs his intent, opening his body and looking to curl one past Ederson and into the bottom left. The keeper reads it and claims. Salah has been getting in plenty of decent positions, but his final ball has been woeful so far.
29 min: Not much. Can tries to curl one round the wall and into the top right, but gets way too much on it. Goal kick. Maybe Alexander-Arnold will get the next one.
28 min: Mane embarks on a speedy stroll down the inside-left channel. Stones backs off and backs off. Mane prepares to enter the area and shoot. Fernandinho takes matters into his own hands with a clip of Mane’s heel, just to the left of the City D. That’s a booking, and what can Liverpool do with this free kick?
27 min: Firmino slides a pass down the inside-right channel for Salah, who once again is in the City area with time, and once again plays a poor ball. His low, aimless cross is flopped on by Ederson, and the danger is gone.
A poor clearing header from Henderson in the midfield. De Bruyne, in the centre circle, slips a perfectly weighted ball down the middle, releasing Aguero who was just onside. A wonderfully timed run, and he rounds Mignolet on the right and rolls the ball into the empty net. So simple! But that’s a very pretty pass and finish.
23 min: Now Mane has a gander down the right. His low fizzer is hacked out by Stones for a corner. From the set piece, Henderson takes a fresh-air screamer from the edge of the box. The home fans enjoyed that. There’s a bit of scrappy head tennis, and finally the flag goes up for offside.
22 min: Can and Moreno exchange passes down the left. Can tries to open up City with a scoop over the back line, but Mane hasn’t read it and Ederson claims. Then another Liverpool attack, as Salah skins Otamendi down the right and bombs towards the byline. He’s got Firmino in the middle, screaming for a tap-in, but decides to flick a shot towards the bottom right, hoping to surprise Ederson at his near post. Nope!
20 min: Alexander-Arnold plays himself into trouble, delaying a simple hoick upfield. He’s closed down by De Bruyne, who races off towards the box. Alexander-Arnold yanks him down just outside the box, and he’s in the book. The free kick, in a dangerous position, is nothing to write home about.
18 min: Can has a smack from 25 yards, but he was falling backwards at the time, and the pea-roller, aimed for the bottom left, is easily claimed by Ederson.
17 min: The first lull of an open game. Stones, under no pressure whatsover as City stroke it around in midfield, blooters a pass high into the stand out on the left. That wasn’t in the brochure.
15 min: Otamendi is off wandering, and Salah is afforded way too much time down the right. Salah cuts inside and shapes to shoot Stones comes across to block brilliantly. The incident gives Liverpool confidence. Mane has a wander down the left and nearly works space to shoot. Then Henderson swings a ball in from the right. Firmino meets it at the far post, but can only flick a leg out from a tight angle. Ederson gathers. This surely won’t be goalless, but good luck guessing who’s going to open the scoring.
13 min: Fernandinho takes up possession 30 yards from goal, and he’s got a little time and space. He threads a low shot towards the bottom left. It’s going in, but it’s not hit with pace, and Mignolet is able to tip the ball around the post. Another corner, another non-event.
12 min: Alexander-Arnold is bollocked by the referee for taking too long over his throw-ins. Rattled, the young full back then concedes a corner from miles out, overcooking a backpass under a little pressure. Fortunately for Liverpool, the City corner comes to nothing.
10 min: After a slow start, City are beginning to impose themselves. Silva and Otamendi combine down the left and nearly release Jesus, but the striker loses control just inside the Liverpool area.
8 min: This is a breezy start all right. Matip is forced into a rushed clearance and concedes a corner down the City right. The corner’s hit deep. Aguero shapes to hit a bicycle kick from the edge of the box, but Klavan crowds him out and Liverpool clear their lines.
7 min: Moreno batters the set piece straight into the wall, looking for the bottom right. Alexander-Arnold gets on the rebound and curls deep, but Firmino can’t get his head on it at the far post. City break upfield, De Bruyne striding down the inside-right channel with great purpose and fizzing a low shot towards the bottom right. Mignolet smothers.
6 min: Otamendi makes an awful hash of clearing a long Matip ball. His mistake allows Salah to zip off down the right. Salah threatens to break into the box, so Otamendi, only half recovering, checks him cynically. He’s booked, and this is a free kick in a dangerous position, just to the right of the City box.
4 min: City have a wander up field for the first time, and Walker is clipped by Mane out on the right wing. A free kick, 35 yards from goal, and a chance for City to load the box. De Bruyne curls the free kick into the mixer. Jesus rises above a static Wijnaldum, who is in Clearing Header (Watford) Mode. The City striker eyebrows an effort wide left; Mignolet was watching it glide harmlessly out of play. But both teams are showing much attacking intent already, pretty much as expected.
2 min: Liverpool are on the front foot early doors. Salah sits on Otamendi’s shoulder and nearly bursts down the right. Then Moreno has a crack from distance, and his effort rebounds out for a corner on the left. The set piece, whipped in by Firmino and dipping by the near post, is snaffled by Ederson.
A warm handshake between the two managers … wide smiles … a blast of Hey Jude (1968, the year of City’s second title) from the speakers … and we’re off! Liverpool get the ball rolling. Wijnaldum tries to find Salah down the right wing and possession is lost. City’s turn to get a feel of the ball.
The teams are out! City are in their famous sky blue and white shorts; Liverpool in their equally storied all-red strip. There’s a rare old atmosphere at the Etihad; we’ll be off in a minute!
These two clubs have had a strange relationship of late. Liverpool have won four of the last five league fixtures, drawing the other one. They’ve handed out a couple of big skelpings: 3-0 at Anfield in March 2016, 4-1 here at the Etihad in November 2015. But on the flip side, Manchester City bested them in the 2016 League Cup final and the 2013-14 title race. So Liverpool may have the recent bragging rights in terms of cold stats, but it’s City who won when it really counted and extended their roll of honour. So does this mean today’s result doesn’t really matter? No. So does that mean this paragraph was a pointless waste of time? Hm.
Pep Guardiola speaks! “This kind of game, against top players, is why we are in this world. We have gone with two strikers, because we are going to try to score goals. We have options at the back: we can play a back four, or three and one in the middle. It is not easy to stop Liverpool, they are so quick. But it is not only that, they are well organised, and it is Liverpool. But we are going to minimise their strength points, and try to play our game.”
While we’re waiting to hear from Pep … here’s Barney Ronay, who has high hopes for this match.
Jurgen Klopp speaks! “It is 100 percent sure that this will be a high-intense game. City have a very offensive line-up but they have adapted to the speed we have in our team. They have a high-quality defence, and up front they have quality. We need to be brave, but it is difficult against City. Dejan Lovren is not injured, but he has felt the intensity, so Klavan is in. Trent has fresh legs.”
Both teams make three changes to their pre-break starting XIs. Of the Manchester City selection sent out at Bournemouth, Vincent Kompany is injured, Raheem Sterling is suspended, and Bernardo Silva drops to the bench. Stepping up: John Stones, Kyle Walker and Sergio Aguero.
Liverpool meanwhile shake up the side that worked Arsenal over. Simon Mignolet returns at the expense of Loris Karius, Trent Alexander-Arnold takes Joe Gomez’s slot at right back, and Ragnar Klavan replaces Dejan Lovren. All three of the replaced are on the bench, alongside the new boy Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Manchester City: Ederson, Danilo, Stones, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Walker, De Bruyne, David Silva, Mendy, Aguero, Gabriel Jesus.
Subs: Bravo, Gundogan, Mangala, Delph, Sane, Bernardo Silva, Foden.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Klavan, Moreno, Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Subs: Karius, Lovren, Milner, Gomez, Sturridge, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Solanke.
OK, so I think we’re all agreed: Nicolas Otamendi, John Stones, Dejan Lovren and Simon Mignolet aren’t the second coming of Franco Baresi, Franz Beckenbauer, Bobby Moore and Lev Yashin. But hey, there are worse crimes.
And just look at the attacking talent likely to caper across the green grass of the City of Manchester Stadium at some point this afternoon: Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva, Sergio Agüero, Sadio Mané, Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino, Daniel Sturridge. Say what you like about the balance of these two teams, but Manchester City and Liverpool aren’t short-changing anyone.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/sep/09/manchester-city-v-liverpool-premier-league-live
Liverpool made it through to the group stage of the Champions League with a sparkling attacking display.
Nope! That’s your lot! Liverpool join Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Manchester United and Celtic in the group stage of the Champions League! Klopp flashes a wide smile. They were the better side over both legs, but were pushed hard by an excellent Hoffenheim, who kept this tie alive longer than the scoreline suggests. “We’re delighted to get through to the Champions League, where we know Liverpool belong,” says their captain Jordan Henderson, who also has the good grace to laugh as he admits the defence might still be something of a work in progress. Anfield celebrates, and looks forward to an exciting, if sometimes nerve-wracking, autumn of fixtures on the continent.
90 min +2: Zuber wins a corner off Gomez out on the left. Time for a late consolation?
90 min +1: There will be three added minutes. Wijnaldum nearly works some shooting space just inside the Hoffenheim area, but he’s crowded out.
90 min: Hubner bundles Salah over by the right touchline. It’s a common or garden foul, but Hubner is unhappy enough with the decision to talk himself into the book.
89 min: Liverpool just happy to sit back and hold their shape. Hoffenheim finally out of puff.
87 min: Mane wanders down the left. He slips the ball inside for Wijnaldum, who keeps it going towards Firmino on the right. The Hoffenheim old boy steps inside the area and lashes hard into the side netting. And that’s the last act by Mane, who is replaced by Klavan.
86 min: Space for Firmino down the right. He’s got Salah in the centre, desperate to score, but the cross is too near Baumann.
84 min: Kramaric curls another cross into the Liverpool box from the left. Wanger leaps, and is beaten this time by Lovren, although not particularly convincingly. Anfield is nervous. Liverpool have been the better side tonight, but they’re contriving to make a meal of this.
83 min: Wijnaldum buys a cheap free kick in the midfield, allowing the clock to run down, an ersatz Didi Hamann tribute act. “I concede the argument on Yakety Sax (67 min),” writes music scholar Sam Metta Bexar. “But I might add it perhaps works even better if the song is played on a kazoo: they’re just that nutty sometimes!”
81 min: Henderson shanks a simple clearance straight into the air. A few nerves betrayed there. Anfield is feeling it again.
Have we spoken too soon? Well, Hoffenheim just need three goals now, because Kramaric swings a gorgeous cross in from the left. Wagner rises on the penalty spot, and plants an unstoppable header into the left-hand portion of the net!
78 min: Uth, with his back to goal on the edge of the Liverpool D, slips a ball to the left for the excellent Demirbay, who shoots low for the bottom right. Mignolet does well to get down and parry.
76 min: A couple of determined runs by Toljan down the right. Neither come to anything. The away support show their appreciation anyway. They’re making the majority of the noise right now, determined to enjoy the rest of their second-ever European tie.
74 min: All a bit scrappy in the midfield now. Hoffenheim keep on pressing, admirably so given the jig is pretty much up.
72 min: A calmness descends on Anfield for perhaps the first time this evening. Liverpool stroke it around in the centre circle, letting the clock do its thing.
70 min: The two-goal hero Can is replaced by Milner.
69 min: Demirbay and Kramaric spin and combine down the inside-right, the former nearly releasing the latter. But Lovren sticks out a peg to hook away.
67 min: Can dribbles at slow speed down the right. He eventually slams a cross along the corridor of uncertainty, with many a red shirt in the Hoffenheim area. Baumann does very well to claim under extreme pressure. “I’m obviously a little more low-brow than Sam Metta Bexar (54 mins),” admits Phil Sawyer. “When it comes to supporting Liverpool, I find that for something that sums up the will they/won’t they score more goals by attacking furiously/concede more by defending hilariously, Yakety Sax does the trick nicely.”
65 min: Firmino rather marvellously celebrated that goal by loosening the cord on his shorts and dancing so his breeks slowly fell down in the comic fashion. Toljan comes on for Kaderabek, while Alexander-Arnold limps off lightly, Gomez coming on in his stead.
Demirbay, near the centre circle, passes back to Vogt. It’s a hospital pass. Henderson challenges, blocks, and tears clear. He selflessly lays off to his right, Firmino slotting into the bottom right from the edge of the area. Relief around Anfield. This is surely over now.
62 min: Hoffenheim decide to lump it high into the Liverpool box, with Szalai lurking. Matip and Mignolet get in each other’s way, and the keeper needs not one but three attempts to claim the dropping ball. He eventually completes his task.
60 min: Alexander-Arnold channels his inner Garrincha and dribbles from the right touchline into the Hoffenheim box, past a couple of challenges. He’s eventually stopped in his tracks, though Wijnaldum wins the ball back and returns it to the young full back. Alexander-Arnold bursts again, then slips the ball inside to Wijnaldum, who hits a rising shot that’s well parried by Baumann.
58 min: That was Gnarby’s last act of the evening. He’s replaced by Szalai. Mane again bursts with purpose down the left and earns a corner kick. The resulting set piece is a nonsense.
56 min: Gnabry slips the ball wide right for Kramaric, who strides into the box and hits a shot-cum-cross that bobbles across the face of goal and harmlessly out of play to the left. That was neither one thing nor another, but Liverpool were again unpicked with relative ease.
54 min: Wijnaldum and Salah flick dainty passes at each other down the inside-right. The one-two has released the former into the box. He’s just got to lift the ball over the outrushing Baumann … but hooks it high. And with perfect timing, here comes Sam Metta Bexar: “I’m reading the MBM while listening to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring for Modernism class, and suddenly it struck me that the weird, atonal, sometimes ugly, and occasionally powerful music is like theme music for Liverpool, who are sometimes frighteningly weird, occasionally powerful, and sometimes awful, but you can’t stop watching!”
52 min: Mane turns on the jets to earn a corner down the left. Matip meets the set piece with a header. Matip sends the header harmlessly wide, as he does so often. He’s brilliant at getting on the end of corners, Matip. Just not so good at guiding them home. His scoring rate should be higher, really, the chances he sniffs out.
51 min: Firmino turns on a sixpence in the centre circle and runs at his old club with extreme prejudice. He’s crudely checked by the shoulder of Vogt, who has taken a booking for the team there.
50 min: Hoffenheim do like a high line, don’t they. Firmino flicks a ball down the inside-right channel, releasing Salah from just inside the halfway line. The Liverpool winger is correctly flagged offside, albeit not by much.
48 min: And we nearly get one, though it’s Liverpool who threaten to score it, breaking upfield from the corner five on three. They’re uncharacteristically ponderous, though, and the move peters out. Alexander-Arnold tries to get it going again by fizzing a cross into the box from the right, but nobody takes a chance on a decent delivery and Baumann will take a goal kick.
47 min: Wagner earns a corner for Hoffenheim down the left. Another goal now would set us up for quite the second half.
46 min: Salah glides in from the right, then switches to Mane on the left. Firmino and Wijnaldum race up to get involved, but it’s too intricate in the Hoffenheim box, and the chance of an early second-half goal – which burned brightly for a nanosecond with the ball at Firmino’s feet – is gone.
OK, here we go again! Liverpool get the ball rolling for the second half, kicking towards the Kop. There have been no changes. “Two goals in two games … Liverpool can’t handle the Uth.” Jim Morrish there, ladies and gentlemen, making a late bid for the 2017 Edinburgh comedy awards.
Half-time reading: Catch up with the latest from the League Cup.
Liverpool could have had five. Then again, so could Hoffenheim. What a marvellously entertaining half of football. It should be over. But you know how Liverpool roll. It’s not quite over yet. The second half should be a blast.
45 min +1: Henderson miscontrols in the midfield, and stands on Demirbay’s boot as he desperately attempts to retrieve the ball. A booking. He can have no complaints about that one.
45 min: The corner’s cleared by Moreno, who puts in a no-nonsense block on Gnabry. Liverpool fly up the other end, Can very nearly springing Mane free down the middle. But Mane’s gone too soon, and the flag goes up.
44 min: This has been a wonderfully open half of football. Kramaric strides down the centre of the park and slips the ball wide right for Uth, who lashes low towards the bottom right. Mignolet is forced to tip round the post. It was going wide, but at such a speed he couldn’t take the chance.
42 min: Now it’s Liverpool’s turn to miss by a whisker. Matip, striding up from the back, causes some bother down the right. He drifts infield and lays off to Mane, who in turn shuttles the ball wide left for Can. Can’s got a hat-trick in mind, and sends a first-time curler towards the bottom right. Baumann’s nowhere to be seen, but the ball bobbles wide of the post.
41 min: Gnabry cuts in from the left and, from the corner of the area, unleashes a curler towards the bottom right. That’s in if it’s on target, Mignolet never getting there, but it sails just wide right of the post.
40 min: Gnarby is very lively. He skedaddles down the left, reaches the byline, and is only stopped from sending in a very dangerous low cross by some excellent tracking from Matip. The resulting corner comes to nothing.
38 min: Kaderabek is booked for standing on the back of Mane’s calf. That’s a red card, a very dangerous challenge, but he’s got away with that one. Mane is OK, and soon enough is up and about orchestrating some crowd song, having been given the bird by the away support.
36 min: From the set piece, the ball’s worked back to Henderson. From deep, the Liverpool captain sprays wide right to Salah, who sidefoots first time to Alexander-Arnold. The ball’s fired inside for Firmino, who should slam home from six yards, but sees his shot parried by Baumann. Liverpool come again with another phase, but Mane’s low curler from the left is easily gathered by the keeper.
35 min: More space for Mane down the left. He hooks inside. Can thinks about volleying goalwards, with a hat-trick in mind, but opts instead for feeding Alexander-Arnold on the overlap. The young full back earns a corner.
33 min: Some very ponderous play by Wijnaldum in the midfield allows Geiger to tear up the other end. He feeds Uth, who loses control with options ahead. Matip is able to whack clear. Liverpool have totally lost their rhythm.
31 min: Gnabry tears clear down the left, reaching the byline and firing a low cross into the box which Lovren can only half clear. The offside flag goes up. Another goal for the Germans would make this quite interesting.
30 min: Klopp stands on the touchline, screaming at his players quite a lot. They’ve inexplicably switched off as a whole, and allowed the visitors a glimmer of hope.
Once again Liverpool fail to clear their lines. Lovren with a lax prod upfield. The ball’s slipped out to Uth on the right-hand corner of the box. He takes a touch inside, then threads a wonderful ball across Mignolet and into the bottom-left corner! That one had been coming. This tie should be over, but it’s not. Not quite. Not yet. Crystanbul really did jigger the collective central nervous system round Anfield way.
27 min: Wagner makes a nuisance of himself in the Liverpool box, nobody in a red shirt bothering to clear the ball. For a second, it looks as though it’ll fall to him, and he’ll slam home from six yards. But eventually Mignolet takes charge. There are palpable nerves around Anfield, despite it all.
25 min: Thing is, Hoffenheim could easily have scored a couple themselves. Kramaric, in the middle of Liverpool’s half, slips a gorgeous pass down the inside-left channel for Gnabry, who is clear on goal! He draws Mignolet, but then snatches at his shot, the ball rolling harmlessly across the face of goal and out on the right. He had to score.
24 min: Hoffenheim may as well go for broke, and they throw on their goalscorer from the first leg, Uth, in place of the defender Nordtveit.
23 min: Mane goes on yet another run down the inside-left. He’s bundled over on the left-hand edge of the D, and should really be getting a free kick. But the referee takes pity on the visitors, whose heads are addled.
Liverpool are rampant. Mane races down the left. He draws his man by drifting inside, then backheels wide for Firmino, who is in acres. Firmino chips long to Can, free at the far post. Can jumps and bangs a sidefoot into the net! Party time at Anfield.
20 min: Wagner and Gnabry exchange crisp passes down the middle. The latter breaks into the box, and goes down under pressure from Alexander-Arnold’s outstretched arm. The referee isn’t having a bar of it, though again, you’ve seen them given.
Moreno slides a pass wide to Firmino wide left. The Brazilian dribbles into the area, makes for the byline, then pulls back for Wijnaldum who opens his body and sidefoots for the bottom right. His shot comes back off the base of the post. Salah is there to slam a sidefoot of his own into the bottom right, Baumann with no chance!
16 min: Moreno has been effervescent in attack so far. He troubles Hoffenheim again down the left, earning another free kick, off Kaderabek. He takes it himself, looping long for Matip at the far post. The big defender can’t connect properly with his header.
14 min: Liverpool stroke it around the back in the 1970s style. A roar: the home crowd are enjoying the spectacle. A long way to go, though, and plenty of time for tides to turn.
12 min: Liverpool continue to press hard. They’re first to everything, and Hoffenheim look a bit shell-shocked. The visitors should take succour in the move they put together just before the goal. They certainly need to settle.
Firmino sends Mane free down the inside-left channel again. He’s stopped on the edge of the area by Nordtveit. He checks, drifts infield, then backheels to Can overlapping on the outside. Can enters the box, opens his body and aims for the top right. But his shot deflects off the sliding Vogt, and into the top left! That opener had been coming. Anfield erupts!
9 min: Liverpool bounce back from that breath-bothering Hoffenheim attack by launching a couple of their own. First Moreno crosses from the right, Salah slamming a shot from the edge of the box straight into a white shirt. Then Alexander-Arnold is bundled over out on the right. His free kick, swung into the box, finds the busy Salah, but the new Liverpool winger can’t get the ball out from under his feet to shoot.
7 min: Hoffenheim carve Liverpool apart! Demirbay, quarterbacking 35 yards from goal, slips wide right to Kaderabek, who fires low into the area. Gnarby must score, but shanks it wide right. Turns out he was offside anyway, but Liverpool were pulled all over the shop there.
5 min: It’s a fast start by Liverpool, and Mane has another look down the left, winning a corner. From the set piece, Demirbay kind of shoulders the ball away at the near post. The referee thinks about awarding a penalty, and you’ve seen them given, but decides against it. Then there’s a brief kerfuffle in front of the Hoffenheim goal, and Mane tries to scissor kick one into the net from six yards. But he can’t connect.
4 min: And another chance for Liverpool, as Mane is sprung free down the inside-left channel by Firmino! He should tuck that away, but his flick towards the bottom right from the left of the D is kicked away by a spread-eagled Baumann. Great save, but that goes down as a big miss.
3 min: Alexander-Arnold attempts to flick over the wall and into the top left. His effort pings off the wall and flies away to the right, dropping to Salah on the right-hand edge of the six-yard box. It’s a chance, but he clanks it wildly over the bar. Not much time to think about that, but still.
2 min: Liverpool get a feel of the ball for the first time this evening. Moreno has a tear down the left but has to check back. Then he has another go down the inside-left channel, and is bundled over to the left of the D by a clumsy Kaderabek. Free kick, and time for Alexander-Arnold to do his thing!
Hands are shaken, coins tossed, pennants exchanged … and we’re off! The visitors get the ball rolling, and they’ll be kicking towards the Kop in the first half. So Liverpool will face that way in the second, just how they like it. Wagner pressurises Matip down the Hoffenheim left, but the Liverpool centre back is up to the first test.
The teams are out! Liverpool are wearing their famous all-red garb, while Hoffenheim take to the pitch in second-choice white as opposed to first-choice blue. It’s Anfield’s first European night since the Reds faced Villarreal in the Europa League semis last May, so the atmosphere in a packed stadium is pretty much as you’d expect it to be. The away fans contributing plenty too. Time for a swaying rendition of a Rogers and Hammerstein showtune, then some Uefa-sanctioned Handel-influenced nonsense, and soon enough we’ll be off! “With a Polanski on the bench and a Wagner on the pitch, Hoffenheim definitely hold the edge over Liverpool’s Can in the artistic names category,” observes Peter Oh. Charles Antaki is also furiously riffing on the teamsheets: “Will Geiger also check if the ref’s radio is active?”
Klopp speaks! And explains his selection at left back! “We have to be the same in both games. I thought the first game was good enough, but we need improvement, concentrate more, be more organised, more clinical. We have to fight together for our dream. Andy Robertson had a fantastic game on Saturday but he did not have a long pre-season and felt it after. Alberto Moreno had a good pre-season and played defensively really well at Hoffenheim. Both options are available!”
If It Ain’t Broke dept. Liverpool name exactly the same starting XI that impressed in Germany last Tuesday. Perhaps the only surprise is the inclusion of Alberto Moreno at the expense of Andy Robertson, who excelled on debut against Crystal Palace at the weekend. Then again, Moreno’s had a pretty good pre-season, so fair’s fair.
Hoffenheim make a couple of swaps. Håvard Nordtveit replaces Ermin Bičakčić at the back, while Dennis Geiger is counted in ahead of Lukas Rupp in the midfield.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Lovren, Moreno, Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino, Mané.
Subs: Karius, Milner, Gomez, Sturridge, Klavan, Robertson, Solanke.
Hoffenheim: Baumann, Kadeřábek, Nordtvelt, Vogt, Hübner, Zuber, Geiger, Demirbay, Kramarić, Wagner, Gnabry.
Subs: Kobel, Bičakčić, Rupp, Polanski, Toljan, Uth, Szalai.
On balance, Liverpool enjoy playing German opposition in Europe. Sure, there have been some tough times: Reinhard Libuda’s freak lob that won the 1966 Cup Winners Cup for Borussia Dortmund; Bayern Munich legend Gerd Müller ejecting the Reds from the same competition in 1971; Gérard Houllier’s tactical meltdown during the 2002 Champions League quarters in Leverkusen. Hamann for Šmicer?! Oh Ged!
But yeah, on balance, Liverpool enjoy playing German opposition in Europe. Take your pick from the highlights: the repeated bossing of Borussia Mönchengladbach during the Seventies; the European Cup semi-final masterclass at Bayern in 1981; no less than four German sides packed off en route to the 1973 Uefa Cup; a 6-0 Super Cup rout of Kevin Keegan’s Hamburg in 1977; another Super Cup win over Bayern Munich in 2001; the cold dispatch of Leverkusen on their way to the 2005 Champions League; that heady 4-3 Europa League victory over Dortmund last April. They’ve even won a tie against a German club on a coin toss, for goodness sake, against Cologne in the 1965 European Cup quarters.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/aug/23/liverpool-v-hoffenheim-champions-league-play-off-second-leg-live
The Scottish champions briefly threatened to let Astana back into the tie, but eventually secured qualification for the Champions League group stage
Celtic qualify for the group stage of the Champions League! And what a match this was, both teams taking their attacking A-games and defensive Z-games to the party. Marvellous entertainment! What an advertisement for European football! Just think how good the Champions League group stage would be if they let all the champions into it!
90 min +3: Grahovac is booked for persistent tugging of Ajer’s shirt.
90 min +1: The first of five added minutes, and the excellent Muzhikov nearly threads a shot into the bottom-right corner from a tight angle on the right. Gordon needs to close that gap at his near post.
Griffiths has been quiet tonight, but he’s never stopped running. And now he gets his reward. He takes a stride down the inside-right channel, and upon reaching the right-hand edge of the Astana D, smashes a vicious daisycutter across Eric and into the bottom left!
89 min: Another fine Muzhikov cross from the right. Twumasi, diving low six yards from goal, can’t connect. Anything on that, and it was in the net.
87 min: Muzhikov nutmegs Tierney out on the right, and floats a cross to the far post. Kabananga isn’t too far away from it, but Bitton nuts out for a corner, and the set piece is easily claimed by Gordon. The hosts have been sparkling in attack in this second half. On another evening … well, it doesn’t bear thinking about for Celtic.
86 min: Ntcham has a pointless nibble at Shitov’s heel. He’s fortunate to escape a booking.
84 min: The Astana sub Beysebekov is hooked for Tagybergen.
83 min: Brendan Rodgers sides are nothing if not entertaining.
82 min: Phew. Eh? Anyway, that’s calmed Celtic down. Shomko’s disappointment gets the better of him, though, as he slides in late on Ralston. A booking, and he’s also got Brown up in his grille, wagging the don’t-try-that-again finger.
Space for Ntcham out on the left. He opens his body and sidefoots goalwards. The ball clanks off Shitov, closing him down, and flies into the top left. Worried, Celtic? Nah. The entire bench does spring up and jig around in the excited style, mind you.
79 min: This second half was supposed to be a walk in the park!
78 min: Beysebekov had clattered into Tierney while setting up his mate there. Both players look extremely groggy, having taken good old-fashioned smacks in the coupon. Tierney won’t necessarily appreciate this, but the break is good news for Celtic, who have a couple of minutes to regroup and calm themselves down.
76 min: Astana should have a fifth. Shomko crosses deep from the left. Beysebekov rises at the far post and nods down for Twumasi, alone on the penalty spot! But Astana’s star man hoicks recklessly over the bar.
75 min: On the touchline, Brendan Rodgers swallows hard. He’s trying to exude serenity, he doesn’t want to transmit panic to his team. But there are micro-tells. Gulp. Hard gulp.
73 min: Twumasi is on another level right now! He slaloms down the inside-left channel, past four challenges, and hammers goalwards. Gordon parries out for a corner, a wonderful save. And then from the set piece, Muzhikov lashes a shot from a tight angle on the left. Gordon parries again. The ball breaks to Maevski, who should probably score from the penalty spot but snatches at the effort. Celtic are all over the shop here.
71 min: Postnikov is booked for a late slide on Rogic. From the resulting free kick, Griffiths looks for the top right. Eric palms round for a corner, which is cleared. A brave response by Celtic, who must be wondering what on earth is going on here.
Oh me, oh my. Tierney scampers down the left and scoops long for Griffiths, who chests down on the right-hand edge of the six-yard box but blasts over. He had to score. And then the hosts go straight upfield, and within 20 seconds have another goal! Twumasi, tight on the right touchline, slips past Bitton, storms into the box unchallenged, and slams the ball past Gordon at his near post from a tight angle!
67 min: Celtic sweep upfield majestically, Ntcham instigating the move with a delightful turn deep inside his own half. He sends the ball upfield for Armstrong, who clips left for Griffiths. The cross inside only just evades Armstrong, who has kept on keeping on. That would have been a picture-book goal.
66 min: Griffiths takes a speculative whack from 25 yards. Eric snaffles with ease.
65 min: Armstrong comes on for Sinclair, who has put in a shift all right. How precious is his first-half goal now?
64 min: Shomko tries to create havoc in the Celtic box with a long throw from the left. Rogic rises to head clear. No bother.
62 min: Celtic are struggling to get a sniff of the ball. “Am not panicking yet but am starting to consider it,” admits Gordon Pittendrigh. It’s the default setting of every football fan.
60 min: Thing is, it won’t take much to put a stop to Astana’s gallop, such as it is. Griffiths very nearly latches onto a loose square pass in the Astana defence, one sliding Anicic tackle away from breaking clean through.
58 min: A long ball down the left releases Twumasi, who peels off Lustig’s shoulder. He’s onside, but the flag goes up. Relief for Celtic, because another goal for Astana in the next few minutes doesn’t bear thinking about.
57 min: … while Forrest is replaced by Ralston.
56 min: McGregor is replaced by Rogic …
54 min: And now Beysebekov races down the right, curls in low, and Kabananga hoicks over the crossbar from six yards! How did he miss?! The flag goes up for offside, but Celtic are living very dangerously here. Time to breathe in through the nose, and out through the mouth: keep calm, the hosts still need four.
53 min: Shomko curls into the Celtic box from deep on the left. Twumasi cushions the ball to Muzhikov, just to his left. Muzhikov can’t quite get enough purchase on the ball from 12 yards, but that was a chance. Gordon gathers.
51 min: One minute and 47 seconds between those two goals. Brendan Rodgers probably needs to hone his half-time patter.
Celtic haven’t come out for the second half yet, and my, how they’re paying for it! Shomko makes good down the left, and chips carefully into the box. Twumasi, on the penalty spot, guides a simple header into the bottom left. Gordon had no chance for that one, either! Celtic are dozing, and how they’ve been punished. Astana still need four goals, but what on earth has happened here?!?!
A loose ball from Brown, 30 yards from his own goal. Twumasi loops a cross in from the right. Brown, attempting to retrieve the situation, can only eyebrow the cross towards Muzhikov on the penalty spot. Muzhikov takes a touch and skelps a shot into the top right, Gordon had no chance!
46 min: Forrest zips down the right wing, cuts inside and looks to Sinclair a shot across Eric and into the far corner. Nope. Not quite. But not a dreadful effort either, just over the bar.
And we’re off again! Astanam make their second change of the evening: Tomasov is replaced by Beysebekov.
There’s just enough time for Muzhikov to have another long-distance rake. This one’s from just 35 yards, and to be fair nearly sneaks into the bottom left. But it shaves the outside of the post, and Gordon probably had it covered anyway. And that’s that! This is over, but there’s still 45 minutes to play. See you for those? Aw go on.
45 min: Twumasi has a shot from 40 yards! That’s probably worth it on the slippy artificial surface. Just about. But Gordon has it covered, flopping on the ball as it bumbles towards the bottom left.
44 min: Everyone just wandering about right now. Sinclair’s magnificent goal really did take the wind out of Astana’s sails.
43 min: Space for Tomasov down the left. He whips hard and high from the corner flag, Gordon snaffling well at his near post under pressure from a couple of yellow shirts.
42 min: Kabananga skedaddles down the left, refuses to give up in a one-on-one battle with Lustig, and earns a corner. The set piece forces Gordon into a spectacular full-length over-the-bar save from Shitov, flicking on at the near post again. The second corner comes to nothing.
40 min: Muzhikov embarks on a power ramble down the left. He keeps going, and keeps going, but nobody offers him a passing option and eventually he runs out of space. Lustig mops up.
38 min: Tierney makes off down the left and whistles a cross towards the near post. Forrest reads the intention, but can’t guide the ball on target. His instinctive effort flashes wide.
36 min: Kabananga bustles hard down the inside-left channel, and very nearly breaks clear into the Celtic box after squeezing out a one-two with Shomko. But Lustig steps up at the correct time and the offside flag goes up.
35 min: Astana now need six more goals if they’re to progress. To be fair to the home fans, they are still giving it plenty.
What were we worried about?! McGregor rolls a pass wide left to Sinclair, who takes a touch inside, opens his body, and curls an unstoppable shot into the top right with his right peg. That is an exquisite goal! Group stage, here Celtic come!
31 min: And now Astana are so close to their second. Tomasov loops a cross in from the left. Kabananga fresh-air-kicks from six yards. Any touch and that would have flashed past Gordon. Time for a few deep breaths, and to remember that an away goal will silence this stadium. They could already have a couple.
30 min: Celtic are still four goals ahead in this tie, of course. Still, you can forgive them a few nerves. Maevski makes room down the right and crosses. Forrest fails to clear. Bitton takes charge.
28 min: Celtic respond well to conceding, Sinclair powering through a couple of challenges down the inside-left channel and forcing a save from Eric. The resulting scrappy scuffle leads to a corner which doesn’t amount to much. But this feels like a match now, with the noise levels through the roof all of a sudden.
The comeback’s on?! Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. But the home side are one-fifth of the way there. Shomko strides in from the left and lashes a poor shot in the general direction of the Celtic goal. It’s heading well right, but Ajer sticks out a leg and deflects the ball into the bottom left with Gordon going the other way. Bedlam!
24 min: … then go up the other end and nearly score. A deep Forrest cross from the right just about eludes Sinclair, on the edge of the six-yard box. The ball breaks wide left to Tierney, a superstar full back in the making. Tierney lashes a gorgeous low shot goalwards, but it’s deflected away from danger.
23 min: Corner for Astana out on the left. No idea how it occurred, the local station was showing McGregor’s shot from a few minutes ago. And the set piece nearly leads to a goal, Shitov flicking on at the near post. But Twumasi is snoozing at the far post, and doesn’t rise to clap a header goalwards. Celtic survive …
21 min: Celtic are enjoying the lion’s share of possession right now. All very Rodgersesque.
19 min: McGregor has a pop from just inside the Astana area on the left. Eric makes a meal of blocking, but the job gets done. This isn’t going to end goalless.
18 min: A bit of space for Shomko out on the left. He feeds Kabananga on the inside. Kabananga larrups hard and low from 25 yards out, down the inside-left channel. It’s a dipping swerver, and Gordon does well to parry and smother the ball. This is lively and fun, if not particularly tense.
16 min: But it’s not breaking news to say they have absolutely no margin for error whatsoever. McGregor tears towards the Astana box. He’s got Sinclair to his left, Griffiths to his right. He opts left. Sinclair is clear in the area! But he opts to shoot across Eric and go for the top right. That allows Postnikov to come across and stick out a desperate leg. The defender blocks brilliantly, and the resulting corner comes to nothing.
14 min: Twumasi latches onto a loose ball in the middle of the park and makes good down the right. He reaches the byline, but his low cross dribbles harmlessly into Gordon’s arms. A disappointing end for Astana, though they look in the mood to give it a go and see what develops.
13 min: Ntcham has a dig from the best part of 30 yards. Nope! Meanwhile the clumsy Kleinheisler can’t continue: he’s replaced in the engine room by Grahovac.
11 min: Celtic don’t want to be conceding early, of course. No encouragement. So it’s not a great idea to allow Twumasi to glide in from the right, contort his body Zidane 2002 style, and lash a low shot inches wide of the right-hand post from 20 yards. A fine effort. Gordon probably had it covered, though you wouldn’t put the mortgage on it.
9 min: Brown brushes off Kleinheisler in the centre circle. Kleinheisler tries to bite back with a sliding tackle from behind, but only manages to bend his own knee underneath his own weight. Ooyah, oof, that’s going to hurt, especially on this artificial turf. A lot of grimacing. Brown looks on, unimpressed, as he does.
8 min: Tierney again, this time floating a chip in from his left wing. Forrest tries to plant a header goalwards, but can’t quite manage it.
7 min: Sinclair embarks on a Garrinchaesque ramble down the left. After drawing three yellow shirts, he flicks left to the magnificent Tierney, whose low fizzer is just about dealt with by Eric in the Astana goal.
5 min: The local TV director cuts to a pic of Brendan Rodgers slumped casually in his seat, and lingers awhile. It could be one of those nights. West Coast jazz at 10.
4 min: Kabananga chases after a bouncing bomb down the left. He tries to hook the ball infield, and had he managed it, Tomasov would have been racing down the inside-left channel at high speed, with not a lot of obstacles between himself and the Celtic box. But Kabananga air-kicks, unable to swivel gymnastically in mid-air. It would have been some pass, to be fair.
2 min: It’s a lively start, too, because Tomasov is very nearly released by a huge up and under down the Astana left. He’s offside, and the flag goes up before he can take a shot, but Celtic were light at the back there. On another day, this would already be 1-1!
And we’re off! A fine atmosphere at the Astana Arena, despite Celtic’s 5-0 advantage. Though goodness knows how it would have turned had Griffiths scored from a tight angle out on the left after being released down the wing on 12 seconds! His shot whips across the face of Eric’s goal and away from danger. Oh my!
The teams are out! The Champions League anthem, Jiggered Handel, blares out of the Astana PA. Both sets of players line up on the plastic pitch. We’ll be off in a minute! “Celtic also made it through a preliminary round in 2001, 3-2 on aggregate over Ajax after an excellent 3-1 win in Amsterdam,” notes Mike Cormack, with reference to something not mentioned in the preamble. “Chris Sutton’s header was one for the ages.” So it took me a while to work out why Uefa didn’t refer to this in their pre-match stats pack. Turns out the qualifying rounds are not considered the same as this play-off round, which was introduced in 2009-10. The Uefa semantics department earning their crust there. But, well, apologies for the omission, for that’s surely what it was.
Brendan Rodgers says all the necessary things. “The players did a great job in the first leg, but they understand we have to work hard in this second leg to qualify. So we are relaxed, but very much focused to staying on the job. It’s pretty straight forward. We start from scratch every single day, in order to be better, to improve. Simunovic is not fit. But I have trust in my squad. We don’t want to make any mistakes, we want to ensure we get a good result.”
No sweeping changes to the Celtic XI by Brendan Rodgers. Just the two swaps: Callum McGregor replaces treble-sealing Tom Rogic in midfield, while Kristoffer Ajer steps in for Burnley target Jozo Šimunović.
The hosts make just a couple of changes too. Goalkeeper Aleksandr Mokin makes way for Nenad Eric, while the suspended central defender Yuri Logivenko is replaced by Marin Anicic.
Astana: Eric, Shitov, Postnikov, Anicic, Shomko, Twumasi, Maevskiy, Kleinheisler, Tomasov, Kabananga, Muzhikov.
Subs: Mokin, Grahovac, Beisebekov, Tagybergen, Shaikhov, Maliy, Murtazayev.
Celtic: Gordon, Lustig, Bitton, Ajer, Tierney, Forrest, Ntcham, Brown, McGregor, Sinclair, Griffiths.
Subs: De Vries, Gamboa, Armstrong, Hayes, Rogic, Ralston, Miller.
“Having that 5-0 cushion, you can get complacent. But that’s where we stay mentally strong, focus on the game in hand and get the job done.” Hats off to Scott Sinclair for professionalism. But, well, y’know.
Suffice to say, if you’re looking for drama, you’ve almost certainly come to the wrong place. Astana have a magnificent home record in Europe: they’re unbeaten in 14 matches at the Astana Arena! Only problem is, they capitulated totally in their away leg of this Champions League qualifier at Parkhead last week, Celtic equalling the biggest-ever victory in one of these play-offs. The Bhoys aren’t always dependable on their continental travels – they lost 7-0 at Barcelona last season, for example – but, well, y’know.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/aug/22/astana-celtic-champions-league-play-off-second-leg-live
A relatively quiet opening Saturday, if we disregard Luton’s 8-2 win over Yeovil.
Oh, and here’s a match report from Molineux. Lovely stuff:
And that’s your lot from the opening Saturday of the Football League and Scottish Premiership. Bristol City are the very early pacesetters in the Championship, but, well, y’know. However the action’s not yet over, because if you click below, former
Chelsea legend John Terry makes his debut for Aston Villa against Hull. Barry Glendenning is anticipating your arrival. Don’t keep him waiting now!
Championship: Bristol City 3-1 Barnsley; Burton 0-1 Cardiff; Fulham 1-1 Norwich; Ipswich 1-0 Birmingham; Preston 1-0 Sheff W; QPR 2-0 Reading; Sheff U 1-0 Brentford; Wolves 1-0 Middlesbrough.
Scottish Premiership: Celtic 4-1 Hearts; Dundee 1-2 Ross County; Hibs 3-1 Partick; Killie 1-2 St Johnstone.
And in the Championship … Sheffield United have held on against Brentford; Preston have beaten Wednesday; Fulham and Norwich have drawn; Ipswich have seen Birmingham off; and they’re still playing at QPR, the hosts 2-0 up against ten-men reading. And up in the Scottish version, Dundee United have won 1-0 at Caley Thistle. Full classified check to come.
More of them! Hibs have seen off Partick Thistle, 3-1. St Johnstone have seen it out at Killie; they’re 2-1 winners.
A few results are coming in now. Cardiff have won 1-0 at Burton. Ross County have won 2-1 at Dundee. Wolves have beaten Middlesbrough 1-0. Bristol City are 3-1 winners over Barnsley.
The dictionary definition of consolation, right here.
Wes Hoolahan sends Nelson Oliveira away, and Norwich get their reward for pressing and probing for the majority of the second half. Meanwhile a winner for St Johnstone at Kilmarnock, by the looks of it: Michael O’Halloran with that in the 89th minute of his debut.
A late goal for the Bluebirds, though it’s not exactly a smash-and-grab job, given they’ve been on top for the majority of the second half. Meanwhile Jack Hendry has pulled a goal back for Dundee against Ross County. Four minutes to level it: it’s still 2-1 to the Highlanders.
Not any more! Lees slides in on Hugill. He might have got the ball, he might not. A lot of controversy, certainly a lot of argument. But the ref points to the spot. Johnson slams it home.
Tommy Spurr of Preston has just clattered the woodwork against Sheffield Wednesday with a power header from a corner kick. But it remains goalless at Deepdale.
It’s still Luton 7-2 Yeovil. This is where we are. Opening day of the season!
Forest Green’s Football League debut is threatening to turn sour. They were 2-0 up at half-time after those quick-fire Doidge goals, but Barnet have dragged themselves back level, Akpro and Campbell-Ryce notching in a quick-fire five-minute burst. Meanwhile the Luton-Yeovil game is now 7-2! James Collins has scored a hat-trick on debut for the Hatters.
The biggest opening-day party is being thrown at Kenilworth Road. Luton Town are currently 6-1 up against Yeovil Town.
Ross County are now in total control at Dundee, Christopher Routis putting the Dingwall side 2-0 up on 61 minutes. Meanwhile Kris Boyd has equalised for Kilmarnock at home to St Johnstone: it’s 1-1 at Rugby Park.
Reading are struggling uphill now. Ilori is sent packing for bundling Wszolek over, six yards from goal. Washington gets up and slams the penalty kick home.
Charlie Mulgrew has pulled a goal back for Blackburn Rovers with a 53rd-minute free kick at Southend. It’s 2-1 at Roots Hall.
A free kick for Birmingham comes to naught. The Tractor Boys trundle at speed up the other end through Knudsen. He crosses for Garner, who bundles home at the far post.
Portsmouth, on their return to the third tier, are a goal up against Rochdale. Brett Pitman has opened the scoring at Fratton. Hibs meanwhile are 3-1 up now against Partick Thistle, Simon Murray increasing their lead from the penalty spot.
First day of the season. New season, right here!
A slow start to this second half. But then that’s how the first 45 began, and it warmed up soon enough.
Half-time reading: A must-read this. Barry Glendenning on a righteous David-versus-Goliath skirmish between the FSF and the Premier League.
Some worrying news at Portman Road, where Ipswich Town’s talented young midfielder Andre Dozzell was carried off with what may be a serious knee injury. Off on a stretcher, an oxygen mask covering his face. God speed young man.
The half-times in the big matches, then.
Championship: Bristol City 3-0 Barnsley; Burton 0-0 Cardiff; Fulham 1-0 Norwich; Ipswich 0-0 Birmingham; Preston 0-0 Sheff Wed; QPR 1-0 Reading; Sheff Utd 1-0 Brentford; Wolves 1-0 Middlesbrough.
You wait 128 years for your first Football League goal, then two come along in two minutes. Christian Doidge has capitalised on a Barnet defensive mix-up, and Forest Green are two up.
Forest Green Rovers have scored their first-ever goal in the Football League! Christian Doidge converts a corner on 41 minutes against Barnet, and there he is in the latest edition of The History Book.
Coventry City haven’t finished in the top six of any division for 47 years. They have won the FA Cup and the Football League Trophy during that period, mind you. However, they’ve been relegated three times as well, and now they’re in the fourth tier for the first time since 1959. But this campaign has started well, Jodi Jones with their opener on 29 minutes against Notts County. Meanwhile three-time English champions Blackburn are now 2-0 down at Southend, Michael Kightly with the second for the Shrimpers.
The Blades were looking blunt in the early exchanges, but Billy Sharp has just crashed home a header. Bramall Lane erupts on United’s return to the second tier after that long period of slumming it in League One.
Some news from Scotland. Hibs have gone 2-1 up against Partick Thistle, Steven Whittaker on 33 minutes. Meanwhile Ross County, the only Highlanders left in the Premiership, are leading at Dundee, Jamie Lindsay with the opener at Dens Park on 35 minutes.
The debutant Bonatini puts promotion hopefuls Wolves in front at Molineux, latching onto a piss-poor Ayala defensive pass and smacking it home.
Barnsley have fallen apart. By all accounts, Bobby Reid was one of three Bristol City players waiting to score. It’s his second of the afternoon, and this is how to start a new season. City haven’t played in the top tier since 1980. Could they? Well, what’s the point in football if you’re not allowed to dream? They’re top of the table and going up as things stand. Just 45-and-a-half games to see out.
Blackburn Rovers, champions of England as recently as 1995, are playing in the third tier this season. And they’re a goal down at Southend, Ryan Leonard opening the scoring there on 27 minutes.
Good work from Ayite causes a kerfuffle in the Norwich defence, and the City defender Martin is panicked into turning the ball into his own net.
Bobby Reid returns the favour to Famara Diédhiou, setting up the City debutant and record signing for City’s second.
Reading came so close to the Premier League last season, but Huddersfield won the day at Wembley, and so it’s another season in the second tier for Jaap Stam’s side. Sometimes it’s difficult to go again, and they’ve started slowly this time round. QPR have been on top from the get-go, and now the home side have got something to show for it. Freeman crosses from the right, and Conor Washington smacks a header into the net from close range.
The Coventry game’s underway, incidentally. No goals yet. Way of things.
The first Championship goal of the day! New signing Diédhiou is sent through. He’s denied by Davies in the Barnsley goal, but Bobby Reid is on hand to bang home the rebound.
An equaliser for Hibs! Martin Boyle takes advantage of some penalty-box pinball to haul Neil Lennon’s side level against Partick Thistle.
Harry Kewell’s reign as Crawley manager has started in the manner of his 2005 Champions League final. Michael Tonge has put Port Vale a goal up at Broadfield after nine minutes. Meanwhile David Wotherspoon has put St Johnstone one up at Kilmarnock. The Scottish Premiership pulling its weight today: seven goals so far. The Championship needs to get its gameface on. And while we’re north of the border, the big game in the Scottish Championship has started well for fallen giants Dundee United. Paul McMullan has put them ahead at newly relegated Inverness Caledonian Thistle, a 13th-minute penalty doing the trick.
The first goal in the Scottish Premiership, and it’s bad news for newly promoted Hibs. Partick Thistle have gone a goal up at Easter Road, Chris Erskine slotting home neatly with his left peg after seven minutes. Meanwhile here’s the first red card of the Football League campaign: Lee Novak of Charlton Athletic going in over the top on Stuart Sinclair of Bristol Rovers. Six minutes he’s lasted. New season!
Coventry City are playing in the fourth tier for the first time since 1958-59, the very first year of the old Fourth Division. Or rather they’re waiting to play. The kick-off of their game with Notts County has been delayed due to torrential rain and lightning. Other than that, there’s little to report in the early exchanges of the big games. New season!
Here we go, then! The big kick-off! All those hopes and dreams! It’s all downhill for most of us from here. Hey, part of the charm.
Dundee: Bain, Kerr, Waddell, O’Dea, Holt, Kamara, Allan, Deacon, Wolters, O’Hara, Moussa.
Subs: Vincent, Williams, Parish, McGowan, El Bakhtaoui, Hendry, Spence.
Ross County: Fox, Fraser, Kelly, Davies, Naismith, Gardyne, Routis, Lindsay, Chow, Dow, Schalk.
Subs: Malcolm, Mikkelsen, Tumility, McCarey, van der Weg, Kellior-Dunn, Russell Dingwall.
Hibernian: Marciano, Whittaker, Ambrose, Hanlon, Stevenson, McGeouch, Bartley, McGinn, Swanson, Boyle, Simon Murray.
Subs: Stokes, Matulevicius, Slivka, Porteous, Fontaine, Laidlaw, Fraser Murray.
Partick Thistle: Cerny, Elliot, Keown, Devine, Booth, Barton, Osman, Bannigan, Lawless, Doolan, Erskine.
Subs: Nitriansky, Turnbull, McLaughlin, Scully, Nisbet, Penrice, McCarthy.
The first result of the day is in. And it’s a comfortable win for the Scottish champions Celtic, who have gubbed Hearts 4-1 at Parkhead. Barry Glendenning was watching every kick, and here’s how the bhrilliant Bhoys began their second unbeaten season in a row.
Bristol City: Fielding, Pisano, Wright, Hegeler, Bryan, Brownhill, Pack, Smith, Paterson, Diedhiou, Reid.
Subs: Engvall, Magnusson, Vyner, O’Neil, Lucic, Flint, O’Dowda.
Barnsley: Davies, McCarthy, Jackson, MacDonald, Yiadom, Potts, Joe Williams, Moncur, Mowatt, Ugbo, Bradshaw.
Subs: Hammill, Townsend, Pinnock, Payne, Brown, Bird, Hedges.
Burton Albion: Bywater, Lund, Buxton, McFadzean, Warnock, Murphy, Mousinho, Irvine, Akins, Sordell, Dyer.
Subs: Naylor, Varney, Palmer, Akpan, Campbell, Barker, Sbarra.
Cardiff City: Etheridge, Bamba, Ecuele Manga, Morrison, Peltier, Gunnarsson, Ralls, Bennett, Tomlin, Hoilett, Zohore.
Subs: Richards, Ward, Pilkington, Halford, Mendez-Laing, Damour, Murphy.
Sixty-eight days ago, Huddersfield Town beat Reading on penalties to seal promotion to the Premier League. And with that the 2016-17 Football League season came to a close. Since then, England have won the Women’s Cricket World Cup, Chris Froome triumphed yet again in Le Tour, 17-year-old amateur Choi Hye-jin nearly won the women’s US Open golf, Jordan Spieth took Birkdale by storm, the breezy dominance of Roger Federer and Garbine Muguruza rendered both Wimbledon finals rather boring, and England have beaten South Africa in a couple of Tests. It’s all happened in the blink of an eye, and now football’s back, baby!
In fact, it’s already started! Nottingham Forest’s Barrie McKay, their new signing from Rangers, belted home a winner against Millwall last night, while Sunderland and Derby shared the spoils in an entertaining 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light. But now the rest of the League gets going. Here are the big 3pm kick-offs in the Championship:
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/aug/05/wolves-v-middlesbrough-and-more-football-clockwatch-live
Today’s fluff has got the skills to pay the bills
Welcome to the Rumour Mill on a day when Real Madrid could complete a £161m deal for Kylian Mbappé – a player who has, to date, scored 16 league goals. They once got Ferenc Puskás for free.
Anyway, this is where we are, although Real’s hopes of doing irreparable damage to the space-time continuum might be scuppered by Manchester City, who are preparing a £143m bid for Mbappé themselves. It wasn’t too long ago when their big summer spend was £3.8m on Lee Bradbury. The Mill feels very old today.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jul/26/football-transfer-rumours-manchester-city-bid-143m-for-kylian-mbappe
Roy Evans described Liverpool’s win as ‘kamikaze football’ but Kevin Keegan, during his time as Newcastle’s manager, helped to light up the Premier League
History is not always written by the winners. Manchester United were unquestionably the best team in the land in 1996; they proved it by landing the league and Cup Double. The triumphant return of Eric Cantona, the flowering of the Class of ’92, you can’t win anything with kids, all that … there is plenty to go on. And yet this particular story is not theirs to tell.
Occasionally the narrative is dominated by those who fell short. And that year there was clearly something in the air. Germany emerged triumphant at the European Championship, a tournament principally remembered for England’s dreaming, their 31st year of hurt. In golf the Green Jacket was draped around Nick Faldo’s shoulders at the Masters, the great man’s third win, an achievement back then bettered only by Jack and Arnie, though all everyone has talked about ever since is Greg Norman’s view-through-fingers collapse. And as for the Premiership …
As long as football matches end up like this, people will come and watch … We carry on playing this way – or I go.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jul/25/premier-league-best-match-liverpool-newcastle-april-1996
The seven-time world snooker champion talks his poker face, his golf handicap, Alex Higgins, Neutral Milk Hotel and why he never felt sorry for the Whirlwind
Hello Stephen! Small Talk isn’t good at much, goodness knows, but we like to think we can read a face. You’re a big poker fan, we’re guessing? It’s written all over your coupon! Yeah I am. I began playing during the boom when online poker first started around 2001. I played a lot. Steve Davis got me into it. I saw him doing it on his laptop all the time. We used to have a little school at night. A few players got into it. That’s how I learned to play.
Are you any good? I’ve certainly improved, there’s no doubt about that. You get sick of handing over money! But I wouldn’t say I’m a expert by any stretch of imagination. It’s a bit like chess to me: I know what the pieces do, but playing it well is the hard thing. But I enjoy it, and my association with Poker Stars is great. I’m an ambassador for them, and get to play at these massive events like the Marbella Poker Festival. It’s cool.
Did I ever feel sorry for Jimmy White? No! If you haven’t got what it takes, then that’s your fault
Neal Foulds recommended Neutral Milk Hotel. It’s an album that just gets to you
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/22/small-talk-stephen-hendry-jimmy-white-fight
Arsenal were deserved winners of a gloriously entertaining final, as Arsene Wenger became the most successful FA Cup manager of all time.
Here’s Daniel Taylor’s match report from Wembley:
Arsenal lift the 2017 FA Cup! The club captain Laurent Koscielny shares the honour with Per Mertesacker, who was outstanding today. He hadn’t started a game in 392 days, and then played like that. Astonishing! The ticker tape comes down on the parade, as everyone takes their turn in lifting the old pot. It’s just reward: they were all magnificent. Chelsea by contrast weren’t at the races, uncharacteristically outfoxed and outfought. Seems doubles aren’t so easy to land after all, and Antonio Conte still hasn’t won a final as manager. Still, their brilliant league season will keep them warm at night when today’s disappointment fades. But this is all about Arsenal, record 13-time winners of the cup, and Arsene Wenger: the greatest FA Cup manager of all time.
Arsene Wenger speaks! “It was an outstanding performance from the first minute onwards. This team has suffered, united, and responded. I said last week this team will win the championship with one or two good buys, and keep them together. They showed strength and we played spectacular football today to win the game. I am very proud [to win seven FA Cups] because you see the fight you need even to win one. I am proud of doing two things that have never been done: to win a championship without losing a game, and to win seven FA Cups. It is not easy, believe me.” And will he be here next season? “We have a board meeting on Tuesday, and all will be clear on Wednesday or Thursday.”
Aaron Ramsey, who can file today’s winner alongside the one he scored against Hull in 2014, speaks! “It’s been an up-and-down season, but to finish it with an FA Cup has to make it a successful one. I just love this competition. The boys deserve it, and I’m happy for the manger, I’m delighted. He’s been fantastic for me, fantastic for these players. Fair play to him, he’s changed the system and it’s paid off. So hopefully he’ll be here next season, because we owe him a lot.”
Wenger allows a huge grin to play across his face. After all the flak he’s taken this season, this is lovely to see. He’s warmly congratulated by Conte, sportsmanship in full effect. And then he’s embraced by his players, who were to a man beyond excellent today, and richly deserve their success. Chelsea – the brilliant English champions – simply weren’t allowed to strut their stuff today. Arsenal did a comprehensive number on them … and now the famous old north London club stands as the most successful in the history of the oldest club competition in the world.
A simply wonderful final comes to an end! Arsenal win their 13th FA Cup, most deservedly so: they’ve been brilliant today. And that’s their manager’s seventh. That Arsene Wenger, he’s not half bad, huh?
90 min +3: The man-of-the-match Sanchez is replaced by Elneny.
90 min +2: Bellerin hammers a clearance up the right flank. Ozil throws another outrageous dummy to buy a load more time.
90 min +1: The free kick’s taken quickly. Ozil is found clear on the edge of the box! But he pauses before shooting, and Kante nicks the ball off him.
90 min +1: Sanchez dribbles down the left and purchases a cheap free kick off Batshuayi. Tick, tock, tick, tock.
90 min: Giroud takes down a high ball on the edge of the Chelsea box, and instantly turns it round the corner, down the right channel for Ramsey. He’s in, but his shot is not good. Chelsea will have four minutes to save themselves.
88 min: The corner comes to nothing. Batshuayi comes on for Costa.
87 min: And how did this stay out?!?! Ozil enters the Chelsea area from the right, sells Cahill an outrageous dummy, and free, eight yards out, hammers a low shot off the base of the right-hand post. The ball comes back off Courtois, and out for a corner. Wow!
86 min: Kante shoots from distance. Nope. Mertesacker looks to chest and clear, but he’s barged out of the road by Costa, who slaps hard goalwards. Ospina somehow parries, and the ball’s cleared. How was that not a goal?!
85 min: Bellerin backs himself in a footrace with Luiz, knocking the ball past the Chelsea defender and breezing into the box. He shoots low, hard, across Courtois and inches wide of the left-hand post. You wouldn’t bet too much money on this ending 2-1, would you.
83 min: Coquelin wastes no time in getting himself booked, after kicking the ball away after conceding a garden-variety free kick in the centre circle. This match has been gloriously bonkers.
82 min: Willian takes the set piece himself. Luiz races in at the near post, but can only plant his header well wide of the target. Arsenal make another change, removing Oxlade-Chamberlain and sending on Coquelin.
81 min: Willian skips down the right wing and passes a tiring Xhaka. The Arsenal man tugs the winger’s shirt, and goes in the book. This is a free kick that’s basically a corner.
Giroud’s first act is to latch onto a Sanchez pass down the left and chip it into the middle, where Ramsey sends a downward header into the bottom right! Arsenal, almost immediately, are back in front! What drama here, to borrow some BBC commentary from the 1979 five-minute final!
78 min: Arsenal respond by sending on Giroud for Welbeck.
Out of nothing! Chelsea ping it around awhile. Willian, dropping deep, pings the ball towards Costa, 12 yards out and level with the left-hand post. He taps it to his right, past Holding, and hooks a slow shot goalwards. It takes a nick off Mertesacker, but should still be saved by Ospina. But it squeaks into the bottom left! All in super-slow motion! Brilliant opportunism by Costa!
75 min: Chelsea are keeping busy and scurrying around quite a lot, but passes aren’t quite sticking in the final third. It’s been that sort of day for them. So far. “After Arsene introduces David Moyes, can he say ‘Wenger out’, drop the mic Obama style and stride off to the stadium speakers blasting Ennio Morricone?” wonders Andy Gordon.
74 min: Hazard makes good down the right and earns a corner. Cahill gets up to win a captain’s header, but only succeeds in skittling his pal Luiz and sending the ball high and wide.
73 min: Chelsea are a goal and a man down, and the clock is no longer their friend. Accordingly, Pedro is replaced by Willian.
71 min: Oxlade-Chamberlain reaches the byline out on the left. He can’t find the angle to shoot, so cuts back for Sanchez, whose effort is blocked. Arsenal come again, and this time Oxlade-Chamberlain blasts wildly over the bar from distance. Chelsea are reeling right now.
70 min: And there Chelsea were, pressing Arsenal back. Now Arsenal have a renewed spring in their step.
68 min: This is rank stupidity from Moses. He skitters inside from the right and into the Arsenal area. He drops a shoulder to pass Oxlade-Chamberlain, and should have a dig, but instead goes to ground under a non-existent challenge. For a second the Chelsea fans celebrate a penalty; then the Arsenal fans celebrate the fifth sending off in an FA Cup final, because that’s his second booking in 11 minutes. The champions are up against it now!
67 min: Chelsea begin to press Arsenal back, but to little effect. Here’s Matt Dony’s prediction: “An Arsenal victory, followed by Wenger taking the mic and announcing his retirement, and introducing David Moyes as ‘Your new manager.’” Neutrals: you’d pay good money, wouldn’t you.
65 min: Ramsey and Welbeck combine crisply down the left to cause Chelsea concern. Welbeck enters the area and rolls the ball across for Bellerin, romping in from the right. Bellerin looks to guide one into the bottom left, but his sidefoot is snaffled by Courtois. Chelsea stream upfield, Fabregas having a wild slash at the ball from the edge of the box. This continues to be an FA Cup final of free-flowing, open, devil-may-care attacking entertainment. How we’ve only had one goal is a mystery.
63 min: Some brilliance from Ozil out on the right. He scampers after a ball near the touchline, and sells Cahill a subtle dummy with a drop of the shoulder before he’s even taken up possession. Then he very nearly releases Welbeck down the middle with an outside-of-foot low curler. Just a bit too much juice on it.
61 min: A corner for Arsenal out on the right doesn’t lead to very much. But they come straight back at Chelsea, Oxlade-Chamberlain twisting down the left and nearly creating an opening. After a slow start to the second half, Arsenal are beginning to threaten again. Chelsea respond by replacing Matic with the former Arsenal captain Fabregas. His reception is mixed, much as you’d imagine.
59 min: Matic sprays a stunning diagonal pass towards Moses out on the right. Moses cuts inside and feeds Pedro, who tries to curl one into the bottom left. Ospina is rooted, and he’d have been beaten were the shot on target. But it’s wide left, and a goal kick. Arsenal make their way up the other end, and once again tease a booking out of Chelsea, Kante clipping Ramsey late and seeing yellow.
57 min: A right-wing probe by Azpilicueta causes a bit of trouble in the Arsenal box. It leads to a corner which comes to naught. Welbeck tries to break up the other end, and is hauled back by Moses out on the left wing. That’s a booking.
55 min: … Arsenal break upfield with Chelsea light at the back. Bellerin is in acres down the right, and he’s got men in the middle. But the cross is dismal, and Courtois can gather ahead of Sanchez and Welbeck. Arsenal could easily have scored five or six goals so far. Nobody’s perfect, but they should certainly have scored more than one. Will they be made to pay for their failure to convert dominance into goals?
54 min: Costa has a yard on Holding as the two chase a long ball down the left. Holding clips the striker’s ankle, just to the side of the area, and is booked. A free kick in a very dangerous position. Hazard flicks the set piece towards the far post, where Luiz lurks. Mertesacker eyebrows out for a corner on the right. From which…
52 min: Chelsea look much sharper since the restart. Moses cuts in from the right and has a belt that’s dealt with well by Ospina. Then Costa bustles in from the same flank but is hounded out of it by Monreal, who wins a free kick for good measure. A good old-fashioned scrap, and Costa responds by grabbing the ball and thinking about lancing it into the crowd in a majestic fit of pique. He catches himself in time.
50 min: Hazard, on the right-hand corner of the Arsenal area, flicks the ball inside for Costa, who will surely latch onto it and fire home. But Mertesacker slides in brilliantly to intercept, and even wins the goal kick by deflecting the ball off the Chelsea striker. Mertesacker hasn’t started a game for 392 days!
49 min: Chelsea ping it around in a pretty fashion. They’ve clearly had a rocket from Conte. Kante shoots from 25 yards, a rising swerver that threatens to fox Ospina and find the top right. But the keeper claims well.
48 min: They’re on the front foot now, though. Pedro tears down the left with extreme prejudice. He drops a shoulder to glide inside, and looks to curl one into the bottom right. Mertesacker sticks out a peg to block. Good football all round.
47 min: Chelsea enjoy two minutes of sterile possession. They’re not exactly on the front foot, but it’s a statement of sorts after their strangely meek and obedient first-half performance.
And we’re off again! No changes. Welbeck gets the ball rolling for the second half.
Half-time entertainment: A perambulation down Memory Lane, anyone?
And that’s that for the first half. Arsenal have been magnificent, and should be more than one goal ahead. But they’re not, and this is perfectly poised. Chelsea aren’t going to take this lying down, are they? It’s going to be fun finding out!
45 min +2: Well over the bar. Sums up Chelsea’s performance so far.
45 min +1: There will be two added minutes tacked onto the end of this first half. And Monreal foolishly shoves Pedro in the back, just to the right of the D. A chance for Alonso to take a whack at goal.
45 min: Hazard and Costa nearly combine to open Arsenal up down the middle. Not quite. The ball pinballs around the box awhile, and for a second it looks as though Costa will pick up the pieces and get a shot in, but Ramsey closes him down well.
43 min: BREAKING NEWS: Ozil tracks back half the length of the pitch to make a tackle.
41 min: Oxlade-Chamberlain slides in on Moses, 30 yards from the Arsenal goal. A clumsy free kick to concede, and a chance for Chelsea to load the box. The champions do exactly that, but what was the point, because Costa is immediately penalised for some needless shoving. Does that exchange qualify as a lull? Only we’re nearly halfway through, and there’s been no lull.
39 min: Hazard embarks on a baroque ramble down the right, draws a couple of men, then flicks forward for Pedro, who takes one step into the Arsenal area and hoicks high over the bar. Snatched and panicky.
38 min: Chelsea do a bit of probing but they can’t find any gaps in this makeshift Arsenal defence. They have at least turned up the energy levels, so low in the early exchanges.
36 min: Bellerin slides a gorgeous ball down the right, and suddenly Sanchez is skittering towards the Chelsea area free! But he dribbles himself wide, and with Cahill over to cover, can’t get a shot away. He really should have done much better. Arsenal will be wondering how they’ve only scored one.
35 min: Hazard drops deep in an attempt to get things moving for Chelsea. His rolled ball down the middle very nearly releases Costa. Wembley is bubbling away; the 90,000 are enjoying this supreme entertainment.
33 min: … and for a second, it looks as though Hazard is going to dance into the Arsenal box down the right. The excellent Monreal snuffs out the attack. Good luck in calling how this final is going to pan out, because it’s a free-flowing, open, wonderful mess, with both teams committed to madcap attack and to hell with the consequences. Magnificent!
32 min: A free kick sent into the Chelsea box from the left by Sanchez is only half cleared. Xhaka, on the right-hand edge of the D, volleys towards the bottom right. Courtois tips round the post, and deals with the resulting corner. He sets Chelsea away on the counter …
30 min: Arsenal skedaddle up the other end, and suddenly Welbeck is set free down the left by Bellerin, finding himself free on the left-hand corner of the six-yard box! He clips the ball inside, in the hope of setting up Ramsay for a tap-in. Instead, it looks like squeezing into the corner, but Cahill once again clears off the line. This is absurd!
29 min: Pedro, deep on the right, sprays a wonderful diagonal pass towards Costa, who gets the run on Holding. He’s suddenly free in the box, albeit under a lot of pressure from Holding behind. And Ospina’s coming out to spread himself. The keeper deflects the eventual shot out for a corner on the left, and takes Costa’s boot upside his head for the trouble. Totally accidental. He’s up and about soon enough, and the corner comes to nothing.
27 min: Welbeck tries to break upfield when a Chelsea attack falls apart. Kante comes across to put a stop to his gallop with a cynical leg. The referee isn’t interested in booking the player of the year, but you’ve seen them given. Welbeck doesn’t look particularly pleased about the non-decision.
25 min: Matic tries to release Costa down he middle, but the pass isn’t up to much. Moses wins a throw deep down the Chelsea right. But the ball’s soon shuttled all the way back to Luiz on the halfway line. Chelsea still can’t quite find their rhythm.
24 min: Pedro comes through the back of Xhaka and is slightly fortunate to escape censure. To be fair, Arsenal don’t make very much of it.
22 min: Matic, with his long legs, makes like Ian Ormondroyd and dances down the middle with some ball-on-string skill. He flicks the ball down the left channel for Costa, but the striker can’t quite get his shot away. Mertesacker gets the credit for a fine tackle. A few signs that Chelsea are slowly coming to life, though.
21 min: Costa and Kante get busy in the Arsenal half, attempting to shift Chelsea up a couple of gears. Kante slips the ball wide to Moses, who’s in a lot of space, but the pass isn’t great. Moses has to put on the breaks, and Monreal is able to snuff out the danger.
19 min: The presence of Welbeck forces another Arsenal corner down the right. Welbeck rises to meet it, six yards out. He shoulders it towards the top left … but it comes off the left-hand post. Ramsey, standing a yard out, is startled as the ball clanks off his chest, back onto the post instead of into the net, and out for a goal kick! Chelsea could very easily be three down already. This wasn’t what anybody expected. Arsenal have been as excellent as Chelsea have been poor.
17 min: Moses slips Pedro into space down the right, but Monreal quickly closes him down to block tackle. The danger is over. Arsenal are faster, stronger and harder right now. Chelsea need to get a wriggle on, and quick. Arsenal, meanwhile, want to make hay while the sun shines.
15 min: Chelsea show their teeth for the first time, Hazard skating down the right and entering the box. He finds Costa in the middle. Costa’s shot from the penalty spot is blocked by Monreal. Arsenal go straight up the other end, Ozil sashaying into the area down the inside-right channel. He takes a heavy touch which sends him a little wide, but still manages to chip the ball over the spreadeagled Courtois. It’s going in, but there’s no pace on the chip, and Cahill can acrobatically backheel a clearance off the line. This is brilliant end-to-end entertainment!
14 min: Ozil drops deep, picks up possession, and slips a lovely ball down the middle of the park. Neither Sanchez nor Ramsey have their heads up, and the pass trundles harmlessly through. But Arsenal are soon coming back again at Chelsea, Sanchez having a crack from 25 yards. It’s not far from the top right, though had it not sailed over the bar, Courtois had it covered.
12 min: Chelsea are struggling to keep hold of possession. On the touchline, Antonio Conte is desperately trying to gee up his team. They’re a little sleepy, slow and second to most balls at the moment.
10 min: That early goal has energised Wembley, and Chelsea aren’t dealing with the vibes very well right now. Courtois, playing football in his own area, suddenly sees Welbeck closing towards him, and slips in panic. He springs up and shifts the ball towards Azpilicueta, just in time, and the danger is cleared. It’s fair to say this is set up perfectly for the neutral, the favourites behind and looking shaky … though who’s neutral these days?
9 min: The first yellow card of the game goes to Ramsey, who is booked for a tug on Pedro as the Chelsea player dribbles through the centre of midfield.
7 min: Costa gets involved in a tangle with Holding down the Chelsea right. He’s earned a free kick, but for a second it looks as though things are going to kick off, Costa flinging a leg out just to see what happens. It all calms down. The free kick is swung into the box, Costa himself rising to head harmlessly over from 12 yards. This is a lively start, and then some!
Courtois claims the corner, but his throw out is reclaimed by Arsenal. The ball’s worked down the inside-left channel. Sanchez flicks it forward for Ramsey, but Luiz heads it back upfield. Sanchez beats Kante to the dropping ball, albeit with arms up. It pings into the area towards Ramsey, who is miles offside. Chelsea stop play, in the hope of the flag going up. Ramsey stops too, because Sanchez chases after the loose ball himself, flicks it across Courtois, and into the bottom right! The flag does indeed go up, but after the ref consults the linesman for a minute, the goal’s given! Early controversy all right.
3 min: Arsenal are getting a good feel of the ball early doors. Chelsea being made to scurry around after it, to no avail. Suddenly Sanchez bursts down the right. He’s eventually surrounded, but a cheeky backheel deflects off Azpilicueta and out for the first corner of the game.
2 min: A bit of nerve-settling possession for Arsenal in the middle of the park. Wembley is bouncing. A rare old noise pinging off the famous stadium’s walls.
A sudden roar snaps Wembley Stadium back into business mode … and we’re off! Diego Costa gets the ball rolling. What an atmosphere. Within 15 seconds, Pedro has latched onto a long ball down the left and laid it off to Alonso, who sweeps it into the Arsenal box. Monreal heads clear purposefully. Then Arsenal go up the other end, the presence of Welbeck down the left forcing Cahill into a hurried clearance. Both teams are on the front foot immediately. The FA Cup final, right here!
Before kick-off, wreaths are laid in memory of the sweet souls lost in Manchester at the start of the week. Warm applause, then a minute’s silence, perfectly observed.
The players take to the pitch! Arsenal in their famous red shirts with white sleeves, Chelsea wearing their storied blue. It’s an aesthetic pleasure. The Duke of Cambridge, president of the FA and Aston Villa supporter, is introduced to the Arsenal XI by their captain for the day Per Mertesacker, then the Chelsea starters by Gary Cahill. A burst of the national anthem. And then the players are introduced to each other. Fair-play handshakes all round.
Kick-off is getting close now. Sol Campbell and Eddie Newton come onto the pitch to wave the cup to all four corners of Wembley, and pop it on a plinth. Then a rousing 90,000-voice rendition of the cup-final hymn Abide With Me. That famous old song was first heard ahead of the cup final in 1927, which wasn’t such a good year for Arsenal as fans of Cardiff City will confirm. The players will be out in a minute!
And now it’s the turn of Arsene Wenger, who will become the most successful manager in FA Cup history should he lift the trophy for the seventh time, beating the record he currently holds jointly with Aston Villa legend George Ramsay. “We have worked hard to get here, and we want to win the competition. Last night we lost Kieran Gibbs who went home sick, so the decision to name the team was not so difficult as we do not have too many defenders left. I believe that 99 percent of the Arsenal fans are fantastic people who stand behind the team, and you want to play for them.” That last, fairly pointed, line was in response to a follow-up question about his interview with the BBC’s Football Focus earlier today, in which he said: “The lack of respect has been for me a disgrace, and I will never accept that. There is a difference between being criticised and being treated in a way in which human beings don’t deserve to be treated.” Whatever the outcome today, the post-match press conferences will be worth a listen, I’ll be bound.
Antonio Conte, yet to win a major final in his managerial career, speaks! “I think in this type of game it is very difficult to tell if there is a favourite. For the motivation, Arsenal could have something more than us. But we have been working very hard on our mentality. I am sure my players want to do this. It is very important to keep our concentration, because when you win the league in this way, the possibility to be a bit relaxed is there. This week we have worked on this aspect. This is my first final in England and I am enjoying it. There is a lot of excitement, but also concentration because we are here to win.”
Arsenal have a few defensive issues, it’s fair to say. It’s the first time their back three of Rob Holding, Per Mertesacker and Nacho Monreal have ever started together. Mertesacker has played just 37 minutes worth of football in the past 13 months; this is his first start in 392 days. David Ospina gets in ahead of Petr Cech, as is the usual way of things in the cups when he’s fit. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain returns from a hamstring problem to hold the fort out on the left.
No great issues for Chelsea, nor are there any major surprises. Nemanja Matic gets the nod over Cesc Fabregas, while Pedro is preferred to Willian. This will be the seventh final John Terry has been involved in, and the third where he starts on the bench. Since you ask: he captained Chelsea in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012, got on late in 2002, and watched the whole thing in 2000. There’s nothing much left for him to experience, except possibly coming on in the 88th minute and being carried off on 89 in a sedan chair.
Arsenal: Ospina, Holding, Mertesacker, Monreal, Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sanchez, Ozil, Welbeck.
Subs: Lucas Perez, Giroud, Walcott, Iwobi, Cech, Coquelin, Elneny.
Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill, Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso, Pedro, Costa, Hazard.
Subs: Begovic, Fabregas, Zouma, Ake, Willian, Batshuayi, Terry.
Is there anything better in this world than a sunny Wembley on FA Cup final day? Well, possibly. But you’d be an awful churl to insist upon making the argument. English football’s signature occasion is oft-derided these days … but only by fools who long ago let the love drain from their heart and don’t know what they’re missing. It still has a little life in it yet. What a gorgeous day.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/may/27/arsenal-v-chelsea-2017-fa-cup-final-live