Simon Burnton

Author's details

Name: Simon Burnton
Date registered: September 29, 2014
URL: http://www.theguardian.com/football/newcastleunited

Latest posts

  1. Atalanta 3-0 Everton: Europa League – as it happened — September 14, 2017
  2. Chelsea 6-0 Qarabag: Champions League – as it happened — September 12, 2017
  3. Burnley 1-0 Crystal Palace: Premier League – as it happened — September 10, 2017
  4. England v West Indies, third Test, day two – as it happened — September 8, 2017
  5. Champions League group stage draw – as it happened — August 24, 2017

Author's posts listings

Sep 14

Atalanta 3-0 Everton: Europa League – as it happened

A lazy, limp, half-hearted and half-witted Everton were outclassed and embarrassed by Atalanta

9.02pm BST

Related: Everton’s misery continues with Europa League defeat against Atalanta

8.04pm BST

And with that, I’m off. It was, well, terrible from Everton, but also inspiring from Atalanta, a rebuilt team playing their first European fixture for a quarter of a century 150 miles from home. They will, on this evidence, be making another killing in the transfer market come January/July. Thanks for joining me. Bye!

8.04pm BST

Koeman signs off, with a word on Everton’s opening fixtures. He really laid into himself there, but I dare say he’ll have had a angry words for others as well.

We knew. We knew from the beginning of July that the start of the season was really tough. OK, we need to accept it. That’s not the problem. The problem is what we showed in the first half.

8.02pm BST

More Koeman rage:

Of course we need to have a little bit more patience. But on the other side, everybody can do their maximum for a good result. But once again, it’s not the time and not the place to criticise the players. I need to criticise myself, because the team was not prepared for this tonight. We showed eight times clips of the play of Gomez, he’s right-footed from the left, and he still got a free shot. That’s the individual quality from one player. The whole team of Atalanta was much better prepared than us today, and once again, that’s the manager.

8.01pm BST

Ronald Koeman fumes on TV:

A lot went wrong. Except maybe after a difficult start maybe 10 minutes, that we had the ball a bit better. But OK, ball possession was poor, but the most painful was in the first half. They showed more aggression, they showed more passion. And that’s really painful, because in my opinion it starts with that and they you need qualities on the ball. I asked myself what I’m doing wrong, about the second half against Tottenham and the first half here. It’s not the way I like to see my team. The commitment, the passion, what they showed in the first half was much bigger than we showed.

7.56pm BST

Chelsea 2-0 Everton; Everton 0-3 Tottenham; Atalanta 3-0 Everton. That’s a grim run of results, and with a visit to Old Trafford to come on Sunday it doesn’t get any easier (actually it does: they then have successive home games against Sunderland in the League Cup, Bournemouth, Limassol and Burnley, followed by a visit to Brighton).

Astonishing stuff from a club competing in Europe for first time in 26 yrs, 120 miles from home, without half the players who got them there

.@btsportfootball Feel sorry for the Everton fans who made the trip to Italy… That was an absolute embarrassment!!! 3-0 Atalanta ⚽️⚽️⚽️

7.53pm BST

Elsewhere in Group E: Lyon have blown a lead at Apollon Limassol, who scored an equaliser deep into stoppage time to make the final score 1-1. Read all about it here:

ΓΚΟΟΟΟΟΟΟΛΛΛΛ!!!! ΣΑΡΝΤΙΝΕΡΟ 90+

7.50pm BST

90+3 mins: It’s over. Everton weren’t just woefully inept today, they were lazy. Grumpy, sleepy and dopey – they were three of the seven dwarfs, and after this they have roughly the same international stature.

7.47pm BST

90+2 mins: There will be three minutes or so of second-half stoppage time. Everton’s torture is almost over.

7.46pm BST

90+1 mins: Mirallas plays in Holgate, whose first touch is good and whose second, a left-foot shot, goes behind off Rafael Toloi. The referee gives a goal kick.

7.44pm BST

89 mins: Keane, 40 yards out, hits a rubbish and wildly ambitious shot miles over the bar.

7.44pm BST

88 mins: Atalanta break, Gomez feeds Cornelius, and he could have done a bit better than hit a low shot that Stekelenburg saves. Decent chance.

7.43pm BST

87 mins: Sandro gets the ball on the left, spins and then spears a rubbish and wildly ambitious shot straight to Berisha.

7.41pm BST

85 mins: Kurtic’s low shot is blocked by Besic. “I’d just like to add that Glenn Strömberg also does a lot of TV punditry,” writes Ed Rostron, “and we once received a free copy of his Italian cookbook, which features lots of Swedish footballers who played in Italy choosing their favourite Italian meals. The bolognese recipe is excellent.” Here’s some more Strömberg-related reading:

Related: Small Talk | Glenn Strömberg: we got rid of all the Swedish channels on Sven’s TV

7.39pm BST

84 mins: The match is being played at half pace, but that just means Atalanta are attacking in slow motion. Gomez lifts the ball into the box but it’s just too far ahead of Cornelius.

7.37pm BST

82 mins: The last of the substitutions. Cristante goes off, and Jasmin Kurtic comes on.

7.36pm BST

81 mins: Everton have stopped doing a bit better, and Atalanta are once again dominating. Meanwhile, pick this out of the net.

What a strike!

AC Milan’s Suso with an unbelievable hit against Austria Vienna! pic.twitter.com/fVFgrB4FM9

7.34pm BST

79 mins: Another substitution. Andreas Cornelius comes on and Andrea Petagna, who has been phenomenal, comes off.

7.33pm BST

78 mins: Gomez lifts the ball into the penalty area, where Petagna runs on to it and is in the process of swinging his left foot when Jagielka steals the ball away. “I’m not an Everton fan and am not English but Everton are even embarrassing me,” writes JR. “The hell is going on over there? Seventh place might be up for grabs this season.”

7.31pm BST

76 mins: Besic biffs a 40-yard shot high, and both teams make a substitution. Everton bring Mirallas on for Calvert-Lewin, and Atalanta bring Mattia Caldara on for Masiello.

7.30pm BST

75 mins: Everton have been doing a bit better of late, though mainly because Atalanta are suffering from threenilupitis. The visitors have had a bit more possession, but haven’t done a lot with it.

7.29pm BST

74 mins: If you’re wondering what Glenn Stromberg, the big Swede standing next to Caniggia in the photo I used earlier, is up to these days, here’s the answer: he’s watching this game in a pub.

Capitano @Glenn_Stromberg nyter Atalanta-Everton. 3-0 til pause pic.twitter.com/CujSKL4CiK

Concentrati adesso altri 45. Vamos ⚽️⚽️⚽️ pic.twitter.com/D6pOMixUrV

7.26pm BST

70 mins: A break in play while Masiello is treated for a jarred knee.

7.21pm BST

66 mins: A double substitution for Everton, who take off Rooney and Schneiderlin and bring on Klaassen and Ramírez.

7.20pm BST

65 mins: If you’re hanging about waiting to watch the Arsenal game, prepare to hang about a bit longer – kick-off has been delayed by an hour to give them time to work out what to do about all the ticketless away fans who are outside and don’t want to be.

The kick-off of #AFCvCOL has been delayed by an hour in the interests of crowd safety

7.18pm BST

63 mins: A disgruntled Sigurdsson, who has achieved nothing all night, executes a sulky late challenge from behind that brings an inevitable yellow card.

7.18pm BST

62 mins: Hateboer cuts in from the right, Baines falls over in astonishment, and the Dutchman’s shot with the outside of his right foot is blocked by Jagielka.

7.15pm BST

60 mins: Here’s a great picture of Rooney which pretty much sums up Everton’s night so far.

7.12pm BST

57 mins: Atalanta hit the bar! They attack down the right, the ball is passed to Petagna, and he holds it, waits, and then lays it into the path of Freuler, whose shot beats Stekelenburg for pace but is just too high!

7.11pm BST

56 mins: Everton win a free-kick on the right flank. Sigurdsson’s cross is headed clear, and when the ball is sent back into the area Berisha catches.

7.10pm BST

54 mins: Atalanta miss a chance to make hit four! Petagna screams down the right, gets to the edge of the area and touches to his left, where the ball rolls to Gomez, who blasts high.

7.08pm BST

53 mins: Gomez strikes a delicious 50-yard pass to Petagna, just outside Everton’s penalty area, but Besic closes him down and then steals the ball away.

7.07pm BST

52 mins: There’s some nice build-up play from Everton down the right, before Vlasic pulls the ball back to Rooney and his chipped cross floats to Berisha.

7.05pm BST

49 mins: Everton haven’t completely turned the tide, though: Petagna cuts in from the right and tests Stekelenburg with a low left-footer towards the near post.

7.03pm BST

48 mins: Everton attack again, Vlasic carrying the ball down the middle of the pitch as team-mates run left and right in support. He tries a long-range left-foot shot that is so poorly struck it only barely reaches Berisha.

7.02pm BST

47 mins: As Atalanta struggle to clear the ball Freuler twinkletoes his way past two players on the touchline and then goes down under Holgate’s gentle challenge. Free kick.

7.01pm BST

46 mins: Shot! Everton have a shot! It’s Rooney with it, spinning into the area and blasting a low, hard effort that Berisha pushes clear.

7.01pm BST

46 mins: Everton get the second half started. Can they dig themselves out of this very big hole?

7.00pm BST

The players are back out. Remarkably, Everton appear to have made no substitutions.

6.57pm BST

Andrea Petagna looks excellent. He’s 22, but tall, strong, technically sound, controls the ball well and spots a pass. And Alejandro “Papu” Gomez, at 29, is not so youthful a prospect but is quite the mover. As you can see here (honestly, watch it. It’s really quite funny):

6.46pm BST

45+1 mins: The referee doesn’t bother with stoppage time. Everton haven’t really started. Atalanta have been excellent; Everton embarrassing.

What a stunner!

Atalanta captain Alejandro Gomez rifles in a screamer to double their lead over Everton pic.twitter.com/ZuYEEzWoiZ

6.45pm BST

This is so easy! The ball is pumped into Everton’s half, where Petagna runs into an impossible amount of space, looks to his left and sees two team-mates also running into impossible amounts of space! He tries to slide the ball across the area to Gomez but Cristante intercepts, runs all alone into the penalty area, and prods past Stekelenburg!

6.43pm BST

43 mins: Somewhere in the bowels of the stadium, inside the Everton dressing-room, there are some very frightened teacups.

6.41pm BST

Atalanta get reward for their dominance, and it’s a beauty! Gomez has been excellent on the left wing; this time he cuts inside and, from a couple of yards outside the area, sends a shot dipping and curling into the far corner!

6.39pm BST

39 mins: Atalanta, who should be more than a single goal to the good by now, have their sixth corner of the game. The referee spots a foul (though replays suggest it was an Everton player doing the fouling).

5 – Five of Everton’s starting XI tonight weren’t even born when Atalanta had scored their previous goal in Europe (Dec 1990). Behind.

6.37pm BST

37 mins: Another save from Stekelenburg. It was a selfish shot from Gomez, towards the near post when really he should have crossed, giving the goalkeeper an easy save.

6.35pm BST

34 mins: Another chance! Petagna holds the ball up on the edge of his area and plays it through, Masiello runs onto it but Stekelenburg comes out fast, closes him down and makes the save.

6.33pm BST

34 mins: And the day’s first booking, which goes to Timothy Castagne. Atalanta are massively dominant here.

6.33pm BST

33 mins: Oooh again! Gomez crosses from the left and it bounces through to Hateboer, beyond the far post, who volleys into the ground and back across goal, where several team-mates were queueing up, but Keane got a foot to the ball and they all missed it!

6.31pm BST

31 mins: Ooooh! Gomez gets to the byline but his pull-back is just too far in front of Masiello, and just too far behind Petagna!

6.29pm BST

29 mins: Rooney’s chip is very much his attacking highlight thus far – he’s spent most of the match tracking up and down the left flank, often working as an auxiliary left-back.

6.28pm BST

The corner is played into a cluster of players at the near post, deflects I think off Sigurdsson’s shoulder and rolls to the one player at the far post. Masiello is barely a yard out when it comes to him, and can’t miss!

6.27pm BST

26 mins: Chance! And a save! Gomez chips the ball into the area to Petagna, who brings the ball down. Jagielka gets in the way but the ball deflects to Masiello, whose first-time shot from close range hits the goalkeeper and goes wide!

6.25pm BST

24 mins: Another long spell of Atalanta possession. They are moving forward, but very slowly.

6.21pm BST

21 mins: Remo Freuler smacks a powerful shot from the edge of the area. That was really travelling, and Stekelenburg would surely have struggled to save it, so it’s just as well Keane threw himself in its way.

6.20pm BST

20 mins: This photograph of classic Atalanta players of yesteryear is absolutely phenomenal. Among the questions it raises: is Claudio Caniggia’s shirt very big or are his upper arms just very small?

Great to see Atalanta back in the big time: the club who had the most spectacular trio of designated Serie A foreign players back in the day pic.twitter.com/upYUfMbqWv

6.18pm BST

17 mins: Atalanta win a third corner, and after Rooney gets his head to it first, a fourth. That one drops in the six-yard box and causes a bit of panic before it’s booted clear. “I can’t believe I’ve just spent 2 minutes and 12 seconds watching a video of fans milling around out side the Mapei Stadium,” complains Andrew Kennedy. “I’m sitting in the Singapore Air lounge in San Francisco airport listening to people slurp Seafood Laksa. I was hoping the video would be a pleasant distraction. It didn’t work.” Yes, nothing happens. But there’s some very invigorating music.

6.14pm BST

14 mins: And another shot! This one, from Rooney, is different in almost every way to Sigurdsson’s: he’s running away from goal, from left to right, when he suddenly chips back towards the far post. It causes Berisha a few moments of intense concern before plopping onto the roof of the net.

6.13pm BST

13 mins: A shot! Sigurdsson thumps a nasty dipping effort from just outside the area. It’s straight at Berisha but he’s got no chance of catching something that vicious. He pushes it to safety.

6.11pm BST

10 mins: This is better from Everton, keeping possession, gently probing first down one flank, and then the other. Nothing comes of it, mind.

6.09pm BST

8 mins: Everton attempt to attack, sending Calvert-Lewin down the right, but he gives the ball away.

6.08pm BST

7 mins: Atalanta aren’t really pressing now, but they have had the ball for the very great majority of the match so far.

6.05pm BST

4 mins: Atalanta still press. Petagna controls with his hand, gets away with it, and has his shot deflected behind off Keane.

6.03pm BST

2 mins: Atalanta press, and their ball into the box comes off Jagielka’s head, loops into the air and has to be tipped over the bar by Stekelenburg. “Having visited beautiful Bergamo to watch Atalanta dispatch the mighty Pescara in March I can confirm that Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia required renovation approximately 20 years ago,” writes Michael Kruse. “Great team. Wonderful supporters. Dilapidated stadium. As an aside, as a result of that match I adopted Atalanta as a second team and given the stripping that the team has undergone the past couple years I can only imagine how Southampton supporters feel on an annual basis.”

6.02pm BST

1 min: Peeeeep! Atalanta get us under way.

6.01pm BST

Coins tossed, hands shaken, kick-off moments away.

6.00pm BST

The Atalanta fans are extremely boisterous. We’ve got flares, smoke, and a lot of noise, and the game hasn’t even started yet.

5.57pm BST

The players are in the tunnel. Actually, it looks more like a foyer.

5.55pm BST

That’s a particularly random-looking stand. It looks like one of the stands you put on your properties in the various football-related versions of Monopoly.

.@btsportfootball Atalanta Ultras making a noise 120 miles from Bergamo Atalanta v Everton live on BT now pic.twitter.com/72y3jlHv0d

5.43pm BST

If you’ve ever wanted to know what the outside of the Mapei Stadium looks like while fans mill about listlessly before they’re let in, this nearly-live video is for you!

5.31pm BST

Important fact: The game is being played at the Mapei Stadium because Atalanta’s own ground, the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia about 150km away in Bergamo, which the club bought outright earlier this year, is being renovated.

5.26pm BST

That victory was Atalanta’s first of the domestic season – they had lost their first two league games, 1-0 to Roma and 3-1 to Napoli.

5.22pm BST

Atalanta make a relativaly understated four changes to the team that beat Sassuolo 2-1 on Sunday.

#AtalantaEverton il nostro XI: Berisha Toloi Palomino Masiello Hateboer Cristante de Roon Freuler Castagne Petagna Gomez #GoAtalantaGo

5.17pm BST

The teams!

These are the people who will be contesting today’s tie. Everton make no fewer than six changes, bringing in Maarten Stekelenburg, Mason Holgate, Phil Jagielka, Mo Besic, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Nikola Vlasic.

| Tonight’s #EFC team to face @Atalanta_BC#EFCawayday #UEL pic.twitter.com/J6eCGEPNNk

3.45pm BST

Hello world!

So the eyes of the known universe turn to the winningly-titled Stadio Città del Tricolore. What a promising name! Fans of Italian-restaurant staple insalata tricolore would certainly want to flock to a city entirely dedicated to the triple pleasures of tomato, avocado and Mozzarella di Bufala, but tragically the name refers to the original and distinctly less tasty tricolore: the Italian flag, a clever red, white and green creation which was the idea of some Reggio Emilia-based bright spark back in 1797. Visitors to the city can also visit the Sala del Tricolore, a big room which is said to be where the very first tricolore was hung. Counterintuitively neither of the two major football teams who call the stadium home play in those colours: Reggiana wear red and white, and Sassuolo still use a version of the green and black kit gifted to them by visiting English side Lancaster Rovers back in the dimly-lit mists of time (read more here). Significantly less romantically, the stadium is often known these days as the Mapei Stadium, having sold its naming rights to the well-known producer of adhesives, thinsets and sealants for buildings.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/sep/14/atalanta-v-everton-europa-league-live

Sep 12

Chelsea 6-0 Qarabag: Champions League – as it happened

An unimaginably awful defensive performance from Qarabag allowed Chelsea to sleepwalk their way to a resounding victory

9.53pm BST

Right, I’m off. Here, have a match report. Bye!

Related: Pedro sets Chelsea on their way to comfortable win over Qarabag

9.52pm BST

Zappacosta has admitted that he was trying to cross the ball when he scored his goal.

9.52pm BST

BT Sport are showing the goals. Some of Qarabag’s defending is not so much bad as non-existent. People looking the wrong way, people standing still while opponents run past them or while opponents just stand about with the ball at their feet weighing up their options. It was a bizarre performance from Qarabag. There’s bad – I can forgive bad – and then there’s dozing.

9.46pm BST

Cesc Fàbregas talks:

We’ve been waiting for a long time to be back playing Champions League. Finally it arrived, and you know it’s a good performance, good result. You never know if these goals can count at the end of the group stage, so we just keep going now. I think it’s a good performance from everyone. I feel personally very well. We’re back, not perhaps to our best but we are getting there. We just have to take it game by game. Now we focus on Arsenal, it’s a tough, tough game. And it’s a very difficult period for us, we have seven games in 21 days, it’s not what we have been used to since last year. We have to be on top, eat well, sleep well and try to recover well for Sunday.

9.41pm BST

Shortly before kick-off, when Antonio Conte was interviewed by BT Sport, he was asked if he could really be confident that the team he’d selected was good enough to win this game.

With hindsight, that’s probably the moment of the night. The team Conte had selected was good enough to win it by a double-figure margin. Had they really tried, really gone all out, given 110%, tonight might have been the biggest win in the club’s history (beating the 13-0 win against Jeunesse Hautcharage in 1971). But they’ve got Arsenal to play on Sunday, so that would be silly. Instead, they took it easy. They relaxed. And they only scored a laid-back six.

9.35pm BST

Too easy.

9.33pm BST

90+2 mins: More criminally casual passing in their own defence by Chelsea allows Madatov to run onto the ball near the byline. He kicks the ball into his own leg and falls over. Goal kick.

9.32pm BST

90+1 mins: There will be three minutes of additional time, or thereabouts.

9.31pm BST

90 mins: Chelsea’s sixth goal has been officially awarded to Maksim Medvedev.

9.30pm BST

89 mins: Now Ndlovu cuts in from the right and scoops another shot over the bar. Different foot, same result.

9.29pm BST

87 mins: Chance for Qarabag! An actual chance! Ndlovu is played into space on the left, runs into the area, cuts past Rüdiger – who has sleepwalked through the evening – and shoots over the bar when well placed!

9.24pm BST

83 mins: That one’s definitely the most embarrassing goal of the night.

9.24pm BST

A defender hits a pass into Zappacosta. No matter, as the ball rolls straight to another defender. This one also kicks the ball into Zappacosta, who is suddenly free to run into the area. He reaches the byline and sends in a low cross, which is bundled into the net by a combination of Batshuayi and his marker.

9.22pm BST

80 mins: After passing the ball around their own area for a bit, Rüdiger’s lazy pass rolls to a white shirt. That’s complacency in action.

9.20pm BST

79 mins: Fabregas very nearly finds Zappacosta bursting past the Qarabag backline again, only for one of the defenders to get their eyebrows to the ball and ruin it.

9.19pm BST

78 mins: I think the fifth might have been the most embarrassing goal of the night, though there’s plenty of competition.

9.19pm BST

77 mins: Qarabag take off Pedro Henrique, and bring on Tarik Elyounoussi.

9.18pm BST

Qarabag give the ball away to Bakayoko, who slides a first-time pass to Batshuayi, unmarked and just outside the penalty area, who turns and shoots low and hard past Sehic.

9.16pm BST

74 mins: A final Chelsea change sees Azpilicueta come off, and Rüdiger come on.

9.13pm BST

Another short corner, this one played to Hazard. His cross hits Michel in the chest, bounces to Bakayoko, and his shot deflects off another defender and flies in!

9.11pm BST

70 mins: Zappacosta mishits a cross behind everyone and out for a throw-in. Perhaps his goal was a cross after all. Qarabag make two changes: Madatov and Diniyev are on, replacing Sadygov and Garayev.

9.08pm BST

67 mins: Willian hits the bar! He has been absolutely class today, just beautiful in possession. This time he cuts in from the left and hits a rising, curling shot that clips the woodwork.

9.07pm BST

65 mins: My colleague Richard Adams emails about spot the ball competitions, apropos the photo that appears some way further down the page. “Fun fact – in those pre-Photoshop days newspapers just used random photos of games with no football in shot,” he says, “and then they just chose where it might be. So there was never a ball to spot.” Say it ain’t so!

9.05pm BST

64 mins: Zappacosta has another shot, as the ball bounces across the area. It goes about 10 yards wide and 20 yards high.

9.04pm BST

63 mins: A second Chelsea substitution: Kanté goes off, and Bakayoko comes on.

9.04pm BST

62 mins: Qarabag have possession. Chelsea’s set-up without the ball is actually quite defensive, dropping into a bank of four and a bank of five, and the visitors are unable to find a way through it. Eventually, they run out of steam.

9.01pm BST

60 mins: Ndlovu falls over Fabregas’s leg just outside Chelsea’s penalty area. The referee waves play on.

8.59pm BST

58 mins: Substitution for Chelsea: Pedro is off, and Eden Hazrd is on.

8.57pm BST

The free kick is taken short to Fabregas, who isn’t closed down. He looks up, he looks left, he looks up again, and then he lifts the ball onto the head of Azpilicueta, who can hardly miss.

8.56pm BST

55 mins: Comedy foul of the day: Willian has the ball on the right wing, runs away from one opponent and is then steamrollered by Guerrier. He flies about five yards.

8.55pm BST

53 mins: So far this half Qarabag remain slow, while Chelsea’s players also appear keen to run a bit less. It is not a recipe for non-stop action.

8.52pm BST

51 mins: Qarabag have a shot! It’s Dino Ndlovu with the effort, a left-footed drive from 25 yards that Courtois pats down and then collects.

8.49pm BST

48 mins: Chelsea win a corner, and then another corner. From the second Fabregas finds a bizarre amount of space inside the area, but he’s closed down quickly enough for it not to be fatal.

8.46pm BST

46 mins: Peeeep! Chelsea get half two under way.

8.46pm BST

The players are out. And they are the same players that went in.

8.43pm BST

Just look how much space Pedro is in here (that’s him, No11, on the edge of the D). Every single Qarabag player is within 10 yards of the goal-line, leaving the rest of the pitch entirely vacant. Qarabag might not have the financial might to compete with Chelsea in the transfer market but they didn’t need money to keep that goal out, they needed some vaguely sensible organisation.

8.32pm BST

The home side couldn’t be more in control of this one. It is wrapped, bagged and the receipt is in their pocket.

8.31pm BST

45+1 mins: Into stoppage time, of which there will be only one minute. Fabregas passes over the defence to Zappacosta, whose low cross doesn’t lead to much. Still, excellent running and passing.

8.30pm BST

45 mins: Marcos Alonso shoots from the left touchline! Well, this one did look like a mishit cross, but it certainly ended up nearish goal.

8.30pm BST

44 mins: Chelsea make a clearance! The ball’s sent high into the penalty area, bounces around a bit, and then Cahill boots it clear. Listen, not much has been happening, OK?

8.25pm BST

40 mins: Chelsea give the ball away a couple of times in quick succession. Christensen’s stretching backheel interception stops Qarabag the first time, their own mediocrity the second. Still, as Steve McManaman points out, “against Atlético Madrid that’s in the back of the net”.

8.24pm BST

39 mins: The ball is passed to Zappacosta, near the right corner flag. “Shoooooot!” scream the fans.

8.22pm BST

37 mins: Henrique has the ball on the right, cuts inside and then shoots low, quite hard and straight down the middle of goal.

8.20pm BST

35 mins: Zappacosta nearly has a second! He’s picked out by Kanté, cuts back onto his left foot and then fires across goal and wide.

8.18pm BST

33 mins: Willian crosses, Alonso miscontrols, and a panicked defender stretches and kicks his clearance into Alonso’s shin, from where it rebounds wide. Chelsea could get into double figures here, if they’re sufficiently bothered.

8.16pm BST

31 mins: The ball absolutely flew inside the near post, with the goalkeeper positioned ready for a cross. As with Kane at the weekend, the classic mishit-cross-turned-goal loops in at the back stick; this sped in at the near.

8.15pm BST

Zappacosta sprints down the right and then scores from the touchline! And I think that might have been an actual shot, rather than a mishit cross!

8.14pm BST

29 mins: Qarabag win a free-kick miles out. Again, they should chip it into the area. Again, they have a ludicrous shot instead.

8.13pm BST

28 mins: Chelsea win a corner and take it short. Fabregas’s eventual cross is a little overlong. The home side are dominating this game in humiliating fashion. They just need to avoid falling asleep and they’ll surely score several more.

8.12pm BST

26 mins: Batshuayi is given the ball with his back to goal, on the edge of the area. He instantly falls over, hoping for a free-kick, but no defender challenged him and he just looks silly. Plus Chelsea have lost the ball.

8.09pm BST

23 mins: Guerrier is penalised for gently swiping at Zappacosta, who was barely impeded but fell over anyway. Chelsea have a dangerous free-kick on the right, but Sehic catches the cross.

8.08pm BST

22 mins: This is horrifically uncompetitive stuff. Chelsea tap the ball about for a while without significant challenge, and then Fabregas chips the ball over the defence, the onrushing Zappacosta heads goalwards and Sehic saves well. The Italian was offside, so it was all for nought.

8.04pm BST

19 mins: Save! Willian shoots low from the edge of the area after a nice one-two with Batshuayi. The keeper saves, and though Batshuayi gets to the rebound first, the angle isn’t very helpful and he finds the side netting.

8.02pm BST

15 mins: Pedro picks out Batshuayi in the penalty area, but the striker’s control is poor and the chance is lost. Moments later, Cahill screams into a bizarre late tackle on Pedro Henrique, on the touchline and nearer Qarabag’s penalty-area than the half-way line – so, in other words, nowhere near the area Cahill needs to bother himself with – and is deservedly booked. Henrique appears to have a sore ankle as a result.

8.00pm BST

15 mins: Qarabag win a free-kick on the left flank, from which they should really have crossed. Instead, Donald Guerrier boshed a shot wide.

7.59pm BST

14 mins: The two dives I alluded to earlier were from Andreas Christensen, flopping over after a defender headed away a corner, and Michy Batshuayi, collapsing with the keeper bothering him a bit. Both were, I thought, a little silly.

7.57pm BST

13 mins: Chelsea knock the ball about at will for a while, and then Zappacosta is played down the right, can’t quite bring it under control, and Qarabag have a goal-kick.

7.54pm BST

9 mins: The Qarabag midfielder Richard Almeida has just the first part of his name on his shirt. With Michel also in the line-up, it feels like we’re on first-name terms with their entire midfield.

7.53pm BST

8 mins: Now Willian runs free down the right before sliding a dangerous low ball across the area, which misses everyone and slides out the other side.

25 – @ChelseaFC have now scored in each of their last 25 @ChampionsLeague group stage games at Stamford Bridge. Easy. #UCL

7.51pm BST

7 mins: Well that wasn’t very hard.

7.51pm BST

Pedro, left in a quite absurd amount of space from a Chelsea corner, curls a lovely shot into the top corner from 23 yards!

7.50pm BST

5 mins: Clearance! Alonso has another shot, and this time it hits a defender and bounces to safety.

7.49pm BST

4 mins: Save! Alonso blasts a shot goalwards from 17 yards, and Sehic tips it round the post. Alonso is the first Chelsea player to get into the penalty area and not fall over looking for a penalty (and the third overall).

7.48pm BST

4 mins: It might just be the dodgy contrast settings on my office TV, but Qarabag’s all-white kit seems so sparkly white it’s practically painful to look at. I don’t know what brand of detergent they use, but I want that one.

7.47pm BST

3 mins: Qarabag are on the front foot in these early minutes, though their latest attack has ended in no more than a goal kick.

7.45pm BST

1 min: Peeeeep! Qarabag get the game started, and swiftly pump the ball high down the right flank, winning a throw-in for their troubles.

7.45pm BST

Good stat stolen from the TV commentary: the referee, Tasos Sisiropoulos, has taken charge of two games in England before. He sent off one member of the English side the first time, and two members of the English side the second time. So Chelsea will probably end the game with eight men.

7.42pm BST

The players are on the pitch! And they are enjoying the Champions League anthem, as indeed are we all!

7.42pm BST

This would be an excellent picture for a Spot the Ball* competition, don’t you think**.

7.33pm BST

Antonio Conte talks to BT Sport:

For us I think this is an important competition. For the club, for the players and for me. We are proud to play in this competition this season. We played two days ago and it’s normal to rotate the players. And if someone is thinking to play every game with the same players it means they are not intelligent.

It’s normal to play to win. I think no team plays to lose the game. I know Qarabag very well, also because I played against Azerbaijan when I was coach of the national team. These types of games are tricky and we must pay great attention to start in the right way. I think we are ready, we are ready to play the league and now to start this important competition.

7.29pm BST

“Whenever I notice Qarabag playing my first thought is always: wasn’t the Marquis of Qarabag Puss-in-boots’ master?” writes Kári Tulinius. “Then I remember it was the Marquis of Carabas.”

7.09pm BST

So there’s no sign of Charly Musonda after all, though Davide Zappacosta starts for the first time since his move from Torino.

7.06pm BST

Chelsea’s star-studded subs’ bench: David Luiz, Antonio Rudiger, Willy Caballero, Victor Moses, Eden Hazard, Alvaro Morata and Tiémoué Bakayoko.

6.50pm BST

The teams!

The team sheets have been handed in, and these are the names upon them:

Chelsea team: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Cahill (c); Zappacosta, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Willian, Batshuayi, Pedro. #CHEQAR

“Qarabağ”ımız “Çelsi”ylə matçda start heyəti #QarabağFK #UCL #CHEvQAR pic.twitter.com/OIPOAkOv0l

6.48pm BST

Hello world!

So it begins. Chelsea’s Champions League quest starts tonight against Qarabag. There could have been, it must be said, sterner tests. But could Chelsea take their Azerbaijani opponents – who, after all, have lost just one of their last 20 matches in all competitions – too lightly? So far we know little more than that “Eden Hazard will be on the bench” – that’s according to Antonio Conte, who also said that “it is necessary to rotate”, and this:

I don’t know if there is a chance this season. But the chance to win the title last season was zero and we changed the opinion of the people. You play to do your best and to try to win every game, step by step. We are building something important in the present and also for the future.

Five years in the making, It’s almost time to make waves in this special kit… @ChelseaFc

8.43pm BST

Simon will be here soon, but you can catch up on Antonio Conte’s thoughts until then:

Antonio Conte is poised to rotate his players when Chelsea make their Champions League return on Tuesday night. The Premier League winners play their second of seven games in September when their Group C campaign opens against Azerbaijan’s Qarabag.

A league match at home to Arsenal follows on Sunday and Conte is not prepared to ask too much of players so early in the season. “You are never relaxed in England because you have to play a tough league and also FA Cup and also Carabao Cup,” the manager said. “Now we are starting to play the Champions League. To play 60, 65 games it’s normal but it’s not easy.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/sep/12/chelsea-v-qarabag-champions-league-live

Sep 10

Burnley 1-0 Crystal Palace: Premier League – as it happened

Crystal Palace gifted Burnley a calamitous early goal, and were guilty of a calamitous late miss, and thus remain goalless and pointless

4.04pm BST

Related: Chris Wood seals victory for Burnley to leave Crystal Palace pointless

3.41pm BST

And with that, I’m gone. It was, well, rubbish. Palace, while less awful than they have been, were still far from good. Whether this improvement will prove enough to save the manager’s job remains to be seen. Bye!

3.39pm BST

Frank de Boer talks:

I think everybody who was watching, there was only one team deserving to win today and it was us. But that’s football, and sometimes you don’t get what you deserve. But we can also blame ourselves, to give the ball away and not score our opportunities.

I said before the match that I have a good feeling with the squad, I had confidence. They didn’t start with that confidence. Afterwards we played how we can play, sometimes with long balls, sometimes on the ground. We created our chances, almost didn’t give anything away. We controlled the game, and then you have to reward yourself.

3.33pm BST

Burnley only had three shots on target. They grafted well enough, but displayed depressingly little flair. Palace put in 38 crosses, of which approximately 35 were rubbish.

3.32pm BST

James Tarkowski is the man of the match.

It was a good day. It’s what I’m there to do. Win some headers, block a few shots and it was a positive result in the end. It was a tough day. A lot of balls coming in. Come out a bit battered and bruised but three points is the most important.

3.24pm BST

A brilliantly entertaining first five minutes followed by a dismal final 85, particularly for Palace. They remain goalless and pointless, thanks to Lee Chung-yong’s early error and Scott Dann’s late one.

3.22pm BST

90+3 mins: Palace contrive to spend an entire minute over a defensive throw-in, as Schlupp tries to run a few bonus yards downfield and the referee doesn’t let him. And then they concede a corner, and that looks like curtains.

3.20pm BST

90+1 mins: Into stoppage time, of which there will be three minutes or so.

3.20pm BST

90 mins: Benteke knocks down to Cabaye, who sends an excellent cross to the far post. The keeper desperately scrambles across his line, resigned to the inevitable, but Dann misses the best chance of the game.

3.18pm BST

89 mins: Palace miss a sitter! Scott Dann heads wide from three yards out!

3.18pm BST

88 mins: Cabaye’s 35-yarder is pretty but easily saved.

3.17pm BST

87 mins: Another Palace corner. It goes the way of the other 12. No13 follows.

3.16pm BST

87 mins: This one, like the previous 11, comes to nothing.

3.15pm BST

86 mins: Townsend, for the first time today, is allowed to shift the ball onto his left foot and shoot. The shot, though, is deflected wide. Another Palace corner.

3.14pm BST

84 mins: Dann has another shot cleared off the line! A corner comes off a defender’s head and lands at Dann’s feet beyond the far post, and his low, hard shot was on its way in* when it was cleared by Tarkowski’s fine sliding defensive backheel!

* Actually Lowton, on the far post, would probably have cleared it if Tarkowski hadn’t.

3.12pm BST

83 mins: Burnley bring Westwood on for Defour.

3.12pm BST

81 mins: Palace make a second change, bringing Jaïro Riedeweld on for McArthur. “There’s something utterly ridiculous about the fact that a manager is about to be sacked because he has angered a squad of professional footballers, all of whom have been playing since they were children, by asking them to pass the ball to each other,” rages David Flynn. This is true. But De Boer can either forge this squad into a team that might win games, or he can’t. Whatever the reasons, if he can’t, and he’s not going to, he’s got to go. This is not to suggest that he has been given sufficient chance to prove it yet, mind.

3.09pm BST

80 mins: Benteke heads the ball down to Townsend, who passes it back, and the Belgian bursts past Lumeka, into the area, and sidefoots a low shot that clipped the foot of the onrushing, spreadeagled Pope!

3.08pm BST

79 mins: Chance! A chance for Palace to score a goal! And Pope makes a fine, brave save!

3.07pm BST

78 mins: For a moment there it looked like Cabaye’s low cross was going to pick out Benteke in the penalty area. But then Tarkowski flung himself at the ball and got a foot to it, so it didn’t.

3.05pm BST

75 mins: Benteke is booked for inexplicably jumping into Tarkowski.

3.04pm BST

74 mins: Good save! From a good shot! Incredible scenes! Ashley Barnes did the shooting, and his left-footed effort from 20 yards was curling in at the far post until Hennessey pushed it away.

3.02pm BST

72 mins: The ball drops at the feet of Schlupp, just inside the penalty area, with time to control and compose himself before shooting. This is the chance for Palace! This is what they’ve been waiting for! Cometh the hour, cometh the … effort bewilderingly ballooned over the bar.

3.01pm BST

71 mins: A good cross! Palace have put in a good cross! Townsend provided it, and Lumeka’s header when very well placed was deflected wide!

@Simon_Burnton Hard to believe this Burnley side took points from Spurs.

2.57pm BST

67 mins: Burnley are gradually emerging from the rock they crawled under at half-time. This has, so far, been a pretty dismal half of football.

2.55pm BST

64 mins: Lee Chung-Yong, who set up Burnley’s goal and has since sent in countless rubbish crosses, goes off, and the young winger Levi Lumeka comes on.

2.53pm BST

64 mins: A nice move from Burnley, who play the ball wide to Gudmunsson, who passes to the overlapping Lowton, but it rather peters out from there. Sean Dyche reacts by taking Vokes off, and bringing Ashley Barnes on.

2.52pm BST

62 mins: Unless Burnley’s central defenders fall asleep and thus fail to head away one of Palace’s optimistic, powder-puff crosses, a random Townsend thunderbolt increasingly looks the visitors’ best chance of actually scoring. The latest attempt is well blocked by a rushing Mee.

2.50pm BST

60 mins: Burnley put the ball into Palace’s penalty area, probably for the first time this half. It bounces straight out of play. Goal kick.

2.47pm BST

56 mins: Palace’s attacking in these first 10 minutes of the second half has been entirely concentrated down the left flank. I don’t think they’ve had the ball on the right wing at all. But still they haven’t done much with it. They’ve got a great header of the ball in Benteke, but sadly no great crossers of the ball.

2.42pm BST

53 mins: It’s all Palace at the moment, though their work is all taking place outside the penalty area. They work the ball wide, they cross, it’s headed clear, they pick up the loose ball. Rinse and repeat.

2.41pm BST

51 mins: McArthur runs into the area, and Schlupp has a straightforward task to pick him out, but he overhits his pass straight out of play.

2.40pm BST

49 mins: Palace are doing fine here. Not brilliantly, clearly, but they’re not the hapless calamity-magnets they’ve been painted as. They are, though, clearly more comfortably in today’s 4-3-3 formation.

2.36pm BST

46 mins: And an early half-chance for Palace, as Benteke heads Schlupp’s cross well wide of goal.

2.35pm BST

46 mins: Peeeeep! Palace get the second half started. Both sides are unchanged.

2.34pm BST

The players are back out. More football incoming.

2.32pm BST

Back to the subject of menus, then. Pleasingly, John Salako said in the early stages of this match that he thought it would be “a game of nutrition”.

John Salako channelling the spirit of Giggsy @SecondCaptains #gameofnutrition pic.twitter.com/YvIVZzpY0q

2.23pm BST

Palace have looked pretty solid, they’ve created some decent chances and won a variety of set pieces, but they’ve also gifted Burnley a comedy goal, which is the kind of nonsense that they should really be avoiding.

2.20pm BST

45+4 mins: It’s not a great centre by Puncheon, the referee spots some pushing in the area, and he blows once to give Burnley a free-kick, and then a couple of extra times for half-time.

2.19pm BST

45+3 mins: The half will end with yet another Palace corner, won by Schlupp.

2.18pm BST

45+1 mins: Townsend has a right-footed shot from 20 yards which deflects off Mee, taking most of the pace from it, and allows Pope to make a straightforward first save.

2.17pm BST

45+1 mins: There’ll be about three minutes of stoppage time, we’re told.

2.17pm BST

45 mins: Gudmunsson, who has been bright on the right, bustles his way down the right and crosses, but it’s headed away.

2.13pm BST

40 mins: Palace are yet to test Pope, though surely that’ll come. The minutes since Heaton’s injury have been scrappy and featureless.

2.08pm BST

36 mins: That looks like a dislocation. Heaton heads to the dressing-room to receive further treatment, and Nick Pope replaces him.

2.06pm BST

35 mins: Robbie Brady is booked for a foul on Townsend during that move. Heaton is still receiving treatment.

2.05pm BST

34 mins: After a Palace break Lee scoops a looping cross into the penalty area. Heaton screams for it, claims it, lands awkwardly and screams again. The physio comes on to assess his left shoulder.

2.03pm BST

32 mins: Cabaye’s shot hits the wall, rebounds to Cabaye, and the next shot hits the wall as well.

2.02pm BST

31 mins: Cabaye goes to ground again, and this time he wins a free-kick just outside the penalty area. He did, to be fair, appear to be fouled by Ward.

2.01pm BST

29 mins: Burnley win a free-kick on the half-way line. Both centre-backs trot forward in anticipation of the ball being sent into the mixer. It’s played short, and then passed back to the goalkeeper, puzzlingly.

1.59pm BST

27 mins: Cabaye has the ball in midfield, with an opponent at his shoulder. He passes the ball safely and then collapses and rolls around a bit. When the referee ignores him he pops straight back up. Absolutely shameless play-acting there.

1.56pm BST

25 mins: Joel Ward produces a goal-saving header! It’s a lovely cross from Gudmundsson on the right, and Brady was preparing to volley it into a yawning net when the flying Ward sent it behind instead!

1.55pm BST

24 mins: Burnley win their first corner, after Ward’s cross is turned behind. Nothing comes of it.

1.53pm BST

22 mins: The corner picks out McArthur, who heads just wide!

1.53pm BST

21 mins: Yet another Palace corner. The last time Burnley scored a goal in or before the third minute was … the last time they played Burnley at home, when Vokes scored in the second minute.

1.50pm BST

19 mins: They certainly have looked threatening from wide areas. Unfortunately, the defence they have most seriously threatened is their own.

17: We’re looking threatening from wide areas this afternoon – back-to-back corners again…

[1-0] #BURCRY

1.49pm BST

17 mins: A Townsend cross towards Benteke is headed away, but it’s another Palace corner, which duly leads to yet another Palace corner. It’s probably unwise to concede so many set pieces to a team containing Benteke and Dann.

1.46pm BST

15 mins: Mee has the ball at left-back for Burnley, with Townsend closing him down. He nicely takes the ball around the Palace winger, bringing a roar of approval from the home fans, and then floats an aimless ball forward to nobody. Talk about spoiling the moment.

1.44pm BST

13 mins: This one is eventually clipped to Schlupp in the area, whose control is excellent but whose decision to try to dance past two defenders is a little misguided. The second one takes the ball off him.

1.43pm BST

12 mins: Another Palace corner on the left, and this time Puncheon plays it deep to Cabaye, unmarked 25 yards out, but it doesn’t fall kindly, and though he does improvise a shot he’s lucky to get another corner from it.

1.41pm BST

10 mins: Hennessey’s clearance is headed right back whence it came, Wood beats Fosu-Mensah to the bouncing ball and would have had another excellent chance had Dann not come across to clean up.

1.39pm BST

8 mins: And so does Vokes! Palace’s Ward dives in on Burnley’s Ward but misses both ball and player, and the cross picks out Vokes’s run to the near post only for the striker to head across goal and wide. The last five minutes have been absolutely ludicrous.

1.37pm BST

6 mins: Now Benteke goes close! Townsend twists, turns and clips the ball into the penalty area, where Benteke easily beats Tarkowski to the header, which bounces just wide!

1.36pm BST

5 mins: And a goal-line clearance from Burnley! Palace win a corner on the left which is flicked on to Dann, who controls nicely, spins and fires low past Heaton and towards the far post, where there is a defender waiting to smash it away.

1.35pm BST

And from nothing, a goal! Lee Chung-yong has the ball on the halfway line, wide on Palace’s left, and he passes the ball into the space behind his own backline, Wood runs onto it and curls past an advancing and hopelessly exposed Hennessey!

1.34pm BST

3 mins: Not much of anything much as yet. Palace, clad in their all-black away kit, are playing as expected with a back four, who are hanging about on the half-way line, leaving plenty of space in behind.

1.31pm BST

1 min: Peeeep! The home side get us started, swiftly fling the ball forward, and it’s headed back to Hennessey.

1.29pm BST

The weather in Burnley today is pure filth: plenty of wind, and a fair amount of rain.

1.26pm BST

The players are in the tunnel. We’re about to have football.

1.21pm BST

“I can never quite figure out what are the official colours of Palace,” complains Paul Grims. “Are they blue and red? Claret and blue? the details seem ill-defined.” I don’t see any claret (though they’re sponsored and I think still co-owned by a wine merchant, so there’s that) but according to the official Premier League handbook:

Shirts: Red with Blue Stripe / Shorts: Blue / Socks: Blue with Red Hoop

1.18pm BST

“If the Palace line-up is a menu then it seems quite hard core to start the meal with a Hennessy,” notes Ian Copestake.

1.17pm BST

Sean Dyche has had a chat:

The main thing is to focus on what we’re about. We’ve started the season with a good look about us. You certainly can’t take anything for granted in the Premier League. They’re a good side. It’s more about taking the game on as we do. We take everybody seriously. We certainly don’t get ideas above our station. We’ve got to take the game to them today.

1.08pm BST

“Of the two team’s official team sheets, Burnley Football Club’s looks like a business card whilst Crystal Palace’s looks like a menu or the label of a cheap wine,” writes Raymond Reardon. “Whose style do you prefer?” I think Burnley’s looks a fair bit smarter, but I’m a little worried about Ben Mee and Stephen Ward. What’s happened to their hands? And what is Chris Wood doing with his? These are the important questions.

12.50pm BST

As you while away the minutes before kick-off, you should probably cast your eye over this:

Related: Frank De Boer wants to stick to his guns at Crystal Palace – but time is against him | Paul Doyle

12.47pm BST

Chris Wood makes his first start for Burnley. He has now played against Crystal Palace six times, once for West Bromwich Albion, once for Birmingham, once for Bristol City, once for Millwall, once for Leicester and now once for Burnley. To play your first six matches against a single opponent in the colours of six different clubs strikes me as being extremely unusual.

12.43pm BST

Frank de Boer has spoken to Sky. It’s quite interesting. Here’s a snippet:

It will always take time [to change a style of play]. Pre-season was already scheduled and it was very hard for me to change that schedule. We played four games, and normally I like to play six, seven games. You can say that’s an excuse, but it takes time to implement a different system. If we want to change the system people have to adapt. Right now we have to go back to the comfort zone for our players. And if they feel and I feel that everybody’s on board with a 4-3-3 system then we’re going to play 4-3-3. I have always believed that if you get the time, the results will come. We started a project, and we’re going to finish that project.

12.38pm BST

Palace make three changes: Tomkins, Van Aanholt and Milivojevic are out; Schlupp, Lee and Cabaye are in. As, it seems, is a back four.

12.33pm BST

The teams!

The team sheets have been handed in, and these were the names upon them:

TEAM NEWS: Here’s your Burnley team to face @CPFC today. pic.twitter.com/LCmUckiuHB

Here’s how we line up for #BURCRYpic.twitter.com/XMAkml2B0R

11.45am BST

Hello world!

Well, here we are. Do or quite possibly die. And it’s barely mid-September. Crystal Palace were gifted an extremely kind start to the season, featuring alongside a visit to Anfield home games against Huddersfield, Swansea and Southampton and this trip to Burnley. With three of those five matches played they are pointless, and Frank de Boer’s job appears to already be on the line. After this game and the match against the Saints next Saturday they face three successive matches that they are likely to lose, away at Manchester City and Manchester United before hosting Chelsea. They need encouragement, and they need points, and they need them quickly. No points at the end of August is disappointing, but, say, three or fewer after nine matches would be a crisis. When Palace last lost the first four games of a league season it was 1925. And they could easily lose this one, as they lost twice to Burnley last season. It is, in short, and largely thanks to Palace’s poor start to the season, extremely tasty.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/sep/10/premier-league-burnley-v-crystal-palace-live

Sep 08

England v West Indies, third Test, day two – as it happened

West Indies finished an excellent day’s play on 93 for three, a lead of 22, after the great James Anderson became the first Englishman to take 500 Test wickets

9.15pm BST

Related: Jimmy Anderson’s 500th Test wicket bore all the hallmarks of his first | Andy Bull

8.43pm BST

Vic Marks’s day two report from Lord’s

Related: Jimmy Anderson reaches 500 mark as England hit back at West Indies

7.34pm BST

31st over: West Indies 93-3 (S Hope 35, Chase 3) England crowd Chase for the final over of the day, with four slips, a gully, short leg and leg slip. It’s not a great over, however, and Chase survives comfortably. The West Indies will lead by 22 overnight after another fascinating day, in which James Anderson took his 500th Test wicket and then got in a rare old huff. Thanks for your company, goodnight.

7.29pm BST

30th over: West Indies 93-3 (S Hope 35, Chase 3) Anderson has changed ends. He should be able to get off the pitch easier, because of the slope, and he’s no longer at Marais Erasmus’s end. His first delivery is a nasty lifter that Hope deals with beautifully, softening his hands to drop it short of gully. There should be time for one last over.

7.25pm BST

29th over: West Indies 93-3 (S Hope 35, Chase 3) Anderson is still moaning at Erasmus. I’m not sure why, because replays show he was running on the pitch. The umpiring in this game has been almost perfect. Anyway, Anderson’s been replaced by Stuart Broad, a sensible decision from Root. He probably wasn’t expecting to bowl, and his first delivery is a wide loosener that Hope slams square on the off side for four. It’s increasingly hard not to get carried away about how good he could be. He’s almost comically calm. If you drop a marmot in the bath his heart wouldn’t skip a beat.

7.21pm BST

28th over: West Indies 88-3 (S Hope 30, Chase 3) Shai Hope plays another sizzling drive between extra cover and mid off for four. England have lost their discipline in the last 15 minutes and, while I still think they’ll win this game, it’s a lot closer than most people think.

7.18pm BST

27th over: West Indies 81-3 (S Hope 23, Chase 3) Anderson is still going into the danger zone in his followthrough, and could easily be pulled out of the attack. Erasmus has another chat with him at the end of the over. It’s excellent umpiring, fair and quietly authoritative.

7.16pm BST

Anderson has been given a second warning by Marais Erasmus. One more and he can’t bowl in the innings. From the next ball, Erasmus turns down a big LBW appeal when Chase pushes around an inswinger. Anderson immediately turns away in disgust. I thought it was swinging past leg stump, but Joe Root has decided to risk England’s last review. Yes, it’s missing the leg stump by a fair distance. That’s a shocking review from England.

7.14pm BST

26th over: West Indies 79-3 (S Hope 23, Chase 1) West Indies lead by eight runs. There are 17 minutes left before the close of play. If England don’t get another wicket tonight they might be in a little bit of trouble over the weekend.

7.09pm BST

Shai Hope falls over a big inswinger from Stokes and is hit on the pad, prompting a huge appeal for LBW. Chris Gaffaney says not out and England review. Replays show it did too much and would have missed the stumps both on height and line. More terrific umpiring from Gaffaney, who has had a magnificent match.

7.07pm BST

25th over: West Indies 77-3 (S Hope 21, Chase 1) One of the interesting things about Anderson is that in the last two years he averages 19 with the ball. That would be outstanding at any age, never mind as you approach your mid-30s. Hope inside edges him just wide of leg stump for four, and then Anderson is warned for stepping on the danger area in his follow through. Anderson, the loveable grump, takes it as well as you might expect, chuntering to everyone and no one as he strides off at the end of the over.

7.02pm BST

24th over: West Indies 72-3 (S Hope 16, Chase 1) Ben Stokes is dispensing unpleasantries at Roston Chase, who was similarly vocal during Stuart Broad’s innings. Shai Hope, the man on strike, calmly takes a single off the last ball to keep strike.

6.57pm BST

23rd over: West Indies 69-3 (S Hope 14, Chase 0) Powell played so well, but that delivery was the definition of unplayable. The new batsman Roston Chase survives a big appeal first ball for a strangle down the leg side. England don’t review, and replays confirm it hit him on the thigh.

As a big darts player, Jimmy was always going to make 501 one of his best

6.54pm BST

James Anderson strikes with the fourth ball of a new spell! That is a quite stunning delivery. It angled in from around the wicket, turned Powell round and then straightened like an off-break to trim the off bail.

6.51pm BST

22nd over: West Indies 65-2 (Powell 41, S Hope 14) Hope reaches to push-drive Stokes through extra cover for four. An affronted Stokes rams consecutive bouncers past the head of Hope, who then steers four more to third man. Excellent stuff from both men.

“How about Alan Oakman?” says David Murfin. “Wiki entry includes ‘his telescopic skill as a close fielder snared him five catches in Jim Laker’s famous 19 wicket haul at Old Trafford, and totalled 594 catches in his career’.”

6.46pm BST

21st over: West Indies 57-2 (Powell 41, S Hope 6) Anderson is getting loose, presumably to replace Roland-Jones at this end. West Indies look comfortable at the moment and have reduced the deficit to 14.

6.42pm BST

20th over: West Indies 55-2 (Powell 40, S Hope 6) Hope repels a booming inswinger from Stokes. The ball hasn’t done quite as much as it did yesterday, when Stokes got swing that we are contractually obliged to describe as “lavish”. Hope only has six from 32 balls but he looks excellent again. How on earth did he have a Test average of 19 before Headingley? Everything about him, from his demanour to his cover drive, suggests potential greatness.

6.40pm BST

19th over: West Indies 51-2 (Powell 40, S Hope 6) Two more boundaries to Powell, both through the covers off Roland-Jones. The first was a tremendous drive. My colleague Tim de Lisle points out that he is approaching his first Test fifty since November 2012.

Meanwhile, thanks to Brian Withington this clip of Roger Harper’s futuristic fielding.

6.35pm BST

18th over: West Indies 43-2 (Powell 32, S Hope 6) Powell thick-edges Stokes for four. It’s really dark at Lord’s now, a lovely time to bowl; as such 43 for two is a really good effort from the West Indies. I’m surprised you can still get odds of 8/1 on a Windies victory.

“Besides Roger Harper, surely Jonty Rhodes owed at least some of his Test appearances to his fielding?” wonders Geoff Wignall. “I’m struggling to think of any English examples though. It wasn’t enough for Randall to hold down his place and he was truly outstanding in the field.”

6.29pm BST

17th over: West Indies 38-2 (Powell 27, S Hope 6) Roland-Jones has a biggish LBW appeal agianst Shai Hope turned down on the not unreasonable grounds that there was a big inside edge. Powell and Hope have to cope with that horrible combination of attacking fields and a broken scoreboard. You don’t know where your next run is coming from and you feel like your wicket is under threat all the time. After 16 consecutive dot balls, Hope drives sweetly through the covers for four.

“There is a precedent for knighting a cricketer while he’s still playing,” notes John Starbuck. “Sir Richard Hadlee.”

6.17pm BST

15th over: West Indies 34-2 (Powell 27, S Hope 2) Shai Hope looks calm and composed, this being a weekday, and plays out a maiden from Roland-Jones. Time for drinks.

“TMS reckon Broad has had five dropped just in this series,” says John Starbuck. “You can account for some by the amount of poor light they’ve had to put up with sometimes, not to mention the pink ball, but I don’t think any of the newer crowd has made his mark as a fielder. There’s usually one or two, but the last was probably Mark Wood. Could being a very good fielder swing it for anyone’s selection?”

6.14pm BST

14th over: West Indies 34-2 (Powell 27, S Hope 2) Ben Stokes replaces Stuart Broad. Powell survives the hat-trick ball, Stokes having taken wickets with his last two deliveries of the first innings. There is immediate swing, however, which is extremely good news for England.

“Interesting, the ‘Sir James’ thing,” says Richard Morris. “Very unlikely to happen. Only 10 Englishmen ever knighted for services to Cricket, last was Bedser in 1996. Even Botham wasn’t – he was knighted for services to Charity. Best pull on the walking boots if Jimmy wants a trip to the Palace.”

6.09pm BST

13th over: West Indies 30-2 (Powell 23, S Hope 2) It was in the summer of 2010 that Jimmy really started to move towards greatness. In the first seven years of his Test career he took 156 wickets at 34.81; in the seven and a half years since he’s picked up 344 at 24.39. His record is much better at home, but that shouldn’t obscure some mighty spells in the landmark series victories in Australia (2010-11) and India (2012-13), not to mention some ridiculous performances in the UAE. He made himself into a great all-weather bowler.

6.04pm BST

12th over: West Indies 30-2 (Powell 23, S Hope 2) Powell swivel-pulls Broad majestically for four, one of the shots of the day. It might be time for Stokes at that end.

“My hunch is that they will attempt to fix one problem by breaking something that’s working very well and move Moeen up to number three, allowing them to bring in Mason Crane,” says Matt Emerson. “It’s a terrible idea, which is why it appeals…”

6.01pm BST

11th over: West Indies 25-2 (Powell 19, S Hope 1) There are still 29 overs remaining tonight, though I doubt we’ll get them all. Toby Roland-Jones comes on to replace the future Sir James Anderson and has an instant impact: Powell toe-ends one short of the slips before being beaten by a kicking leg-cutter. It’ll be fascinating to see how Roland-Jones does in Australia; Gus Fraser struggled there, certainly after his hip injury, apart from one magical day on a juiced-up wicket at Sydney.

An interesting tweet here from Tim. My first thought was Pietersen, though I feel slightly dirty saying that given Anderson’s superior artistry.

When we talk about crowd-pleasers, the batsmen tend to grab the glory. But no #England player has given me more pleasure than #JimmyAnderson

5.54pm BST

10th over: West Indies 21-2 (Powell 15, S Hope 0) “Rob,” says Stephen Kear, “do you have any idea how many wickets Broad has missed out on this summer due to poor English catching? I get the feeling he has missed a hatful which may explain why his stats are not as good as usual.”

Fair point. Seven in this series apparently. I still don’t think he’s been anywhere near his best, though. I suppose it shows how good he is that he can be below par, have loads of catches dropped and still average in the mid-30s for the summer. That said, I think it’s the first time since 2008 that he’s averaged over 30 in an English summer.

5.52pm BST

Broad is rewarded for a really good new-ball spell. Hope drives all around a fine, full-length delivery that comes back through the gate to hit the pad in line with off stump, and Chris Gaffaney raises the finger. Hope reviews – more in his name than expectation – but replays show it was hitting the top of the stumps.

5.47pm BST

9th over: West Indies 20-1 (Powell 15, K Hope 1) An unplayable outswinger from Anderson beats Powell’s defensive poke. There have been a lot of false strokes in this innings, though most have been due to good bowling rather than bad batting. Powell has started to settle down after a dreadful start.

“Why are we picking on Stoneman?” says Simon Thomas. “He’s only played three matches and did OK in the second. He’ll play in the first Test for sure.”

5.43pm BST

8th over: West Indies 17-1 (Powell 12, K Hope 1) Broad is too straight to Powell, who clips him confidently off the pads for four.

Related: Jimmy Anderson at 500: the England bowler’s five best wickets | Ali Martin

5.40pm BST

7th over: West Indies 12-1 (Powell 7, K Hope 1) This is an almighty test for Powell and Hope, with Anderson and Broad bowling majestically in helpful conditions. Hope is beaten again by Anderson. On Sky, Ian Ward points out that, when Brathwaite was bowled, Jonny Bairstow charged to the boundary to retrieve the ball so that Anderson could hold it up to the crowd. That’s a nice touch from a consummate team man.

“I’m not Gaz Baz’s biggest fan, would they take a punt on someone like Sam Robson (oodles of runs) or Nick Gubbins (plays the short ball well)?” says Dean Ainsworth. “In the case of Robson, without a specialist #3, perhaps a spare opener would work, although I’m always reminded of Ian Healy’s second ball sledge to new No3 Mark Butcher in 1998-99...”

5.35pm BST

6th over: West Indies 11-1 (Powell 6, K Hope 1) Broad cuts Hope in half with a cracking delivery, then beats the outside edge next ball. He’s resembling Stuart Broad in this spell, and later in the over he beats the outside edge again with a monstrous legcutter. The lights are still on, which is definitely helping England. If I was a West Indian I’d be pretty hacked off about that.

5.31pm BST

5th over: West Indies 10-1 (Powell 6, K Hope 0) Powell is batting like Stuart Broad. That’s not a compliment, not for an opening batsman. He is beaten at least three times in that Anderson over, once after a quite disgusting yahoo.

5.26pm BST

4th over: West Indies 10-1 (Powell 6, K Hope 0) I’ve seen it all now. Powell edges Broad to gully, where the usually perfect Stokes makes a rare hash of a simple chance. It went straight through his hands to hit him in the chest. Powell then edges a big yahoo just over the slips for four.

5.22pm BST

3rd over: West Indies 6-1 (Powell 0, K Hope 0) That was the last ball of the over. Amid all the excitement, the dismissal of Brathwaite is a big moment in the game.

“You’re suggesting that England can pick a specialist batsman rather than Woakes who would then outscore him by 25 runs per innings?” says Geoff Wignall. “Really? Do you have evidence for this fantasy? Even if the point regards Roland-Jones instead, you’d still need to identify a batsman who’ll be able to average 40+. Who? Also Broad and Anderson, both of whom I expect to play form notwithstanding, have had enough injury problems to make a fifth seamer a handy form of insurance. Though I’d still like to see four seamers and two spinners.”

5.21pm BST

It was a brilliant delivery from Anderson: on a full length and roaring back through to the gate to bowl Brathwaite. He didn’t have to wait long; that was his 12th delivery of the innings It all started here against Zimbabwe 14 years ago, when he was a talented kid with diabolical hair, and now he has 500 Test wickets. By the end of his career, he should have more Test wickets than any fast bowler in history. He’s an old don with a sober haircut these days, an absolute master of his craft whose returns have been better than ever in the last couple of years. All the England balcony are on their feet, and Anderson smiles almost sheepishly as he raises the ball to the crowd.

5.16pm BST

James Anderson becomes the first Englishman to take 500 Test wickets!

5.14pm BST

2nd over: West Indies 5-0 (Brathwaite 4, Powell 1) Stuart Broad starts at the Nursery End. It’s a lovely evening at Lord’s, yet the lights are still on; no idea why. A loose ball is put away for four by Brathwaite.

“Afternoon Rob,” says Simon McMahon. “Re John Withington’s cocktails, I emailed a suggestion yesterday, but, like all of my best work, it wasn’t published. It happened also to be the best cocktail ever invented.”

5.08pm BST

1st over: West Indies 0-0 (Brathwaite 0, Powell 0) Jimmy Anderson, 499 not out, gets a mighty cheer as he prepares to bowl the first over. A tense series decider has temporarily turned into a testimonial. There’s a little bit of early swing, nothing dramatic, and Brathwaite plays out a maiden.

“With grim inevitability, you just know it will be Ballance at No3 in Brisbane,” says Colin Dean. “But surely there’s a stronger case for Alex Hales?”

5.02pm BST

It won’t happen, but I’d give Stokes the new ball – both on merit as a full-length swing bowler, and also to give Broad a rousing boot up the trousers.

4.59pm BST

The Lord’s honours board hat-trick “Colin Noble is correct!” says Michael Bate. “I did say Stokes would be the 4th Englishman to achieve it. Miller is, of course, the only visiting team player to have managed it and Botham the only one to have done it in a single year – 1978 against NZ/Pakistan.”

4.57pm BST

“However we disagree over bowlers and all-rounders from 3 to 9.. .that Broad fella can bat a bit, can’t he?” says David Hindle. “Must have heard Geoff Wignall from a few overs ago!”

This England team is so weird. The tail starts at 2 and ends at 6. Here’s a question for you all: who will (not who should) bat No3 at Brisbane? I haven’t a clue. I don’t think Root will move and Westley won’t be picked. My money’s on, and you’ll like this, Gary Ballance, with Hameed as an outside bet.

4.47pm BST

Broad’s fun comes to an end when he toe-ends another hack through to Dowrich. England lead by 71, having added 60 for the last two wickets. That’s tea. We’ll be back in 15 minutes, when Jimmy Anderson, who has 499 Test wickets, will endeavour to sate the needs of stattos across the globe.

4.41pm BST

52nd over: England 193-9 (Broad 38, Anderson 7) Broad backs away again to slap Roach over backward point for six more! When the Joy of Six: Comedy Slogfests is written, this Broad innings will be a contender. Roach, who has bowled throughout this session, responds with a vicious bouncer that hits Broad on the body. This must be so demoralising for the West Indies, a bit like the dreaded Dave Richardson/Paul Adams stand in another low-scoring series decider at Cape Town in 1996. I’m still not over that.

4.37pm BST

51st over: England 185-9 (Broad 32, Anderson 6) Anderson drives Holder handsomely for four. Shane Warne, commentating on Sky, wonders whether batting is getting easier now that the sun is out. There’s certainly a party atmosphere as Broad and Anderson swing merrily. Broad moves into the thirties with a lusty slap down the ground for three.

“The argument is simple,” says David Hindle. “In the current circumstances, there are no specialist batsmen of sufficient quality available. Hence, Woakes is a better bat than any “specialist” alternative. You are strengthening both A and B, but in a very unorthodox fashion. However, needs must….”

4.33pm BST

50th over: England 177-9 (Broad 29, Anderson 1) Broad backs away to slash Roach over the slips for four, and then he creams him over extra cover for six! This has been an absolutely filthy innings from Broad – and he has more runs than Cook, Root, Stoneman, Moeen and Westley combined. Truly, it’s a funny old game. England lead by 54.

4.30pm BST

49th over: England 164-9 (Broad 16, Anderson 1) “I’m struggling to get on board with the notion that a choice has to be made between Woakes and Roland-Jones for the final seamer’s spot,” says Geoff Wignall. “Surely form dictates that it’s a choice between those two and Broad for two places. Fine bowler for England that Broad has been, he needs to be contributing more than his reputation and a once a season cameo with the bat. I know there’s the argument then when he’s hot he’s very hot, but that only stands up so long as he’s at least generally competent the rest of the time. Too often lately that doesn’t seem the case – batsmen can leave at least half of the balls he delivers, which is inexcusable with the new ball. It’s also the opposite of his own declared approach and intentions.”

He’s had a relatively bad summer, I agree, but he’s the greatest Ashes-winner England have ever had, he gets high on conflict and has unfinished business in Australia. I’d be astonished if he didn’t start.

4.25pm BST

Holder ends the nonsense with the useful wicket of Roland-Jones, who slices a drive straight to Shai Hope in the gully. England lead by 40.

4.23pm BST

48th over: England 163-8 (Roland-Jones 13, Broad 16) “My favourite thing about those Advanced Hair Studio ads is Darren Gough popping up at the end and saying it’s the best thing he’s done,” says Kevin Wilson. “This is a guy who took a hat trick at the SCG.”

And who did this when he was on another hat-trick against Australia.

4.18pm BST

47th over: England 163-8 (Roland-Jones 13, Broad 16) Holder replaces Gabriel. It’s all the same to Broad, who pulls him round the corner for four. These are dangerous moments for the West Indies, who have lost a bit of control since Broad started swinging like Leatherface. The over ends with a good delivery from Holder that is edged just short of the cordon by Roland-Jones.

“My favourite thing about those Advanced Hair Institute ads is Darren Gough popping up at the end and saying it’s the best thing he’s done,” says Kevin Wilson. “This is a guy who took a hat trick at the SCG.”

4.15pm BST

46th over: England 158-8 (Roland-Jones 13, Broad 11) Roland-Jones flashes a confident cut for four off Roach – and then he is dropped by the keeper Dowrich. It was an easy chance to his right, and he is visibly angry with himself. England’s lead is now 35.

“Experiments with Jennings, Stoneman, Westley, Ballance and Malan (did I miss anyone?) have surely proved that they are good at massacring county trundlers, but not fit for Test cricket,” says David Hindle. “And taking any of them to Australia against their current attack in those conditions, would be an act of savage cruelty. We have no more options with the bat. We can put Hameed in. That’s it. Therefore, surely we should play Woakes and TRJ, spread the brutal bowling load, reduce the risk of injury, and see Woakes comfortably outscore any so-called “specialist” bat alternative anyway?”

4.10pm BST

45th over: England 152-8 (Roland-Jones 7, Broad 11) If Broad looks like a walking, hopping, ducking wicket, then Roland-Jones is very comfortable. He pulls smoothly for a single off another Gabriel no-ball, and then Broad – vulnerable but dangerous – belts a couple of boundaries through the covers.

“This really has been an absorbing series, even more astonishing after the first Test blowout,” says Guy Hornsby. “We could lead by 150 or 25 here. Personally it’ll be the Test series when my daughter Leila started her own innings. We got through labour on the last day of Leeds and she’s nine days old as Blowers bows out and we have another firecracker of a game on our hands today. I’ll have her emailing into the OBO by the end of the Ashes.”

4.03pm BST

44th over: England 141-8 (Roland-Jones 6, Broad 3) Roach continues to work Broad over, beating the outside edge either side of another sharp bouncer. A maiden.

“Shame Stokes didn’t reach the Beefy/Greig milestone you mentioned,” says Michael Bate. “He still has a chance to become only the fourth Englishman to get on all three dressing room honours boards (Century, 5-for, 10wkts in a match) at Lord’s. Can any Friday afternoon OBOers guess the three who’ve done it? (I should declare an interest – I’m a Lord’s tour guide.)

3.59pm BST

43rd over: England 141-8 (Roland-Jones 6, Broad 3) The last really low-scoring Lord’s Test was that weird classic between these sides in 2000. Batting may become easier in the second innings here, as the sun has just emerged to loud cheers. England lead by 18.

“I’ve continued my Test match cocktail theme for this last match of the summer,” says John Withington. “Sadly despite getting onto OBO yesterday there wasn’t a single suggestion of how to mark Jimmy’s 500th with a new cocktail. Then he went and did the job for me by ending up high and dry one short on 499! Which gifted me a couple of names and ideas. So I’ve just published today’s article including two cocktails for the event, the One Short and the High and Drye. Have a look at the link for the full article. Hope you and the readers enjoy.”

3.52pm BST

42nd over: England 134-8 (Roland-Jones 4, Broad 0) Roach greets Broad with two very sharp bouncers, the first of which has him hopping all over the place. Roach has bowled so well in this innings; his figures are five for 47 from 19 overs.

“Everyone knows that part of the perks of being a Test cricketer is that you get free treatment at the Advanced Hair Institute,” says Charlie Tinsley. “I expect Stokes to take guard during the winter’s trials looking like Tormund Giantsbane.”

3.50pm BST

Roach has his five-for! That was all very predictable. Moeen resisted a few tempters outside off stump but that abstinence was never going to last. Eventually he threw his hands into a loose drive and was beautifully taken by Kyle Hope in a wide slip position.

3.46pm BST

41st over: England 134-7 (Moeen 3, Roland-Jones 4) A short ball from Gabriel is clouted merrily for four by Roland-Jones. That really isn’t the length to bowl on this pitch, or rather in this atmosphere.

“In the early eighties when Spielberg was at his true peak, a Hollywood wannabe saw him sitting on the sand looking out at the ocean and when he left went he sat in the same spot hoping to get inspiration and see what the great man saw,” says Ian Copestake. “Some of the England team might be advised to follow Stokes about a bit more.”

3.41pm BST

40th over: England 129-7 (Moeen 2, Roland-Jones 0) Moeen is beaten, swishing at an outswinger from Roach. Roland-Jones also plays and misses later in the over. The ball isn’t just talking; it’s talking like Brian Blessed. Even a frisky 30 from Moeen could be match-winning.

3.36pm BST

39th over: England 128-7 (Moeen 1, Roland-Jones 0) “Hi Rob, given we’re about to see a low-scoring game, do you think England may regret not having Woakes at number nine?” says Dean Ainsworth. “TRJ is handy but no more, Woakes likes a better bet that some of the top six at times. I think he would have done as well as TRJ with the ball as well, he looked sharper at the weekend.”

They might, as he’s an offensively good No9, but I think Roland-Jones (sorry, I can’t bring myself to call him TRJ; I have no idea why) was the right choice. Woakes did look sharper at the weekend, though he was bowling spells of one and two overs. Brisbane is a tough choice though, as there are still doubts over Woakes in overseas conditions. I suspect he’ll play, as he probably should.

3.33pm BST

He’s done him again! That’s an exceptional comeback from Gabriel, an almost identical delivery. It was just full of a length and jagged back through the gate to ransack Stokes’s stumps. That was reminscent of Darren Gough’s double dismissal of Greg Blewett on the first morning of the 1997 Ashes. This was two balls later rather than next ball. The umpires didn’t bother to check the no-ball, which was a bit of surprise – until we saw the replay, which showed he was well behind the line.

3.31pm BST

Oh my. Gabriel cleans Stokes up with a superb delivery from around the wicket – and it’s a no-ball. As soon as the umpires went upstairs to check there was a sense of inevitability about it.

3.27pm BST

38th over: England 125-6 (Stokes 58, Moeen 1) West Indies will be dreading another Moeen cameo, particularly in a tight match like this. It must be quite confusing bowling to Moeen: he has such obvious defensive weaknesses that it must feel like you’ll get him any second, and then you look up and he’s 50 not out from 60 balls.

3.23pm BST

37th over: England 122-6 (Stokes 56, Moeen 0) Stokes has become a high-class Test batsman, particularly outside Asia. He averages 46 since the start of 2016 and 47 this year. There’s a good argument for putting him at No5 in the Ashes. The counter-argument says: don’t mess with a strength to cover a weakness.

“Rob,” says John Starbuck. “You can’t see it now because of the batting helmet, but Ben Stokes is losing scalp hair at a pretty fast rate now. Not to worry (unless he does and needs a Rooney) since if he goes without a hat or cap in the field the freckles will cover the pate soon enough. You’ll know it’s working when he starts having close shaves all over and we say Welcome to the Smooth Club.”

3.17pm BST

36th over: England 119-6 (Stokes 53, Moeen 0) That was the last ball of the over. It was a timely wicket for West Indies – and a deserved one for Roach, who bowled superbly to Bairstow.

3.16pm BST

I thought it might be a touch high, and maybe going down, with Roach bowling from wide on the crease. The umpire took his time before giving Bairstow out. Here comes ball-tracking… and it shows three reds, so Bairstow is out. That’s an excellent decision from the umpire Chris Gaffaney, because there were a couple of doubts and he could easily have played it safe.

3.14pm BST

This is a bit of a slugfest between Roach and Bairstow. Roach beats the outside edge with a beautiful lifter; Bairstow creams the next ball to the extra-cover boundary. And now Bairstow has been given out LBW!

3.11pm BST

Hello folks. I come bearing stats. Only two England players have scored a hundred and taken a five-for in a Test: Tony Greig, who did it once, and Sir Ian Botham, who did it a superheroic five times. Ben Stokes has a chance to join that club. He is lording over this Test like a colossus, and this could even become his take on Beefy’s Jubilee Test (without the 4am drinking games). Overhead conditions have made batting so difficult for everyone else in this game; for the moment, the Stokes aura has neutralised the Lord’s atmosphere.

3.11pm BST

35th over: England 113-5 (Stokes 52, Bairstow 16) That’s a nice shot from Bairstow, even if it picks out a fielder at extra cover and he gets no runs for it. The next ball beats the batsman again, but was a massive no-ball so any wicket wouldn’t have counted. And with that I’ll hand you over to Rob Smyth, email him here if you feel so inclined. Bye!

3.06pm BST

34th over: England 110-5 (Stokes 51, Bairstow 15) Stokes’ half-century featured 10 fours, 10 singles and 31 dots. Bairstow remains in search of fluency, and has an inadvisible slash at Roach’s final delivery.

3.01pm BST

33rd over: England 109-5 (Stokes 50, Bairstow 15) Stokes pushes the ball gently with a straight bat and it rumbles down the ground for four, slowly enough that a fielder has to chase it all the way, quickly enough that the chasing fielder has no chance of catching it. All about the timing. A single brings up his 50, from 51 deliveries, and he’s basically won the man of the match award already, hasn’t he?

2.58pm BST

32nd over: England 104-5 (Stokes 45, Bairstow 15) Stokes tries to drive through the covers and instead gets a thick edge. Still, the effect is the same, as the ball flies wide of gully and away for four. “Hoping our ginger warriors can at least reach their own averages until the sun comes out, batting conditions improve and we can have a Test that lasts beyond Saturday,” murmurs Ian Copestake.

2.52pm BST

31st over: England 99-5 (Stokes 40, Bairstow 15) Stokes, though, is looking comfortable. He pulls Holder’s first delivery through midwicket for a tasty four, and a single then takes his past Powell’s 39 and makes him the biggest scorer of the match so far. Holder then delivers some short nonsense that Bairstow capitalises upon, also with a pull through midwicket for four.

2.47pm BST

30th over: England 90-5 (Stokes 35, Bairstow 11) Roach is back after a change of ends, and tempts Bairstow with a delivery that’s too full to safely drive, but wide enough to be tempting. The batsman tries to hit it and is lucky to miss. The last ball of the over prompts an even wilder swing, equally imprecise.

2.43pm BST

29th over: England 89-5 (Stokes 34, Bairstow 11) Holder bowls short and wide, Stokes swings his bat, and when he connects only with its toe and sends the ball bouncing limply to cover the look of regret and disgust on his face is a picture. He absolutely nails the next, a stonking pull through midwicket, but it flies straight to the only fielder in the neighbourhood for a single. “Is it tempting fate to say that Stokes will get at least 124?” wonders Matthew Doherty. Yes, I’d say it’s definitely tempting fate.

2.37pm BST

28th over: England 86-5 (Stokes 33, Bairstow 9) That’s nice though! Gabriel bowls towards Bairstow’s hip, and he gently nurses it to the deep square leg boundary. And then he flicks the ball off his pads and through midwicket, though it’s fielded in the deep.

2.32pm BST

27th over: England 79-5 (Stokes 33, Bairstow 3) Here’s a curious stat, particulaly because he’s never played in the West Indies, and his average in England is 44.20. At the other end of the scale, in three matches against Sri Lanka Bairstow averages 129.00.

Jonny Bairstow averages 12.83 against the WI. His overall Test match average is 40.08 #ENGvWI

2.28pm BST

26th over: England 75-5 (Stokes 29, Bairstow 3) Gabriel starts with a wild, short, wide delivery across Stokes, which but for a fine leaping save from Dowrich would have flown away for four but as it was remained a dot. A single later Bairstow is back on strike, and still looking awkward. He does get a couple through square leg, mind.

2.23pm BST

25th over: England 72-5 (Stokes 28, Bairstow 1) A fine over from Roach, with Bairstow looking uncomfortable throughout. There’s a strangled appeal for lbw at one point, but all that comes of it is a couple of leg byes.

2.19pm BST

24th over: England 70-5 (Stokes 28, Bairstow 1) And so it starts again, and in the first over back there’s a drop! Gabriel bowls, Stokes gets a thick edge and it flies straight to third slip! Sadly, West Indies had a third slip until the previous ball, when they decided they didn’t really need one and moved him away. Thus Kyle Hope at second slip had to dive high to his left, and though he got his hands to it, he couldn’t make it stick. A tough chance, but catchable. They immediately bring back a third slip, but the next ball goes down the ground for four.

2.12pm BST

The players are out! This is actually happening!

2.03pm BST

Possible imminent cricket claxon! It has stopped raining again, perhaps for a while this time, so they are going to play cricket at 2.15pm BST!

1.48pm BST

So the umpires abandoned their inspection and will have another go in a bit, perhaps half an hour or so.

1.40pm BST

Bad tidings: it’s started raining again.

1.35pm BST

The umpires should be inspecting the field precisely now. An update should be imminent. In the meantime, you can read about rain falling (or not) elsewhere here:

Related: County cricket: Warwickshire v Somerset, Lancashire v Essex and more – live!

1.23pm BST

@Simon_Burnton how late can play go today? Met Office says clearing from 4, sunshine by 7

Yesterday play could potentially have gone on until 7.10pm, so it could certainly continue until then, particularly if there’s some sunshine.

1.18pm BST

The umpires have been out, and decided that there should be a further pitch inspection in about 15 minutes.

1.15pm BST

It’s not raining! But it will be again in a bit, and there may be showers after that. But the thickest, darkest, most unfriendly bit of cloud has now moved on eastwards.

12.48pm BST

This isn’t promising. It looks like there might soon be a rainless half-hour or so, but it won’t last.

@simon_burnton rain bouncing higher than Ben Stokes near Didcot now. Not even Michael Fish could convince that this isn’t coming to Lord’s

12.42pm BST

Lunch is being taken. It’s still raining. “If you went dressed as Gaillardia Goblins, a yellow and maroon dwarf variety of plant that beds in well but requires a lot of liquid, you would probably pass the Lord’s club colour, stature and quenching criteria,” suggests Raymond Reardon. Now, on to weightier matters: I’ll have the halibut and the chocolate torte, if you’d be so kind.

The players are taking an early Lunch and judging by the menu, we could not blame them! #ENGvWI

What would you choose? #LoveLords pic.twitter.com/Sg0quP8D6E

12.22pm BST

Update: it’s still raining. “Maybe subtle fancy dress is required,” suggests Robin Hazlehurst. “Going as Michael Fish would blend in with the old buffers while making an understated comment on the weather. And it would be instantly recognisable while not actually screaming ‘Fancy Dress’. Although you might need a pretty good wardrobe and make-up department to help achieve it convincingly.”

12.19pm BST

“Please tell Alec we weren’t of course planning to make our costumes visible,” writes Kim Thonger. “They would be worn underneath ordinary attire, it’s more subversive that way. Doesn’t everyone do this at work? I just assumed it was the norm.” Flippers would have been hard to pull off, but I’d love to have seen you try.

12.03pm BST

I’d like to give you some good news. I am unable to. “You can wear pretty much anything in Club colours,” Alan Synnott tells me. “I was admiring the egg and bacon scuba tank in the MCC shop only yesterday.”

11.42am BST

It still looks reasonably bright in St John’s Wood, but I’d be surprised if we get more play before lunch. If you’re in Beaconsfield, Abingdon or Didcot, your last hour is our next hour, and something tells me it wasn’t a great one. Well, someone.

@Simon_Burnton I’m in Beaconsfield and it’s been hammering it down for half an hour. I reckon you won’t get more than five overs today.

11.37am BST

Two balls into Gabriel’s over the umpires decide it’s time to head for cover.

11.36am BST

23rd over: England 58-5 (Stokes 20, Bairstow 0) A maiden. If it was raining wickets yesterday, it seems the downpour is continuing. And it is also actually literally raining, and my rain radar suggests it isn’t going to stop for a while. It has started gently, though, and the players remain on the field.

11.32am BST

It had been a comfortable opening to the day for England. Even quite sedate. No more, though! Malan is squared up by a ball that straightens and kisses his edge, giving Dowrich the most straightforward of catches!

11.29am BST

22nd over: England 58-4 (Malan 23, Stokes 20) There’s an unsuccessful lbw appeal against Malan, the ball having pitched outside leg, and once again Gabriel’s final delivery is speared away for four, this time by Stokes. Now, doesn’t allow fancy dress? Have you seen the state of some of the people in the Pavilion? How would you describe the MCC’s own bacon-and-egg blazer if not as the most fancy of dress?

@Simon_Burnton Lords doesn’t allow fancy dress. I nearly got kicked out for wearing an oversized Guinness hat on a hot day

11.23am BST

21st over: England 57-4 (Malan 19, Stokes 18) Kemar Roach gives Stokes a bit of width, and the ball is cut away for four. In other news Theresa May, our dear leader, is in the audience, and Ian Copestake has taken to his keyboard. “A 24% chance of rain before lunch?” he writes. “I much prefer ‘might’ or ‘it’s possible’ to this arrogant insistence on the measurability of all things. 65% of me is fuming.”

11.19am BST

20th over: England 52-4 (Malan 19, Stokes 13) Shannon Gabriel starts day two, and Malan drives his final delivery through the covers for four. A fine shot, that. “Morning Simon,” writes Kim Thonger. Morning Kim. “My wife and I are going to Lord’s tomorrow and in view of the weather forecast are in a quandary as to which fancy dress outfits to wear? I favour the full Jacques Cousteau (and Mme Cousteau) wetsuits with SCUBA gear. My wife is tending towards Captain Troy Tempest and Maria the Mermaid. I’ve advised her that getting up the steps to the top level of the Warner Stand may be tricky without feet. She argues that it’s no harder than in flippers, and anyway a gentleman would carry her. Could your readers please settle the dispute? (By DRS if necessary)” Tomorrow’s forecast is pretty good, so I’m afraid I would suggest a total rethink, focusing perhaps on land-based entertainment.

11.14am BST

Looking at the rain radar, I’d say we’ve got 45 minutes, tops.

11.13am BST

The players are out! We’re going to have cricket!

11.11am BST

If you’re at Lord’s, looking at the skies and feeling unlucky, you’ve actually got it pretty good:

☔ Following this morning’s inclement weather, lunch will be taken at 11:50am and there will also be a further pitch inspection at 11:50am. pic.twitter.com/C4VfOugveA

11.02am BST

Ottis Gibson has been tlaking to Sky about Ben Stokes, and the state of English pace bowling:

Look, we’ve seen that before with Ben, in the Ashes in 2015 at Trent Brige. When the ball is swinging, next to Jimmy Anderson he’s probably the best swing bowler we have. Yesterday morning we were chatting, and he’d not had the best summer. The ball was swinging a lot yesterday morning. I said, when the ball is swinging the only skill you need to have is accuracy. Don’t worry about pace, just concentrate on accuracy. That goes against his normal character. To see him drop it on a length and let the swing do its work was outstanding. He’s not somebody who likes too much technical stuff and coaching, and relies on natural ability. He controlled length really well yesterday. When he missed length and got hit he got very angry with himself. He lets his natural instincts control not just his cricket but his life.

I think England are in a great position, to be honest. Woakes had an outstanding summer last year, but we’ve not had him most of this year. Toby’s come in this year and given a really good account of himself. Mark Wood, who I still think is going to be the x-factor for England. He’s still got a lot too offer. I was very impressed with Olly Stone in the T20 Blast.

10.50am BST

Important news! Play will start at 11.15am. Unless it doesn’t.

10.46am BST

The covers are back on. It’s going to be one of those days, I fear.

Well that was nice while it lasted.

Covers are back on #ENGvWI https://t.co/IWaem4Qfct

10.28am BST

The covers are off at the moment – @englandcricket & @westindies are training on the outfield.

Play still scheduled for 11am start. pic.twitter.com/Bc0K7jWTsA

… and the forecasters now put the odds on afternoon rain no higher than 60%, and (unlike the rain) falling.

9.45am BST

Hello world!

The good news is that, as I write this, the weather in north London is considerably better than it was when I woke up a few hours ago, and the forecast for today is also much improved from yesterday’s bleak rainfest. Neither however could exactly be described as excellent: the heavy clouds at the moment are light grey and not chucking water at us, but they remain fairly menacing. Meteorologists inform me there is but a 24% chance that they will start to shed their watery load between now and lunch. After lunch, however, it’s an entirely different story, with the chance of rain currently hovering between 75% and 90% between 2pm and 5pm. Still, that leaves us at least a 10% chance of a rainless day, which is something to celebrate I’m sure you’ll agree (I’ve looked at the rain radar, and if that’s what happens I suggest we all invest in some lottery tickets).

Not the prettiest forecast sadly, but there’s still potential for cricket to be played at some point today! #ENGvWI

Fingers crossed. pic.twitter.com/7NFAXdjNvy

Better news @HomeOfCricket

Covers slowly coming off.

We might get some play after all. #ENGvWI pic.twitter.com/t5MVBLWt9L

8.38am BST

Simon will be here shortly. Ben Stokes took six wickets on day one and said afterwards his bowling performance was “a monkey off my back”:

Ben Stokes spoke of his pride at recording his career-best figures with the ball after believing he had been letting the England team down this summer. But, given a wicket-laden first day during which West Indies hit back late on with four strikes themselves, the third Test remains in the balance.

By claiming six for 22 from 14.3 overs in a masterful exhibition of swing bowling either side of tea, Stokes helped Joe Root’s side to dismiss the tourists for 123 in the series decider and became only the sixth England cricketer to get his name on both honours boards at Lord’s.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/sep/08/england-v-west-indies-third-test-day-two-live

Aug 24

Champions League group stage draw – as it happened

Tottenham found themselves in the group of maximal difficulty with Real Madrid, while Juventus will face Barcelona

6.25pm BST

That’s all from me. It’s been fantastic. Have a great season, everybody!

6.19pm BST

Harry Kane is looking on the bright side:

Great #UCLDraw! Some huge games in there. #COYS pic.twitter.com/z4tgfPDRt4

6.15pm BST

Deja vu dept: Manchester United were in the same Champions League group as Benfica, Basel and one other – Otelul Galati on that occasion – back in 2011-12. They came third, and were dumped into the Europa League.

6.11pm BST

So of the British clubs, Liverpool and the two Manchester sides should feel pretty chuffed, Tottenham will be cursing and Celtic were always going to be in for a rocky ride.

6.08pm BST

The fruits of my mathematical labour – all Champions League groups ranked by the combined Uefa coefficient of the teams involved to produce your handy cut-out-and-keep groupofdeathometer:

6.04pm BST

“Every year, the same challenge – to win everything, if it’s possible,” says Ronaldo. “In my club, in my national team. I’m so glad to be here, honoured to win this trophy again. I have to say thankyou for my team-mates. For the national team too – I know it’s not a trophy for the national team, but when I go to my national team they always give me motivation to carry on all the time. I’m so glad and so happy, thank you everyone.”

6.03pm BST

And the men’s player of the year is … Cristiano Ronaldo!

6.02pm BST

I have to say she was excellent when I saw her at the Euros, on which scant evidence I’m going to declare this a very deserved award. “It’s so amazing,” she says. “It’s a big honour. I’m really proud but of course without my team-mates I couldn’t achieve this. I’m speechless. I’m really happy.”

6.01pm BST

First the women’s player of the year, and the award goes to Lieke Martens!

6.00pm BST

They interviewed the women too, and Lionel Messi, but I was busy trying to do some maths. “To achieve 100 goals in the Champions League was a dream,” Ronaldo says. “I’m really blessed and so happy to be here one more year.”

5.59pm BST

“To play for an amazing team like Juventus gives you a big motivation,” says Buffon. “You can think that every goal is possible. If you continue to nominate me for this award for me it’s more difficult to say stop.”

5.57pm BST

And also the men’s award, which will go either to Gianluigi Buffon, Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi.

5.56pm BST

The night is still young, though – the women’s player of the year award is about to be handed out. Pernille Harder, Dzsenifer Marozsán and Lieke Martens are the nominees.

5.52pm BST

Group A: Benfica, Manchester United, Basel, CSKA Moscow
Group B: Bayern Munich, Paris St-Germain, Anderlecht, Celtic
Group C: Chelsea, Atlético Madrid, Roma, Qarabag
Group D: Juventus, Barcelona, Olympiakos, Sporting Clube de Portugal
Group E: Spartak Moscow, Sevilla, Liverpool, Maribor
Group F: Shakhtar Donetsk, Manchester City, Napoli, Feyenoord
Group G: Monaco, Porto, Besiktas, Leipzig
Group H: Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham, Apoel Nicosia

5.52pm BST

Maribor are drawn, and allocated Liverpool’s Group E:

Group E: Spartak Moscow, Sevilla, Liverpool, Maribor

5.50pm BST

CSKA Moscow’s name is next, and they have to go in a Red Group, and the only one of those with space for them is Manchester United’s Group A:

Group A: Benfica, Manchester United, Basel, CSKA Moscow

5.50pm BST

Celtic’s number comes up, and they will be in Group B:

Group B: Bayern Munich, Paris St-Germain, Anderlecht, Celtic

5.49pm BST

Another group gets completed – Sporting will sit in Group D:

Group D: Juventus, Barcelona, Olympiakos, Sporting Clube de Portugal

5.48pm BST

Meanwhile Manchester City’s Group F is padded out with Feyenoord.

Group F: Shakhtar Donetsk, Manchester City, Napoli, Feyenoord

5.47pm BST

Chelsea’s Group C gets its coup de grâce, and it’s Qarabag!

Group C: Chelsea, Atlético Madrid, Roma, Qarabag

5.46pm BST

First out of the final hat is Leipzig, who go into Group G – the Group of Life and Laughter and Rainbows and Butterflies – with Monaco, Porto and Besiktas.

5.45pm BST

The groups as they stand:

Group A: Benfica, Manchester United, Basel
Group B: Bayern Munich, Paris St-Germain, Anderlecht
Group C: Chelsea, Atlético Madrid, Roma
Group D: Juventus, Barcelona, Olympiakos
Group E: Spartak Moscow, Sevilla, Liverpool
Group F: Shakhtar Donetsk, Manchester City, Napoli
Group G: Monaco, Porto, Besiktas
Group H: Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham

5.44pm BST

“To reach this magnitude of trophies it’s hard work and dedication,” says Ronaldo. “I play in an amazing team and for me it’s always motivation to play. I love to play, to score goals, to win trophies – collective and individual too. I’m blessed. I’m so happy to be here again. I’m so happy right now.”

5.43pm BST

Not really, it’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

5.43pm BST

That phase of the draw having been completed, it’s time to reveal the Champions League forward of the season – and it’s Vincent Janssen!

5.42pm BST

Olympiakos are out next and forced into Group D with Juventus and Barcelona, meaning that Napoli head into Manchester City’s Group F, with Shakhtar Donetsk!

5.41pm BST

Next Totti plucks out Roma’s shiny little ball, and they head into Group C with Chelsea and Atlético Madrid!

5.40pm BST

It’s H for Spurs, who join Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund!

5.40pm BST

… and that Tottenham can only be in Group D, or in Real Madrid’s Group H!

5.39pm BST

It’s Group E, with Spartak Moscow and Sevilla. Consider that a bullet dodged.

5.39pm BST

Liverpool come out next – will they have Group of Death D, or more friendly E?

5.38pm BST

Besiktas head into Group G with Monaco and Porto.

5.38pm BST

Next out come Basel, who slip into Group A with Benfica and Manchester United!

5.36pm BST

Anderlecht are first out of this plastic hat, and they are deposited in Group B with Bayern Munich and Paris St-Germain.

5.35pm BST

Totti, winningly, found the act of pairing Juventus with Barcelona absolutely hilarious. Anyway, that’s Pot Two done with, which can only mean it’s time to give away the Champions League midfielder of the season award to Luka Modric. He doesn’t smile.

5.33pm BST

Group of Death alert! All of that draw-making means there’s nowhere for Barcelona to go except in Group D with Juventus!

5.33pm BST

Then Sevilla join Spartak Moscow in Group E, and Borussia Dortmund head into Group H with Real Madrid.

@Simon_Burnton Yo – do we know if which colour means Tues night and (i’m guessing the other) which Wed?

5.31pm BST

Manchester City go into Group F with Shakhtar Donetsk, the lucky scamps!

5.31pm BST

Paris St-Germain come out, and because of Monaco’s draw they can only be in groups B (with Bayern Munich) or D (with Juventus), which is a pretty tough spot for them to be in. They go in Group B!

5.30pm BST

Then it’s time for Manchester United, and they will be with Benfica in Group A!

5.29pm BST

Atlético Madrid come next, and they join Chelsea in Group C!

5.28pm BST

The first team drawn is Porto, who have to be put in a blue group because of Benfica’s presence in a red one. So it’s Group G for them, where they join Monaco.

5.27pm BST

On, then, with allocating pot two …

5.26pm BST

Ramos is asked how he manages to keep winning all the time. This appeared to me to be an invitation to praise his team-mates, but not for Sergio – he says he’s very hungry – but not foolish – and always looks forward to the Champions League.

5.24pm BST

Next, another award! It’s the defender of the season, and Sergio Ramos is it!

5.24pm BST

Real Madrid are drawn, and have to go into Group H because there’s something about Group D that’s not for them, so Juventus go into that one. And that’s the first pot allocated!

5.23pm BST

Monaco will lead the way in Group G, then Shakhtar Donetsk are plopped into Group F.

5.21pm BST

Benfica come next, and are given Group A. Then Bayern Munich settle comfortably into Group B.

5.19pm BST

The second ball out of the team-name bowl is Chelsea – “back after a sabbatical year”, a delightful way of skipping gently over their dismal 2015-16 season. They will be in Group C.

5.17pm BST

They’re actually picking balls out of bowls now! And the first team to be drawn out of the first pot is … Spartak Moscow. And they get put into Group E.

@Simon_Burnton Here’s some draw shenanigans Simon https://t.co/ynotcPzZ35

5.16pm BST

The one complication I haven’t already mentioned is that four groups – A, B, C and indeed D – are “red groups” and will play on the same night, and the other four groups are “blue groups” and will play on the same night, which isn’t the same night as the red groups. Countries with multiple teams will have them awkwardly crowbarred into groups of different colours to make sure TV companies don’t get angry about all their country’s teams performing on the same evening.

5.14pm BST

… after a lengthy explanation of the procedure, of course.

5.12pm BST

A couple of Uefa people in suits come onstage to oversee the draw, which is about to actually happen!

5.12pm BST

“I’m really proud to receive this award at my age,” he says. “The secret, if there is a secret, I think I continue to stay hungry and foolish. This is the one way I know to continue to play at the top level.” Stay hungry and foolish – that’s very fine advice I think.

5.10pm BST

But first, another award! The official Champions League goalkeeper of the whatever is Gianluigi Buffon!

5.10pm BST

Totti takes his place behind the bowls while Andriy Shevchenko is introduced. Before he head for the bowls, he’s asked about scoring the winning penalty in the 2003 final. “It’s a special moment, incredible,” he says. “It was nice to think about that moment. There’s a lot of emotion going in my head, but I try to stay calm. It was a great moment in my life.”

5.07pm BST

Aleksander Ceferin, the Uefa president, hands over the silverware, which is decorated with a picture of Totti himself. “Francesco was not just a fantastic player, he’s not just an idol for thousands of children, his dedication for the one club he played for is fantastic,” he says. “So deep respect from Uefa’s side and deep respect from our side.”

5.05pm BST

Actual business is about to get under way, with the President’s Award being presented to Francesco Totti.

5.04pm BST

If you can’t watch this but do want some football chat in your ears, I’ve got an answer for you:

Related: Liverpool cruise, Wilshere bruise and tunnel views – Football Weekly Extra

5.02pm BST

It’s happening! The show has begun! With a lengthy highlights package, inevitably, but still.

5.01pm BST

“I hope Manchester United draw Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and Chelsea,” writes JR. “Sure it’s not possible but just think what Mourinho’s reaction would be.” The sad truth is that even if the entire world were oriented around nothing other than making José Mourino react furiously to things, Mourinho still would not react more furiously than he already does.

4.57pm BST

@Simon_Burnton That Ronaldo t-shirt has triggered a migraine

Good news! He’s got changed. Sadly, Messi is not wearing a velvet suit:

4.45pm BST

If the pots were done entirely by Uefa coefficient, the top eight teams would have been, in order: Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Juventus, Paris St-Germain, Borussia Dortmund and Sevilla. But then Monaco’s coefficient is lower than those of Basel and Olympiacos, so the system’s probably got a few kinks in it.

4.41pm BST

“It takes a special kind of person to wear a t-shirt advertising themselves,” writes Brendan Large of the Ronaldo photo. But Ronaldo is a very special kind of person.

4.40pm BST

Francesco Totti and Andriy Shevchenko will be in charge of the draw, I’m told. Henrik Larsson has also had his photo taken with the trophy, so he may also be involved somehow. Shevchenko is, apparently, the ambassador for the Uefa Champions league final, which will be played in Kyiv on 26 May 2018.

4.36pm BST

In the absence of actual news, here are some more people arriving.

#TheUEFAawards nominees Luka Modrić & Sergio Ramos arrive for the #UCLdraw pic.twitter.com/jGGSQA4GMn

UEFA Women’s Player of the Year nominee @liekemartens1 strides down the blue carpet… #TheUEFAawards #UCLdraw pic.twitter.com/CDdvRr4zGb

4.12pm BST

And here are some hopefuls arriving for the awards bit. By helicopter, natch.

4.07pm BST

Here’s a moody shot of some plastic half-balls and some paper with club names on it.

4.01pm BST

What’s coming up is way more than just a draw. There are also six awards to be handed out “during the draw”, according to Uefa. And they are:

3.39pm BST

Hello world!

So it might be handy to know who is in which pot for the Champions League draw. Even if it isn’t handy, it is something I can already tell you, so it’s going here anyway:

10.22am BST

Simon will be here shortly. Meanwhile, here’s a primer on who the six British sides could end up facing.

Related: Champions League draw: who could the six British sides face?

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/global/live/2017/aug/24/champions-league-group-stage-draw-live

Aug 19

Stoke City 1-0 Arsenal: Premier League – as it happened

Jesé scored the only goal on his debut as Arsenal endured another miserable visit to Stoke

7.43pm BST

And with that, I’m gone. It’s been a blast. Here’s a match report for you. Bye!

Related: Stoke City’s Jesé Rodríguez makes Arsenal pay for lack of cutting edge

Related: Arsène Wenger criticises Granit Xhaka and referee after defeat at Stoke

7.41pm BST

A close-up of a slow motion replay suggests that Lacazette had half a right foot beyond the last defender before scoring his disallowed goal and thus was in fact offside. Just.

7.36pm BST

Stoke succeeded despite themselves there: for most of the game they played an unwisely high defensive line and Arsenal repeatedly chipped the ball over them and into the path of willing runners – though this only allowed Butland and Zouma to showcase their repertoire of chance-denying tackles, blocks and stops. Once Stoke themselves had scored, however, Arsenal took off a defender, brought on another striker and forced the home side back, after which they actually looked considerably more secure.

It was wildly frustrating stuff from Arsenal, and for all their dominance – 77% possession, apparently – they actually created few clear chances. Had a very marginal offside decision gone the other way and Lacazette’s apparent equaliser stood, or a much clearer first-half penalty been awarded, it might have ended very differently.

7.25pm BST

“Arsenal have too many technical, gifted players in the XI. They need a couple of players with steel,” says Steven Gerrard on BT Sport.

7.24pm BST

90+6 mins: Butland boots the free-kick upfield, and the referee blows his whistle!

7.23pm BST

90+5 mins: Arsenal swing the ball in; it’s headed away to Oxlade-Chamberlain. 94 minutes and 55 seconds have been played. He assesses his options and then passes to Mustafi, who is very clearly offside. And that should be that.

7.22pm BST

90+4 mins: A fine cross from Monreal finds Giroud, who does excellently to get in front of the defender but heads wide!

7.21pm BST

90+3 mins: Oxlade-Chamberlain, who for my money has had a fine game, chips the ball to the back post. Giroud is waiting there and does his job, nodding it down. And nobody – nobody – is in the six-yard box to profit.

7.18pm BST

90+1 mins: Into stoppage time, of which there will be about five minutes.

7.17pm BST

89 mins: Perhaps the recovery wasn’t so miraculous: Pieters has gone off, and Martins Indi is on.

7.16pm BST

88 mins: For 80 minutes Arsenal looked on the verge of scoring. For the last eight, though, they’ve looked clueless and desperate and, now Stoke’s defence is sitting so deep the ball can’t be chipped over them, totally devoid of ideas.

@Simon_Burnton never mind the stokers on the steps, what’s Arthur Fowler doing there with his trademark flat cap on?Pauline won’t be happy!

7.14pm BST

87 mins: Pieters stayed down, and then required lengthy treatment, after which he appears to miraculously recover.

7.13pm BST

85 mins: It wasn’t a penalty, but it was a free-kick and probably a booking.

7.12pm BST

84 mins: Mustafi fouls Pieters on the very edge of the Arsenal penalty area. Is it a free-kick or a penalty? The crowd holds its collective breath. And then keeps holding it. And then realise the referee has waved play on, and bay in fury.

7.10pm BST

82 mins: Despite the substitutions, Arsenal seem far from invigorated. Indeed, these have probably been Stoke’s most comfortable five minutes of the match.

7.08pm BST

81 mins: Great photograph, this – check out the Stoke fans on the steps.

7.06pm BST

78 mins: A double substitution for Arsenal. The disappointing Lacazette goes off along with Xhaka, while Walcott and Iwobi join the fray.

7.04pm BST

76 mins: Arsenal are battering on the door here, but then they have been for most of the match. Here’s that offside decision in full – not “a mile onside”, but Lacazette does look level:

Horrendous decision. Lacazette is a mile onside.

1-0 ⚫️ pic.twitter.com/hS3eCn7rpE

7.01pm BST

72 mins: Arsenal score – and it’s disallowed! A backheel flick from the edge of the area diverts the ball to Lacazette, who lashes in. The flag is raised, but it looked extremely close.

6.59pm BST

71 mins: Jesé’s day is done – his lack of match fitness having become apparent, Sobhi comes on to replace him.

6.58pm BST

70 mins: It’s raining chances for Arsenal! In the latest torrent, Shawcross flies into Lacazette to deny an obvious chance, Fletcher gets in the way of an Özil shot, and the German curls another effort wide.

6.55pm BST

68 mins: Another chip into the Stoke area, and Ramsey controls this one beautifully, juggles it a bit and then shoots into a defender.

6.54pm BST

67 mins: Arsenal miss another! Giroud’s first touch is to nudge the ball into the run of Welbeck, bursting into the area, but he takes a touch too many before scuffing a shot into Butland’s face.

6.53pm BST

66 mins: Arsenal make a substitution, taking off a defender (Kolasinac) and bringing on a regular match-rescuer (Giroud).

6.51pm BST

63 mins: And again! Fletcher’s shot from range is deflected and loops to Choupo-Moting, running into the area, but his shot from an acute angle is saved by Cech. And Peter Malik proposes another Jesé-themed song. “Very nice chap, by the way, that Joshua Kadison, met him once,” he adds. Name-dropper.

6.49pm BST

62 mins: And Stoke nearly score on the break! Pieters carries the ball down the left, picks out Berahino with his cross, and the ball bounces towards the corner of goal only for Cech to divert it wide!

6.48pm BST

60 mins: And another one! Mustafi’s low pass into the area finds Ramsey, whose first-time left-foot shot goes straight at Butland.

6.47pm BST

59 mins: Chance for Arsenal! Özil play the ball into the area and Welbeck rises unmarked, but he completely misses his header and shoulders it over the bar!

6.45pm BST

58 mins: Chance for Arsenal! Diouf snoozes, Bellerin has a free run into the area and gets the ball, but Butland saves his low shot and then, at the second attempt, holds it.

6.44pm BST

57 mins: Another lovely cross to the back post from Oxlade-Chamberlain, but Butland steals this one off Welbeck’s forehead.

6.44pm BST

55 mins: Another last-ditch sliding tackle from Zouma stops Bellerin crom crossing, at the expense of a corner. This is unaccountably played short, but worked swiftly to the other flank where Oxlade-Chamberlain plays a lovely ball to the far post, from which nothing comes.

6.40pm BST

52 mins: Diouf and Welbeck race towards a loose ball near the byline, shoulder contacts shoulder, and Diouf bounces about 20 yards to the right. Spectacularly weak defending, but he gets away with it: Welbeck passes to Bellerin, who tries yet another ball over the defence back to Welbeck, who a) can’t reach it, and b) is offside.

6.37pm BST

50 mins: “One-nil to the rugby team!” sings the home crowd.

Related: No charges against Arsène Wenger for Stoke ‘rugby tactics’ complaint

6.35pm BST

The home side take the lead two minutes after the break! Jesé picks up the ball on halfway, drives into the Arsenal half, passes to Berahino, who shuffles about, executes a few lollipops and slides it back to the Spaniard, who hits it across goal first-time from 12 yards, and it rolls inside the far post.

6.33pm BST

46 mins: Stoke get the second half under way, and very quickly translate possession into an Arsenal throw-in.

6.33pm BST

The players trot back out ahead of the second half. Surely there are goals in this game, but how many, and when?

6.20pm BST

Arsenal are totally Arsenalling this game, playing some very nice stuff around, and indeed into, the penalty area, but without a cutting edge. Stoke are wildly inferior, but Jesé and that Shawcross chance give them reason to be optimistic anyway.

6.18pm BST

45+2 mins: Arsenal lift the ball into the penalty area yet again, and Ramsey runs goalwards while Butland runs out in a race to beat him to it. Butland wins, and what’s more the referee gives him a free kick for no apparent reason.

6.16pm BST

45+1 mins: Into stoppage time, of which there will be two minutes. It starts with Fletcher pumping a free-kick from halfway into the penalty area, but Cech comes out to punch. Soon after Fletcher floats the ball into the area from deep again, and this time Cech catches.

6.15pm BST

44 mins: Lacazette has been extremely quiet. Stoke have done a very good job on him, which will be a positive for them to cling to when they reflect on how unconvincing their defending of everything else has been.

6.11pm BST

40 mins: Diouf robs Bellerin on the edge of the area and launches into a semi-comic, semi-awesome dribble into Arsenal’s half. Eventually he loses the ball to Monreal’s well-timed sliding tackle, stays down for no reason, and the home fans boo until Arsenal kick it out of play.

6.09pm BST

39 mins: Arsenal have had 71% of possession so far. That’s seventy-one.

6.07pm BST

37 mins: This is both a match that Arsenal are dominating with almost embarrassing ease, and one that Stoke really should be winning.

6.03pm BST

33 mins: Arsenal work the ball very well around the penalty area, Özil dances about a bit before finding Bellerin, and from 18 yards he skews his shot way wide, and also quite a bit high. Meanwhile, there’s always this:

6.01pm BST

31 mins: Great chance for Stoke! A long throw is headed clear but falls to Choupo-Moting, whose cross finds Shawcross in space, 10 yards out. He gets plenty of power on his header, but nowhere near enough accuracy!

5.59pm BST

29 mins: Replays show that Bellerin was fouled by Diouf in the penalty area in the 20th minute. It looked so clear at the time that I assumed it was my eyes, rather than my referee, that had failed me.

5.58pm BST

28 mins: Arsenal win a free-kick 30 yards out. Oxlade-Chamberlain curls it into the box, beyond the far post and into the run of Ramsey, whose shot hits Butland in the chest. This, meanwhile, is a good call:

@Simon_Burnton Surely the canonical song about someone whose name is a bit like Jesé must be https://t.co/GFemXIzv6H

5.54pm BST

25 mins: Shaqiri has gone off, and Saido Berahino has replaced him.

5.54pm BST

24 mins: It looks worryingly like Shaqiri’s day might be over – he’s on the floor, pointing at his left leg, and Mark Hughes seems to be discussing tactical rearrangements with his assistant.

5.52pm BST

21 mins: A chance on the break for Stoke! Jesé runs from halfway, benefits from a couple of handy rebounds off defenders and picks out Choupo-Moting, whose attempted finish was bizarrely casual. The ball loops into Cech’s arms. Very good work again from Jesé there, though.

5.50pm BST

20 mins: And another chipped through-ball, this time to Bellerin, who is taken out by Diouf. The referee gives a corner.

5.50pm BST

19 mins: Save! Another chipped ball over Stoke’s defence – an issue the home team need to sort out sharpish – this one to Welbeck, whose shot when well placed is saved by Butland.

5.48pm BST

18 mins: Now Stoke attack, but when Shaqiri is picked out in the penalty area he uses his right arm to control the ball, and the referee spots it.

5.47pm BST

17 mins: Now the ball is chipped over the defence to Ramsey, who is shoulder-barged by Diouf at the vital moment and, already falling, slides a low cross straight to Butland.

5.44pm BST

14 mins: Arsenal are repeatedly slicing and dicing the home defence now, but remain a good final ball away from a breakthrough. A few passes ping around the box and end with Bellerin bursting into it, but his low cross is to nobody in particular, and is cleared.

5.41pm BST

11 mins: Arsenal win a corner, which is headed clear, but Ramsey scoops it back in, it’s headed back across goal and Pieters gets in front of Welbeck, who was trying to turn it goalwards at the near post.

5.40pm BST

9 mins: Another Arsenal attack: Welbeck runs down the left and plays infield to Bellerin, who plays infield to Ramsey, but a defender arrives at pace to reach the ball first and clear it to safety.

5.37pm BST

8 mins: Bellerin gets into the penalty area and tries to reach the byline, but Zouma’s sliding tackle nips the ball off his toes.

5.36pm BST

6 mins: Stoke have controlled the opening exchanges. Fletcher tries a long pass over the home defence for Choupo-Moting, but it bounces out of play.

5.33pm BST

3 mins: Good work from Jesé! Fletcher carries the ball forward and passes to the Spaniard, whose skill buys him some space in the penalty area, but Cech races off his line to get in the way of his shot!

5.32pm BST

3 mins: Stoke’s fans are noisily booing Aaron Ramsey’s every touch. Those guys really know how to bear a grudge.

5.30pm BST

1 min: Peeeep! They’re off!

5.30pm BST

Jesé has very aggressive stubble, don’t you think? It’s very short, but very attention-grabbing, like a facial Jimmy Krankie.

5.26pm BST

The players are in the tunnel! Scratch that, they’re already leaving it!

5.18pm BST

Mark Hughes talks:

We had a difficult start to last season, the fixtures were difficult like they are this year. But we’re in good shape, I think we’ve had a decent pre-season, played OK last weekend without getting any reward. If we can build on that performance then we’ll be fine.

[On Jesé] I thought it was more important just to get him exposed to the Premier League as soon as possible. It was a good opportunity, against elite opposition. That’s what he’s used to, so I think he’ll really enjoy the game today.

5.15pm BST

“Is there any news about why Holding isn’t featuring anywhere?” wonders Charles Antaki. “He seems too nice a young man to have been taken out and shot just for his part in last week’s three-goal defensive farrago.” There is no news, and Wenger wasn’t asked, he’s just been dumped. Aaron Ramsey comes into the starting XI, along with Shkodran Mustafi.

5.08pm BST

Arsène Wenger talks to the folk at BT Sport:

Leicester was a difficult game and they’re a side that will push on again this season in the Premier League. Let’s continue to win and focus on the quality of our game.

Stoke are always dangerous. Every Premier League away game is any way difficult. We came here last year at the end of the Championship and won. At least we got that out of the way because we didn’t win here for a while.

4.37pm BST

So there’s a debut for Jesé. Here’s my favourite song about someone whose name is a bit like Jesé:

4.35pm BST

The teams are in! And these are those teams!

Stoke: Butland, Zouma, Shawcross, Cameron, Diouf, Allen, Fletcher, Pieters, Shaqiri, Jese, Choupo-Moting. Subs: Martins Indi, Johnson, Berahino, Crouch, Krkic, Sobhi, Grant.
Arsenal: Cech, Mustafi, Monreal, Kolasinac, Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Welbeck, Lacazette. Subs: Mertesacker, Giroud, Ospina, Walcott, Iwobi, Coquelin, Elneny.
Referee: Andre Marriner.

#SCFC Starting XI v @Arsenal: Butland; Zouma, Shawcross, Cameron; Diouf, Allen, Fletcher, Pieters; Shaqiri, Jese; Choupo-Moting. pic.twitter.com/xo6K9GVp4N

Two changes for our first @premierleague away game of 2017/18#SCFCvAFC pic.twitter.com/cixTW8AVNd

11.53am BST

Hello world!

Stoke’s biggest home crowd for some 29 years – “When our fans get behind the team, there’s no more intimidating place,” says Mark Hughes, hopefully – will savour the latest instalment in a series of matches that have famously featured horrible injury, less horrible but still painful injury, rancour, fury and rather mean taunting. “I don’t know why they boo me so much,” sobbed Arsène Wenger of the Stoke fans; “Stick your fingers in your ear if you don’t want to hear it,” countered Hughes.

Related: Per Mertesacker: ‘Some fans want a selfie but sometimes I want to say: Let’s just shake hands’

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/aug/19/stoke-city-v-arsenal-premier-league-live

Aug 19

Swansea City 0-4 Manchester United: Premier League – as it happened

Swansea flooded their defence and held on tight, and with 10 minutes to play were only one down. Then Manchester United scored again, and again, and again

2.37pm BST

Right then, I’m off. First, though, a gift for you. It’s a match report! Bye!

Related: Manchester United rout Swansea City as Romelu Lukaku sparks late burst

Related: Leicester v Brighton, Southampton v West Ham and more – live!

Related: Liverpool v Crystal Palace: Premier League – live!

2.33pm BST

Pogba and Mkhitaryan do some chatting, starting with Pogba:

The game, we have a very good result. So we carry on on this road. We want this, and we have to carry on. I think we’re more confident. We know each other more. Everybody knows each other, we work for each other and I think that’s easier for us.

Of course it was a tough game, especially in the first half, but we were patient, we were doing what we had to do. We scored in the first half and in the second half it became easier, because they played with four defenders and there was space behind the defensive line. We had team spirit last year, but this year we’re having a little bit of luck, we’ve started very well. The most important thing is that we keep doing the same.

2.27pm BST

Swansea worked hard, but never appeared to have much ambition beyond keeping the score down and in the end they couldn’t even do that. But for those six second-half minutes when the hosts finally crumbled United never really purred, but they have too much quality for limited sides to live with at the moment. Rashford was their brightest forward, and Martial continued in a similar vein when he came on, but they have any number of matchwinners at the moment.

2.20pm BST

90+4 mins: Two games, eight goals, none conceded, six points. That’ll do for United.

2.19pm BST

90+2 mins: Ayew, who has to be fair tried very hard today, wins the ball, keeps it, protects it, loses it, wins it back and then shoots wide from 20 yards.

2.18pm BST

90+1 mins: There will be at least three minutes of stoppage time.

@Simon_Burnton Seriously, how do Swans expect to score without Sigurdsson?

2.16pm BST

88 mins: The margin of their defeat does Swansea a disservice, as they have defended well. But United do have a lot of good attacking players, and they don’t really have any (though Abraham may become one), and sooner or later that was going to become a problem.

2.13pm BST

85 mins: Both teams have made their final substitutions. McBurnie replaced Abraham for Swansea between goals three and four, and United bring Herrera on for Mkhitaryan, who was only influential for about 10 minutes, but they were good ones.

2.11pm BST

Classic Martial. The forward is picked out by Pogba, 40 yards from goal, and carries the ball to the edge of the area, cuts onto his right foot and slots inside the far post!

2.09pm BST

And another one! Pogba intercepts the ball inside the centre circle and passes right to Mkhitaryan, who runs to the edge of the area and plays a perfect return pass. Pogba lifts the ball over the onrushing Fabianski, and suddenly it looks very comfortable indeed!

2.08pm BST

And surely that’ll win it! Martial, who has been bright since coming on, runs to the edge of the area and into the path of Mkhitaryan, who unlike the Frenchman can see Lukaku in oceans of space inside the penalty area and picks him out. The finish is straightforward.

2.05pm BST

78 mins: United stretch and probe the Swansea defence before finally losing the ball, which is promptly thumped straight down the other end for Abraham to chase, in vain.

2.01pm BST

74 mins: Pogba shoots wide from the free-kick, and United make their substitutions: Mata and Rashford are off, and Fellaini and Martial are on.

2.00pm BST

73 mins: Blind shoots high from 25 yards and is fouled by Fer mid-follow through. Fer gets booked.

1.59pm BST

72 mins: The second corner is an excellent one, but somehow bounces through the penalty area without getting a significant touch, both Ayew and Abraham coming close.

1.58pm BST

71 mins: Swansea are having their best spell of the match, and are preparing to take their second corner in quick succession. United, for the first time, are being forced into some sustained defending.

1.57pm BST

70 mins: United are readying a double substitution of their own, with Fellaini and Martial preparing to come on.

1.55pm BST

68 mins: Mkhitaryan, set up by Rashford, has another long-range shot. This one doesn’t need a deflection to go wide.

1.53pm BST

67 mins: A double substitution for Swansea: Narsingh comes on for Mesa, and Routledge for Bartley.

1.53pm BST

66 mins: Swansea have had some encouragement this half. Another cross from the left, from Ayew this time, curls low across the area without Abraham anticipating it.

1.49pm BST

62 mins: Mkhitaryan, who has enjoyed none of the space he needs to thrive today and is earning his first mention since the teams, sends in a shot that deflects wide. The corner is cleared.

1.48pm BST

61 mins: A chance for Swansea! They work the ball from right to left, where Carroll spears the ball into the box and Abraham heads over!

1.45pm BST

58 mins: Fer spins into space in midfield and looks up to see what options lie further forward. Abraham and Ayew are pretty much standing on each other’s toes on the edge of the penalty area, neither of them doing much moving. He picks one out, the other gets in the way, and the ball is lost.

1.43pm BST

56 mins: David de Gea touches the ball, and not from a back-pass either. It’s a cross from the left, and the goalkeeper catches it unchallenged. Still, it’s something.

1.43pm BST

55 mins: United continue to seek a second: Matic chips the ball into the penalty area, but Fabianski reaches it long before Rashford.

1.40pm BST

53 mins: Nothing much seems to have changed at the break. United still have very great dominance of possession. Swansea continue to head or boot clear most of the balls that pepper their penalty area.

1.36pm BST

49 mins: A hopeful ball towards Lukaku turns into a corner after Bartley miscues a header. This time, though, Mata can’t pick out a giant teammate.

1.34pm BST

47 mins: United play the ball between their defenders for literally two minutes, and then Blind thumps it forward and gives it away.

1.32pm BST

46 mins: Peeeeeep! It’s happening again.

1.30pm BST

The home side are back out. More action ahoy!

1.28pm BST

So Mourinho’s policy of packing his team with giant superbeings bears fruit again. Swansea defended resiliently, and threatened themselves a couple of times, but then started thinking about their half-time sit-down a few moments too soon. “At a time where there are so many Premier League defences that struggle with set pieces, Mourinho has chosen to buy a bunch of tall players and has been drilling his side on how to go about attacking set pieces. I wonder whether he will admit to taking a lesson from Big Sam,” writes Prateek Chadha.

1.19pm BST

Related: Eric Bailly: ‘We are going to demonstrate that Manchester United are world class’

1.17pm BST

The goal was coming. And then, just in time, it came.

1.16pm BST

The corner is powerfully headed goalwards by Pogba; Fabianski fingertips it onto the bar and the ball bounces onto – but not over – the line, up again, and as it works out which way it should go next it is gleefully hammered home by Bailly!

1.15pm BST

44 mins: Of many defensive headers in this half, we’ve just seen probably the most vital. A ball from the right seemed about to drop onto Lukaku’s head, six yards out, just beyond the far post, but Fernandez stretched his neck and just flicks it clear.

1.13pm BST

42 mins: Another chance for United! They win a corner, but it’s easily headed clear at the near post. But when the ball is sent back into the area Fabianski comes out and tries and fails to catch, falls and the ball bobbles to Mata, whose first-time left-foot effort goes wide of an empty net.

1.09pm BST

38 mins: Swansea win a free kick, 40-odd yards from goal, and Mesa lifts a lovely ball into the penalty area. Bartley heads it back across goal, but with a little too much power. Goal kick.

1.07pm BST

36 mins: Chance for Rashford! Mawson’s miscued header from an aimless upfield hoof gives him a chance to sprint clear, but he’s a little over-confident, tries to chip a goalkeeper who hasn’t yet gone down, and Fabianski catches.

1.05pm BST

35 mins: The corner reaches Bartley who, with Bailly not so much jumping with him as pushing him a bit, heads wide.

1.04pm BST

33 mins: Rashford is United’s brightest player on the ball, but he does like falling over. He goes down on the edge of Swansea’s area when nobody is challenging him at all, loses the ball, Swansea spring forward and Ayew’s low centre is cleared just before it reached Abraham.

1.01pm BST

30 mins: Pogba trips Olsson, and could easily have had a second yellow card! Instead the referee lets him off with a stern talking-to, but he is on a disciplinary tightrope now!

12.59pm BST

28 mins: Now Valencia hoofs the ball clear, his follow-through taking his foot so high it pokes the nose of Ayew as he closes down. Some elements of frustration perhaps creeping into United’s game as they continue to find Swansea’s back five – plus three defensive midfielder – hard to crack.

12.57pm BST

26 mins: Pogba swipes Carroll’s legs out from under him with the ball long since departed, and earns the game’s first yellow card.

12.56pm BST

26 mins: Now Rashford gets a talking-to from the referee, while he performs his best who-me? mime. The Swansea fans don’t like him at all.

12.54pm BST

24 mins: Martin Olsson tries an overhead kick, which looked very good but was easily dealt with by De Gea.

12.53pm BST

22 mins: Rashford, near the halfway line, prods the ball 10 yards forward, giving Bartley a five-yard head start in the race to regain it, and loses the sprint by perhaps a foot. Still, potential there.

12.49pm BST

19 mins: Now Matic is not fouler but foulee, and Leroy Fer gets a ticking off by the referee for his challenge.

12.48pm BST

18 mins: Another few minutes of resolute defending for Swansea ends with Ayew going down readily under Matic’s challenge, and winning a free kick midway in his own half.

12.44pm BST

14 mins: After a slightly rocky start, United are dominating proceedings at the moment. Swansea’s possession is entirely in their own half, and they’re not having that much of it.

12.42pm BST

12 mins: A lovely run from Rashford on the left ends with a smart shimmy that deceived a defender but also sent the ball running a little too far, and out for a goal kick.

12.41pm BST

9 mins: Now United hit the bar! Mata sends in a cross from the free kick, and Phil Jones heads it – well, shoulders it – into the meat of the woodwork! That was a let-off both for Swansea and for the officials, given that Jones was pretty clearly offside when the free-kick was taken.

12.39pm BST

9 mins: Rashford wins a free-kick on the right wing, going over after his right boot was brushed by Mawson. The United forward is getting booed here, presumably because of this:

Related: Marcus Rashford deceived referee for penalty, says Swansea’s Paul Clement

12.38pm BST

7 mins: After a patient build-up, Rashford turns smartly onto his right foot and mishits a bobbly shot wide from 20 yards.

12.35pm BST

4 mins: And United scream down the other end, Lukaku runs from the centre circle into the penalty area and, when an attempted pass rebounds back to him, lashes a shot wide!

12.35pm BST

3 min: And then they nearly score! And hit the bar! Ayew benefits from a fortunate ricochet to run clear down the left, and he waits for Abraham to get into the middle, sees De Gea step away from goal in anticipation of a cross, and shoots towards the near post! There was a massive gap for him to aim for, but his effort is just too high!

12.33pm BST

3 mins: A bit of gentle sparring to start the game, with Swansea making a couple of early forays forward without threatening to get into United’s penalty area.

12.31pm BST

1 min: Peeeeeep! We’re off, with the home side getting the action under way.

12.30pm BST

Before the action gets under way, there is a minute’s applause in memory of Gwilym Joseph, a former Swansea player and honorary president who died this week. More on him here.

12.27pm BST

Swansea’s three-man backline is probably the most intriguing tactical issue today. Having been trialled for 10 minutes at Southampton last week, it’s getting a full baptism of the fieriest fire today.

12.25pm BST

The players are in the tunnel! We’re about to savour a serving of Saturday soccer.

12.15pm BST

And José Mourinho also does some pre-match talking, in which he brings up the concept of happy football. He doesn’t look tremendously happy while talking about it, but his players, he says, have happy feet.

It was difficult to leave anyone out. I think the players understood that. I had a conversation with them, I trust everybody, and I have great players on the bench who have the ambition to start, and I left some at home that don’t deserve to stay at home. But we played quite well and we have at this moment only one match a week, so we keep the team.

Of course we can improve. But every match is a different match and you are never in control of matches for 90 minutes, so I can expect that even if we are a team playing with tactical discipline, there will be for sure moments in this match when we are not going to have that control, but we need to keep that stability. The team are playing happy football, because the players are very comfortable on the pitch. We need to have a good performance, because only with a good performance can we win.

11.54am BST

Swansea have won four of their last six games against Manchester United, which is a pretty handy recent record. Paul Clement talks to Sky about their prospects and, first, their formation:

I always thought that when Bartley came back to the club there was a possibility to play three central defenders. I feel the shape today will give us the best chance of getting a positive result. It will give us first of all defensive solidity, but with two strikers up there we can trigger some good attacks as well.

There’s always challenges at this level, first of all to try and stop the ball going into your net, which is going to be a big challenge against a very strong and powerful Manchester United side. But scoring goals is a challenge too … all aspects of the game are a challenge at this level.

11.35am BST

It is, we’re told, the first time Manchester United have selected the same starting XI in consecutive games since last August.

11.34am BST

So José Mourinho selects the same team that crushed West Ham last week; Swansea make two changes, with Mesa and Bartley in and Britton and Routledge out.

11.32am BST

Hello world!

We already have the teams! And these are those teams!

Here’s how we will line up against @ManUtd this afternoon… #SWAMUN pic.twitter.com/HwrWFe7TkO

Here is today’s #MUFC line-up… #SWAMUN pic.twitter.com/KJLmYkhpci

11.22am BST

Simon will be here shortly. In the meantime, here are the thoughts of our reporter Stuart James before kick-off:

Everything fell into place for Manchester United against West Ham last Sunday and it will be a surprise if José Mourinho’s team fail to pick up another three points . Mourinho’s only real selection dilemma revolves around whether he should set up a bit more conservatively away from home and recall Ander Herrera. As for Swansea, they are still without Fernando Llorente, who is building up his fitness after breaking an arm. Roque Mesa could make his debut in place of Leon Britton, who is struggling with a back problem.

Related: Swansea City v Manchester United: match preview

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/aug/19/swansea-city-v-manchester-united-premier-league-live

Aug 15

Edgbaston does its homework before England’s first day-night Test | The Spin

West Indies are in town from Thursday, when a pink Dukes ball and inappropriate break names are the least of the adjustments to the staple Test match fare

The first of many questions that executives at Edgbaston had to ask as they commenced preparations for England’s first ever day-night Test was: what do you call the breaks? Standard, daytime Tests have their lunch break at, well, lunchtime, and their tea break at, give or take, tea time. A 2pm start distorts the timetable and, while 4pm can be referred to in many ways, if you are calling it lunchtime something has gone badly wrong with your day.

In Adelaide, where Australia played day-night Test matches against New Zealand in 2015 and South Africa the following year, and where England will appear in another this December, the breaks were switched, with the first becoming shorter and known as tea, and the second – coming, as it does, at approximately dinnertime – stretching longer and renamed dinner.

Related: Day-night Test is step into the unknown for England, says Stuart Broad

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/aug/15/the-spin-edgbaston-england-first-day-night-test-west-indies

Aug 11

Survival guide: how to avoid relegation from the Premier League

Statistics show there are a number of cast-iron rules when it comes to staying up in the Premier League. Oh … and not signing Rudy Gestede helps, too

Hull City last season became the 15th of 25 teams to be promoted to the Premier League via the play-offs to be immediately relegated, a 60% failure rate, making it by a considerable margin the least propitious method of promotion. Eight of them, nearly a third, have finished bottom of the league at the first attempt. In the same time nine Championship winners have gone down (36%) and nine second-place teams (37.5% – there was one year without automatic promotion for the team that finished second in the second tier).

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/aug/11/premier-league-guide-2017-18-how-to-stay-up-relegation-statistics

Aug 10

Premier League 2017-18 preview No18: Watford | Simon Burnton

Marco Silva has already shown the common touch with fans, which suggests his new club can put the unloved Walter Mazzarri era behind them

Guardian writers’ predicted position 15th (NB: this is not necessarily Simon Burnton’s prediction but the average of our writers’ tips)

Last season’s position 17th

Related: Watford confirm club-record £18.5m signing of Andre Gray from Burnley

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/aug/10/premier-league-2017-18-preview-no18-watford

Aug 04

Premier League 2017-18 preview No9: Leicester City | Simon Burnton

The prospect of aiming at little more than serene top-flight mediocrity may seem uninspiring for the 2015-16 champions but it is hard to see how Craig Shakespeare’s side can consistently trouble the top teams

Guardian writers’ predicted position 8th (NB: this is not necessarily Simon Burnton’s prediction but the average of our writers’ tips)

Last season’s position 12th

Related: Premier League 2017-18 preview No8: Huddersfield Town | Paul Doyle

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/aug/04/premier-league-2017-18-preview-leicester-city

Jul 28

Premier League at 25: the best XI, from Petr Cech to Thierry Henry

Our team, selected in a 4-4-2 formation, finds no space for Gary Neville or Frank Lampard but includes no fewer than seven British players

Eagle-eyed readers who have been following this series of all-time Premier League selections will shortly notice that the player we have declared the finest of the past 25 years is, curiously, not good enough for our combined best XI. What follows will not chime with everyone’s opinion, or even, clearly, our own. Eric Cantona was a marvellous player, the kind of maverick genius man for the big occasion who gets singled out for individual awards, but two other forwards exist whose claims for a first-team place are in my opinion indisputable, which leaves no room for Cantona, Luis Suárez, Wayne Rooney, Sergio Agüero or any number of strikers who have thrilled and bewitched this past quarter-century.

Besides, something had to be done to stop Manchester United’s dominance of the past 25 years turning this into a best-of-the-Sir-Alex-Ferguson-years selection. In all 27 of the 30 people to have won the league four or more times in the Premier League era played at Old Trafford under the Scot, but only two of them – plus two players who won three titles there – are in our XI. There could certainly have been a couple more, or a fabulous team could be compiled containing none at all. There is certainly no shortage of candidates for selection.

Related: Premier League at 25: the big quiz

Related: Premier League at 25: the best signing – Patrick Vieira to Arsenal, August 1996

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jul/28/premier-league-at-25-best-xi-petr-cech-thierry-henry

Jul 21

Tour de France 2017: Edvald Boasson Hagen wins stage 19 – as it happened

After a little over five hours and 220km of cycling Edvald Boasson Hagen went the right way around a roundabout, most of his rivals did not, and he seized his chance

5.03pm BST

And with that, I’m gone. I leave you with a report of Boasson Hagen’s stage win:

Related: Boasson Hagen breaks clear to win stage 19 as Froome tightens grip on Tour title

4.58pm BST

@Simon_Burnton is there any possibility that the right hand route was not official? it seems so obvious that there is an advantage.

It hasn’t been mentioned, and there were certainly no markings to indicate that. When the peloton arrived they also split left and right.

4.57pm BST

A disappointed Ben Swift, who was in the 20-man breakaway but found himself among the 11 riders left behind as nine broke clear at the front, talks:

I was feeling really good, but that was a demonstration of how to mess up a race really. I was playing it a little too safe. In the past I’ve done a bit too much work and been a bit nailed. I was just having a quick drink and next thing I knew there was a split group. We worked to try and bring the back, but you just get sucked along straight away and it’s hard to close any sort of gap. I felt really good. One little mistake and that was it, it’s gone. Today was definitely my best chance.

4.53pm BST

Chris Froome crosses the finish line, 12min 30sec behind Boasson Hagen but with his lead absolutely intact.

4.51pm BST

The peloton, with Team Sky still at the front, are still 2.5km away from the finish, after as straightforward and gentle as any day that includes 222.5km of cycling can be. It may not be enough for them to feel refreshed at tomorrow’s time trial, but certainly they could have been more knackered.

4.49pm BST

The roundabout in full:

Boasson Hagen and Arndt go into the roundabout behind and come out ahead pic.twitter.com/76huoo8Tuk

4.47pm BST

The seven who went the wrong way round the roundabout must be absolutely furious with somebody, mind. A rider should know which line to take in the crucial final moments, surely.

4.46pm BST

So after two second places in this year’s Tour, and two third-places to boot, Edvald Boasson Hagen has his first Tour de France stage win since 2011. And he won it in some style, by a margin of five seconds, with Keukeleire a further 12sec back. And it was absolutely decided in the time it took the leading nine to go round a roundabout with 2km to go: once the Norwegian took the best line and almost everyone else didn’t, it was done.

Overall, though, a day that was distance-heavy and drama-light.

4.41pm BST

That is absolutely emphatic! Nikias Arndt gets second, and Jens Keukeleire wins the sprint of the remaining to take third!

4.40pm BST

Nikias Arndt is the closest competitor to Boasson Hagen, but there’s nothing he can do about this. He’s 150m behind, and disappearing!

4.39pm BST

He’s kept going! 1km to go, and nobody’s going to catch him!

4.38pm BST

Boasson Hagen goes for it, with 2.5km to go! Seven of the nine go to the left side of the roundabout, two go right and find that it gives them a massive advantage! When they emerge, they are 20m in the lead, and he decides to keep going!

4.37pm BST

3km to go, and the nine are still bunched together.

4.36pm BST

It’s 82 v 92 at the front, for shirt-number fans, as Edvald Boasson Hagen and Michael Albasini test each other. And then Jens Keukeleire pushes. 4km to go.

4.34pm BST

This is torture: you know someone’s going to make a move, you know they’ll do it soon, but they keep not doing it. 5.5km to go.

4.27pm BST

So the front nine are 30sec ahead of the other breakaway 11, and 10min ahead of the peloton.

4.26pm BST

The front nine in full, with 12.5km to go:

Jan Bakelants (AG2R-La Mondiale)
Daniele Bennati (Movistar)
Michael Albasini and Jens Keukeleire (Orica)
Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data)
Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal)
Nikias Arndt (Sunweb)
Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie)
Elie Gesbert (Fortuneo-Oscaro)

4.23pm BST

15km to go: It’s actually nine and 11, with the front group including Bakelants, Gesbert, De Gendt and Boasson Hagen. Michael Albasini is at the very front as I type.

4.21pm BST

And the breakaway group has split neatly in two, with two groups of 10.

4.20pm BST

20km to go, and at the front they’ve pretty much started sprinting.

4.19pm BST

Eddie Merckx has been asked what he thinks about this year’s Tour (quotes taken from lesoir.be):

I’ve followed all the stages, but I haven’t found them very interesting. It was not a great tour, there hasn’t been much drama. Many stages were quite boring. I often watched the start then went and did something else. I didn’t just spend hours watching television.

Something has to be done about these long and flat stages. Almost nothing happens: there’s an escape that is taken in the final kilometers. There were too many stages where you knew in advance that nothing would happen.

4.10pm BST

The leading group are on a very long, very straight, very flat and very wide road. They are about to reach Puget-sur-Durance, the Durance being of course a river that flows eventually into the Rhône, somewhere near Avignon. If you go swimming in it then you are en Durance, a quality very much embodied by these riders.

4.06pm BST

The leading 20 now have a lead of 9min 50sec. As has been clear for a while now, one of them will win this stage. 29m to go.

4.00pm BST

35km to go: The 20-man leading group remains a 20-man leading group as it reaches Lourmarin. The question now is: will Edvald Boasson Hagen win the stage, or will someone find a way to drop him? There is less than an hour remaining before we find out the answer.

3.49pm BST

44km to go, and things are hotting up at the front: Bauke Mollema tries to break away, while Gallopin has sunk back again and is now cycling all by himself, between the two groups.

3.46pm BST

Now three riders break free at the front: Robert Kiserlovski, Romain Sicard and Elie Gesbert. Tony Gallopin, meanwhile, leaves the breakaway group from the other end, dropping off the back, and then overtakes everyone again and tries to catch up with the trio.

3.41pm BST

This is the last categorised climb of this year’s tour. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Gap between #MaillotJaune Froome & runner-up after stage 18:
2013 – 5’11”
2015 – 3’10”
2016 – 3’53”
2017 – 23″#TDF2017 #TDFdata pic.twitter.com/vq1rlp4NAN

3.39pm BST

The front 20 is being stretched, as Romain Sicard accelerates. Everyone else follows, but the peace and tranquillity of the last couple of hours just can’t continue, and looks like it won’t.

3.36pm BST

51km to go: The climb to the Col du Pointu has begun, with the leading 20 once again a 20. They are just under 6km from the summit.

3.31pm BST

Here’s something to look forward to:

today’s stage report will include one of my favourite words: concomitant. this is a first for me, so correct me if I use it wrongly…

3.30pm BST

Jens Keukeleire has dropped back into the breakaway group, after a little solo action.

3.30pm BST

More news. Tom Dumoulin put a statement up on his Facebook page this afternoon announcing that he would not be involved in the Vuelta as he concentrates on the World Championships:

I’m in love with the race. I pretty much had my breakthrough Grand Tour there in 2015 and I love the tranquility of the race, yet the passionate fans at the same time.

It was also on my mind and the team’s to go there to help Wilco fight for GC and to hunt for stages myself and prepare for the Worlds at the same time.

Tom Dumoulin decides to skip Vuelta a España to avoid physical and mental fatigue after Giro win | https://t.co/h424ZSN9Sk pic.twitter.com/pG2G4EMlHH

3.22pm BST

Jens Keukeleire has sped off at the front of the breakaway group, all alone.

3.21pm BST

The third and final climb of the day is not far away. The next hamlet they pass on their way is the Hameau des Jean-Jean, so good they named it twice.

3.20pm BST

They have just passed Rustrel, famous for its Ochre. Google it for some impressive images of colourful dirt.

3.18pm BST

Show-off of the day:

Color us impressed #TDF2017 pic.twitter.com/UCkPlgvVX1

3.17pm BST

“Rumours of cross-winds from 35km to go,” writes Matt Carey. “Is this possible or me getting my hopes up?” Winds were forecast at the start of the day, while the skies above the finish look a little menacing:

Il va faire tout noir… #TDF2017 pic.twitter.com/dowsIYurn0

3.09pm BST

The gap is up to 8min 35sec, and the stage is proceeding very much as Sky would like it. There are 70km remaining.

@Simon_Burnton Simiane-la-Rotonte is a proper name for a town on a cycling course. It seems–like the town 22 km ahead–Apt.

I’ll stop now.

3.08pm BST

It appears that Team Sky’s Mikel Nieve won’t be Chris Froome’s team-mate for long: he has signed a two-year deal with Orica-Scott.

Correction! Mikel Nieve will ride for Orica Scott the next two seasons, his manager confirmed to Diario de Navarra. Top rider! https://t.co/wtNboXO9Nw

3.01pm BST

They are now cycling past another medieval hill town, Simiane-la-Rotonde. Rotonde is French for roundabout; it really was remarkably prescient for the medievals to name their town after an as-yet uninvented item of street furniture. Chapeau!

2.51pm BST

Thomas De Gendt wins the sprint, followed by Ellie Gesbert. Michael Matthews is now mathematically and with certitude the winner of this year’s green jersey.

2.50pm BST

Perhaps the most notable moment of the stage so far, as the sprint is about to be sprinted:

2.46pm BST

“I can’t hope but feel a tinge of sadness at the route and organisation that ASO have presided over this year,” writes Sam Charlton. “I know they said that they wanted fewer mountain stages to discourage Froome dominance, and many people have abandoned. But today’s stage feels like its the Champs-Élysées stage, when really, it should be another day going up Ventoux or Huez for a battle like we had last year up the mountain on the day before. They have really missed a trick, as that stuff is exciting, not a borderline neutralised jaunt we are seeing from the peloton today.” Certainly today has been disappointingly drama-light, but still, 87km to go, anything can happen. Right?

2.44pm BST

@Simon_Burnton tittering at French town names? The land of Brown Willy, Bell End, and Fanny Barks could have its own comedy town name tour

I’m not tittering at the names, but wondering about their meaning, or if one isn’t immediately apparent speculating about their potential meaning. Douglas Adams did a book called The Meaning of Liff, in which he gave British place names definitions. For example:

LUTON (n.) The horseshoe-shaped rug which goes around a lavatory seat.

HUMBER (vb.) To move like the cheeks of a very fat person as their car goes over a cattle grid.

2.39pm BST

The lead of the leading group fell briefly below 7min, but has now increased again to 7min 30sec, which is exactly as Team Sky – still leading the peloton – would like it.

2.38pm BST

The 20-man breakaway pass a large group of Belgians with an enormous Vive le Vélo flag, spending Belgium Day with a day out in France.

2.32pm BST

The riders enter the snackzone, the stretch of road where they can collect their lunchtime saddlebags. It’s 3.30pm, which to my mind makes it more like teatime. I trust their energy gel tastes of cucumber sandwiches and scones.

Meanwhile in Marseille, the stage is set for tomorrow’s time trial:

Une mutation spectaculaire pour @LeTour #WorkInProgress pic.twitter.com/BK4un3VInV

2.29pm BST

2.28pm BST

Hello again! The leaders have, as I type, precisely 100km to go, so we’re in the closing straight.

2.19pm BST

The Team Sky group continue to head the peloton in untroubled fashion, which is now around 7.10 behind the leading group, with 105km to go as we head towards Banon. Well, not “we”, “they”. I’m in a building in London, as too once again is Simon Burnton, to whom I will hand you back now.

2.08pm BST

114km to go: The peloton is now under seven minutes behind the big breakaway group, which includes, among others, Jan Bakelants, Daniele Bennati, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Bauke Mollema, Ben Swift and Rudy Molard.

Paul Smith emails: “By far my favourite ridiculous name for a French town has to be “Bourdons-sur-Rognon” or “Bumblebees-on-Kidney”…. beat that!” Might mail that one off to Heston Blumenthal as an out-there menu suggestion.

2.00pm BST

120km to go, and the gap between breakaway and peloton nudges down again to 7mins 10secs, without, as yet, any startling movements, as they reach the, well, alluringly-named Montagne de Lure.

1.51pm BST

“Hi again,” writes Tim Evans. “Google will send you to Wikipedia (in French) to discover that ‘Les Bons Enfants’ was the name given to a hospital/hamlet just outside the village of Peipin. Perhaps the patients were children, or even the hosts were named as ‘bons enfants’. Who know? That’s the beauty of France! Have fun spotting odd names : ) and bon appetit !” Perhaps the Tour of Britain could up its game by taking in Six Mile Bottom, in Cambridgeshire, at some point. In other news, the peloton’s closed a tad on the 20-strong leading group – it’s back to under 7mins 40secs.

1.46pm BST

Thanks Simon. Afternoon everyone. We’re still pretty much as you were on this long, meandering stage. The peleton’s strung out a little more now – with the Sky crew still at its front, their man Froome nestled among them – and is now more than 8mins 20secs behind the leading bunch.

1.41pm BST

I’m going to pop out for a bit of lunch. Tom Davies will make sure you don’t miss anything – email him here, if you fancy.

1.40pm BST

I can pretend that I haven’t just copy-and-pasted this list from the Tour’s own website, but you wouldn’t believe me. Anyway, the breakaway 20 in full:

Jan Bakelants (AG2R-La Mondiale)
Daniele Bennati (Movistar)
Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo)
Ben Swift (UAE)
Rudy Molard (FDJ)
Michael Albasini and Jens Keukeleire (Orica)
Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data)
Gianluca Brambilla (Quick Step)
Robert Kiserlovski (Katusha)
Thomas De Gendt and Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal)
Nikias Arndt (Sunweb)
Julien Simon (Cofidis)
Lilian Calmejane, Sylvain Chavanel and Romain Sicard (Direct Energie)
Elie Gesbert, Romain Hardy and Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fortuneo-Oscaro)

1.37pm BST

Apparently Les Bons Enfants is a medieval hamlet with an impressive old bridge.

1.35pm BST

The leaders have just passed Les Bons Enfants. What is Les Bons Enfants? Is it a place? Is it a bar? Is it just a group of well-behaved children? Google has no answer.

1.30pm BST

We have just had a colourful jet flypast. Indeed, it’s still ongoing – they are currently painting a heart in the sky.

✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️
⚪️
⚪️
⚪️#TDF2017 pic.twitter.com/jVAwNwIQVy

No surprise to see the Alpha Jets today: the Patrouille de France are based in a large airbase near the finish at Salon-de-Provence #TDF2017 pic.twitter.com/eXW1ObuhIM

1.25pm BST

In search of some lunchtime reading? I’ve got just the thing:

Related: How Stephen Roche ruled cycling in 1987 | Steven Pye

1.22pm BST

“Thomas de Gendt has been in just about every break,” notes Simon Gates, “but what’s the highest he’s finished in any of the stages in this Tour?” He’s been in the top 50 finishers four times: he came 22nd on stage 15, 30th on stage 12, 46th on stage 17 and 49th on stage nine.

1.19pm BST

There are no new stories to tell: the breakaway has stretched its lead, though only gently, to 7min 30sec; Sky are leading the peloton, their remaining riders all together at its head.

1.11pm BST

1.06pm BST

The leading group are now about 7min ahead of the rest. Apparently Team Sky could lose their lead in the team classification, if Jan Bakelants, the one AG2R representative in the breakaway group, finishes more than 15min 18sec ahead of the peloton.

1.02pm BST

Timo Roosen of LottoNL-Jumbo has abandoned. There has been no word yet as to why. He was quoted by Cycling Weekly yesterday in an article on the riders’ worst things about the tour:

In the high mountains, you have to suffer for so long. Some climbs feel like they just don’t end. Everybody is riding full gas and I’m too heavy for this, I’m not a climber! The pace is higher in the mountains. The first climb yesterday [on stage 16], when it exploded, you can feel the pace get quicker. The level is so high and you push watts that would normally be quite good in any other race, but here everyone can do those numbers. You end up in the gruppetto with some powerful numbers.

12.58pm BST

The leaders are now(ish) passing Nibles. This is not, as it might sound, somebody’s pet hamster, but an actual town. Well, hamlet (population 45 at last count, according to Wikipedia).

12.48pm BST

The breakaway’s lead is now a little over 5min 30sec, with just the 172km to go.

@Simon_Burnton Fun Fact: in the 1930s Crots Lourmarin won the Walloon unicycle championships six times in a row; still an unsurpassed feat.

12.43pm BST

Bauke Mollema is, in GC terms, the best-placed of the 20 riders in the breakaway group, and he’s a shade over 47 minutes away from taking the yellow jersey off Chris Froome. Team Sky are at the front of the peloton, keeping everything calm, being as they are entirely untroubled by the idea of any of the 20 winning the stage.

12.40pm BST

The Côte de Bréziers has now been climbed, and Romain Hardy was the first man over it. Thomas De Gendt followed him.

12.30pm BST

There are in fact 20 riders in the breakaway group. They include Edvald Boasson Hagen, Thomas de Gendt, Jan Bakelants, Tony Gallopin and Michael Albasini.

12.24pm BST

The front two have been caught by and have now joined a bunch of breakaway types, numbering perhaps 15 in all, and they are now going for it big time. A couple of Direct Energie riders are at the front of it currently.

12.20pm BST

Lilian Calmejane and Elie Gesbert are out on their own now. Not very far out, but still. They lead by 12 seconds or so.

12.18pm BST

“Will you be cycling on your trip,” wonders Andrew Benton, “or is it a pile the family in the renta-car sort of holiday?” Very much the latter. No cycling is likely, though when we went to the same place last year I did an enjoyable if fairly sweaty day’s walking to Lourmarin, which is kind of similar.

12.16pm BST

Got a moment? Need a bit of light reading? Kieran Pender has been embedded inside the Orica-Scott camp, and this is his story of a day on the Tour:

Related: Orica-Scott: 24 hours on the road with the Australian Tour de France team

12.14pm BST

“Crots is a Louisiana dietary staple, often served at breakfast with grits & shrimp,” Si Cook tells me. Crots don’t sound immediately appetising, but then neither do grits.

12.12pm BST

Romain Sicard is first to crest the climb, followed by Pierre Rolland and Elie Gesbert.

12.11pm BST

André Greipel has also fallen off the back, though he has a Lotto Soudal team-mate with him to help him out.

12.09pm BST

Two Norwegians are struggling at, or indeed off, the back of the peloton: Vegard Stake Laengen and Alexander Kristoff. Chin up, just another 197km to go, guys!

12.03pm BST

They’re heading up the Col Lebraut, the first categorised climb of the day.

11.59am BST

On 21 July 1831 Leopold of Saxe-Coburg swore allegiance to the Belgian constitution in Coudenberg, thus becoming the first king of Belgium. For this reason, 21 July is now Belgium’s national day. Today, as part of the celebrations, there will be a firework display at 11pm at the Place des Palais in Brussels, the conclusion of a day of festivities designed, according to the Belgian government, to “contribute to promoting a positive image of Belgium”.

Which is a roundabout way of explaining why Eddy Merckx and, for some reason, the tennis player Justine Hénin, are both in France to watch today’s stage.

11.50am BST

The move has solidified into an eight-man break, with Cannondale Drapac the only team represented by two riders, namely Pierre Rolland and Dylan van Baarle.

11.47am BST

There was a little mini-break, of about 10 people, that didn’t last long. A slightly modified half-dozen, led at the moment by Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, now has a lead of about 80m.

11.38am BST

A very flat start, with Maurits Lammertink, Jack Bauer and Thomas de Gendt among those pushing at the front.

11.35am BST

Just next to Embrun is the commune of Crots, which is not a word that means something in English but which sounds very much like it should. I’m not sure what Crots would be, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want them.

11.34am BST

They are back in Embrun, the flag waves and the proper racing starts!

11.20am BST

So the cyclists are on the road, rolling out around Embrun for a quarter of an hour or so. Fact: there is a town in Ontario, Canada also called Embrun, named after this Embrun.

11.01am BST

Hello world!

One interesting thing about today’s stage is that within 24 hours of its conclusion I will be on its route, on holiday. OK, I admit, it’s not a very interesting thing, unless you actually are me, but it’s certainly a thing. I can tell you, with the specialist local knowledge of someone who has previously visited, that the town of Lourmarin through which the race passes today on its way from Embrun to Salon-de-Provence, is very picturesque. Today’s stage also goes through Apt, one of those French towns which is also an English word.

9.36am BST

Simon will be here shortly. In the meantime, here’s William Fotheringham’s stage 19 guide:

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/jul/21/tour-de-france-2017-stage-19-live

Jul 09

Urán wins, Froome keeps yellow but Porte and Thomas crash out: Tour de France stage nine – as it happened

A brutal, dramatic stage saw Geraint Thomas and Richie Porte crash out and Rigoberto Uran steal a stage victory on a broken bike

4.34pm BST

And with that, I’m done. It’s been remarkable. Bye!

4.34pm BST

So today’s big GC losers, other than Thomas and Porte, are probably Dan Martin, who from 14sec behind in fourth place is now 1min 44sec behind in sixth, and Alberto Contador, who from 52sec behind and well poised is now 5min 15sec behind and out of contention.

4.26pm BST

Here’s an updated news story, on the Tour-ending crashes suffered today by Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas:

Related: Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas out of Tour de France after crashes

4.24pm BST

Here’s the top 10 of the general classification at the close of play – lots of churn, but not at the very top.

Le nouveau classement général ! / The new GC! #TDF2017 pic.twitter.com/NHUkEHimlQ

4.23pm BST

Porte’s injuries seem miraculously light, given how close he came to being flung off the side of a wooded mountain at 73km/h.

First news on Porte from TDF doctor, she just told TV he was conscious, remembered it all, was speaking. Verdict: “Plus de peur que de mal,”

4.20pm BST

Today’s top five:

Le Top 10 de cette énorme étape ! / Here is the Top 10 of this fabulous stage! #TDF2017 pic.twitter.com/NjgSFivher

4.19pm BST

Dan Martin speaks. I missed a bit of it because my computer decided to play up, but even what I got was quite hard-hitting:

Richie just slipped up. It was so slippery out there. I guess the organisers got what they wanted, you know. I think adrenaline has covered up the pain so far. I was very lucky a couple of times, the first crash when Geraint came down his bike hit my handlebars, it was that close. I got through but my luck ran out in the end.

4.16pm BST

So a day that for a while appeared likely to end with a new occupant of the yellow jersey ends with Chris Froome’s lead extended (a bit) to 18sec.

Oh maan. How freaking close was that?! OMG! Such a baller our Mick Jagger. Way to go @UranRigoberto @Ride_Argyle. Even my toe nails are gone https://t.co/0hy8cYaQZB

My heart break for Wawa is overshadowed by my joy for @UranRigoberto and @Ride_Argyle. What a stage…. It’s killing me not being there.

4.14pm BST

An astonishing day’s cycling. We’ve had the beauty and the beast.

I have to say that was one of the more action-packed Tour stages I’ve ever seen. Up there with Les Arcs in 1996

4.12pm BST

Some reaction:

No… F*ck

Mmmm another photofinish, and we just got to see Warren Barguil be told on live TV that he’s lost the win to Uran. Poor kid, great ride.

Really tough on Barguill. I’d thought he got it. So did he. There is no justice.

4.11pm BST

Here is that photo. Three enormous climbs, 181.5km, and the difference at the end was this:

De finishfoto verpest het feestje van Barguil: het is toch Uran die wint. #TDF2017 pic.twitter.com/9CIZJCk2VU

4.09pm BST

We get a glimpse of the photo finish, and it looks like Rigoberto Uran has pipped it, by an inch!

4.08pm BST

I might have announced this a little prematurely – apparently a photograph is being studied – but he looked a winner to me, and to the TV commentators. Oh, hang on …

Uran wins stage 9 https://t.co/cRuIEg8CWB #TDF2017

4.06pm BST

Incredible, breathless stuff, and at the end of it Barguil nips just in front of Uran with a couple of metres to go!

4.05pm BST

Uran goes, with 400m to go!

4.04pm BST

Into the final kilometre, and Froome is in the lead, ahead of Fuglsang.

4.03pm BST

Uran is riding a messed-up bike, with only two working gears, so he is perhaps crucially disadvantaged.

4.03pm BST

Bardet has been caught. It’s any one of six for the stage win.

4.02pm BST

This is knife-edge stuff at the front. Bardet’s lead is perhaps 5sec, with five people behind him and going fast.

4.00pm BST

Dan Martin is fine, cycling smoothly – cut, grazed and bruised, to be sure, but inherently sound – and riding with Simon Yates and Nairo Quintana.

3.58pm BST

Barguil has been caught be Froome’s small group, and latched onto the end of it. Froome, Aru, Uran and Fuglsang are riding as a team, trying to reel in Bardet. The Frenchman has a 17sec advantage, with 6.5km to go.

3.56pm BST

So two of this morning’s GC top five are no longer in the race. Bardet was 47sec behind Froome, but with 8.5km to go today is in the lead – so, should he win the stage, a 10sec bonus is coming his way – with a 25sec advantage. So he would, if the stage ended now, be 12sec behind Froome and in second place.

3.53pm BST

Now Uran has a mechanical problem! Meanwhile Romain Bardet has caught and indeed overtaken Warren Barguil at the front!

3.50pm BST

The Porte crash was a bit gruesome, frankly. He was apparently going at 72.5km/h when he came off his bike.

#TDF2017 Devastating images of @richie_porte coming from the road after a nasty crash. Richie will be taken to hospital for examination.

3.48pm BST

Richie Porte is being loaded into an ambulance, but we’re told he is conscious. Dan Martin, meamwhile, is apparently back on a bike.

3.47pm BST

Jakob Fuglsang falls off the back of Froome’s group. He just avoided the Martin/Porte pile-up, and is now being understandably cautious.

3.45pm BST

Whoosh! Romain Bardet overtakes Froome, and just disappears!

3.43pm BST

I’ve heard no further update on Dan Martin. In front of him, though, Froome is at the front of a five-man group further down the mountain.

One of the worst crashes I’ve seen in Tour de France. Porte lost it at a corner, brought down Martin.

3.42pm BST

Dan Martin took a new bike but has apparently gone down again a little further on!

3.41pm BST

Porte is receiving medical attention, but that was a hard fall. It could have been worse – he headed off the road to the left, on the mountain side, but it was on a curve in the road so he ended up sliding back across the tarmac, taking out Martin in the process. Porte is surely out of the race.

3.39pm BST

Crash! Porte and Martin are down!

3.37pm BST

At last count, Barguil’s advantage at the front stood at 12 seconds.

3.36pm BST

Barguil has crossed the line at the top of the Mont du Chat, and will wear polka dots tonight.

3.34pm BST

Now just 35sec behind Barguil:

Uran, Froome, Bardet, Porte, Aru, Fuglsang ensemble / together #TDF2017 pic.twitter.com/oYiSxIKrTH

3.33pm BST

Barguil passes the sign marking 1km from the top of the climb. It’s all downhill from here (almost).

3.33pm BST

Six people now in the Froome group, Quintana having fallen off the back.

3.32pm BST

Jakob Fuglsang is now caught by Froome, so Warren Barguil is now all by himself with Froome a minute or so behind him.

3.30pm BST

A series of mini-attacks are launched, and Froome matches them all. Now, though, Froome makes his own move and only three men stay with him!

3.29pm BST

Alberto Contador has been dropped from the yellow jersey group, which is now perhaps 10 strong. Nairo Quintana, Romain Bardet, Richie Porte and Dan Martin are among them.

3.27pm BST

Attack! Aru goes, and then Richie Porte has a go, and Froome follows, now without any Team-Sky-shirted assistance.

3.25pm BST

It’ll be interesting to hear what Aru’s got to say about this at the end of the stage. Soon after Froome returned to the group he seemed to semi-accidentally pressure Aru towards a group of fans on the side of the road.

Aru is not most popular rider in peloton and that won’t have helped. Judging by Froome’s reaction, slight manhandling, he’s not impressed.

3.24pm BST

Somehow, Tiesj Benoot has contrived to put himself in second place on the road, a minute behind Warren Barguil.

3.21pm BST

Here’s that short-lived Aru attack:

Froome vs Aru #TDF2017 #EurosportCICLISMO pic.twitter.com/pd3zdKFLoy

3.19pm BST

Gallopin has run out of legs, and is practically going backwards.

3.17pm BST

Warren Barguil is now on his own at the front, with a 37sec personal lead.

3.16pm BST

As soon as Froome rejoined that group – as they now have – Jakob Fuglsang launched himself out of it.

3.15pm BST

And the attack has stopped! Froome needed a bike change, Aru went hard, everyone else went with him, and they told him to calm down.

3.14pm BST

There is some kind of Froome-shaped problem. He had a mechanical problem, and Aru decided it would be a fine moment to attack – and the entire remainder of that yellow jersey pack went with him!

3.07pm BST

The big names are on the Mont du Chat, and they are very significantly strung out along the road. At the very front, Gallopin is now away on his own.

3.07pm BST

And here’s a lovely picture of Mickey Mouse waving goodbye to stage nine.

Mickey has officially abandoned on the Mont du Chat @guardian_sport #TDF2017 @Simon_Burnton pic.twitter.com/4dpblyGskM

3.06pm BST

Bakelants/Gallopin remain out in front, a couple of minutes away from the chasing peloton. There are only 25 or so riders in that group, including Chris Froome, with seven others somewhere between them, remnants of the once 12-strong leading pack.

3.04pm BST

Here’s Mickey Mouse getting towed:

BREAKING: Abandon du Journal de Mickey à 1km du sommet du Mont du Chat! #TDF2017 pic.twitter.com/qoVaOs27BX

3.04pm BST

Team Sky’s Michal Kwiatkowski has dropped out of the chasing Peloton. And Mickey Mouse has moved.

3.01pm BST

Here’s our news story on Geraint Thomas’s departure from the 2017 Tour:

Related: Geraint Thomas out of Tour de France after crash on stage nine

2.58pm BST

Michael Matthews, whose victory in the intermediate sprint after cresting two mountains was a phenomenal achievement, has run out of fuel and been caught by the peloton.

2.55pm BST

Bakelants was first over the Côte de Jongieux, taking one King of the Mountains point.

Arnaud Demare reported as 37min down already. I can’t see him finishing inside the time limit sadly.

2.47pm BST

This was the scene on the Mont du Chat nearly an hour ago. It has not yet been resolved, apparently. There is a problem with a giant Mickey Mouse.

La caravane est immobilisée dans le Mont du Chat. Problème mécanique pour Mickey… #TDF2017 pic.twitter.com/Zdl1wSYKBa

2.44pm BST

Current key times: Jan Bakelants and Tony Gallopin are on their own, 1min 11sec ahead of anyone else. The remaining 10 members of what was the leading group are almost exactly two minutes ahead of the peloton now, with their advantage shrinking.

2.41pm BST

Apparently the publicity caravan is, or at least was a short while ago, stuck on the way up the Mont du Chat, the final hors-catégorie climb of the day. Because we need a bit of extra drama today.

2.39pm BST

Arnaud Démare’s race could end today: he and his small group – Ignatas Konovalovas and Mickaël Delage from Démare’s FDJ, and the Australian Mark Renshaw – are now 34min 20sec behind the peloton.

2.36pm BST

With 50km to go, the next notable obstacle is the Côte de Jongieux, a category four climb, the peak of which is 2.5km away.

2.33pm BST

After the sprint, Bakelants and Gallopin push on and are, at the moment, on their own at the front.

2.32pm BST

Matthews wins the intermediate sprint with ease.

2.31pm BST

@Simon_Burnton I’m trying to follow the action, but am a little lost now. Bardet is still up the road right?

@Simon_Burnton Can you give us a run down on the break and splinter group gaps back to the Froome group?

2.26pm BST

A couple of Lotto-Soudal riders are having a go here, attempting to deny Michael Matthews maximum sprint points, so even though Matthews is the only green jersey aspirant in the leading group, he might not have this mini-race all his own way.

2.18pm BST

And the lead has reduced by another 30sec in the last few minutes, so 3min 38sec now.

2.13pm BST

The leaders lead now by 4min 10sec, a lead that has shrunk considerably over the last 20minutes. They have 67.5km to race, including another enormous hill.

2.11pm BST

The front five have been joined by another six, including Carlos Betancur, who is now the as-it-stands race leader, and Michael Matthews, who will be aiming squarely at the day’s sprint to Massignieu-de-Rives.

2.03pm BST

In popping out for lunch when I did, I totally missed a double-pronged AG2R attack that sounds absolutely legendary. It will be discussed at length this evening, and possibly for some time to come.

AGR attack reduced GC group to 18. Froome still has 3 teammates alongside, Landa, Nieve and Henao though the latter struggled on last climb.

1.57pm BST

A minute further behind there’s a further five-man group. I believe they are: Jan Bakelants, Daniel Navarro, Jarlinson Pantano, Tony Gallopin and Michael Matthews.

1.56pm BST

Bauke Mollema, Tiesj Benoot, Warren Barguil, Primoz Roglic and Alexis Vuillermoz are the five at the front. If they stick together and retain their lead over the peloton Vuillermoz will end the day in yellow.

1.54pm BST

The front two is about to become a front five. Meanwhile, here are the full results from Grand Colombier:

1. Warren Barguil, 20 pts
2. Tiejs Benoot, 15 pts
3. Alexis Vuillermoz, 12 pts
4. Primoz Roglic, 10 pts
5. Bauke Mollema, 8 pts
6. Jarlinson Pantano, 6 pts
7. Dani Navarro, 4 pts
8. Michael Matthews, 2 pts

1.51pm BST

Thomas Voeckler is among the members of the original breakaway being gobbled up by the peloton now, but the leaders remain six minutes away.

1.47pm BST

Warren Barguil rides away from Benoot in the final 50m to take the 20 points at the top of Grand Colombier.

1.43pm BST

The mountain is simply strewn with cyclists, in little clusters and all alone. Tiesj Benoot and Warren Barguil are the two at the top.

1.41pm BST

The leaders are nearing the top of the Grand Colombier, and it’s been absolutely wild.

1.38pm BST

I’m back! I picked a good 15 minutes to pop out, it seems. Not much has happened.

1.37pm BST

And the Mont du Chat is still to come …

1.36pm BST

Now Alberto Contador seems to be in trouble. It’s thought he’s already been down once, and he falls again here, and he’s shaking his head and all sorts. Nairo Quintana is with him there, with the riders swinging from left to right as they battle the gradient.

1.34pm BST

Emanuel Buchmann is back in the yellow jersey group but his team, Bora-hansgrohe, say Rafał Majka is in “trouble”. It doesn’t sound good, does it?

1.32pm BST

Sadly @GeraintThomas86 has been forced to abandon #TDF2017 following that crash. More updates when we have them pic.twitter.com/seROAwfnFu

1.29pm BST

A bonkers 15 minutes or so then has left us with a depleted pack, and with Geraint Thomas’s Tour over. Four riders now are left in the lead, 5km from the top of the Grand Colombier.

1.28pm BST

So, now confirmed that Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas’s heavy crash on the Col de la Biche descent has left him in an ambulance with possible collarbone damage and he’s out of this race. He was of course the leader for the first five stages of this Tour.

1.25pm BST

As the riders again climb, now’s a good chance to see the damage of that descent. Meanwhile, reports that Geraint Thomas has abandoned with a fractured collarbone after crashing moments ago …

1.21pm BST

Jesus Herrara is still in fact in the race, but battered and bruised, ITV4 say. Not so disastrous for Movistar, after all. Meanwhile, the aerial images show that AG2R have ripped this race to pieces by breaking away in the descent.

1.19pm BST

AG2R remain in the, er, driving seat, after impressing on these descents. They are on the attack and their tactics have left others with work to do.

Les AG2R et Romain Bardet font la descente, légère avance sur le peloton / going hard in the descent, they have a few meters on the pack pic.twitter.com/mBVVZlSqnF

1.16pm BST

Cyril Gautier gets lucky as he flies around a corner. He appears to be pushing all the boundaries on a wet, bad quality road with quite a few damp patches. Romain Bardet has created a nice chunk of breathing space between he and Chris Froome.

1.12pm BST

Geraint Thomas is down, on the same corner as the Astana riders earlier blundered. He’s gone down pretty hard but he’s not the only one and about half a dozen others are down too.

1.11pm BST

Simon has just run off for some lunch, so you have me, Ben Fisher, for a bit. So, the riders are just ripping down a very wet descent. Movistar’s Herrada has abandoned, involved in a crash with two Astana riders. It is not clear if those two riders are still in this race. Six riders at the front continue to have quite the gap …

1.02pm BST

Second over the Col de la Biche was Alexis Vuillermoz, with Pinot third. The leaders are now six and a half minutes ahead of the peloton.

1.00pm BST

It’s expected to take about 40 minutes for the race to reach the top of the next big clumb, the 1,501m Grand Colombier.

12.59pm BST

That was wildly impressive by Roglic, who made the last 700m of the Col de la Biche look very straightforward indeed. And he’s kept pushing, stretching out the leading group.

12.57pm BST

And Roglic wins the climb, by a very emphatic margin. That’s 20 points for the Slovenian.

12.56pm BST

And whoosh! He’s overtaken again! Primoz Roglic is leading the way now, with Thibaut Pinot not far behind.

12.55pm BST

Whoosh! Pierre Rolland of Connondale-Drapac is going for the top of the hill!

12.51pm BST

Richie Porte’s prediction that today “will blow the GC apart” seems, with 115km grisly kilometres to go, to be coming to pass. There are 33 riders in the leading group now, and if the stage ended now the top three in the GC would all be among them.

12.47pm BST

Jakob Fuglsang has just had a puncture, and been handed a wheel by one of the Astana domestiques, who is now being sorted out by the team car.

12.46pm BST

If you’ve got a spare moment, you may consider signing up for our weekly roundup of the finest sportswriting in the known universe.

Related: The Recap: sign up for the best of the Guardian’s sport coverage

12.45pm BST

It is raining on our cyclists.

12.44pm BST

The lead is now approaching five minutes, and still it grows. Sky remain at the front of the peloton, doing their best.

12.33pm BST

Laurens ten Dam is leading the breakaway bunch up the hill, hitting it hard, with a couple of AG2R riders on his shoulder.

12.29pm BST

The breakaway continues to break away. Their lead is now four minutes, and rising.

12.24pm BST

It’s been six years since there were three HC climbs on the same day of the Tour.

12.23pm BST

I’m tired just reading about the Col de la Biche, and it’s not even the hardest climb of the day.

The Col de la Biche begins with a selective 15% section to the first hairpin and then 10% for most of the way up, all on a rough road

12.17pm BST

Today’s weather forecast, as if anyone needed this stage to get any harder:

Pour l’instant, il fait sec… / The road is dry, for now? #TDF2017 pic.twitter.com/CHGVY972xU

12.15pm BST

The leaders are soon to head up the Col de la Biche. A biche, fact fans, is a doe.

12.12pm BST

Here’s some more reading for you:

Related: Tour de France diary: How roundabout spill paid off for a British photographer

12.11pm BST

Hay-bale arrangement of the day:

Scary hay bale lady on the side of the road. Welsh fans not too perturbed.
8/10 for effort
2/10 for making the kids have nightmares #TDF2017 pic.twitter.com/jTEfZulleh

12.09pm BST

Carlos Betancur is now far enough ahead of Chris Froome, and indeed the other 26 riders who started the day ahead of him, to wear the yellow jersey if the stage ended now.

11.57am BST

The leaders have just reached the top of the third climb of the day, up the Côte de Franclens. Pinot was third over this line, with Thomas de Gendt pipping him, and Bakhtyar Kozhatayev second.

11.54am BST

If you see someone on a suspiciously smart bike:

Van broken into in Cardiff last night, spare bikes +Bolide TT bike robbed with several sets of 404’s. Please share see if they can be found pic.twitter.com/o1eNxdTVU2

11.53am BST

The leaders have just cycled over the Génissat Dam, a big hydroelectric thing.

11.53am BST

One big climb they’re not attempting today is Mont Ventoux. William Fotheringham thinks that they should be.

Related: Tour has missed a chance to honour Tom Simpson by not going up Mont Ventoux | William Fotheringham

11.49am BST

Meanwhile at the very back, three FDJ riders: Arnaud Demare, Ignatas Konovalovas and Mickaël Delage. Demare only just finished yesterday’s tage before declaring: “I do not feel sick, I’m just terrible. Today I was very bad. Again thanks to my two guardian angels, the way they rode, it was not work, it was love. Hat off to them. Tomorrow we’ll see.” He has his guardian angels with him again today, but clearly he’s struggling. They are 5min 35sec behind the peloton, and eight minutes off the cyclists out in front.

11.47am BST

Stake Laengen has also gone down, apparently.

11.44am BST

Team Sky are all together at the front of the peloton, putting in some hard work.

11.43am BST

Thomas Voeckler, meanwhile, is trying to catch up with the leading group. Vegard Stake Laengen of UAE Team Emirates has gone with him.

11.42am BST

Lotto-Soudal’s Tim Wellens has attacked coming down the hill, and a few other riders have gone with him.

An early attacker won the stage both times the #TDF tackled the Col du Grand Colombier: Voeckler (2012) & Pantano (2016).#TDF2017 #TDFdata pic.twitter.com/ZYwLWyu4x7

11.41am BST

Eduardo Sepulveda didn’t go down carefully enough, and has come off his bike. He’s back on his feet, but examining the damage to his right buttock.

11.39am BST

It doesn’t look like it’s currently raining, but the roads have certainly been recently refreshed. The leaders are coming down the Col de Cuvery currently, and being careful about it.

In this wet weather, going down could prove just as important as going up today – especially off the back of Mont du Chat. #TDF2017 pic.twitter.com/DkgJXyTWUK

11.38am BST

The front group is now two minutes ahead of the peloton. Carlos Metancur of Mivostar, the highest-ranked of the 38, is still 1min 17sec away from being in a yellow-jersey-stealing position.

With a big old group of 38 riders up the road we have @LukeRowe1990 @ChristianKnees and Kiry sharing the first shift on the front #TDF2017 pic.twitter.com/APfwL13J1M

11.34am BST

Pinot was indeed first up the cole de Bérentin, claiming two more points in the process.

11.32am BST

So, who are these 38? I hear you ask. Well …

Jan Bakelants, Axel Domont and Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R-La Mondiale), Jesus Herrada and Carlos Betancur (Movistar), Bauke Mollema and Jarlinson Pantano (Trek-Segafredo), Alessandro De Marchi and Amaël Moinard (BMC), Bakhtiar Kozhatayev and Alexey Lutsenko (Astana), Kristjian Durasek and Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), Michael Albasini (Orica-Scott), Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step Floors), Pawel Poljanski (Bora-Hansgrohe), Robert Kiserlovski and Tiago Machado (Katusha-Alpecin), Thomas De Gendt, Tony Gallopin and Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal), Michael Matthews, Nikias Arndt, Warren Barguil, Simon Geschke and Laurens ten Dam (Sunweb), Nicolas Edet and Dani Navarro (Cofidis), Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo), Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie), Pierre Rolland and Dylan Van Baarle (Cannondale-Drapac), Javier Moreno (Bahrain-Merida), Brice Feillu, Pierre-Luc Périchon and Eduardo Sepulveda (Fortuneo-Oscaro)

11.30am BST

They’ve finally properly counted the breakaway group, and there are 38 of them.

11.28am BST

Today brings us one category two climb, two category threes, a category four and three hors-catégorie climbs, plus an intermediate sprint. Col de la Biche, a 10.5km, 9% slog, is one of the literally high lights, though the Tour will conquer two peaks higher – Grand Colombier (8.5km, 9.9%) and Mont du Chat (8.7km, 10.3%).

11.24am BST

It’s an action-packed stage today – “a grandissima stage”, as Alberto Contador called it this morning – and they’re already on the second climb of the day. Thibaut Pinot was first over the first, just 3.5km into the day, and he clearly wants maximum points from the second as well.

11.22am BST

Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s Robert Gesink, who came second in yesterday’s stage 8, was also involved in the Mori crash, and has also abandoned.

11.20am BST

TV viewers are treated to lingering shots of Manuele Mori, the Italian UAE Team Emirates rider, in absolute agony on a stretch of tarmac. He has abandoned.

11.17am BST

Hello world!

Well, they’re already 10km into the race, and there’s a 40-man breakaway with a minute’s lead at its head! There could be 60 people in it. It’s a big ‘un. And there are no Team Sky people on board.

5.48pm BST

Simon will be here soon. In the meantime here’s what stage nine looks like:

There are only six hors-catégorie climbs in the Tour – so hard they are unclassifiable – and half of them are in this stage. That makes it critical for the polka-dot climber’s jersey. Mountain men will make the break, and a selection of the riders who will win the Tour should emerge on the final climb, Mont du Chat: Froome, Porte, Simon Yates, Fabio Aru, Nairo Quintana and so on.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/jul/09/tour-de-france-2017-stage-nine-live

Jul 06

Tour de France 2017: Marcel Kittel wins stage six – as it happened

Marcel Kittel won his second stage of the 2017 Tour de France in a mass sprint into Troyes, while Chris Froome kept hold of the yellow jersey

5.35pm BST

Related: Kittel pips Démare in stage six sprint finish as Froome retains Tour lead

4.59pm BST

That’s all from me for today. It’s been

wicked
wicker. Bye!

4.57pm BST

Tomorrow’s stage seven, then, looks quite a lot like today’s:

4.50pm BST

Apologies for the hideous technical issues, which prevented any updates from going live for the crucial part of the stage. Anyway, it’s live now, so you can belatedly revel in the drama.

4.47pm BST

Chris Froome keeps hold of the yellow jersey, with the GC leadership unchanged.

Pas de changement au classement général / No change for the GC #TDF2017 pic.twitter.com/X2CMiKU4XA

4.46pm BST

Andre Greipel, who came third today, says this of the sprint finish:

We are not playing in thre sand here, we are going for stage victories so we have to fight for it, with respect for each other. It looked quite safe. Without touching any spectators I didn’t touch a rider.

4.43pm BST

Kittel speaks:

First of all I want to say I’m very proud of my team. They did a great job. We could really bring ourselves to the front in the key moment, and that was really important. I had to go at 250m to the front and it went perfect, I could start from a great position. I feel good at the moment. For sure I have the grene jersey in my focus, but for now what is important is that you get those victories.

4.41pm BST

Arnaud Demare stormed down the inside in the final sprint, squeezing through tiny gaps between rival cyclists and the railings. There may be some grumbling about that in due course.

4.39pm BST

Today’s top 10 in full:

Le top 10 de l’étape / Stage 10 classification #TDF2017 pic.twitter.com/geZkbbIZW8

4.34pm BST

In the final 50m Kittel eased out to the left of his rivals and just burst past them. Pure power, and nobody could match him.

4.33pm BST

Kittel grabs his second stage win of the year, and his 11th overall, coming through in the final metres to secure a clear victory.

4.31pm BST

He’s gobbled up with 150m to go …

4.31pm BST

Boasson Hagen goes for it, with 500m to go!

4.30pm BST

Edvald Boasson Hagen and his Dimension Data team appear poised, but this sprint is going to be manic.

4.29pm BST

They led for almost exactly 213km, but no more.

4.28pm BST

The front three now enjoy a lead of five seconds. It’s over.

4.27pm BST

It’s been a bit of a procession so far, but everything now is just perfectly poised.

Les trains sont en place ! / Teams are ready for the bunch sprint! #TDF2017 pic.twitter.com/uIgvitwbCE

4.26pm BST

News: “The Court of Arbitration of Sport issued a decision rejecting an urgent request for provisional measures filed by the Slovak cyclist Peter Sagan and the Denk Pro Cycling Team. Accordingly, Peter Sagan remains disqualified from the 2017 Tour de France.”

4.24pm BST

The helicopter camera shows us the front three, then pans back. The peloton is not far behind them, though their lead remains 25sec.

4.22pm BST

Here’s a news story on the Sagan/Caf business:

Related: Peter Sagan asks Cas to suspend his Tour de France disqualification

4.21pm BST

Into Villechétif, which means there are just 10km to go. The leading threesome lead by 25sec.

4.20pm BST

Here’s today’s final kilometre in full:

Un dernier kilomètre d’abord tortueux avant une bonne ligne droite et un enchaînement gauche droite à 300m de la ligne. #TDF2017 pic.twitter.com/X3iMOdYcln

4.18pm BST

The front three lead by just 30sec now, and the advantage is shrinking very rapidly.

4.16pm BST

It is entirely and utterly flat, as far as the eye can see.

4.16pm BST

The lead is down to 45sec for Quemeneur/Laengen/Backaert, with 14km to go.

4.13pm BST

There’s a guy cycling one-handed across a tightrope by the side of the road, waving with the other to the cameras on the passing helicopters. There are a few lunatic cyclists to be seen on this Tour, but that one takes the galette.

4.09pm BST

The peloton has just reached Rouilly-Sacey, which can only mean that there are precisely 20km to go.

4.04pm BST

Next up for the leaders is the town of Géraudot. They’ve pulled out all the stops in Géraudot: a giant screen, a BMX demonstration, a jazz orchestra, and an exhibition of sculptures all await, as well as “vélos rigolos”. Hilarious bicycles?

4.01pm BST

The Forêt d’Orient, helicopter footage confirms, looks absolutely amazing. It like a giant forest, with some big lakes in!

3.57pm BST

Quemeneur/Laengen/Backaert, having led from the very start, now have 1min 31sec to play with.

3.53pm BST

“There’s only one church in Colombey-les-deux-Églises, so your desire to build another one would probably go down well,” writes Matthew Trim. “The other building was a priory.” I now like the place even more. It was named with ambition. If someone built a second church there, they should rename it Colombey-les-deux-Eglises-et-un-adventure-playground. Shoot for the stars.

3.50pm BST

Into the final 40km we roll, and that can only mean that the peloton will soon reach the Forêt d’Orient. Apparently this is “a mysterious land where water, forests and earth come together”. There are three lakes, and “more than 70 smaller ponds form a series of veritable aquatic gardens”.

3.44pm BST

Weatherwatch: there are violent downpours ahead, and the Tour is cycling right towards them. The first drops have apparently fallen upon Troyes.

3.43pm BST

The next town on the map is Vendreuvre-sur-Barse. The river Barse, pleasingly named for childish Englishmen, flows for 50 miles from Vendreuvre into the Seine. Its source lies directly under the Château de Vendeuvre-sur-Barse, to it is not just near-Barse but very literally sur-Barse.

3.34pm BST

There is now less than 50km to go. They should soon reach Magny-Fouchard, a place about which I can find no interesting information whatsoever.

3.29pm BST

Laurent Pichon has given up trying to catch the front three. He never got within a minute of them. “Just to say that the cross on de Gaulle’s grave was recently knocked down in the night, which added to the excitement in the recent French election, though it turned out that alcohol rather than politics was the main factor,” writes Graham Whittington.

3.24pm BST

“Not too sure why they need the gendarme,” writes Jonathan Wood, on the subject of De Gaulle’s grave. “Very unlikely le Général is going to try to make a break for it now, I’d have thought.”

3.23pm BST

Some inside knowledge here from William Fotheringham:

For anyone who’s wondering, the finish today is “interesting”: big roundabout + r/hander at 1km, long bendy chicane in final 300m

3.20pm BST

@Simon_Burnton If Sagan does come back I think Cav should ceremonially shove him into the barriers to start the stage (pace Bishop Brennan)

I think he should be allocated his own personal motorcyclist, who will ride alongside him carrying a large fake elbow attached to the end of a broomstick, with which he will at some point poke Sagan aggressively. There will only be one poke, but Sagan must ride the remainder of the Tour not knowing when it will come, perpetually in the figurative shadow of the elbow.

3.16pm BST

Climbing latest: Perrig Quemeneur took the point for reaching the top of the cote de la colline Sainte-Germaine.

3.16pm BST

Pichon is now a minute behind the front three, and a minute ahead of the peloton. His motivation remains unclear.

3.15pm BST

The Bahrain-Merida team director, Philippe Mauduit, has said that the conclusion “will be a man’s sprint, a sprint for warriors”. Gird your loins.

3.12pm BST

@Simon_Burnton if Sagan is reinstated, should he have to ‘catch up’ by cycling the stages he’s missed?

Either that or his muscles will have to be artificially fatigued to ensure fairness. I would suggest that he should dance, solo, to the Birdie Song, and that he should do so continuously, 12 hours a day, for two days, obviously with live coverage on the red button.

3.10pm BST

Laurent Pichon of Fortuneo-Oscaro has suddenly burst clear of the peloton. It is not clear why he has done this.

3.06pm BST

The front three are now on their way up the Côte de la colline Sainte-Germaine, the day’s second category climb.

3.05pm BST

On ITV4, the commentators are displaying a shameful lack of knowledge about the cépage of Champagne. For the record, pinot noir, pinot meunier and chardonnay are the three classic Champagne grapes, and pinot gris, pinot blanc, petit meslier and arbane are also allowed.

3.00pm BST

“I should really be working,” writes Neil Hanratty (a while ago, but for some reason after labouring with a demoralisingly quiet inbox for a while I’ve just had a big email-dump), “but I’d just like to ask about the two churches in Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises and Charles de Gaulle. Which church did he get buried in, and does this cause some angst in the town?” According to the local tourist board, “General de Gaulle was buried in the cemetery in Colombey-les-deux-Églises”. That’s cemetary, singular. So presumably one church is graveless. “The grave is guarded throughout the day by a student gendarme,” they add.

2.51pm BST

By the time he had finished sprinting, Demare was only 1min 5sec behind the breakaway threesome.

2.50pm BST

@Simon_Burnton Reinstatement eh? Why not. Do they do that in cricket? Batsman judged not out by tribunal, returns to crease following day

It seems puzzling, sportingly. The road to having CAS juries poised pitchside to deal with questionable penalty decisions starts here.

2.50pm BST

Another contender for Tour pic of the day.

2.47pm BST

Arnaud Demare is next over the line, Bahrain-Merida having done a bit of work to let Sonny Colbrelli beat him to it, but he then squandered a 20m lead with 30m to go.

2.46pm BST

Frederik Backaert crosses the line first, with Laengen second and Quemeneur third. In the peloton, meanwhile, a proper sprint has begun.

2.45pm BST

Frederik Backaert has gone for it!

2.44pm BST

They still aren’t sprinting.

2.43pm BST

The front three, their lead currently 2min 22sec, are precisely 1km from the end of the sprint.

2.40pm BST

A press release from Bora-Hansgrohe:

ANNOUNCMENT: #BORAhansgrohe lodged an appeal with the CAS. #TDF2017https://t.co/6rYxOeWyqD

2.36pm BST

The sprint is about to be sprinted. These are exciting times. The leading three will be the first three across the line, but there are plenty more points to be played with.

2.35pm BST

The parasol in action:

Parasol in the peloton! #TDF2017pic.twitter.com/1BnJFpGcBJ

2.31pm BST

A giant parasol has just blown into the peloton, miraculously not taking anyone out – nobody was going very quickly at the time, thankfully – but forcing several riders into evasive action.

2.23pm BST

A good yarn about a previous visit to Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises:

In 1960 the Tour de France went through a small French village, and stopped to listen to a speech. See why at 2:40. https://t.co/DMjrs94jtq

2.18pm BST

Excellent hay-bale-arranging here:

Rating out of 10? #TDF2017 pic.twitter.com/UL5dvYANty

2.11pm BST

The leaders are precisely 24km from Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises, according to the sign they just cycled past.

2.09pm BST

The next place the Tour passes through is Jonchery, famous for being precisely 100km from the stage’s conclusion.

2.07pm BST

The riders have gone through Chaumont, famous (in poster and graphics circles) for the International Poster and Graphics Festival.

1.49pm BST

The leaders will cross the line of the sprint in Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises in 45 minutes. It looks increasingly like the breakaway trio will be broken by then: their lead is currently 2min 27sec.

1.41pm BST

The gap is shrinking slowly: it now sits at 2min 50sec.

1.38pm BST

Notable Twitter exchange of the day (possibly):

Mark, get well soon! I prefer a finish like the one in the first photo but whatever the outcome, I look forward to racing against you! pic.twitter.com/JFSW4HqYnF

Class… Proud to know you, Peter. See you soon mate. https://t.co/X3mrLysrLT

1.32pm BST

Though this is probably the day’s finest picture. Again, there’s a long way to go. Photographers, consider the bar set:

1.30pm BST

Still the highlight of the day so far.

1.26pm BST

The tour will soon reach Neuilly-sur-Suize, where the roads have been placed under guard to prevent slogan-painting. Villiers-sur-Suize has just been passed. Fact: the Suize is a tributary of the Marne river.

1.14pm BST

The next town to be rolled through will be Beauchemin, where there are apparently some nice roads.

1.13pm BST

Perrig Quemeneur was the first over the hill. The front three currently have a lead of around 3min 10sec.

1.10pm BST

The front three complete the climb in very low-key style. They just don’t appear to be particularly bothered.

1.02pm BST

The first of the day’s two category-four climbs, to the Côte de Langres, will shortly be broached. So, points. Not many, but still.

12.53pm BST

Apparently Bora-Hansgrohe have employed lawyers to dispute the disqualification of Peter Sagan with the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Sagan is at home in Monaco but is “on standby”, ready to return to the tour should the decision go their way. Which seems spectaculary unlikely, particularly as CAS are yet to reply to their initial complaint. The story has been confirmed by the team’s press officer, Ralph Scherzer.

12.38pm BST

Look at this wicker Eiffel Tower. Magnifique. There can be no other word.

A towering performance from our three escapees, who aren’t whining about the heat today & are pylon on pressure #TDF2017 #TakeTwo pic.twitter.com/EgULvF52sV

12.37pm BST

The leading trio are currently 4min 13sec ahead.

@Simon_Burnton Fun Factoid: according to Google “Que meneur” translates as “Leader” No such luck yet with Laengen or Backaert

12.30pm BST

The peloton has just passed some absolutely magnificent wickerwork. Those people from Fayl-Billot were not kidding.

12.30pm BST

My coin is on @Lotto_Soudal and their resident Gorilla today. #TDF2017 – he’s due a win at this stage. @Simon_Burnton

André Greipel, the Gorilla himself, has had two third-place finishes and certainly should be in contention.

12.26pm BST

Coming up shortly: Fayl-Billot, the self-proclaimed “capital of wicker production & basket making”. “The region’s soil is ideal for growing willow with the robustness and elasticity required for wickerwork,” apparently. England’s cricketers could do with some more robust willow, from the looks of things, but I suppoose that’s another story.

12.14pm BST

@Simon_Burnton i am less optimistic of Thrilling Heroics occuring in an FdJ uniform, especially after Pinot’s remarks yesterday. Triste.

Though Thierry Bricaud, the FDJ team director, has said today that “obviously the goals is to win a second” stage, after Arnaud Démare’s success on stage four. So further heroics are certainly the aim, though of course today might not be the day.

12.07pm BST

If you’re at a loose end, you could always watch brief highlights of yesterday’s actionn:

12.06pm BST

Team Sky are settled towards the front of the peloton, Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome chatting to each other quietly as if sharing a genial pint. The scenery so far has been of flat fields and bales of hay. They seem to make a lot of hay here.

11.57am BST

The breakaway has held a steady lead of around 3min 50sec for a while now, the peloton just keeping them vaguely in touch, with an absolute aeon still to go today.

11.45am BST

They have only been racing for 17 minutes, and the three-man breakaway has already opened up a four-minute lead.

11.43am BST

Nobody comes out of this looking good:

So, @LeTour , we promised, we did it! Enjoy! #TDF2017 pic.twitter.com/KnJ5vcTVW6

11.41am BST

Fact-based update: the next landmark on the route is La Neuvelly-les-Scey, a tiny speck on the map which in the 1830s and 1840s swelled to a population of around 420, but which has had under 200 inhabitants for the last century.

11.36am BST

They have rapidly opened up a gap of two minutes, and are still outpacing the peloton by a considerable margin.

11.31am BST

Perrig Quemeneur, Vegard Laengen and Frederick Backaert are the breakaway trio. When not cycling, Backaert is a dairy farmer: his family runs 95 acres and has 90 cows.

11.28am BST

The flag has just dropped, and the racing has just begun. And the first breakaway has broken away.

2.20am BST

Hello world!

So, then, stage six. Let’s get the important stuff out of the way first. So it’ll look like this:

Unless there is a strong side wind, this will be another bunch sprint after another day of “French flat”, but with a difference; a pattern will be emerging in the overall battle and whichever team is best placed will play a role in controlling the stage.

Stage 6: Vesoul > Troyes

216km
Start: 12:25pm
TV Coverage: 12:00pm
3️⃣ Third chance for the sprinters in Troyes! #TDF2017 pic.twitter.com/yeSTAMNemf

Nouveau Classement Général / New General Ranking #TDF2017 pic.twitter.com/c5zbwqLR8S

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/jul/06/tour-de-france-2017-stage-six-live-chris-froome

Jul 02

Tour de France 2017: Marcel Kittel wins stage two, Thomas stays in yellow – as it happened

  • Marcel Kittel wins mass sprint to the finish
  • Geraint Thomas stays in yellow; Chris Froome involved in crash but unharmed
  • Full report on stage two

4.31pm BST

And with that, I’m gone. It’s been a blast. I’ll be back for more tomorrow – see you then I hope. I leave you with some words from Geraint Thomas …

Yeah, it was great. It was just a really special feeling today. Start of the stage the weather wasn’t great, but the morale from having the jersey made that a lot easier. We were all in a decent position and a couple of guys came past a bit quick and they crashed, and when it’s like that you’ve got nowhere to go. A few of us came down. We were all up pretty quickly but we’re all physically fine I think. I’ll take every day in yellow as a bonus. Tomorrow’s another day. Like you saw today with the crash anything can happen, so I’ll take nothing for granted. We’ll keep doing our job for Froomey and hopefully that’ll keep me in yellow as well.

Et voici le premier porteur du #MaillotaPoisCarrefour @taylorphinney #TDF2017 ❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/hXPCJZCVN8

4.30pm BST

Chris Froome has now spoken to reporters, and he’s OK:

No injuries, thankfully. I just lost a little bit of skin on my backside. But that’s the nature of the race. We knew, it’s slippery conditions like that. Today there was just a touch of wheels or someone slid just a few wheels ahead of me, and at those speeds you can’t avoid it. Luckily everyone’s OK and we got to the finish without losing any time on our rivals.

Looking good G! #TDF2017 pic.twitter.com/4xguqsMtZA

4.28pm BST

Here’s a news story on Kittel’s victory:

Related: Marcel Kittel wins Tour de France stage two as Thomas stays in yellow

4.21pm BST

Geraint Thomas remains in yellow for another day, but Kittel’s 10-second bonus for winning the stage means he is now just six seconds behind.

4.19pm BST

Fourth place is pretty good going for a guy recovering from glandular fever.

Cav fourth there, not bad given where he’s coming from

Related: Mark Cavendish admits he may not win a single Tour de France stage

4.19pm BST

Marcel Kittel speaks:

I don’t know what to say. I’m super happy that I got this victory today. It was an incredible start in Germany. So many people. And for me, it would be wrong to say I had no pressure, it all comes out now and I really wanted to have this win. It was for me a big goal for me to start in Germany and win at the end of that stage. If we’re honest and look to the plan, it didn’t work at all. The good thing was I came pretty late, I could jump from the wheels. I just thought, OK, I need to take my own way, and I was just jumping from wheel to wheel and in the end I could go to the front, and I am super relieved.

4.15pm BST

The last 45 minutes or so of that stage, from the big crash onwards, veered from the fascinating to the exhilarating.

.@marcelkittel: “I dont know what to say….It was an incredible start in Germany with so many people” #TDF2017 pic.twitter.com/UdWnYTm1mW

4.11pm BST

The top five:

4.08pm BST

Arnaud Démare came second. Full results to follow imminently.

4.07pm BST

And Kittel is off his bike, and in tears!

4.07pm BST

60 seconds of massive drama ends with the German Marcel Kittel with arms outstretched, celebrating.

4.06pm BST

Into the final half-kilometre they go. Cavendish is there, Greipel is there …

4.05pm BST

The Phinney/Offredo dream is nearly over, and we’re going to get the mass sprint that we had anticipated. They are caught, with 1.1km to go.

4.04pm BST

Jack Bauer had the lead of the peloton for about 90sec, in which time they massively munched into the lead of the front two. With 2km they’re now just 10sec behind.

4.03pm BST

3km to go, and the front two are seeing their lead shrink fast now. It’s down to 20sec!

4.02pm BST

4km to go. The lead is 31sec, and the peloton is running out of road.

4.01pm BST

Lotto’s Adam Hansen is at the front of the peloton. Another 2km have gone and the lead is now 32sec, with 5km to go.

3.58pm BST

The peloton has finally got their act in some kind of order, and are chasing hard. The lead is down to 37sec, with 7.2km to go.

3.57pm BST

Yoann Offredo has had his own dramas: here’s a Cycling Weekly story about an incident in April when he was hit and headbutted by a man with a baseball bat during a training ride.

3.56pm BST

10km to go now, and the lead remains intact at 50sec. Phinney’s recovery is remarkable, and there’s a possibility that a truly romantic chapter will be written today.

Taylor Phinney, 38 months ago (May 2014) #TDF2017 pic.twitter.com/qLmRAejrEV

3.51pm BST

Thomas Boudat, one of the breakaway four, has now been caught. Phinney and Offredo are now the only survivors, with a lead of 50sec with 13.3km to go.

3.50pm BST

This photograph sums up the stage so far. It looks, though, like it might conclude in dryish conditions.

3.47pm BST

Yoann Offredo has joined Phinney at the front. It appears to have stopped raining now, but the roads are heavily puddled.

3.44pm BST

Phinney wins a sprint against Laurent Pichon for the top of the climb, secures the polka dot jersey, and then speeds up and heads off all alone at the front.

3.43pm BST

The front four are now just 27 seconds away from the peloton, but are on their way up the Côte d’Olne and Taylor Phinney is seeing polka dots now.

3.42pm BST

Michal Kwiatkowski waited for Froome and is now helping him back to the peloton again. Froome has several rips and tears in his shorts, but otherwise seems fine.

3.40pm BST

Froome has changed his bike, and is back in action.

3.40pm BST

Froome is back in the peloton but has his arm raised, calling for assistance. He seems to be pedalling fluently, so presumably it’s a bike problem.

3.38pm BST

Everybody has got up, saddled up and are back in the race, but that does not mean there will be no long-term repercussions from this crash – we’ll see at the end of the stage, I expect.

3.36pm BST

Here’s some video footage:

Just stage two of the #TDF2017 and already the usual carnage. pic.twitter.com/MBV35aYI8I

3.35pm BST

Romain Bardet and his AG2R La Mondiale team have joined with Team Sky, and they are working together to catch up with the leaders now.

There’s been a huge crash in the wet with 30km to go. Lots of @TeamSky riders went down. @chrisfroome is back up and racing #TDF2017

3.33pm BST

At least 30 cyclists came off their bikes.

⚠️ Énorme chute à l’avant du peloton, beaucoup de coureurs ont chuté, dont Chris Froome… #TDF2017 pic.twitter.com/r0xAkTlVnf

3.33pm BST

Obviously ITV were on an ad break at the time.

Grosse chute à l’avant, Bardet et Froome touchés / Heavy crash at the front, Bardet and Froome involved #TDF2017 pic.twitter.com/eNJyBUCvAq

3.32pm BST

Crash! There has been a significant crash at the head of the peloton, with Chris Froome among those affected!

3.21pm BST

The peloton is passing through Henri-Chapelle, which places them 39.5km from the finish. The front four are precisely one minute ahead now, with the second mini-climb of the stage still 20km away.

3.16pm BST

A few riders are struggling to keep up with the peloton at the moment – and Thibaut Pinot and Tony Gallopin are both among them.

3.14pm BST

Still monitoring the incoming photographs, where this one caught the eye. Is the caption – which appears exactly as EPA sent it – some kind of parody? Is some kind of football/cycling cross being attempted? Pedalball?

3.05pm BST

There are just 50km to go. Here’s a nearly-live picture demonstrating the absolute filth that Belgians are forced to call summer.

#TDF2017
50 km to go! The four-men breakaway has a lead of 2’24” on the bunch. pic.twitter.com/t6vWyWGaZt

3.00pm BST

“I’m out of the loop here – where’s Phil and Paul coverage of the Tour?” wonders Colleen. “Watching is so uninspiring without them.” Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen have been demoted by the Australian broadcasters SBS, where this year they will be restricted to “guest appearances”, but can be found on NBC in America. “Paul and I are absolutely devastated that we’re no longer doing the blow-by-blow commentary for SBS,” Liggett told AAP t’other day.

2.55pm BST

The leaders are in Aachen, and have safely negotiated a short but slippery and potentially nasty cobbled section.

2.53pm BST

The front four are not for catching, or at least not yet – their lead is back up, to 2min 25sec. Until the final sprint, this is all about whether Phinney ends the day on a stage in the polka dot jersey, or if some mean unromantic hound overtakes him before the Côte d’Olne, now 35km away.

2.45pm BST

It is raining again. Encouragingly, the Belgian border is about 5km distant – perhaps it’ll be different there?

2.32pm BST

The breakaway foursome now enjoy a lead of less than two minutes. 1min 37sec, to be precise, and shrinking fast.

2.32pm BST

In Liège, journalists, trailers, coaches and apparently parents are gathering, ready for the stage’s conclusion.

Just ran into @petosagan‘s dad. Lovely guy. #TdF2017 pic.twitter.com/8kR0CxjUs3

2.22pm BST

It seems a little mean for the Tour to pass so close to Holland without even popping in. The riders could practically toss a used water bottle into the Netherlands as they cross the border between Germany and Belgium just after Aachen, which is a little under 20km away from where the leaders are now.

2.14pm BST

The character in this sketch should rest assured that there is one town in Germany where his hotel-nomenclature dreams could certainly come true.

@Simon_Burnton Still sniggering… https://t.co/02nvBxjYvb

2.09pm BST

The riders have just picked up some refreshments, leading to comic scenes of fans scurrying and scuffling to claim the empty bottles and assorted debris they throw off the side of the road.

2.02pm BST

On the plus side, it’s no longer raining and the roads they are currently riding on are bone dry.

1.59pm BST

The peloton has now passed through the German town of Titz. Stop sniggering at the back.

1.50pm BST

There is precisely 100km to go. The front four’s lead remains strong – 2min 43sec at last count – but it may now be time to start reeling them in.

1.42pm BST

Impressive crowds here. Is this Mönchengladbach? Wherever it is, they like cycling.

#TDF2017 pic.twitter.com/PldVVjAgQ8

1.35pm BST

Full results of that intermediate sprint in Mönchengladbach:

1.23pm BST

And Boudat takes the 20 points for crossing the line first, with Phinney’s back wheel sliding on the wet road at precisely the worst possible moment, leading to him coming second. The weather looks thoroughly foul now.

1.21pm BST

We have a sprint coming up in a minute or two, as the leaders enter Mönchengladbach.

1.19pm BST

The rain is now heavier, and the leading group’s lead is leadier: 2min 47sec at last count.

1.05pm BST

The weather isn’t helping anyone today: the riders are pedalling into a brisk headwind, in light rain.

1.01pm BST

Photographs of today’s action are now starting to stream into Guardian HQ. Here are a couple of highlights:

12.55pm BST

The front four’s lead is shrinking now – down to under 2min 30s at last count.

12.48pm BST

I like the sound of that jar. I could do with one myself, really.

@Simon_Burnton Great to see Phinney up in front: class guy. Pinot will spend day putting pennies in his Thrilling Heroics jar to spend soon.

12.48pm BST

Earlier today Luke Durbridge posted a fan’s video of the crash that has now ended his tour:

https://t.co/dVCiBQC1ai via @youtube my slide #TDF2017

12.42pm BST

The leading four have a 3min 13sec advantage over the chasing pack, with a shade under 150km to go.

12.32pm BST

One person who is no longer involved in this year’s Tour is Luke Durbridge, the Australian Orica-Scott rider, who started today’s stage despite a bad crash yesterday but has now withdrawn.

#TDF2017: After an incredibly brave attempt, Durbridge has been forced to withdraw from his injuries suffered yesterday. Heal up Durbo! pic.twitter.com/lgTGQ8xgJy

12.31pm BST

Here’s the leg in question. This is his first Tour, and it’s remarkable that he’s here at all:

FrankenLeg™ found himself a fresh new set of shoes. Y’all start talking to me about sock length rules and I’ma just smh at you. #Giro #EmpireSLX

12.28pm BST

The New York Times published an article about America’s three Tour de France riders yesterday that includes a jaw-dropping picture of the scar on Taylor Phinney’s left leg, legacy of a horrific crash in 2014 that left his leg broken in several places. A doctor told him that he would probably never run again; he was on crutches for nine months. It’s worth a look – find it here.

12.18pm BST

The four riders in the breakaway group are Taylor Phinney, the American Cannondale-Drapac rider who won that point for the Tour’s first climb, Thomas Boudat, Yoann Offredo and Laurent Pichon.

12.16pm BST

This news came over from Reuters this morning, regarding Team Sky’s jerseys and the strange little bubbly bits on the arms:

Tour de France chiefs said on Sunday there was nothing untoward on the Team Sky jerseys after rival teams complained that they had been designed to illegally boost aerodynamics.

The British team put four riders in the top eight of Saturday*s opening time trial, with Geraint Thomas taking the race leader’s yellow jersey.

12.12pm BST

So they’ve been racing for approximately 42 minutes, and there are another 170km to go.

10.22am BST

Hello world!

And so, after yesterday’s time trial, comes a first proper race stage, a 126.5-mile flat-ish sweep from North Rhine-Westphalia to Wallonia that looks a bit like this:

After a slog south-west through Germany, this skirts the Ardennes rather than using any of those spectacular, steep hills, so it should end in a bunch sprint on the long Boulevard de la Sauvenière. A first chance for André Greipel, Marcel Kittel and company to rub shoulders with Mark Cavendish.

The publicity caravan, which will process from the Burgplatz along the stage route through the city at 10:00 on Sunday, 2nd July, will mark the start of the 2nd stage of the Grand Départ. The race proper is set to start at 12:03. The eight kilometre-long “neutralisation” (where the riders cycle ahead slowly and are not timed) will start at the Burgplatz and proceed through the Altstadt (Old Town) in the direction of the Medienhafen (Media harbour). At the “Living Bridge” spanning the harbour basin racers will stop, before continuing through Düsseldorf city centre for the official start in the Fischerstraße. Only when they are there at 12:30 will the racers be expected to get up to full speed.

After the first few level kilometres through the state capital they will ride in the direction of the “Galopprennbahn” (race course). From Grafenberg the course will run through Gerresheim and into the town of Erkrath. The 2nd stage of the Tour de France 2017 will then wind through Neandertal up to Mettmann, before the riders cross Ratingen and from there return to Düsseldorf. It will follow the Rhine crossing over the “Theodor-Heuss-Brücke” bridge, before the riders leave the Düsseldorf City area at the 57-kilometre mark at 14:00.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/jul/02/tour-de-france-2017-stage-two-live

Older posts «