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The Times - The Game - 15 January 2018

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In association with
the game
SOU V E N IR E DIT ION
MON DAY JA N UA RY 15 2 0 1 8
City lose
football
match
FULL ANALYSIS
OF A SHOCK
RESULT
PAGES 2­5
2
| THE GAME
the times | Monday January 15 2018
2GG
Has Klopp been reading The Times? O S
On
Saturday,
d The Times
asked football experts how
to beat Manchester City.
Perhaps Jürgen Klopp took
their advice as Liverpool
ended City’s unbeaten
domestic run.
Steve McClaren said that
once Liverpool won the ball
they needed to attack City
with speed and to “press the
hell” out of them, which the
First goal
Roberto Firmino challenges
Nicolás Otamendi and then
takes the ball off Fabian
Delph. He prods a pass to
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain,
who drives into space and
angles a shot past Ederson
from the edge of the box.
former
Liverpooll manager
f
Li
Gerard Houllier echoed. “A
lot of teams sit back and
watch Manchester City play
but I would not do that.”
Matt Dickinson, The
Times’ Chief Sports Writer,
said: “Liverpool should be
capable of testing City’s
fitness given their ability to
strike with rapid counterattacks.”
6sec
1
Time
taken
Number
of passes
11sec
7sec
Time
taken
Time
taken
2
1
Number
of passes
Number
of passes
Second goal
Kevin De Bruyne is dispossessed by Georginio Wijnaldum,
who passes to Oxlade-Chamberlain. He bursts forward,
right, before passing to Firmino and the forward shrugs off
John Stones then chips over Ederson.
Third goal
Mohamed Salah, left, chases down Otamendi and forces a
mistake from the centre back, who hits a pass into his chest.
Salah barges past Otamendi and lays the ball to Sadio Mané,
who takes a touch before firing into the top corner.
Fourth goal
Ederson races off his line
to clear a Salah through
ball, but his kick flies
straight back towards the
Egyptian. Salah controls
with the outside of his left
foot before curling a lob
over the stranded City
goalkeeper.
5sec
0
Time
taken
Number
of passes
Liverpool show courage
OLIVER KAY
Chief Football
Correspondent
Liverpool
Oxlade-Chamberlain 9,
Firmino 59, Mané 61, Salah 68
Manchester City
Sané 40, B Silva 84,
Gündogan 90+1
4
3
Referee A Marriner Attendance 53,285
hatever this thrilling
Manchester City team
may go on to achieve
under Pep Guardiola,
they will not be joining
the exclusive club known
as English football’s
“Invincibles”. Their
unbeaten run in the Premier League
came to an end on an extraordinary
afternoon at Anfield, with Liverpool
winning a seven-goal thriller that
Jürgen Klopp said will be talked about
W
in 20 years’ time. Liverpool did not
just beat City. They did it with a
pulsating demonstration of the skill,
energy, intensity and, crucially,
courage that Klopp demands,
reaching its climax in a nine-minute,
second-half spell in which goals from
Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané and,
most memorably of all, Mohamed
Salah left City 4-1 down and briefly
looking punch-drunk — too involved,
as Guardiola put it afterwards, “in the
environment of Anfield”.
Klopp called it a perfect advert for
the Premier League. In some ways, it
was, but it has become so rare over
this term to see two teams going for it
like this — “full throttle,” as the
Liverpool manager described it.
All season long, opponents have
approached City with a suspicion of
certain weaknesses but without the
quality or indeed the courage to
exploit them. Those frailties should
certainly not be overstated — they
remain 15 points clear at the top of
the table and had taken an almost
implausible 62 points in going 22
Premier League matches unbeaten
before yesterday, but Liverpool
exposed them in brutal style.
Liverpool tore at them from the
start, using the speed and flair of their
front three to force John Stones and
Nicolás Otamendi into more
mistakes, or so it seemed, than they
have made all season. As Salah
demonstrated by lofting the ball over
the stranded Ederson and into the net
for the fourth goal from 38 yards,
City’s mistakes were punished in
wickedly ruthless fashion.
As a response to Philippe
Coutinho’s departure to Barcelona, it
was perfect from Liverpool — even
with Virgil van Dijk, their £74 million
new boy, nursing a hamstring injury.
There was a reminder of their own
frailties in the closing stages as, from
4-1 up, they conceded goals to
Bernardo Silva and, in stoppage time,
Ilkay Gündogan, setting up a nervous
finale as City demonstrated that they
were not going to give up their
unbeaten record without a fight.
When Guardiola spoke of the
“environment of Anfield”, he could
not underestimate how this particular
Liverpool team — infuriating in their
inconsistencies, but so hard to live
with when they are in this kind of
mood — contribute to that. They
were at it from the first whistle. They
pressed from the front, led by the
indefatigable Firmino, but
everywhere you looked, there were
red shirts swarming around their
opponents, refusing to allow City to
build up their usual rhythm. Emre
Can was a dominant figure in
midfield and Andrew Robertson was
superb at left back.
Above all, though, Liverpool’s
approach was typified by Alex
Oxlade-Chamberlain, whose ninthminute goal set the ball rolling. It was
an eye-catching strike, the sort that a
player of Oxlade-Chamberlain’s type
— strong, skilful, purposeful — has
often promised but all too
infrequently delivered in his career to
date.
The way he took it underlined his
new-found confidence at Anfield,
seizing on a lay-off from Firmino and
surging away from Fernandinho, into
space and towards the penalty area,
and hitting a measured right-foot shot
beyond Ederson and inside the far
corner.
Liverpool, their tails up, briefly had
City on the ropes, threatening twice
through Salah, but the visiting team
stabilised as the first half went on,
with Kevin De Bruyne leading the
way. The equalising goal came when
Kyle Walker’s crossfield pass was
misjudged by Joe Gomez, who,
overcompensating for that error, got
too close to Leroy Sané. The City
winger’s first touch took him past his
opponent and, after tormenting Joël
Matip and Gomez again, he lashed
the ball past an unconvincing Loris
Karius.
Otamendi struck the crossbar with
a header from Sané’s corner early in
the second half, but the tide was
about to turn dramatically in
Liverpool’s favour. De Bruyne was
dispossessed deep in the Liverpool
half by Georginio Wijnaldum and,
from there, the home team broke at
speed with Oxlade-Chamberlain
releasing Firmino, who wrestled off
the challenge of Stones before
Monday January 15 2018 | the times
THE GAME | 3
2GG
NICK TAYLOR/LIVERPOOL FC/GETTY IMAGES
HOW THE
TEAMS
RATED
I AN W H I T T E L L
Liverpool (4­2­3­1)
to topple City
H OW T HEY STAND
Man City
Man Utd
Liverpool
Chelsea
Tottenham
Arsenal
Burnley
Leicester
Everton
Watford
West Ham
Crystal Palace
Bournemouth
Huddersfield
Newcastle
Brighton
Southampton
Stoke
West Brom
Swansea
P W D
23 20 2
22 14 5
23 13 8
23 14 5
23 13 5
23 11 6
23 9 7
23 8 7
23 7 6
23 7 5
23 6 7
23 6 7
23 6 6
23 6 6
23 6 5
23 5 8
23 4 9
22 5 5
23 3 10
23 4 5
L
1
3
2
4
5
6
7
8
10
11
10
10
11
11
12
10
10
12
10
14
F
67
45
54
41
46
41
19
34
25
33
29
21
24
19
21
17
23
23
18
14
A GD Pts
17 50 62
16 29 47
28 26 47
16 25 47
21 25 44
30 11 39
20 -1 34
32 2 31
38 -13 27
42 -9 26
41 -12 25
33 -12 25
35 -11 24
39 -20 24
31 -10 23
29 -12 23
34 -11 21
47 -24 20
30 -12 19
35 -21 17
clipping the ball over Ederson to
make it 2-1.
Mané struck a post with a
right-foot shot shortly afterwards, but
he was soon celebrating Liverpool’s
third goal. Again Liverpool broke at
speed, with Salah bursting away from
Fernandinho and Otamendi. He
sought out Mané, who, this time with
his left foot, produced a stunning finish
from the edge of the penalty area.
Then came that delightful
long-distance finish from Salah after
Ederson, racing out of his penalty area,
found himself stranded. It was 4-1.
We had not seen City in this state
since they were humiliated by
Everton in a 4-0 defeat 12 months
ago, back when Guardiola was being
accused of underestimating or indeed
failing to understand what the
Premier League was all about. They
have made enormous strides since
then and, while this was a chastening
afternoon for them, they at least
showed the fighting spirit that is
among the less appreciated of the
qualities that have taken them this
far. Bernardo Silva came off the
bench to scramble home their second
goal with six minutes remaining and
it was briefly tempting to think that if
City scored a third early enough, this
could end up as one of the great
fightbacks of the Premier League
era.
As it was, City’s third goal, a calm
finish by Gündogan from Sergio
Agüero’s cross, came in stoppage time
and, while Klopp’s decision to replace
Mané with Ragnar Klavan smacked
of desperation, Liverpool held on to
celebrate a famous victory. The win
took them to third in the Premier
League table — ahead of Chelsea on
goal difference, but trailing
Manchester United by the same
measure.
United can move to within 12
points of the leaders by beating Stoke
City this evening, but it will take more
than that to reignite talk of a title
race. City’s coronation has long
looked a formality, but, whatever
plaudits they might earn and records
they might break, they will not
emulate the Invincibles of Preston
North End and Arsenal.
Manchester City (4­3­3)
5
LORIS KARIUS
His kicking remains an
adventure into the
unknown and he was
at fault for Sané’s
equaliser
5
JOE GOMEZ
Caught out horribly for
the City equaliser,
diving in on Sané to
reveal his lack of
experience
5
JOËL MATIP
Stood up well to the
pace and movement of
City’s powerful
attacking line but went
missing late on
5
DEJAN LOVREN
Played his part in a fine
team display, but was
equally at fault as the
rest of the defence
when they fell to pieces
6
ANDREW ROBERTSON
Difficult task in
marking first Sterling
and then Bernardo
Silva but stuck to it well
and got forward
8
ALEX OXLADE­
CHAMBERLAIN
Magnificent footwork
and shot for the first
goal. Looked at home
in a 4-2-3-1 formation
7
EMRE CAN
Was a key factor in the
early stages. Required
to do plenty of
defensive work against
City’s forwards
8
GEORGINIO WIJNALDUM
Selfless display
alongside Can and
the springboard for
many of Liverpool’s
counterattacks
8
MOHAMED SALAH
Came to the fore after
Delph was forced off
and his confidence was
evident in the manner
of his superb finish
8
SADIO MANÉ
After a slow start to the
game, he became a
key factor. Fantastic
finish for the vital third
goal
9
ROBERTO FIRMINO
His challenge led to the
opening goal and the
finish for the second
was sublime. Led from
the front impressively
Total rating James Milner (for Can, 79)
Adam Lallana (for Salah, 87)
Ragnar Klavan (for Mané, 90)
Not used T Alexander-Arnold, S
Mignolet, D Ings, D Solanke.
Booked Milner, Firmino
74
5
EDERSON
No chance with most
of the goals but his
errant passing gifted
Salah Liverpool’s
fourth
6
KYLE WALKER
Faced with more
defensive duties than
he has been used to
but brilliant pass for
Sané’s equaliser
5
JOHN STONES
Continues to struggle
since his return from a
long lay-off and caught
out badly by Firmino
for Liverpool’s second
5
NICOLÁS OTAMENDI
Seemed to have
recovered from a shaky
start, but fell to pieces
in that vital spell
around the hour mark
5
FABIAN DELPH
Twisted awkwardly
tackling OxladeChamberlain after 25
minutes and limped off
soon after
8
KEVIN DE BRUYNE
Even when City were
on the back foot he
was the only player
who guarded the ball
as they usually do
5
FERNANDINHO
Lone member of City’s
central midfield too
often found himself
overrun by Liverpool’s
energy and pressing
5
ILKAY GÜNDOGAN
In the side because of
David Silva’s personal
issues and was a pale
imitation of the
Spanish playmaker
6
RAHEEM STERLING
His every touch was
greeted by jeers and,
although he refused to
hide, it was an unhappy
afternoon. Substituted
5
SERGIO AGÜERO
Anonymous until
dramatic stoppage-time
moment when he
headed wide, though he
looked offside anyway
7
LEROY SANÉ
Below par until offered
the merest sniff of goal,
which he took with
devastating skill. Not at
his best
Total rating 62
Danilo (for Delph 30) struggled to
contain flow of attacks 6
Bernardo Silva (for Sterling 70) got
a goal back and a threat 7
Not used O Zinchenko, B Díaz, C
Bravo, E Mangala, D Silva. Booked
Otamendi, Sterling, Fernandinho.
4
| THE GAME
Klopp’s men
prove there
is life after
Coutinho
In the first game since the Brazilian was sold, Liverpool’s attack was in glistening form, writes Paul Joyce
xorcisms have rarely been so
frenziedly glorious as this.
Amid all the focus on the loss
of Philippe Coutinho, who did
not want to play for Liverpool
any more, it was the talent
who turned down other offers
in order to turn out for Jürgen
Klopp who set the ball rolling.
The symbolism of Alex OxladeChamberlain’s rasping right-footed
shot beyond Ederson, the Manchester
City goalkeeper, would have made a
landmark day even sweeter for the
Liverpool manager. Of course, the
fall-out from a breathless contest is
more nuanced than any grand
conclusion suggesting: “Who needs
Coutinho?” There will be times over
the coming weeks when Liverpool do
miss the creativity of the Brazil
attacker but, psychologically, this was
a hugely important victory for those
he has left behind.
It is one thing recognising the need
to step up, but quite another
conjuring a performance that delivers
on that promise. “It was the right
statement,” Klopp said, unable to
suppress a smile at his side’s
performance.
“It is not that I said in the meeting,
‘Boys, by the way, it would help if you
could win and nobody would speak
about Phil Coutinho any more,’
because we like to talk about him
actually and he was probably still
jumping in his living room in
Barcelona happy about the win.
“But it is important for us to show it
is possible to play without him and we
did that. That is a very important
statement, absolutely.”
If Pep Guardiola has ever paused to
wonder what it might be like to be the
one on the receiving end as his City
side have blazed a trail this season,
then he was acquainted with that
unpalatable sensation here. The sense
of hopelessness at being torn to
shreds was his at last as the hosts
blitzed their way to their most eyecatching result of the campaign with
E
three goals in nine second-half
minutes. Liverpool out City-ed City.
For a spell the visitors could not do
right for doing wrong, minds were
scrambled and wavelengths became
skewed, and it is easy to overlook the
fact that Sadio Mané also struck a
post in an exhilarating passage in
which the vaunted were vanquished.
When Liverpool slip through the
gears, hounding opponents into
reckless mistakes, the possibilities
seem endless. Certainly, second place
in the Premier League should be the
very least of their domestic ambitions,
and the pulse quickens when
thoughts turn to the Champions
League. Any team that can take the
game away from City in almost the
blink of an eye would have to be
considered contenders.
This was, in so many ways, Klopp’s
victory on a day when RB Leipzig’s
refusal to allow Naby Keïta to move
to Anfield before his July 1 start date
brought more scrutiny on the
decision to sell Coutinho to Barcelona
for £142 million mid-season. Not
simply in terms of the bravery of his
approach in standing toe-to-toe with
a City side, a plan that put José
Mourinho’s dour blueprints with
Manchester United on the grandest
occasions to shame.
Nor the fact that his policy of
rotation is clearly paying
dividends, so much so that those
dissenters after the Merseyside
derby stalemate with Everton last
month might have to accept that
Klopp knows what he is doing.
But it was also shown in the
reality that the goalscorers
were all players who have
improved under his tutelage.
Roberto Firmino, Mané and
Mohamed Salah have basked
in the spotlight at different
times this term, but OxladeChamberlain’s increasing output is
an example of the German’s work.
38 yards
Distance Salah was from
goal when shooting
Oxlade-Chamberlain was made to
wait before contributing properly, but
he has set a standard to which he
must now continue to aspire.
Consistency is key and the assist he
brought for Firmino along with the
opening goal must become the norm.
It is worth pointing out that
Raheem Sterling, who was barracked
for being “greedy” after leaving
Anfield for City just over two years
ago, is represented by the same
agent who brought OxladeChamberlain to Liverpool for
£35 million from
Arsenal last
August rather
than Chelsea.
“It’s so
nice to
3
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has
scored three league goals for
Liverpool, the same number he
managed in 51 appearances in his
final two seasons at Arsenal. He
never scored more than
two league goals in a single
season in six years at
the Emirates
the times | Monday January 15 2018
2GG
Oxlade-Chamberlain
has impressed after
taking time to settle
into life at Anfield
HOW T HE G R E AT U N B E AT E N R U N S E N D E D
Arsenal 38 games (in
all domestic
competitions) from
December 2001
Run ended October 19,
2002: Everton 2,
Arsenal 1. Everton came
from behind as Wayne
Rooney scored a
famous late winner five
days short of his 17th
birthday.
Nottingham Forest
36 games, from March
1978
Run ended December 9,
Man City 33 games,
from April 2017
Run ended yesterday:
Liverpool 4, Man City 3.
Liverpool held on for
victory after conceding
two late goals.
1978: Liverpool 2, Forest
0. Liverpool, knocked
out of the European
Cup by Forest earlier in
the season, won thanks
to two goals from Terry
McDermott, above.
see how much he adapted,” said
Klopp. “I’m happy. You ask me what
is better, the football player or the
person, and I would have to think
about it.
“He is on a good way and he enjoys
it. He can still play on the wing, but
he uses his speed in the midfield role.
He still needs to adapt it.
“It was more of a dream for him
than a reality because he didn’t play it
often. Now he is on a really good
way.”
For once, it was left to Guardiola to
wonder. He can take something from
how his side continued to play at 4-1
down before their fightback ran
aground, but these are also curious
times. Alexis Sánchez’s apparent
willingness to move to Manchester
Man Utd 31 games,
from September 1993
Run ended March 5,
1994: Man Utd 0,
Chelsea 1. Gavin
Peacock scored the only
goal, as he did in a 1-0
home win over United
six months earlier.
United comes after Virgil van Dijk
rejected City’s interest in order to
move to Liverpool.
Here, the Holland centre back
spent the afternoon watching from
the dugout as Klopp deemed the
world’s most expensive defender’s
tight hamstring too much of a risk.
As Liverpool wobbled in those
closing stages, it was not difficult to
imagine how the £74 million man’s
presence and organisational qualities
might have overcome a frantic finale
(although Liverpool need a new
goalkeeper, with Loris Karius hardly
impressing in place of Simon
Mignolet).
Liverpool are close to being a very
good team. Life after Coutinho
promises to be a blast.
Monday January 15 2018 | the times
THE GAME | 5
2GG
PETER BYRNE/PA
TONY CASCARINO
THE WEEKEND TALKING POINTS
City will get better I don’t believe I have ever watched a
game in which the four battles
between the full backs and wingers
was of such a high standard.
Raheem Sterling v Andy Robertson,
Leroy Sané v Joe Gomez, Sadio
Mané v Kyle Walker, Mohamed
Salah v Danilo; all four were
spectacular. I thought those wide
areas were pivotal to the outcome of
the game and Liverpool’s Robertson
was particularly good.
City lost their unbeaten record
but they’ll be an even better team
next year. We’ve lauded them this
season but if people believe they can
copy Liverpool and beat them like
this, they’ve got another thing
coming; Pep Guardiola will improve
this team again in the summer.
Salah expertly guides the ball over the head of
Ederson after the Manchester City goalkeeper’s
clearance went straight to the Liverpool player
My team of the week
Hennessey
4-3-3
Palace
Maguire
Evans
Leicester
WBA
Aurier
Robertson
Spurs
Liverpool
Noble
Ward-Prowse Wijnaldum
West Ham
Southampton
Liverpool
Son
Firmino
Lanzini
Spurs
Liverpool
West Ham
Ordinary Arsenal Rejuvenated Moyes lagging behind rivals has got mojo back
‘People said race was over . . . it’s not’
IAN WHITTELL
For the first time in the league this
season Pep Guardiola tasted defeat.
But the rare reverse at Anfield did not
seem to have dented the confidence of
his players last night.
“It must have been an incredible
game for the fans, so many goals. But
for us it was not the best day,” Leroy
Sané, scorer of Manchester City’s first
goal, said. “But at the end of the season,
when we win the Premier League,
nobody cares if we lost a game.”
Guardiola was predictably far more
cautious after the loss, City’s first in the
league since defeat at Chelsea in April
2017 and their first against English opposition since losing to Arsenal in the
FA Cup semi-final later that month.
The result was proof of his repeated
insistence that the Premier League
title race is far from over and, perhaps
of slightly greater concern, the City
manager also seemed surprised by a
second-half capitulation in which
his side leaked three goals in nine
breathless minutes.
“After that [second goal], we lost a
little bit of our control,” Guardiola
said. “We were involved in the environment of Anfield for many reasons
and you have to try and be stable, that
is especially a lesson in the knockout
games in the Champions League.
“We try to play without mistakes but
sometimes they happen. Always I give
credit to the opponent. The other
team, they are good and we have in
many positions a young team. People
were saying a month ago, ‘It’s over, it’s
over,’ but football is unpredictable. In
every press conference for the past
month, people asked if everything was
over and done before Christmas and
now it’s January and it’s not.
“You lose today against a fantastic
team and now you have to be sure to
win the next one and fight until the end
to win the Premier League — especially in that league with a lot of games in
the last two months, with four competitions. Now we need to analyse and be
positive.”
Not surprisingly, Jürgen Klopp had
few complaints about the atmosphere
that had proved so problematic for his
opposite number. “I don’t
know. I
enjoyed
it,” the
Liverpool
manager said, grinning. “The atmosphere was good. It was outstanding
from the first second. That helps
always. It is one of the best places in
world football if we are all on our toes.”
Klopp’s attacking approach to the
game not only brought him four goals
inside the opening 70 minutes but also
earned him widespread praise for
showing such ambition — although
the German, whose six career victories
over Guardiola are more than any
other manager has achieved, insisted
that he had no alternative.
“You could win the lottery, they
tackle each other and then you can
stand deep in your own box and hope
nothing happens but that it is not
really likely,” he said.
“Being Liverpool we should not try
this way. Then you don’t have a lot of
alternatives, you have none.
“You need to be brave and you need
to play football. The pressing in the
second half, round the goals, was
different planet, just outstanding. What do you say? It’s a
cool movie.
“It is a nice commercial for
Premier
League football and
P
the whole world was watching. If somebody didn’t
watch
football until now
w
then they would say, ‘That’s
th
why you watch it all the time’.
I’m really happy about it.”
Klopp, left, embraces
Guardiola after the
final whistle at Anfield
If you go through Arsenal’s starting
line-up for the 2-1 defeat away to
Bournemouth yesterday there is not
a single player in any position that
would get into the starting XI of
Manchester City, Manchester
United, Chelsea, Liverpool or
Tottenham Hotspur.
That is a benchmark of how far
they have fallen behind their
Premier League rivals. And maybe
that is part of the reason why Alexis
Sánchez, the Chile forward, doesn’t
want to stay — he recognises that
this Arsenal squad isn’t good
enough. They are, at best, the sixthbest team in the country.
There is a real lack of hunger at
Arsenal, on and off the pitch, and
I can’t help but wonder whether
that is filtering down from the top
of the club.
David Moyes looks a completely
different person to the one that was
unable to stop Sunderland getting
relegated last season. He’s got his
mojo back at West Ham United.
He has players such as Manuel
Lanzini, Mark Noble and Marko
Arnautovic playing out of their
skins. Lanzini is filling the creative
role left vacant by Dimitri Payet
while Noble looks a new player
under Moyes, who has made some
big decisions, such as dropping
Andy Carroll, Joe Hart and Javier
Hernández, and it has paid off.
The Scot has turned West Ham’s
season round to such an extent that
it really makes me think he has
learnt from his failings at
Sunderland, Real Sociedad and
Manchester United and come back
as a much better manager.
Maguire could prove a snip at £40 million
Harry Maguire had Álvaro Morata
in his pocket at Stamford Bridge on
Saturday. The Leicester City centre
back, who is reportedly a target of
Manchester City among others, has
done very well since leaving Hull
City for £17 million.
Morata, who cost Chelsea
£58 million from Real Madrid in the
summer, didn’t get a kick. Was it a
case of an out-of-form striker
struggling, or a defender
comfortably handling a record buy?
I’m leaning towards the latter.
Maguire and Leicester were in
third gear until Ben Chilwell’s red
card after the break. How much
would Maguire cost now? If Virgil
Van Dijk is worth £74 million then
Maguire would be good value at £40
million even though he moved for
less than half that in June.
Allardyce still has plenty to do at Everton
Sam Allardyce has lifted Everton to
ninth and the relative safety of midtable, but there is so much that he
will want to change about the club.
They were 1-0 down at halftime against Tottenham Hotspur,
and then, just when Allardyce
will have wanted them to start
the second half strongly, they
conceded again in the 47th
minute. He made changes
after that, but that only
made Everton worse.
The club paid £45 million for
Gylfi Sigurdsson so Allardyce
feels he has to fit him into the side,
with Wayne Rooney in the centre.
But the Iceland midfielder gave
absolutely no protection to Cuco
Martina, pictured, on the left-hand
side. That said, Martina’s display was
one of the poorest I’ve seen by
a left back in a long time.
Nothing infuriates a
manager more than
letting in a Harlem
Globetrotters-style
goal. Spurs took the
mick with
h their final goal and
Allardyce
will be fuming.
A
6
| THE GAME
the times | Monday January 15 2018
1G G
Post-Sánchez Arsenal
endure more misery
RICK BROADBENT
Bournemouth
Wilson 70, Ibe 74
Arsenal
Bellerín 52
2
1
Referee K Friend Attendance 10,836
ew year, same old Arsenal.
A club torn between its
gratitude for fading glories
and the sense of being left
far behind is now facing a
future swathed in
uncertainty and even chaos.
The transfer window is
unlikely to be one of gilt-edged
opportunity.
It was telling that Arsenal were
upstaged by a man who was not even
there. Alexis Sánchez was left out of
the squad, before his impending move
to Manchester, and his absence made
the farce grow stronger. Why would a
club of Arsenal’s stature sanction
selling their best player to a putative
title rival? How did Arsène Wenger
allow Mesut Özil, missing because of
injury, and Jack Wilshere to get into
the last year of their contracts? How
can they expect to cope with a
defence built on players beyond their
best or still a good way from it?
This defeat, sealed by Jordon Ibe,
against a Bournemouth side
containing five players who were with
the club in League One or lower,
exposed gaping holes in both the
defence and philosophy. Having led
through Héctor Bellerín they fell to
two goals in four minutes and a
collective spirit they could not match.
Alexandre Lacazette, the £46.5 million
striker, was peripheral and has now
failed to score in nine games. Arsenal
have gone four without a win at the
start of a year for the first time since
1995. They have won only three of 12
away league games this season. The
N
Wilson gets between Chambers and Bellerín before finishing past a diving Cech
most alarming stat of all is that since
2014 they have won 57 per cent of the
games that Sánchez has started and
48 per cent of those he has not.
Can they afford to lose Sánchez
when they are eight points off the
Champions League places, in a La La
Land where they are closer to the
bottom than top in terms of points?
“If Sánchez goes we need to replace
him,” Wenger said. “We missed many
players in our squad and they have a
weight in the team. If players like
Sánchez go we have to respond to it.”
Sánchez may favour Manchester
City but United have emerged as
favourites where the lure of a
£400,000-a-week package should
soften the blow. “I don’t master the
rhythm of that but it could happen
today, tomorrow or not at all,”
Wenger said of the inevitable exit.
He then said he expected the
striker’s future to be sorted in 48
hours. He has been assured he will be
replaced. Whether Malcom, the
Bordeaux winger who scored nine
goals in 45 games last season, is the
answer, remains to be seen. Any deal
that includes Henrikh Mkhitaryan
coming the other way will not lead to
a run on bunting in north London.
Bemoaning the transfer window —
“close it completely during the
season,” was one offering — sounds
Canute-like. “We made mistakes,”
Wenger added. “The attitude is one
thing but at this level it’s a
combination of quality and attitude
and today I question more the
quality.”
Down in the real world,
Bournemouth have gone four games
without losing and have a first ever
win against Arsenal. That Ibe won it
with his first goal in 52 games was
testament to Eddie Howe’s faith in
the player and his own methods.
Criticised for being too attacking, his
side are now 13th and Ibe is coming
good after a season-long hug. If they
do not quite play without fear,
Bournemouth manage it well.
For much of this game they were
not great, but they dredged their
belief and came up with a response.
Beforehand Wilshere was bestriding
this game with a class out of kilter
with the helter-skelter fare.
Bournemouth fans who remember a
mixed loan year, when he showed
flashes of quality interspersed with a
smattering of substitute appearances,
will regard this as his best display at
the Vitality Stadium. He had 98
touches in the first half alone and
when Alex Iwobi’s perfectly-paced
through-ball inside Charlie Daniels
set up Bellerín for the opener after
the break, that should have been that.
Arsenal, though, can be both tug
and showboat, and they never
managed to stifle Ryan Fraser, the
ebullient winger who says his return
to form is partly down to ditching a
“too healthy diet” for a bit of pasta.
His blocked effort in the first half
showed his intent and after 70
minutes he curled a deft pass into the
corridor of uncertainty. Arsenal’s
centre halves had been anxious
throughout and Callum Wilson
nipped into the gap to prod it past
Petr Cech.
Not long after that Wilson again
proved too canny for Rob Holding.
Onside and in alarming space, he had
time to bring the ball down in the box
and when it bounced to Ibe, a man
who had not scored for 19 months, he
hit it low and hard.
Arsenal had started strongly and
Bournemouth were there to be made
nervous. Ainsley Maitland-Niles
struck a bar after some soft-shoe
shuffling in the box, and Iwobi’s cross
begged for a £46.5 million striker to
get on the end of it. Alas, despite
Wilshere’s probing, Arsenal mustered
only three shots on target and
Lacazette not one of any sort. “That’s
inevitable,” Wenger conceded of
ailing confidence. “When you don’t
score you look a little bit like that.”
Bournemouth deserve enormous
credit and their story remains
remarkable. Shifting to three at the
back, Howe watched as the FraserIbe-Wilson axis proved a handful up
front, but Arsenal lacked any
semblance of ruthlessness. The good
news for Wenger is Manchester City’s
defeat means that at least the former
glories are still stellar.
RATINGS
Bournemouth (3-4-3): A Begovic 6 — S Francis 6,
S Cook 7, N Aké 7 — A Smith 6, D Gosling 6,
L Cook 7, C Daniels 6 (sub: L Mousset 63min, 6) —
J Ibe 7 (sub: M Pugh 86), C Wilson 7 (sub: B Afobe
90), R Fraser 8. Substitutes not used A Boruc,
A Surman, H Arter, J Simpson. Booked Gosling,
Francis.
Arsenal (3-4-3) P Cech 6 — C Chambers 5
(sub: A Ramsey 74), S Mustafi 5, R Holding 5 —
H Bellerín 7, J Wilshere 8, G Xhaka 5, A MaitlandNiles 5 — A Iwobi 7 (sub: T Walcott 76),
A Lacazette 5, D Welbeck 6. Substitutes not
used D Ospina, P Mertesacker, S Kolasinac,
M Elneny, E Nketiah. Booked Wilshere, Xhaka.
Ibe can have impact on survival bid, says Howe SAM E OL D
RICK BROADBENT
Jordon Ibe could make a real impact
for Bournemouth, according to his
manager Eddie Howe, after his first
goal for the club proved the winner
against Arsenal. Ibe has struggled for
form since a then club record
£15 million move from Liverpool,
attracting plenty of criticism in the
stands, but Howe has kept faith and
believes he is now seeing the rewards.
“I’m really pleased for him because
he’s been knocking on the door recently,” Howe said. “His numbers are very
good this year and I’m really pleased
that’s out of the way for him. I genuinely believe he can have a major impact
at this level. He has with his general
performance but you need that feeling
only scoring can give you.”
Bournemouth started the day one
point above relegation and ended it in
13th place, but Howe warned his
players that they are still in a
relegation fight. “One win and everything looks different and people
around you can relax — that’s the
danger isn’t it,” he said. “But the last
five or six performances have been
very good. The players have responded
to a difficult moment very well.”
Although Arsenal’s absentees cap-
tured the attention, Bournemouth
achieved their win without Josh King,
last season’s top scorer, who was
injured. Yet they are now unbeaten in
four league games and look wellplaced to make it to a fourth season in
the top flight. What seems certain is
that they will not run out of steam.
“Our fitness levels are really good,”
Howe said. “The statistics show we are
one of the fittest teams in the Premier
League and we were very energetic in
our performance.”
Bournemouth still have a core of
stalwarts who played for the club in
League One, or lower in Adam Smith’s
case, and they expect to do minimal
business in the transfer window. Harry
Arter, linked with a move to West Ham
United, was an unused substitute
yesterday, but the form of Lewis Cook,
captain of England’s World Cup-winning under-20s, and Ryan Fraser, the
winger who admitted to a crisis of
confidence earlier this season, bode
well for survival.
“We had to do it the hard way again,”
Howe said. “It’s never easy to come
back against any side when you are in
a losing position, let alone the top
clubs, so that’s a great sign for us.
“We’ve built confidence in recent
weeks and feel we are never out of a
game.”
Arsenal gave another lesson in abject
defending as Bournemouth scored
twice in the space of five second-half
minutes to seal victory at the Vitality
Stadium. For the first goal (1), four
Arsenal defenders ran towards Ryan
Fraser, the Bournemouth midfielder,
who then crossed into the centre for
Callum Wilson to prod home. Then
four minutes later Arsenal’s Granit
Xhaka, circled (2), showed little
interest in tracking Jordon Ibe, the
Bournemouth midfielder also circled.
Ibe received the ball, pushed into the
Arsenal penalty area (3) and then shot
low under Petr Cech to make it 2-1.
Monday January 15 2018 | the times
THE GAME | 7
1G G
DYLAN MARTINEZ/REUTERS
Wilshere, right, was one of the few
positives for Arsenal against the club
he served on loan last season. Xhaka,
left, proved ineffective once more
Focused Arnautovic the
key to West Ham revival
MIKE WHALLEY
Huddersfield Town
1
Lolley 40
West Ham United
4
Noble 25, Arnautovic 46,
Lanzini 56, 61
Referee J Moss Attendance 24,105
very goal counts for Marko
Arnautovic, and he is not shy
about saying so. After an
outstanding performance against
Huddersfield Town, the West
Ham United forward was
congratulated by a reporter on a run
of five goals. “It’s six,” came the reply,
with no hint of a smile.
Arnautovic has been transformed
from £20 million misfit to central
figure as David Moyes has guided
West Ham away from relegation
trouble over the past few weeks. The
Austria forward got off to a bad start
after swapping Stoke City for the
capital, but Moyes’s decision to move
him from the left into the centre has
paid off, with six goals in his past
seven league matches — or five in
five, if you prefer — as West Ham,
19th in early December, have climbed
to mid-table.
“I remember the first time I met
him at West Ham, we were talking
about the many games we’d played
against each other,” Pablo Zabaleta,
the full back, said.
“I said to him, ‘Marko, when you
E
1
In their past 44 away matches
in the Premier League, since
October 2015, only once have
Arsenal won more than two
consecutive away games
22
Arsène Wenger’s side
are closer to 20th-placed
Swansea City (22 points)
than they are to the league
leaders Manchester City
(23 points)
RAT INGS
Huddersfield Town (4-2-3-1): J Lössl 4 — T Smith
4 (sub: T Kongolo 71min), M Zanka 4,
C Schindler 5, S Malone 5 — J Hogg 6, A Mooy 5
— T Ince 4, J Lolley 5 (sub: A Pritchard 65, 5),
R van La Parra 5 — L Depoitre 5. Substitutes not
used J Coleman, M Hefele, D Williams, A Sabiri,
S Mounié. Booked Smith.
West Ham United (3-5-2): Adrián 6 —J Collins 6,
A Ogbonna 7, A Cresswell 7 — P Zabaleta 7,
C Kouyaté 7, P Obiang 7, M Noble 8, A Masuaku 7
— M Lanzini 8 (sub: D Rice 86), M Arnautovic 9
(sub: A Ayew 83). Substitutes not used J Hart,
R Burke, J Cullen, J Hernández. Booked Cresswell.
T HE WEEK EN D IN
THIRT Y SECONDS
3
Last PL round
29
Arsenal have lost the past
three Premier League games
that Alexis Sánchez hasn’t
played any part in — 1-0 at
Stoke, 2-1 at Watford and
yesterday against
Bournemouth 2-1
GOALS
28
YELLOW CARDS
0
STORY: CRIMINAL DEFENDING
1
are on your day, you are one of the
best players, for sure. It’s hard for
defenders to play against you, because
you are strong, you are good on the
ball. But you have to be on your
game. You have to keep focused. If
you do this, then you have enough
quality to make the difference’.”
Arnautovic made the difference at
Huddersfield, with one goal and three
assists. He set up Mark Noble for the
opener after dispossessing Joe Lolley
on the edge of the home penalty area,
then lifted the ball past Tommy Smith
before thumping in the visitors’
second goal just 11 seconds after the
interval. Two assists for Manuel
Lanzini completed the win, Moyes’s
200th in the Premier League, on the
20th anniversary of his first match as
a manager, at Preston North End.
“Everyone knows Marko looks a
moody boy at times, but I have found
him really, really good and also very
funny,” Moyes said.
Huddersfield produced an errorstrewn performance. Lolley atoned
for his part in West Ham’s first goal
with a fine equaliser before half-time,
but that was as good as it got.
2
3
This weekend
28
GOALS
28
YELLOW CARDS
1
RED CARDS
RED CARD
272
225
SHOTS
6,692
MINS BY ENGLISHMEN
SHOTS
6,190
MINS BY ENGLISHMEN
Expected goals (vs results)
Chelsea
Leicester City
0.64 (0)
1.21 (0)
Crystal Palace
Burnley
Huddersfield Town
West Ham United
1.18 (1)
0.66 (0)
0.69 (1)
0.92 (4)
Newcastle United
Swansea City
Tottenham Hotspur
Everton
Watford
Southampton
1.45 (1)
1.43 (1)
3.93 (4)
0.32 (0)
2.02 (2)
0.90 (2)
West Bromwich Albion
Brighton & Hove Albion
Bournemouth
Arsenal
0.97 (2)
0.56 (0)
0.82 (2)
1.06 (1)
Liverpool
Manchester City
0.8 (4)
0.81 (3)
Top five tacklers
Top five passers
Arthur Masuaku (West Ham)................. 8
Timothy Fosu-Mensah (Palace)............. 7
Andy Robertson (Liverpool)................... 7
Héctor Bellerín (Arsenal).......................... 6
Emre Can (Liverpool)................................. 6
Nicolás Otamendi (Man City).............. 95
Jonathan Hogg (Huddersfield).......... 90
John Stones (Man City)........................... 87
Fernandinho (Man City).......................... 81
César Azpilicueta (Chelsea)................. 76
8
| THE GAME
the times | Monday January 15 2018
2GG
TONY O’BRIEN/REUTERS
O’Neill turns down Stoke offer
GEORGE CAULKIN Stoke City are no nearer to appointing a
new manager after Martin O’Neill and
his assistant Roy Keane rejected the
opportunity to join the club. The pair will
remain in their positions with Ireland.
After sacking Mark Hughes, Stoke had
expressed a desire to install a replacement in time for their Premier League
match against Manchester United at Old
Trafford tonight, but they have now
returned to their starting point.
O’Neill became Stoke’s preferred
candidate to replace Mark Hughes after
their approaches for Gary Rowett, the
Derby County manager, and Quique
Flores, of Espanyol, fell through.
However, O’Neill was uncomfortable at
a twin-track approach from Stoke for him
and Flores, which placed him behind the
former Watford head coach, and he was
not interested in a short-term deal until
the end of the season.
Stoke are 18th in the table after losing
six of their past eight matches in all
competitions and their difficult position
was another factor in O’Neill’s deliberation, as was a feeling that it would take
something special to dislodge him from
Ireland after he verbally agreed a new
contract with the Football Association of
Ireland before the end of the recent
World Cup qualifying campaign.
It leaves Stoke’s managerial hunt in
M AN C H E ST ER UTD v STO
STO KE CC I T Y Y
(4-2-3-1)
De Gea
Valencia Smalling
Jones
Matic
Mata
Shaw
Pogba
Lingard
Rashford
Lukaku
Diouf
Sobhi
Afellay
Allen
Shaqiri
Fletcher
Pieters Shawcross
Zouma Cameron
Butland
(4-2-3-1)
Kick-off 8pm. Referee A Taylor
TV Live on Main Event
disarray, with Slaven Bilic, the former
West Ham United manager, now the
bookmakers’ favourite to succeed
Hughes.
Doucouré appears to help
Watford’s last-minute goal in
against Southampton with his
raised hand at Vicarage Road
Davis on the wrong side of
another handball injustice
DARREN WITCOOP
Watford
Gray 58, Doucouré 90
Southampton
Ward-Prowse 20, 44
2
2
Referee R East Attendance 20,018
aving been on the
receiving end of another
refereeing error relating
to a handball last
November, Steven Davis
felt this controversial call
against Southampton
more than most. A first
win in ten league games for
Mauricio Pellegrino’s struggling
team was on the cards before the
referee Roger East and his officials
somehow missed Abdoulaye
Doucouré punching in Watford’s
late equaliser.
Davis’s Northern Ireland were
aggrieved in November at being
denied by a decision that had even
bigger implications as Switzerland
won a decisive penalty in the first
leg of their World Cup play-off. The
Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan
H
last week said that he made a
mistake by awarding Switzerland a
spot kick after the ball hit Corry
Evans’s shoulder, not his hand.
It would also have stung Davis
that Doucouré’s blatant act of
cheating would have been detected
had the video assistant referee
technology, which was trialled in
English football last week, been in
place
“At the time I thought it was
handball and, having seen it again,
it was handball,” Davis said. “I was
never a great advocate of more
technology in football but I had
never needed to argue for it before
an international game of such
magnitude, where a small nation
had a chance to go to a World Cup
and a decision took that chance
away. It’s of no comfort to me now
that the referee in the Northern
Ireland game has said he got it
wrong.
“We all know referees have a
difficult job, but I’ve had another
taste on the wrong end again here
and we don’t know how important
this incident will prove to be in our
season. It’s difficult to accept —
when you are in our position, you
need those decisions to go for you.
Three points here would have been
a big boost to us.”
Southampton had been cruising
thanks to a first-half double from
James Ward-Prowse. Shane Long
created Ward-Prowse’s 20th minute
opener before the Ireland forward
laid on another for the midfielder
just before the break.
But the introduction of Troy
Deeney after the interval
rejuvenated Watford and Andre
Gray headed home in the 58th
minute before Doucouré’s dramatic
intervention, via his raised hand,
rescued a point for a Watford side
heading for a seventh league defeat
in eight games in the final minute.
“Those things have gone against
us in the past,” Gray said. “Whether
it was handball or not, we deserved
to get something out of the game.”
RATI NGS
Watford (4-2-3-1): H Gomes 5 — D Janmaat 5,
M Wagué 4, C Kabasele 5, M Zeegelaar 6 —
B Watson 5 (sub: T Deeney 46min, 7),
T Cleverley 6 (sub: R Pereyra 35, 6) —
A Carrillo 6, A Doucouré 7, Richarlison 7 —
A Gray 6 (sub: S Okaka 73).
Substitutes not used O Karnezis, S Prödl,
A Mariappa, J Holebas.
Southampton (4-5-1): A McCarthy 6 — C
Soares 6, J Stephens 6, W Hoedt 6, R Bertrand
7 — P Hojbjerg 6, O Romeu 7, J Ward-Prowse 8
(sub: J Sims 90), S Davis 6 (sub: M Lemina 63,
6), D Tadic 8 (sub: S Boufal 90) — S Long 8.
Substitutes not used F Forster, M Gabbiadini,
J Pied, J Bednarek.
Booked McCarthy, Soares, Hojbjerg, Tadic,
Romeu.
Giggs agrees deal to take charge of Wales
GARY JACOB
Ryan Giggs agreed financial terms
with Wales last night and is expected
to be named as manager on a fouryear deal at a press conference this
afternoon.
It will be his first managerial role
since he left Manchester United,
where he was a player and assistant
manager. The 44-year-old was
favoured over Craig Bellamy, his
former Wales team-mate who was
among the four people interviewed
last week. Chris Coleman, the
country’s most successful manager,
stepped down in November and
took charge of Sunderland.
Giggs,
right,
was
overlooked for the Wales
job when Coleman was
named in 2012 and was
reported to have given an
underwhelming interview
when
Swansea
City
considered him in October 2016.
He declared his interest in the
vacancies at Leicester City and
Everton in the autumn but both
clubs looked elsewhere. He will have
two months in which to prepare
before Wales play China in the
opening friendly of the 2018
China Cup in Nanning in
March.
Osian Roberts, the
country’s
technical
director, and Mark Bowen,
who left his position as
assistant manager of Stoke
City, were also interviewed for the
vacancy.
Roberts is expected to stay in his
present post.
Monday January 15 2018 | the times
THE GAME | 9
2GG
Why Mahrez deserves a big-six move
CLIVE ROSE/GETTY IMAGES
JAMES GHEERBRANT
Chelsea
0
Leicester City
0
Referee M Jones Attendance 41,552
ast week, Antonio Conte was
reminiscing about the time he
tried to sign Alexis Sánchez
during his spell as Juventus
head coach. The season was
2010-11, and the targeting of
Sánchez was a no-brainer.
Here was a player who offered
goals and assists; who was proven in
that particular league and was playing
for a rival further down the food
chain at Udinese.
Of course, Sánchez ended up at
Barcelona, then Arsenal, and though
he is available now, Chelsea are not
part of the chase. Perhaps, at 29, they
figure he’s a bit too old. But there is a
player of a more buyable age who
offers all the attributes that must have
caught Conte’s eye seven seasons ago:
who can score and assist; who
requires no adaptation to the Premier
League; who is ripe for picking from a
relatively low-hanging branch. And
on Saturday, Conte got a very good
look at him.
There is something quite weird
about the fact that Riyad Mahrez is
still at Leicester City. This is a player
who was player of the season during
Leicester’s title-winning season.
Mahrez finished higher in the 2016
Ballon d’Or voting (seventh) than
Leicester finished in the 2016-17
league table (12th). Three transfer
windows have passed since he
announced himself to the world as
the chief creative spark behind the
most improbable triumph in football
history. And yet still no one has
prised him from the relatively humble
habitat of the King Power.
Who would have guessed that, of
all the components of Leicester’s titlewinning team, he would be beaten to
a big move by Danny Drinkwater? It’s
like thieves stripping a car of its
engine and missing the diamond
necklace glittering in the glovebox.
Here, in an excellent overall
performance by Leicester, he was
exceptional on the right wing: beating
Antonio Rüdiger at will with his
skilful dribbling, cutting in off the
flank to get shots off and buzzing into
more central areas to get on the ball.
L
He flashed one irresistible ball across
the six-yard box that should have
yielded a goal, had a shot deflected
just wide off Andreas Christensen,
and had a penalty appeal turned
down (probably correctly) when he
made contact with the same player
after a thrilling burst into the box.
True, he has not quite replicated
the consistent excellence he displayed
in 2015-16. But he has still been
involved in 14 goals this season (seven
goals and seven assists), only one
fewer than the consensus best player
in the league, Kevin De Bruyne.
Monaco’s Thomas Lemar, who was
reportedly interesting Arsenal and
Liverpool, has two goals and four
assists in an inferior league, and if any
cautionary illustration of the perils of
buying from Ligue 1 was required,
Tiémoué Bakayoko, in another
lung-bustingly ineffective display, did
his best to provide it here.
You can perhaps understand why
Jamie Vardy, with 31 years on the
clock and a self-confessed penchant
for Red Bull and tobacco, might have
escaped the crosshairs of the elite
clubs.
But Mahrez? Is he considered over
the hill at 26? OK, he might not have
great resale value, but come on.
Among Premier League players, only
Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen can
match his feat of having at least 20
goals and 20 assists in the past
two and a half seasons — it is pretty
hard to imagine that they would not
have been snapped up if they played
for a club outside of the “big six”.
For Conte, or any other manager in
search of a top-tier creative attacker,
Mahrez also offers two other
significant advantages. First, he is not
cup-tied and would be able to play in
European competition this season.
Second, his national team, Algeria,
are not going to the World Cup, so he
will be fresh to hit the ground
running next season.
Perhaps there is an unflattering
image of Mahrez as a seditious show
pony, but Claude Puel painted a quite
different picture: of a humble student
of the game. “He has a fantastic
influence on the team,” Puel, the
Leicester manager, said. “It’s amazing
to train Riyad because he likes
football. He always asks me different
questions about my work, about my
former clubs. He knows all the
players, he knows all the teams.”
What about the criticism of Mahrez
that he is too mercurial, too
inconsistent? It’s a common cavil
about creative wide players, and
another player who takes frequent
beatings with that particular stick is
Chelsea’s Eden Hazard. Here, while
Mahrez was running hot, it was the
Belgian’s turn to run cold.
Fans wrong to boo, says Courtois
JAMES GHEERBRANT
More effective than Malcom and Lemar
Riyad Mahrez has been involved in more goals this season than any Chelsea
attacking midfielder — and more than the two players who have repeatedly been
linked with moves to a top Premier League club
League goal involvement
Goals
Mahrez (age: 26)
Leicester
7
Malcom (20)
Bordeaux
7
Thomas Lemar (22)
Monaco
2
Assists
How he compares with Chelsea’s attacking
midfielders
Goals
Assists
7
Eden Hazard
(age: 27)
6
2
5
Pedro
(30)
4
2
4
Willian
(29)
3
5
It’s interesting to consider why that
might be and one thing that Mahrez
and Hazard have in common is that
they often have to shoulder the
burden of being the obvious creative
threat in generally uncreative teams.
Imagine, though, if defences had to
split their attention between Hazard
and Mahrez. Or between Mesut Özil
and Mahrez. Or between Sadio Mané,
Mohamed Salah and Mahrez. It’s an
enticing prospect. For some clubs, it
ought to be an irresistible one.
R ATING S
Chelsea (3-5-1-1): T Courtois 6 — C Azpilicueta 6,
G Cahill 4 (sub: A Christensen 33min, 6),
A Rüdiger 5 — V Moses 5, T Bakayoko 5, N Kanté
6, C Fàbregas 6 (sub: Willian 58, 6), M Alonso 6 —
E Hazard 5 (sub: Pedro 58, 6) — Á Morata 5.
Substitutes not used W Caballero, M Batshuayi,
D Zappacosta, D Luiz. Booked Kanté, Morata.
Leicester City (4-4-2): K Schmeichel 6 —
D Amartey 6, A Dragovic 6, H Maguire 7,
B Chilwell 5 — R Mahrez 8, M James 7
(sub: V Iborra 90), W Ndidi 6, M Albrighton 6 —
S Okazaki 7 (sub: C Fuchs 73), J Vardy 7
(sub: D Gray 82). Substitutes not used B Hamer,
K Iheanacho, I Slimani, Y Benalouane.
Booked James, Okazaki, Chilwell. Sent off
Chilwell.
Thibaut Courtois criticised Chelsea
fans for “booing and whistling” the
team during their laborious draw at
home to Leicester City.
It was the club’s third goalless draw
in a row, prompting boos around
Stamford Bridge after the final
whistle, but the goalkeeper believes
that those supporters need to show
more patience.
“I know we as a team didn’t have a
good game, it was our third goalless
draw, but we need the fans here to get
behind the team and not, when a
player has a bad pass or a bad shot,
start booing and whistling,” Courtois
told Chelsea TV.
He suggested that the crowd’s
frustration stems partly from a failure
to understand Chelsea’s tactic of
playing the ball out from defence. “It’s
important that the fans must know
that we want to play out from the
back,” he said. “And they don’t have to
get nervous. If they start shouting it
doesn’t help us. [Against Leicester
there] was too much of that.
“When we play out from the back it’s
important for us that they know that
we want to do that. There’s a risk
involved and we know that, but that’s
our game.”
Antonio Conte, the head coach, said
of the booing: “We are doing 120 per
cent and we want to try to do our best
and it is normal. But you can win, we
can lose; the most important thing is to
put all your strength on the pitch, and
you have to consider we are facing a lot
of problems.”
Claude Puel, the Leicester manager,
suggested that he could offload at least
one of the six strikers in his squad,
while saying that all the noise around
Riyad Mahrez is just speculation.
Leicester’s overstocked contingent
of strikers includes Ahmed Musa,
Kelechi Iheanacho, who is unlikely to
leave having joined from Manchester
City in a £25 million deal last summer,
Islam Slimani and Leonardo Ulloa as
well as first-choice pair Jamie Vardy
and Shinji Okazaki.
“I want to look at the balance of the
team,” Puel said. “We have six strikers
for two positions. It’s important for me
to give that possibility to give gametime for the players. We’ll see if it’s
possible to find a good balance.”
Hodgson urgently trying to bolster flimsy squad
ALAN SMITH
Crystal Palace
Sako 21
Burnley
1
0
Referee M Oliver Attendance 24,696
oy Hodgson has reiterated the
need for Crystal Palace to add
meat to their squad before the
end of the month despite
Saturday’s win against Burnley,
courtesy of the revived Bakary Sako,
leading them to 12th in the table.
R
With Palace’s American
part-owners Joshua Harris and David
Blitzer in attendance, Sako’s goal, in
his first Premier League start at
Selhurst Park since April 2016, moved
a team who appeared doomed when
Hodgson took over in September, five
points away from what he likes to call
the “execution zone”.
Yet the need for reinforcements was
emphasised by Hodgson’s reminder
that he was without eight players due
to injury, including three for the rest
of the season, which meant he had a
flimsy set of substitutes, none of
whom were used. There are no
concerns that his team’s reverse in
form will change the owners’ minds
when it comes to spending during the
rest of the transfer window.
“No, I don’t think so,” Hodgson
said. “From the first week or two
when I came in and had a chance to
analyse the squad, they agreed from
the very beginning that for our squad
to be one that we need to survive
in the Premier League, you can’t
have two goalkeepers, you need
three, you can’t have one centre
forward, you need four, but certainly
need two.
“Now with the injuries that we have
had it’s very easy for me to persuade
the owners. If anything the fact we
have done well enough to pull away
from the execution zone, if we are
going to stay away from there we
need the support that we agreed right
from the very offset.
“This isn’t how we started talking a
week ago, this is how we have been
since September.”
While Palace’s sporting director,
Dougie Freedman, is working on a
number of potential signings,
Hodgson does not believe any deals
are imminent. There have been
suggestions of moves for the Getafe
goalkeeper Vicente Guaita, Diafra
Sakho, the West Ham United forward,
and the Fiorentina striker Khouma
Babacar but the Palace manager said:
“As far as I’m concerned, nothing is
happening. The Getafe one has made
the newspapers but there are other
targets too.”
Sako’s goal, midway through the
first half, also ensured that Burnley
have not won in seven games but
Sean Dyche does not yet feel a sense
of urgency. “If you add this run into
the rest of the season, you’d still go,
‘It’s been a fantastic season,’ ” the
Burnley manager said.
“That has to be put into the melting
pot. The margins are still tight, we’re
just not the right side of them.”
RATI NGS
Crystal Palace (4-4-2): W Hennessey 7 —
T Fosu-Mensah 7, J Tomkins 6, M Kelly 6,
P van Aanholt 7 — W Zaha 7, L Milivojevic 6,
J Riedewald 7, J McArthur 7 — B Sako 8,
C Benteke 6. Substitutes not used J Speroni,
Y Cabaye, Lee Chung-yong, P Souaré, S Kaikai,
D Delaney, A Wan-Bissaka.
Burnley (4-2-3-1): N Pope 6 — P Bardsley 5,
J Tarkowski 5, B Mee 6, C Taylor 5 — J Cork 6,
S Defour 5 — A Barnes 5, J Hendrick 5 (sub:
G-K Nkoudou 63min, 6), J Gudmundsson 5 (sub:
N Wells 85) — S Vokes 6. Substitutes not used
A Lindegaard, M Lowton, A Westwood, J Walters,
K Long. Booked Defour, Bardsley, Taylor.
10
| THE GAME
the
th
he t
ti
times
iim
me
m
es | Mo
Monday
M
Mon
on
o
nd
day
da
aayy January 15 2018
2GG
Unsung hero Son
pivotal to Spurs’
impressive run
GARY JACOB Tottenham Hotspur
Son 26, Kane 47, 59, Eriksen 81
Everton
4
0
Referee C Pawson Attendance 76,251
aturday was one of those
rare occasions when Harry
Kane went home with a
brace and a record but
without a bottle of
champagne as man of the
match. That honour went to
Son Heung-min, who has
emerged as an unsung hero of late
and taken quite the journey from the
doubts over where he fits in to the
Tottenham Hotspur team to being
deemed paramount to their
impressive run.
Son scored his eighth Premier
League goal of the campaign and
recorded his fourth assist to put him
on course for his best goal tally in
three seasons at the club. The
25-year-old should finish in double
figures for the sixth time in seven
seasons, taking in his spells with
Bayer Leverkusen and Hamburg.
Statistics aside, what has made him so
important to Mauricio Pochettino is
his willingness to be a workhorse and
his ability to stretch teams with his
speed and directness, especially when
the other midfielders concentrate on
passing and the side are short of
blistering pace at full back.
Pochettino, the Spurs manager,
likes that Son never complains about
being taken off, or not starting, and
says that he does not get the credit he
deserves. That has arguably worked
in the player’s favour because
opponents’ defensive attention has
been more focused on players such as
Kane and Christian Eriksen. Everton,
though, were an exception as they
stood and admired when Son was
alert enough to tap home Serge
Aurier’s cross-shot for his goal in the
26th minute, Son became only the
second player to score in five
consecutive home league matches for
Tottenham, after Jermain Defoe in
the 2004-05 season.
“Yes, maybe Harry helps me in that
way and it is not just me,” Son said.
“We have quality players and it is not
about Harry, me or Dele. If three
defenders block Harry, he still scores.”
S
Kane got the recognition after his
second goal when the stadium
announcer said that the striker had
just become the club’s record scorer in
the Premier League with 98,
surpassing Teddy Sheringham. The
striker and Son have a special
handshake to celebrate a goal as the
South Korean does for each teammate. “When I play with Harry and
the team, he can beat every record
and we are part of this,” he said. “I
want Harry to beat every record for
England and the Premier League. I
am not just thinking about myself.”
HE MAKES IT FIV E IN A R OW AT WE M BLEY
Son Heung-min became only
the second player to score in
five consecutive home
Premier League matches for
Tottenham Hotspur, after Jermain
Defoe in 2004.
5
How Son matched Defoe
1. December 9 v Stoke City
Makes a brilliant run from deep to
race on to a through ball by Dele
Alli before whipping a shot past
Jack Butland
2. December 13 v Brighton
Given far too much space, he meets
Christian Eriksen’s free kick from
wide on the right with a flicked
header
3. December 26 v Southampton
Cuts in from the left and curls a low
right-foot shot from 20 yards into
the far corner of Fraser Forster’s goal
4. January 4 v West Ham
After Pedro Obiang’s long-range
strike, Son repeats the trick at the
other with a swerving effort from
30 yards
5. January 13 v Everton
Taps home from close range after
Serge Aurier had driven into the box
on the right and fired a cross-shot
towards the back post
WHY KANE BUC KS THE TREND BY BEING SO G OOD YE T
BOR N IN JULY M AT T H E W SY E D,
PAGE 2 0
Son was first identified by Paul
Mitchell when the talent spotter
worked at Southampton but joined
Spurs when the head of recruitment
moved clubs. It has taken time for
him to look like he fully belongs at
Tottenham, where days after his
arrival in August 2015 he brought
dishes, including barbecue and
seafood pancakes, from one of
London’s best Korean restaurants for
his new team-mates and coaches.
He settled in slowly and ended his
first season up for sale, not knowing
whether there would be a second
campaign. Last season, though, he
scored 14 league goals and made six,
breaking the goals record for a South
Korean in Europe. “Nothing has
changed. If I play, or if I don’t, I want
to be ready,” he said. “Last season I
twice won player of the month and
I’m enjoying this moment.”
Son’s idol when growing up was
Park Ji-sung, the former Manchester
United midfielder, and he enjoys
David Beckham-like status in Asia.
Several South Korean journalists wait
for him after each home game. When
they tried to quiz him in his early
time at the club, Son was dragged
away and told not to talk by Son
Woong-jung, his father who is a
former footballer.
Son lives with his parents close to
the club’s training ground in Enfield,
where he has joked that he leads a
boring lifestyle. He has made do
without Kevin Wimmer, his best
friend, who left for Stoke City in the
summer. “I like to listen to songs and
I’m at home watching concerts by
Korean singers coming to the UK,” he
said. “I study football, play video
games, watch American dramas,
movies and live a normal life.”
Eriksen rounded off a brilliant
move to seal the fourth and best goal
of the game. “It would be fantastic to
be in the top four, a massive
achievement,” said Pochettino, whose
players have travelled to Spain for a
mid-season break. “Maybe it’s boring
to hear but Tottenham can’t compare
to other teams like Liverpool, Arsenal
or Chelsea. All that happens in other
clubs will not affect us.”
RATIN G S
Tottenham Hotspur (4-2-3-1): H Lloris 6 —
S Aurier 7, D Sánchez 6, J Vertonghen 6, B Davies
6 — E Dier 6 (sub: V Wanyama 74min),
M Dembélé 7 (sub: M Sissoko 82) — C Eriksen 6
(sub: É Lamela 87), D Alli 5, Son Heung-min 8 —
H Kane 7. Substitutes not used M Vorm,
K Trippier, F Llorente, K Walker-Peters.
Everton (4-2-3-1): J Pickford 5 — J Kenny 4,
M Holgate 4, P Jagielka 4, C Martina 3 — I Gueye
4, J McCarthy 4 (sub: M Schneiderlin 72) —
Y Bolasie 4 (sub: A Lennon 57, 4), W Rooney 5,
G Sigurdsson 3 — C Tosun 6 (sub: D Calvert-Lewin
62, 4). Substitutes not used J Robles, A Williams,
O Niasse, A Lookman. Booked Jagielka, Rooney.
Shocked Allardyce sets sigg
GARY JACOB
Sam Allardyce said that he was
shocked by the manner of the 4-0
defeat by Tottenham Hotspur on
Saturday, adding that Theo Walcott
may not be the only potential arrival at
Everton this month.
The manager wants to add the pace
of the Arsenal winger to his signing of
Cenk Tosun, the Turkey striker, for
£27 million to try to improve Everton’s
attacking threat, but said that he was
also bitterly disappointed by how his
side defended at Wembley.
Walcott has entered the final 18
months of his deal. While Arsène
Monday January 15 2018 | the tim
times
THE GAME | 11
2GG
South Korean played key role in final goal, which involved every Tottenham player . . .
Harry Kane may have
hogged the headlines after
leapfrogging Teddy
Sheringham at the top of
Tottenham Hotspur’s
Premier League scoring
table but it was Son
Heung-min who was the
star against Everton.
The South Korea forward
put them in front before
setting up Kane’s first goal
with a brilliant run down
the left, and was also
involved in their fourth,
which was one of the best
team goals of the season.
All 11 Tottenham players
touched the ball during the
move, which started at the
back with Hugo Lloris, the
goalkeeper.
5
4
3 6
2
1
7
Ayew puts Swansea ahead on another frustrating day for the Newcastle fans
8
10
11
12
9
Passing sequence
Pas
1 Llor
Lloris to Vertonghen
7 Dembele to Vertonghen
2 Vertonghen
Ver
to Wanyama
8 Vertonghen to Sànchez
3 Wanyama
Wan
to Davies
9 Sànchez to Aurier
4 Davies
Dav to Eriksen
10 Aurier to Kane
5 Erik
Eriksen to Davies
11 Kane to Aurier
6 Davies
Dav to Dembélé
12 Aurier to Son
Suffering Benítez
issues cry for help
GEORGE CAULKIN
Newcastle United Joselu 68
. . . and was finished with a flourish by Eriksen
Movement
Ball
Player
Son dinks a pass round Holgate and into the path of Alli
The England midfielder backheels the ball on to Eriksen
He fires a shot past the goalkeeper Jordan PIckford
g
ghts on signing more than just Walcott
Wenger, the Arsenal manager, said
that he wants him to stay, he had not
given him assurances of starting
league games.
“Any manager would say you’d
always need more and it depends
where we want to go in this window,”
Allardyce said. “I see Theo playing
anywhere across the front three and
I’m presuming, if he’s not comfortable
with that, he’ll tell us and it won’t
happen. Yannick Bolasie and James
McCarthy have been out over 12
months, so they aren’t quite as good as
they can be, but will get better.”
Everton have not won in five league
games, losing three. After picking a
fairly adventurous side against
Tottenham, Allardyce said that he
would return to basics. “I’m going to
have to go back to square one and recreate the responsibilities of making
clean sheets are a priority for the team
first and after that it’s trying to score
goals to try and win games. I just need
to digest the shock I’ve experienced by
that second-half performance.”
Swansea City Ayew 60
1
1
Referee G Scott Attendance 51,444
s an expression of identity, as a
mile-marker in Newcastle
United’s stunted development, it
was imperfectly perfect. The
Magpies may have Premier
League plumage, but every member
of Rafa Benítez’s starting XI played
for the club in the Sky Bet
Championship last season. “It tells
everybody where we are,” the
manager said. “I have been saying it
all season. Some people say, ‘Ah, you
have to do this, you have to do that,’
but that is the reality.”
They say reality bites, but it can
suck, too. Newcastle have lost just
once in their past four league
matches, but it was difficult to find
contentment at St James’ Park on
Saturday. A draw with Swansea City
was not quite disastrous and definitely
not adequate, with Benítez’s team
mustering less possession, fewer shots
on target and fewer corners against
the table’s bottom-feeders.
Newcastle have not won at home
since October 21, which says less
about the mythical burden of playing
in front of a big crowd than the
inability of their players to impose
themselves.
On the BBC, Jermaine Jenas said it
would be “a miracle”, if his former
club escape relegation. “If Benítez
wasn’t there, I think they’d 100 per
cent go down,” he said. Newcastle
look like a big club — that glorious
stadium, those 52,000 supporters —
but their behaviour remains smalltime. “We can do it if we keep
working in this way,” Benítez said.
“Now it is the transfer window so the
next question will be, ‘So do you need
help?’ and the answer is, ‘Yes, we do.’ ”
Newcastle spent big in the summer
they went down — albeit making a
£30 million profit — since when their
transfer windows have been
masterclasses in festering tension.
This one is identical, as Benítez’s
attempts to strengthen have been met
with obfuscation and delay. There was
an irony in Joselu, a £5 million buy
A
from Stoke City, coming on to snaffle
an equaliser to Jordan Ayew’s opener,
because the striker is a limited
workhorse, signed in desperation.
Second-guessing Mike Ashley has
always been an exercise in futility, but
Amanda Staveley’s attempts to buy
Newcastle provide him with another
smokescreen, another excuse not to
spend. Perhaps the ultimate business
gambler has decided that, whatever
happens, Benítez is good enough to
keep the team up, so investment is
unnecessary. Perhaps he simply does
not care any more, if he ever did.
Justin Barnes and Keith Bishop,
Ashley lieutenants, attended the
match, as did representatives of
Newcastle have failed to win
any of their past seven home
Premier League games (D2
L5) — their longest winless
run since they lost eight under Joe
Kinnear and Alan Shearer between
December 2008 and April 2009.
They were relegated on the last day
of the season after finishing 18th. It
is Rafa Benítez’s longest winless run
on home soil in the Premier League.
7
Staveley, but there is little indication
of progress, a state of suspended lack
of animation. Benítez and his team
toil on. “It’s not easy,” he said. “The
positive thing is the attitude of the
players. They are giving everything.”
On many occasions it is not
sufficient and this might have been
another; in spite of Newcastle’s
opportunities, Swansea had a claim
for a penalty and a shot from Wilfried
Bony which was cleared from the line
by DeAndre Yedlin. “But even
without that, we feel it was two points
lost,” Yedlin said. “We need to get
back to winning at home.” Newcastle
have a Championship team. They are
fighting against their very nature.
RAT INGS
Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): K Darlow 5 —
D Yedlin 6, J Lascelles 6, C Clark 6, P Dummett 7
— J Shelvey 4 (sub: M Merino 82), M Diamé 5 —
M Ritchie 5, A Pérez 7, C Atsu 6 — D Gayle 4 (sub:
Joselu 64, 6). Substitutes not used R Elliot,
J Murphy, I Hayden, J Manquillo, M Haïdara.
Swansea City (4-4-2): L Fabianski 7 — M van der
Hoorn 5 (sub: C Roberts 65, 5), K Bartley 6,
A Mawson 6, M Olsson 6 — N Dyer 5 (sub:
L Narsingh 85), Ki Sung-yueng 7, S Clucas 5,
T Carroll 5 — J Ayew 6, O McBurnie 5 (sub:
W Bony 71). Substitutes not used K Nordfeldt,
L Fer, F Fernández, R Mesa. Booked Bartley,
Mawson, Ayew.
12
| THE GAME
the times | Monday January 15 2018
2GG
Rodriguez told me I’m black and I stink, says Bong
MATT HUGHES, STEVE MADELEY
West Bromwich Albion
Evans 4, Dawson 55
Brighton
2
0
Referee M Atkinson Attendance 25,240
he Brighton defender Gaëtan
Bong has alleged that he was
racially abused by Jay
Rodriguez with the words
“You’re black and you stink”
during his side’s 2-0 defeat by
West Bromwich Albion on
Saturday. The FA confirmed
yesterday that it had opened an
investigation into Bong’s allegations,
which were immediately relayed to
Martin Atkinson, the referee, and are
vehemently denied by Rodriguez.
Bong reacted angrily after a 56thminute clash with Rodriguez, during
which the former Southampton
striker pinched his nose, and
immediately complained to Atkinson.
The referee spoke to both players
before passing on details of the claims
to Tony Harrington, the fourth
official. Rodriguez is believed to have
denied saying anything of a racist
nature at the time and repeated his
stance when questioned again after
the game at The Hawthorns. The 28year-old’s version of events is
understood to be that he used the
words “your breath stinks” to Bong as
he pinched his nose.
Bong is standing by his allegations,
T
Rodriguez denies allegations made against him by Bong, right, during the incident on Saturday that the FA is investigating
however. He gave an interview to
SFR in France last night, in which he
claimed that Rodriguez had referred
to the colour of his skin and said that
he should be punished.
“He said certain things of a racist
nature and I took it badly,” Bong said.
“I’m not going to repeat them on
television because I think they are
things you shouldn’t say. As you see, I
signalled to the referee that he had
said certain things. At first the referee
told me to get back in position. When
he said that I said, ‘No.’ There are
things that you can let pass, but I’m a
man and a man of colour. We are in
2018 and there are things we don’t let
pass any more.
“He said something in reference to
my colour. You see very clearly he
pinched his nose in relation to what
he said. I asked him to repeat it. I
think at the moment he repeated it he
realised what he had said. He wanted
to limit the damage. I said no.”
The Cameroon defender, 29, is
regarded as one of the quietest and
calmest players in Chris Hughton’s
side so there was considerable shock
among his team-mates at his angry
response to the incident.
West Brom are supporting
Rodriguez but they are co-operating
with the FA’s inquiries. Both clubs are
happy with the way the flare-up was
handled by Atkinson, who after
speaking to both players took no
action on the field but included the
incident in his referee’s report.
Atkinson also spoke to Hughton,
Bong and Alan Pardew, the West
Brom head coach, after the game. The
clash took place near the corner flag
with no one else in the immediate
vicinity so verifying exactly what was
said is likely to prove difficult.
The FA spoke to both clubs
yesterday, before confirming that it
had opened an investigation. The
governing body is already looking into
claims that Roberto Firmino racially
abused Mason Holgate during
Liverpool’s FA Cup win over Everton
this month.
Rodriguez played a part in the hosts
taking the lead after four minutes as
he flicked on a Matt Phillips corner
and Jonny Evans headed home at the
far post. Craig Dawson doubled West
Brom’s advantage ten minutes into
the second half, with another header.
Evans, a potential January target
for Manchester City and Arsenal,
limped off with cramp in the second
half after helping to secure his side’s
first Premier League victory since
August and Pardew’s first in nine
league games at the helm.
Chris Brunt said that he hoped that
Evans, his club and international
team-mate, remained at the club. “We
all want to see him stay because he’s a
top player but that’s out of our hands,”
he said.
RATI NGS
West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): B Foster 6 —
C Dawson 7 (sub: A Nyom 81min), J Evans 7 (sub:
G McAuley 84), A Hegazi 8, K Gibbs 7 — M Phillips
6, G Barry 9, G Krychowiak 6, C Brunt 6 —
S Rondón 7, J Rodriguez 7 (sub: J Livermore 79).
Substitutes not used B Myhill, H Robson-Kanu,
C Yacob, J McClean.
Brighton & Hove Albion (4-2-3-1): M Ryan 6 —
Bruno 6, L Dunk 6, S Duffy 6, G Bong 6 —
D Stephens 6, D Pröpper 5 (sub: B Kayal 76) —
A Knockaert 5, P Gross 5 (sub: S Baldock 66, 6),
J Izquierdo 5 (sub: S March, 45, 6) — G Murray 6.
Substitutes not used T Krul, T Hemed,
C Goldson, E Schelotto.
Monday January 15 2018 | the times
THE GAME | 13
2GG
BILL EDGAR
THE GAME IN NUMBERS Klopp­class entertainment
Liverpool’s 4-3 win over Manchester City
yesterday was the ninth time since Jürgen
Klopp’s Anfield reign began in October 2015
that his team have scored and conceded at
least three goals in the same game; City have
done so only three times in that period and
Manchester United just once. City conceded
four goals in what was their only defeat in 31
league games; Liverpool have conceded five (to
City in September) and four (to Tottenham
Hotspur) in their only losses in 27 league
matches. Excluding fixtures between each
other, City and Liverpool have lost only one
of their 54 combined league games since
late April (Liverpool’s defeat to Spurs). This is
the first time that City have scored at least
five in one league game but conceded four
against the same opponents in the other
league meeting that season since they won 6-0
and lost 4-3 against Leyton Orient in 1964-65.
How to explain this?
Sean Dyche has rightly been praised for brilliant
management at Burnley but it is hard to see why he
receives more plaudits than Bournemouth’s
Eddie Howe
Rise in league places to reach Premier League
Eddie Howe, Bournemouth
71* (from 23rd in League Two)
Sean Dyche, Burnley
14 (from 14th in Championship)
*Howe’s figure should arguably be 18 higher because
Bournemouth dropped 18 places in League One in his absence
between his first and second spells
West Bromwich Albion victories are appearing
in clusters
West Brom since the start of last April, all comps
0 wins
in 9 games
3 wins
in 3 games
Having a laugh
0 wins
Two famous television and radio comedy
shows came together when an excellent cross
teed up Jordan Ayew perfectly to score a
60th-minute goal for Swansea City against
Newcastle United. It was a case of Ayew
Being Served . . . On the Hour.
in 21 games
2 wins
in 2 games
Berahino’s barren run
Historic blanks
Harry Kane has scored 81 goals for club and
country since Saido Berahino, his fellow
striker, last found the net in February 2016.
Berahino’s scoring drought at West Bromwich
Albion and Stoke has lasted 38 hours, 16
minutes. Philip Rush (who swam the Channel
three times non-stop) and Ed Bolian (who
drove across the United States) achieved their
feats in about two-thirds of that time. Kane,
age 24 at the end of this season, is on course to
Chelsea (0-0 against Leicester
City) and Real Madrid (0-1 v
Villarreal) failed to score at home
on the same day in the league
for the first time ever.
Roys of Rovers
Two south London-based
Roys have restored their team’s
self-respect. A win over
Burnley
on Saturday means
B
Roy
R Hodgson has now lifted
Crystal
Palace from bottom of
C
the
t table to 12th; and Surrey’s
Jason
Roy hit England’s highest
J
individual one-day score
yesterday to help beat Australia
after the Ashes humiliation.
Walcott woe
Theo Walcott may leave Arsenal this month after a
12-year spell that has failed to meet expectations
Since Walcott joined Arsenal in January 2006
Arsenal league games
458
Walcott 90-minute league appearances
64 (5.3 per season)
Premier League record
Howe
99 games
Since England debut in May 2006
112 points
England matches
138
Walcott 90-minute appearances
4
Dyche
99 games
107 points
Packing them in
This is the first weekend in league history
(since 1888) with two attendances above
70,000: Manchester United v Stoke City
tonight will join Tottenham v Everton (76,251
on Saturday). But since Old Trafford is not big
enough to match that latter figure, this will
also be the first league weekend in which a
United home match has not attracted the
largest attendance since November 1995, while
Old Trafford was being redeveloped. The
10,836 at Bournemouth was the smallest to
watch Arsenal lose a domestic match since
7,440 witnessed their defeat by Stoke at the
Victoria Ground in March 1985.
ON
T HE
BOX
be the youngest to finish as top scorer three
years in a row in top-flight history. Kane has
scored more league goals for Tottenham in the
past 13 months (41) than all English players
scored in the league for Arsenal in a decade
from 2000 to 2010 (39). Spurs have lost only
one of their past 31 home games in the league
— they last managed that feat between 1964
and 1966.
Streaky Baggies
Wembley riddle
W
I the past 11 years Sam
In
Allardyce’s
jobs have included
A
managing Bolton Wanderers, West
m
Ham United, Everton and England but,
H
of those, England were the only team he
did not lead out for a match at
Wembley.
W
Wherever Walcott
goes, his record
with Arsenal
represents a tale
of unfulfilled
potential for a
player who aged
17 years and 75
days had become
England’s
youngest ever
senior player in
2006
Today 8pm Man Utd v Stoke City, Premier
League, Sky Sports PL. Real Betis v
Leganes, Spanish league, Sky Sports
Football. 9pm Estoril v Porto, Portuguese
league, FreeSports.
Tomorrow 6pm Marseilles v Strasbourg,
French league, BT Sport 1. 7.45pm:
Leicester City v Fleetwood Town, FA Cup
replay, BT Sport 2. 8pm Monaco v Nice,
French league, BT Sport 1.
Wednesday 6pm: Guingamp v Lyons,
French league, BT Sport 2. 7.45pm
Chelsea v Norwich City, FA Cup replay,
BBC One. 8pm Paris Saint-Germain v
Dijon, French league, BT Sport 2.
Friday 7pm Setubal v Sporting Lisbon,
Portuguese league, FreeSports. 7.30pm:
Hertha Berlin v Borussia Dortmund,
German league, BT Sport 1. 7.45pm Derby
Lacking horse power
The two managers bottom of the
T
Premier
League and Sky Bet
P
Championship
are Swansea-linked CCs:
C
Carlos
Carvalhal (of Swansea) and Chris
C
Coleman
(Swansea-born, of Sunderland).
C
6 Answer to Name the Season in Saturday’s
paper: 1985-86
County v Bristol City, Sky Bet
Championship, Sky Sports Football. Caen
v Marseilles, French league, BT Sport 3.
8pm Getafe v Athletic Bilbao, Spanish
league, Sky Sports Football. 9pm Porto v
Tondela, Portuguese league, FreeSports.
Saturday Noon Espanyol v Seville,
Spanish league, Sky Sports Football.
12.15pm Aberdeen v St Mirren, Scottish
Cup, BBC One Scotland. 12.30pm Brighton
v Chelsea, Premier League, Sky Sports PL.
Sutton United v Dagenham & Redbridge,
Vanarama League, BT Sport 1. 5.15pm
(kick off 5pm): Standard Liege v Eupen,
Belgian league, FreeSports. 5.30pm Man
City v Newcastle Utd, Premier League, BT
Sport 1. Sheffield Weds v Cardiff City,
Championship, Sky Sports Football.
5.30pm (delayed): Atletico Madrid v
Girona, Spanish league, Sky Sports
Football. 5.30pm Villarreal v Levante,
Spanish league, Sky Sports Football red
button. Hamburg v Cologne, German
league, BT Sport 2. 7.45pm Las Palmas v
Valencia, Spanish league, Sky Sports
Football.
Sunday 11am Alaves v Leganes, Spanish
league, Sky Sports Mix. Alcorcon v Cadiz,
Spanish second division, FreeSports.
11.30am Atalanta v Napoli, Italian league,
BT Sport 2. Noon: Fraserburgh v Rangers,
Scottish Cup, Sky Sports Football. 1.30pm
Ajax v Feyenoord, Dutch league, Sky
Sports Mix. Antwerp v Bruges, Belgian
league, FreeSports. 2pm Lazio v Chievo,
Italian league, BT Sport 1. Nice v SaintÉtienne, French league, BT Sport ESPN.
2.05pm Hearts v Hibernian, Scottish Cup,
TV PICK OF THE WEEK
BRIGHTON V CHELSEA
Saturday, 12.30pm
Sky Sports Premier League
This will be Chelsea’s first
top-flight visit to Brighton.
Sky Sports Football. 2.30pm Bayern
Munich v Werder Bremen, German league,
BT Sport 3. 3.15pm Real Madrid v
Deportivo La Coruna, Spanish league, Sky
Sports Football. 3.45pm Heracles v PSV
Eindhoven, Dutch league, Sky Sports Mix.
4pm Southampton v Tottenham, Premier
League, Sky Sports PL. Monaco v Metz,
French league, BT Sport ESPN. 5pm
Cagliari v AC Milan, Italian league, BT
Sport 1. Schalke v Hannover, German
league, BT Sport 3. Genk v Anderlecht,
Belgian league, FreeSports. 5.30pm Real
Sociedad v Celta Vigo, Spanish league,
Sky Sports Football. 7.45pm Real Betis v
Barcelona, Spanish league, Sky Sports
Football. Inter Milan v Roma, Italian
league, BT Sport 1. Lyons v Paris SaintGermain, French league, BT Sport 3.
14
| THE GAME
the times | Monday January 15 2018
2GG
Vydra relishes new promotion bid
CHAMPIONSHIP
ROUND­UP
IAN WHITTELL
MARK KERTON/EMPICS
TIM NASH
Birmingham City 0
Derby County 3
Russell 19, Vydra 56, Weimann 89
Villa can bring in
a new striker but
he won’t get to
play, warns Hogan
Referee L Probert Attendance 22,121
Performance of the week
Norwich City They succeeded where
atej Vydra, the Derby
County striker, believes
that he is in the best form
of his career as his goals
underpin another
Championship promotion
push. The Czech Republic
player scored his 15th
goal in 23 league appearances this
season in second-placed Derby’s
comprehensive victory at St Andrew’s.
The 25-year-old’s goals have twice
been instrumental in promotion bids.
In 2014-15, his 16 goals in 42
Championship matches helped
Watford to automatic promotion, two
Manchester United failed, winning
1-0 win at Ashton Gate thanks to
James Maddison’s goal that continues
Bristol City’s poor league run. It was
their third defeat in a row.
M
Player of the week
Robert Snodgrass Aston Villa
Gunn produces dramatic late save to deny Bristol City
Angus Gunn made a fantastic stop in the dying moments
of Norwich City’s 1-0 win away to Bristol City at Ashton
Gate. The England Under-21 goalkeeper and son of former
Norwich goalkeeper Bryan Gunn, who is on loan from
Manchester City, dived back across his goal to stop Josh
Brownhill’s effort, having been on the floor after trying to
make a save seconds beforehand. James Maddison’s
79th minute goal earned Norwich a second straight win.
Laid on the only goal for Scott Hogan
in a fine display away to Nottingham
Forest that left the manager Steve
Bruce admitting he will only be able
to sign the on-loan West Ham United
player permanently if his team go up.
Goal of the week
Bersant Celina Ipswich Town
HOW CZECH STANDS
O U T THI S SE ASO N
The on-loan Manchester City winger
cut in from the left flank before
hitting the ball perfectly from almost
30 yards to help Ipswich to defeat
ten-man Leeds United 1-0.
Matej Vydra has
been in clinical
form for Derby to
lead the Sky Bet
Championship
scoring charts,
along with
Sheffield United’s
Leon Clarke, and
help his team to
climb to second
after a run of two
defeats in the
past 20 games.
Rising star
Callum Robinson Preston North End
37
20
15
The forward caused Millwall all sorts
of problems and went close with two
long-range efforts before bundling
home his fourth goal of the season
late on to make it 1-1.
shots
shots on target
Villain of the day
Didier Ndong Sunderland
goals
Told Chris Coleman, his manager,
that he wanted to leave the club, but
was still trusted sufficiently to be
picked away to Cardiff City. However,
his contribution lasted 49 minutes
before he was sent off for a lunging
tackle on Junior Hoilett.
years after he scored 22 as Watford
reached the play-off final, where they
were beaten by Crystal Palace.
“This is the best time of my career
but the season isn’t finished yet,”
Vydra said. “I’m playing in my best
position, the gaffer [Gary Rowett] is
on my side and also the players have
found out what I need.”
It’s doubtful whether Vydra has hit
a cleaner strike than his goal on
Saturday that sent the 3,500 Derby
fans behind the goal into unbridled,
bouncing joy. Allowing Tom
Lawrence’s pass over the top to
bounce, the ball sat up perfectly for
him to thunder an unstoppable volley
into the roof of the net for Derby’s
second, in stark contrast to their
opener by Johnny Russell that
trickled in after two deflections.
“It was a very good hit — on the
laces of my boot — perfect,” he said.
Tom Huddlestone, Vydra’s teammate, believes that the Czech could
reach 30 goals this season. “We
haven’t got a target for him but
hopefully he gets closer to the 30
mark,” the former Tottenham
Hotspur midfielder said. “He plays off
the striker so he’s difficult for their
centre half or midfielders to pick up.”
Ferguson: I’d shoot the referees
IAN WHITTELL
Darren Ferguson, the Doncaster
Rovers manager, can expect to be
charged by the FA after claiming that
he would like to “shoot” League One
referees. The Scot was incensed by the
performance of Andy Haines who, he
felt, should have disallowed Plymouth
Argyle’s equaliser and awarded his
team a late penalty in the 1-1 draw.
“It’s the clearest penalty you’ll see all
season, and the goal is a clear foul,”
Ferguson said. “And the linesman is
laughing at the end of the game about
it. I think it’s disgusting.
“The referees are part-time and the
standard is appalling, their fitness
levels are a disgrace. What can I do?
Shoot them, it would be a good idea.”
Ferguson has since apologised but is
likely to fall foul of FA guidelines that
permit managers to criticise referees
as long as they do not imply bias,
attack their integrity or make personal
comments. “I’m sorry and regret the
wording. I do not advocate violence
against officials,” he said yesterday.
Ferguson Jr is following the path
taken by his father, Sir Alex, who had
regular brushes with referees. He was
banned for five games in 2011, after
criticising Martin Atkinson following
a game against Chelsea and suggesting
the match demanded a “fair referee”.
Derby’s 2014-15 promotion tilt was
derailed when Steve McClaren was
linked with the vacancy at Newcastle
United and they won just two of their
final 13 games to finish eighth. Derby
have ensured that there is no repeat
this time with Mel Morris, the owner,
persuading Rowett to sign a new
three-and-a-half-year contract last
week amid interest from Stoke City.
“Thankfully it was sorted within a
few days because as we’ve seen with
other clubs, if it is lingering it does
seem to affect the results,”
Huddlestone said. “The manager has
got the team playing in an effective
LEAGUE ONE ROUND­UP
IAN WHITTELL
Shrewsbury
fuming over
decisions
Performance of the week
Blackburn Rovers A 3-1
victory over Shrewsbury
Town brought Tony
Mowbray’s team to within
two points of their rivals
for automatic promotion.
manner, everyone enjoys working for
him and we’re getting the results to
show that.”
TEAM S
Birmingham City (4-4-1-1): D Stockdale —
M Colin, H Dean, M Roberts, J Grounds — J Boga
(sub: Jota 83min), C Gardner, M Kieftenbeld,
J Maghoma — D Davis (sub: C Adams 66) —
S Gallagher. Substitutes not used C Trueman,
L Jutkiewicz, C Ndoye, J Dacres-Cogley,
M Morrison. Booked Kieftenbeld.
Derby County (4-2-3-1): S Carson — A Wisdom,
R Keogh, C Davies, C Forsyth — G Thorne,
T Huddlestone — J Russell, M Vydra (sub:
C Martin 87), T Lawrence (sub: A Weimann 77) —
S Winnall (sub: D Nugent 68). Substitutes not
used J Mitchell, C Baird, A Pearce, J Hanson.
Booked Davies, Russell, Weimann.
Player of the week
Liam Roberts Walsall
The ’keeper was in inspired
form as Oxford United
rallied late, helping his side
to hold on for a 2-1 win.
Goal of the week
Paul Taylor Bradford City
A superb shot from more
than 30 yards was a late
consolation in the 2-1
home defeat to
Northampton Town.
Rising star
Joe Aribo Charlton Athletic
An amazing piece of skill
— turning Joe Skarz in the
Bury area — by the
Stat of the day
1 point from a possible 30 that third-
from-bottom Burton Albion, who lost
3-1 to Queens Park Rangers, have
earned in the past ten home games.
Quote of the day
“I will tell the manager, don’t bother
signing a new striker. If he wants to
get someone, then go on. But he isn’t
going to play,” Hogan, the Villa
striker who has opened 2018 with two
goals in two games after a long battle
against injuries.
former Staines Town
midfielder set up Mark
Marshall for the game’s
only goal.
Villain of the day
Southend United The 2-1
home loss to Fleetwood
Town was a seventh defeat
in eight league games for
Southend, leaving Phil
Brown under increasing
pressure. “Teams are
coming to Roots Hall and
smelling blood,” the
manager admitted.
Stat of the day 704
minutes since Wigan
Athletic have conceded in
the league following a
goalless draw with
Peterborough United.
Quote of the day “I don’t
think the refereeing
decisions have cost us the
game but I think there
perhaps could be a shared
opinion about decisions
that have taken place this
afternoon.” Paul Hurst, the
Shrewsbury manager,
after he and Mowbray had
grounds for complaint
about the respective
penalty decisions against
their teams on a day when
officiating was a central
issue in League One.
Monday January 15 2018 | the times
THE GAME | 15
1G G
THE JOURNEYMAN
GREGOR ROBERTSON VISITS BLACKBURN ROVERS
On the up after seven years of Venky’s rule SCOUTING REPORT
– Mowbray has stopped rot at Ewood Park
BRADLEY
DACK
ATTACKING
MIDFIELDER
ou may have heard Jermaine Jenas’s
recent assertion that, such was the
deep-seated malaise on Wearside, it
“could be the best thing for
Sunderland to be relegated” to
League One. Then, his logic followed,
they could clear the decks, perhaps
bring through some local talent, and
the manager, Chris Coleman, would be left
with a clean slate to build on. Hmm.
Supporters of any club toiling at the foot of
the Championship table would almost
certainly disagree with such an appraisal and
upon hearing that I, like many I would
imagine, briefly called the otherwise lucid
pundit’s faculties into question.
However, that statement entered the mind
on Saturday at Ewood Park, where it was hard
to shake the feeling that Blackburn Rovers,
another club who have suffered from
catastrophic mismanagement in recent years,
are feeling some distinct benefits of a season
in the third tier. Supporters’ misery as a result
of the staggering incompetence of Venky’s, the
Indian poultry-processing conglomerate that
bought the club in 2010 has, of course, been
well documented. An established Premier
League club were twice relegated and a
five-fold increase in debt, which now stands at
£120 million, resulted in a team being stripped
of any players of value while rancour festered
among a dwindling support in the stands.
This time last year I saw an acrid fourthround FA Cup tie against Blackpool at Ewood
Park, where supporters of both clubs united to
boycott in protest against their maligned
owners. With Blackburn languishing near
the foot of the Championship, Tony
Mowbray, the club’s seventh manager
since 2010, replaced the unpopular
Owen Coyle in February. And despite
an upturn in results, Blackburn were
relegated on goal difference on a
heart-wrenching final day of
last season.
In May, a meeting in India
with Anuradha Desai, the
Venky’s chief executive,
gave Mowbray the
assurances that he needed
to remain in the post, and
the belief that he could
oversee an immediate
return to the second tier. In
the summer, 15 players left
and 14 arrived, including
Dominic Samuel and
Bradley Dack, from
Reading and Gillingham
respectively for a
combined £1.25 million — a
figure five times as much as
the total outlay of four previous
transfer windows, during which time
about £30 million was raised through
player sales.
We can only speculate as to how Blackburn
would have fared in the Championship this
term but, in a division of ever-growing riches,
it would not have been difficult to envisage
another season of acrimony and toil. Instead,
since losing their opening two games in
League One, they have lost only twice and
are in the thick of an unbeaten 15-match
run — including nine wins — stretching
Y
back to mid-October. Already they have won
three more league games than the 12 they
registered last season. And, on Saturday, the
crucial 3-1 victory over second-placed
Shrewsbury Town cut the gap between the
teams to two points and maintained an
upward trajectory that has given cause for a
flickering sense of optimism.
“It feels as though [Mowbray is] running the
football club at the moment, that he’s being
allowed to do so,” says Mark Fish, chairman of
the Blackburn Rovers Action Group, who have
had involvement in protests against the
owners, though there has been none this
season. “At the moment things are good, but
it’s crucial that the club gets up this season,
and that he continues to get the backing.”
While there is no sign of Venky’s leaving
there does at least appear to be a degree of
stability. Last month, Steve Waggott, with
whom Mowbray worked at Coventry City, was
appointed as the Blackburn chief executive
and, after years of calamitous recruitment and
overspend on players’ wages, a much-needed
overhaul of the club’s scouting network is
under way.
Still, invitations by supporters to engage the
owners, or Suhail Pasha, the Venky’s man on
the ground at Ewood Park, in dialogue have
been met with silence. “We’ve got to
remember, we’ve dropped two divisions, and
there’s still a bigger picture,” Fish says. “The
owners haven’t been to the club for three years
and, while they won’t communicate, that
cloud is always there. If you walk around
the ground, 90 per cent plus [of supporters]
will tell you that they want the owners
gone. But at the moment they won’t
shout it inside the ground because for
the first time in seven years it’s settled
and there’s a bit of optimism.”
Mulgrew, the
defender, is
mobbed after
scoring his first
goal and tenth
of the season,
in the win over
Shrewsbury
that has taken
Blackburn two
points behind
their promotion
rivals and put
smiles back on
the supporters’
faces at last
As well as the novelty of winning,
supporters are also embracing travelling to
long-forgotten away grounds — and are doing
so in large numbers. “We’re off to Plymouth in
a few weeks’ time,” Fish says, “and it’s the first
time we’ve been there since we clinched
[promotion to the Premier League via] the
play-offs in 1992. It’s nostalgic. But obviously
we’re still playing to a half-empty stadium at
home. And that’s because of what the owners
have done to the football club.”
Indeed, average attendances are less than
half the 25,000 that Ewood Park regularly
welcomed in the club’s penultimate season in
the Premier League, in 2010-11. But on
Saturday the atmosphere crackled as 13,500
supporters responded to a fiercely committed
display from both teams in what was
Mowbray’s 50th game at Blackburn’s helm.
Charlie Mulgrew, the Scotland defender,
scored his 10th and 11th goals of the season in
a deserved victory for the hosts. His first, in
the 14th minute, was a trademark free kick
curled into the corner. And after Jon Nolan
had equalised from the penalty spot, on the
hour mark Danny Graham was quickest to
react to Dack’s swivel and volley against the
post, smashing home the rebound.
Mulgrew made sure of the points from the
penalty spot ten minutes later, after Dean
Henderson, the Shrewsbury goalkeeper,
collided with Samuel, the Rovers forward. “It’s
probably one of the best atmospheres at
Ewood since I’ve been here,” Graham said,
“and we’re going to need that for the
remainder of the season.”
Mowbray felt his side “put down a marker”
but is well aware that the renewed cheer at
Ewood Park is fragile. “I want to try and give
the supporters a team that they can be proud
of,” he said. “A team that they can see, whether
we win or get beat, we go down fighting. The
fans reacted to the team, and that’s great.
“And hopefully the fans can enjoy it,
because it’s been a few years since they’ve
enjoyed their football and watched a team
that they believe is fighting for the badge on
the jersey.
“Is this controversial? I don’t know . . . I
do it for the owners as well. I speak to
the owners quite a bit on the phone; for
me there’s some nice people and I feel
for the fans but I also feel for the
owners.
“It’s about time this club started
winning regularly. And in League One
we should be winning. That’s why 15
games unbeaten in this division, I don’t
take much joy from it, and I expect us
to be winning, to make every team feel
our energy and our quality.
“Because next year, in the
Championship, if we get there, we’ll
C
feel the extra quality.”
fe
But, they would return with renewed vigour.
“We can rebuild from here,” Fish says. “The
fans are getting their bite back. The
enjoyment is coming back and it’s
exciting, we’re winning games, and
at the moment we don’t want to
destabilise that by talking
about things off the
pitch. Everybody is
concentrating on what’s
happening on it.”
h
Age
24
Clubs Gillingham,
Braintree Town (loan),
Blackburn Rovers
Attributes Industrious,
direct, with an eye for
goal
Has there been any
interest? Joined from
Gillingham, for whom he
made more than 150
appearances, for
£750,000 in the summer
despite having several
other suitors. Should
Blackburn fail
to win promotion back
to the second tier at
the first attempt they
may struggle to keep
hold of him as
Championship clubs
monitor his goalscoring
prowess.
Report
A bustling No 10 who has
excelled at Ewood Park
and has become the
player around whom
Tony Mowbray has built
his team.
He roams behind
Danny Graham, the
former Watford and
Swansea City striker,
searching for pockets of
space and also uses his
stocky frame and low
centre of gravity to good
effect when holding the
ball up.
He is at his most
dangerous when driving
forward with the ball at
his feet, which he does
with real purpose.
He had an excellent
volley tipped narrowly
past the post by Dean
Henderson, the
Shrewsbury goalkeeper,
inside the opening few
minutes.
And in the build-up to
Blackburn’s second goal,
it was his instinctive
pirouette and strike on
the volley that cannoned
back off the post and into
Graham’s path for a
simple finish.
He has scored ten
goals in 20 League One
starts this season and
looks like a player well
equipped to succeed in
the Championship.
16
| THE GAME
the times | Monday January 15 2018
1G G
UNDER THE SKIN OF THE GAME
Aluko is left to
sit on the bench
while she waits
for PSG move
Chelsea striker looks ready for fresh start abroad after a year of England turmoil
ALYSON RUDD
hen Eni Aluko appeared on this
season’s Christmas 2017 University
Challenge, representing Brunel, she
made no reference at all to her
England career. It was as though
the Chelsea striker knew in advance
that she would not be called up for
this week’s England training camp,
that her international career may never be
rekindled.
The 30-year-old’s Chelsea career might be at
an end, too, with Aluko in talks with Paris
Saint-Germain. There was a buzz in
the air at Kingsmeadow
yesterday — where Chelsea’s
domestic unbeaten run
came to an end at the
hands of the
undefeated
juggernaut that is
Manchester City
Women — that
she might be given
a chance to come
off the bench to
bid farewell to the
Chelsea fans. But
Emma Hayes, her
manager, said that
as far as she was
aware, there was no
symbolism or
sentimentality required
as her striker has another
six months left on her deal.
Aluko, who has scored five
goals in ten appearances this
season, said yesterday that she could
not talk about any proposed move, but in many
ways it makes sense for her to have a fresh start.
The fallout from her allegations of
discrimination against Mark Sampson, then the
former England manager, and her dismay at
how her international team-mates showed
solidarity with him in what became his last
match in charge against Russia in September,
have resulted in a poisonous atmosphere.
What England need — as well as a full and
honest analysis of what went wrong — is a blast
of fresh air and the FA expects Phil Neville to be
the coach to provide it if, as expected, he is
appointed as the manager of the Lionesses this
W
week. However, if the FA expected players and
staff of the best two teams in the country to be
cock-a-hoop at the news, then they will be
sorely disappointed to hear how flatly his
imminent arrival was received.
Katie Chapman, the Chelsea captain, said that
it would have been preferable for the new
manager to have more experience of the
women’s game. Hayes, who declined to be
considered for the role, painted a bleak picture
of incipient boredom for the former Manchester
United and England defender. “When four or
five of the top candidates don’t want the job, the
FA has to appoint someone to do it,” she said.
“We need to put a manager in place, that’s the
most important thing.
“People need to appreciate how much club
football is progressing; leaving a Chelsea or a
Man City for England is not the glamour job it
once was. Clubs are investing a lot of money, the
competition is high and for some of us younger
managers, playing quite irrelevant qualifying
games, no disrespect, where it is a shoo-in for
England to qualify, isn’t necessarily the greatest
challenge for a coach. Do you want to be
coaching once every two years? Some of us
don’t want to be.”
Neville has been busy on
Twitter, making sure that he
follows the England stars
he will need to get to
know quickly, but his
lack of experience in
the women’s game is
raising eyebrows.
“We have to get
behind whoever
the candidate is
now regardless,”
Chapman, who
also had gripes
with Sampson,
said. “There are
question marks
because he’s never
been a manager, but
ultimately if that’s the
decision they take we
have to support it. It’s
unusual but it’s the decision
they’ve taken.
“It’s a bit out the blue to be quite
honest with you. It would be nice for us to find
someone with a bit of experience, yes, he has
been a great player and he has been in the men’s
game but surely there’s coaches out there who
have had a lot more experience of the women’s
game and actually been a manager. But
hopefully he’ll be a great advocate for the
women’s game.”
Neville will arrive at a crucial stage in the
development of the women’s game. The
landscape in England has changed. Patronising
assessments have gone. Excellence is expected
among the elite and desired from the rest. More
significantly, perhaps the age of innocence is
WOMEN’S SUPER LEAGUE ROUND­UP
MOLLY HUDSON
City through to
league cup final
Performance of the week
Manchester City
Into the Continental Tyres Cup final after a
1-0 win over Chelsea, Nick Cushing’s side are
fighting on all fronts, and few would bet
against their trophy cabinet being filled with
more silverware this season.
Player of the week
Nadia Nadim Manchester City
The 30-year-old has been impressive since her
transition into English football. The semi-final
winner at Kingsmeadow against Chelsea was
her second goal in two games since arriving
from Portland Thorns, the American club.
Goal of the week
Brooke Chaplen Reading
The 28-year-old cut inside her defender before
curling a pinpoint strike around the
goalkeeper and into the far corner to equalise
for Reading against Arsenal, but her side
eventually lost the semi-final 3-2.
Rising star
Sarah Mayling Birmingham City
Brought down for Birmingham’s penalty and a
constant threat in their league win over Bristol
City, the 20-year-old was an impressive
attacking outlet for her side.
Team of
the week
Bardsley
4-4-2
Man City
Carter
Houghton
Birmingham
Man City
Mannion Janssen
Carter
Nobbs
Mayling
Chaplen
Arsenal
Arsenal
Birmingham
Reading
Birmingham
Nadim
Mead
Man City
Arsenal
Arsenal
Villain of the week
Referee Helen Conley at Birmingham City v
Bristol City Despite Birmingham going on to
win the game 2-0, the penalty for their
opening goal was contentious. Caitlin Leach,
the Bristol goalkeeper, looked to have got
the ball but was adjudged to have fouled
Mayling.
Stat of the week 1
Just one minute separated Beth Mead’s opener
for Arsenal and Brooke Chaplen’s equaliser for
Reading at Adams Park in their semi-final.
Quote of the week “We didn’t control the
controllables today, which was disappointing.
We aren’t happy with today’s performance.”
Willie Kirk, the Bristol City manager, after
their defeat by Birmingham City.
Monday January 15 2018 | the times
THE GAME | 17
2GG
TIMES PHOTOGRAPHER MARC ASPLAND
GABRIELE MARCOTTI EUROPEAN FOOTBALL CORRESPONDENT Zidane out of answers as ‘inexplicable crisis’ deepens
inédine Zidane, the Real
Madrid coach, woke up
yesterday to screaming
headlines describing his
club’s state as an
“inexplicable crisis”. He himself
had suggested, after Saturday’s
1-0 home defeat against
Villarreal, that Madrid’s plight
was “inexplicable”. Opinions vary
on that part. What’s obvious is
that this is a crisis.
Barcelona are nine points clear
at the top of La Liga and even
when you factor in Madrid’s
game in hand, it’s not a pretty
picture. They are fourth in the
table, with Seville and Villarreal
biting at their heels. The last time
they had so few points after 18
league games was in 2005-06, a
season that was, ominously,
marked by the resignation of
Florentino Pérez, the “Galactico”
president who, of course, is back
at the helm, and the end of
Zidane’s playing career.
It is also the first time since
2007 that they have failed to
score in two of three home games
at the Bernabéu, which inevitably
amplifies the malaise. As Carlo
Ancelotti once said “the crowd at
the Bernabéu is unlike any other
. . . You can be 5-0 up with ten
minutes to go and then
somebody misses a clear-cut
chance and they’ll start booing
and murmuring.”
Few things frustrate more than
chances not taken. After the
match, if you could look past
Zidane’s usual inscrutable mask,
you might have seen a man at his
wits’ end.
“There is no explanation,” he
said. “We certainly deserved to
win this, it’s just that we were
unlucky. We just need to keep
working, it’s a temporary thing
and as soon as we win a game it
will be over. Right now, the ball
simply doesn’t want to go into the
net.”
Zidane, of course, is not
implying that the football is
suddenly sentient and refusing to
do his players’ bidding. But his
choice of words spoke volumes
and gave the impression of a
man who had run out of
answers.
In some ways, he is right.
Real Madrid created at
least four clear-cut chances
in the first half alone and
Z
Nadim, the 30-year-old
Denmark striker who fled
Afghanistan and the Taliban
after her father was
executed, scored the
winning goal against
Chelsea at Kingsmeadow to
take City Women into the
Continental Tyres Cup final.
Aluko, far left, seems happy
enough to be on the bench
in what may prove to be
her final game for the club
over. Women’s football provided, until quite
recently, a standard narrative: girl presented
with lack of opportunity begs or borrows shin
pads, plays with the boys, earns grudging
respect, eventually finds a suitable women’s
team and becomes an international.
The fairytale ending for many such stories
was supposed to be a European Championship
winner’s medal this summer. Instead, England
were knocked out in the semi-finals and the
whole manner in which the team were run
came into question. Sampson was accused of
discrimination but sacked for conducting an
inappropriate relationship with a player when in
club management.
City, top of the Women’s Super League and
the club that Neville will keep close tabs on, face
Arsenal in the final of the Continental Tyres
Cup in March thanks to a winning goal from
Nadia Nadim, arguably the most fascinating
woman to ever play football in Britain. The
30-year-old Denmark striker’s acquisition was
announced in September before her arrival this
month, which gave us time to absorb that
Nadim was forced to flee Afghanistan when her
father was executed by the Taliban and she
played football openly for the first time at a
Danish refugee camp. She is also training to be a
surgeon specialising in reconstructive treatment,
speaks nine languages and ensured immediate
popularity by scoring six minutes into her debut
against Reading last weekend.
“We want to get to know her and know about
her story, we can learn from her, I think,” said
Demi Stokes, one of eight City players to have
been called up to the latest England training
camp.
In the 90th minute, Chelsea won a free kick
on the edge of the area, which added a frisson of
excitement, but Magdalena Eriksson looped the
ball just over the crossbar. It felt like the end but
instead sparked a flurry of late Chelsea chances
and a wistfulness among the crowd that they
had not been as spirited earlier on.
Ronaldo had 11 attempts
on goal but could not
score against Villarreal
on Saturday afternoon
also had a very valid penalty
appeal turned down. Sergio
Asenjo, the Villarreal goalkeeper,
made some stellar saves and
Madrid ended up conceding on a
counterattack three minutes from
time, thanks to a delicate chip
from Pablo Fornals that was as
improbable as it was exquisite.
Unlike the previous week, when
they drew 2-2 at Celta, were
outplayed for long stretches and
deserved to lose, there is little
question that Real Madrid did
more than enough to win.
And yet football cannot always
be reduced to numbers. When
they failed to convert their firsthalf dominance, we saw a
different side in the second half.
One that looked nothing like the
European and league champions,
but rather one that played with
nerves and plenty of insecurity.
In another circumstance, some
would point fingers at the
manager for not saying the right
things during the half-time
interval, for not sending them out
focused and motivated. But when
you’re talking about a veteran
side most of whom have won
three Champions League crowns,
you would imagine mental
toughness and motivation
should not come into
it.
One popular
conclusion is that
this side suffers
from the lack of a
traditional
centre forward.
Karim
Benzema has
been
sidelined since Christmas and he
is the sort of player who is
criticised for not scoring when he
does play (he has four goals in all
competitions this season) but
severely missed when he is not
there.
In his absence, Zidane took the
opportunity to play Gareth Bale
and Cristiano Ronaldo up front
with Isco in the hole. Alas,
neither is in good form right now,
particularly Ronaldo, who took 11
shots on goal. What is more, with
those three leading the line, there
is virtually zero work done off the
ball, meaning every time the
opponents win it back they can
freely waltz up the pitch into
midfield.
The midfield — long a source
of strength — has struggled too.
Luka Modric, for so long an
unsung and underappreciated
hero, has been a shadow of his
former self all season.
The defensive specialist
Casemiro also looks overworked
and sluggish and, given his
limitations on the ball, that’s a
concern since he contributes little
offensively.
The tricky part now for Zidane
is figuring out how to turn it
around.
Does he show loyalty to
those who have delivered in
such
remarkable fashion for
s
him?
Or does he show faith in
h
the
t youngsters — many of
tthem promising, if untested —
who populate his substitutes’
w
bench?
b
This is where chickens come
home to roost. Zidane’s strength
has supposedly been his manmanagement skills and his
ability to motivate the
Galacticos.
Dropping stars to
retool the side is
something we have not
yet
y seen from him.
What is more, given
that so many of his
players
are locked
p
into pricey long-term
contracts, it’s hard to
see him going in
that direction.
Increasingly it
feels
as if the
f
season
— and
s
possibly
Zidane’s
p
future
— will hinge
fu
on the Champions’ League
round-of-16
clash with Paris
r
Saint-Germain
next month.
S
And that’s a whole load of
eggs to put in a single
basket.
b
| THE GAME
18
the times | Monday January 15 2018
2GG
EVERY GOAL, EVERY TABLE, EVERY STAT YOU NEED PREMIE R LEAGUE
HOME
P W D
W
1 Man City....................23 10
L
AWAY
F A W D
L
1 0 39
8 10
1
1 28
9 50 62
W
2 Man United...............22
8
2
1 24
5
6
3
2 21 11 29 47
Y
3 Liverpool...................23
7
5 0 25
7
6
3
2 29 21 26 47
Z
4 Chelsea......................23
8
2
2 21
7
6
3
2 20
W
5 Tottenham................23
7
4
1 26
9
6
1
4 20 12 25 44
W
6 Arsenal
23
8
2
1 27 12
3
4
5 14 18 11 39
W
7 Burnley......................23
5
2
4
8
4
5
3 11 12 -1 34
W
8 Leicester....................23
5
2
4 16 14
3
5
4 18 18
W
9 Everton......................23
6
1
4 17 15
1
5
6
W 10 Watford......................23
3
4
5 16 25
4
1
6 17 17 -9 26
8
9 25 47
2 31
8 23 -13 27
Y 11 West Ham..................23
4
2
4 12 15
2
5
6 17 26 -12 25
Y 12 Crystal Palace.......... 23
4
4
4 15 18
2
3
6
6 15 -12 25
Y 13 Bournemouth..........23
4
3
5 16 18
2
3
6
8 17 -11 24
Z 14 Huddersfield............23
4
4
4 11 16
2
2
7
8 23 -20 24
Z 15 Newcastle.................23
3
3
6 10 14
3
2
6 11 17 -10 23
Z 16 Brighton....................23
3
6
2 12 14
2
2
8
5 15 -12 23
W 17 Southampton...........23
3
4
5 14 17
1
5
5
W 18 Stoke..........................22
4
2
5 13 20
1
3
7 10 27 -24 20
W 19 West Brom................23
2
7
3 12 15
1
3
7
6 15 -12 19
W 20Swansea....................23
2
2
7
2
3
7
8 18 -21 17
6 17
NE X T THRE E
RESU LTS
Newcastle (h)
West Brom (h)
y (a)
Burnley
Stoke (h)
Burnley (a)
Tottenham (a)
Swansea (a)
Huddersfield (a)
Tottenham (h)
Brighton (a)
Bournemouth (h)
Watford (a)
Southampton (a)
Man Utd (h)
p
Liverpool
(a)
Crystal Palace (h)
Swansea (a)
Everton (h)
Man Utd (h)
Newcastle (a)
y (h)
Man City
Watford (h)
Everton (a)
Swansea (h)
West Brom (h)
Leicester (h)
Arsenal (a)
Leicester (a)
Stoke (a)
Chelsea (h)
Bournemouth (h)
Crystal Palace (h)
Brighton
(a)
g
Arsenal (a)
West Ham (a)
Newcastle (h)
West Ham (a)
Chelsea (a)
Stoke (h)
Stoke (a)
Liverpool (h)
Man Utd (a)
Man City (a)
Burnley (h)
y
Crystal
Palace (a)
Chelsea (h)
Southampton (a)
West Ham (h)
Tottenham (h)
Brighton (h)
West Brom (a)
Man Utd (a)
Huddersfield (h)
Watford (h)
Everton (a)
Man City (a)
Southampton
(h)
p
Liverpool (h)
Arsenal (h)
Leicester (a)
Bournemouth
F A GD Pts
9 17 -11 21
(0) 2
Wilson 70
Ibe 74
(0) 1
Arsenal
Bellerín 52
10,836
(0) 0
Chelsea
(0) 0
Leicester
41,552
Sent off: B Chilwell (Leicester) 68
(1) 1
Crystal Palace
Sako 21
(1) 1
Lolley 40
24,105
(1) 4
Oxlade-Chamberlain 9
Firmino 59, Mané 61
Salah 68
(1) 4
West Ham
Manchester City (1) 3
Sané 40, B Silva 84
Gündogan 90+1
53,285
(0) 1
Newcastle
Joselu 68
51,444
Swansea
(1) 4
Son 26, Kane 47, 59
Eriksen 81
Everton
Gray 58
Doucouré 90
Southampton
(0) 0
(2) 2
Ward-Prowse 20, 44
20,018
(1) 2
West Brom
Evans 4
Dawson 55
Brighton
C Schindler (Huddersfield) N Monreal (Arsenal) Y Cabaye (C Palace) M Zanka (Huddersfield)
D Pröpper (Brighton) S Defour (Burnley) L Koscielny (Arsenal) C Fuchs (Leicester) F O U L S C O N C E DE D
(0) 0
H Kane (Tottenham) M Salah (Liverpool) R Sterling (Man City) S Agüero (Man City) R Lukaku (Man Utd) Á Morata (Chelsea) W Rooney (Everton) R Firmino (Liverpool)
20
18
14
13
10
10
10
10
TO P SAV E S
TO P AS S I STS
Manchester United v Stoke City (8pm)
L Milivojevic (C Palace)
W Ndidi (Leicester)
J Ayew (Swansea) G Xhaka (Arsenal) O Romeu (Southampton) T Bakayoko (Chelsea) D Calvert­Lewin (Everton)
G Murray (Brighton)
L Fabianski (Swansea) J Pickford (Everton)
K Schmeichel (Leicester) M Ryan (Brighton)
D De Gea (Man Utd) F Forster (Southampton) 44
42
41
37
36
36
34
33
89
77
74
73
73
68
G E T G OA L S 25,240
Today
53
44
28
28
26
26
26
26
51
50
49
47
45
44
43
43
TO P S C O R E R S
76,251
(0) 2
Watford
H Kane (Tottenham) M Salah (Liverpool) S Agüero (Man City) R Lukaku (Man Utd) Á Morata (Chelsea) A Sánchez (Arsenal) K De Bruyne (Man City) A Lacazette (Arsenal) 167
151
142
142
137
108
(0) 1
Ayew 60
Tottenham
Manchester City Liverpool Arsenal
Chelsea
Tottenham Manchester United I N T E R C E PT I O N S
Noble 25, Arnautovic 46
Lanzini 56, 61
Liverpool
SHOTS ON TARGET ( P L AY E R )
(0) 0
Burnley
24,696
Huddersfield
SHOTS ON TARGET ( T E AM )
K De Bruyne (Man City)
L Sané (Man City) D Silva (Man City) R Mahrez (Leicester)
D Alli (Tottenham)
P Pogba (Man Utd)
9
9
8
7
7
6
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FA TROPHY, VANARAMA LEAGUES, EVO­STIK NORTH AND SOUTH, BOSTIK PREMIER AND FA VASE
FA Trophy: Second round
Billericay
(1) 3
Stourbridge
Sutton Utd
(0) 2
Broadhurst 47
Pierpoint 50
1,108
Robinson 19
Modeste 65
Bricknell 90+2
Wealdstone
Blyth Spartans(0) 1
Bromley
Rutherford 79
647
Rees 15, 70
Dennis 40, 90+1
(2) 4
Bognor Regis (0) 1
Leyton Orient (0) 2
Muitt 88
Bonne 82
1,371
Koroma 105
(After extra-time: score 90mins 1-1)
Brackley
(0) 0
Barrow
(0) 0
(2) 4
Marine
(1) 3
Mitchley 10 (pen),
78 (pen)
Brewster 86
565
East Thurrock (1) 1
Chester
Ekpiteta 17
347
(0) 1
Shields 90+2
911
Halifax
(0) 1
Kinsella 84
(1) 1
Kosylo 1
802
Gateshead
Warrington
(0) 0
Maidenhead (1) 4
Emmanuel 45, 59
Pritchard 53, 73 (pen)
(0) 3
Boreham Wood(0) 3
Burrow 78 (pen),
83, 90+1
284
Murtagh 51
Smith 55
Andrade 90+5 (pen)
Kidderminster (0) 2
Stockport Co (1) 2
Horsfall 78
Sonupe 81
1,348
Oswell 43
Stephenson 70
Maidstone
(2) 2
Heybridge
(0) 1
Loza 28
Osei 43
Luque 80
1,276
Spennymoor (1) 2
Solihull Moors(0) 0
Anderson 34
Johnson 79
570
St Albans
Bender 66
634
(0) 1
Harrogate
Leesley 90+3
Hereford
(0) 0
Weston-s-Mare(1) 1
Workington
Welch 15
361
Allison 67
(0) 1
(1) 2
Torquay
Young 34
1,486
Woking
Guiseley
(1) 1
Roberts 30
1,535
(1) 1
Eastleigh
(1) 2
Matthews 9
Hoyte 70
(0) 0
Tranmere
(1) 1
2,115
Cook 28
Sent off: A Cook (Tranmere) 81
P
Macclesfield........29
Aldershot............29
Sutton United.....29
Wrexham ............ 28
Tranmere ............ 29
Boreham Wood...29
Dover Athletic .... 29
Dagenham & Red 29
Bromley
29
Ebbsfleet ............29
AFC Fylde............28
Maidenhead ....... 29
Maidstone ..........28
Eastleigh.............29
Woking................28
Halifax.................29
Hartlepool...........28
Gateshead...........26
Leyton Orient......29
Barrow ................ 29
Chester................28
Solihull Moors.....29
Guiseley .............. 28
Torquay...............29
W
16
14
14
13
13
12
11
12
12
10
11
9
9
8
10
8
8
7
8
7
5
6
4
4
D
7
9
7
9
8
11
12
9
8
12
9
11
11
13
5
10
9
11
8
10
11
6
10
8
L
6
6
8
6
8
6
6
8
9
7
8
9
8
8
13
11
11
8
13
12
12
17
14
17
F
38
46
42
31
43
40
38
46
46
41
45
37
35
42
38
31
31
32
35
36
25
26
26
24
A
26
30
34
22
26
29
23
35
37
33
38
40
40
43
44
38
38
28
42
40
44
45
52
47
GD Pts
12 55
16 51
8 49
9 48
17 47
11 47
15 45
11 45
9 44
8 42
7 42
-3 38
-5 38
-1 37
-6 35
-7 34
-7 33
4 32
-7 32
-4 31
-19 26
-19 24
-26 22
-23 20
Vanarama North
(0) 1
Curzon Ashton(0) 0
Chorley
(1) 2
Hemel H
466
Wilson 13, Haughton 75
Parkes 48
449
Gainsborough (0) 0
Nuneaton
463
Nicholson 17
Salford City
Darlington
(1) 1
Daniels 90 (pen)
Styche 7
727
Sent off: J Talbot (Darlington) 88, P Bird
(Alfreton) 90
(0) 3
Leak 60 (og)
Redshaw 72
Nottingham 90
Southport
Vanarama National
Alfreton
(0) 1
(0) 0
909
Smith 18
Rowe 88
Parry 6
Bird 28
Pinnock 53
Brundle 81
Ebbsfleet
(1) 1
Hendon
785
Wellard 26
AFC Fylde
512
Dover Ath
(1) 3
Cadogan 35
Coombes 74, Wright 86
AFC Telford
(1) 1
(0) 0
(1) 2
Leamington
(0) 0
848
York City
Bradford PA (0) 1
(1) 2
Parkin 41
Morgan-Smith 65
P
Salford City.........26
Harrogate ...........25
Brackley ............. 25
Spennymoor .......24
Blyth Spartans....24
York.....................25
Kidderminster.....25
Bradford PA........26
Chorley................25
Stockport Co.......25
Tamworth ........... 25
Boston Utd..........25
FC Utd of Man.....25
Curzon Ashton....25
Nuneaton............26
Southport............26
Leamington.........25
Alfreton ..............25
AFC Telford ........23
Darlington...........26
Gainsborough .....24
North Ferriby .....25
Boyes 90
2,642
W D L F A GD Pts
18 4 4 47 25 22 58
15 5 5 59 31 28 50
13 9 3 45 22 23 48
13 5 6 49 38 11 44
14 0 10 56 42 14 42
12 5 8 46 35 11 41
10 10 5 42 29 13 40
11 6 9 43 33 10 39
10 8 7 28 22 6 38
10 7 8 48 36 12 37
10 4 11 39 45 -6 34
9 5 11 38 43 -5 32
9 5 11 42 48 -6 32
7 9 9 30 39 -9 30
8 5 13 34 44 -10 29
7 8 11 34 50 -16 29
7 7 11 33 39 -6 28
8 3 14 39 43 -4 27
8 3 12 29 39 -10 27
6 8 12 32 41 -9 26
7 4 13 29 45 -16 25
1 4 20 10 63 -53 7
Vanarama South
(0) 1
Hitchcock 88
755
Bath City
(0) 1
Stearn 47
Chippenham (1) 1
Braintree
Jackson 1
470
Grant 10
Dartford
Hungerford
(0) 2
Bignall 58
Hopper 64
(0) 0
232
Whitehawk
(0) 1
Omotayo 58
1,626
Sampson 9, Gilchrist 70
Chelmsford
Oxford City
(0) 1
(1) 1
Murphy 2
Havant & W
(1) 1
(0) 0
1,276
Eastbourne B (1) 1
Hampton & R (1) 2
Dawes 8
492
Wassmer 45
Kretzschmar 60
P
Dartford .............. 26
Hampton & R ..... 26
Havant & W ....... 25
Braintree.............26
Truro .................. 25
Chelmsford .........25
Hemel H .............25
St Albans ...........25
Weston-s-Mare .. 24
Welling................25
Bath ....................25
East Thurrock .... 24
Wealdstone.........24
Hungerford .........26
Eastbourne Boro 26
Concord Rangers 24
Oxford City..........26
Chippenham .......25
Gloucester ..........25
Poole .................. 24
Bognor Regis ......25
Whitehawk ......... 26
W
14
12
13
12
12
11
11
11
10
9
9
9
8
9
8
6
7
7
7
5
3
2
D
7
11
7
9
7
9
8
7
6
8
8
7
8
5
5
10
7
6
5
6
11
5
L
5
3
5
5
6
5
6
7
8
8
8
8
8
12
13
8
12
12
13
13
11
19
F
53
37
43
52
44
39
40
39
44
41
32
45
34
30
37
31
36
37
30
28
29
24
A
28
21
22
35
30
24
28
32
38
39
31
46
37
35
55
35
46
48
42
43
44
66
GD Pts
25 49
16 47
21 46
17 45
14 43
15 42
12 41
7 40
6 36
2 35
1 35
-1 34
-3 32
-5 32
-18 29
-4 28
-10 28
-11 27
-12 26
-15 21
-15 20
-42 11
Evo-Stik Premier: North
Buxton 2 Stalybridge Celtic 2; Grantham Town
2 Farsley Celtic 2; Halesowen Town 0 Nantwich
Town 1; Hednesford Town 1 Coalville Town 1;
Lancaster City 1 Barwell 1; Mickleover Sports 2
Matlock Town 0; Shaw Lane Association 0
Whitby Town 0; Stafford Rangers 0 Altrincham
2; Sutton Coldfield Town 3 Rushall Olympic 4;
Witton Albion 1 Ashton United 1.
P
Altrincham..........27
Grantham............27
Warrington ........ 25
Shaw Lane .......... 23
Workington.........27
Ashton Utd ......... 25
Hednesford ......... 29
Farsley Celtic......28
Witton Albion.....29
Mickleover Spts..31
Stourbridge.........25
Buxton.................27
Lancaster ...........26
W D L F A GD Pts
18 5 4 62 21 41 59
15 4 8 57 31 26 49
14 5 6 41 30 11 47
14 4 5 45 24 21 46
13 7 7 49 33 16 46
13 7 5 48 33 15 46
13 6 10 41 43 -2 45
12 8 8 50 46 4 44
11 8 10 49 43 6 41
11 7 13 43 39 4 40
11 6 8 40 27 13 39
11 6 10 43 38 5 39
10 8 8 46 38 8 38
Coalville ............. 30 11
Barwell................28 9
Nantwich ............25 9
Matlock ..............28 9
Stafford Rangers 26 9
Rushall Olympic 28 9
Whitby................30 7
Marine.................27 7
Halesowen..........29 7
Stalybridge ......... 24 7
Sutton Coldfield .30 5
5
9
5
5
5
5
9
6
6
3
5
14
10
11
14
12
14
14
14
16
14
20
50
38
33
38
29
39
35
34
30
32
30
59
37
39
49
40
57
51
47
52
46
79
-9
1
-6
-11
-11
-18
-16
-13
-22
-14
-49
38
36
32
32
32
32
30
27
27
24
20
Evo-Stik Premier: South
Bishop’s Stortford 0 Banbury United 5;
Chesham United 4 Basingstoke Town 1;
Dorchester Town 1 Redditch United 0;
Dunstable Town 0 Royston Town 5;
Farnborough 2 Merthyr Town 2; Frome Town 0
Kings Lynn Town 0; Gosport Borough 0 Tiverton
Town 5; Hitchin Town 0 Biggleswade Town 1;
Kettering Town 1 Kings Langley 1; Stratford
Town 0 Weymouth 0.
P
Kings Lynn .........28
Kettering.............28
Hereford .............24
Weymouth..........28
Tiverton .............. 28
Royston ..............25
Banbury...............29
Slough.................21
Hitchin.................28
Chesham ............. 27
St Neots .............28
Frome .................27
Biggleswade .......29
Stratford ............29
Redditch..............27
Basingstoke........28
Farnborough........30
Merthyr ..............29
Dorchester..........29
B Stortford..........29
St Ives ................28
Kings Langley ..... 29
Dunstable............28
Gosport Borough.26
W D L F A GD Pts
18 5 5 56 25 31 59
17 7 4 63 30 33 58
17 5 2 62 21 41 56
17 5 6 59 34 25 56
16 2 10 43 39 4 50
14 4 7 47 32 15 46
13 6 10 60 40 20 45
13 5 3 59 26 33 44
13 5 10 46 39 7 44
11 8 8 53 36 17 41
10 11 7 50 47 3 41
12 5 10 53 51 2 41
11 7 11 34 32 2 40
10 9 10 45 47 -2 39
10 6 11 47 40 7 36
10 5 13 57 45 12 35
10 5 15 54 72 -18 35
8 10 11 47 60 -13 34
9 6 14 46 59 -13 33
8 7 14 42 50 -8 31
5 6 17 33 61 -28 21
4 9 16 37 66 -29 21
2 3 23 15 88 -73 9
2 1 23 14 82 -68 7
Bostik Premier
Brightlingsea Regent 3 Worthing 0; Burgess
Hill Town 2 Harrow Borough 3; Enfield Town 2
Merstham 2; Leatherhead 1 Tonbridge Angels
0; Lowestoft Town 0 Dorking Wanderers 0;
Margate 1 Dulwich Hamlet 0; Needham Market
1 Kingstonian 2; Thurrock 0 Staines Town 2;
Tooting & Mitcham United 0 Metropolitan
Police 2; Wingate & Finchley 2 Harlow Town 0.
P
Dulwich Hamlet..28
Billericay.............22
Staines ...............28
Folkestone ......... 27
Leiston................28
Hendon................25
Met Police...........29
Margate .............. 26
Leatherhead........25
Wingate & F .......25
Tonbridge ...........27
Enfield ................27
Brightlingsea .....28
Thurrock..............29
Harrow Borough . 30
Kingstonian.........26
Dorking Wandrs..25
Lowestoft .......... 27
Merstham ........... 28
Harlow.................28
Needham Mkt.....29
Worthing.............28
Tooting & M........28
Burgess Hill ....... 25
W D L F A GD Pts
19 5 4 60 27 33 62
18 3 1 57 17 40 57
14 7 7 60 40 20 49
15 4 8 58 41 17 49
14 6 8 48 35 13 48
15 2 8 57 29 28 47
13 7 9 53 47 6 46
12 8 6 43 30 13 44
14 2 9 34 29 5 44
13 3 9 35 33 2 42
11 5 11 37 37 0 38
9 9 9 45 46 -1 36
10 5 13 48 53 -5 35
10 4 15 39 53 -14 34
10 4 16 43 59 -16 34
10 2 14 34 48 -14 32
9 4 12 40 45 -5 31
9 4 14 35 45 -10 31
7 8 13 42 52 -10 29
8 3 17 32 58 -26 27
6 8 15 42 53 -11 26
6 7 15 40 55 -15 25
7 4 17 38 67 -29 25
5 6 14 36 57 -21 21
FA Vase: Fourth round
Marske Utd 5 Hinckley 0; Newport (IOW) 0
Bradford Town 1. Replay: Coleshill 1 Newcastle
Benfield 1 (aet: Coleshill won 4-2 on penalties).
WOMEN’S SUPER LEAGUE
League One: Birmingham 2 Bristol City 0.
P W
D
L
F
A
Pts
7 18
Man City
6 6 0 0 24
4 16
Chelsea
6 5 1 0 24
5 12
Liverpool
6 4 0 2 15
Arsenal
6 3 1 2 13 11 10
7 18
9
Sunderland
7 3 0 4
8
Reading
6 2 2 2 14 10
9 13
7
Birmingham
7 2 1 4
4 19
7
Bristol City
7 2 1 4
6
Everton
7 2 0 5 11 12
0 22
0
Yeovil
6 0 0 6
League Two: Millwall 4 Tottenham 1.
Continental Tyres Cup: Semi-finals: Chelsea 0
Man City 1; Reading 2 Arsenal 3.
Next league fixtures: weekend Jan 26-28.
Monday January 15 2018 | the times
THE GAME | 19
2GG
TO KNOW. THE ULTIMATE RESULTS SERVICE
S KY B ET CHAM PIONSHIP
HOME
P W
D
L
SKY BET LEAGU E O NE
AWAY
F
A W
D
L
F
A GD Pts
W 1 Wolves........................27 10
2
1 28 10
9
3
2 22 10 30 62
W 2 Derby..........................27
8
2
3 22
9
7
5
2 22 14 21 52
W 3 Cardiff.........................27
9
3
2 26 10
6
2
5 14 15 15 50
Y 4 Aston Villa..................27
Z 5 Bristol City.................27
Y 6 Sheffield United.........27
Z 7 Leeds...........................27
Y 8 Fulham........................27
Z 9 Middlesbrough...........27
Z10 Preston.......................27
7
5
1 22 10
6
3
5 17 14 15 47
7
3
4 20 14
6
5
2 20 18
8 47
8
2
4 23 13
5
2
6 17 18
9 43
6
4
3 17
9
7
0
7 20 20
8 43
5
6
2 17 13
6
3
5 23 21
6 42
7
2
5 15 11
5
3
5 20 16
8 41
5
5
3 15 12
5
6
3 16 15
4 41
W11 Brentford....................27
6
7
1 24 15
4
3
6 17 20
6 40
W12 Ipswich.......................27
8
2
4 24 14
4
1
8 16 25
1 39
W13 Norwich......................27
4
5
4 14 14
6
2
6 13 17 -4 37
Y14 QPR.............................27
Z15 Nottingham Forest....27
Z16 Millwall.......................27
Z17 Sheffield Wed............27
6
4
3 19 16
2
5
7 12 21 -6 33
7
0
7 17 18
3
2
8 16 25 -10 32
7
4
3 23 15
0
6
7
4
5
4 18 18
3
5
6 12 16 -4 31
W18 Reading.......................27
3
4
6 14 17
4
4
6 16 18 -5 29
W19 Barnsley......................27
3
5
6 12 17
3
4
6 15 20 -10 27
Y20 Hull..............................27
Z21 Bolton.........................27
4
5
5 30 23
1
5
7
5
2
6 16 19
1
5
8
9 26 -20 25
W22 Burton Albion.............27
2
2 10 12 30
4
4
5
9 16 -25 24
W23 Birmingham...............27
5
2
7
8 16
1
3
9
7 22 -23 23
W24 Sunderland.................27
1
5
7 13 21
3
5
6 16 26 -18 22
6 15 -1 31
9 21 -5 25
R E SU LTS
Barnsley (0) 0 Wolves (0) 0
Cardiff
16,050
17,703
Ralls 55
Paterson 46, 80
Pilkington 90+4
Sent off: D Ndong (Sunderland) 49
Birminghm(0) 0 Derby
22,121
(1) 3
Russell 19
Vydra 56
Weimann 89
Brentford(1) 2 Bolton
Jozefzoon 40
Maupay 90+1
Ipswich (0) 1 Leeds
(0) 0
Middlesbro(0) 0 Fulham (0) 1
Bristol C (0) 0 Norwich (0) 1
Burton
Dyer 34
4,264
Hull
23,850
Maddison 79
(1) 1 QPR
(0) 0
Celina 67
18,638
Sent off: E O'Kane (Leeds) 37
9,507
21,282
(0) 4 Sunderland(0) 0
(1) 3
Norwood
90+5 (pen)
Millwall (1) 1 Preston (0) 1
Oteh 32
Washington 74
Luongo 87
O'Brien 43
11,751
Robinson 80
Nottm F (0) 0 Aston Villa(1) 1
(0) 0 Reading (0) 0
25,433
14,300
Hogan 18
HOME
LEAD ING SCORE R S
P W
15 L Clarke
(Sheff Utd)
15 M Vydra
(Derby)
12 L Bonatini
(Wolves)
12 B Reid
(Bristol City)
12 L Grabban
(Sunderland)
12 B Assombalonga
(Middlesbro)
TOP ASSISTS
9 L Freeman
(QPR)
8 B Douglas
(Wolves)
8 M Duffy
(Sheff Utd)
TOP SAVE S
93 B Bialkowski
(Ipswich)
84 J Smith
(Nott’m Forest)
83 J Archer
(Millwall)
TEAM OF THE WE E K
McGregor (Hull)
Ream (Fulham)
Keogh (Derby)
Chester (A Villa)
Lindsay
(Barnsley)
Jozefzoon
(Brentford)
Maddison
(Norwich)
Celina (Ipswich)
Snodgrass
(Aston Villa)
Robinson
(Preston)
Washington
(QPR)
SC OT L A ND
Forfar Ath
P
Celtic...................22
Aberdeen.............22
Rangers...............22
Hibernian ............ 22
Hearts.................22
Kilmarnock..........21
St Johnstone.......21
Motherwell ......... 21
Hamilton Acad ...21
Dundee................22
Partick Thistle....22
Ross County........22
Millar 8 (pen)
Fisher 18, Marr 60
Travis 22, 89, Munro 58 505
Sent off: M Hopkins (Albion Rovers) 63,
M Trouten (Albion Rovers) 65
W D L F A GD Pts
15 6 1 48 15 33 51
13 4 5 33 24 9 43
12 4 6 41 25 16 40
9 8 5 31 27 4 35
7 9 6 21 19 2 30
6 8 7 25 28 -3 26
7 5 9 21 30 -9 26
7 3 11 26 32 -6 24
6 5 10 30 34 -4 23
6 4 12 23 32 -9 22
5 5 12 19 37 -18 20
4 5 13 21 36 -15 17
Next fixtures: Jan 23: Partick v Celtic. Jan 24:
Dundee v Hibernian; Hamilton v Hearts;
Kilmarnock v St Johnstone; Motherwell v Ross
Co; Rangers v Aberdeen.
Championship
Brechin City (0) 0
551
Livingston
(1) 2
Halkett 12 (pen)
Robinson 69
(0) 0
St Mirren
(0) 2
1,652
Smith 47, McGinn 58
Dunfermline (0) 0
Dundee Utd
(0) 0
7,139
Queen of South(0) 1
Vigurs 3, Chalmers 29
Doran Cogan 58
Bell 85
2,209
Morton
Falkirk
(0) 0
2,084
(1) 1
Sibbald 20
P W D L
St Mirren.............22 15 3 4
Dundee Utd.........21 12 4 5
Dunfermline .......21 9 6 6
Livingston...........20 9 6 5
Queen of South...21 8 6 7
Inverness CT.......22 8 6 8
Morton................20 7 7 6
Dumbarton..........21 4 8 9
Falkirk.................21 4 8 9
Brechin City ........ 21 0 4 17
F
41
30
37
31
34
29
27
15
20
16
A
23
23
24
24
30
25
21
28
34
48
GD Pts
18 48
7 40
13 33
7 33
4 30
4 30
6 28
-13 20
-14 20
-32 4
League One
(1) 2
Queen’s Park (1) 1
(1) 2
Alloa Athletic (0) 1
Swankie 43
Gold 60
East Fife
Lamont 42
Docherty 75
McGhee 12
751
Martin 68
492
(2) 4
Albion Rovers (1) 2
Raith Rovers (0) 1
Ayr United
Spence 47
3,064
Shankland 34
Stranraer
(1) 3
Okoh 36, 61
Beith 75
(1) 1
Airdrieonians (1) 2
Carrick 2, Furtado 64
406
P
Raith Rovers.......20
Ayr United...........22
Arbroath..............20
Alloa Athletic......20
Stranraer.............21
East Fife..............22
Airdrieonians......21
Albion Rovers ..... 20
Queen’s Park.......22
Forfar Athletic....22
W D L F A GD Pts
14 4 2 43 17 26 46
14 3 5 59 29 30 45
10 3 7 41 30 11 33
9 4 7 32 26 6 31
8 5 8 35 38 -3 29
8 3 11 33 40 -7 27
6 7 8 30 39 -9 25
6 4 10 43 49 -6 22
4 6 12 24 46 -22 18
5 3 14 23 49 -26 18
League Two
Berwick (0)
0
388
Clyde
Inverness CT (2) 3
Arbroath
L
F
A W
D
L
F
A GD Pts
8 38 57
L E A DI NG SCORERS
8
5
1 21
4
9
1
2 29
W 2 Shrewsbury................26 10
1
1 18
4
6
5
3 16 14 16 54
W 3 Blackburn....................26
8
3
2 25 12
7
4
2 23 12 24 52
W 4 Scunthorpe.................27
7
4
2 17
9
7
4
3 21 14 15 50
W 5 Bradford..................... 27
6
1
7 19 21
9
2
2 24 15
7 48
Y 6 Charlton......................27
Z 7 Portsmouth................27
Z 8 Rotherham.................27
7
4
3 19 15
5
3
5 15 17
2 43
9
2
3 22
9
4
1
8 12 22
3 42
7
2
4 28 17
5
3
6 17 19
9 41
TOP ASSISTS
W 9 Peterborough.............27
7
1
5 20 18
4
6
4 23 19
6 40
W10 Oxford United.............28
6
4
4 25 23
4
4
6 18 18
2 38
Y11 Fleetwood Town........27
Z12 Doncaster...................27
Z13 Plymouth....................28
Y14 Gillingham..................27
Y15 Walsall........................26
Z16 Blackpool....................28
Z17 Bristol Rovers............27
Z18 Southend....................28
4
4
5 19 20
6
2
6 19 21 -3 36
13 M Maddison
(Peterborough)
9 J Payne
(Oxford Utd)
9 H Adelakun
(Scunthorpe)
9 L Leahy
(Walsall)
5
6
3 20 15
4
2
7 10 14
6
2
6 18 21
3
6
5 12 14 -5 35
1 35
3
7
4 17 16
5
3
5 12 14 -1 34
5
6
3 20 17
3
3
6 13 18 -2 33
5
4
5 20 21
3
5
6 14 17 -4 33
8
0
5 23 18
2
3
9 13 25 -7 33
6
5
3 19 14
2
2 10 13 33 -15 31
W19 MK Dons.....................27
4
7
3 15 16
3
2
8 13 22 -10 30
W20 Oldham.......................28
5
3
6 23 22
2
5
7 17 28 -10 29
Y21 Northampton.............28
Z22 AFC Wimbledon.........26
5
2
7 12 21
3
3
8 13 27 -23 29
4
3
6 13 17
3
4
6
W23 Rochdale.....................26
4
5
3 13 11
0
5
9 13 26 -11 22
W24 Bury............................ 27
4
1
8 10 17
0
4 10
9 14 -9 28
9 25 -23 17
Blackburn(1) 3 Shrewsbury(1) 1
MK Dons (0) 0 Wimbledn(0) 0
Mulgrew 14,
70 (pen)
Graham 60
9,504
Nolan 35 (pen)
13,579
Oldham (1) 1 Rotherham(1) 1
Davies 31
4,775
Blackpool(0) 0 Bristol R (0) 0
4,001
Williams 7
Bradford (0) 1 Northmptn(1) 2
Portsmth(1) 1 Scunthorpe(0) 1
Taylor 90+2
19,343
Lowe 15
17,741
O’Toole 43
Long 62
Kightly 86
6,489
Marshall 63
Doncaster(1) 1 Plymouth(0) 1
Beestin 37
7,494
Diagouraga 57
Madden 62
Walsall (1) 2 Oxford U (0) 1
Edwards 74
Bakayoko 33
Oztumer 48
Gillinghm(1) 2 Rochdale (1) 1
Garmston 41
Martin 63
Van Veen 53
Southend(0) 1 Fleetwood (0) 2
(0) 0 Charlton (0) 1
3,295
TO P SAVE S
141 T Holy
(Gillingham)
118 L Nicholls
(MK Dons)
94 M Gilks
(Scunthorpe)
89 B Amos
(Charlton)
89 S Eastwood
(Oxford Utd)
T E A M O F T HE W E E K
R E S U LTS
Bury
17 J Marriott
(Peterborough)
13 K Moore
(Rotherham)
13 B Pitman
(Portsmouth)
12 E Doyle
(Oldham)
Wigan
Cannon 27
4,352
8,602
Mowatt 70
4,569
(0) 0 Peterboro(0) 0
Roberts (Walsall)
Taylor
(Peterborough)
Dummigan
(Oldham)
O’Neill
(Gillingham)
Mulgrew
(Blackburn)
Aribo (Charlton)
Cissé (MK Dons)
Dempsey
(Fleetwood)
Rowe
(Doncaster)
Long
(Northampton)
Taylor
(Bradford)
L A L I G A
Ladbrokes Premiership
Dumbarton
W 1 Wigan.........................26
D
SKY BE T L E AG U E T WO
AWAY
Annan Ath
(0) 0
Stenhousemuir(1) 3
Meechan 11
Longworth 72
Murray 83
Edinburgh City(0) 0
Montrose
(2) 2
464
Bolochoweckyj 36
Milne 39
Sent off: F El Alagui (Edinburgh City) 67
Elgin City
(0) 1
Cowdenbeath (0) 0
Eadie 85
609
Sent off: K Miller (Cowdenbeath) 46
Peterhead
(2) 4
Gibson 1
McAllister 23 (pen)
McLean 68, 72
P
Montrose ............ 21
Peterhead............19
Stenhousemuir...20
Annan Athletic ... 21
Stirling Albion .... 19
Elgin City.............20
Berwick Rangers.19
Edinburgh City....20
Clyde ................... 18
Cowdenbeath......19
D
3
6
4
5
4
2
3
5
5
4
7
3
3
6
5
9
0
4
2
2
L
0
1
3
4
6
8
8
7
7
8
6
7
8
7
8
7
13
11
14
14
F
52
28
40
32
26
23
24
23
28
33
21
13
30
16
33
15
14
21
13
14
A
9
8
19
17
21
28
31
18
28
27
20
14
34
22
34
26
27
37
33
46
GD Pts
43 51
20 42
21 40
15 32
5 31
-5 29
-7 27
5 26
0 26
6 25
1 25
-1 24
-4 24
-6 24
-1 23
-11 18
-13 18
-16 16
-20 11
-32 11
(0) 2
Henderson 68, Smith 88
581
W
16
12
12
9
9
9
8
7
7
7
6
7
7
6
6
3
6
4
3
3
Stirling Albion(2) 3
Robertson 6
Smith 32, 90+2
W D L F A GD Pts
13 5 3 31 20 11 44
14 1 4 53 23 30 43
10 5 5 35 25 10 35
8 7 6 25 17 8 31
9 3 7 37 26 11 30
9 3 8 33 36 -3 30
6 3 10 14 33 -19 21
4 3 13 15 32 -17 15
2 8 8 20 32 -12 14
1 6 12 10 29 -19 9
L I G U E 1
Caen 0 Lille 1; Dijon 1 Metz 1; Lyons 1 Angers
1; Montpellier 0 Monaco 0; Nantes 0 Paris
Saint-G 1; Nice 1 Amiens 0; St Etienne 2
Toulouse 0; Rennes 0 Marseilles 3; Troyes 0
Bordeaux 1. Friday: Strasbourg 0 Guingamp 2.
P
Paris Saint-G ...... 20
Monaco................20
Lyons...................20
Marseilles...........20
Nantes.................20
Nice.....................20
Guingamp............20
Montpellier.........20
Dijon....................20
Rennes................20
Strasbourg..........20
Caen .................... 20
Bordeaux.............20
St Etienne...........20
Lille......................20
Amiens................20
Angers.................20
Troyes ................. 20
Toulouse ............. 20
Metz....................20
L
D
L
W 1 Luton Town................27 10
1
2 41 13
W 2 Notts County..............27
9
4
0 26 10
6
5
3 21 14 35 54
5
5
4 20 18 18 51
Y 3 Accrington Stanley....26
Y 4 Wycombe................... 27
Y 5 Exeter City..................26
7
2
8
3
3 23 12
7
2
5 21 18 14 46
3 30 19
5
4
10
4 19 17 13 46
0
3 20 11
4
3
W 6 Lincoln City.................27
6 16 21
7
5
2 22 11
5
3
5 15 15 11 44
W 7 Mansfield Town.........27
7
5
1 23 13
4
6
4 15 16
9 44
Z 8 Coventry.....................27
Y 9 Swindon......................26
Y10 Newport County.........27
Z11 Colchester..................28
8
2
3 16
7
5
3
6 12 12
9 44
5
2
7 15 24
9
0
3 24 10
5 44
5
5
2 17 11
6
4
5 20 20
6 42
6
5
3 22 14
5
3
6 15 20
3 41
W12 Cambridge United......27
8
3
3 18 11
2
5
6
W13 Carlisle........................27
4
5
5 20 16
6
2
5 18 21
Y14 Crawley Town............27
Y15 Stevenage..................27
Z16 Cheltenham................28
Z17 Grimsby Town............28
5
2
7 13 14
5
4
4 14 17 -4 36
6
5
2 27 16
3
2
9 10 24 -3 34
6
3
5 19 17
3
4
7 18 24 -4 34
4
5
6 13 19
5
2
6 14 19 -11 34
W18 Port Vale.....................28
5
2
7 17 19
4
3
7 13 17 -6 32
Y19 Morecambe................27
Z20 Crewe..........................27
5
3
6 15 19
2
5
6 12 18 -10 29
6
2
6 19 21
3
0 10 10 21 -13 29
W21 Yeovil..........................27
5
4
4 19 14
2
3
Y22 Chesterfield................28
Z23 Forest Green Rovers..27
5
3
6 16 19
1
3 10 12 32 -23 24
4
2
8 15 24
2
3
W24 Barnet.........................27
3
3
7 11 16
2
2 10 15 25 -15 20
W D L F A GD Pts
17 2 1 59 15 44 53
13 3 4 46 19 27 42
12 5 3 46 21 25 41
12 5 3 41 22 19 41
10 3 7 18 19 -1 33
9 3 8 25 29 -4 30
8 5 7 23 24 -1 29
6 9 5 17 13 4 27
7 4 9 29 34 -5 25
7 4 9 24 29 -5 25
6 6 8 24 33 -9 24
7 3 10 12 22 -10 24
6 5 9 23 29 -6 23
6 5 9 20 33 -13 23
6 4 10 18 30 -12 22
6 3 11 16 22 -6 21
4 9 7 22 29 -7 21
6 3 11 20 28 -8 21
5 4 11 18 29 -11 19
3 3 14 14 35 -21 12
F
A W
F
A GD Pts
4 45
7 20 -6 38
1 37
9 18 34 -11 28
Camb Utd(0) 0 Mansfield(0) 0
Grimsby (0) 1 Newport (1) 2
4,324
Matt 80
Willmott 19
3,397
Nouble 56
Sent off: J Matt (Grimsby) 89
Carlisle (0) 1 Crewe
Cosgrove 76
(0) 0
4,467
Cheltenhm(0) 0 Accrington(1) 2
Morecmbe(1) 1 Stevenage(0) 1
2,893
Ellison 23
1,268
Kee 22, Jackson 62
Chesterfld(2) 2 Luton
(0) 0
Crawley (0) 2 Barnet
Franks 89
Port Vale (0) 1 Yeovil
Rowley 19
5,715
McCourt 25 (pen)
(0) 0
Pope 86 (pen)
4,120
(1) 1
Zoko 11
Boldewijn 75, 86 1,874
Swindon (0) 1 Forest Gn (0) 0
Exeter
Norris 79
(1) 1 Coventry (0) 0
Harley 7
Lincoln
4,219
(1) 2 Notts Co (1) 2
Frecklington 37
Green 67
Stead 35, Grant 76
9,603
P
Napoli..................20
Juventus ............. 20
Inter Milan..........20
Lazio....................19
Roma...................19
Sampdoria...........19
Atalanta..............20
Udinese...............19
Fiorentina ........... 20
Torino..................20
AC Milan ............. 20
Bologna...............20
Chievo ................. 20
Genoa..................20
Sassuolo..............20
Cagliari................20
SPAL....................20
Crotone ............... 20
Verona.................20
Benevento...........20
7,062
Wycombe(2) 3 Colchester(0) 1
Akinfenwa 14
Cowan-Hall 24
O’Nien 74
L EA D I N G SCO R ER S
16 B Kee
(Accrington)
15 D Hylton
(Luton)
14 J Grant
(Notts County)
13 A Akinfenwa
(Wycombe)
TOP ASSISTS
9 G Cooper
(Crewe)
7 M Taylor
(Swindon)
7 D Wright
(Colchester)
TO P SAV ES
108 D Forde
(Cambridge U)
107 C Pym
(Exeter)
102 B Collins
(Forest Green)
94 J Fryer
(Stevenage)
8 11 24 -22 23
R E S U LTS
Szmodics 78
4,386
TEA M O F TH E WEEK
Pym (Exeter)
Weir
(Chesterfield)
Moore
(Wycombe)
Bennett
(Mansfield)
Rowe (Lincoln)
Demetriou
(Newport)
McConville
(Accrington)
Reed
(Chesterfield)
O’Nien
(Wycombe)
Boldewijn
(Crawley)
Cosgrove
(Carlisle)
F I X TU R ES
6 Winter break until Jan 21
Paris Saint-Germain’s
win away to Nantes
last night ended in
farce after the referee
appeared to aim a
kick at a player before
sending him off.
The referee, Tony
Chapron, fell after
Diego Carlos
accidentally clipped
his heels in injury
time, but took
exception to it and
lashed out.
The official gave
Carlos his marching
orders, apparently for
dissent, as PSG
secured a 1-0 win.
Waldemar Kita, the
Nantes chairman,
said: “It’s a joke. I
received 20 text
messages telling me
this referee is a joke.”
AWAY
D
S ER I E A
Alavés 1 Seville 0; D La Coruña 1 Valencia 2;
Eibar 0 Atletico Madrid 1; Espanyol 1 Athletic
Bilbao 1; Girona 6 Las Palmas 0; Levante 0
Celta Vigo 1; Real Madrid 0 Villarreal 1; Real
Sociedad 2 Barcelona 4. Friday: Getafe 1
Málaga 0. Today: Real Betis v Leganés.
P
Barcelona...............19
Atletico Madrid......19
Valencia ................ 19
Real Madrid............18
Villarreal................19
Seville .................... 19
Eibar.......................19
Getafe....................19
Girona.....................19
Celta Vigo .............. 19
Athletic Bilbao.......19
Leganés..................17
Real Betis...............18
Espanyol.................19
Real Sociedad ........ 19
Levante..................19
Alavés....................19
D La Coruña............19
Málaga ................... 19
Las Palmas.............19
HOME
P W
W D L F A GD Pts
16 3 1 44 13 31 51
16 2 2 49 15 34 50
12 6 2 35 15 20 42
12 4 3 48 24 24 40
12 3 4 30 14 16 39
9 3 7 36 29 7 30
8 6 6 31 26 5 30
9 1 9 33 27 6 28
7 7 6 29 21 8 28
6 10 4 28 27 1 28
8 4 8 25 27 -2 28
7 3 10 23 30 -7 24
5 7 8 20 32 -12 22
5 6 9 16 22 -6 21
6 3 11 13 30 -17 21
6 2 12 18 31 -13 20
3 6 11 21 38 -17 15
4 3 13 13 38 -25 15
3 4 13 18 41 -23 13
2 1 17 13 43 -30 7
BUNDESLIGA
Cologne 2 Borussia Mönchengladbach 1;
Borussia Dortmund 0 Wolfsburg 0; Eintracht
Frankfurt 1 Freiburg 1; Augsburg 1 Hamburg
0; Hannover 3 Mainz 2; RB Leipzig 3 Schalke
1; Werder Bremen 1 Hoffenheim 1; Stuttgart
1 Hertha Berlin 0. Friday: Bayer Leverkusen 1
Bayern Munich 3.
P W D L F A GD Pts
Bayern Munich....18 14 2 2 40 12 28 44
RB Leipzig...........18 9 4 5 30 26 4 31
Schalke................18 8 6 4 29 24 5 30
B Dortmund ........ 18 8 5 5 39 24 15 29
B Leverkusen......18 7 7 4 35 26 9 28
B M’gladbach......18 8 4 6 28 30 -2 28
Hoffenheim.........18 7 6 5 28 23 5 27
Augsburg.............18 7 6 5 28 23 5 27
E Frankfurt..........18 7 6 5 21 19 2 27
Hannover ............18 7 5 6 27 28 -1 26
Hertha Berlin......18 6 6 6 26 26 0 24
Wolfsburg...........18 3 11 4 21 21 0 20
Stuttgart.............18 6 2 10 14 21 -7 20
Freiburg...............18 4 8 6 18 32 -14 20
Mainz ................. 18 4 5 9 21 31 -10 17
Werder Bremen..18 3 7 8 14 21 -7 16
Hamburg ............. 18 4 3 11 15 26 -11 15
Cologne ............... 18 2 3 13 12 33 -21 9
Kick-off 7.45 unless stated
TODAY
Premier League: Man Utd v
Stoke (8.0).
TOMORROW
FA Cup: Third-round replays:
Leicester v Fleetwood;
Mansfield v Cardiff; Reading
v Stevenage (8.0); Sheff Wed
v Carlisle; West Ham v
Shrewsbury.
FA Tophy: Second-round
replays: Warrington v
Ebbsfleet; Stockport Co v
Kidderminster; Barrow v
Brackley; Workington v
Weston-s-Mare; Boreham
Wood v Gateshead;
Harrogate v St Albans.
WEDNESDAY
FA Cup, third-round replays:
Chelsea v Norwich; Swansea
v Wolves; Wigan v
Bournemouth.
FRIDAY
Sky Bet Championship: Derby
v Bristol City. League Two:
Newport Co v Crawley.
William Hill Scottish Cup:
Fourth round: Formartine
United v Cove Rangers (8.0).
Kick-off 3.0 unless stated
SATURDAY
Premier League: Arsenal v
Crystal Palace; Brighton v
Chelsea (12.30); Burnley v
Man Utd; Everton v West
Brom; Leicester v Watford;
Man City v Newcastle (5.30);
Stoke v Huddersfield; West
Ham v Bournemouth.
Sky Bet Championship: Aston
Villa v Barnsley; Bolton v
Ipswich; Fulham v Burton
Albion; Leeds v Millwall;
Norwich v Sheff Utd; Preston
v Birmingham; QPR v
Middlesbrough; Reading v
Brentford; Sheff Wed v
Cardiff (5.30); Sunderland v
Hull; Wolves v Nottm Forest.
League One: AFC Wimbledon
v Blackpool; Bristol Rovers v
Bradford; Charlton v Walsall;
Fleetwood v Blackburn;
Northampton v MK Dons;
Oxford Utd v Bury; Peterboro
v Oldham; Plymouth v Wigan;
Rochdale v Southend;
Rotherham v Portsmouth;
Scunthorpe v Gillingham;
Shrewsbury v Doncaster.
League Two: Accrington v
Port Vale; Barnet v Lincoln;
Colchester v Grimsby;
Coventry v Swindon; Crewe v
Wycombe; Forest Green v
Cambridge Utd; Luton v
Morecambe; Mansfield v
Cheltenham; Notts Co v
Exeter; Stevenage v Carlisle;
Yeovil v Chesterfield.
Vanarama National: AFC
Fylde v Macclesfield;
Aldershot v Ebbsfleet;
Boreham Wood v Dover;
Chester v Gateshead; Halifax
v Leyton Orient; Guiseley v
Barrow; Hartlepool v
Wrexham; Maidstone v
Eastleigh; Solihull Moors v
Woking; Sutton Utd v
Dagenham & Red (12.30);
Torquay v Bromley; Tranmere
v Maidenhead.
William Hill Scottish Cup:
Fourth round: Aberdeen v St
Mirren (12.15); Albion v St
Johnstone; Alloa v Dundee
Utd; Ayr v Arbroath; Celtic v
Brechin; Dundee v Inverness
CT; Dunfermline v Morton;
East Fife v Brora; Kilmarnock
v Ross Co; Livingston v
Falkirk; Motherwell v
Hamilton; Peterhead v
Dumbarton; Queen of South v
Partick.
Ladbrokes Scottish League
One: Stranraer v Raith.
League Two: Berwick v Elgin;
Montrose v Clyde; Stirling v
Edinburgh; Stenhousemuir v
Cowdenbeath.
SUNDAY
Premier League:
Southampton v Tottenham
(4.0).
William Hill Scottish Cup:
Fourth round: Fraserburgh v
Rangers (12.0); Hearts v
Hibernian (2.05).
20
| THE GAME
the times | Monday January 15 2018
1G G
MATTHEW SYED
Why Kane was so nearly lost in game’s age gap
NEIL HALL/EPA
arry Kane has the potential to
become the finest English player
since Sir Bobby Charlton. At 24, he
can hold the ball up, find pockets of
space, and pass with remarkable
fidelity and range. He can also score
goals with deadly efficiency. His 39
Premier League strikes in 2017
surpassed a record that stood for more than a
decade. On Saturday, he became Tottenham
Hotspur’s highest Premier League scorer.
But it is not Kane’s success that shines a
light on how to improve youth football in this
country; it is the failures he endured on his
journey to the top. This is a player who was
rejected by Arsenal after one season in their
under-8s team. He then failed a trial at Spurs.
He ricocheted to Watford, where he was
spurned again. “It is almost as if English
football was involved in a conspiracy to reject
the highest-potential player of his generation,”
one youth coach told me.
It would have been easy for Kane to walk
away. Rejection is not easy, particularly for a
youngster unsure of his place in the world. It is
a tribute to him that he persevered, eventually
signing for Spurs at 11 when he got a second
chance at the club he grew up supporting. But
the question remains: how could his potential
have been so consistently overlooked? Why
did so many coaches reject him? Was his
potential invisible? Was he a late developer?
Or was there a systematic bias that blinded
coaches to the talent right before their eyes?
A good way to answer this question is by
noting that Kane was born on July 28. This
might seem trivial but it may be crucial in
solving the mystery of why he almost
disappeared from English football before he
arrived. Age-based football in England has a
cut-off date of September 1. That means that a
player in a team who is born in late July is
almost a year younger than a player who is
born in early September. This means, in turn,
that he is a year less developed in terms of
physical growth, speed and maturity.
In other words, coaches may have rejected
Kane not because he lacked potential, but
because he lacked impact upon the games in
which they were assessing him. When he first
played at Arsenal, he would have been more
than 10 per cent younger than the eldest in the
cohort, a huge schism. Unless a coach had the
insight to realise he was being outmuscled,
outjumped and outsprinted, not because he
had some abiding deficiency, but because he
was behind his peers in terms of physical
maturation, he would have been rejected.
H
LEAGUE TWO ROUND­UP
IAN WHITTELL
Cooper slates
own striker
after ‘dives’
most illogical, and
impressive, result of the
season, let alone the week.
Goals
Games
Kane’s two goals made him Tottenham’s
leading scorer in the Premier League
Harry Kane
98
Teddy Sheringham 97
Jermain Defoe
91
Robbie Keane
91
Chris Armstrong 48
135
236
276
238
141
Who are next in striker’s sights on
Premier League all-time scorers list?
Paul Scholes
Peter Crouch
Darren Bent
Didier Drogba
Matt Le Tissier
And this seems to be precisely what
happened. In a fascinating interview in the
Daily Telegraph, Alex Inglethorpe, the former
Tottenham academy director, talked about the
first time he watched Kane on the training
pitch. “Harry would have been 13 at the time,
and given that his is a late July birthday, he
was still playing catch-up with some of the
group from a physical perspective.” Frank
Worrall, his biographer, writes: “It would not
be an immediate breakthrough. Harry was
initially viewed as not physically strong
enough.”
This is about more than Kane, of course.
According to a BBC report in 2015, players
born from September to November account
for 45 per cent of the intake of Premier League
academies, compared with 10 per cent from
June to August. This phenomenon, known as
the relative age effect, also affects basketball,
ice hockey and baseball, where about 30-50
per cent of players in professional leagues are
born in the first quarter of the selection year.
It also extends into academia. Across the
board, people born late in the selection year
are not given the opportunities they deserve.
Yet there is a wrinkle in the relative age
effect, as Mark Williams, professor of sports
science at the University of Utah, has detailed.
Chesterfield ended a sevenhour plus wait for a goal in
a 2-0 win over the leaders,
Luton Town.
Player of the week Sam
Cosgrove Carlisle United
The 21-year-old forward,
signed from Wigan
Athletic, scored his first
professional goal in the 1-0
win over Crewe Alexandra.
Goal of the week Robbie
Willmott Newport County A
Performance of the week
Chesterfield Maybe the
How Kane has raced ahead of Sheringham
Kane, celebrating his second goal
against Everton on Saturday, may
have developed his sublime skills
because of an age disadvantage
neat touch and stunning
right-foot finish from 18
yards helped his team on
their way to a 2-1 win away
to Grimsby Town.
Rising star Tafari Moore
Wycombe Wanderers
The Arsenal defender, back
in England after a loan at
Utrecht last season, had a
promising debut in the 3-1
win over Colchester United.
Villain of the week
Christian Doidge Forest
Green Rovers Rovers’ top
scorer was accused by
Mark Cooper, his manager,
of twice diving to attempt
to win a penalty in the 1-0
defeat by Swindon Town.
Stat of the week
8 years 349 days The gap
between Lincoln City goals
It is a wrinkle that unites Lionel Messi, Billie
Jean King, Chris Evert, Monica Seles, Alex
Rodriguez, Roger Federer, Jimmy Connors and
Pete Sampras. All were born late in their
respective selection years. As Williams writes:
“The paradox is that, while there is a strong
bias towards recruiting athletes born early in
the selection year . . . a higher proportion of
super athletes are born later in the year.”
This has been corroborated by numerous
studies. An analysis of birth dates of winners
of the most prestigious awards, such as world
player of the year etc, reported an absence of
the relative age effect in sports as diverse as
football, baseball and the NFL. Similarly, it has
been shown in the NHL that earlier-born
athletes are the most desired, as measured by
those chosen in the initial round of drafts.
What is going on? The explanation is both
simple and revelatory: younger, smaller, less
physically mature youngsters are forced to
focus their training on skill, guile, craft and
technique in order to get through. The
obstacles put in their way by unenlightened
coaches force them to develop the very skills
that will prove a huge blessing once they pass
through adolescence and reach physical
maturity. As Williams puts it: “While being
born later in the year has been viewed as a
107
106
106
104
100
499
448
276
254
270
disadvantage, the paradox is that those who
preserve and stay in the game may be blessed
with advantages later on that may allow them
to profit from a more difficult start.”
Kane is exhibit A. His sublime positioning
and anticipation, and his ability to exploit time
and space, almost certainly developed in spite
of early coaches rather than because of them.
He may also have benefited from those early
tribulations in a psychological sense,
developing greater resilience and self-reliance.
This will have meant that later difficulties —
such as the accusation that he was a oneseason wonder because he failed to score in
the first three games of last season — were
less intimidating. A beguilingly similar analysis
can be applied to other top players, many of
whom endured early difficulties, but who
ultimately excelled, not least Messi.
This does not mean that the relative age
effect is a good thing. Coaches should recruit
players with high potential, regardless of when
they were born. Indeed, it is a credit to the
youth set-up at Spurs that they made reforms
around the time they recruited Kane, playing
on smaller pitches which emphasise skill, as
well as giving players a chance to play beyond
their age groups. Such changes have become
more pervasive in the past decade in English
football, with new ideas emerging all the time.
Kane’s story reveals that such reforms need
to go much farther. It is a serious indictment
of the game that such a prodigious talent was
so often rejected, and might have disappeared.
It is a rousing tribute to this remarkable young
man that he never allowed that to happen.
for Lee Frecklington, who
re-signed for the club this
week after spending the
best part of a decade at
Peterborough United and
Rotherham United. The
midfielder scored 37
minutes into his second
Lincoln debut, a 2-2 draw
with Notts County.
Quote of the week “I’m
very angry with Christian.
He dived twice in the box.
Nobody is near him and
he’s chosen to fall when he
had the chance to score his
18th and 19th goals,”
Cooper admirably takes
Doidge to task.
“Right, done my team talk,” said the Accrington owner, Andy Holt, on Twitter,
accompanying the above picture. It did the trick: they won 2-0 at Cheltenham
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