September 16, 2021 at 3:01 PM EDT
That’s all for today!
That’s all from me today, thanks for joining The Athletic’s live coverage. Make sure to do the same again tomorrow as we take you through the day’s football news, Fantasy Football tips and more. Have a great evening!
September 16, 2021 at 2:41 PM EDT
West Ham win but Tottenham are held to a draw
West Ham have opened their Europa League campaign with a comfortable 2-0 at Dinamo Zagreb.
Tottenham are held to a 2-2 draw against Rennes in the Europa Conference League.
The football doesn’t stop there tonight. Leicester are in action against Napoli in what is one of the eye-catching Europa League fixtures this week.
September 16, 2021 at 1:49 PM EDT
Nathan Ake mourns his father
Manchester City’s Nathan Ake has paid tribute to his father, who passed away just minutes after the defender scored his first Champions League goal in the 6-3 win against RB Leipzig last night.
Ake posted the emotional tribute on Instagram. He wrote: “The past few weeks have been the toughest of my life, my dad has been very ill and there was no more treatment possible. I was lucky to have a lot of support from my fiance, family and friends.
“Yesterday after a difficult time I scored my first Champions League goal, and only a few minutes after he passed away peacefully with my mum and brother by his side.
“Maybe it was meant to be, watching me play always made him proud and happy. I know you’re always with me, you will always be in my heart and this one was for you dad.”
September 16, 2021 at 1:34 PM EDT
Solskjaer wants Jesse Lingard to stay at Manchester United beyond summer
Lingard returned to United at the end of last season after a successful six-month loan spell with West Ham. He won back his place in Gareth Southgate’s England set-up after helping David Moyes’s side qualify for the Europa League.
Lingard has featured in three games for United this season, scoring once at the weekend against Newcastle. The 28-year-old did play a stray backpass in the build-up to Young Boys’ winning goal in their Champions League game on Tuesday.
September 16, 2021 at 1:18 PM EDT
Abdoulaye Doucoure: A rejuvenated player
Abdoulaye Doucoure has had a bright start to the season and he’s been influential in Everton’s fast start to the campaign.
The French midfielder has scored one goal and assisted three in just four games after a disappointing season last term – having been played in multiple positions by Carlo Ancelotti.
The Athletic’s Patrick Boyland and Tom Worville assess how Rafa Benitez is getting the best out of Doucoure and how his role has reverted back to the one he had at former club Watford.
How Benitez has revitalised Doucoure and Allan
September 16, 2021 at 12:50 PM EDT
Some evening entertaintment
On your way back home after a long day at work?
We’ve got you sorted. Take a listen to The Totally Football Show’s latest podcast as they discuss all the action from a thrilling round of Champions League games.
September 16, 2021 at 12:25 PM EDT
More European action
In-case you might’ve forgotten, Tottenham and West Ham are both in action in about 20 minutes or so.
Tottenham will take on Rennes in the Europa Conference League.
West Ham are in Europa League action against Dinamo Zagreb.
September 16, 2021 at 12:13 PM EDT
Sean Dyche on his new contract
Burnley manager Sean Dyche signed a new four-year contract earlier today and speaking ahead of their clash with Arsenal on the weekend, he admitted it was always likely that he’d renew with the club.
Dyche said: “The new ownership made it clear when they first came in that they wanted me to be part of it.
“It was a very challenging season last season and I explained that I felt the team was first, and to clear the situation up I felt it was best we secured our Premier League status, which we did.
“And then really talks have been ongoing, very open, mainly with (chairman) Alan (Pace), about the situation, and then tidying up at the end through lawyers, like you generally have to do with these contracts. It was never particularly in doubt to be honest. It was very probable from the offset.”
September 16, 2021 at 11:29 AM EDT
Benitez pleased with Everton’s start to the season
Everton manager Rafa Benitez has said he is pleased with his side’s start to the season.
The Toffees have won three and drawn one from their opening four games of the campaign but Benitez wants even more from his team.
Ahead of Everton’s trip to Aston Villa this weekend, Benitez said: “I wouldn’t say it is perfect as we drew a game, near perfect maybe, but it is very pleasing as it is not easy when there is a change of manager to expect the team to do well,” said Benitez, who took charge at Goodison Park in the summer.
“I am really pleased with everything and I hope it continues in this way. It is not easy but we will try to do it.
“There can be improvement. I don’t like to concede first – to be honest I don’t like to concede anyway. I also think we have had chances to score more goals and we can still improve the transition and attacking play.
“But this is the beginning and I am pleased because we are moving forward in the right direction.”
September 16, 2021 at 11:10 AM EDT
Six British citizens arrested ahead of West Ham’s game against Dinamo Zagreb
The incident took place on September 15, 9:25 pm at a local cafe in Tkalciceva Street. It is alleged two Croatian citizens aged 26 and 21 were attacked during the incident. The 26-year-old was “seriously injured” and transported to the Sestre Milosrdnice Clinical Hospital, while the 21-year-old had no injuries.
A local police statement read: “Yesterday in Zagreb police officers who were deployed for security work on the occasion of tonight’s match that is taking place at Stadion Maksimir noticed tensions between guests on the terrace of the restaurant followed by a fight between several people, ie visiting and home fans.
“Police officers in a timely manner, using coercive means and batons, isolated and detained four British citizens aged 23, 20, 25 and 23 who were in a group that was physically and using other objects (chairs, mugs, bottles) attacked two Croatian citizens aged 26 and 21.”
September 16, 2021 at 10:52 AM EDT
AC MIlan’s Calabria lives out childhood dream
European nights at Anfield are just special, aren’t they?
Despite the loss, Davide Calabria revealed he lived out a childhood dream after captaining AC Milan at Anfield last night.
He said: “In an atmosphere like this, the first time Milan were in the Champions League for seven years and the first time many of us were in the Champions League, against one of the best teams in the world, I’d say we did really well to turn it around and score two goals here.
“It was the dream of every child, especially for me, to lead the team out in this theatre of football.
“It’s a pity about the result, but we hope to have more chances to prove ourselves this season.”
September 16, 2021 at 10:39 AM EDT
Tomiyasu’s impressive debut
Takehiro Tomiyasu’s Arsenal debut was almost capped by the perfect moment. When a Kieran Tierney cross was headed up into the air, the Japan international met the ball with a flying volley that looped just over the crossbar.
It would have been a special way to begin his Arsenal career — but perhaps not especially representative of the player Mikel Arteta has bought. Look beyond the spectacular, and there was plenty in the nuts and bolts of Tomiyasu’s performance to be encouraged by.
Read more from The Athletic’s James McNicholas and Mark Carey, as they analyse the Japanese defender’s debut for the Gunners.
How Tomiyasu slotted into Arteta’s specific system as Arsenal beat Norwich
September 16, 2021 at 10:22 AM EDT
Reece James has Champions League and Euro 2020 medals stolen while playing
September 16, 2021 at 10:07 AM EDT
Cavani to miss West Ham trip
Edinson Cavani will miss Manchester United’s trip to West Ham through injury but could return in the Carabao Cup tie against the Londoners.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said: “Edinson (Cavani) hopefully will start training with us after the weekend,” Ole added. “Hopefully, maybe Monday.
“Maybe he’ll be involved on Wednesday because he had a fantastic season last season.
“I see Edinson having a massive impact because he’s that type of personality and a player. He’s a top professional and he can’t wait to get back on. He’s working really hard to get back on the pitch.”
September 16, 2021 at 9:56 AM EDT
Bielsa defends his style of play
For the first time since Leeds’ promotion to the Premier League, questions have been asked of Marcelo Bielsa.
Leeds are now winless from their opening four games and some have raised eyebrows at their style of play and suggested a change in style could be helpful – especially against the top sides.
Bielsa has come firing back and insists he won’t change his team’s style of play.
He said: “One path to follow is to go long and go for 50-50s. We’re not going to do this. The other path (his path) is going from defence to attack keeping the ball.
“To change it would forget the praise we received for three years.”
September 16, 2021 at 9:47 AM EDT
Solskjaer on the loss to Young Boys
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been speaking about his side’s 2-1 loss to Young Boys on Tuesday.
The Red Devils took the lead early thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo. Aaron Wan-Bissaka got a red card and they eventually lost 2-1 – having conceded in the dying seconds.
Solskjaer said: “Of course you wait to see when you see them this morning when you come back in. The attitude is like you expect it to.
“They’re focussed of course, a little bit disappointed but not too downbeat we know it’s a setback and we have to do better and we’ve got five games to get 10 to 12 points we need. Not the start we wanted but we’re a good team that can bounce back again and the group is very good.”
September 16, 2021 at 9:30 AM EDT
Bielsa speaks on Struijk’s red card
Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa has been speaking about Pascal Struijk’s red card in Sunday’s 3-0 defeat to Liverpool.
The Leeds defender was given a straight red for a tackle on Harvey Elliott but Bielsa has come to the defence of his player.
Speaking ahead of their game against Newcastle tomorrow night, he said: “Pascal didn’t have any intention to hurt the opponent. That’s what the injured player said. There are fine margins in the rules but what I can tell you is what I saw in the game.
“It (the injury) is impossible to anticipate when a player completes a successful recovery of the ball. The majority of the plays that are similar don’t generate these consequences. That’s why the injured player admits there were no bad intentions.”
How do Leeds start ticking again? Newcastle should bring some answers
September 16, 2021 at 8:58 AM EDT
Brendan Rodgers looks ahead to tonight’s clash with Napoli
Brendan Rodgers spoke yesterday ahead of Leicester’s Europa League opener against Napoli tonight.
The Foxes were knocked out in the last 32 against Slavia Prague last season but they will be keen to go further this season.
Rodgers said: “They’re (Napoli) a Champions League club, and they arrive in the Europa League as one of the favourites to do well in it.
“My idea last season was to finish top of the group, so I select a side to go and win the games. That’s exactly the same this season. Whatever team I put out, will look to get a positive result.
“We’ve been unfortunate (with injuries) over the last couple of seasons. But it’s more than that, when you have success you want to keep on winning. It’s not just talent, it’s about spirit and mentality. This competition is very important.”
September 16, 2021 at 8:00 AM EDT
Pressure mounting on Steve Bruce
Pressure on Newcastle manager Steve Bruce is growing after their winless start to the season.
Bruce has been speaking to the media ahead of his side’s game against Leeds tomorrow night.
He said: “The frustration is, like any other Premier League club or any other Football League club, if you don’t get results then ultimately the manager, head coach, whatever I am, bears the brunt.
“That’s what it is. I have to accept that results haven’t been good enough.”
September 16, 2021 at 7:54 AM EDT
England to host Germany and Spain in new women’s tournament next year
September 16, 2021 at 7:43 AM EDT
Sean Dyche signs new contract with Burnley until summer of 2025
September 16, 2021 at 7:41 AM EDT
Bright future for AC Milan
Last night’s game against Liverpool was AC Milan’s first Champions League appearance in seven years and despite putting up a good fight, the Italian side fell short at the end having lost 3-2.
They can however look ahead to a bright future after fielding a team with an average age of just under 25 at Anfield.
In the below article, The Athletic’s Oliver Kay looks back at Milan’s performance last night and assesses why they can look ahead to a long Champions League journey.
Milan are back – but this is just the start of a long Champions League journey for Pioli’s young team
September 16, 2021 at 7:15 AM EDT
Fixture congestion is the number one problem for players in England – PFA chief
September 16, 2021 at 7:10 AM EDT
England up to third in latest FIFA World Rankings, Belgium still top
England are up to third in the latest FIFA World Rankings, up from fourth a month before. This ties their highest ever ranking, which was achieved back in 2012. It also stands in contrast to the standing of England’s women’s team, who currently lie eighth — their lowest position since 2010.
Belgium remain first. They have been top of the rankings since 2018, despite failing to win an international tournament in that period.
England’s rise up the table has been facilitated by the slow descent of France, who were second prior to the European Championships.
September 16, 2021 at 7:08 AM EDT
Arsenal duo Mohamed Elneny and Rob Holding ruled out of Burnley game
Elneny has been struggling with a hamstring strain and has not played since the 5-0 loss to Manchester City on August 28. He is expected to return to full training from next week.
Holding, meanwhile, missed the game against Norwich City last weekend after suffering heavy bruising to his right knee. That injury occurred during a training session. Holding is now back in training but will not be available for the game against Burnley on Saturday.
September 16, 2021 at 7:07 AM EDT
UEFA demand meeting with FIFA over biannual World Cup plans
September 16, 2021 at 6:20 AM EDT
Liverpool have to learn from sloppy spell against AC Milan
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson believes his side have to learn from a difficult patch of their win against AC Milan.
The hosts took an early lead but went 2-1 behind just before half-time. They came back to win 3-2.
Henderson said: “It was a bit of a roller coaster and I’m sure it was very good to watch as a neutral.
“I thought for the majority of the game our performance level was really good, obviously we had a spell towards the end of the first half, the last 10 to 15 minutes, where we weren’t quite at it and we were a little bit sloppy and we got punished with two goals.
“I think the performance level for 70-75 minutes was very good and we just need to learn about that 10 to 15-minute spell and make sure that doesn’t happen too often otherwise you’ll get punished at this level.
“Yeah, we made hard work of the game but you’ve got to give credit to Milan. They’re a good side, good players.
“But I thought the boys reacted so well in the second half. We kept going, kept fighting and managed to find a couple of goals to win the game, so overall delighted with the result.”
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