Manchester City and Liverpool face test of title credentials: football countdown – live! | Premier League

In the race for fourth, Arsenal are two points clear of Spurs with five games to go – and the rivals will meet in Tottenham on 12 May. Mikel Arteta isn’t looking that far ahead, though.

“I think there will still be twists and turns, we still have difficult matches today,” Arteta said. “We had two really good results that [put us] again in a really good position, and then it’s about doing it again at West Ham.”

As Gestunar7 says BTL, Arsenal have been exceedingly unpredictable of late, so West Ham’s Europa League distractions may not benefit them all that much:

Arsenal seem to be a “defy expectations” team, i.e. when you expect them to win (eg Brighton at home, Southampton), they lose, and when a win is perhaps less likely (Chelsea, Man Utd), they win. West Ham are likely a bit tired after their midweek EL match & may also rest players for their 2nd leg tie, so Arsenal should expect to win, which means that they will probably lose.

Good news for Everton in their battle with relegation. Frank Lampard will be able to call on striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who sat out the last two matches, though there’s bad news, too. Ben Godrey is out for the season (five matches).

“Dominic’s back in the squad. He’s been training the last couple of days,” said Frank. “Donny’s (Van De Beek) out, Donny’s not fit and nor is Andre Gomes. Yerry’s back in the squad. (Leaving him out against Liverpool) was more being careful with him because he’d been out for a while and played the previous game a few days before.”

Jürgen Klopp is at Liverpool to stay, and he’s only too happy to evangelise.

I really think it’s a good place to be or a good place to join, if not the perfect place. The world is in a difficult situation; it’s not only coronavirus, it’s Ukraine, it’s so many things, and then on a less important level big clubs have problems here and there with money and these kind of things.

We want to offer emotion, we want to deliver excitement, we want to be together with our people, we want to really be connected and we want to be special as well as a club. We sit here now and in 20 years’ time we will look back and for all of us it’s about creating stories which we will remember easily and think: ‘Wow, that was good.’

‘This is just the start’: Klopp calls Liverpool contract extension a ‘great decision’ – video

Anthony Lawton gets in touch: “You post 2hrs ago on the Guardian blog. “Rangnick will take over (the Austria team) after leaving his post as Manchester United interim manager at the end of the season – he is expected to continue his consultancy role with the club.”

“Could you or someone please tell me, a football ignoramus, what he will be being consulted about…and why United [still] think that would be helpful to them? Or is it in effect just a device for spreading out his fee for being interim manager?”

At the time of his appointment, it appeared an attempt to add structure but then United built another structure around him, and appointed a new manager without consulting him.

This is how Rangnick sees his role.

For me the most important bit is recruitment, that we bring in the best possible players,” ,” he said. “It is not only identifying but meeting them, convincing them to join the club even though we will not play in Champions League. In regards to top players from the academy: identify them.

The latest Football Weekly is here

The important issues are answered:

Elsewhere, the Europa Conference League game between Leicester and Roma poses the question: ‘why do we care so much about managers buying each other wine?’

This one is worth loads in the Premier League relegation battle, though mostly if no-manager bounce Burnley pull off a win.

News from the happy ship they call Manchester United, where Jadon Sancho looks to be ruled out of his first season with tonsillitis, and will certainly miss Monday’s game against Brentford.

Ralf Rangnick, set for the Österreichischer Fußball-Bund, said:

As it seems, Jadon (Sancho) might be out for the rest of the season with his tonsillitis, so he will most likely be not available against Brentford.

Edinson Cavani is supposed to come back to training tomorrow but, then again, the question is he has been missing for the last four or five weeks. Is he really a player who could then play against Brentford? Probably not to start with but at least from the bench.

Jesse was missing for personal family reasons today. I hope some of those players will be back on Monday.

John Brewin

Good afternoon, I am stepping in for Niall, so let’s see what red-hot soccer news is coming in.

West Ham say they have identified two individuals and passed their details on to the police, following reports that German radio reporters were attacked during the team’s Europa League semi-final, first-leg defeat to Frankfurt.

“Following a thorough internal investigation since the full-time whistle last night, West Ham United can confirm two offenders have been identified. As well as continuing our own investigation, in line with our zero-tolerance approach, the offenders’ details have also been passed onto the police, who will now conduct their own investigation.

“If the offenders are found guilty, they will be given an indefinite ban and not be permitted to enter London Stadium, nor travel with the club. Behaviour of this kind is unacceptable and will not be tolerated at West Ham United.”

The Ukraine men’s national team will play Borussia Mönchengladbach on 11 May, in the team’s first fixture since the country was invaded by Russia. The friendly at Gladbach’s Borussia-Park in Germany will serve as preparation for June’s World Cup play-off against Scotland, with all proceeds from the game donated to charitable causes for the Ukrainian people.

“We’re very happy to be able to help the Ukrainian FA through this game, and hope that as many football fans as possible from all over the country come to the stadium and make a donation to a good cause by buying a ticket to the match,” said the Gladbach chief executive, Stephan Schippers. “All Ukrainian citizens will have free entry to the game.”

The Women’s Super League title race is going to the wire – Chelsea’s win over Spurs last night puts them four points clear of Arsenal, but the Gunners have a game in hand, with three matches to play. Chelsea have two games left – they visit Birmingham City this Sunday, before hosting Manchester United next Sunday.

Arsenal go to Aston Villa this weekend, then host Tottenham in the North London derby on Wednesday, before a final-day trip to West Ham.

Another match preview for the clash at St Mary’s, which doesn’t have a whole lot riding on it, if we’re being honest.

With the 2021-22 campaign coming to an end, I’d love to hear your nominations for player of the season, at any level. Drop me a line via email or tweet, or post below the line.

Bobby Copping was 19 and on the verge of breaking into the Peterborough first team, when he headed a ball during pre-season training and everything changed. With his career ended by the mysterious injury, he’s now building a career behind the scenes at London Road. Ryan Baldi met up with him:

Jesse Marsch’s Leeds have the chance to derail Manchester City’s title charge this weekend and Marsch is hoping his team can prove “pesky” opponents.

“I know that a lot of times, playing against the relegation teams can be a pesky match and that’s our job on the day, to make the match pesky for Man City,” Marsch said. “In some ways you can say there’s nothing for us to lose. We’re expected to lose this game every time. I don’t believe that but I can see why that’s the expectation. Our job is to strategically understand. We know what they want the game to look like and we know what we want the game to look like.

Leeds are unbeaten in their last five matches but aren’t safe yet, and Marsch won’t waste any time checking on the permutations. “I don’t have the energy to think about the table and how other teams are doing … I assumed from the very second that I took the job that I was going to be knee-deep in everything until May 22 and I think it’ll stay that way.”

Friday’s first match preview has landed!

A little more from Jürgen Klopp, on whether his contract extension might make a difference to players yet to sign a new deal. Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino and Naby Keïta all have contracts that expire next summer.

“That is a question for the boys what it means to them but it’s all fine, my relationship with them is great. If it is a positive sign for the boys, great – but I don’t think this will be the one decisive thing for a decision they make for their lives. But we just want to make sure that everyone who wants to know, knows.”

Ralf Rangnick confirmed as new Austria manager

Well, this story has moved fast. The Austrian FA have now confirmed the appointment of Ralf Rangnick on an initial two-year deal. If Austria qualify for the Euros, the deal will automatically extend until the 2026 World Cup.

Rangnick will take over after leaving his post as Manchester United interim manager at the end of the season – he is expected to continue his consultancy role with the club. He will take charge of Austria’s Nations League games against Croatia, Denmark and France before the Euro 2024 qualifiers.

“It’s an honour for me to take on the role,” Rangnick said. “I’m particularly excited about the prospect of contesting the European Championships in Germany with a young team hungry for success.”

Dean Smith has been fronting up, with Norwich in danger of going down this weekend. If they lose at Smith’s former club, Aston Villa, and Burnley beat Watford at Vicarage Road, then the Canaries will be swooping back to the Championship.

“Apathy is a word that’s been used a lot … our players are turning up week in, week out, there’s no lack of interest from them.” Smith also defended the club’s sporting director, Stuart Webber, who was confronted by some fans after the home defeat to Newcastle.

A little more from Eddie Howe on the test Liverpool will offer his side:

“We know that nothing but our best tomorrow – and I’d probably say better than we’ve delivered so far – will be good enough. I’ve watched Liverpool in depth for a long period of time and they’re just an incredible team. They have a way of winning games even when they’re not at their best, which is probably the hallmark of a great team, and when they’re at their best, they’re almost unstoppable.”

More on the news, yet to be officially announced, that Ralf Rangnick has agreed to take over as the Austria head coach. Rangnick is expected to continue with his planned consultancy role at Manchester United – although my person feeling is that his time at Old Trafford might come to an end in a barely-noticed press release six months from now.

Jürgen Klopp has just wrapped up his pre-game presser, fresh from extending his Liverpool contract to 2026. He has said he feels reinvigorated this season after the struggles of a coronavirus-ravaged campaign last year.

“These last two years were really strange, you learn more about yourself. You realise what you really miss if you don’t have it anymore. Football is the same. I am not short of energy, but you ask me if it’s still there. We feel like we are in the middle of something, not the end. We try to reach this sunny place together.”

Steel yourself for the weekend’s top-flight action with our 10-part guide:

Sticking with Wolves, this is a nice read from Ben Fisher, who sat down with their goalkeeping coach, Tony Roberts. The former QPR and Dagenham & Redbridge keeper is also part of the Wales setup, and dreaming of World Cup qualification.

“I was involved in the Wales team when we nearly got there, USA 94. We missed out when [Paul] Bodin hit the crossbar against Romania. I bawled my eyes out that night and to get there now, I think I’d be crying at 52 years old.”

Bruno Lage has been chatting to reporters this morning, and the Wolves manager thinks it’s time for his side to push for Europe. “I never used to talk about it … but now we have five games in 20 days,” Lage said. “I challenge them now, the final curve, the last 100m, we see the finish line in front of us, we need to go and fight for sixth and seventh position, and play European football.”

It feels like Wolves have been knocking on the door for several months now, only to get beaten somewhere like Turf Moor just as the top six/seven are in reach. They host Brighton tomorrow, with their final home game against Norwich. The trouble is, their other games are against Chelsea (A), Man City (H) and Liverpool (A). Still, they’re a match for anyone on their day, as the saying goes.

More on the news that Channel 4 will show England men’s matches free-to-air until 2024.

Newcastle entertain Liverpool in an entirely appetising Saturday lunchtime kick-off. Eddie Howe has revealed that Callum Wilson and Kieran Trippier are almost ready to return, but not in time for tomorrow’s game.

“We definitely won’t rush them back. We won’t put them at risk but if they’re fit we’ll use them like any other player. I think that’s important. Kieran, we’ve seen on the grass and he’s trained with us for one session. Callum isn’t quite there yet but he’s edging closer and is doing a lot of work with the sports science team.”

Newcastle announced on Friday that defender Fabian Schär has signed a new two-year deal. “I really like him as a player,” Howe said. He’s performed very, very well. He had a long spell out of the team and to come back into the team initially was quite difficult for him, but he’s picked up his rhythm and his form.

“I think everyone knows Fab is technically a very, very good footballer. The big thing he’s proved is he can defend very, very effectively within the team structure that we’ve given him.”

Salah and Kerr win FWA awards

Some more news – the Football Writers’ Association (FWA) has named Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah their men’s footballer of the year for the second time, with Chelsea forward Sam Kerr winning the women’s award.

Salah won 48% of the vote, with Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne in second and West Ham’s Declan Rice in third. Kerr was similarly dominant, picking up 40% of votes, to finish ahead of Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema and City’s Lauren Hemp.

Channel 4 to show England men’s matches live

Some interesting early news, with Channel 4 announcing it has acquired the rights to broadcast the England men’s team’s matches in the Nations League, plus Euro 2024 qualifiers and friendlies. In total, Channel 4 will broadcast 20 live England matches between 2022 to 2024, all on free-to-air TV.

The Nations League campaign features four matches in June – two against Hungary, a trip to Germany, and Italy at Molineux – before the return fixtures with Italy and Germany in September. The Euro qualifiers will kick off in 2023, with the draw being made in October.


Hello and welcome to a long weekend of football, with crunch clashes everywhere you turn. For Liverpool and Manchester City, every game is big – but Saturday’s assignments, at the cathedrals of St James’s Park and Elland Road respectively, are likely to turn up the title race tension even further.

Elsewhere, Dean Smith takes Norwich to Villa Park, knowing that defeat could return the Canaries to the Championship if Burnley get a result at Watford. That would also be bad news for Frank Lampard, who desperately needs something from his former employers when Chelsea visit Goodison on Sunday. In the top-four race, Arsenal face yet another test of their mettle at West Ham, while Spurs look to end their own stumble against Leicester.

Beyond the Premier League, we could see Real Madrid win La Liga on Saturday, and Celtic all but regain the Scottish title in Sunday’s Old Firm derby. League One comes to a close, the race for promotion spots and playoff berths up and down the pyramid coming down to the wire. Chelsea and Arsenal continue their nip and tuck WSL title fight, and the Women’s Champions League finalists will be set.

We’ll have team news, previews and plenty more besides, so let’s put on our classics and we’ll have a little dance, shall we?

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