Preston’s Darnell Fisher has been handed a three-match ban after grabbing an opponent’s genitals, the FA has announced. Fisher was found guilty of violent conduct after an incident involving Callum Paterson during Preston’s win over Sheffield Wednesday last Saturday.
Sheffield Wednesday manager Pulis was asked about the incident during his Friday press conference. “I think what the lad did was ridiculous really,” he told reporters. “It’s something that should not happen in professional sport and fingers crossed we won’t see it again.”
Former Wolves captain Mike Bailey has been diagnosed with dementia.
This from the PA:
The 78-year-old’s family have made his diagnosis public to help highlight the current issues surrounding the disease within football and help support investigations.
Former midfielder Bailey made 436 appearances for Wolves and scored 25 times and is the chairman of the club’s Former Players’ Association.
Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo said: “It’s sad news, I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting him but we’re aware of what he means to the club, a former captain who made so many appearances.
“At the moment he is suffering and fighting against dementia, our thoughts go to him and his family and I know he has the support of the club.”
Bailey captained the club when they reached the 1972 UEFA Cup final – losing to Tottenham – and skippered them to their first League Cup triumph two years later.
He also played for and managed for Charlton and won two England caps.
The Burley Banksy has been in touch after being asked if he plans a tribute to Maradona.
His response: “Nah, he didn’t play for Leeds basically.” Fair enough. At least he’s done one for another revered Argentine.
Some bad news for Everton as boss Carlos Ancelotti says left-back Lucas Digne could be sidelined for three months.
The French international is set to have ankle surgery on Monday.
“It is a big loss because he is a fantastic left-back, he is one of the best left-backs in Europe at the moment but we have to manage this,” said Ancelotti.
“Unfortunately during a season it can happen that you lose some important players and we have to be able to manage this situation and I think we will be able to adapt to the loss of Lucas Digne for two or three months.”
And it’s a double full-back blow with Seamus Coleman out of Saturday’s home clash against Leeds with a hamstring injury.
“Seamus Coleman is doing his individual rehab and will not be available for this game. We have to check him week-by-week,” added Ancelotti.
Nuno Espirito Santo isn’t buying into any fog theories (note to self: suggest it as possible song title to prog-rock/jazz mates).
Here’s the Wolves boss explaining why ahead of Sunday’s trip to Arsenal. “I’m aware their flight [back from Norway] was delayed [until Friday morning] due to fog but I know Arsenal have a good squad full of talented players who can produce. We cannot ever think any aspect will take the difficulty of the game away.
“I’m expecting a very tough game against very good players and a manager. We have been able to compete well against Arsenal and we have to do it again.”
Conor Coady missed the 1-1 draw against Southampton but is back after having to self-isolate due to coming into contact with someone testing positive for coronavirus. But Romain Saiss must wait.
Nuno added: “Coady is back in training and he is ready to go. Saiss is still in self-isolation, it’s a different situation, we have to wait for a negative test for him to join the group.
“We are going to be tested next week and hopefully he can have a negative test and can join us because we miss him.”
Time for the Liverpool players to delete Adam Lallana from their WhatsApp group again as the Reds are taking on his new club, Brighton, this Saturday lunchtime. Here’s our match preview (odds on a Lewis Dunk own goal not included).
More Maradona memories from Premier League bosses…
Of course, Maradona’s death has been particularly tough for Sergio Aguero. The Manchester City striker was once married to Maradona’s daughter Giannina, who is the mother of his son. Aguero also played under Maradona for the national team.
Here’s City boss Pep Guardiola: “It’s difficult for me to talk about his feelings. The game against Olympiacos was hard. Especially for his son, it’s tough. He knew Maradona well and his son, it’s his grandfather. It’s a sad situation for his family, but he’s OK.”
Guardiola also added that there was no pressure on Aguero to sign a new contract even though the striker is now in the final year of his current deal. “He’s going to give us a decision. He deserves, with the club, fair talks to do what is best for him, for the club, for everyone.”
‘Like a messiah’. And sometimes a very naughty boy too. Some thoughts on Maradona from Gary Lineker.
Sheffield United need a goal. The blunt Blades have scored just four in the Premier League this season, a big reason why they have just a single point.
Boss Chris Wilder knows a man who can. Hopefully.
In memory of Gary Speed who died nine years ago today. These tributes from Leeds artist Andy McVeigh – aka the Burley Banksy – can be found near Elland Road.
Some Opta stuff for Jose Mourinho’s return to Stamford Bridge. That Charlton stat. Amazing!
- Tottenham have won all four of their Premier League away games so far this season – only four teams have ever won their first five on the road in a Premier League campaign (Newcastle in 1994-95, Charlton in 2005-06, Chelsea in 2008-09 and Man City in 2017-18). Meanwhile, Spurs have only done this once in their top-flight history, doing so in their last title winning season of 1960-61.
- Tottenham have won just one of their last 34 away games against Chelsea in all competitions (D11 L22), losing the last three in a row since a 3-1 victory in April 2018.
- Mourinho has lost both of his Premier League meetings with Chelsea manager Frank Lampard – the Portuguese has never lost three consecutive league matches against the same manager or club before.
Time for some thoughts from the boss of the Premier League leaders. That used to apply at Chelsea; now it’s at Spurs. Same bloke though.
Here’s Jose Mourinho being very Jose Mourinho as he prepares to take his new club to his old one on Sunday.
“It’s another game for me, it’s another game. No problem at all. I don’t know (what their team will be). With such an amazing squad, to play Reece James or Cesar Azpilicueta, to play Ben Chilwell, Marcos Alonso or Emerson? To play Mendy or the most expensive goalkeeper in the history of the Premier League (Kepa Arrizabalaga)? Chelsea has an amazing squad, so I am not even worried about who is going to play because they only have very good players.”
Spurs are without defender Toby Alderweireld (groin) and attacker Erik Lamela (Achilles) for the trip to Stamford Bridge.
Thanks Tumaini. I’ll start with Maradona and some different footage from that 1986 World Cup quarter-final against England.
That’s all from me this afternoon and David Tindall will be taking over. Thanks for following.
A reminder: the FA Cup draw third round will be held on Monday.
Crystal Palace and Newcastle United kick off this weekend’s action at 8pm tonight.
It must be said that this is not exactly the most goal-heavy fixture in the history of football. The last time either team scored more than one goal was exactly five years ago on 28 November 2015 when Crystal Palace battered Newcastle 5-1 at home.
The story since then:
April 2016: 1-0 to Newcastle October 2017: 1-0 to Newcastle February 2018: 1-1 (Selhurst Park) September 2018: 0-0 (Selhurst Park)
April 2019: 0-1 to Crystal Palace December 2019: 1-0 to Newcastle
February 2020: 1-0 to Crystal Palace
They are all even over the past half decade: 3 wins for Crystal Palace, 3 wins for Newcastle, 2 draws.
Tottenham confirm that they will allocate some of their 2000 tickets for the upcoming North London Derby against Arsenal on Sunday 6 December via ballot.
Also: “We shall be applying a proportionate allocation of tickets between Season Ticket Holders (including those on our Access scheme), Premium and other stakeholders, such as partners and affiliates.”
Liverpool team news. There is not much to report.
Brendan Rodgers was very complimentary of 19 year-old Luke Thomas after he scored his first goal for Leicester City yesterday in their 3-3 draw with Braga in the Europa League. Via PA:
“Of course it will give him huge confidence. He’s a very good defender, for a young guy, very brave, and you see with the quality of his football that he’s a very good footballer.
“He still has a lot of improvements to make but that will come with experience and time. But it’s a great moment for him to get his first goal.”
Leicester face Fulham at home on Monday.
More from Jürgen Klopp on fans returning to Anfield and small steps:
“I think we are all really waiting for little steps in the right direction. Not only in football but in all parts of life. These things with Tier 1, 2 and 3, it’s the best idea we have at the moment in this country, so I mean it depends on how many people are getting infected over a specific period of time.
So, yes, I understand that there are obviously some discussions about, ‘Oh, it’s an advantage for some clubs.’ I said before I knew which tier Liverpool would be in that it’s not discussing the advantage or disadvantage of this or that.
It’s just making small steps in the right direction and I hope this is the sign for it. So I’m happy, obviously, that we can bring in 2000 people. Nobody knows how long we can do that – I don’t know even for the moment for which game it will be for the first time and all these kinds of things. But I just think we should discuss this not on the basis of an advantage or disadvantage for this or that team because the world is in a difficult place and we all wait for small steps. It’s a small step in the right direction – that’s how I see it.
Jürgen Klopp on Diego Maradona:
“During my own playing career, he was the standout player. His life, I think, shows how nice life can be when you can be when you are a world class footballer and also how difficult it can be.
“I met him once and for a player of my level it was like meeting the Pope, to be honest. It was really, really special.”
Any mention of the Pope and Maradona in the same sentence requires me to reference Maradona’s famous quote:
Jürgen Klopp is speaking this morning ahead of Liverpool’s away fixture with Brighton. He had a lot of good things to say about Brighton and it certainly sounded sincere. His conclusion:
“We have to make sure that we’re ready for a lot of necessary defensive work because they make the pitch big, they try to use all of it, and it’s hard work.”
Just something to keep an eye on.
Here is Sean Dyche on Manchester City ahead of Burnley’s meeting with Pep Guardiola’s team on Saturday, via PA:
“I still think they’re a proper outfit. I think it was more the prowess of Liverpool (last season). I never thought for one minute Man City were bad or off where they needed to be, they just couldn’t quite go the course as Liverpool did.
“They’re still a top side, still operating in a very, very good manner. They all know their roles and responsibilities, both in possession and out of possession.
“People forget about the work that they do and the shape that they keep when they’re out of possession. It’s always a tough task playing these sides, we know that. On the other hand, we go open-minded. Every game is there to be won.”
Marcelo Bielsa has showered Carlo Ancelotti with praise ahead of Leeds’ meeting with Everton on Saturday. Via PA:
“I have respect and admiration for Ancelotti,” said Bielsa.
First of all, because he has been wanted by all the best teams in the world. He has been chosen by some of the most powerful institutions in football, which shows how good he is.”
The second thing is he has triumphed everywhere he has been. The third thing is he is a manager well respected by the players as well as his other colleagues.
Here is some more information on Manchester United’s recent cyber attack. Clearly someone was trying to uncover Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s genius plans for world domination.
Declan Rice to West Ham TV on the challenge of facing Aston Villa on Monday:
“I think Villa have shown this season that they’re a completely different team,” Rice observed. “They’ve made fantastic signings and obviously I know some of their lads really well, so it’s going to be a battle and I know how good their players are.
“They’re playing really well at the moment, but we’ve got the joint second-best defensive record in the Premier League. We’re moving in the direction the manager wants us to go so, while it’s going to be a battle, we’re going to be ready for that.”
England has been seeded among the top teams for the UEFA part of the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifying. With Wales drawn in pot two and Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in pot three, England could potentially draw Wales and one of Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in their group.
Other interesting opponents in pot 2 include Switzerland and Wales. The draw will take place on December 7th at 17:00 GMT as a virtual event.
Here is the full list of teams:
In case you missed any recent stories:
Barney Ronay on Diego Maradona:
Louise Taylor on Shelley Kerr and Scotland’s hopes of qualifying for Euro 2022
Paul MacInnes on the return of fans to some but not all cities
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson spoke about Wilfried Zaha, who continues to isolate after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this week.
“He’s still got to serve out the period of isolation. That will take him I think to Saturday when he’ll be tested again and we’re hoping that will come back negative.”
“He’s a very important player. It’s always the case whenever you have a player who’s hit the headlines for his club in the way Wilf has done for us and lots of other players you could name for other clubs in the same category, it’s normal when the team plays without that player and don’t get a result, everything focuses around the man who’s missing.”
Here is Newcastle boss Steve Bruce on the return of Callum Wilson ahead of tonight’s clash at Crystal Palace:
“As we speak now, he’ll be fit. He’s trained all week.”
“We didn’t think we could risk him (against Chelsea), so he will be available which obviously we’re delighted about.”
“Already he’s made a difference. He’s got six goals already in eight games in the Premier League – he didn’t play last week – so we’re delighted with his return.
“We have got one or two other niggles. We have one or two problems with COVID, so we have to manage that as well, but we’re delighted to see Callum back.”
Bruce also confirmed that “two or three individuals” from Newcastle’s training ground are self isolating.
As we wait for another Friday to unfold, here are 10 things to look out for this weekend.
Hello and welcome to another weekend football countdown where we will cover all the pre-match press conferences and team news as they unfold before the tenth weekend of this fascinating season. There is also, of course, the continued fallout from the passing of Diego Maradona.
Crystal Palace kick off the weekend tonight by hosting Newcastle at 8pm. Saturday will see Brighton against Liverpool, Manchester City versus Burnley, a very interesting match-up between Everton and Leeds and then a bottom of the table contest between West Brom and Sheffield United. With both teams still searching for their first win of the season, that will be an essential game for both.
On Sunday, Manchester United will travel to Southampton before we see the pick of the week at 16:30 in Chelsea vs Tottenham Hotspur. Arsenal vs Wolves will close off action on Sunday. Leicester City will then face Fulham on Monday before West Ham and Aston Villa battle.