Fancy buying Lionel Messi’s six shirts from his World Cup win?
Yours for whatever you are prepared to pay (current bid $5.2m) from Sothebys. A portion is going to charity, and it’s unknown whether they are washed or unwashed.
Tottenham news, with Ange Postecoglou revealing Rodrigo Bentancur will be out for two months with the ankle injury sustained after a heavy challenge from Aston Villa’s Matty Cash. Bentancur only recently returned from a nine-month lay-off.
“He’ll probably miss a fair chunk of time between now and the New Year,” Postecoglou said. “Probably a couple of months for him to get back, which is disappointing for him because we all know and have witnessed how hard he has worked to get himself back.”
“He’d done everything right, he had a good international break where he got back playing for his country… with all that context you’re just gutted for him, because of the person he is and what he’s gone through. He’s still such a positive guy. I caught up with him yesterday and he’s just again determined to crack on and get back as quickly as possible.”
Here’s today’s Football Daily, on that Euro 2024 draw, with some Sham 69 and red-hot Matt Taylor news included.
Big news as Didier Deschamps is OUT of the Euro 2024 qualifying draw in Hamburg tomorrow evening. He’s done his back in.
DID dit: “It was not a light-hearted decision that I decided not to go to the draw. It’s always a pleasant moment, during which I really enjoy chatting with my counterparts. But wisdom dictated a few days’ rest.”
Tournament host Germany and France, Portugal, Spain, Belgium and England are in Pot 1 for the 24-team draw.
Here’s your weekend lineups and predictions.
Here’s Andy Hunter’s story on that Everton appeal.
Everton admitted a breach of financial rules during October’s hearing by an independent commission but are challenging a punishment that they consider disproportionate and unjust. It is the biggest sporting sanction in Premier League history.
A statement from the club said: “Everton Football Club has today lodged with the chair of the Premier League’s judicial panel its appeal of the decision by a Premier League commission to impose a 10-point deduction on the club. An appeal board will now be appointed to hear the case.”
MATCHES OFF: Crewe’s match with Bristol Rovers in the second round of the FA Cup has been called off following a pitch inspection.
The fixture had been due to take place on Saturday, but has been rearranged for December 12, with the playing surface deemed unsafe. Sub-zero conditions across the country has led to Woking’s National League match against Gateshead being postponed.
Chris Redstone gets in touch to link us to a story in the local Express and Star newspaper.
Fan group Old Gold Pack intend to distribute thousands of placards and are making banners ahead of the game on December 9, where they intend to voice their displeasure after seeing a string of controversial decisions go against their club.
Wolves have received at least two apologies from refereeing body PGMOL, with boss Gary O’Neil claiming bad decisions have cost his team seven points.
After the latest incident in Monday’s 3-2 defeat at Fulham, supporters have decided “enough is enough”.
Old Gold Pack have asked for donations in order to fund the protest and – tellingly – claim to have received some from fans of other clubs.
Says Chris: “As a Wolves fan I’ve been appalled at the number of shockingly bad VAR decisions we have suffered this season for well-documented and clearly incorrect penalty decisions against Man Utd, Luton, Newcastle and Sheff Utd.
“The two ridiculous penalty decisions against Fulham on Monday, which have been universally criticised across the football world, mean that had the scores stayed the same in these five matches, Wolves would have nine more points. So this protest is very much needed and I’m sure will be well supported.”
West Ham v Palace on Sunday, and a London derby between the two oldest managers in the Premier League though there’s a significant age difference. David Moyes, 60, spoke highly of Roy Hodgson, 76. “I hope Roy stays in football because it means I’m not the oldest manager in the Premier League. He’s done a fine job and I hope it continues. He’s a fine ambassador for football, a real gentleman, and to still be doing it shows his love of the game.”
Michael Butler interviews: the Maidstone goalie who once played alongside Junhinho and Coutinho.
Covolan left for England in 2016 and successful spells at Lewes, Worthing and Torquay cemented the idea that England was the place for him. At Torquay, he scored a dramatic injury-time equaliser in the 2021 National League play-off final against Hartlepool to force extra-time – a moment Covolan ranks as his “happiest single moment in football, no doubt”, even if the gloss was taken off by Hartlepool’s eventual victory on penalties, despite two saves from Covolan in the shootout.
That’s all from me today. Thanks so much for your company. John Brewin is here to take you through the rest of the afternoon.
Gary O’Neil’s press conference was dominated by questions surrounding the officials and VAR given Wolves’ dramatic 3-2 loss against Fulham.
Despite O’Neil saying he hasn’t “put too much thought into” VAR since the match at Craven Cottage, he is hopeful that referees’ performances will get better:
Similar answer to always, hopefully it can improve and we can get more right. I stand by my decisions the other night, and convinced with the answers I gave.
A reminder on what he said in his post-match interview on Monday.
O’Neil also spoke about Wolves’ upcoming opponents, league leaders Arsenal:
I think they are excellent. Their Champions League and league positions tells you exactly where they are. The two centre-backs they have are incredible physically and allow them to be unbelievably aggressive. It’s probably the ultimate test in the Premier League at the moment.
Big games coming for the Lionesses against the Netherlands and Scotland in the Nations League. They are must-win matches if Team GB has any chance of making it to the Olympics.
Here’s Lauren Hemp on her ambitions.
And here is a roundup of what is at stake in the competition.
Proposed FIFA regulations for football agents, including a fee cap, are incompatible with British competition law, an English FA tribunal ruled on Thursday after a five-month arbitration.
The regulations limit an agent’s fee to 3% when a player’s annual salary is more than $200,000, and 5% when it is under that amount.
The limit doubles for an agent representing both the player and the club in a transfer.
“The FA Rule K Tribunal … declared that if the FA implements the fee cap and the pro rata payment rules in the NFAR, it will be in breach of the Competition Act 1998,” the FA said in a statement.
Ten Hag also spoke about Kobbie Mainoo in his press conference earlier, explaining that the youngster has shown he is “ready” to play in big games.
On what he brings to Manchester United’s midfield:
His scanning. It always looks like he has time. Because of his scanning, he is running free and then scanning to see the options and then make the right decisions. He can delay, he can speed up and he makes the right decisions.
On managing his minutes:
Then we have to manage three games in six days to get the best results in all of those games. We have more than 11 players and we have good options there, like Sofyan (Amrabat), who also showed (that) as he played a very good game.
We have many options but we have to manage the load of the players. It is also about freshness (as to why Mainoo was on the bench in midweek) as well.
Rob shared it earlier, but in case you missed it, here’s Will Unwin on Mainoo:
As others have found to their cost, talent is not always enough to become a Manchester United player, but Mainoo’s added mix of calmness and self-confidence have helped him become the latest local boy to live the fans’ dreams on the pitch.
Philippe Clement is looking for Rangers to get back to their best against third-placed St Mirren on Sunday after their Europa League struggle against Aris Limassol.
Rangers will be hope to keep the pressure on leaders Celtic, who are eight points ahead at the top of the table having played a game more.
On their draw last night:
It was the first time that I felt real disappointment in the dressing room, they were not happy with their performance.
That is a good thing that they were not happy with their performance, but now we need to stand up on Sunday and show our best level, with what we are going to need to win that game.
It is about making the mind-switch really fast every time and not to lose confidence for whatever reason, and go full out and get the three points from the first second the game starts.
On Sunday’s opponents:
St Mirren will make a wall and make transitions and set-pieces like we have a lot of games in the Scottish league. So there will not be a big difference in that way and they are going to fight.
For them, games against Rangers are maybe the biggest game of the season, so we know that.
Thank you, Rob! Let’s go back to Mauricio Pochettino, who gave some insight on how Chelsea need to move on from their 4-1 loss to Newcastle last weekend.
The manager said he was happy with how they responded in training, and still believes a top-four finish is “realistic”.
On his anger towards players:
They already know very well what my mood was. I am not here acting. I’m not going to show a face I don’t feel and with the players it is the same. We let down our club, it is our responsibility as a team and we need to think this way.
On everyone’s favourite topic, VAR:
The problem is the driver and not the technology.
Time for me to hand back to Yara for the next bit of the blog. Thanks for your company, bye!
Pep Guardiola had some nice things to say about his fellow romantic Ange Postecoglu ahead of their first competitive meeting on Sunday.
I met him just once, three or four pre-seasons ago against Yokohama. Ange was the manager. It was the second pre-season game and I said wow, there are things I like.
I said to the players I know you’re not ready but we will face a good team in challenges, intense in buildup and use the keeper in the process.
Every team plays to the desire of the manager. People like Ange make football a better place.
(What do you like about his teams?)
The courage. High line, halfway so aggressive. A lot of combinations, use the keeper for build-up, runners everywhere. So dynamic. It happened at Glasgow and now here. I know they lost the last games but did you see who they play.
I see a lot of similarities when they were winning. Football is like that sometimes, two reds v Chelsea, bad moments, but the dynamic is always positive.
(With all the injuries, will they play more defensively against you?)
Ask him, absolutely not. This is not going to happen.
Spurs manager Ange Postecoglu on the prospect of sin-bins
Bin it, mate. Just forget about it. I don’t understand why they keep interjecting. There’s not that much wrong with the game.
Postecoglu also said Rodrigo Bentancur will be out for around two months with the ankle injury he suffered against Aston Villa last weekend.
‘This is the most intense period in world football’
Liverpool have multiple options in attack, even without the injured Diogo Jota, and they’ll need them – the match at home to Fulham on Sunday is the first of eight in the next 24 days.
Ten Hag defends ‘second best keeper in the league’ Onana
Erik ten Hag has defended André Onana by saying Manchester United’s beleaguered goalkeeper is the second-best in the Premier League, citing his “expected prevented goals”.
Onana again made crucial errors in Wednesday’s 3-3 draw at Galatasaray in the penultimate Champions League group game, the 27-year-old at fault for two of the Turkish champions’ goals. This followed mistakes that cost goals against Bayern Munich and Copenhagen in the competition.
Ten Hag said: “If you analyse it well then you see he is the second-best goalkeeper in the Premier League based on stats: his expected prevented goals is second-best. He’s doing well but he knows that in the Champions League he has made some mistakes but overall in the first five months (since signing) he has done well.”
Luton’s Thomas Kaminski heads the prevented goals rankings with 6.3, and Onana is second with 3.7. Ten Hag praised the Cameroonian’s character. He said: “You have seen how he is reacting to a bad performance like in Munich – at Burnley he was outstanding (in the next game in a 1-0 win). He is a strong character, he is a personality and he will deal with it.”
United are bottom of Group A with three points, one behind Galatasaray and Copenhagen, but Ten Hag struck a positive note. “On Wednesday we played very good, also in Copenhagen (a 4-3 loss),” said the manager. “Even at Bayern Munich (a 4-3 loss) we played very good. But we have to do some things better. Eliminate individual errors, transition, but we can sort this out and I would be more concerned if we didn’t play well.”
Mason Mount is back in training after a muscle injury.
Lunchtime reading (GMT department)
If you’re eating at your desk, here are some fresh pieces to get your eyes stuck into.
Taylor appointed Bristol Rovers manager
Some news from League One: Matt Taylor – who was very successful at Exeter and very unsuccessful at Rotherham – has replaced Joey Barton as Bristol Rovers manager.
Chelsea v Brighton team news
The brilliant Christopher Nkunku, who suffered a bad knee injury in pre-season after joining from RB Leipzig, is back in training. Mauricio Pochettino said he could be involved on Sunday, though it seems unlikely.
Man City v Spurs team news
When he wasn’t dying inside, Pep Guardiola told the press that John Stones is “much better” and will be involved against Spurs on Sunday, probably from the bench. Mateo Kovacic is also back in training; Matheus Nunes is not.
“That Swansea game (12.06pm) is scant consolation for the Liverpool one further down (11.47pm),” weeps Matt Dony. “The Dudek spill is still writ large in my mind. Although, in fairness, he did leave the club with a substantial amount of credit in the end! What a period that was for Swansea, though. Such good football, a raft of likeable players, and a few fantastic victories along the way.
“I’ve got particular fondness for the home win against Man City at the start of that year. I remember pacing up and down outside Withybush Hospital in Haverfordwest with a newborn Master Dony in a pram while my father was inside to recover from a stroke. My family were gathered around the bed, but I was trying to get the young ‘un to sleep. Stressful times, and at that moment, Swansea beating the mighty City felt like The Biggest Thing. (And Mr Dony Senior recovered remarkably well.)”
My word, that’s the definition of mixed emotions. It’s fascinating how often recalling a random match from the past takes us to a specific time and place. I remember the City game too – nothing to do with family, but it moved me to write some utter pretentious tosh. Good times!
What were you doing at the age of 17? Lewis Miley is playing central midfield, with aplomb, against some of the biggest teams in the world.
Pep Guardiola hearts press conferences, part 4965236236235413
I wish somebody would develop a technology that allows us to hear an internal monologue. Pep’s press conferences alone would justify a monthly subscription of £500.
The draw for the European Championships takes place in Hamburg tomorrow. Here’s a primer from the Press Association.
The Elbphilharmonie concert hall in Hamburg will host the draw ceremony, which gets under way at 5pm UK time.
Gareth Southgate’s England, runners-up at Euro 2020, will be one of the favourites to win the tournament and are among the top seeds.
Scotland are in Pot 3, while Wales are one of the 12 play-off hopefuls occupying three spots in Pot 4.
Rob Page’s side still have two big hurdles to overcome in order to join England and Scotland at the finals. They must first beat Finland on 21 March then also see off Poland or Estonia on 26 March to book their passage to Germany.
The placing of England, Scotland and Wales in different pots keeps open the possibility of them all being drawn together.
From an England perspective, a Group of Death might include Denmark, the highest-ranked side in Pot 2, the Netherlands or Croatia from Pot 3 and Italy from Pot 4.
Pot 1 Germany, Portugal, France, Spain, Belgium, England
Pot 2 Hungary, Turkey, Romania, Denmark, Albania, Austria
Pot 3 Netherlands, Scotland, Croatia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic
Pot 4 Italy, Serbia, Switzerland + three playoff winners
Those playoff winners will be:
Poland, Wales, Estonia or Finland
Israel, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine or Iceland
Georgia, Greece, Kazakhstan or Luxembourg
And if you want to learn about/relive the last European Championships to be played in Germany, this podcast should do the needful.
Local hero Mainoo bringing cheer to Old Trafford
Nothing lifts the mood at Old Trafford quite like the emergence of a young player or three. Never mind the Busby Babes and the Class of 92; even false dawns like January 1989 are part of United folklore. So in the context of a ramshackle season, you can understand why everyone is so excited about Kobbie Mainoo.
He’s apparently the youngest person ever to appear in central midfield, the most demanding position on the pitch, for the club. And he has already received the Manchester United equivalent of a papal blessing: effusive praise from Roy Keane.
Will Unwin has profiled the most exciting teenage central midfielder to emerge at Old Trafford since, who? Paul Pogba? Darren Fletcher? Nicky Butt? Duncan Edwards? (Paul Scholes was a No10 as a teenager.)
Breaking news that isn’t really news at all: Everton have officially appealed against the Premier League sanction for their profit and sustainability transgressions.
This is the full statement.
Everton Football Club has today lodged with the Chair of the Premier League’s Judicial Panel its appeal of the decision by a Premier League Commission to impose a 10-point deduction on the Club. An Appeal Board will now be appointed to hear the case.
And here’s what the ever impressive Sean Dyche had to say on the subject yesterday.
On this day in 2012… whatever happened to Michu gives Swansea a famous victory at the Emirates.
This is a fascinating piece from Ryan Baldi, whose new books are also well worth checking out, on the fall and potential rise of the Chinese national team.
Women’s Nations League
It’s a big night for the Lionesses, woh must beat the Netherlands at Wembley to maintain their hopes of qualifying for the Nations League finals.
Mary Earps will captain the team in the absence of Millie Bright, while Beth Mead is also back in the squad.
Sports quiz of the week
I got the first three answers, and we won’t dwell on the rest.
And on this day in 2002… resurgent Manchester United win at Anfield in a tale of two goalkeepers.
On this day in 2001… crisis club Manchester United are thrashed again, this time by Chelsea.
Manchester United department
A bit of transfer news here. A striker isn’t top of Erik ten Hag’s shopping list, but we all know that some bargains are too good to resist. Have you used that air fryer yet?
Saturday (3pm unless stated)
Sunday (2pm unless stated)
Bournemouth v Aston Villa
Chelsea v Brighton
Liverpool v Fulham
West Ham v Crystal Palace
Man City v Spurs (4.30pm)
On this day in 1991… a young Gianfranco Zola scores a last-minute equaliser in a thrilling game between Lazio and Napoli. You didn’t get many 3-3 draws in Serie A before the backpass law.
Eddie Howe: Would you like to see more or less VAR?
I’d like to see less VAR. I don’t have an issue with offsides because that is as close as it can be to being right, whether you agree with the decision, the lines give you a black and white yes or no. The rest, I’m not in favour.
I still think it’s just another person’s opinion against another person’s opinion. It’s very subjective. I’d like to see less. I definitely wouldn’t want to see more because I think it would ruin the game.
(On the PSG handball) That for me, with VAR is an issue – not enough power is given to the on-field decision, which in this case was correct. I still believe, and I’m old-fashioned in this, that the on-field decision should be given a little bit more strength because the referee is there, he’s feeling the game, he’s managing the game in the middle and I think that is worth something.
Newcastle United v Manchester United
Eddie Howe says Newcastle have no new injury concerns ahead of tomorrow’s big game. He was also full of praise for 17-year-old Lewis Miley, who played remarkably well against Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain in the past week.
He has had a very early taste of high-level football which can only be a good thing for him. If he was a different kind of character, I might question that but he’s not.
He is able to take everything in his stride as you have seen with his performances. For someone so young, he’s got a very good perspective on professional sport and life.
He is very calm, polite and respectful but very keen to show his qualities. He has obvious qualities that he has displayed in the past two games.
On this day in 1994… the Intercontinental Cup stays in South America.
FA Cup second round
This is a lovely piece from Ed Aarons on Horsham, the lucky losers who are one game away from the FA Cup third round proper.
Thanks Yara, hello everyone. There isn’t much news, so let’s go back (yikes) 21 years. On this day in 2002, Alan Shearer leathered an equaliser against Everton.
Read Gregg Bakowski’s superb piece, watch the goal, do what you need to do.
That’s all from me for now. Thanks for joining me on this short morning stint. I leave you in the capable hands of Rob Smyth.
Video: Police injured as violence erupts outside Villa Park before Legia Warsaw match
Ten things to look out for this weekend in the Premier League, including a possible relegation six-pointer in Burnley v Sheffield United, a rivalry from La Liga reignited in Bournemouth v Aston Villa, and what has historically been an exciting match-up in Manchester City v Tottenham.
Elsewhere in Europe, Liverpool beat Lask 4-0, avoiding the play-off route in the Europa League. Cody Gakpo scored a brace and Mohamed Salah scored his 199th goal in all competitions for the club.
Andy Hunter, who was at Anfield, writes:
There was nothing wrong with Lask’s ambitious approach given they had to win to retain any hope of reaching the last 16 but the gulf between the sides was evident every time Liverpool rampaged forward. Lask were constantly exposed. It appeared almost too comfortable for Liverpool at times, given how often they took an extra touch in front of goal when a more ruthless approach was required. Not that the home side paid a price for over-elaboration.
West Ham left it late in Backa Topola. The snooze-fest looked to fittingly end 0-0 but Tomas Soucek extended his goal streak to five matches to secure the knockouts for the Hammers.
Brighton’s European adventure will also continue after João Pedro’s penalty earned the Seagulls victory against 10-man AEK Athens.
And Rangers have given themselves a glimmer of hope with a 1-1 draw against Aris Limassol. Ross McCausland drilled the ball low into the net off the far post to score for the hosts.
On the pitch, Aston Villa beat Legia Warsaw 2-1 to top their Europa Conferece League group.
The side had already qualified for the knockout stages ahead of kick-off but the win put them above their opponents in the table, who won the reverse fixture 3-2 in September.
Moussa Diaby gave the hosts an early lead with a clever left-footed finish before Ernest Muci equalised 16 minutes later.
Alex Moreno scored the winner from a Douglas Luiz free-kick after returning from a six-month hamstring injury.
Villa’s final group game will be away to Zrinjski who sit bottom of the group, with only one win.
The main news from last night was the violence at Villa Park before Aston Villa’s Europa Conference League match against Legia Warsaw.
Police officers were injured with missiles that were thrown by the away fans.
The West Midlands Police confirmed the number of arrests this morning on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Last night, Aston Villa put out a statement that read:
Aston Villa Football Club can confirm that no away fans were allowed into Villa Park for this evening’s UEFA Europa Conference League fixture with Legia Warsaw on the advice of West Midlands Police following large-scale disorder outside the stadium caused by visiting supporters.
In spite of numerous requests for cooperation from Legia Warsaw concerning their travelling supporters, especially in the last two days, no assistance on the serious safety matter of away fans attending Villa Park was forthcoming from the visiting club. The club has repeatedly, including this morning, raised concerns in conjunction with UEFA and all the relevant authorities to Legia that ticketless away supporters were attempting to attend Villa Park.
Approximately an hour before kick-off, Legia fans engaged in planned and systematic violent acts against West Midlands Police officers and a decision was then made by West Midlands Police to exclude all Legia supporters.
Aston Villa strongly condemns the behaviour of those visiting supporters and would like to thank West Midlands Police for their professionalism in very difficult circumstances.
Hello and welcome to our Friday football blog. Let’s start by saying many happy returns to Neil Warnock, the anagram we all grew to love (OK, most of us). He was born in 1948, and you know what that means: he’s 75.
We’ll have news and manager quotes ahead of this weekend’s games, plus reaction to last night’s Europa League matches.
Have any thoughts, questions, complaints, grievances, etc? Send me an email!