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Author Archive for Jacob Steinberg at Wembley

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Manchester City’s Phil Foden excels in role earmarked for Jorginho | Jacob Steinberg

The teenager played with poise and maturity to leave City fans with little cause to regret losing out to Chelsea on JorginhoThe first time Manchester City’s supporters spotted Jorginho on the ball, they could not resist booing the man who turned down P…

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Harry Kane and Dele Alli on target for Tottenham as Watford regret misses

If this is the stage of the season when the result is all that matters, then Tottenham will reflect on this victory with a measure of satisfaction. They were rarely at their cohesive best and there were times when their anxious mindset threatened to su…

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Pep Guardiola: ‘Premier League is harder to win than the Champions League’

• Manchester City manager says title would atone for European exit• ‘The league is everything … the players deserve all my respect’Pep Guardiola insisted that the Premier League is harder to win than the Champions League after Manchester City took a …

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Gabriel Jesus sets Manchester City on their way to victory over Tottenham

If the true test of a team is how they cope in times of adversity, then Manchester City provided plenty of evidence of their claim to greatness with the response to their exit from the Champions League.The critics who had hoped to see another collapse …

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Tottenham outclass uninspired Everton as Harry Kane reaches new milestone

Unfortunately for Cenk Tosun, his first taste of English football will be remembered for all the wrong reasons from Everton’s perspective. The Turkish striker certainly did not disgrace himself on his debut and his performance was the only bright spot …

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Women’s FA Cup final: Carli Lloyd strikes as Manchester City beat Birmingham

• Birmingham City 1-4 Manchester City
• Wellings; Bronze, Christiansen, Lloyd, Scott

The only consolation for Birmingham City was that few teams are capable of containing Manchester City when they are in this mood. This was a formidable show of force and an emphatic way to underline how they are setting new standards at the top of the women’s game in England.

More than 35,000 supporters bought tickets and while they saw a match between two teams who looked like they were playing different sports at times, there could be no doubt that they were given full value by a swaggering performance from City. The victory ensured they became the first English team to hold all three major trophies at the same time.

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Harry Kane says Tottenham are focused on league title fight after FA Cup exit

• Kane: ‘We want to finish strong in the league’
• Spurs face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Wednesday

Harry Kane believes Tottenham Hotspur have shown Chelsea that the title race is far from over after pushing the Premier League leaders hard in their FA Cup semi-final.

Tottenham left Wembley licking their wounds after losing 4-2 to Antonio Conte’s side and one school of thought is that they suffered significant psychological damage at the hands of their London rivals. They can prove otherwise by winning at Crystal Palace on Wednesday, however, and Kane preferred to focus on the positives, arguing that Chelsea will certainly not be taking Mauricio Pochettino’s team lightly.

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Antonio Conte’s new guard maintain Chelsea’s fighting spirit of old | Jacob Steinberg

Eden Hazard and co have a softer edge than their predecessors but proved against Tottenham that they can stand firm despite losing the likes of John Terry

Told all week that this game would define the title race, the moment when the balance of power would swing Tottenham Hotspur’s way, a less durable team than Chelsea might have responded to Dele Alli’s splendid equaliser shortly after half-time by crumbling. On another day, it would have been in the script. Tottenham, brilliant and refreshing, were on top. They were surely going to reach the FA Cup final. Then they were going to win the league.

But even when Chelsea were on the ropes, to doubt them in the moments before Eden Hazard’s decisive cameo was to fail to understand them. There is something about this club. For all the nouveau riche jibes and accusations of artificially bought success that have flown their way ever since Roman Abramovich spotted Stamford Bridge from his helicopter 14 years ago, and for all the managerial changes and bouts of dressing-room insurrection that have often made them look like a textbook case of everything that is wrong with modern football, there is also an inner toughness running through Chelsea that allows them to rebel, stand firm, trust in themselves and emerge a little battered, a little bruised, but ultimately unscathed.

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Antonio Conte’s new guard maintain Chelsea’s fighting spirit of old | Jacob Steinberg

Eden Hazard and co have a softer edge than their predecessors but proved against Tottenham that they can stand firm despite losing the likes of John Terry

Told all week that this game would define the title race, the moment when the balance of power would swing Tottenham Hotspur’s way, a less durable team than Chelsea might have responded to Dele Alli’s splendid equaliser shortly after half-time by crumbling. On another day, it would have been in the script. Tottenham, brilliant and refreshing, were on top. They were surely going to reach the FA Cup final. Then they were going to win the league.

But even when Chelsea were on the ropes, to doubt them in the moments before Eden Hazard’s decisive cameo was to fail to understand them. There is something about this club. For all the nouveau riche jibes and accusations of artificially bought success that have flown their way ever since Roman Abramovich spotted Stamford Bridge from his helicopter 14 years ago, and for all the managerial changes and bouts of dressing-room insurrection that have often made them look like a textbook case of everything that is wrong with modern football, there is also an inner toughness running through Chelsea that allows them to rebel, stand firm, trust in themselves and emerge a little battered, a little bruised, but ultimately unscathed.

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Chelsea 4-2 Tottenham Hotspur: FA Cup semi-final player ratings

Willian and Eden Hazard were Chelsea’s standout performers, while Hugo Lloris and Toby Alderweireld had days to forget at the back for Spurs

GK Thibaut Courtois 6/10 Fit again after missing last week’s defeat to Manchester United, the big Belgian could not be faulted for either of Tottenham’s goals.

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Chelsea 4-2 Tottenham Hotspur: FA Cup semi-final player ratings

Willian and Eden Hazard were Chelsea’s standout performers, while Hugo Lloris and Toby Alderweireld had days to forget at the back for Spurs

GK Thibaut Courtois 6/10 Fit again after missing last week’s defeat to Manchester United, the big Belgian could not be faulted for either of Tottenham’s goals.

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Dele Alli’s rush of blood renders Tottenham’s intent fruitless | Jacob Steinberg

Mauricio Pochettino’s side showed the kind of intensity required for a Europa League comeback but fell short after their midfielder’s red card against Gent

A Spursified Wembley felt like an incongruous setting for a Thursday night in the company of the eighth-best side in Belgium. Then again, that was precisely the kind of sniffy attitude that Tottenham Hotspur had to leave at the door if they were going to avoid another continental embarrassment. They have reached a point in their development where anything less than absolute commitment in the Europa League is impossible to defend, for all that football at their temporary European home was supposed to involve glamour ties against Barcelona and Real Madrid instead of the relative modesty of KAA Gent.

But Spurs flopped in the Champions League, their messy early exit forcing them to lower their sights. They could not view this competition as an inconvenience. Forget the Premier League. Keeping even half an eye on the game against Stoke City on Sunday risked accusations that Tottenham had their priorities in the wrong order.

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Crystal Palace miss their big chance and have only themselves to blame | Jacob Steinberg

Alan Pardew dances on touchline after Jason Puncheon goal when he should have been urging his players to concentrate and keep their heads in FA Cup final

Wearing a sharp suit, Alan Pardew unveiled some even sharper and strangely alluring dance moves in his technical area when Jason Puncheon, a picture of shock and elation and local pride, blasted Crystal Palace into an improbable lead with 12 minutes left in the FA Cup final.

But Pardew has never won a major trophy in his managerial career. He has been desperately close on two occasions now. It has been 10 years since the fourth official at the Millennium Stadium indicated that there would be four more minutes for Pardew’s West Ham United to hold on to their 3-2 lead over Liverpool and Steven Gerrard responded by equalising with one of the great FA Cup final goals.

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Five things we learned from England’s defeat to Holland

The worries about England’s defence that just won’t go away, the Dutch youngsters restoring some pride ahead of a tough summer, and a good night for Wayne Rooney

After the high of stunning Germany, England were dragged back down to earth by Holland. They made problems for themselves with some careless play, with Danny Drinkwater nervous on his debut and Ross Barkley too sloppy in possession; this was a reality check for Roy Hodgson’s developing team. Equally, though, perhaps that was to be expected from an experimental line-up and just when Hodgson might have been having second thoughts about the diamond system in midfield, his players demonstrated its benefits with an excellent team goal to break the deadlock. Jamie Vardy provided the finishing touch, but it was all about the silkiness of the move, John Stones playing the ball out from the back, James Milner and Adam Lallana combining beautifully in between the lines, and Kyle Walker providing width on the right.

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Tim Sherwood determined to extend Christian Benteke’s stay at Aston Villa

• Villa manager wants to remove striker’s £32.5m buyout clause
• Sherwood also keen to keep Tom Cleverley and Ron Vlaar Continue reading…




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Arsenal 4-0 Aston Villa: how the FA Cup final players rated

Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sánchez earn joint-highest mark in our player ratings for Arsenal. Charles N’Zogbia is awarded our lowest Aston Villa mark Continue reading…




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Alex Neil: promotion to Premier League repays Norwich’s faith in me

• Norwich manager says he is driven by ‘fear of letting people down’
• Aitor Karanka vows to stay and take Middlesbrough up next year
Match report: Middlesbrough 0-2 Norwich City
Norwich too good thanks to Neil’s canny approach
Middlesbrough whistling in dark after Ayala’s gamble backfires Continue reading…




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Alex Neil: promotion to Premier League repays Norwich’s faith in me

• Norwich manager says he is driven by ‘fear of letting people down’
• Aitor Karanka vows to stay and take Middlesbrough up next year
Match report: Middlesbrough 0-2 Norwich City
Norwich too good thanks to Neil’s canny approach
Middlesbrough whistling in dark after Ayala’s gamble backfires Continue reading…




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Middlesbrough whistling in dark after Daniel Ayala’s gamble backfires

Defender took early risk against Norwich and Boro learned hard way about José Mourinho’s advice that ‘finals are not for playing, they are for winning’
• Norwich early blitz sees off Boro Continue reading…




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Alexis Sánchez makes impression for Arsenal in Community Shield

The Chile winger looked strong but reinforcements in at least two positions are needed for a title pushIf definitive opinions had to be formed based on this game, then Arsenal are going to win the league, they do not need any more signings, Olivier Gir…