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Category: Football

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Gareth Barry aims to carry on after passing Ryan Giggs appearance record

West Bromwich Albion midfielder, who will play his 633rd Premier League game at Arsenal on Monday, has taken up yoga, shows no signs of slowing down and says he could still be playing at 40

If Gareth Barry was beginning to feel frazzled by a morning of media commitments at The Hawthorns, the message that popped up on Phil Neville’s iPad brought home the reason all this was happening. Neville was interviewing his former England team-mate for television and Barry was genuinely touched to be shown a recorded offer of congratulations from Ryan Giggs, who is only a vague acquaintance but had made contact to acknowledge the passing-on of his Premier League appearance record.

The handover will be formalised on Monday when Barry starts for West Bromwich Albion at Arsenal, making his 633rd top-flight outing and confirming his place in the modern history books. “I’m not going to argue with Ryan about trophies and things like that,” Barry says in response to some light ribbing from Giggs about the difficulty of their respective achievements. “It was lovely to hear from him. I’m aware he’s played in the old First Division before and collected a few more appearances than the 633. I’m also aware the Premier League started in 1992 and records existed before that too. I’m not here to say I’m top of the tree in English football history.”

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Mousa Dembélé’s playing time must be managed, says Mauricio Pochettino

• Tottenham player on bench in league recently despite recovery from surgery
• ‘He is a genius … it’s so important to manage him properly,’ says Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino has said he still has to manage Mousa Dembélé’s playing minutes with the utmost care, despite the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder having undergone surgery at the end of last season in a bid to ease a long-standing foot problem.

Pochettino has referred to Dembélé as his “genius” and, ordinarily, the Belgian would be the first name on the Spurs team sheet. Virtually every Tottenham player would say Dembélé is the best player at the club but Pochettino has surprised some onlookers by naming the 30-year-old as a substitute in the Premier League for the past two weekends against Everton and Swansea City. Dembélé was not used against Swansea.

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Jürgen Klopp backs Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain despite dismal display

• Liverpool manager says criticism of £35m signing is premature
• ‘The way people are talking it’s like we’re the worst team in the country’

Jürgen Klopp remains convinced of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s ability despite the dismal performance by Liverpool’s £35m signing in his first start at Leicester.

Oxlade-Chamberlain missed an early chance and seemed nervous and error-prone thereafter, but Klopp felt his performance was not as bad as some critics have suggested.

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Embarrassment for FA as Glenn contradicts lawyers about Sampson investigation

• Chief executive says a black woman was deliberately chosen
• FA lawyers had already sent letter to Guardian saying this was ‘plainly false’

Martin Glenn, the Football Association’s heavily criticised chief executive, faces further embarrassment after admitting the organisation deliberately chose a black woman to investigate the Mark Sampson race allegations – without apparently realising the FA’s lawyers had already sent a letter to the Guardian warning such a claim was “plainly false”.

Glenn, one of the executives most under scrutiny after Sampson’s sudden sacking on Wednesday, promised he would offer a personal apology to Eni Aluko and Drew Spence if the controversial and reopened independent inquiry found that the now‑deposed England women’s manager had made racial comments to the two players.

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Amazon and Facebook keen on Premier League rights, say Manchester United

• Tech companies’ interest will escalate financial boom for top clubs
• Ed Woodward announces record income made by United

The internet giants Amazon and Facebook are likely to bid for Premier League football streaming rights, which will further escalate the huge financial boom for England’s top clubs, the Manchester United vice-chairman has said.

In his quarterly call with bank executives who invest in United’s shares on the New York stock exchange, Ed Woodward said the technology companies were very interested in the last round of rights deals for 2016-19, which the Premier League sold primarily to BSkyB and BT for £8.4bn.

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There is irony in Diego Costa’s deal with Atlético but Chelsea saw the best of him | Dominic Fifield

In their last league game, Antonio Conte’s side missed how the forward would have driven Arsenal to distraction and the 28-year-old will depart Stamford Bridge having more than played his part in the successes

There is an irony that Diego Costa’s tortuous departure from Chelsea should be finalised, pending the results of a stringent medical, just after a fixture when his absence had been so keenly felt.

Not the Champions League stroll beyond Qarabag or even the midweek saunter past Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup. But, last Sunday, Arsenal ventured across the capital and earned a point, with Shkodran Mustafi, in most people’s eyes, emerging from the stalemate as man of the match. Even accepting that the centre-half is a Germany international and clearly a player of pedigree, it is hard to envisage he would have been quite so unruffled had Costa lined up for the hosts at Stamford Bridge.

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Martin Glenn’s next step after sacking Mark Sampson should be to resign | Barney Ronay

The holes in the FA’s version of events make a case for its chief executive to stand down on the Lady Bracknell principle of administrative bungling

The FA chief executive, Martin Glenn, has acted decisively – if confusingly and belatedly – in dismissing Mark Sampson from his post as manager of the England women’s team.

Glenn’s next step should be to offer his own resignation. Again this should be done promptly, and with an acceptance that the public expects more from the governing body of its national sport than bungled attempts at spin and reputation management, or moral principles that appear to bend with the weather vane of bad publicity.

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Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham set to switch allegiances from England to Nigeria

• Nigeria claim striker on loan at Swansea has ‘begun process’ with Fifa
• ‘Clearly he stands a better chance playing for the Super Eagles’

England Under-21 striker Tammy Abraham is set to switch international allegiances to Nigeria in a bid to play at next year’s World Cup.

The Chelsea striker, who is on a season-long loan to Swansea, played for England at this summer’s European Under-21 Championships in Poland but remains eligible for the Super Eagles through his parents. Last week, Amaju Pinnick, the president of the Nigerian Football Federation, admitted that he was hopeful of persuading the 19-year-old to switch allegiances despite representing England at various youth levels thanks to his close relationship with his father, who is a childhood friend.

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Harder to miss: striker in Romania fails to score from two yards – video

Salim Cissé, striker for Romanian side Politehnica Iasi, can’t believe his bad luck in managing to miss a chance from two yards out in the Liga I meeting with Botosani on Wednesday night. With his team 3-2 down late on, Cissé looks certain to score but the ball hits his thigh and balloons over the crossbar. Much to his relief Politehnica Iasi salvaged an equaliser shortly after and the game ended 3-3

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Chelsea confirm agreement to sell Diego Costa to Atlético Madrid

• Spain striker set for medical ahead of return to La Liga
• Costa has not played for Chelsea this season

Chelsea have confirmed that they have reached agreement with Atlético Madrid over the sale of Diego Costa, with the Spain striker now expected to complete his return to La Liga subject to the agreement of personal terms and a medical.

The Spain striker has yet to feature for the Premier League champions this season after being told he was not part of Antonio Conte’s plans. But despite Atlético currently being subjected to a transfer ban, a statement from Chelsea on Thursday confirmed that the 28-year-old is set to rejoin the club three years after he moved to London for £32m.

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Real Betis keep their heads to leave Real Madrid assessing early-season damage | Sid Lowe

Thirty-five different teams over 73 games stretching back almost 18 months had tried and failed to stop Real Madrid scoring. Real Betis went one better

Manchester United couldn’t do it, Manchester City couldn’t do it and Bayern Munich couldn’t do it. Juventus couldn’t do it either. Nor could Borussia Dortmund, Napoli or Sporting Lisbon. The other Sporting, from Gijón, couldn’t do it. They came from Mexico, Japan, Poland and Cyprus and failed too. Barcelona tried four times but they couldn’t do it. Sevilla and Atlético had five goes each. Nope, no good. Along came Valencia, Deportivo and Celta, Osasuna, Espanyol and Villarreal, but they couldn’t do it and nor could Las Palmas, Eibar, Athletic, Cultural, Granada, Málaga, Alavés or Leganés. Real Betis, on the other hand, could. In fact, on Wednesday night they only went and did something even better.

Thirty-five different teams from eight different countries had tried over 73 games and six competitions stretching back almost 18 months and none of them had stopped Real Madrid scoring, but Betis were almost there. There was still time for it to slip away, especially against the team with a thing for agonising late goals and they were nervous but they were near. It was 11.47pm and the scoreboard at the Santiago Bernabéu, like scoreboards everywhere, had stopped on 90 minutes – information denied when it’s most needed. Alongside, it read: Madrid 0-0 Betis. The board went up: five minutes, one last bugle call, a record awaiting, fans screaming at them to pour forward.

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Carlos Tevez: Chinese players ‘not skilled’ and can’t compete, ‘even in 50 years’

• Shanghai Shenhua forward hits back after chairman suggested he was unfit
• Tevez has so far scored just three goals in 13 CSL appearances

Carlos Tevez has hit back at suggestions from Shanghai Shenhua’s chairman that he is unfit to play, describing Chinese players as “not naturally skilled” and doubting whether they will be able to compete with the best nations “even in 50 years”.

Related: Carlos Tevez’s big-money move to China has proved an expensive mistake

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Women’s Super League: our team-by-team guide to the 2017-18 season

From Arsenal to Yeovil, we assess the contenders and likely strugglers for the maiden winter campaign – as Manchester City look to maintain their supremacy

Once the dominant force in women’s football, Arsenal have slipped behind Chelsea and Manchester City in recent years and have not lifted the title since 2012. Not that they should be taken lightly – they were the only team to remain unbeaten in the Spring Series. However finishing third highlighted the need for greater efficiency.

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Arsène Wenger denies making example of Alexis Sánchez after failed move

• Chile forward has yet to start in the Premier League since Man City interest
• Wenger says he believes Sánchez is happy at Arsenal

Arsène Wenger has insisted he is not seeking to make any sort of point to Alexis Sánchez over his selections of him so far this season.

Sánchez tried and failed to force a move to Manchester City before the closure of the summer transfer window and Wenger has used him of late as a starter in the Europa League and Carabao Cup but only as a substitute in the Premier League.

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The London Monarchs, weigh-in shenanigans and underarm serves | Classic YouTube

This week’s roundup also features pre-Sky Jeff Stelling, Kasper Schmeichel as a toddler and a dog stealing the show

1) Now in its 10th season, the NFL International Series bandwagon rolls back into London for the first of its four-game run on Sunday. Before the annual helping of Jacksonville Jaguars, UK gridiron fans had to make do with NFL Europe and its predecessor the World League of American Football. The Union Jags have a long way to go before they are afforded the affection of the UK’s original franchise, the 1991 World Bowl champions London Monarchs. It is hard to understand why they were such a monumental flop based on their wonderfully 1990s series of TV ads. The Monarchs also provided Jeff Stelling a break as a jobbing sports reporter for Channel 4 and played host to the American football career of outspoken NBA dad Lavar Ball. Perhaps the biggest success story of NFL Europe is former Amsterdam Admirals quarterback, and collector of bizarre weaponry, Kurt Warner. A year later he was Superbowl XXXIV MVP and the star of the Greatest Show on Turf but Classic YouTube is sure the 1998 season, where Warner led NFL Europe in passing yards and touchdowns as the Admirals fell short of the World Bowl, is what he dreams about at night. Meanwhile, from more recent times in the NFL, this from Tod Gurley is quite the hurdle, and here is an example of the peril that cheerleaders subject themselves to.

2) Billy Joe Saunders defended his WBO middleweight belt against Wille Monroe Jnr last weekend but it was Saunders’ son who got in the first dig at the weigh-in, delivering a low blow to Willie. Pre-fight shenanigans are nothing new of course and back when he was still fighting other boxers Floyd Mayweather Jr was a master. This clip from before his 2007 superfight with Oscar de la Hoya makes you wonder how Conor McGregor would have reacted to a live chicken. MMA’s creep into boxing’s territory is partially fuelled by its ability for pre-fight promotion. If Sean O’Connell was half as good a fighter as he is an entertainer he’d be a superstar. Sadly, with a UFC record of 2-5, he’s not.

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Nervous Arsenal scrape past Doncaster after Theo Walcott’s neat finish

The circumstances might have been low-key compared to Wenger-Ferguson duels of old, but the second generation of a legendary footballing family did his upmost to ensure it was an edgy, vehemently competed affair as Arsenal squeaked past Doncaster Rovers. Darren Ferguson’s team gave Arsenal a fright as a contest that looked relatively comfortable in the first half turned into a nail-biter.

The Carabao Cup might not be a priority – the lowest recorded crowd since Arsenal moved to the Emirates of 44,064 attested to a certain lack of enthusiasm in north London – but Doncaster and their merry followers were able to admire a battling performance that belied their position in the lower reaches of League One.

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Michy Batshuayi hits treble and Charly Musonda excels as Chelsea rout Forest

Charly Musonda Jnr had waited five years for his opportunity and, even on his compatriot Eden Hazard’s long-awaited return to the starting line-up, he was not to be upstaged.

The baby-faced forward spent last season on loan at Real Betis but has been forced to wait patiently for his Chelsea debut ever since arriving at the club as a 15-year-old in 2012. A brilliant performance capped by the third goal as Michy Batshuayi also scored a hat-trick in this thrashing of a poor visiting side ensured it was worth the wait.

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Holders Manchester United handed trip to Swansea in Carabao Cup draw

• Tottenham host local rivals West Ham at Wembley in fourth round
• Crystal Palace will be wary of an upset when they travel to Bristol City

Manchester United, the holders, will travel to Swansea in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup. José Mourinho’s side beat Burton of the Championship 4-1 at Old Trafford on Wednesday to secure their place in the draw.

Chelsea, 5-1 winners against Nottingham Forest, will welcome Everton – who beat Sunderland 3-0 – to Stamford Bridge. Tottenham host West Ham at Wembley and Manchester City entertain Championship side Wolves. Arsenal will also welcome Championship opposition to the Emirates in the shape of Norwich.

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Manchester United and Marcus Rashford allow Burton little consolation

Manchester United swatted Burton Albion aside in what is becoming familiar fashion this season. Their fourth four-goal haul of the season made it a total of 24 in eight outings in all competitions, as they began their defence of the League Cup.

José Mourinho had said United would be taking the competition seriously and by the close there was no disputing they had done so. Marcus Rashford scored twice and terrorised Burton to be the top performer on the night and Mourinho, the only current manager in the four top divisions who has previously claimed the trophy, may fancy his chances of doing so for a fifth time.

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Manchester City’s Leroy Sané strikes twice to see off West Bromwich Albion

Leroy Sané scored twice to book a last-16 tie against Wolverhampton Wanderers and extend Manchester City’s winning run to five matches, but a robust encounter at the Hawthorns also brought a reminder that Pep Guardiola’s men are fallible.

After threatening another goal avalanche in the first half, City wound up relieved to win, grateful in particular to two misses by Hal Robson-Kanu. Claudio Yacob, meanwhile, proved a painful irritant to the visitors in more ways than one, scoring a second-half equaliser mere minutes after perpetrating the tackle that led to Ilkay Gündogan hobbling off injured. The German had been excellent on his first start after an absence of nearly 10 months because of torn knee ligaments. “Fortunately it’s not serious,” Guardiola said. “We will do a test to clarify but I spoke to him after and he’s OK, just a bit of pain in his knee.”

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