Chelsea v Manchester City build-up and more: Premier League news – as it happened

News of season-ending ACL injuries for Rob Holding, Jordan Nobbs and Lewis Cook broke on another freewheeling football Friday

Right, that’s probably enough excitement for one day. Have a wonderful footballing weekend - I’ll be back tomorrow for the weekly Saturday afternoon jamboree. Bye!

Twerkgate continues to rumble on. Here’s Aleksander Čeferin’s response:

If you, like me, are still not bored of seeing the name Papastathopoulos crowbarred into the limited space available on our illustrative pitch graphic, this preview is for you:

BONG! It’s Fiver O’Clock! Friday fiver o’clock, in fact, which means it’s basically the weekend.

It seems a rather flimsy excuse, but if it’s a reason to watch some Messi-flavoured highlights, I’ll take it:

You may not have noticed that Chelsea are going to be playing Manchester City tomorrow. Here’s a preview:

Suzanne Wrack has interviewed the Guardian’s No1 women’s footballer in the entire world right now, Pernille Harder:

As if the Spice Girls reunion tour wasn’t exciting enough:

Consider your Bournemouth v Liverpool preview needs met:

More now from the new Southampton appointee, Ralph Hasenhuttl, who is telling his players to expect some seriously hard work over the festive period:

We’ve just had a look at the players we have now; I want to bring them to their limits. I don’t know where the limits are and if they like to go this way with us they are invited to and when they follow us it will be an intensive, hard working way. When they their push their limits we will see where they get. If someone says it is it too much running or work for me they will fall very quick.

Good news for Manchester United fans: The Telegraph has spoken to José Mourinho’s agent, Jorge Mendes, who says the Portuguese Man o’Joy is here to stay:

There have been more rumours of Jose Mourinho leaving Manchester United. It’s totally untrue. José is very happy at the club and the club is very happy with him. He has a long-term contract with Manchester United and is fully committed to the club in building a solid winning project.


Here’s actual video footage of Maurizio Sarri talking about the impossibility of beating Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City:

There was an emotional reunion at Newcastle today, as Rafael Benitez welcomed Djimi Traore, now a manager himself, who was picking up a few training tips.

Rafael Benitez and Djimi Traore
Former Liverpool defender and current Seattle Sounders assistant coach Djimi Traore speaks with Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez at the Newcastle United Training Centre. Photograph: Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images

Traore of course won the Champions League with Benitez at Liverpool. Though there was also this:

Manchester City will again be without Sergio Aguero when they visit Stamford Bridge on Saturday. The league leaders are unbeaten so far this season and Chelsea away is one of the most demanding fixtures that remain – City have already travelled to Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham – but the muscle strain that has seen Aguero miss the last two games is not yet fully mended.

“Sergio will be back soon but he cannot play against Chelsea,” Pep Guardiola said. “Kevin de Bruyne will also be back soon, but not this week.”

Guardiola once again batted away suggestions that his team might go through the season unbeaten, even though City have not lost in 16 matches and Chelsea would appear, on paper at least, to be one of the few teams capable of standing in their way. “I don’t care about that,” the City manager said. “The most important thing to think about is always the next game, and Chelsea are an excellent team. I admire what Maurizio Sarri has done in a short time, even when we played them in the Community Shield at the start of the season you could see it was his team, playing the way he wanted to play.

“There is bound to be a reaction after their defeat by Wolves, they won’t accept two defeats in a row. Stamford Bridge is always a difficult place to go and get a result, I have been there several times and lost, but what makes me most proud is the consistency we have shown over the last 15 or 16 months. I am pleased with the way we have been playing but it would be a dangerous mistake to imagine we could not improve. We can, there are still many things we can do better.”

Comments on this page are now open! Go on, let it all out.

In part 2 of Andy Hunter’s Liverpool series attention turns to team news, starting with Joe Gomez’s leg break:

“It’s just a shame for the boy,” said Klopp. “For us of course as well. He was in outstanding shape, he helped us a lot and especially because we could make these changes with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe and that was really important because Trent is still a young boy and we cannot push through 20 games in a row. He would probably say it’s possible but I think it’s responsible that we have a little eye on that.

“Together with Virgil, he improved so much. It was so nice to see that he did exactly what everybody in the scouting department from Liverpool expected him to do. When I came in, everybody was full of praise for him and I didn’t see him in training because of the injury he got for [England] U21s. It is a bit lucky because it could have been worse. Six weeks for us is massive, I can’t even count the games in that period, but that means as well that he will be back for a big part of the season.”

Klopp confirmed that Liverpool will also be without Dejan Lovren and Dominic Solanke at Bournemouth on Saturday. Andy Robertson is fit having missed the Burnley win through injury but Sadio Mane is likely to miss out again due to a cut foot.


Here’s Andy Hunter with the first of a two-part story from Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool presser, starting with the low-level spat between Klopp and his Burnley counterpart, Sean Dyche:

Jurgen Klopp has rejected Sean Dyche’s claim that Daniel Sturridge cheated at Turf Moor and described the allegation as a diversion tactic by the Burnley manager.

Dyche highlighted the Liverpool striker’s theatrics when defending his players from Klopp’s criticism after Wednesday’s game. The Liverpool manager was unhappy with a number of Burnley challenges during his team’s 3-1 win despite accepting that many were not fouls. That left Dyche perplexed, and prompted the Burnley manager to say: “I notice he did not make any reference to Daniel Sturridge cheating.”

Klopp responded on Friday: “Daniel Sturridge is no cheat. I think what Sean tried to do there is to bring up another subject so somebody could speak about that. I’m not sure if he spoke about the challenge of Bardsley on Alberto Moreno. We all have our own interests and aims.

“After that game they are talking about one situation where a player goes down without contact, I don’t know if the referee even judged it. It was a normal situation which can happen, sometimes a striker expects a tackle and tries to avoid it by jumping. I can’t avoid it if people want to discuss Daniel, but on the other side I said what I had to say about that after the game, and different opinions are allowed obviously.”

Ethan van Ristell reports from Maurizio Sarri’s press conference:

Maurizio Sarri has admitted his players have struggled to adapt to his philosophy as Chelsea prepare to take on the “best team in Europe” in Manchester City, hoping to emerge from their recent downturn in form against the league leaders.

Sarri is experiencing his worst run in charge of Chelsea after two losses in three league games, and said his players have yet to grasp the playing style he is attempting to impose despite their unbeaten 19-match start under his stewardship. “When you change the way of playing, the way of football, you need to change the mentality, and you need to change the mentality in 25 minds,” said the Italian. “You cannot change the mentality in one day. You can change the mentality day by day, only 1% a week, maybe. So it’s a long way.

“Now we have to face the first difficulties of the season. I was sure that, sooner or later, we’d have to face problems. But I thought [they would be] in the first two months. Over the first two months we played well, we gained points. And so I thought that the problems would arrive in November and December. I was sure.”

Sarri, who watched his team lose 2-1 at newly promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers in midweek, believes City to be the best team in Europe at present, with Saturday’s contest at Stamford Bridge daunting given his side’s recent slump. “Against Guardiola, I lost every match,” he said. “So I don’t know [how to beat them]. You’ll have to ask somebody else.”

Here’s Mauricio Pochettino, earning full marks for fibbing as he describes his delight at Tottenham’s continued failure to complete their own stadium:

I am so, so happy to play at Wembley. In Argentina it was always a dream to play at Wembley. I played in 2000 with my national team and it was a dream come true. And now every week to have the possibility to play at Wembley for me is a gift.

Newcastle’s Rafael Benitez has been asked to confirm or deny reports that the club is close to agreeing a deal for the Paraguay midfielder Miguel Amiron, and ... well ... he didn’t do either:

I don’t talk about players, but I’ve heard that someone has said we made an offer and after, we said ‘No, we didn’t make any offer’. We don’t talk about players. If we make an offer, they will know, we will know and not necessarily the press will know. At the moment, there is no news and we carry on with the players that we have trying to do our best for the next game.


Serie A news now as Reuters report on Cesare Prandelli’s appointment by Genoa, where Ivan Juric has been sacked again - his last three coaching jobs have all been at Genoa, and all have ended in the boot in the last 22 months:

Former Italy coach Cesare Prandelli replaced Ivan Juric as coach of struggling Genoa on Friday after the Croat was fired by the Serie A club for the third time in his career, this time after only two months in charge.

Juric, fired twice by the club last year, was dismissed again after Genoa were knocked out of the Coppa Italia on Thursday by third tier side Virtus Entella on penalties following a 3-3 draw.

“Genoa Cricket and Football Club announces that it has entrusted the technical leadership of the team to former Italy coach Cesare Prandelli,” the club said in a statement.

Genoa, founded in 1893 and Italy’s oldest active club, are 14th in Serie A with 15 points from 14 games and only four clear of the drop zone.

Hello again! So Rob Holding has been on Twitter to thank people for their support after his season-ending injury:

And with that, Simon Burnton is back from his lunch. Emails to, tweets @Simon_Burnton.

Snippet of Manchester City team news: neither Kevin de Bruyne nor Sergio Aguero will be fit to face Chelsea, according to Pep Guardiola. Who let’s face it should probably know.

Gertcha match previews. Specifically, Burnley v Brighton, here:

Quick one, lest you missed it: Boca Juniors attempted to get the Copa Libertadores awarded to them without the bother of schlepping to Madrid and playing the game, on the basis that smashing up their coach is not really on. Needless to say, their polite request was declined.

BEEF! Quite low-level BEEF. Jurgen Klopp has HIT BACK at Sean Dyche’s CLAIMS that Daniel Sturridge CHEATED during Liverpool’s win over Burnley on WEDNESDAY. He said:

Sturridge is no cheat. I’m not sure if he spoke about the challenge of (Phil) Bardsley on Alberto Moreno. The game is really hard and sometimes a striker expects a tackle by jumping.

Here’s our quiz of the week: it does feature questions about sport other than football, but don’t worry, you can ignore them.

More team news snips, this time from Melwood:

Here’s a little more from Sarri, who was emphatically unimpressed with how his side played against Wolves on Wednesday, specifically after conceding the first goal:

We have a problem to manage the match at the moment. In the last two matches we played well for 55, 60 minutes, then the first difficulty we went in blackout. In the first match (against Fulham) we were lucky because they didn’t score. In the last match (at Wolves) we were a little bit unlucky. For the opponents, five shots, only two on target. We conceded two goals.

If you listen to anyone on South American football, you listen to Tim Vickery. Here’s a little snippet from his appearance on Football Weekly Extra about the Superclasico-Madrid nonsense...

Listen to/download the whole show here.

If you’re a Chelsea fan looking for optimism about your prospects of beating Manchester City, don’t ask Maurizio Sarri...

He’s being slightly harsh on himself there perhaps: as far as I can work out he’s only actually played Guardiola sides three times, twice with Napoli in last season’s Champions League and once in the Community Shield.

Some further Arsenal team news: Aaron Ramsey is a doubt for their game against Huddersfield with an ankle twang, while Mesut Özil’s gammy back is likely to leave him on the sidelines once more. In a further blow for Unai Emery’s lot, Granit Xhaka is available again following suspension. Better news is that Laurent Koscielny is close, close, close to a return from the Achilles issue that has kept him out since the back end of last season.

Simon has get some lunch. Nick Miller here to guide you for an hour or so. Email yer thoughts to, or tweet @NickMiller79

Vincent Kompany has no idea what he’s talking about,” writes JR. “I think I speak for the majority when I say that I find Jose Mourinho exceptionally offensive.”


I was watching Ederson’s warm-up on Tuesday before their game against Watford, and for 10 minutes he practised kicking from his hands to a coach on the halfway line. His accuracy was absolutely astonishing. The coach barely had to move his feet to collect the ball.

During the game City seemed to use the same combination again and again as they played out of defence: Ederson passes to left-sided centre-back (Kompany on Tuesday), who is rapidly closed down and goes back to Ederson, who hits first-time to Fernandinho in the middle, who also has opponents bustling around him, and he passes back to Stones on the right of the area, at which point the opponents have run out of appetite for high pressing and Stones has space to bring the ball out. Though City were extremely dominant and Watford didn’t force him into a great deal of action I thought Ederson was outstanding, and contributed massively to his team’s victory (including with some shameless time-wasting towards the end).

Anyway, here’s Jonathan Wilson:

Vincent Kompany has taken an apparent swipe at José Mourinho among others by saying that Eden Hazard finally has an attack-minded manager at Chelsea who can get the best out of him:

I think he was due an offensive manager. I can’t remember him having that a lot in his career. Eventually a manager like this is what he needed, no matter where he was, to get the best out of him. The future is bright for him.

More here:

News of another busted ACL, the third of the morning, comes from Arsenal, who have just put this statement on their website:

Further to the injury sustained during our match at Manchester United on Wednesday night, we can confirm that Rob Holding has ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee.

Rob will undergo surgery to repair this in the coming days. The rehabilitation process is expected to take between six to nine months. Everyone at the club will now be working as hard as we can to ensure Rob is back on the pitch as soon as possible.

Southampton’s new manager, Ralph Hasenhuettl, has hinted at major squad surgery to come in January as he attempts to drag the team out of a Mark Hughes-inspired relegation mire:

I think the squad is very big. So we have a lot of positions where we have too many players and maybe one or the other is leaving us and we bring something new. I have spoken with the chairman about that and they do everything to help my wishes. The first target is to get out of this relegation zone. It is tough with our schedule over Christmas. I am not frightened about it, but the problem is we have a lot of games in the coming days.

And here’s Neil Warnock on the week’s big football story: Harry Redknapp’s exploits on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!

I would imagine I’ll be in there next year. The lads have put my face on Harry’s body on the dressing room window! I don’t think I’d be scared. But the problem is I’d be doing every horrible thing there could be because I’d get the votes. It would be payback time. So they’d have to pay me 10 times more than they paid everybody else.

Redknapp’s down-to-earth personality and cheeky humour has made him a hit in this year’s show.

That’s Harry - that’s how we are. Football humour in the jungle is a blessing - it’s something that lifts everybody. We’ve all got stories, haven’t we? I rabble on here every week at a press conference. They’ve got a good group and I’ll watch it a bit more now. The ones I didn’t like, the ones which I could scream at, have gone now.

It’s Hoilett v Son for me.

Here’s a full news story on that Fred business:

And on a similar theme, Arsenal and England’s Jordan Nobbs is out for the season with an ACL injury, and will miss next year’s World Cup.

News from Bournemouth this morning is that Lewis Cook has ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament, and could be out for the season.

Jose Mourinho has stated that despite being the manager’s sole marquee summer signing Fred will struggle for selection until Manchester United are “defensively stronger”.

The Brazilian cost £50m yet has been dropped by the manager, the midfielder not in the 18-man squad for Wednesday night’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal at Old Trafford. He has also been an unused replacement in five of the last seven games.

United’s goal difference is -1, having allowed 25 goals and scored 24 and Mourinho cited this. “The day we are stronger defensively I think the horizons for Fred change,” he said.

Of his progress since signing, the manager said: “Step by step, you have also other players in other clubs that needed their time and you have some of them that played even less than what Fred is playing.”

The Guardian’s countdown of the world’s top 100 women’s footballers has ended this morning with the announcement of our No1. Can you guess who it is? It’s quite a difficult task, but it could be harder...

Here’s a snippet from Jose Mourinho this morning, talking about the visit of Fulham to Old Trafford tomorrow:

I want to be positive and think that we are going to win, but if we don’t give credit to the people that deserve credit. The game is not going to be 11 against 0, it’s going to be 11 v 11, good players on the other side. The points, sometimes they don’t say much about the real potential of the team. And one of the two most important managers in the history of the Premier League, in my opinion, so they have the potential to come here tomorrow and give us a very difficult match.

Get yourself up to date with all the latest tittle-tattle with today’s Rumour Mill, featuring news of Frenkie de Jong’s possible future PSG switch:

Today’s Sun front page is dedicated to a story about a “boozy bash enjoyed by about a dozen [Arsenal] players, and 70 girls, in London in August — just days before the start of the season”, in which “Alexandre Lacazette, Matteo Guendouzi, Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang [were] at the heart of a dangerous binge on nitrous oxide”.

Here is our news story:

In response, an Arsenal spokesman said this morning that “the players will be spoken to about this and reminded of their responsibilities as representatives of the club”.

Hello world!

And so another weekend is upon us, cram-packed as ever with finger-lickin’ football fixtures, with the added bonus bite of a Copa Libertadores final in Madrid on Sunday. A day of press-conferential fun and team-newscasting joy awaits but to get the ball rolling, here are 10 things to look forward to this weekend: