Look back on all the Premier League press conferences, a sacking at Hull and more woe for Harry Maguire
And that’s full-time for today. Thanks for reading and enjoy this fulsome weekend of 10 actual Premier League games. It’s been a while.
What’s not working for West Ham? Jacob Steinberg takes a look at their difficult beginning to the campaign.
Here’s all the weekend Premier League team news in one place, including bonus material such as referee appointments.
A quick line from the Thomas Frank press conference.
Brentford’s Danish boss was asked about the Denmark national team’s new jerseys for the World Cup finals in Qatar, released on Wednesday and designed as a protest against the host nation’s human rights record.
Kit manufacturers Hummel explained their “toned down” design, with near-camouflaged crests and chevrons, on social media, saying: “We don’t wish to be visible during a tournament that has cost thousands of people their lives. We support the Danish national team all the way, but that isn’t the same as supporting Qatar as a host nation.
“We believe that sport should bring people together. And when it doesn’t, we want to make a statement.”
Frank, who coached Denmark at the under-16, under-17 and under-19 levels before taking over the first team at Brondby, was pragmatic when asked about the kit.
“Of course I read the news about the black shirt,” he said. “I think it’s for Denmark to answer that question and not me. I could call my good friend if you want, (Denmark head coach) Kasper (Hjulmand) to say anything about it.
“I think it’s a very sensitive subject that is not for me to say publicly what I think about that right now. Obviously I have my thoughts.” (PA Sport)
New Brighton (not the one on the Wirral) boss Roberto De Zerbi won’t be tinkering with anything just yet as he prepares for his first game in charge, a trip to Liverpool.
The Italian was hired as Graham Potter’s replacement earlier this month but has spent little time with his squad due to a number of players being away on international duty.
“I believe I can do a good job,” De Zerbi told reporters.
“I didn’t work too much with the team because today would be the first day I can have training with everybody but I don’t want to change too much.
“For me it is difficult because I would like to put my idea but it is not right to change so much in the first moment.
“The team already did very good. The head coach has been changed but I cannot do and I don’t want to do the same that Potter was doing.
“I hope I can do whatever is up to me and up to my knowledge. In this moment I have a lot of thoughts about not to do too much but at the same time I want to do something. This is the main point.”
De Zerbi added: “Jurgen is a great manager. He achieved great results in (Borussia) Dortmund, great results in Liverpool and has a great personality.
“He is a very smart man, charismatic and I am proud to play against him, against his squad in that stadium. Of course the first game in Anfield, the beauty of this is something unique but I have to keep the focus on my team, the instructions to give and what we can do.
“The game with Liverpool is very difficult for us but (also) for every team. I believe in my players. Liverpool is one of the best teams in the Premier League but also in Europe and the world.
“We know it will be difficult but I trust in my players to play a good game and in the end we will look at the result.”
De Zebri spoke in both English and Italian during his press conference. “We want to learn English as fast as possible because I would like to do the interviews in English,” he said. (PA Sport)
Peter Oh writes: “That is impressive, that over 70% of PL fantasy managers have the Arsenal forward in their squad. I wonder if an even higher percentage have Haaland. If so, the young Norwegian could reasonably claim that he is more popular than Jesus!”
Indeed. Let’s hope Haaland doesn’t make that comment to the American press.
As I write this, there are 51 days, 13 hours, 53 minutes and 31 seconds until the start of the World Cup in Qatar.
It may be too late to start a Panini sticker album (although I do keep seeing them in the supermarket and have to spend the next few minutes talking myself out of the idea) but it’s the right time to read our latest power rankings. England have actually gone up a place but, at ninth, our boffins don’t expect them to make the quarter-finals.
It’s coming up to 5pm so what a perfect time to launch The Fiver.
Goals, goals, goals. And more goals. Eat my goals. Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic can’t stop scoring them and if anyone slightly tuned out of football matters during the international break they’d have missed the centre-forward racking up four in two games for Serbia including a hat-trick in a 4-1 win over Sweden.
He’s now in that rare space, also occupied by Erling Haaland, of averaging better than a goal per game this season: Mitrovic’s current count for club and country is 10 in nine games.
Mitrovic now has 50 for Serbia and he’ll look to add more in a Fulham shirt when he takes on his former club, Newcastle, at Craven Cottage at the weekend.
Here’s Fulham boss Marco Silva on Mitrovic perhaps trying even harder to score in a bid to put one over his former team.
“He doesn’t need that motivation (of playing against his former club), he doesn’t need to play against Newcastle to be motivated.
“Mitrovic is always full of motivation to play with a Fulham Football Club shirt or with his national team, that is the motivation for him, to play football matches, to be involved with his team-mates, to keep playing with his connection with me and my staff as well, that is the motivation for him, he doesn’t need other motivations.
“After, when he is on the pitch, he is always doing something to help the team to win football matches.”
Leeds boss Jesse Marsch is hoping director of football Victor Orta commits his future to the club after reported interest from Premier League rivals Chelsea.
Orta is understood to be among the leading candidates for a new sporting director’s role at Stamford Bridge alongside Bayer Leverkusen’s Tim Steidten after Christoph Freund’s decision to stay at RB Salzburg.
Marsch said: “I’m not surprised he has been linked to some big jobs. I can unequivocally say he is very happy here and we have an incredible relationship.
“Along with (chief executive) Angus (Kinnear) and (chairman) Andrea (Radrizzani) we’ve worked really well as a team and worked well in the transfer window.
“Every window has set us up for success and I’m hopeful he stays because of his hard work and expertise.”
Marsch said he was the happiest he had been during his managerial career, adding: “Togetherness and commitment here is the highest I have seen. I don’t want to leave. If I got an offer to go anywhere I would stay in this spot. More happy than I have ever been in my career.” (PA Sport)
Marsch has also given a team news update.
“Archie Gray had an incident at home and has fractured his big toe, so he’ll probably be out for another two weeks.
“Stuart [Dallas] is making a really good recovery. He went down to see specialists and they feel like he’s doing really well and on track. Obviously, it’ll still be some time for him.
“Adam Forshaw twisted his ankle this week. It’s not so bad, but he won’t be available this weekend.
“Other than that every single player is available for us. So we’re feeling like we’re getting to full strength.”
“Every single player” includes Patrick Bamford and Rodrigo, who scored four times at the start of the season before being sidelined with a shoulder injury.
🎙 𝗝𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗲 𝗼𝗻 𝗥𝗼𝗱𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗼: "He’s fit, strong and ready to go. He’s trained really well this week, he’s 100% as close to being fit as I’ve seen him." pic.twitter.com/wqQXyQJqrl
Arsenal fans will want him to go in hard but there’s a big downside if Gabriel Jesus picks up a yellow card in Saturday’s north London derby.
A fifth booking of the season would rule the Brazilian out of next weekend’s game with Liverpool, not good for Gunners supporters or indeed fantasy managers (he’s owned by over 70% in the official PL game).
Boss Mikel Arteta is well aware of the situation.
“It’s a thin balance,” he said.
“It’s in his nature, he gets a lot of contact and puts his foot and his body on the line in every situation.
“He’s a been a bit unlucky with the number of yellow cards that he had. Some of them we could not prevent because they were a little bit disciplinary, but yeah we want to avoid that for sure.”
Note: Anthony Taylor is the ref for Saturday’s game. He took charge of the Gunners’ opening win against Crystal Palace, booking two Arsenal players (Ben White and Granit Xhaka) but not Jesus.
“It is not ideal. We have had better days on the injury front,” said Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard in Friday’s press conference.
Villa have lost summer signing Boubacar Kamara until after the World Cup with a knee injury and left-back Lucas Digne is also set for a spell on the sidelines.
Further tests confirmed former Marseille man Kamara had sustained ligament damage which will require a lengthy spell of rehabilitation.
The loss of Kamara is a further setback for Villa, who saw defender Diego Carlos, another summer arrival, suffer a ruptured Achilles in only his second appearance.
Digne, meanwhile, was also forced to pull out of the French squad because of a heel problem and is set for an unspecified period of rehabilitation.
“Boubacar will be missing until after the World Cup unfortunately, so that is a huge blow,” said Gerrard ahead of Sunday’s trip to Leeds.
“It is him and obviously Diego Carlos, two of our signature signings, who are going to be missing for a large part of the season.”
Digne has been playing through injury and Gerrard told a press conference: “Lucas Digne is a unique situation. He has a heel problem, and it is one we will have to monitor as we go along.
“It is very difficult to put a timescale on Lucas, but he will certainly be missing in the coming weeks.
“We are due to assess that situation in just over two weeks to see whether his heel situation has healed enough for us to progress it.
“It is quite a frustrating one and again another big player missing for us, but is obviously gives others opportunities to step forward.” (PA Sport)
Brendan Rodgers is still the best man for the job at Leicester because he’s looked in the mirror and told himself that.
A home game against Nottingham Forest awaits on Monday night.
“I’m honest and reflective with myself but I also know I’m the best person to help this team move forward,” said Rodgers.
“I haven’t (spoken to the owners). The ownership trust me and expect I will turn it around. If they don’t they will tell me.
“Our conversations are very open and honest. I have seen Top (chairman) a number of times and we speak when he’s over.
“I have had nothing but support from the club but they also understand where we sit and that’s why we look forward to the game on Monday.
“If you are bottom and have lost six out of seven you are not going to be flavour of the month. You don’t isolate yourself, that’s important, I love working with these players.
“I believe, like last season, we will come good. It has been a tough start but I see these players work and it ultimately gives me strength.”
Team news: Wilfred Ndidi should shake off a hamstring injury after returning from international duty early while Ricardo Pereira (Achilles) and Ryan Bertrand (knee) remain out. (PA Sport)
Some team news for Saturday lunchtime’s north London derby. I’ll start with a stat and an eye-popping one at that.
Arsenal have lost just one of their last 29 Premier League home games against Spurs (W17 D11), and are unbeaten in their last 11 against them at the Emirates since a 3-2 loss in November 2010.
Arsenal have captain Martin Odegaard fit and available to face Tottenham.
The Norway international missed the win over Brentford with a calf issue but is ready to return having featured for his country in the past week.
Thomas Partey suffered a knee injury while away with Ghana but should come back in, while Oleksandar Zinchenko (calf) is also training.
However, Mohamed Elneny (hamstring) and Emile Smith Rowe (groin) will miss the Premier League match.
Spurs have a number of injury concerns before making the short trip to face their local rivals.
Hugo Lloris (thigh), Ben Davies (knee) and Dejan Kulusevski (hamstring) are all doubts for the Emirates clash.
Lucas Moura could be back in contention following a lengthy absence with a calf issue. (PA Sport)
News (not good) from the United States.
Southampton remain a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma kinda team. Here’s boss Ralph Hasenhüttl talking about the weeks ahead and hinting at a future career in F1.
“I sometimes speak about the car. You put it in the garage and two weeks later you bring it out and you can drive 300 (mph) if you want but in football it is not like this.
“It is always a team that needs to work, to fight together and find the rhythm.
“In the last weeks we didn’t really have a lot of chance for rhythm because of the international break and the special situation with the death of the Queen, so we had some delays.
“This is the reason why we are now looking forward to a very intense time with a lot of games coming up and hopefully we can get on a successful run.”
Next up for Southampton, who sit 14th, is Saturday’s 0-0 draw at home with Everton followed by a trip to Manchester City the following week.
Want to know more about new Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbia as he takes charge of his first Premier League game, Saturday’s trip to Anfield? Here’s Fabrizio Romano’s delve into the Italian’s background.
“De Zerbi’s obsession, like Guardiola’s, is to dominate the ball and control games. His Sassuolo team had the second-highest possession statistics in Serie A in 2019-20 at about 59.5%.”
West Ham and Wolves have scored six Premier League goals between them in a combined 14 matches this season – the same number as Erling Haaland has managed in his last two top-flight home games.
Hammers boss David Moyes is aware of the problem as his team head into the weekend down in 18th spot with just four points from seven starts. Saturday evening’s rivals, Wolves, are one place above in 17th.
“We’ve not scored enough goals,” said Moyes. “We’ve hit the woodwork maybe six times, which doesn’t get you a goal, but tells you you’re getting close to goals, so hopefully we’ll get them.
“We have created some chances, not as many as we want, and it’s a case of taking the opportunities we’re getting and getting in front in games.”
To be fair, the folk at Opta back those words up:
No side in the Premier League so far this season has underperformed goals scored compared to their expected goals total by a greater margin than West Ham (-4.6 – 3 goals and 7.6xG)
Jürgen Klopp says he sees Trent Alexander-Arnold “differently” to England coach Gareth Southgate. I think we all might have guessed that after the Reds right-back spent England’s two games in the international break twiddling his thumbs.
A couple of clips from the Liverpool manager’s press conference.
🗣️ “If you ask me for my honest opinion, it will create headlines. You want that? It helps Germany maybe, but it doesn’t help England. I don’t know why we do that.”
Jürgen Klopp responds to a reporter asking about Trent Alexander-Arnold not being picked for England. pic.twitter.com/o378wEr6s6
🗣️ “I see him differently, that’s clear. There are stories saying he [Trent Alexander-Arnold] is not a good defender. That’s not true.”
Jürgen Klopp on managing Trent Alexander-Arnold following disappointment regarding his England appearances over the past year. pic.twitter.com/LmspbTMnXO
Some Chelsea team news for their trip to Crystal Palace, a team they’ve beaten in each of their last nine Premier League encounters.
Chelsea will be without both N’Golo Kante and Edouard Mendy, with both still recuperating from injury concerns.
Kante is back in training but not quite ready to feature after hamstring trouble, while Mendy has been shaking off a knee issue.
Marc Cucurella and Carney Chukwuemeka will also miss the Palace clash through illness. (PA)
New Chelsea boss Graham Potter has been playing the diplomat as new owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali continue to kick the club’s ass into the future.
(From PA Sport) Potter will oversee his first Premier League game at the Blues helm in Saturday’s trip to Crystal Palace, some 23 days after his appointment.
Chelsea’s new owners Boehly and Eghbali have set a relentless pace in their sweeping Stamford Bridge overhaul, that spans far beyond the coaching ranks.
The Blues will continue the hunt for sporting and technical directors to bridge the gap between training ground and boardroom, while a raft of exits has already been seen in the medical ranks.
“I think the first thing to say is change is good and it’s bad and it’s challenging; it’s all those things,” said Potter.
“It’s how you deal with it, it’s how you work with it. So I think it’s well documented what’s happened, in terms of ownership, new coach, different people.
“That’s part of life sometimes, it’s just how we manage it. In terms of the challenge, maybe a bit more than a short-term challenge, it’s how you align the resources that you have, it’s how you align the football idea with everything you’ve got, to be successful.”
Chelsea’s new owners unseated 2021 Champions League-winning coach Thomas Tuchel at the end of a 100-day review in their Stamford Bridge tenure. Potter was headhunted as a replacement, valued not just for his upwardly mobile on-field career but also for his strong communication off the field.
Boehly and Eghbali have the long term firmly in mind with Potter, and are understood not to consider a top-four league finish this term as crucial to the new boss’ west London future.
Potter knows the importance of steering a club of Chelsea’s size to Champions League football, but insisted he will set aside concerns regarding outside perception in a bid to focus on the job in hand.
“The past or resources or history doesn’t guarantee you anything in this league,” said Potter.
“You can see already, there’s lots of clubs that have spent a lot of money and haven’t achieved things that maybe they wanted to. So it’s about getting everything lined up, everyone working together and strategy clear.
“Whether things are vital, vital sounds a bit life and death, a bit dramatic to be honest. But I understand the question, it is what it is.
“I can’t control people’s perception of what we’re going to do or not, I can’t control what people think about what we’re going to do in May or June.
“I can just focus on the next match and the next training session and try to improve the team.”
Manchester United boss Erik Ten Hag isn’t putting too much focus on the threat of Erling Haaland.
“We don’t play against Haaland. We play against Man City,” chirped the Premier League’s new manager of the month.
“They have a team, more than 11 players, but also we are convinced of our capabilities and if we act as a team, in and out of possession, then you can beat such opponents.
“That is the belief we have to take with us when we line up, when we start the game and we do it over more than 90 minutes on Sunday, clear.”
Talking of team news, Pep Guardiola has given an update on summer signing Kalvin Phillips, who is sidelined after undergoing shoulder surgery during the recent international break.
Guardiola says the operation went well and believes the midfielder can still claim a place in England’s World Cup squad.
The City boss said: “He feels good. He is getting better. He took the right decision. Hopefully he can be back in time to go to the World Cup.” (PA Sport)
Jürgen Klopp has given fitness updates on no less than 10 Liverpool players ahead of the home game with Brighton. Are you sitting comfortably? Here’s the latest from the club’s website…
Ibrahima Konate’s availability for the Anfield encounter will be assessed today following his return to training this week for the first time in two months.
Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota and Darwin Nunez will also be checked after their involvement in international fixtures, while Caoimhin Kelleher and Calvin Ramsay have returned to sessions but are initially likely to get game time with the Reds’ U21s.
Andy Robertson remains sidelined, with the left-back, Curtis Jones, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain still in rehabilitation phases.
“Some are still out doing rehab – that’s Robbo, that’s Curtis, that’s Ox, that’s Naby, if I’m 100 per cent [right]. Definitely these four,” said Klopp at his pre-match press conference.
“[Nunez, Diaz and Jota], they came back from international [duty]. How it always is, long flight. Luis only landed Thursday morning. I didn’t see him yet. I heard he is good but [will] see him now only later. Darwin, yeah, precaution after intense travel and games. Same for Diogo.
“Calvin is not ready to play but over the moon that he can train now. That’s fine, it’s really good.
“Caoimh, I think will play this weekend [for the] U21s, that he can have a game. It’s obviously not his season yet, was injured for a long time, but looks good in training, is completely fine.
“And Ibou needs training as well. Yes, back. For the weekend, [it] depends to training today but he’s back and that’s good.”
Asked specifically about Robertson, Klopp said: “He’s doing really well. It looks really good, so he’s not out for long; already too long out, if you want, but now it was the international break so that helped in this case a little bit. He is already out on the pitch running, good sign. I don’t know if it will be next week or the week after, I don’t know.” (Liverpoolfc.com)
Pete Sibley off the Twitter is in derby mood too. I’ll also include his Gareth one.
Kevin De Bruno pic.twitter.com/Dr0ZRoEzGt
Team Leader pic.twitter.com/wEM63JEDVU
Thanks Luke. Let’s stick with the Manchester derby and digest a few Optas.
The away side has won 21 times in Premier League meetings between Manchester City and Manchester United – no fixture has been won by the visitors more often in the competition’s history.
This will be Erik Ten Hag’s first Manchester derby in charge of Man Utd – each of the five previous Red Devils managers to take charge of one in the league have lost their first (Moyes, van Gaal, Mourinho, Solskjaer and Rangnick), with Alex Ferguson the last to win in March 1987.
Erling Haaland has scored a hat-trick in each of his last two Premier League home games for Man City, doing so against Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest. No player has scored a hat-trick in three consecutive Premier League home games before, while the last player to score as many as three home hattricks in a single campaign was Sergio Agüero in 2018-19.
Antony scored on his Premier League debut in Manchester United’s 3-1 win against Arsenal last time out – the only Brazilian player to score in both of his first two Premier League appearances was Robinho in September 2008.
That’s the lot from me for the moment – I will leave you in the capable hands of my colleague David Tindall.
Another bit of Manchester derby injury news is that John Stones is ruled out after being injured on England duty: “He is injured. He will be back when he is ready,” Guardiola said. “I don’t know when he will come back but I think maybe 10 days, two weeks.”
A snap report from PA Media on that Manchester United injury news that Harry Maguire is out for this weekend:
Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are both doubts for the Manchester derby – a clash Manchester United captain Harry Maguire will miss through injury. Erik ten Hag’s side are playing their first Premier League match since beating Arsenal 3-1 at Old Trafford on 4 September.
Manchester City are sure to provide a stern test for United, who could be without three first-team players at the Etihad Stadium.
“Harry Maguire is injured and I think for the rest we have some doubts,” Ten Hag said. “With Anthony Martial, he was training all week with the group so really happy with that situation. He’s performing really well.
“Rashford returns into training so also we are happy with that. For the rest, only the long-term injuries like Axel Tuanzebe and Brandon Williams are not available.”
There are a ton of matches to be played between now and the World Cup – City will play 13 matches in the next 43 days, says a reporter at the press conference. How many training sessions is Guardiola going to schedule, given the heavy playing load over the next several weeks?
“Few. Few, few, few,” Guardiola responds. “It’s recovery, be ready, try to rotate as much as possible the players. Everybody involved, everybody is going to play the next games, some more than others, but everyone is going to play … [we must] adapt, adjust and recover well.”
Guardiola says it is “not weird” that the City physio, Mario Pafundi, joined Erling Haaland in Norway’s international camp in recent days. Guardiola says that the physios are the most important members of the backroom staff, and that Haaland struggled with injuries last season, so keeping him fit is a priority.
“With these events like European Cups or World Cups many physios go with the players … Mario is an exceptional physio. Always I said to the club, the most important department in the backroom staff … the most important one is the physios. They take care of the legs. Erling last season struggled a lot in Dortmund … He started to work with Mario, and thanks to them, and of course his work ethic … he can play regularly. Last season it was not possible.”
What does Pep Guardiola expect from Erik Ten Hag and Manchester United on Sunday? “Always I expect the best … the quality they have, there is no doubt about it.
“They come with very good results, they are a top side … yeah, good momentum for them.”
Erik Ten Hag has said the England defender Harry Maguire will miss Sunday’s Manchester derby through injury. More to follow on that.
Guardiola was meant to speak at 1.30pm, but like any natural showman, he’s keeping the crowd waiting.
Bruno Lage, the Wolves manager, says Diego Costa has lifted the whole playing group in training after his arrival. Wolves travel to West Ham tomorrow evening.
“It was good to have these weeks for training … Diego has lifted the energy, all the team when we are training, now they have a striker in the team, we can see the good vibes and good energy comes … He give a lot of energy, we are a different team when we have a striker in front of us … other players can give more when they have a striker in front of them.
“The belief, energy and good vibes comes from the training we had in these two weeks.”
Costa will be in the squad, but will he start? “Let’s see … he had a long time without playing … sometimes you need to protect him a little bit. But he’s training very well.”
Erik Ten Hag, of Manchester United, has been named the Premier League manager of the month for September, it has emerged:
Building his vision 👔