Maguire leads hat-trick of awards for United, City bid to stop rot: football news – live | Football

Key events

Predictable tweet of the day comes to you via Mr Predictable, Richard Keys.

Ten Hag. MoM for November? Somebody is having a laugh. W v Fulham 1-0 in added time. W v Luton 1-0. W v Everton 3-0. Two of them bottom 3. Not counting but – lost 0-3 to Newc in LC. L 4-3 to Copenhagen. D 3-3 v Galatasaray. Time was this would get you the sack at Utd. MoM? 😂😂.

— Richard Keys (@richardajkeys) December 8, 2023

Quote of the day comes to you via Roy, after Palace’s lacklustre 2-0 midweek loss.

“I felt like booing myself”, says Roy Hodgson about the Bournemouth defeat. #CPFC

— Dom Smith (@MrDomSmith) December 8, 2023

This season’s Premier League is throwing up some mouthwatering fixtures isn’t it? Aston Villa v Arsenal feels like one for the ages, so too does Tottenham v Newcastle. Everton v Chelsea won’t be a quiet night at the library either.

Maybe it’s my own pre-Christmas hubris, but everything just feels fresh, tense and tough to call right now. What game are you most looking forward to? Email me if you like.

It’s Friday afternoon, it’s quiz time and you can definitely beat my score of 9/15 on this:

Manchester City manager Gareth Taylor is keen to see his side producing more of the same after the “relentless” display when they blew away Tottenham in the WSL.

City followed up their 3-1 win against Manchester United at Old Trafford by hammering Tottenham 7-0.

Asked at a press conference what he says to his players going into Saturday’s home clash with Aston Villa having seen them win like that last time, Taylor said with a smile: “Can we do it again?”

He added: “We’ve been talking for a long time about potentially (getting) that kind of scoreline and being really emphatic.

“Once we got that first goal we were really kind of relentless. Trying to recreate that is the hardest thing … but we also know the only thing that’s stopping us from doing that is us.”

Villa manager Carla Ward said about City: “They’re an unbelievable team, it’s going to be a tough game. They’re a team you don’t want to face off the back of their last two fixtures.”

Pochettino: Cannot blame Chelsea fans for booing

Mauricio Pochettino has come under some serious fire this week following Chelsea’s defeat to United and he’s addressed that in his press conference, including the flak he and his players took from fans after the game at Old Trafford.

On fixing Chelsea: “It’s only a matter of time. Sometimes that is six months, sometimes a year, sometimes only a month. But we know what we’re doing will pay off. Fans react how they feel, we cannot blame them. If we’re not playing well, it’s normal that we’re criticised.”

On Sean Dyche and Everton: “I think his teams are like Sean’s personality. Aggressive and brave, they can also play direct and it will be a massive challenge for us. If you want to perform in the Premier League you need to deal with this.”

A beleaguered Mauricio Pochettino during Chelsea’s defeat to Manchester United. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Marco Silva has revealed that the mercurial Adama Traoré is back in training after a hamstring injury and will be assessed as Fulham prepare to entertain West Ham on Sunday. He’s yet to start a league game since his summer move.

Silva has been impressed with the form of Alex Iwobi, who scored two in Fulham’s 5-0 rout of Nottingham Forest in midweek:

“He is a hard worker. I knew when we signed him, his energy and dynamic will help us.”

Before that, kudos to Sky’s Bianca Westwood for this reponse to a former QPR and Man City player who shall remain nameless.

Mauricio Pochettino and Marco Silva are among the Premier League managers next up on the presser rostrums. We’ll bring you what they’ve said next …

There was some gushing praise for Luke Shaw from the Manchester United manager, too.

He is a player others can build on, he gives belief and confidence to other players, teammates around him feel comfortable, he deals with situations, he will set up, take the initiative, create and strengthen the team. His presence, his personality, the skillset with physicality (is) so strong, technically very good. We are happy he is back on.

Ten Hag: Rashford will return to form

We’ll stick with Manchester United, given that Erik ten Hag is currently speaking to the media at Carrington, with no bans in place for this one. Here’s some snippets from the Dutchman:

On Marcus Rashford’s poor form: “Rashford is an incredible, good player. You can’t do it with 11 players. He can’t play every game. He’s not in this moment in the form he was last year, but I am sure he will get there.”

On a busy fixture schedule: “As manager, my coaches, with the rest of the staff, we always consider (rotating) but the next game is always the most important, especially in the Premier League where everyone is killing everyone.”

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag during a press conference
Erik ten Hag addresses a full complement of journalists at at Manchester United press conference. Photograph: Matthew Peters/Manchester United/Getty Images

Player and manager of the month awards

Thanks Tom.

I’ll start with this. No, there’s no need to adjust your screens, that really is the maligned Harry Maguire and the beleagured Erik ten Hag with the Premier League’s player and manager of the month awards for November. No surprise that Alejandro Garnacho got the goal of the month prize, of course.

If you ignore the fact Manchester United lost badly on 29th October and 2nd December and that they shipped seven goals in two Champions League games in November, they actually had a good month: three games, three wins, three clean sheets.

And that’s my short and sweet stint done. Dominic Booth will now guide you expertly through the afternoon. Bye.

More emails: “When did Match Day 1 or whatever move across the Atlantic and become accepted, if not acceptable, in reference to the ‘Greatest League in the World’ (TM)?” thunders Richard Hurst. “Please can we put it in the (top)bin along with xG. And bah humbug to early Christmas decorations as well, whilst we’re at it.”

I sort of like “top bin”, principally because it doesn’t really make any sense, though I suspect it’s an expression beloved of the sort of people who used to go on about “teckers” back in the Noughties. If in doubt, blame Tim Lovejoy.

Never underestimate the capacity of football clubs to turn the simple pleasures of live fandom into a chore. “Last season I was able to spend some lovely afternoons at Prenton Park with my eldest watching LFC women play,” writes William Preston. “It’s a super way to spend some time and she absolutely loved going. What made it even more special was the players making time to speak to the crowd after the game and being happy to have photos taken, and sign things.

“This season, however, if you aren’t a season ticket holder match day tickets are only available for the Kop (or Cow Shed) ends of the ground (behind thr goals). Being situated there means the great inclusivity and interaction bit is lost, which has really put us off going, because the views aren’t nearly as good as the other stand, especially for a 9 year old. The cost of a season ticket isn’t absurdly high, which is commendable, but the restriction on not being a holder does smart a little bit. In 22-23, LFC women averaged 2,500 spectators a game (if you exclude the derby game, which isn’t at Prenton Park), so there’s plenty capacity there, keeping in mind the current average attendance for the season is 2,000 (derby excluded). It seems a bit of a regressive move, to me, and puts off the more casual fans.”

Want something to listen to while chomping on your lunch? The latest Football Weekly offering will enable you to do just that.

London is to host Fifa’s clumsily named The Best awards ceremony on 15 January, PA Media reports. The awards will recognise the top-performing players and coaches in the men’s and women’s game in 2023, as well as hand out prizes for fair play, the best goal of the year and the Fifa fan award. Fifa has not confirmed the precise venue yet.

The nominees for this year’s men’s player award include England and Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice along with Manchester City’s Julian Alvarez, Kevin De Bruyne, Erling Haaland and Bernardo Silva, plus the former City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan.

City manager Pep Guardiola is one of five nominees for the men’s coach of the year award, along with Tottenham’s Ange Postecoglou. Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson has been nominated for the men’s goalkeeper prize while Manchester United’s Andre Onana, who helped Internazionale to last season’s Champions League final, is also one of the nominees.

In the women’s category, five of the England team that reached the World Cup final in August have been nominated. Goalkeeper Mary Earps is up for the award for her position, while Rachel Daly, Alex Greenwood, Lauren James and Keira Walsh have been nominated for the outfield player prize. The team’s coach, Sarina Wiegman, is nominated for the women’s coach award alongside outgoing Chelsea’s Emma Hayes.

Four members of the World Cup-winning Spain team – Aitana Bonmatí (who you’d imagine is favourite), Jennifer Hermoso and Salma Paralluelo plus goalkeeper Catalina Coll – have been nominated, but the team’s coach Jorge Vilda was blanked in the women’s coach category.

Guardiola: ‘Many nice, exciting and beautiful things are ahead of us’

Just caught a brief snippet of a perky Pep Guardiola, shrugging off recent stumbles: There’s a lot of games to play, many nice, exciting and beautiful things are ahead of us, we have to embrace it.”

“Good afternoon Tom.” Good afternoon Krishna Murthy. “If someone told you that Match Day 16 between Arsenal and Aston Villa would be one between two title contenders, would you have believed it? Nice to see two shrewd managers quietly performing exceptionally on a limited budget. More impressive when 1 Bn + team is hurtling toward relegation.” A reference to Man City’s disciplinary elephant in the room? Or the humdrum struggles of Chelsea?

Thanks Luke, afternoon everyone for the lunchtime bit in the middle. And we zip off to the west Midlands where Unai Emery has been speaking about team of the moment Aston Villa’s big showdown with Arsenal tomorrow. And the Spaniard is stressing the need to focus for a fourth game in 10 days, and after a euphoric but draining win over Manchester City:

“We’ve had to rest,” says Emery. “Of course we have to be happy but we have to be focused – the match on Wednesday has finished, we enjoyed that moment with our supporters at Villa Park but now have to focus on our professional work tomorrow.

Asked about his own development as a coach, Emery replies: “My past four clubs were all different, the experience at Arsenal was very important, I’ve always tried to learn with the players I have and the coaches working with me, trying to get the best professionals around me to help me with their point of view.

“We are adding experiences for our players, experiences in Europe, experiences like four matches in 10 days, it’s practice for them as well.”

That’s all from me – Tom Davies is here to guide you through the next bit.

A brief injury update also came from Klopp, aside from the stuff on Matip, before tomorrow’s meeting with Palace. The goalkeeper Alisson and Alexis Mac Allister, who took knocks to his ankle and knee in the win against Sheffield United on Wednesday, are both doubtful.

“Alisson looks good, but I don’t know if good enough for tomorrow,” Klopp said. “I’ll have to check that with the coaches and the medical department. And with Ali, of course.

“Macca (Mac Allister) doesn’t look good. He’ll have to see day by day. But they were pretty hopeful after the (Sheffield United) game it was not that serious … I don’t expect him to be ready for tomorrow. I don’t know about Thursday or Sunday after that.”

Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan Wilson

A talk-in between the Sunderland club hierarchy and members of the Red and White Army Supporters’ Trust in the newly refurbished Montgomery Suite at the Stadium of Light. Fans could ask questions by writing them on a slip of paper, adding their name and handing them to volunteers. Frankie, the compere, took one from the pile. It was for Kristjaan Speakman, Sunderland’s sporting director.

“Why,” it asked, “have we not got a proven centre-forward?” Speakman, half-joking, sighed, looked visibly deflated. It’s a question he’s been asked probably hundreds of times this year. There was no name on the slip of paper. Looking across the audience, he asked who had written the question, wanting to address them directly. One hand went up. Then another. Then another and another. Soon, as the spirit of Spartacus took hold, everybody in the room had their hand in the air.

Postecoglou: Tottenham have ‘a lot of work to do’

Ange Postecoglou, the Tottenham head coach, is asked for an injury update after last night’s loss against West Ham, before Spurs host Newcastle on Sunday. “Nothing really … Son was a bit sore after the game … we’ll need to see how he recovers today. There were a couple of others with knocks, but nothing significant.”

It’s a bad spell for Spurs but this is just the start, opines the questioner: “I think I’ve been consistent in saying that (that it’s just the start of the project) when things are going well,” Postecoglu says. “I don’t think it was a brilliant start (in last night’s match against West Ham) … we’ve got to take advantage of the dominance in games, and we’re not … we had a couple of defensive lapses and West Ham will always punish you.”

“To be brilliant, the football has to be there in its entirety … In the front third we’ve got a lot of work to do, and that’s costing us in terms of results …we’ve got to push on and become better in those areas.

The Guardian’s Jacob Steinberg asks where Postecoglu thinks Tottenham are, overall, 15 Premier League games into his tenure: “We’re at the beginning of trying to build something,” he says. “There’s been progress made for sure in many areas … in others we need to do a lot of work. We’ve obviously had some challenges in that time frame, injuries that have affected our ability to have a consistent lineup … but that happens to every club.

“(Cristian) Romero was good last night, but obviously got a bit tired towards the end. He gave everything … good to get him back in the lineup. He gives us a certain security… and he’s a leader, a strong figure, which we will need in this period.”

What has affected Newcastle’s away form this season? “It’s fair to say Newcastle are the only other club that have gone through any thing like we have from an injury perspective … they’ve battled through it very well with the amount of disruption they’ve had to their first-team squad … it’ll be a tough game on Sunday, for us, because again they’ve got a team that do have goal threats. They work hard as a unit and we’ve got to be able to match that.”

Stephen Robinson insists there remains massive belief at St Mirren despite their recent collapse in form. After a formidable start to the season, the Buddies’ 1-0 defeat at St Johnstone in midweek means they have lost three Premiership games in a row with only one win in seven, which has seen them drop from third to fourth in the table.

Before Saturday’s home game against Ross County the Saints boss said the “spirit hasn’t changed”. “I am experienced enough in management now to know everything doesn’t need to be thrown out when you go on a run like this,” he said. “That is the biggest mistake I made before, to scrap everything, rip the script up and start again, that doesn’t need to happen.

“It is about turning those small percentages around. It is up to me to get that back. We spoke about it (belief) after the Ross County game because that was our biggest disappointment. We didn’t play. We have a plan at the football club that we stick to … The players know that they are small margins away from winning football matches again and the belief is massively there. Our home form has been fantastic and we have a group of players who haven’t lost belief.”

Stephen Robinson.
Stephen Robinson. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA
Karen Carney

Karen Carney

What a week it has been for women’s football with the announcement that the government has backed the review I chaired and the endorsement of NewCo to take control of the Super League and Championship. It is a fantastic start but there is still plenty of work to be done.

The women’s football review has my name on it, so understandably it means a lot to me. It took a lot of hard work from an incredibly talented team who are eager to make sure the sport progresses and that is something I must thank them for.

Ange Postecoglu, the Tottenham supremo, is up soon.

The Bayern Munich coach, Thomas Tuchel, used this week’s surprise break to fine-tune his team’s aggression and intensity ahead of Saturday’s Bundesliga match at Eintracht Frankfurt, he said today.

Bayern’s league game against Union Berlin last week was postponed after heavy snowfall across Bavaria and has been rescheduled for 24 January. Having been eliminated from the German Cup, they were also spared from action in this week’s Round of 16.

“I don’t know if this match-free week is a blessing or a curse,” Tuchel said. “To suddenly have so much time at a phase when you are at your limit … Suddenly you have a week’s worth of training.”

The Bavarians, who have qualified for the Champions League knockout stages, are in second place in the Bundesliga, on 32 points with a game in hand. Leaders Bayer Leverkusen are on 35.

“What we had wanted to do against Union was to up the level of investment in our game and our aggression. Now it is about keeping that tension high. It is not worth philosophising about whether this match-free week) was good or bad. We tried to use the week to train on our aggression and intensity. We have to bring it on the pitch,” he said.

Tuchel will have midfielder Jamal Musiala back in the squad after the Germany international recovered from his hamstring injury.

“Musiala has been included in the squad,” Tuchel said. “Certainly he will not play over 90 minutes but we will decide if he will start or finish the game for us.” (Reuters)

Thomas Tuchel.
Thomas Tuchel: upping Bayern Munich’s aggression. Photograph: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty

A Villans-themed email arrives from Alex:

“Now ‘Fortress Villa Park’ has become a thing, Villa are surfing the crest of a wave & ‘being taken seriously for the title’ and Unai Emery has never had a goalless draw as a manager in the Premier League …

“I’m not wanting to encourage betting cos I hate it, but, if you do a harmless sweepstake with your football friends, make sure you bag the 0-0. Anyway, Up The Villa!”

Lunchtime is fast approaching. Why not put your feet up and enjoy Andy Brassell’s big interview with Xabi Alonso, the Bayer Leverkusen coach, and former Liverpool and Real Madrid legend:

If you missed it – poisoned-chalice Old Trafford news from overnight:

Erik ten Hag has revealed he was warned not to become the Manchester United manager because it was deemed an “impossible” job.

Get yourself up, man! Put a smile on your face!

Graham Taylor.
Graham Taylor. Photograph: Daily Mail/Shutterstock

MPs have urged the Football Association to amend its policies on transgender inclusion in the women’s game, accusing the governing body of “turning a blind eye” to the issue.

Klopp: Nobody became champion on “matchday 16”

Liverpool’s manager Klopp is asked about the potential to go top of the table with a win against Palace in South London: “Nobody became champion because they were top of the table at 2.15 on “matchday 16”,” he says. “But we need the points. That’s what we prepare for in a short space of time.”

The next question is about Roy Hodgson. The reporter says Klopp was nine years old when the Englishman got his first job in management. Klopp chuckles and then mentions something about watching Arrigo Sacchi on VHS video tapes along with Hodgson (no doubt referring to Hodgson’s Internazionale days). “I’m really pleased I met him in the Premier League. He’s an outstanding person and a really nice man.

“When I see him I ask: ‘What are you doing here still?’ … I couldn’t respect him more … I don’t know how he’s doing that (still managing) to be honest. But yeah, great guy.”

Klopp is asked about the relatively large number of teams battling to be in the top five this season: “I couldn’t be less interested in that,” he replies with his trademark Friday-morning grumpiness. “But it looks a bit unusual that City are not first, second. Arsenal are doing extremely well. We are doing not too bad. Aston Villa are super strong, pretty impressive performance last game to be honest. United … whatever. I’m not following it really … for sure I forgot somebody, not on purpose … what can I say? We can only beat anybody in the games we play and with consistency over a season. So far that looks all right. But we should have a few points more but we are where we are.”

Klopp is asked about Joel Matip, who has an ACL injury that may keep him out for the rest of the season. His contract is up at the end of the season, too. When a reporter says: “it would be a real shame if that was his last action for the club,” Klopp says: “Yes, it’s true … I’m pretty sure the club will show their class … I’m pretty sure the club told him, while he’s injured, everything is fine …”

“So he might get a new contract?”

“I would say so – but it’s not my decision.”

Jürgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, is having a chat with media now.

Following last night’s win over Newcastle, Sean Dyche was asked about how the team have responded to the 10-point deduction: “It’s a season’s work … you do the best you can to control the results … the points (deduction) is done.

“Let’s get on with it. The players have responded to that. They’ve gone: ‘Yeah, OK. Let’s get on with things’ … We can guarantee our mentality and playing hard, which we were doing anyway.”

Jonas Eidevall, the Arsenal Women head coach, is having a chat before Sunday’s WSL match against Chelsea – which is very nearly a sellout. First, he’s asked about winning the WSL November manager of the month gong: “It’s a reflection of a really good month,” Eidevall said. “Credit should go to the wider staff group, and the players.”

Are the players happy for him? “I don’t know … we all need to individually contribute … the reason we’re here is to win things with Arsenal.

The Emirates is nearly sold out, does that again show the progress being made in women’s football? “I think we have to push and make it a sellout,” says Eidevall. “The atmosphere (created by fans) drives us … we’re 2,000 short of it being a sellout. Let’s push. You don’t want to miss this game.”

“It (the growth of the game) is down to so many people at the clubs clubs, commercial, communications, supporters … It can’t only be driven by a few. It has to be driven by many.”

How about this … 10 things to look out for in the Premier League this weekend:

The Arsenal head coach, Mikel Arteta, was also asked if he will potentially celebrate up in the stand at Villa Park tomorrow:

“In the director’s box, I don’t think so!” he said. “Never say never, because the game can get very emotional, but I will try not to do that.”

Just a smattering of reaction from Newcastle’s Eddie Howe to last night’s loss at Everton, who says injuries are catching up with his squad:

“We have to do better. There are then reasons behind every performance … (but) there are some quality players, outstanding players who aren’t with us at the moment. And I do think you can potentially do it for a short period of time, but the longer you do it, the harder it gets. I think it was a missed opportunity for us.”

“It was a missed opportunity, I don’t think we really grabbed it and we paid the price”

Eddie Howe reacts to Newcastle’s 3-0 defeat to Everton 🗣️

— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 7, 2023

Arteta: “I don’t know how to stop it.”

Or in other words: “I’m about to lose control, and I think I like it.”

The Pointer Sisters

Arteta: I won’t stop showing my emotion despite touchline ban

Mikel Arteta insists he will continue to show emotion on the touchline despite landing himself with a ban for Arsenal’s trip to Aston Villa.

The Arsenal head coach received a third yellow card of the season during the Gunners’ 4-3 win at Luton, so will not be in the dugout at Villa Park, and may face a further touchline ban following a charge for his post-match comments after the controversial loss at Newcastle.

“I don’t know how to stop it,” the Arsenal head coach said. “It was a really emotional moment with everybody bouncing around and you lose sense of where you are and the space you have to be in.

“It was unfortunate as now I cannot be next to my team on the touchline but it is a decision that they make looking strictly at the rules. After that I straight away sat on my seat and stayed there for 30 seconds but that was after the emotion. In the moment I think it is very difficult to demand that.”

Mikel Arteta is booked at Luton.
Mikel Arteta is booked at Luton. Photograph: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Asked if he would want to stop showing emotion, Arteta said: “If I was given the opportunity, no. I would like to be with my players because we work closely every single day to achieve what we want, which is to win the games and when you get those moments in sport you should be able to do that.

“I understand as well that there are certain boundaries and you have to respect that you are at an away ground but if I was given the chance I would be there jumping.”

Arteta did suggest that not all managers have been punished for similar reactions, adding: “Maybe we have to extend (the technical area). We just need a very strong rope, or we don’t move. But it means we don’t move – all of us. The ‘we’ is different in the context and it is important to look at the ‘we’ in that context.”

Arteta said Unai Emery was a manager he looked up to as he started out on his own coaching career, saying: “He’s the most experienced and the most successful one, by quite a long distance with everything he’s achieved in the game and everything he’s won. He’s someone I admire. I followed him since he was in Almeria and for every team he has always been remarkable. He always improves the players, the team and the club.

“He’s Basque like I am and he is a manager that I really admire for what he has done in the game. He has done it in various countries at different levels and always been successful. I am really happy for him.” (PA Media)

Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands submit joint bid to host Women’s World Cup 2027

Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands have submitted a joint bid to world soccer governing body Fifa to host the Women’s World Cup in 2027, the countries’ football associations said on Friday.

The three countries are competing with Brazil to host after the South American country submitted their bid last month, while the US and Mexico also expressed interest.

Member associations had until Friday to submit their bids to Fifa. South Africa had also submitted a bid but withdrew last month, saying they felt it was better to present a “well-prepared bid” for 2031.

“Extensive and detailed consultations between the three federations along with key stakeholders including central governments dates back to 2021,” the Dutch football federation (KNVB) said in a statement.

“This has led to alignment around the belief that our three countries are well placed to stage a FIFA Women’s World Cup 2027 of unparalleled quality and impact.”

Fifa will next organise inspection visits to bidding countries in February before the hosts are appointed in May by the Fifa Congress.

The 2023 tournament was co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, with Spain beating England in the final. (Reuters)

I’m told by my sources that Jürgen Klopp will be speaking fairly soon. Liverpool can go top of the table if they beat Palace in sunny south Norwood tomorrow (kick-off 12.30pm).

David Moyes has been speaking this morning and reflecting on last night’s win against Spurs: “A huge win for us in the Premier League,” he said. “Tottenham are one of the top teams and have been playing exceptionally well .. so for us to get a result was exceptional.”

What did he say at half time? “Possession doesn’t win you the games, although it can help … we found another way of getting a result. We hadn’t been particularly good in the first half, we sat off too much … second-half we improved greatly and gave ourselves a few chances.

On Jarrod Bowen: “Jarrod can play centre forward as well … It’s so difficult to find and buy centre-forwards who you can bring in and get success … he’s scored a lot of goals from wide areas but I think he can play centre-forward and he’s proving that he can do it … he could have a really good number of goals this year.”

The rest is Moyes.
The rest is Moyes. Photograph: George Beck/PPAUK/Shutterstock

Let’s start with two match reports from last night.

Everton scored three late goals to overpower Newcastle, nicely following up last weekend’s 1-0 win against Forest. And they’re out of the drop zone:

Spurs, meanwhile, threw away a lead for a record fifth straight match and fell to a 2-0 defeat by West Ham. “The excuses are starting to run thing,” writes Ben Bloom:


Today’s weekend countdown will include football, football and football, with an extra helping of football. Football has it all going on this weekend, with Crystal Palace v Liverpool kicking off the top-flight action tomorrow lunchtime before the leaders Arsenal travel to high-flying Aston Villa in the evening. There are eight other Premier League ties across the weekend and of course there’s Women’s Super League, Championship, EFL and Scottish action too. We’ll also bring you news from the continental European leagues, with Juventus v Napoli launching this weekend’s Serie A programme in style this evening.

There will probably be a smattering of football politics/football finance news to contend with too, not to mention the funny and fascinating email you are about to send me previewing the weekend.

In summary then: football.

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