Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action

Woefully leaky Fulham are on course to concede 100 goals, and is it nearly time for Álvaro Morata and Chelsea to part ways? On the eve of the new season Slavisa Jokanovic said Fulham “don’t have to change much but we need to be intelligent. We need to grow up.” Two months down the line and either Jokanovic underestimated how much Fulham needed to adapt to be ready for the Premier League or his players are not being as smart as he had hoped. Whatever the answer, Fulham did not spend more than £100m in the summer to be languishing in the relegation zone with one win from nine games and a defensive record that is in danger of becoming an embarrassment. Alarm bells should be ringing after Cardiff, who had scored only four times in their opening eight games, doubled their tally for the season against Jokanovic’s porous Continue reading "Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action"

Érik Lamela the star as Tottenham hold on for narrow win at West Ham

Tottenham’s best ever start to a Premier League season goes on, even if they continue to give the impression that they have yet to hit their stride. They were the better team here and had the best player on show in Érik Lamela, whose cute first-half header proved the difference. One thing is clear. It is a good sign for Mauricio Pochettino and the club that they are winning without truly dazzling. This game marked the start of a gruelling run of seven matches in 21 days and Spurs will need all of their powers of endurance as they resume on Wednesday at PSV Eindhoven in a must-win Champions League tie. Continue reading...

West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur: match preview

Tottenham have been stretched by injuries in recent weeks and they will be without Dele Alli, Danny Rose and Jan Vertonghen at the London Stadium. After holding Chelsea and beating Manchester United in their past two home games, West Ham can be forgiven for wondering if this is a good time to play their London rivals. With that in mind, Mauricio Pochettino could do with Christian Eriksen shaking off the abdominal injury that has kept him out for a month. Jacob Steinberg Saturday 3pm Continue reading...

What makes a great football stadium?

What makes Anfield better than Wembley? Why did Juventus fans hate the Stadio delle Alpi? And why are West Ham fans unhappy? Architects and design experts offer some answers By Sam Diss for MUNDIAL, part of the Guardian Sport Network I’m a West Ham fan. Our stadium is not good. It’s beautiful, but broken. It hosted the greatest British sporting event of the last 50 years, a grand and gleaming Olympic Games, but cannot handle a lower-mid-table Premier League game. This half-a-billion pound stadium gleams in the sunlight, but it’s full of holes, gaps, missing pieces, large canyons between prefab stands that are papered over, almost literally, with plastic claret sheets. The stadium’s problems are not just physical; they’re also psychological. It doesn’t feel like a football ground because it’s not one. It makes you wonder: what makes a great football stadium? Grounds grow to match the identity of Continue reading "What makes a great football stadium?"

Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

José Mourinho will want to make a point at Stamford Bridge while Chris Hughton returns to a chaotic St James’s Park In Manchester United’s last match, against Newcastle, José Mourinho demonstrated some of the audacity with which he made his name. He made a tactical substitution after 19 minutes, swinging a game his team was already losing 2-0 back in his side’s favour. Two of the three goals United scored came from his substitutes. It was an impressive demonstration of a coach’s ability to affect a match, the only shame being that the transformation was made necessary by the appalling performance of his starting XI. United are still some way from convincing anyone of their outstanding quality, with the best team they have beaten so far ninth-placed Watford. If they are to set a new marker in the Saturday lunchtime kick-off against Chelsea, Mourinho will have to demonstrate his Continue reading "Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend"

Online aggression skews debate over suspended West Ham youth coach | Jacob Steinberg

Disreputable or an individual’s right? Battle lines on social media have sent the temperature soaring regarding the actions of West Ham’s Mark Phillips When Kick It Out contacted West Ham about the youth coach who went on the Democratic Football Lads Alliance march through central London last Saturday, football’s anti‑discrimination organisation was not trying to stir the pot. Its aim was not to land Mark Phillips in hot water. It had an obligation to act after receiving an anonymous report about Phillips appearing to align himself with an organisation accused of Islamophobia and of having links with far-right groups. Yet the temperature inevitably rose on Twitter as soon as the Guardian broke the story about Phillips on Tuesday morning. For people who see nothing wrong with the Democratic Football Lads Alliance, a group condemned by anti-racist campaigners, it was a case of political correctness gone mad. Because it had acted Continue reading "Online aggression skews debate over suspended West Ham youth coach | Jacob Steinberg"

West Ham inquiry into Mark Phillips to see if he brought club into disrepute

• Youth coach attended Democratic Football Lads Alliance march
• DFLA has been condemned by anti-racism campaignersWest Ham’s investigation into the youth coach who went on a march organised by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance, a group condemned by anti-racism campaigners, will focus on whether he has brought the club into disrepute. Related: West Ham suspend coach who went on Democratic Football Lads Alliance march Continue reading...

West Ham under pressure after coach attends Democratic Football Lads Alliance march

• Under-18s coach Mark Phillips facing awkward questions
• Kick It Out monitoring situationWest Ham are under pressure to take action after one of their youth coaches said he went on a march organised by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance, a group condemned by anti-racism campaigners. Mark Phillips, who coaches West Ham’s Under-18s, is facing some awkward questions after his support for the DFLA was brought to the attention of Kick It Out, football’s anti-discrimination charity. Phillips posted on Twitter about attending the DFLA’s march through central London last Saturday and defended the right-wing organisation in subsequent tweets. Continue reading...

Premier League assistant managers: who are they and what do they do?

One shares a flat with his boss, another is known as the manager’s ‘brother’. A run-down of the men who help to shape their clubs’ success Known as Carlos, the 45-year-old Spaniard is building up good relationships with the Arsenal players, even if he is not the type to shy away from confrontation. Fiery and animated, if he feels that something needs to be said, he will say it – even to Unai Emery. Arsenal are the sixth club at which he has worked as Emery’s assistant, following Almería, Valencia, Spartak Moscow, Sevilla and PSG. Carcedo was an uncompromising midfielder, who had spells with Atlético Madrid and Nice but played mainly at second division level. David Hytner Continue reading...

Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action

A call to get tougher on diving, Arsenal are turning up the volume and Everton’s biggest investments are coming good Declan Rice faces a big decision over his international future after once again being left out of the Republic of Ireland squad for the Nations League matches against Denmark and Wales as he ponders switching allegiances to England. The versatile 19-year-old – who qualifies for Ireland through his grandparents – already has three senior caps and represented them at several youth levels but remains eligible for the country of his birth under current Fifa regulations. He performed well in a defensive midfield role despite West Ham’s improved run of results coming to an end against Brighton on Friday and looks like the kind of player who could excel in Gareth Southgate’s young England side if given an opportunity. Manuel Pellegrini said Rice must take his time to decide but the Continue reading "Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action"

Brighton’s Glenn Murray fires winner to end West Ham’s resurgence

West Ham supporters must be sick of the sight of Glenn Murray. The veteran striker has now scored six times against them in the Premier League and took his tally for the calendar year to 12 as Brighton held out for a deserved home victory on the south coast. Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy are the only English players to outscore the 34-year-old in 2018 and there is no doubting his value to this Brighton side, with Chris Hughton’s team not having won since the opening day against Manchester United. Continue reading...

Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

Liverpool’s tiredness could play into Manchester City’s hands, Newcastle should throw caution to the wind and Harry Winks must take his Tottenham chance “It’s a game of small margins,” said Vincent Kompany of the season’s standout fixture to date between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday. If the teams are as closely matched in quality as Kompany thinks then he can only have been heartened by the weary look of many of Liverpool’s players as they struggled with Napoli’s intensity in their 1-0 defeat on Wednesday. Jürgen Klopp’s midfielders create chances by harassing opponents out of possession and shuffling the ball forwards quickly but in Naples they looked heavy-legged. Liverpool’s past three fixtures read: Chelsea, Chelsea, Napoli; high-profile, energy-sapping games. City, meanwhile, have played Oxford, Brighton and Hoffenheim, and though they were made to work hard in Germany, they have not had to dig as deep as Liverpool’s Continue reading "Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend"

Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action

David Luiz is impressing at Chelsea while Jordan Henderson’s place looks up for grabs and Huddersfield are on the rack Bernd Leno was quick to do the decent thing and explain he was clearly not happy to see Petr Cech pull up with a hamstring injury, but at the same time the competitor in him cannot wait to seize his chance. The German keeper signed for Arsenal more than three months ago and has had to be patient to wait for Premier League football. Unai Emery had told Leno his time would come at some stage. “Some weeks ago he said you have to work hard, be calm, because I played for just one professional club in Germany and it is a new country, everything is new for me. Goalkeeper is a special position. You need confidence with the team, with the defence, so it needs time.” Leno is Continue reading "Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action"

Quipping Paul Pogba underlines rift with Mourinho after West Ham defeat | Jacob Steinberg

Midfielder’s words failed to disguise discord at Manchester United after he was substituted in 70th minutePaul Pogba was the last Manchester United player out of the away dressing room at the London Stadium. The Frenchman was smiling and for a tantalising moment it seemed that he was going to oblige when a group of hopeful journalists asked for a quick chat. Yet after turning to see who was calling his name, Pogba shook his head, laughed and posed a question of his own: “You want me dead?” Point taken. With José Mourinho already in his seat on the team bus, Pogba’s decision not to delay the journey back to Manchester was probably for the best. He chose to keep walking rather than add more fuel to the fire threatening to scorch United’s season. At the end of an eventful week during which Mourinho told Pogba that he would Continue reading "Quipping Paul Pogba underlines rift with Mourinho after West Ham defeat | Jacob Steinberg"

José Mourinho blames lack of VAR for Manchester United’s loss at West Ham

• Pablo Zabaleta benefits from decisions in first and last goals
• ‘Then instead of the linesman’s mistake is a referee’s mistake’ José Mourinho blamed the officials more than his Manchester United players for the 3-1 defeat at West Ham, lamenting the absence of VAR in the Premier League for two decisions that went the way of Pablo Zabaleta. The West Ham full-back was narrowly offside in the buildup to Felipe Anderson’s fifth-minute opener and Mourinho drew a contrast with the EFL Cup tie against Derby in midweek, saying it was “a goal offside – a goal that last Tuesday with the VAR wouldn’t be a goal. But no VAR and obviously a linesman’s mistake and a goal.” Continue reading...