There’s going to be a lunchtime rush of gold-standard press conference quotes: Arteta, Ten Hag, Guardiola and Klopp will all be having their much-loved chats with the football media between 1pm and 2pm.
In last night’s WSL action, Hanna Bennison’s stoppage-time free-kick grabbed a dramatic 1-0 win for Everton against Leicester … and here’s the report:
The Everton manager Frank Lampard said some of the criticism directed towards England head coach Gareth Southgate has been harsh and called on fans to throw their support behind the team in the build-up to the World Cup.
England were relegated from the Nations League top tier this month after a six-match winless run, with Southgate criticised for their performances.
“I think it’s in some parts harsh. And when I say some parts, it’s something that we all sign up to in our own ways, and the England job is right up there for the pressure,” Lampard said before Everton’s league trip to Southampton.
“I’m not going to sit here and say that people can’t criticise. I think if things are constructive and people have opinions, great. But once this World Cup comes in and, in the build-up to it, it’ll be great if everyone can really get behind the team and Gareth.”
Much of the criticism directed towards Southgate has focused on his “cautious” approach.
“I remember the fantastic French team that won the last World Cup without really playing beautiful football,” said Lampard. “[In] modern-day football, there are lots of different styles and little ways to win a game. I think it would be absolutely Gareth’s decision about how to approach an Iran or USA compared to how they approach another type of team further into the competition if we get there.” (Reuters)
“I would like to just say a word on the retirement of Mikel John Obi, a Chelsea stalwart for so many years,” comments Quicknstraight. “One of my favourite Chelsea players and outrageously underrated, even by many Chelsea fans. His performance in Munich, when he was the easily best Chelsea player on the pitch over 120 minutes, and arguably the best player on the pitch on either side, was outstanding. His breaking up of Munich possession and calm retention of possession were key to us being in a position where Drogba’s header was enough to get to extra time and penalties.
“He was an absolute rock in a deeper CM role, when Mourinho switched him further back. Incredibly strong, very hard to knock off the ball, and invariably found a teammate with his sensible passing.”
Can France defend their World Cup title in Qatar? It isn’t looking very likely, writes Raphaël Jucobin:
A comment from BTL, as we early adopters of the internet like to call it:
“Three cracking Premier League derbies,” says trinder18. “It’s really hard to call any of them with any confidence. City have won only two of the last eight home derbies, though the most recent was a 4-1 rinsing. I’m going for two draws and an Arsenal win.”
Next up – here is Louise Taylor with some analysis of Newcastle: indifferent results to start the season, but no pressure on Eddie Howe.
“In previous seasons, Newcastle’s collection of a modest eight points from the campaign’s first seven games would have prompted concern among fans. This time things are very different.”
Meanwhile on Merseyside: Farhad Moshiri is in advanced talks with Maciek Kaminski over an Everton deal which would see the US businessman provide funding for the new stadium and take a stake in the club.
Will Unwin and Andy Hunter report:
As stated, Spurs will meet Arsenal tomorrow. David Hytner reports here on the Italian’s contract situation at Tottenham – he is being linked with struggling Juventus in Serie A, in view of the fact his current deal expires at the end of the season:
Football is back. It never went away, of course, but the top-end domestic programme returns this weekend after the first international break of this unique season. The World Cup kicks off in less than seven weeks’ time, before which, eight rounds of the Premier League will be crammed in before the final pre-Qatar round on 5 and 6 November.
In the top flight things will kick off in style tomorrow lunchtime, with Arsenal v Tottenham in the north London derby. That’s before Manchester City play Manchester United on Sunday and loads more besides. Team news, press conferences, previews and more coming up. But first – 10 things to look out for in the Premier League this weekend: