Ralph Hasenhüttl made clear the importance of Danny Ings to Southampton after he scored the only goal at Burnley on Saturday but insisted the Saints cannot afford to rely on their in-form striker. Ings struck against his former club just five minutes in as Southampton earned their first league points of the season.
It was a 36th Southampton goal in 71 appearances for Ings and the 28-year-old has now accounted for 46% of the Saints’ goals since the beginning of last season.Continue reading...
The least one expects from any team, let alone one that this week took their spending for the window beyond £200m, is desire. Chelsea showed that here, along with a belated smattering of quality, to save face and salvage a point after practically giving away three goals.
In the first half Frank Lampard’s team were wasteful up front and truly rubbish at the back and looked set to be humiliated by the Premier’s League supposed whipping boys. For a long time West Brom, well organised and clinical, offered a perfect contrast to ramshackle visitors, with Callum Robinson scoring twice and Kyle Bartley adding a third to send the hosts in at half-time with a three‑goal lead.Continue reading...
Tammy Abraham’s injury-time equaliser completed a dramatic comeback by Chelsea, who were 3-0 down at half-time after some farcical defending
“I’m probably just being a bit thick,” says Mac Millings, “but if it was a handball by Havertz, why would it matter what phase of play it was?”
Because the referee didn’t see it and VAR can only intervene if oh I haven’t a clue any more.
Both managers look disappointedas they leave the field - Slaven Bilic because West Brom lost a 3-0 lead, Frank Lampard because Chelsea were 3-0 down in the first place. It was a dramatic and slightly weird game, with some appalling defending from Chelsea in the first half. They fought back admirably after half time, with the substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi having his best game for many a month.
90+6 min Chelsea are pushing for a winner. Hudson-Odoi’s cross is booted somewhere, anywhere, by Field.
It was a clear handball from Havertz, so they must have decided it was a different phase of play. That’s debatable. After the ball hit Havertz’s arm it was half cleared by Robson-Kanu to Mount, whose low shot through a crowd was pushed away by the diving Johnstone. Abraham reacted quickest to walk the ball into the net.
Tammy Abraham equalises - but there might have been a handball in the build-up.
90+2 minMount’s cross is punched away unconvincingly by Johnstone. The ball falls to Werner, whose fierce shot is deflected over the bar.
90 minFive minutes of added time. West Brom make their final change: the excellent Matheus Pereira is replaced by Sam Field.
89 minWerner tries to play a give-and-go with Giroud in the area. One of the many West Brom defenders forces the ball away.
89 minWerner’s long-range shot is comfortably saved by Johnstone.
86 minChristensen is booked for clattering Robson-Kanu.
85 minWerner spins smartly on the left side of the area to lose Ajayi, who makes an excellent recovery tackle.
83 min James allows West Brom to waste a bit more time with a brainless foul on Pereira.
82 min Furlong is booked for timewasting at a throw-in.
79 min The corner is headed away as far as Phillips, whose shot from the edge of the area is blocked by Hudson-Odoi. I think that hit him in the face.
78 min An outrageous flick from Pereira finds Robson-Kanu, whose mishit shot deflects behind for a corner...
76 min Azpilicueta’s long-range curler is comfortably saved by Johnstone.
75 minWest Brom almost restore their two-goal lead. Sawyers, given far too much time to line up a shot, drives just wide from 25 yards.
74 minAnd now a change for West Brom. Matt Phillips replaces Grady Diangana.
73 minOlivier Giroud is coming on to replace Thiago Silva, which means a switch to three at the back.
That was immaculate from Chelsea.Hudson-Odoi cut infield from the left, played a slick one-two with Havertz and threaded a first-time shot into the far corner. West Brom thought there was a foul in the build-up to the goal; I’m not sure whether it was checked by VAR.
That is a beautiful goal.
68 minI’m surprised Olivier Giroud hasn’t come on; this situation is perfect for him.
67 minHudson-Odoi, who has been very dangerous since moving to the left, finds Mount in space on the edge of the D. His first shot hits one of the outrushing West Brom defenders.
66 minA change for West Brom. Hal Robson-Kanu replaces Callum Robinson, who scored two excellent early goals.
63 minMount’s first-time shot from the edge of the area has the string taken out of it by O’Shea.
62 minThe lively Hudson-Odoi wins a corner off Furlong. It’s a poor one from Mount, cleared at the near post by Pereira.
61 min Hudson-Odoi has a long-range shot blocked by Livermore. This will be a long half hour for West Brom.
60 minHudson-Odoi and Werner have switched wings, so Hudson-Odoi is now on the left.
59 min“Hi Rob,” says Peter Oh. “Chelsea’s back line are defending like there’s no Tomori.”
58 min Robinson, 35 yards out, tries to complete a hat-trick in style. Goalkick to Chelsea.
57 min Almost a second for Chelsea. After a nice touch from Mount, Havertz’s deflected shot is punched behind by the stretching Johnstone.
Azpilicueta played a simple ball to Mount, 25 yards from goal. He lost Livermore cleverly and cut across an excellent strike that beat Johnstone at the near post. Johnstone didn’t move so he must have been unsighted.
There’s one back.
54 min West Brom get a bit of a breather by keeping the ball for the best part of a minute.
53 min Abraham wins a corner for Chelsea, though West Brom are convinced the last touch was off him. Not that it matters - the corner is cleared.
51 min It’s all Chelsea. West Brom are struggling to get out of their third, never mind their half.
50 min“That Chelsea kit deserves to be 3-0 down, at least,” says Andy Bradshaw.
49 minHavertz plays a good pass to Abraham on the right of the area. He tries to find Werner but hie cross is cut out at the near post. It’s attack v defence, as it was for most of the first half.
47 min “Evening Rob,” says Tom Hopkins. “I suggest that Gary Megson could easily get a team into the top four this season. Just have a properly organised defence and wait for the other team to give you a present.”
46 minChelsea begin the second half.
Chelsea have made a double change: Alonso and Kovacic off, Azpilicueta and Hudson-Odoi on. Mason Mount will presumably move back into midfield.
“Well, on many occasions James has shown his talent,”writes Vinuja. “Hence why he has won Lampard’s trust. But hands down the work rate Azpilicueta delivers with his leadership skills is amazing.”
Peep peep! A combination of ruthless finishing and hideous defending means that Chelsea are 3-0 down in a game they have dominated. Callum Robinson scored twice, the second after a rank howler from Thiago Silva, and Kyle Bartley was given his own personal postcode to add a third. Football, eh.
45 min “The cultural exchange programme between Germany and the UK is working wonders,” says Giancarlo Sandoval. “In what other way could two young Germans experience anything similar to the feeling of losing 3-0 to West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns. I can’t think of anything as comparable or enriching.”
44 min Diangana shoots over from the edge of the area after a decent West Brom break. That’s their first shot of the match that hasn’t gone in.
43 min“It’s a tad opportunistic, but I’ve never thought Reece James warrants a starting spot,” says Roberto Álvarez. “Is there any right-back that defends better than Azpilicueta in the Premier League?”
Do you not think Azpilicueta is slightly past his best? In fairness to James, in this match he has been very dangerous at both ends.
41 minAlonso’s free-kick hits the wall.
41 min Kovacic is fouled by Sawyers 25 yards from goal. This time it’s to the right of centre, so Alonso will probably take it.
40 minChelsea have had 72 per cent possession and nine shots. West Brom have had three shots and lead 3-0.
40 minAnother chance for Abraham, who sweeps over the bar from James’ cutback. It wasn’t as clear as his earlier opportunity, though he should probably have worked Johnstone.
37 minIt took Chelsea five minutes or so to get over the shock of the second and third goals, but now they are dominating the match again.
34 minMount’s shot takes a deflection and spins a few yards wide of the far post. If Chelsea stay patient they can still draw or even win this game. It would help if they stopped playing silly buggers at the back as well.
33 min“Further to Simon McMahon’s story about enjoying life in the foothills of the apocalypse,” begins James Humphries, “I thought you might like to know that clicking over to the MBM just now having not looked at it since kick-off gave me the first genuine belly laugh I’ve had all week. I might go and open a beer myself.”
32 minA frustrated Havertz is lucky not to be booked for a lunge at Bartley. Chelsea, unsurprisingly, look shell-shocked.
31 min“Can they program the electronically generated crowd noise to do ‘Sacked in the morning?” wonders Jake Lynch.
29 minChelsea’s defending for all three goals has been, a-hem, imperfect.
The corner was angled sharply towards Furlong on the edge of the box. He flicked a header into the six-yard box, where Bartley had a scandalous amount of time to sidefoot the ball calmly into the corner. At first he looked offside, but replays show he was being played on by James.
Oh my days.
27 minDiangana wins a corner for Chelsea. Reece James has been booked for a foul earlier in the move.
Thiago received a return pass from Kovacic on the edge of the centre circle, but lost concentration and let the ball run under his foot. Robinson nipped in, charged through on goal and beat Caballero with an emphatic low drive.
Callum Robinson gets his second after a howler from Thiago Silva!
23 minJames’ cross is slightly behind Werner, who can only volley it up in the air. It loops towards goal and is claimed by Johnstone.
23 min“Has Lampard shown any nous to date, whether true actions or words, to suggest he deserves a job in the top two leagues?” says Andrew Hurley. “He has collected half forwards but has an absolutely terrible defence & has done very little (Thiago is too slow) to address it... does he think he’s playing Championship Manager?”
22 minKovacic loses the ball to Sawyers in midfield. Pereira floats a crossfield pass to Diangana, who chests the ball into the area and is about to shoot when Christensen makes a good interception.
21 minHavertz looks so much better as a No10 than he did in the first two league games, when he played wide right and then as a false nine.
20 min Havertz plays a good pass through to Mount, who moves to the edge of the area but then picks the wrong option.
19 minWerner skips past Furlong and flashes a cross that beats everyone in the middle. Chelsea are well on top, despite the scoreline.
16 min“I remember when Chelsea last kept a clean sheet in the league,” says Stephen Carr. “The year was 19-odd-six and I was wearing an onion on my belt - which was the style at the time...”
15 min: Werner hits the bar!It’s coming. Mount breaks into space down the right and clips a sharp cross towards Werner, whose cushioned volley clatters off the top of the bar.
14 minChelsea have had 77 per cent of the possession.
12 min: Abraham misses a great chance!Chelsea should be level. James, on the right, curls a wonderful cross into the corridor of uncertainty. It bounces up towards Abraham at the far post, but he slices it wide from six yards. Although the bounce was slightly awkward, Abraham should have scored.
10 min A good strike from Havertz, 20 yards from goal, is pushed away by the diving Johnstone. It was a comfortable save, but that’s a sign of Havertz’s increasing confidence.
10 minChelsea were having most of the ball even before West Brom scored. The goal has made them even more dominant, with West Brom playing on the break.
9 min“Rob,” says Simon McMahon. “I’m sitting at home with a glass of beer and a pretzel, Field Music’s Measure on the turntable, my team Dundee United having secured a solid point away from home, the last of the late September sunshine still drifting in through the window before the milky twilight descends. It doesn’t feel like the end of days, though I’m sure Romulus Augustus thought the same in 476. And he didn’t have VAR to worry about either.”
8 minAlonso is booked for pulling back Ajayi.
7 min Mount’s free-kick hits the wall.
6 minChelsea win a free-kick 25 yards out, slightly to the left of centre. Mount, Alonso and James are over the ball...
That was West Brom’s first attack. Alonso’s loose header was picked up by Pereira, who moved into space and slid an angled pass to Robinson on the edge of the area. He shifted it onto his left foot and hit a rasping drive that went through the legs of James, beat Caballero’s dive and nestled in the far corner.
Callum Robinson gives West Brom the lead with a cracking goal!
2 min Chelsea have set up as expected: 4-2-3-1, with Havertz behind Abraham. Werner is roaming from the left.
1 min Peep peep! West Brom kick off from left to right.
The players are ready to go on a cool evening at the Hawthorns. Chelsea are wearing their new third kit; it’s quite striking.
I forgot to say that Thiago Silva captains Chelsea on his Premier League debut. The club captain, Cesar Azpilicueta, is on the bench.
“Evening Rob,”says Matt Turland. “This season has had an absolute abundance of goals and today’s games have already kept up the goalfest. It may be tempting fate but this game is going to have goals in it, isn’t it? I mean, two suspect defences, two attacking ‘philosophies’ and a complete disregard for anything approaching tactics means it has to have goals.”
The goalless draw is in danger of becoming extinct.
“I see you have Christensen in the starting eleven,”says Lasse Espe. “Didn’t he earn a suspension after getting sent off against Liverpool?”
Yep - he served it during the Carabao Cup game in midweek.
Everton are top of the Premier League. They beat Crystal Palace 2-1 at Selhurst Park to continue their great start, though the winning goal came from another debatable penalty.
Willy Caballero replaces poor Kepa in goal. Thiago Silva makes his Premier League debut and Tammy Abraham also starts. West Brom make one change from the team that lost at Goodison last weekend: Conor Townsend replaces the suspended Kieran Gibbs.
West Brom (3-4-2-1)Johnstone; Ajayi, Bartley, O’Shea; Furlong, Livermore, Sawyers, Townsend; Pereira, Diangana; Robinson.
Substitutes: Button, Kipre, Phillips, Harper, Field, Robson-Kanu, Edwards.
Hello. It’s not just students who have had their buzz harshed by Covid-19 restrictions. Promoted teams rely on their home form to establish themselves in the Premier League, so the absence of crowds - rabid, newly promoted crowds at that - is likely to impact their chances of survival.
Under normal circumstances the Hawthorns would be boinging for the visit of Chelsea. Without home support, the players will have to generate their own defiance. We’re only two games into a long season, but West Brom need a decent result as a matter of urgency. They lost those games 3-0 and 5-2, although they did play well at Everton until Kieran Gibbs got himself sent off just before half-time. It does get a bit easier after today, at least in theory: their next four games are against Southampton, Burnley, Brighton and Fulham.Continue reading...
Ole Gunnar Solskjær believes Manchester United's controversial match-winning penalty is just the boost the club needed after scoring their first Premier League win of the season at Brighton.Continue reading...
Everton’s win over Crystal Palace took them top of the Premier League table while Reading beat Cardiff to go top of the Championship
I’m back! Before I go, some quotes that are worth reporting. Roy Hodgson has done his post-match interview, and when he was asked about the handball decision that led to the decisive penalty, he didn’t hold back at all:
I think the rule’s a nonsense, that’s what I think. And I can’t understand how we, football, thinking about the Premier League, the referees, ourselves, the coaches and managers, and I’m thinking about the players, how we’ve allowed this rule to come into operation is beyond me, and it’s ruining the game of football, there’s no question about that. Because the rules of football which are understood and are accepted by people from quite an early age, these days we’re in a situation where even we, experienced coaches and players, even we can’t understand what constitutes a handball and what doesn’t.
I’ve just seen it on the screen, and the idea that this constitutes handball, it’s just a nonsense. I don’t want to profit by it, I don’t want to lose by it, but there’s no doubt that it’s killing the game of football.
And with that I’m going to tootle off. Bye!
While here’s a thing on Derby’s home humbling by Blackburn:
Jonathan Liew has filed his match report from Selhurst Park:
Briefly and improbably, Everton are top of the Premier League. They got there not by clerical error, or through a sudden and unexplained vaporisation of all the teams beginning with letters from A to D, but by winning their third game in a row: a greasy, hard-fought, relentless entertaining arm-wrestle with Crystal Palace at a drenched and freezing Selhurst Park.
They were the better team, the more ambitious team, the more attractive team to watch, and yet they still largely owed their win to the butterfly wings of VAR: Richarlison’s first-half penalty being awarded for a painfully harsh handball against Joel Ward. Nonetheless, they continue to make strides under Carlo Ancelotti, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin notching his fifth goal of the season and the defence putting in another solid shift.
Carlo Ancelotti refuses to be drawnon whether he thinks today’s penalty decision, or the rules themselves, are fair, saying only that “we all have to adapt”. Otherwise, these are his thoughts:
The result was good. The first half was good, second half more difficult. Crystal Palace put a lot of pressure on us second half. We defended well. It was important to see the spirit of the team. It is good, because we have started the season well. We have to look for the momentum, we have to know that every game will be difficult. We have to keep motivation, ambition also, because we are doing really well but we have to know that danger is behind us all the time when we don’t behave properly.
Here’s a reporton the lunchtimely Herts-Beds derby, which Watford largely controlled but only just won:
We have two football-focused liveblogs ongoing still. There’s this one:
Reading are on their own at the topof the Championship after winning 2-1 at Cardiff, their third win on the spin. With Nottingham Forest losing yesterday, Wycombe failing at lunchtime and Derby thrashed 4-0 at home by Blackburn this afternoon, Sheffield Wednesday, who started the season on -12, could reduce their deficit to just five points if they win tomorrow. They are however away at Bristol City, who have won their first two and will go top if they win by two or more goals (though a 2-0 win would take them above Reading only on alphabetical order).
“Only one second-half goalin Scotland, Simon,” writes our voluntary part-time north-of-the-border correspondent Simon McMahon. “Unfortunately for United fans it came for Hamilton, where it ended 1-1. As Captain Blackadder might have said, ‘bugger’.”
Ipswich and Hull kept their 100% records going in League One and sit first and second respectively, both winning 2-0 today. Meanwhile at the start of the day Wigan, Crewe and Oxford were at the bottom of the League One table without a point between them, but they all won today and Oxford’s 4-1 thrashing of Accrington was emphatic enough to lift them from 24th this morning to 12th by nightfall.
An odd day in League Two,where ninth-placed (at the start of the day) Newport were the highest-placed side to actually win a game. Not a lot of goals about in those games either: second-placed Port Vale drew 0-0 with third-placed Harrogate, fourth-placed Salford drew 0-0 with seventh-placed Forest Green, and first-placed Cambridge, who won their first two games 3-0 and 5-0, drew 0-0 with Tranmere. The upshot is that Newport are now joint top, but third on goal difference behind Cambridge and Port Vale.
Every game in the Football Leagueis now over, and here are the final scores:
The last time Everton wontheir first three games of a season in all competitions was quite a while ago:
Another game, another win, and Everton are top of the Premier League table with a 100% record at the end of September!
Some photographs just scream out: turn me into a spot the ball competition please.
Not so fast!Another penalty, and Jeremy Bela, who conceded the Rotherham penalty a couple of minutes ago, scores from the spot to equalise for Birmingham!
Rotherham have taken a late leadat Birmingham, Kieran Sadlier smashing a penalty into the top corner to make it 0-1.
Cardiff have pulled a goal backat home to Reading, Lee Tomlin squeezing the ball in at the far post after the ball rebounded to him, and will be sniffing comeback in the Welsh air now.
Derby are now 4-0 downat home to Blackburn, Adam Armstrong scoring the visitors’ latest. Blackburn have had 21 shots so far, which strikes me as rather a lot.
Calvert-Lewin misses another excellent chance!Sigurdsson’s shot deflects into his path, but with Kouyate readying a challenge he hurries his effort and it’s easily saved.
Some team newsfrom the Hawthorns, where Kepa is left out of the Chelsea team and Tammy Abraham starts up front alongside Timo Werner:
West Brom:Johnstone, Furlong, Ajayi, Bartley, O’Shea, Townsend, Matheus Pereira, Livermore, Sawyers, Diangana, Robinson. Subs:Robson-Kanu, Phillips, Harper, Edwards, Kipre, Button, Field.
Chelsea:Caballero, James, Christensen, Thiago Silva, Alonso, Kante, Kovacic, Havertz, Mount, Werner, Abraham. Subs:Arrizabalaga, Jorginho, Barkley, Tomori, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi, Azpilicueta.
Referee: Jonathan Moss.
Zaha’s shot hits Calvert-Lewin’s arm, but the limb was in front of his chest and VAR doesn’t think it penalty-worthy.
There have been a lot of half-chances at Selhurst Park, but no second-half goals. Rodrigues had the most recent of them, but his volley from 15 yards or so was blocked.
It looks like Readingwill end the day on the top of the Championship table. Lucas Joao has given them a 2-0 lead at Cardiff, and if they manage to win they will be the only team on nine points tonight. Bristol City could catch them if they beat Sheffield Wednesday at home tomorrow afternoon.
And as I type thatIpswich score a second, Gwion Edwards tucking in the loose ball after it deflects to him inside the penalty area.
League Two’s two teamswho started the day with 100% records, Cambridge and Port Vale, are both in danger of losing them, drawing 0-0 as they are at present. Of the three teams in League One protecting unblemished records, Ipswich and Hull are both winning, 1-0 at home to Rochdale and 2-0 at Northampton respectively. Lincoln play Charlton tomorrow.
“Afternoon Simon,”writes occasional voluntary Scotland correspondent Simon McMahon. “Goals in all three of todays SPL matches. Lawrence Shankland got his second in as many games on his return from injury to give Micky Mellon’s Dundee United the half time lead at Hamilton. Livingston are 2-0 up at home to St. Johnstone, and St. Mirren trail 1-0 at home to Kilmarnock.”
What a chance for Everton!Rodrigues takes a corner on the left, and Calvert-Lewin makes an excellent run, beats his man, rises, and volleys miserably wide!
Dominic Samuel has scoredfour minutes into each half, and Gillingham thus lead Blackpool 2-0.
Play is back under way at Crystal Palace, and the first goal of the second half has come at Cardiff, where Michael Morrison has given Reading the lead.
Oxford United are 1-0 up at Accrington, but the story of the day is undoubtedly the tale of their journey to the game:
Here’s Luton’s head coach,Nathan Jones, on his side’s performance in their derby defeat at Watford today. It doesn’t appear he was massively chuffed:
A real lacklustre game, the most lacklustre derby you have ever seen. I don’t think you would realise it was a derby. We were flat. I am just flabbergasted by the performance. I did not see that coming. I thought at least we would be right at it. If there had been fans in the stadium they would have demanded more. I can’t complain at taking six points from nine, it’s just this game. I wanted more from us today. We have been used to winning games and today of all days we could have done without that. We lost every header, we lost every second ball, we didn’t test the goalkeeper. It wasn’t a derby performance and it wasn’t a Luton performance. My players didn’t respond to the level of game it was.
They have played half of the time at Selhurst Park, and Everton have the lead. They have dominated the game, conceded way against the run of play, and look the better team by a distance, but general consensus on that penalty seems to be full-on outrage.
Well it’s another shot on target,but it floated goalwards so slowly that despite starting on the opposite side of the goal Guaita saved it with ease.
They’re deep into stoppage timeat Selhurst Park, and there’ll be four minutes of it. Everton have had 68% of possession, lead 3-1 on shots on target, and they’re about to have another shooting chance as Rodrigues is fouled just outside the box.
“If this handball nonsense continueswe’ll see players signed only on agreement of their arms being removed,” writes Harry Palmer. Players just have to be coached to hold their hands behind their backs in every defensive situation, because as the regulations currently stand referees are allowed to show very little mercy if ball hits arm. There was nothing even close to intent there, and the player’s arm was only fractionally away from his body.
Stoke are a goal up at Preston,Lee Gregory tapping in at the far post from John Obi Mikel’s excellent low centre.
Richarlison cracks the penalty into the top left corner, and Everton are back in front!
The ball hit Ward’s hand, there’s no doubt about that. But it was headed pretty firmly into it, and it was hanging pretty close to the defender’s side. Extremely harsh.
At Selhurst Park there’s a long VAR review for handball, a second review in a couple of minutes, both for incidents in the Crystal Palace area. And Swindon are 3-0 up now, Mathieu Baudry with their latest.
Swindon are 2-0 up at home to Burton,who have according to Jeff Stelling on Sky conceded at least twice in every away game since November.
QPR have equalisedagainst Middlesbrough, Bright Osayi-Samuel snaffling a rebound in front of goal.
I hate to say it, but I think a commanding, confident goalkeeper deals with that. Pickford could have attacked it and punched it clear, but instead he retreated and was beaten.
Townsend curls in a corner from the right, and Kouyate convincingly wins the header against Richarlison at the back post, and there’s no stopping that!
More on Calvert-Lewin’sconversion to goalpoacher extraordinaire:
How to be a penalty-box poacher, by Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
His first five goals of the season came from nine shots, all in the centre of the goal and no further away than the penalty spot. pic.twitter.com/OYxjd1laBF
Brentford have equalised at Millwall,Ivan Toney with a penalty to make it 1-1. And Chuba Akpom has scored on his debut for Middlesbrough after signing from PAOK, and they lead 1-0 at QPR.
“Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s positional switch from centre-FORWARD to CENTRE-forward is really paying off,” notes Gary Naylor. Well indeed.
And again!This time the two previous goalscorers combine, Tyrhys Dolan does some twinkletoed lollipop-heavy trickery on the right, his cross is headed clear to Bradley Johnson, and his volleyed drive deflects into the net! It’s Derby 0-3 Blackburn!
And another!Bradley Johnson sends a left-footed 25-yard screamer into the corner of the net about 90 seconds later and it’s Derby 0-2 Blackburn!
Derby are one of the Championship’s pointless teams, and as it stands they still will be at the end of the day - Tyrhys Dolan has given Blackburn a 1-0 lead at Pride Park, tapping in after Ben Brereton’s shot hit the post and cannoned into his shin. He didn’t know much about, I don’t think.
Before today Swindon and Burtonwere absolutely unsplittable - both had one win, one defeat, three goals for and three against. They’ve been split now, though, Jordan Stevens scoring in the seventh minute of his debut on loan from Leeds!
Everton take the lead! Good work from Coleman on the right, and a lovely James Rodriguez pass to find him running beyond Mitchell, and his pull-back is tailor-made for Calvert-Lewin. His shot is straight at Guaita, but the keeper can only help it into his net!
Millwall have taken an early leadat home to Brentford, Jed Wallace with an excellent header from an excellent left-wing cross. There’s an absolutely superb bit of boot-losing in the build-up as well, a defender’s footwear flying off his foot and windmilling into the air before the cross came in.
A week ago Dominic Samuel was a free agent, having been released by Blackburn back in July. Today he’s scored in the fourth minute of his Gillingham debut, and they lead Blackpool 1-0.
Whoever wins the match between Palace and Everton (which will start shortly, after a minute’s silence for Matt Ratana, the police officer shot and killed in Croydon this week) will top the table at the final whistle, and possibly the rest of the weekend. “2020 has sucked but this is just wonderful,” writes Mary Waltz. “My head and history tells me winter is coming but I am shutting off my brain and simply shouting we are top of the table! Go you blues!”
Looking at the photographsthat are coming into the sports desk from across the country, one big question stands out: what exactly is happening just to our left of the door to Everton’s coach? Whatever it is, it looks really exciting.
Roy Hodgson explains that Jeffrey Schluppcame down with a minor injury in training, explaining his absence from Crystal Palace’s team this afternoon.
Here’s a report on Manchester United’s dramatic, woodwork-reliant victory over Brighton:
The early Championship games have finished:Swansea, who still haven’t conceded a goal, won 2-0 at pointless Wycombe, who still haven’t scored one; Luton’s 100% record came to an end at Watford, who also haven’t conceded a goal and today scored one of their own through Joao Pedro, on his 19th birthday. The two victors are top of the pre-3pm table with seven points from three games, though there are half a dozen teams who could overtake them over the course of the afternoon. Here’s the top of the table:
A last-minute-of-stoppage-time equaliserfor Brighton against Manchester United - you can follow the last knockings of that game with Rob Smyth here:
Another week without fansin English league grounds, but in Germany the stands at the Opel Arena are fairly busy this afternoon:
Here are those teams,with Everton unchanged and Palace giving Eberechi Eze a first start:
Crystal Palace: Guaita, Ward, Kouyate, Sakho, Mitchell, Townsend, McCarthy, McArthur, Eze, Ayew, Zaha. Subs:Milivojevic, Meyer, Hennessey, Benteke, Batshuayi, Kelly, Riedewald.
Everton:Pickford, Coleman, Mina, Keane, Digne, Doucoure, Allan, Andre Gomes, Rodriguez, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison. Subs:Kenny, Sigurdsson, Iwobi, Bernard, Davies, Kean, Lossl.
Team news should starttrickling through any moment now. I’m happy to post the line-ups from any game you’re interested in, like some kind of team-news jukebox, otherwise I’ll just put up the ones from Selhurst Park.
Only one of today’s four Premier League fixtures is being played on our watch, so it’s an afternoon to train our beady focus upon the Football League. There are 28 3pm BST kick-offs across the three divisions, so there’ll surely be goals and drama, but beyond that we’ll be looking to see what coincidences look ready to become full-blown trends.
There are, for example, nine teams in the Football League who haven’t either scored a goal or won a point (for the record: Barnsley, Nottingham Forest*, Wycombe (who host Swansea at lunchtime), Crewe, Oxford, Bolton, Oldham, Grimsby and Southend); another couple who have scored but still don’t have a point (Derby and Wigan); a few who have points but still haven’t scored (Stoke, Portsmouth and Tranmere); eight with 100% records after two games (Reading, Bristol City, Luton, Ipswich, Lincoln, Hull, Cambridge and Port Vale); and 12 who haven’t conceded (including Portsmouth, the nation’s boredom specialists, who haven’t scored either).Continue reading...
Briefly and improbably, Everton are top of the Premier League. They got there not by clerical error or through a sudden and unexplained vaporisation of all the teams beginning with letters from A to D, but by winning their third game in a row: a greasy, hard-fought, relentlessly entertaining arm wrestle at a drenched and freezing Selhurst Park.
They were the better team, the more ambitious team, the more attractive team, and yet they still largely owed their win to the butterfly wings of VAR: Richarlison’s first-half penalty being awarded for a painfully harsh handball against Joel Ward.Continue reading...
I’ll leave you with a match report from the Amex. Bye!
“Did the referee blow his whistle before the penalty check?”says Ruth Purdue. “What are the rules on that?”
I’m pretty sure he did, but I think the game can restart in the event of a VAR check. There was a game in 2018 when some of the players were in the dressing-room when a penalty was awarded. I’ll be honest, though, I haven’t a clue.
I’ve just watched the build-up to United’s winner again. It’s hard to be sure without a slow-motion replay, but it looks like the ball was out of play before van de Beek won the corner.
Bruno Fernandes speaks“It was a difficult game. We know Brighton are a really good team and in the first half we gave them too much space to play. We were not as aggressive as I want. We gave away two goals – I can do much better for the penalty, I need to stop early. The point is to score goals, not hit the crossbar or post. It sometimes happens to us as well. We can do much better, especially on the goals we conceded.”
One thing I’d like to seeis whether van de Beek kept the ball in before the corner that eventually led to the goal.
That was a bonkers game of football. Some of the Brighton players, Lallana certainly, are effing and jeffing at the referee Chris Kavanagh as he leaves the field. I’m not sure why - Brighton were desperately unlucky, having hit the woodwork five times, but I don’t think they were robbed.
It was a stunning penalty, rifled into the top-right corner.
Fernandes scores emphatically with the last kick of the game!
90+10 min Bruno Fernandes will take the penalty. We’re in the tenth of the five added minutes.
90+9 min What on earth was Maupay doing?
90+9 min: PENALTY TO UNITED!
90+8 min: This will be a penalty.Maguire’s header hit the raised arm of Maupay. It was then headed off the line by March and the final whistle went. This is extraordinary.
90+7 min Maguire’s header is cleared off the line by March - but they are checking for handball and there’s a bit of a ruck. The final whistle has gone but I think we’re going to have a United penalty!
90+7 minUnited win a corner on the left.
It’s a thoroughly deserved equaliser for Brighton. Jahanbakhsh curled over a beautiful cross from the right that beat everyone at the near post and bounced up towards March, who headed in from close range. He was completely unmarked, having run away from Bruno Fernandes (I think).
Solly March has equalised in the last minute of injury time!
90+3 min: Vital save from de Gea!Trossard should have equalised. Brighton kept the ball alive from that Gross corner, and eventually Alzate forced it through to Trossard on the six-yard line. He turned smartly but then poked the ball straight at de Gea, who saved with his legs.
90+2 minGross’s corner is poor and Shaw heads it away at the near post.
90+2 minMarch runs at Wan-Bissaka, who stretches to concede the corner...
90 minFive minutes of added time.
90 minDonny van de Beek comes on for United in place of Anthony Martial, who looked a bit livelier without being anywhere near his best.
89 min“Imagine that!” says Mary Waltz. “United parking the bus against mighty, mighty Brighton. It’s 2020, the world’s turned upside down.”
88 minThe corner is headed over his own bar by Martial. The referee gives a goalkick.
87 minJahanbakhsh wins a corner for Brighton, who are pushing hard for an equaliser. It’ll be a travesty if they lose this game.
85 minAfter some lovely interplay on the right, White’s deep cross is volleyed over by March at the far post. He was only six yards out and that was another good chance.
83 minMason Greenwood is replaced by Eric Bailly, which means United will switch to a back three for the last seven minutes.
83 minDunk is booked for a foul on Rashford.
80 minLamptey’s cross hits the head of Lindelof and reaches March beyond the far post. His shot is deflected over the bar by the sliding Wan-Bissaka, a very important intervention.
79 minBrighton are really on top now.
76 min: Trossard hits the bar!This is ridiculous. He’s hit the woodwork three times, Brighton have hit it five times. Jahanbakhsh clipped a lovely crossfield pass to find him in space in the inside-left channel. An immaculate first touch set him up to blast a left-footed shot that beat de Gea for pace and thumped off the bar.
76 minFernandes has had a fairly quiet game, yet he has still made both goals. He is so important to this team.
75 minFernandes’ free-kick is only half cleared to Martial, whose shot is blocked by White. Rashford then has another effort blocked.
74 min A double change for Brighton: Pascal Gross and Alireza Jahanbakhsh replace Connolly and Lallana.
74 minWhite is booked for a foul on Luke Shaw.
71 minWhite makes a vital tackle on Martial in the area. Fernandes’ beautiful pass put Martial through, and he was about to shoot when White appeared to poke the ball away.
68 min Maupay does very well to win the ball on the edge of the United area, fight his way past a couple of players and manufacture a shot that is comfortably saved by de Gea.
65 minA Manchester United change: Fred replaces Paul Pogba, who didn’t have a great game.
63 minTrossard finds March in space on the left edge of the area. He beats Greenwood with ease and hammers a cross that is cleared at the near post by Lindelof. Brighton still look very dangerous.
62 min United break dangerously, only for Martial to play a poor pass to Shaw in the area. They’ve been a lot better in the second half.
61 min“Connolly is a fine player and has put my heart in my throat multiple times today, but how has he not been booked for diving yet?” says Matthew Richman. “That last one ahead of Maguire was especially egregious.”
60 minThe scoreline is so harsh on Brighton. It’s even harsher now: March has hit the post!That’s the fourth time they’ve hit the woodwork. Brighton worked the ball beautifully from right to left, with Maupay eventually finding March in space on the left side of the area. He dragged a low shot across goal that beat de Gea and bounced off the inside of the post.
60 min“Poor Ben White,” says Mary Waltz. “Rashford made him look like a puppet on a string. Wonderful.”
59 min“Surely Henrik Larsson was United’s last successful panic signing?” says Nick Parish. “Didn’t stay long but had a huge impact. Is he still playing?”
Henrik Larsson was a glorious footballer but I never understood all the excitement about his time at United. He was fine but he didn’t really do much, and he kept Saha (who had been instrumental in United’s rebirth that season) out of the side.
58 minConnolly goes over again in the area, this time after a challenge from behind by Maguire. Chris Kavanagh says no penalty and VAR agrees. There was a slight shove from Maguire but not enough for a foul.
That was such a cool finish.Fernandes put him clear in the inside-left channel with a lovely pass. Rashford cut into the area, dummied to shoot and beat White. Then he ran past the covering Dunk, dummied to shoot again and twisted away from White a second time. Finally he battered a left-footed shot that hit the lunging Dunk and flew into the net. It was on target so it’s Rashford’s goal.
Marcus Rashford scores a beauty!
54 minUnited’s tempo has been much better since half-time, which suggests they received an appreciable brollocking from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
53 min VAR’s having a blinder.
Yep, Rashford was just offside when he slid Greenwood’s cross past Ryan at the near post.
That’s a cracking finish, though he might be offside.
51 minI don’t know what to make of that. I don’t think it would have been overturned last season, so VAR is improving.
NO PENALTYConnolly stepped across Pogba and went over. I don’t think it was a foul, and Chris Kavanagh has reversed his decision.
VAR pendingThe referee has gone across to look at the pitchside monitor, so maybe it will be overturned.
47 min: PENALTY TO BRIGHTON!Connolly went over after a clumsy challenge from Pogba, who has been booked. It’s pretty soft - Pogba didn’t do much wrong as Connolly stepped across him - but I’m not sure it will be overturned.
46 min Peep peep! Brighton begin the second half.
“Maguire really should score more goals considering how often he wins the ball at set pieces in the opposition box,” says David Wall. “You’d think that would be the difficult part especially as he so often gets a clean contact. He has the potential to be as prolific as Steve Bruce used to be (aside from the penalties) if he worked on his finishing more.”
Yep, agreed, although at the moment his biggest concern is the day job.
“They lost the first two in 1992-93 as well, a season that picked up somewhat,” says Robert Hanley. “Cantona arrived soon after, the last successful panic signing at United.”
Of course they did, FFS. 1986-87 was the last time they lost the first three.
Fans or no fans, this will be a belter.
“Hi Rob,”says Wayne Farrell. “the problem with Man Utd is that all their best players are in really bad form, Rashford, Martial, Fernandez, Maguire, Pogba. Although it’s debatable if Pogba is one of Man Utd’s best players cause in my opinion since he’s been moved deeper he has no impact on games at all, a complete passenger, a 5 or 6 every game which for an £89m player is farcical.
“I think the fact that so many players are in bad form is the responsibility of the coaching team. Motivation and confidence comes from them. The team seem to be strangers together, really remind of the England team in most international tournaments (expect 2018 WC).”
Peep peep! That was a difficult half for United, who were outplayed by an excellent Brighton side. Brighton hit the woodwork three times before Neal Maupay gave them the lead with a Panenka, but they had been ahead for only three minutes when Lewis Dunk scored an own goal.
45 minMatic’s long-range shot is patted down by Ryan.
The goal came from a free-kickjust outside the area on the left wing. Fernandees absolutely hammered it towards the far post, where Matic did well to push the ball back into the middle from the byline. Maguire and Dunk challenged for it on the six-yard line and it ended up in the net. It looks like an own goal.
United are level!
42 min The last time United lost their first two league games was in 1986-87, Ron Atkinson’s last season as manager.
41 minMatic is booked for a hand-off into Connolly’s face.
That was a delicious bit of arrogance.He kissed the ball softly down the middle as de Gea dived to his left.
Maupay scores with an outrageous Panenka!
Lamptey cut across Fernandes and brushed his leg.He knew what he was doing but it’s still a penalty. It all stemmed from a mistake by Wan-Bissaka, who was harassed into losing the ball by March.
PENALTY TO BRIGHTON!Bruno Fernandes has been penalised for a clumsy challenge on Lamptey. I don’t think this will be overturned.
37 min March plays an excellent pass to leave Connolly one against one with Maguire. Connolly is slightly indecisive, though, and Matic gets back to dispossess him. That was a chance.
36 min“United has too much quality to be playing this constipated brand of football,” says Mary Waltz.
It’s fascinating - and slightly alarming - how different they look from the team that hammered Brighton here in June. Especially as it’s the same starting XI.
34 min“Ok, I get that United’s squad isn’t exactly overflowing with top quality midfielders,” says Matt Dony. “And I get that he has had his moments while playing for Chelsea and United (generally a good few years ago), but Matic still being picked for what is ostensibly one of the top sides in the country seems perverse. Even Mourinho would be thinking twice by now.”
I think he’s been really good in the last few months. The bigger problem is Pogba, who is getting worse. He isn’t even a luxury player any more.
33 min: Greenwood has a goal disallowed for offside! It was a slick move involving Martial and Rashford, but replays showed Rashford was offside before he found Greenwood.
30 min: Webster hits the bar!That’s the third time Brighton have hit the woodwork. March’s free-kick was partially cleared by Maguire and came to Maupay on the right. He lofted a half-volley back into the middle, where Webster looped a header towards goal. de Gea backpedalled desperately and the ball bounced off the top of the bar. He might have got a touch, I’m not sure.
27 min“There is a reason why United have begun this season like this - lack of match fitness,” says Digvijay Yadav. “United have played a couple of games till now (due to rest after playing in Europe) while others have played 6-7. City were lucky in that they faced Wolves who were in the same boat. Of course, another signing will help but there are mitigating circumstances.”
While I take your point, and I think it’s a factor, they’re only one or two games behind everyone else aren’t they?
24 minMaupay wins a corner off Matic. Trossard’s inswinger is punched away unconvincingly by de Gea. Maupay heads the loose ball down to Connolly, who drags a volley well wide from 15 yards.
23 minUnited’s performance has been pedestrian at best.
22 minBruno Fernandes is booked for a lunge at Maupay.
21 min: Trossard hits the other post!That was another excellent effort. Alzate played a lovely ball between the lines to find Trossard in space, 20 yards from goal. He got it onto his left foot and cracked a low shot across goal that brushed the outside of the far post.
19 minA wicked inswinging cross from Fernandes on the left just evades Martial and bounces a couple of yards wide of the far post.
18 min After a good move from Brighton, March’s low cross deflects off Lindelof and into the hands of a de Gea.
17 minLamptey plays a loose pass that is picked up by Greenwood 20 yards from goal. He moves into the area but drives well wide from a tight angle.
13 min March’s lofted free-kick is headed away by Maguire.
13 minLamptey goes on his first eye-catching run, charging infield before being fouled by Matic 35 yards from goal.
12 minBrighton look dangerous on the counter-attack. Connolly moves into space and finds Maupay, whose long-range shot is blocked by Lindelof.
10 minUnited haven’t made the greatest start, with some sloppy passing and a bit of lethargy. Brighton have been much more cohesive.
9 min: Trossard hits the post!That was a great effort. Alzate fed a nice pass into him on the edge of the area. He took a quick touch and then crashed a left-footed shot that beat de Gea and smacked the outside of the post.
7 minBrighton have settled into the game and are passing the ball around nicely. They’re a very likeable team.
5 min These teams meet again here on Wednesday in the Carabao Cup, although most of these players probably won’t be involved.
4 minMaupay wins the first corner of the game for Brighton. March takes it short to Lallana, whose cross is kicked away at the near post. I’m surprised March didn’t swing that in towards de Gea and allow the wind to take effect.
3 min A quiet start, nowt to report. United have had most of the ball.
2 min“Am so pleased Lallana recovered so promptly,” says Ian Copestake. “Felt bad for him seeing him go off on his debut. Mind you, he never recovered that quickly at Liverpool so not that I am so fickle as to change my opinion within one post but he is dead to me.”
1 minPeep peep! United kick off from right to left.
It’s a windy day down in Brighton. Both teams are ready - Brighton are wearing in their lovely new home kit, United their new red strip.
“You weren’t the only oneexpecting Lindelof to be dropped (rested?) today,” says Neil Carter. “He was deemed to be fatigued during the last round of internationals and looked awful last week. Maybe two games for Eric in a week is too much though he is a fragile. Anyway an improved but still disjointed performance expected today against a well organised Brighton so 1-1 my prediction.”
“I think you mean Ron Burgundy,”says Keith Geoghegan (and tens of others). “Not sure why Ron Jeremy would be on your mind.”
Ach, apologies, I’ve amended it now.
“Afternoon, Rob,” says Ian Copestake. “On the crisis front, it is kind of understandable now given that any team with title pretentions can’t lose more than one game thanks to City driving Liverpool to such heights. And even a draw is looking like the new loss.”
The 1-0 win is the new loss.
Adam Lallana replaces Yves Bissoumain the Brighton midfield, an attacking decision from Graham Potter. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has gone back to the XI that won 3-0 here in June. That’s a bit of a surprise; I thought Eric Bailly would replace Victor Lindelof.
Brighton (3-4-3)Ryan; White, Dunk, Webster; Lamptey, Lallana, Alzate, March; Trossard, Connolly, Maupay.
Substitutes: Steele, Bernardo, Burn, Veltman, Gross, Molumby, Jahanbakhsh.
Manchester United (4-2-3-1) de Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Pogba, Matic; Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford; Martial.
Substitutes: Henderson, Bailly, Fosu-Mensah, Lingard, Fred, van de Beek, McTominay.
Morning. You don’t need to have seen the film Anchorman to know it’s the source of the phrase, “Well, that escalated quickly.” We see it on memes all the time, with a picture of the film’s lead character Ron Burgundy. The main reason it’s such a popular meme is that, in modern society, things doescalate pretty darn quickly.
Look at Manchester United. They ended the 2019-20 season in a state of giddy optimism; six weeks later, it’s all doom and gloom. United have been all hat and no cattle in the transfer market, and they were alarmingly bad in last weekend’s 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace. If they lose today at Brighton, the media - traditional and social - will go to town. Ludicrous after only two league games, no question, but it’s an immutable law of Premier League coverage that at least one club must be IN CRISIS.Continue reading...
It was an occasion when Ole Gunnar Solskjær was reminded of the adage about how it is better to be a lucky general. Manchester United secured their first points of the season after a heavy-legged performance that lacked direction for long spells and a finale that could be best described as bonkers but what made the difference in the final analysis was the framework of David de Gea’s goal.
Almost ridiculously, Brighton rattled the posts and crossbar five times, with Leandro Trossard doing so three times. Adam Webster and Solly March were also denied. Since Opta began compiling statistics in 2003 for hitting the woodwork, no team had done so more than three times in a Premier League game.Continue reading...
José Mourinho wants to generate momentum and, after three wins in three in all competitions, the signs are encouraging, particularly with Harry Kane and Son Heung-min combining well. The challenge for them will be to make the running against a Newcastle team that will most likely be compact and look to strike on the counter. There have been times under Mourinho when this has been beyond them. Newcastle have won four of their last six in the league at Tottenham. David Hytner
Sunday 2pm Sky Sports Premier LeagueContinue reading...
Sheffield United have failed to make the solid start to their second season in the Premier League their form last term suggested, in fact they have now lost their last six league games in a row, which is a worry going into the first top-flight edition of this particular Yorkshire derby for 26 years. The Blades will also have to do without defender John Egan, sent off last time out against Aston Villa, and will be aware Leeds have scored seven times in their opening two fixtures. That said, they have conceded seven times as well, and Marcelo Bielsa has admitted work needs to be done on the defence. Paul Wilson
Sunday midday BT Sport 1Continue reading...