The Catalan is convinced City’s subdued neighbours “remain a great, a top team.” He said their current lowly position does not mean their season is a write-off yet. “They are there but it’s just August, so a lot of points to play (for), and after the international break starts the real season.” He declined to join the pile-on to Mourinho: [Criticism] is our job unfortunately,” he said. “Our job depends on results. When we win we are good, when we don’t we are not good, it is simple like that. The important [thing] is to know the quality and I believe when you get [to] that level in the Premier League, all the managers are here because they are top, top managers.”
Paul MacInnes was among the congregation for Unai Emery’s Friday sermon. Here’s how it went:
Unai Emery endured a sticky pre-match press conference as journalists put the squeeze on the Arsenal manager over whether he has banned orange squash at the training ground
“Yes, this is true” Emery was forced to admit by the brave British press corps. “I only just changed, I like fruit a lot and I like fruit juice. But with a lot of sugar? Not very well. When I was very young, my father was coming every day with one fresh orange fruit juice. I like in my life, more of that. It’s for that, when I arrived here, I asked only for that from the cook. And the players, I think, are the same. They prefer their orange juice fresh.”
Emery was apparently unaware he was speaking while flanked by two bottles of orange Gatorade, the club’s Official Sports Drink and Sports Nutrition partner.
Left-back Demetri Mitchell has rejoined Hearts from Manchester United on loan and he’s got off to a cracking start by explaining the reasons why: “They’re one of only a big handful of clubs in Scotland – Celtic, Rangers, Aberdeen and Hearts.” When asked whether Hibs should not be included among that lot, the canny 21-year-old replied: “Who are they?”
Jamie Jackson witnessed José Mourinho’s philosophy lecture first hand and here’s his account of it.
Club captain Russell Martin has been released by Norwich after nine years at Carrow Road, reports Nick Mashiter of PA.
The defender won three promotions with the Canaries but is now free to find another club.
He signed a new contract until 2019, with the option of a further year, just weeks after Daniel Farke took over last summer but played just seven times for the German and has been allowed to leave. The Scotland international’s last appearance for the club came in a 4-0 defeat at Millwall a year ago and he spent the second half of last season on loan at Rangers, making 17 appearances and scoring once.
On his return to Norfolk the 32-year-old spent the summer training with the club’s under-23 squad.
He has not been a part of the match day squad this season with the inconsistent Canaries sitting 18th in the Championship ahead of Sunday’s derby at Ipswich.
“Some people out there like to rag on humanities degrees,” lectures Kári Tulinius. “But it’s a benefit from studying humanities that you can tell immediately that when people start quoting Hegel unprompted and out of context, they’ve completely lost the plot.” Show some respect for José, man.
Thanks to John Brewin for running this show while I was eating. Now here’s some food for thought for you: how will Geoff Cameron influence QPR’s season know that he’s joined from Stoke? The man himself has been answering that very question:
I’m the guy that does the dirty work. I’m not the flashiest of players, I try to read the game and get the ball to the guys that can score the goals.
Ok, time now to hand back to Paul Doyle, the freebird himself.
Some Arsenal team news from the Press Association.
Mesut Ozil has recovered from illness and is available for Arsenal’s Premier League trip to Cardiff on Sunday. The 29-year-old missed last weekend’s win over West Ham but has trained all week and could return in south Wales. Laurent Koscielny (Achilles), Sead Kolasinac (knee), Ainsley Maitland-Niles (leg) and Carl Jenkinson (ankle) are missing as Lucas Torreira pushes for his first start.
Provisional squad: Cech, Leno, Bellerin, Lichtsteiner, Holding, Mustafi, Mavropanos, Papastathopoulos, Monreal, Nelson, Xhaka, Elneny, Torreira, Guendouzi, Ramsey, Iwobi, Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Welbeck, Lacazette, Aubameyang.
Mauricio Pochettino speaks on the proposal that Tottenham’s Carabao Cup tie will be moved to MK Dons.
We are going to make a decision and the best for the team. But of course we need to take a decision. The circumstances are so difficult…We are more disappointed than everyone. For our fans it’s to try to understand the circumstances of the club. What can we do? It’s not ready the stadium. Okay, maybe I can go after the press conference and help the builders to do it. But it’s impossible to do more. We need to be patient and understand that the club is doing every it can to finish the stadium and have everything ready to compete there. It’s easy today to complain, it’s easy to agree or disagree. But for our board and our chairman, it’s so complicated.
Usain Bolt off to a flying start?
For the Guardian.
Can West Ham get off the mark?
Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri, meanwhile, is rather less manic as he looks ahead to facing Bournemouth.
He deflected talk of Ruben Loftus-Cheek being unhappy with him. “I am really very happy with him because, in the last 10 days, he has improved a lot. It’s not easy to play here, because here there are 20, 25 very good players, so it’s not easy to play in the starting XI, but I think if he will improve more, he is ready to play from the beginning.”
Very kind about Eddie Howie, his visitor at Empoli, who said he had learned much from him: “He didn’t need it.”
And discussed N’Golo Kanté being pushed further forward: ““My opinion is that Kanté is a great midfielder, and I think that he is able to play in every position in my midfield. It’s not a problem for him. But I was surprised from the technical qualities of Kanté.”
José Mourinho has not disappointed with his Friday press conference. He’s gone full Muhammad Ali, full Charles de Gaulle and full Joey Barton. It’s all going very, very well.
I am the manager of one of the greatest clubs in the world but I am also one of the greatest managers in the world. Did you read any philosopher or in your education you never spent time reading Hegel? Just as an example, Hegel says the truth is in the whole, is always in the whole. Do you ask that question to the manager that finished third in the Premier League or fourth? I had last season great success. I had great success last season that’s what you probably don’t want to admit. I analyse my performance, myself and for me is more important what I think that what you think. I repeat that two seasons ago we had a fantastic season by winning the Europa League, this season and last everybody thought Atlético Madrid amazing because they won the Europa League after being knocked out of the Champions League. We won the Europa League because that was our level. We are the last team in England to win a European cup. And last season, I repeat, I won eight titles, I am the only manager in the world that won Italy, Spain and England and by winning eight titles, not small titles or countries, my second position last season is one of my greatest achievements in football. I think.
Rangers, that up and coming Glasgow outfit, are maintaining their push for #55. Manager Steven Gerrard revealed his club had secured paperwork for the signing of Eros Grezda from Osijek. Gerrard hinted there might be others to follow before the transfer window shuts after his earlier loan signing of Joe Worrall, 1980s referee. “I’m always looking,” Stevie said. “It doesn’t shut till 12 so there is plenty of time.”
Nice feature here on the golden age of Serie A, the 1990s.
A preview of the Saturday, 3pm game.
Jurgen Klopp has criticised Simon Mignolet’s decision to air his Liverpool frustrations in public and confirmed there is no chance of the goalkeeper leaving before today’s transfer deadline.
The Belgium international told Het Laatste Nieuws last weekend that Loris Karius’ move to Besiktas was “bizarre” – as Liverpool denied him a loan exit this summer – and had not changed his intention to leave Anfield. Liverpool sought a permanent deal for Mignolet this summer but, having failed to agree terms with Fulham or Napoli, he will remain on Merseyside as deputy to Alisson. His comments have not gone down well with the Liverpool manager.
“It is true he will not depart, of course not,’ said Klopp. “In general discussing your individual problems in public does not make too much sense. It is better to speak to each other, I’m a big believer in that, but it was still okay. It is the one time, we are all human beings and I have not problem with that, and if he was happy to be a number two then I wouldn’t really know him.
“He is a top professional, a top goalkeeper and of course he is not happy to be number two but at the end there are worse things in the world than being number two – pretty good pay by the way at Liverpool. In the first moment you understand decisions or not but it is always better to talk to me directly about it than newspapers. It makes not too much sense. If you want to say something to me say it directly – that helps.”
Klopp also insisted Liverpool would not get involved in Mohamed Salah’s long-running dispute with the Egyptian FA, although he believes the row over security and image rights will be resolved.
He added: “I cannot say too much, it is really something between the player and the Egyptian FA. I have spoken to Mo about it but it is not about us to intervene in this moment. They will solve it, I am sure.”
News from Tottenham is that Hugo Lloris will miss Sunday’s game against Watford, and Michel Vorm will step in. The World Cup winner has a thigh injury.
Talking of Mauricio Sarri, Eddie Howe has shared some kind words on Chelsea’s manager, and went to watch him train players at Empoli.
The big news is that the Europa League draw has just landed and it’s bad news for the box offices at Chelsea and Arsenal. It may be time to get creative to sell the tickets for these not exactly plum ties. Arsenal will play Sporting Lisbon, Qarabag and FC Vorskla while Chelsea face PAOK, BATE Borisov and Vidi FC. That’s some air miles. Though in footballing terms, it’s nice and easy for Messrs Emery and Sarri and they can perhaps give their young players a bit of experience without too much pressure.
Hello there. Should you need to get in touch, you can reach me on [email protected] and @johnbrewin_ on the Twitter.
The good news for me is its my lunch time. The good news for you is John Brewin is on hand to take you through the next hour or so. Wait till you hear what he’s got to tell you.
Usain Bolt’s football debut has finished. He spent 19 minutes on the pitch – about 120 times longer than his races used to last – and he didn’t score. But his team, Central Coast Mariners, won 6-1 and nearly 10,000 onlookers went home happy.
Jürgen Klopp has suggested if Simon Mignolet is not happy at having to stick around Liverpool as No2, that’s just tough. “In general, discussing your individual problems in public doesn’t make sense,” Klopp said of Mignolet’s situation. “If he was happy to be a number two I wouldn’t know him. There are worse things in the world to be – and you are pretty well paid at Liverpool.”
A quiz with which you can test your friends in the pub this evening before heading out to bust some Theresa May moves.
Jordi Alba is a high-profile omission from Luis Enrique’s first Spain squad as La Roja prepare to face England in the Nations League, reports the Press Association.
The Barcelona full-back has won 66 caps for his country and was a regular in the side that won Euro 2012 as well as featuring in Spain’s unsuccessful World Cup campaign this summer.
Alba was critical of Enrique’s spell in charge at the Nou Camp so it is perhaps no surprise that Jose Gaya of Valencia has been preferred in the 23-man squad that will take on England at Wembley and then Croatia.
Gerard Pique, David Silva and Andres Iniesta have all retired from international duty, while Koke and Iago Aspas are two other notable absentees.
Five Premier League players have been named, with the Chelsea quartet of Kepa Arrizabalaga, Cesar Azpilicueta, Alvaro Morata all included along with the returning Marcos Alonso, while David de Gea is expected to retain the number one shirt.
Now here’s a feelgood story ahead of the weekend, courtesy of Martin Belam.
So yeah, as I was saying, we shall continue to uphold quality control standards.
Thanks to those of you who have sent me tweets. Like the emails they have been distressingly poor. Rest assured we shall continue to uphold quality control standards.
“Usain Bolt has been subbed on in the 71st minute,” blurts Marcus James with regard to Central Coast Mariners’ intriguing trialist. “He’s wearing gloves. It’s 15 degrees.” Yes, yes, but is he any good at football?
Apparently the Charlton Athletic owner, Roland Duchâtelet, has given an interview to a Belgian magazine called – aptly enough – Knack. In it, according to this transcript, he admits that he goofed by investing in Charlton and in football in general. “It was a mistake,” he is reported to have said. “The football business doesn’t suit me. Too irrational. If you want to lose real money, buy a football club.” If Duchâtelet is feeling down on his luck, perhaps he should compare his lot with that of diligent and conscientious staff who worked hard at a football club they genuinely cared about but then had expected bonuses withheld by the owner. The Guardian carried this story about such a club a week ago.
Up-and-coming Glasgow outfit Rangers have completed their first deadline-day deal with the capture of Nottingham Forest defender Joe Worrall. The England U-21 centre-back has signed a season-long loan deal.
The popular writer John Brewin has shared some thoughts on José Mourinho’s current travails and they’re worth reading. You can do that here. “The end is surely nigh once he starts invoking world events to distract from his own predicament,” is one notable observation.
Thanks to those you who have sent emails so far. They have been, without exception, too rubbish to publish but the thought is appreciated.
Put him straight into the starting lineup for Sunday’s Old Firm clash, I’m saying, so long as he can reprise the sort of form.
He’s been appointed as Belgium’s No2, a promotion from the No3 role he’s played for the last couple of years. Roberto Martinez shall remain his line manager. It seems, then, that Henry’s venture into club management is on the back burner again, the negotiations with Bordeaux not having borne fruit. Interestingly, Shaun Maloney, the former Celtic, Villa and Wigan midfielder has joined Belgium’s coaching staff in a more junior role.
Neil Warnock has been holding forth in advance of his team’s meeting with Arsenal on Sunday. He has been asked to share his weltanchauung, naturally, but also for his views on Mesut Ozil’s possible omission from Arsenal’s squad. ““He can come and play me for me if he wants,” said Warnock. He was joking, of course. There’s no way he’d tolerate a player such as Ozil in his team.
Bong! Bong! Bonnnnnng! It’s 11 o’clock in Blighty, from Scratchy Bottom, Dorset, to Brokenwind, Scotland. Are we having fun yet?
Uefa have confirmed that they may or may not introduce Var for the Champions League next season, or perhaps even for this season’s final. Perhaps. This is the sort of decisive leadership the governing body has long craved. “For me, VAR is not completely clear, but we also know that there’s no way back anymore,” stormed president Aleksander Ceferin. “Technology will come sooner or later. The plan for now is to use it from the next season. This is the plan but of course I am not an expert.” If only there was some sort of technology that could definitively rule on the usefulness of technology.
A week after starting training with Australia’s Central Coast Mariners, Usain Bolt is on the bench today for a friendly against a local amateur outfit. Word is over 10,000 people have turned up to watch in the hope that the ex-Olympic sprint whizz will make his debut. He’s wearing shirt No95, presumably because No9.58 was already taken. And his mere presence seems to have inspired his teammates, who have made a lightning start and taken the lead after 19 seconds.
Remember, folks, many managerial greats have served at Notts County early in careers that would later be described as illustrious, including Sam Allardyce, Neil Warnock and Howard Wilkinson. But other Kewell predecessors have left feeling they were treated unjustly, from Kevin Nolan to Tommy Lawton, who, back in 1958, agreed to go without pay for six months to ease the financial pressure on the club – and then, when they were relegated by a point, he was unceremoniously sacked.
Notts County have appointed Harry Kewell as their new manager after agreeing compensation with Crawley, whom the Australian led to 14th in League Town last season. That’s the same position they sit in this season after seven matches, while Notts County are sprawled on their backsides at the foot of the table with a solitary point.
In one of this week’s more surprising transfers, Paris Saint-Germain decided yesterday that the ideal player to serve as back-up for Edinson Cavani is … Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, erstwhile Stoke enigma. Tomas Tuchel has been explaining his sensation: “We were looking for a player who is good with high balls and strong in aerial duels because that is Edi’s [Cavani’s] strength. It won’t be easy for Maxim to be Edi’s replacement because he wants to play all the time. You can’t expect to play a lot of minutes but you have to be positive and work hard and Maxim has that mindset. He has a very positive character. He can have an impact in one minute, he never gives up hope and cane make a difference when he comes off the bench.” Who’d have thought the key traits PSG would be looking for in a second-choie striker was aerial power and a willingness to idle? Sounds like being back up to Cavani is a lot like being Spurs’ back-up for Harry Kane.
Chris Hughton has been speaking to the press and said he’s not sure whether Lewis Dunk will be fit enough to play againt Fulham. But Jose Izquierdo and Florin Andone definitely will not.
Brighton provisional squad: Ryan, Button, Steele, Bernardo, Montoya, Bruno, Bong, Dunk, Duffy, Balogun, Schelotto, Suttner, Bissouma, Stephens, Propper, Kayal, Knockaert, March, Gross, Jahanbakhsh, Gyokeres, Locadia, Murray.
Bad tidings for Brendan Rodgers ahead of Sunday’s showdown with Rangers – Celtic’s hot young striker Moussa Dembélé wants the club to accept a transfer bid for him from Lyon. “A real man keeps his word,” he declared via his social media foghorn for the benefit of whoever it was who assured him he would be allowed to leave in the event of such a bid being received. Now who might have given him that impression?
Tom Cairney will miss Fulham’s trip to Brighton this weekend because he hurt his foot during’s last week’s win over Burnley. Neeskens Kebano, Tim Ream and Floyd Ayite are also injured. So this is what Fulham’s squad will probably look like: Bettinelli, Fabri, Chambers, Mawson, Le Marchand, Christie, Bryan, R Sessegnon, S Sessegnon, Odoi, McDonald, Schurrle, Seri, Mitrovic, Rico, Fosu-Mensah, Johansen, Cisse, Vietto, Kamara, Zambo Anguissa.
Chelsea’s Mason Mount – currently on loan at Derby – and Crystal Palace defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka have been handed their first England Under-21 call ups. But there’s no room for Phil Foden or Jadon Sancho in the squad to face Holland at Carrow Road next Thursday.
“There’s a clamour for these players and they are exceptional but there are also exceptional players who have got us to the place were are now,” manager Aidy Boothroyd told the Press Association. “It’s exactly the right thing. Whether they are with us in October or not that’s a different matter and there will be a few others like that but overall it’s the sensible thing to do. We’ll see what happens later on down the line. It has to be the right time, the right game and right competition. We won’t be reacting on a couple of good games. We’re going to do things properly.”
Right, here’s some information for the most over-represented constituency on football phone-in shows – ie West Ham fans – and also for fantasy football managers everywhere: Marko Arnautovic has been declared fit to face Wolves tomorrow. Mark Noble is also available. Here’s the squad from which Manuel Pellegrini will try to assemble a team capable of scrounging a first league point of the season:
Fabianski, Adrian, Fredericks, Zabaleta, Ogbonna, Diop, Balbuena, Rice, Cresswell, Masuaku, Obiang, Noble, Wilshere, Sanchez, Antonio, Yarmolenko, Snodgrass, Arnautovic, Perez, Hernandez, Anderson.
Hello and good day and welcome and, just to recap because we’re only getting started early and some of us may have had an unsettled night, hello and good day and welcome. This is our weekly pre-weekend blog, in which we preview the forthcoming football hijinks and provide you with regular breaking news, dispatches from managers’ press conferences and discuss matters both weighty and light-hearted. We’re all in this together. So let’s grin and bear it.
As for specifics, well, today we’ll be hearing from a variety of managers, including Mauricio Pochettino, Jurgen Klopp, Maurizio Sarri and Eddie Howe! There’s another fragrant pot pourri of Premier League fixtures to look forward to and we’ll also be working ourselves into an almost obscene state of excitement about Sunday’s Old Firm derby – Rodgers v Gerrard! – and the big Leeds v Boro clash at the top of the Championship later today. There’ll also be the Europa League draw and much more besides, including a bit of whatever you’re having yourself. On top of all that, we’ll try to keep you abreast of the progress of that gigantic asteroid that’s headed for earth at a million miles an hour: if it really does look like annihilating the planet, you can count on us to tell you what that’ll mean for the working relationship between Jose Mourinho and Ed Woodward.