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Looking a bit further ahead, the Champions League resumes next week and there are certainly some tasty ties on the cards.

Paris Saint-Germain will host Barcelona on Wednesday, and Lamine Yamal “can’t wait” for his first CL quarter-finals.

The 16-year-old told Mundo Deportivo that he dreams of being a Barça legend and is confident that his side will come away with a 1-0 victory at the Parc des Princes.

“Who scores? Me!”

Lamine Yamal has made 40 appearances for Barcelona this season, after making just one last campaign. Photograph: Pau Barrena/AFP/Getty Images

Here’s more on Yamal and Barcelona’s reliance on their starboys from Sid Lowe last month.


Fun quiz part two (see part one at 11:28): which Premier League club has faced the most shots this season?

Surely one of the bottom three, right?

Wrong. It is Manchester United.

According to PA Media, during their defeat last night, United let Chelsea have the final 10 shots of the game, which took the Blues’ total attempts for the match to 28. This means Erik ten Hag’s side have faced 224 Premier League shots in 2024 – eight more than any other club.

Brentford (216), Sheffield United (206), West Ham (205) and Luton (201) are the only other teams to face over 200 in that time, with only the Hammers of that quartet currently outside the league’s bottom six.

Over the whole season, United have faced 525 shots, third most in the top flight behind the rock-bottom Blades on 554 and 18th-placed Luton on 531.

After the Brentford match a few days ago, this is what Ten Hag had to say when asked if he was concerned about the high number of shots his side face:

As long as we get results, no. We defended low at times, and because Brentford are very direct, we lost many second balls. And you have to defend the second balls and that is what we did quite well.


Joseph Lowery has a quick look at what is happening across the pond in his MLS power rankings. As he says himself, unlike Cucho Hernández, he is strapped in and ready to rock. And so should you.

Cucho Hernández is Columbus’ star player. So why is he still being benched? Photograph: Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Virgil van Dijk hopes his composure can help get Liverpool over the line in the title race, he tells PA Media.

The calmness I want in life personally – trying not to stress about the small things that shouldn’t have an influence on your state of mind – is something I try to implement in the group.

I’m quite vocal but it’s more I’d rather have a good atmosphere outside the pitch. I want everyone to feel comfortable and feel happy and express themselves in the best way possible because then you can get the best out of everyone.”

The Liverpool captain looked ahead to the match against Manchester United this weekend, three weeks after their “horrible” FA Cup exit to Erik ten Hag’s side.

(Losing games) didn’t happen too many times this year but, still, I’m a winner. You need to make sure have that mentality and it is needed to get to the top and stay at the top.

We have a big one at the weekend, then the chaos starts again with those games coming thick and fast.”


Thanks, David. A sterling shift as always. Hello everyone! Let us turn to Burnley, who are nineteenth in the league and are currently six points from safety. It is not looking good. But Vincent Kompany does not think the drop back down to the Championship will be the “end of the world”.

I might be a little bit different in this, but everybody has this habit of thinking everything stops after these next seven games. After these seven games, it’s not like we go sit on a beach and never come back; it’s a continuation.

It’s really important that the mindset goes past, ‘we’ve had a setback and that’s the end of the world’. I don’t function that way.”

The Clarets face their former manager Sean Dyche and Everton tomorrow. The Toffees have lost nine of their last 14 league home games against promoted sides, which is as many defeats as they have suffered in their previous 64 such games. Dyche’s side drew 1-1 at Newcastle in midweek and set a new club record of 13 Premier League games without a win. but as diplomatically as ever, Kompany said their winless run “was “not really relevant”.

Have any thoughts, questions, comments, complaints or musings on Burnley, Everton or any other team ahead of the weekend? You can find my email at the top of this blog to send them over to.


And on that goalkeeping note, I’ll pass this blog into the safe hands of Yara El-Shaboury.


How a goalkeeper dives is a key element in judging the prowess of a goal from the halfway line. So full credit here to FC Tokyo goalkeeper Taishi Nozawa who really flings himself for the cameras in this one. Miles better than Neil Sullivan’s against Beckham.

J.League footballer scores amazing goal from halfway line – video


Who would have thought that Eddie Howe press conferences these days involve him talking about trying to keep hold of players rather than splashing enormous amounts on exciting new ones. That’s FFP.

So rather than rubbing his hands at who to bring in alongside in-form Alexander Isak, Howe is spending his time batting away speculation on the Swede moving elsewhere (Arsenal and Spurs have been linked).

Asked if he feared a transfer window of fending off approaches, Howe said: “I don’t fear that. In some senses, that’s what you want because it means your players are playing at a level that everyone appreciates and I want my players – all of them – to be playing above what they think they’re capable of being. So no, I don’t think fear is the right word. I want Alex to keep scoring goals, I want him to keep being in the headlines – I’m sure he wants the same thing – but we want to keep him long-term.”

On Bruno Guimaraes, the subject of speculation over a move to PSG, Howe added: “Let me tell you, players like Bruno, they are not around every corner. They are very rare. Bruno should be appreciated for everything he brings. My intention would be to keep Bruno at the club for as long as we possibly can. I can never make guarantees though. That would be absolutely foolish of me. We have been in football long enough to know you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow.”


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Head-to-head form between Manchester United and Liverpool is officially mad.

Man Utd 4-3 Liverpool
Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd
Liverpool 7-0 Man Utd
Man Utd 2-1 Liverpool
Liverpool 4-0 Man Utd
Man Utd 0-5 Liverpool

Spin it which way suits you. Man Utd have lost just one of the last four, winning twice. Liverpool have royally humped United three times in the last six meetings, scoring 20 goals in those half-dozen encounters to United’s six.

This season we’ve had the contrast of a super-drab 0-0 draw at Anfield with a wild 4-3 United FA Cup win at Old Trafford while Erik ten Hag’s men go into this latest showdown against their big rivals on the back of a ridiculous 4-3 defeat at Chelsea when they fought back from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 before blowing it all in injury-time. The visitors are clear favourites but this is a dangerous game for Liverpool if United decide to throw it wide open again.


Fun quiz: who are the most booked players in the Premier League this season? There are nine players on nine bookings but only two have hit the 10 yellows mark which brings a two-match suspension. They are Fulham’s Joao Palhinha and West Ham’s Edson Alvarez.

Here’s West Ham boss David Moyes talking about the latter ahead of the Hammers’ trip to Wolves on Saturday. “We’ve missed Edson’s presence and he’s had a big influence on things since he signed last summer. We’re looking forward to having him back. I haven’t spoken to him about his discipline. He’s experienced enough to deal with that. He’s still getting used to the Premier League and he’s a really important player for us.”

Those nine players walking a tightrope marked disciplinary: Bruno Guimaraes, Moises Caicedo, Douglas Luiz, Anthony Gordon, Gustavo Hamer, Nicolas Jackson, Mario Lemina and Nelson Semedo.

Those on eight – and two bookings away from a suspension – include Liverpool duo Darwin Nunez and Endo, Arsenal’s Kai Havertz and Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes.


Bukayo Saka is a doubt for Arsenal’s trip to Brighton on Saturday. The England winger missed the 2-0 win over Luton in midweek – just his second absence in the Premier League this season – after sustaining a muscle injury in the massively tedious 0-0 draw with Manchester City.

Could Saka be a fading force at the most important stage of the season? Not on your nelly, says Gunners boss Mikel Arteta. “I’m super positive. I think he’s going to fly and be so decisive. He’s so strong, how much he wants it. How excited he is about what is coming. He wants to be there, and he’s getting better and better.

“It’s normal to have little niggles, you have kicks. He’s gone through a lot of that in the last two or three years, and look at the way he is performing.”


Bournemouth boss Andoni Iraola has been talking ahead of his team’s visit to Luton and notes: “They have the advantage that they play at home this time and it has been difficult for every team that has gone there.”

Well, it kind of has but Luton’s home form is a rather unchallenged cliche this season. ‘Mr Hard Facts’ is a curmudgeon, who doesn’t win many friends but he says this: Luton have won three out of 15 home Premier League games and lost nine. Only bottom two Burnley and Sheffield United have tasted more defeats in front of their own fans. Palace (16pts), Brentford (18pts) and Everton (13pts) have won more home points than Luton (12pts) this term and no-one keeps wanging on about that, adds ‘Mr Hard Facts’, finding his stride now.


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Brennan Johnson is having a growing impact at Spurs and the Welshman will hope to make another key contribution when he faces his former club Nottingham Forest at the weekend. Ben McAleer of WhoScored runs the numbers.


The FA must help England now to avoid World Cup winners Spain dominating the women’s game over the next decade, says Kelly Simmons in today’s Sportblog.


Time to turn the gaze forward rather than back. Things to watch for here, including:

“Michael Olise’s anticipated return from injury for Crystal Palace against Manchester City could not be more timely for Oliver Glasner’s struggling side. The France Under-21 international has been in sensational form this season on the rare occasions he has made it on to the pitch – Olise has played only 755 minutes so far in just 11 appearances, but in that time has scored six goals and provided three assists. City are believed to be one of several clubs who have been monitoring his progress and will be wary of the threat he poses to their title ambitions, especially if he can adapt quickly to Glasner’s favoured 3-4-2-1 formation.”


Here’s the top of the Premier League table after last night. Arsenal’s +10 goal difference over City shouldn’t be overlooked.


While Jürgen Klopp flashed his teeth post-match, Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag was fuming after his side entered injury-time 3-2 up at Chelsea and lost 4-3. Conceding a corner and forgetting to mark one of the Premier League’s best attackers, who had already scored twice on the night, is likely to get your goat(ee).


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Let’s start with leaders Liverpool and some deserved praise for Alexis Mac Allister, the Reds’ best player on a regular basis at the moment.

Here’s Klopp: “Wonderful player, wonderful boy and really happy for Liverpool that we got him.”


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After the latest international break seemed to last in the region of three weeks to a month, we now have Premier League action coming out of our ears. Following a full round of matches across Tuesday (well done Forest), Wednesday (all hail Phil Foden) and Thursday (all hail Cole Palmer), we’re straight back into it with another round of top-flight fixtures, including Manchester United v Liverpool on Sunday afternoon.

The Reds remain top of the pile with eight games of the run-in to go but all three title hopefuls are showing fleeting vulnerability so your guess is as good as mine.

While the bottom three were just about everyone’s bottom three at the start of the season, even they are being awkward buggers to other teams, even if not getting the victories they need to avoid an immediate return to the Championship.

And, of course, who will finish sixth: the question on everyone’s lips? Manchester United hold that position but as they basket case their way to season’s end, a whole host of clubs are waiting to pick them off. Seventh to 13th are separated by just six points.

Righty, lots of reflection and projection to come as we work our way through today’s managerial press conferences and keep a beady eye on everything else. Let’s play.