First blog post

This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.



Barcelona have not lost a league game sinceappointing Ernesto Valverde in the summer

Barcelona remain unbeaten at the top of La Liga

after being held to an entertaining draw by Celta


Iago Aspas put Celta ahead after Marc-Andre ter

Stegen parried Maxi Gomez’s shot, but Barca

levelled moments later as Lionel Messi

converted Paulinho’s pass for his 17th goal this


Luis Suarez had a goal harshly ruled out for

offside and Messi hit a post.

Suarez put Barca ahead from Jordi Alba’s cross

after a Messi pass, but Gomez equalised from

Aspas’ cutback.

Barca defender Samuel Umtiti pulled up with a

hamstring injury while chasing Aspas for that

goal, and has been ruled out for eight weeks.

The Catalan side are five points above Valencia,

who visit Getafe on Sunday.

Celta Vigo – who move up to eighth – were good

value for their draw, with a positive attacking

attitude. Aspas, in particular was excellent.

Barcelona did have chances to win an open

game, and Messi, La Liga’s top scorer with 13

goals in 14 games, headed wide from four yards


Atletico Madrid are a point behind Valencia,

having come from behind to beat Real Sociedad

2-1. Willian Jose put La Real ahead with a

penalty, but Filipe Luis equalised before Antoine

Griezmann’s 88th-minute winner.

Sevilla beat Deportivo La Coruna 2-0 and Real

Madrid drew 0-0 at Athletic Bilbao in Saturday’s

evening game.

Manchester United ruthlessly punished defensiveerrors to become the first side to win a leaguegame at Arsenal since January in one of thematches of the season so far.

An end-to-end first-half, which delivered 20 shots

on goal, saw Arsenal hit the woodwork through

Alexandre Lacazette and Granit Xhaka during a

frenetic goalmouth scramble, before De Gea

denied Hector Bellerin, Sead Kolasinac, and

spectacularly prevented a Lukaku own goal.

The Spaniard could do nothing about Lacazette’s

simple finish on 48 minutes but after Lingard had

hit the post in a breathless start to the second

half, De Gea produced an unbelievable double

save from Lacazette and Alexis Sanchez.

His heroics maintained the advantage during an

opening 15 minutes to the second half which

saw United have just 26% of possession, but

Lingard was on hand to tap in a third on 63

minutes after good work by Pogba.

Pogba was dismissed when he mistimed a tackle

to effectively stamp on the back of Bellerin’s leg,

and the Frenchman will now miss the

Manchester derby next Sunday.

But his moment of woe felt merely a footnote in

a riveting encounter which moved second-placed

United to within five points of their city rivals.

Mourinho opens up in a thriller

Mourinho has garnered a reputation for defensive

set-ups on trips to the league’s traditional big

clubs but his side went after their hosts early on,

hounding possession high up the pitch to great


Their opening two goals owed much to slack use

of possession by the home side but needed

clinical finishes, notably when Martial cleverly

flicked into the path of Lingard for the second.

The reward for their adventure secured a first

win for Mourinho in his past 12 away fixtures

against the ‘big six’.

He could be forgiven for not enjoying seeing

Arsenal fire 33 shots at goal and said he later

told De Gea – who equalled the league record for

saves in a match – he had witnessed the “best

from a goalkeeper in the world”.

Arsene Wenger also labelled De Gea “absolutely

outstanding” but while his brilliance points to

United riding their luck at times, they were

impressive in offering a balance between

defence and attack.

Nemanja Matic was consistently well placed,

never more so than when blocking a goal-bound

Aaron Ramsey shot with the score at 2-0.

And the presence of the defensive midfielder

once again freed Pogba, who in bursting into the

box to lay on Lingard’s second now has five

assists this season, surpassing his four in the

previous campaign.

Whether Mourinho will choose to live so

dangerously against Manchester City next week

remains to be seen, but those watching from a

neutral stance would be fortunate to see a game

as good as this one again.

Errors leave a mountain to climb

Wenger spoke of a “good performance” and

“impeccable attitude” from his players but he will

be familiar with this feeling.

Only twice in 18 meetings with Mourinho has he

got the upper hand and the charitable way in

which his side gave away goals will not sit well.

Koscielny’s cross-field pass and Mustafi’s

indecision ultimately left a mountain to climb if

Arsenal were to record a 12th straight home win

in the league.

The ease with which Pogba sauntered into the

area to create a third just as Arsenal were

seeking to build on Lacazette’s goal also

smacked of weakness.

Arsenal can justifiably feel aggrieved by a

penalty shout that was turned down late on

when Danny Welbeck was caught by Matteo

Darmian but by that point, the 10 men of United

had finally managed to calm a frantic affair.

Wenger’s side drop out of the Champions

League qualification places into fifth. They were

superb going forward at times and will scratch

their heads as to how they only found the net

once but, not for the first time, it was at the

other end where their shortcomings showed up.

Fifa World Cup 2018 draw: Spain andPortugal in same group

Neighbours Spain and Portugal will meet at next

year’s Fifa World Cup after being drawn in the

same group during Friday’s draw in Moscow.

Champions Germany are in Group F with Mexico,

Sweden and South Korea.

The opening game of the World Cup will see

hosts Russia take on Saudi Arabia in Group A on

Thursday, 14 June.

Group B sees 2010 winners Spain and current

European champions Portugal drawn with

Morocco and Iran, who are managed by

Portuguese Carlos Queiroz.

Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo plays with

several of Spain’s players for Real Madrid and

has been managed by Queiroz with Portugal, as

well as working together at Manchester United.

“It’s a big rivalry and it will be like a derby,”

Portugal and West Ham defender Jose Fonte

told BBC Sport. “It will be fantastic. Everyone

will be up for it.”

England have been drawn with Belgium, Panama

and Tunisia in Group G.

The hosts’ Group A also has Uruguay and Egypt.

Lionel Messi’s Argentina are in Group D and will

open against Iceland. They are also in with

Nigeria – the fifth time in the Super Eagles’ six

World Cups they have been drawn in a group

together – and Croatia.

Brazil are in Group E with Switzerland, Costa

Rica and Serbia.

Group C has France, Australia, Peru and

Denmark, while Group H contains Poland,

Senegal, Colombia and Japan.

FA Cup: Non-league sides look to createupsets and history in second round

Ten non-league clubs go into this weekend’s FA

Cup second round knowing they are 90 minutes

away from potentially being drawn against a

Premier League or Championship side.

The Surrey side reached this stage four times in

the 1970s, with their best run seeing them beat

Colchester and Brighton en route to a fourth-

round defeat by Leicester in 1974-75.

Ex-AFC Wimbledon midfielder Moore is in his

first season at the Isthmian Premier Division

club, having succeeded former Fulham player

Jimmy Bullard in the summer, and hopes to

recreate those giant-killing days when they travel

to League Two Wycombe.

“For me as a manager learning my trade and

building my reputation, it’s been absolutely

phenomenal,” Moore, 30, told BBC Surrey.

“It has made me hungrier to bring success to

this club.”

Mid-table in the league, Moore has taken

inspiration in the FA Cup from a “lucky”

inflatable dolphin, which has been with them for

every tie this season.

“It was actually given to my little girl when we

played Cray Valley in August,” he said. “I’m quite

superstitious so I’ve kept it in my office, nice

and fresh to go to war.”

Eleven goals from Moore’s assistant Jack

Midson have been crucial and Leatherhead beat

big-spending Billericay 3-1 in a replay to reach

the second round for the first time since 1978.

Pep Guardiola: Man City manager asked toexplain Nathan Redmond outburst

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has

been asked to explain his animated post-match

discussion with Southampton’s Nathan Redmond

by the Football Association.

Guardiola walked onto the pitch after

Wednesday’s 2-1 Premier League win and

remonstrated with the Saints winger.

He claimed he was telling the 23-year-old “how

good a player he is” and Redmond has since said

the Spaniard was “only very complimentary and


Guardiola has until Monday to respond.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss

approached Redmond moments after Raheem

Sterling had scored a 96th-minute winner for the

league leaders at Etihad Stadium.

He began to shout and wave his arms, while

Redmond covered his mouth and appeared to


“He was very passionate, intense and aggressive

– but he was only very complimentary and

positive to me,” Redmond later said on social


“He commented on my qualities as a young

English player and how he wanted me to attack

his team more during the game in a similar way

to last season.

“I told him I was doing what my manager had

asked me to do in the game. That’s it.”

City host West Ham at 16:00 GMT on Sunday,

hours after Southampton travel to south-coast

rivals Bournemouth.

Nathan Redmond: Pep Guardiola wascomplimenting me, says Southamptonforward

Southampton forward Nathan Redmond has

defended Pep Guardiola after the Manchester

City manager was seen having an animated

discussion with him at the end of Wednesday’s

Premier League game.

Raheem Sterling’s 96th-minute winner sealed a

2-1 victory for City.

Guardiola said he was telling 23-year-old

Redmond “how good a player he is” on the pitch

following at full-time.

“When one of the world’s best managers

compliments you or gives advice in any way, you

listen,” said Redmond.

In a post on social media, Redmond added: “Yes,

he was very passionate, intense and aggressive –

but he was only very complimentary and positive

to me.

“He commented on my qualities as a young

English player and how he wanted me to attack

his team more during the game in a similar way

to last season.

“I told him I was doing what my manager had

asked me to do in the game. That’s it.

“Nothing negative or offensive was said towards

me from Pep and that’s what makes him one of

the best managers in world football.”

Redmond scored the opener when Southampton

held City to a 1-1 draw at Etihad Stadium last


“Last season he destroyed us here,” said

Guardiola. “I didn’t know him last season, I

realised how good he is.

“[On Wednesday] he could not attack because

they defend all the time, but that is what it is.”

London Olympic Stadium taken over bymayor Sadiq Khan

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has agreed to take

over the former Olympic Stadium amid “financial


Mr Khan says a “catalogue of errors” by his

predecessor Boris Johnson led to the costs of

transforming it into West Ham United’s new

ground soaring.

An independent review says the conversion cost

£323m – the original estimate was £190m.

Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales said Mr

Johnson left the stadium’s finances in a

“dreadful mess”.

Mr Khan claims Mr Johnson’s decision to make

taxpayers foot the bill means Londoners will

have to shoulder a predicted loss of £24m this

financial year.

He will now take control of the London Stadium

in order to “renegotiate deals” and “minimise

ongoing losses”.

Mr Khan said: “I ordered the review into the

finances of the London Stadium to understand

how key decisions were made about its

transformation and why costs were allowed to

spiral out of control.

“What has been presented is simply staggering.”

According to the review, policing and stewarding

costs have “increased notably”.

It also adds that E20 – the public sector

company set up to run the London Stadium – is

projected to make a lost of £20m next year and

a total loss of £140m over its first 10 years.

Reacting to the takeover, Sir Robin said: “On

behalf of Newham residents, I am angry that the

deals and decisions made by the former Mayor

of London and his administration have left the

stadium finances in such a dreadful mess.

“It is regrettable that the finances of the

stadium have not followed the expected course.”

He said it was “vital for Newham however that

the stadium remained a public asset in public

ownership, to maximise its regeneration,

community and other financial benefits”.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who was the

Mayor of London between May 2008 and May

2016, has been approached for comment.

Celtic: Scott Brown says players needprotection from fans throwing coins

Players need more protection from spectators

throwing coins at them or “someone will get hit

on the head”, Celtic captain Scott Brown says.

Brown believes he was targeted during

Wednesday’s 1-1 draw at Motherwell.

Objects were thrown around 10 minutes before

half-time, with Brown and right-back Mikael

Lustig then seen removing items from the pitch.

“People are getting hit by coins and getting stuff

thrown at them pretty much every week now,”

Brown said.

“Just because we are doing so well in the

league, away fans don’t like that. We have

understood it is part and parcel now of when you

go away.

“Leigh Griffiths is taking a corner and getting

things thrown at him. People have to make sure

that we should be OK when you are going to

take a corner or a free-kick.

“People can shout or sing whatever they want,

but you can’t throw things. It isn’t showing a

great example, is it?

“It is more when you go away from home, and it

is starting to get more and more. We are just

getting used to it now.

“You go and take a corner, and you have got to

look over your shoulder to see what is coming.”

England’sEngland’s Joe Hart should be replaced byJack Butland, says World Cup winnerGordon Banks

Jack Butland should be England’s number one

choice as keeper because Joe Hart is making

“terrible mistakes”, says 1966 World Cup winner

Gordon Banks.

Hart, 30, is on loan from Manchester City at a

West Ham side currently in the Premier League

relegation zone.

He has won 75 caps but former keeper Banks.

I don’t think he is playing well,

especially when they kick it to him and he can’t

pick up.

“I see him make terrible mistakes, lots of times

he is lucky they don’t score.”

Banks, 79, would prefer to see Stoke keeper

Butland start at the World Cup in Russia next


The 24-year-old missed England’s friendly draws

with Germany and Brazil last month with a

broken finger and is yet to return for the


“I think Jack Butland is a really good

goalkeeper,” said Banks.

“He’s been unlucky that he had that injury and

broke his finger, because I am sure he was going

to be playing in at least one of those friendlies.”

Banks hopes Butland will get a chance to

impress boss Gareth Southgate when England

face Netherlands and Italy next March.

“If he gets a chance in these next two friendlies

and plays well, I think he will look to play him (at

the World Cup),” he added.