Blackburn Rovers

Blackburn Rovers slideshow

A year on from their lowest low, Blackburn Rovers are on their way back
A year on from their lowest low, Blackburn Rovers are on their way back
A year on from their lowest low, Blackburn Rovers are on their way back
A year on from their lowest low, Blackburn Rovers are on their way back
A year on from their lowest low, Blackburn Rovers are on their way back
A year on from their lowest low, Blackburn Rovers are on their way back
A year on from their lowest low, Blackburn Rovers are on their way back
A year on from their lowest low, Blackburn Rovers are on their way back
A year on from their lowest low, Blackburn Rovers are on their way back
A year on from their lowest low, Blackburn Rovers are on their way back
A year on from their lowest low, Blackburn Rovers are on their way back
A year on from their lowest low, Blackburn Rovers are on their way back
A year on from their lowest low, Blackburn Rovers are on their way back
A year on from their lowest low, Blackburn Rovers are on their way back
A year on from their lowest low, Blackburn Rovers are on their way back
A year on from their lowest low, Blackburn Rovers are on their way back
A year on from their lowest low, Blackburn Rovers are on their way back
A year on from their lowest low, Blackburn Rovers are on their way back
Football League round-up: Blackburn bounce back to the Championship
Football League round-up: Blackburn bounce back to the Championship
Football League round-up: Blackburn bounce back to the Championship
Football League round-up: Blackburn bounce back to the Championship
Football League round-up: Blackburn bounce back to the Championship
Football League round-up: Blackburn bounce back to the Championship
Bradley Dack receives a smacker from goalkeeper David Raya after Blackburn Rovers clinched promotion from League One with a 1-0 win at Doncaster.
Football League round-up: Blackburn bounce back to the Championship
Bradley Dack receives a smacker from goalkeeper David Raya after Blackburn Rovers clinched promotion from League One with a 1-0 win at Doncaster.
Football League round-up: Blackburn bounce back to the Championship
Football League round-up: Blackburn bounce back to the Championship
Football League round-up: Blackburn bounce back to the Championship
We're into the final month of the season across England's top four tiers, and there is still plenty to play for. The Premier League title is wrapped up, and the bottom three clubs are looking increasingly to be relegated, but lower down the footballing pyramid there is plenty still at stake. Here, we round-up who can still finish where in the Premier League and Football League. Premier League Every team has between three and five games remaining, but it wouldn't be all that surprising if everyone finished in exactly the position they currently find themselves - or at least in the positions that truly matter. Manchester City are champions, while Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham are looking good to finish in the top four, barring a significant late collapse coupled with a Chelsea recovery. Arsenal are likely to beat Burnley to sixth place, with the losers of that race to go into the Europa League at the second qualifying stage - which starts on July 26. Everyone from Bournemouth in 11th and below can still be relegated, but it would take something dramatic for any of the teams above Huddersfield to be pulled back in to the dogfight. Southampton, Stoke and West Brom, all at least four points adrift of safety, are in real trouble. Premier League | Who can still get what? Championship Wolves are Championship champions, 12 points clear of Cardiff, who have three games left to play. Cardiff are battling it out with Fulham and Aston Villa for the second remaining automatic play-off spot, though the Welsh side are in the best position to secure promotion, given they have an extra game left to play. Two of those sides will go into the play-offs, joined by two more of Middlesbrough, Millwall, Derby, Brentford, Preston, Bristol City and Sheffield United, though the final four of those sides face an uphill task to sneak in. At the other end of the table, Sunderland's relegation to League One has been confirmed. Burton and Barnsley currently make up the bottom three, though Barnsley have a game in hand on Bolton, who are two points above them, just outside the relegation zone. Every side up to Reading can still technically go down. Championship | What can still happen? League One Wigan have sealed automatic promotion, and Blackburn look likely to beat Shrewsbury to the second of the automatic promotion spots. Whichever of those teams does not get into the top two will go into the play-offs, and with some sides still having to play four more games, the race for the three remaining play-off places is very open. Rotherham are guaranteed a play-off place, while six teams will battle it out for the final two spots. At the bottom, Bury are down, while everyone up to Bristol Rovers in 12th could feasibly get sucked into the relegation battle. Given only seven points separate Rochdale in 21st and Doncaster in 14th, there is an awful lot still to play for. League One | What can still happen? League Two Accrington Stanley and Luton have sealed promotion to League One. Wycombe are in pole position to secure the third and final automatic promotion slot, but every side currently in the play-off places is still, mathematically at least, in contention. The play-off berths will be filled by four of the six teams currently between third and eighth. Relegation from the Football League is looking perilously likely for both Chesterfield and Barnet, though everyone up to Yeovil in 19th could still be dragged into the drop zone, however unlikely that actually is. League Two | What can still happen?
Premier League and Football League relegation, promotion and play-offs: who can still finish where?
We're into the final month of the season across England's top four tiers, and there is still plenty to play for. The Premier League title is wrapped up, and the bottom three clubs are looking increasingly to be relegated, but lower down the footballing pyramid there is plenty still at stake. Here, we round-up who can still finish where in the Premier League and Football League. Premier League Every team has between three and five games remaining, but it wouldn't be all that surprising if everyone finished in exactly the position they currently find themselves - or at least in the positions that truly matter. Manchester City are champions, while Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham are looking good to finish in the top four, barring a significant late collapse coupled with a Chelsea recovery. Arsenal are likely to beat Burnley to sixth place, with the losers of that race to go into the Europa League at the second qualifying stage - which starts on July 26. Everyone from Bournemouth in 11th and below can still be relegated, but it would take something dramatic for any of the teams above Huddersfield to be pulled back in to the dogfight. Southampton, Stoke and West Brom, all at least four points adrift of safety, are in real trouble. Premier League | Who can still get what? Championship Wolves are Championship champions, 12 points clear of Cardiff, who have three games left to play. Cardiff are battling it out with Fulham and Aston Villa for the second remaining automatic play-off spot, though the Welsh side are in the best position to secure promotion, given they have an extra game left to play. Two of those sides will go into the play-offs, joined by two more of Middlesbrough, Millwall, Derby, Brentford, Preston, Bristol City and Sheffield United, though the final four of those sides face an uphill task to sneak in. At the other end of the table, Sunderland's relegation to League One has been confirmed. Burton and Barnsley currently make up the bottom three, though Barnsley have a game in hand on Bolton, who are two points above them, just outside the relegation zone. Every side up to Reading can still technically go down. Championship | What can still happen? League One Wigan have sealed automatic promotion, and Blackburn look likely to beat Shrewsbury to the second of the automatic promotion spots. Whichever of those teams does not get into the top two will go into the play-offs, and with some sides still having to play four more games, the race for the three remaining play-off places is very open. Rotherham are guaranteed a play-off place, while six teams will battle it out for the final two spots. At the bottom, Bury are down, while everyone up to Bristol Rovers in 12th could feasibly get sucked into the relegation battle. Given only seven points separate Rochdale in 21st and Doncaster in 14th, there is an awful lot still to play for. League One | What can still happen? League Two Accrington Stanley and Luton have sealed promotion to League One. Wycombe are in pole position to secure the third and final automatic promotion slot, but every side currently in the play-off places is still, mathematically at least, in contention. The play-off berths will be filled by four of the six teams currently between third and eighth. Relegation from the Football League is looking perilously likely for both Chesterfield and Barnet, though everyone up to Yeovil in 19th could still be dragged into the drop zone, however unlikely that actually is. League Two | What can still happen?
The Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Blackburn-based Hashim Travel had organised the trip
Saudi Arabia: four Britons killed after coach hits fuel tanker
The Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Blackburn-based Hashim Travel had organised the trip
A dog feared to cancer had actually eaten four teddy bears, but the vet did not realise until halfway through the operation. Eight-year-old St Bernard Maisy was taken for a CT scan after she was taken ill, which showed a mass on her spleen and an unusually full stomach, seemingly showing she had not digested her food properly. Her owner, Jane Dickinson, from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire, feared the worst as she took her pet to Paragon Veterinary Referrals in Wakefield. It would not be unusual for Maisy, an elderly dog, to have cancer at her advanced age. However, vet surgeon Nick Blackburn ruled out any fatal disease when he carried out the operation to remove Maisy’s spleen and found her stomach was full of soft toys. Maisy is now reportedly 'loving life' Credit: Paragon Vet Referrals / SWNS.com He said : "It's fair to say this was not something we were expecting to find! We all know certain dogs enjoy chewing things they shouldn't but managing to devour four full teddy bears is quite a feat. "I know Jane was worried about Maisy as she is quite old for a St Bernard, so we were naturally delighted the operation was such a success and we were able to return a happy, healthy dog to the Dickinsons.” Her owner said she had never seen the gentle giant chewing or eating toys, but that now the operation has been completed Maisy is “loving life”. An x-ray showing the teddy bears within the stomach. Credit: Paragon Vet Referrals / SWNS.com Ms Dickinson explained: "When Maisy went in I did think 'is she coming out?' but she is loving life now - it's like she's got her youth back. "The toys weren't even hers! She will steal the chihuahuas' toys and play with them but I've never seen her trying to chew them. Her eating habits had been completely normal. "I didn't even recognise one of the toys - my brother also keeps chihuahuas and it turns out it belonged to his dog." Maisy has since made a full recovery from her operation and a histology report has shown no signs of cancer.
Dog feared to have cancer had actually eaten four teddy bears... but vet didn't realise until midway through operation
A dog feared to cancer had actually eaten four teddy bears, but the vet did not realise until halfway through the operation. Eight-year-old St Bernard Maisy was taken for a CT scan after she was taken ill, which showed a mass on her spleen and an unusually full stomach, seemingly showing she had not digested her food properly. Her owner, Jane Dickinson, from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire, feared the worst as she took her pet to Paragon Veterinary Referrals in Wakefield. It would not be unusual for Maisy, an elderly dog, to have cancer at her advanced age. However, vet surgeon Nick Blackburn ruled out any fatal disease when he carried out the operation to remove Maisy’s spleen and found her stomach was full of soft toys. Maisy is now reportedly 'loving life' Credit: Paragon Vet Referrals / SWNS.com He said : "It's fair to say this was not something we were expecting to find! We all know certain dogs enjoy chewing things they shouldn't but managing to devour four full teddy bears is quite a feat. "I know Jane was worried about Maisy as she is quite old for a St Bernard, so we were naturally delighted the operation was such a success and we were able to return a happy, healthy dog to the Dickinsons.” Her owner said she had never seen the gentle giant chewing or eating toys, but that now the operation has been completed Maisy is “loving life”. An x-ray showing the teddy bears within the stomach. Credit: Paragon Vet Referrals / SWNS.com Ms Dickinson explained: "When Maisy went in I did think 'is she coming out?' but she is loving life now - it's like she's got her youth back. "The toys weren't even hers! She will steal the chihuahuas' toys and play with them but I've never seen her trying to chew them. Her eating habits had been completely normal. "I didn't even recognise one of the toys - my brother also keeps chihuahuas and it turns out it belonged to his dog." Maisy has since made a full recovery from her operation and a histology report has shown no signs of cancer.
A dog feared to cancer had actually eaten four teddy bears, but the vet did not realise until halfway through the operation. Eight-year-old St Bernard Maisy was taken for a CT scan after she was taken ill, which showed a mass on her spleen and an unusually full stomach, seemingly showing she had not digested her food properly. Her owner, Jane Dickinson, from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire, feared the worst as she took her pet to Paragon Veterinary Referrals in Wakefield. It would not be unusual for Maisy, an elderly dog, to have cancer at her advanced age. However, vet surgeon Nick Blackburn ruled out any fatal disease when he carried out the operation to remove Maisy’s spleen and found her stomach was full of soft toys. Maisy is now reportedly 'loving life' Credit: Paragon Vet Referrals / SWNS.com He said : "It's fair to say this was not something we were expecting to find! We all know certain dogs enjoy chewing things they shouldn't but managing to devour four full teddy bears is quite a feat. "I know Jane was worried about Maisy as she is quite old for a St Bernard, so we were naturally delighted the operation was such a success and we were able to return a happy, healthy dog to the Dickinsons.” Her owner said she had never seen the gentle giant chewing or eating toys, but that now the operation has been completed Maisy is “loving life”. An x-ray showing the teddy bears within the stomach. Credit: Paragon Vet Referrals / SWNS.com Ms Dickinson explained: "When Maisy went in I did think 'is she coming out?' but she is loving life now - it's like she's got her youth back. "The toys weren't even hers! She will steal the chihuahuas' toys and play with them but I've never seen her trying to chew them. Her eating habits had been completely normal. "I didn't even recognise one of the toys - my brother also keeps chihuahuas and it turns out it belonged to his dog." Maisy has since made a full recovery from her operation and a histology report has shown no signs of cancer.
Dog feared to have cancer had actually eaten four teddy bears... but vet didn't realise until midway through operation
A dog feared to cancer had actually eaten four teddy bears, but the vet did not realise until halfway through the operation. Eight-year-old St Bernard Maisy was taken for a CT scan after she was taken ill, which showed a mass on her spleen and an unusually full stomach, seemingly showing she had not digested her food properly. Her owner, Jane Dickinson, from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire, feared the worst as she took her pet to Paragon Veterinary Referrals in Wakefield. It would not be unusual for Maisy, an elderly dog, to have cancer at her advanced age. However, vet surgeon Nick Blackburn ruled out any fatal disease when he carried out the operation to remove Maisy’s spleen and found her stomach was full of soft toys. Maisy is now reportedly 'loving life' Credit: Paragon Vet Referrals / SWNS.com He said : "It's fair to say this was not something we were expecting to find! We all know certain dogs enjoy chewing things they shouldn't but managing to devour four full teddy bears is quite a feat. "I know Jane was worried about Maisy as she is quite old for a St Bernard, so we were naturally delighted the operation was such a success and we were able to return a happy, healthy dog to the Dickinsons.” Her owner said she had never seen the gentle giant chewing or eating toys, but that now the operation has been completed Maisy is “loving life”. An x-ray showing the teddy bears within the stomach. Credit: Paragon Vet Referrals / SWNS.com Ms Dickinson explained: "When Maisy went in I did think 'is she coming out?' but she is loving life now - it's like she's got her youth back. "The toys weren't even hers! She will steal the chihuahuas' toys and play with them but I've never seen her trying to chew them. Her eating habits had been completely normal. "I didn't even recognise one of the toys - my brother also keeps chihuahuas and it turns out it belonged to his dog." Maisy has since made a full recovery from her operation and a histology report has shown no signs of cancer.
A dog feared to cancer had actually eaten four teddy bears, but the vet did not realise until halfway through the operation. Eight-year-old St Bernard Maisy was taken for a CT scan after she was taken ill, which showed a mass on her spleen and an unusually full stomach, seemingly showing she had not digested her food properly. Her owner, Jane Dickinson, from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire, feared the worst as she took her pet to Paragon Veterinary Referrals in Wakefield. It would not be unusual for Maisy, an elderly dog, to have cancer at her advanced age. However, vet surgeon Nick Blackburn ruled out any fatal disease when he carried out the operation to remove Maisy’s spleen and found her stomach was full of soft toys. Maisy is now reportedly 'loving life' Credit: Paragon Vet Referrals / SWNS.com He said : "It's fair to say this was not something we were expecting to find! We all know certain dogs enjoy chewing things they shouldn't but managing to devour four full teddy bears is quite a feat. "I know Jane was worried about Maisy as she is quite old for a St Bernard, so we were naturally delighted the operation was such a success and we were able to return a happy, healthy dog to the Dickinsons.” Her owner said she had never seen the gentle giant chewing or eating toys, but that now the operation has been completed Maisy is “loving life”. An x-ray showing the teddy bears within the stomach. Credit: Paragon Vet Referrals / SWNS.com Ms Dickinson explained: "When Maisy went in I did think 'is she coming out?' but she is loving life now - it's like she's got her youth back. "The toys weren't even hers! She will steal the chihuahuas' toys and play with them but I've never seen her trying to chew them. Her eating habits had been completely normal. "I didn't even recognise one of the toys - my brother also keeps chihuahuas and it turns out it belonged to his dog." Maisy has since made a full recovery from her operation and a histology report has shown no signs of cancer.
Dog feared to have cancer had actually eaten four teddy bears... but vet didn't realise until midway through operation
A dog feared to cancer had actually eaten four teddy bears, but the vet did not realise until halfway through the operation. Eight-year-old St Bernard Maisy was taken for a CT scan after she was taken ill, which showed a mass on her spleen and an unusually full stomach, seemingly showing she had not digested her food properly. Her owner, Jane Dickinson, from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire, feared the worst as she took her pet to Paragon Veterinary Referrals in Wakefield. It would not be unusual for Maisy, an elderly dog, to have cancer at her advanced age. However, vet surgeon Nick Blackburn ruled out any fatal disease when he carried out the operation to remove Maisy’s spleen and found her stomach was full of soft toys. Maisy is now reportedly 'loving life' Credit: Paragon Vet Referrals / SWNS.com He said : "It's fair to say this was not something we were expecting to find! We all know certain dogs enjoy chewing things they shouldn't but managing to devour four full teddy bears is quite a feat. "I know Jane was worried about Maisy as she is quite old for a St Bernard, so we were naturally delighted the operation was such a success and we were able to return a happy, healthy dog to the Dickinsons.” Her owner said she had never seen the gentle giant chewing or eating toys, but that now the operation has been completed Maisy is “loving life”. An x-ray showing the teddy bears within the stomach. Credit: Paragon Vet Referrals / SWNS.com Ms Dickinson explained: "When Maisy went in I did think 'is she coming out?' but she is loving life now - it's like she's got her youth back. "The toys weren't even hers! She will steal the chihuahuas' toys and play with them but I've never seen her trying to chew them. Her eating habits had been completely normal. "I didn't even recognise one of the toys - my brother also keeps chihuahuas and it turns out it belonged to his dog." Maisy has since made a full recovery from her operation and a histology report has shown no signs of cancer.
Trump aims to give a boost to Blackburn in a red-state race Republicans cannot afford to lose in November.
Trump says he will campaign for Marsha Blackburn in Senate race — after Bob Corker says he won't
Trump aims to give a boost to Blackburn in a red-state race Republicans cannot afford to lose in November.
<p>Home-buyers looking for &#8216;bargains&#8217; could consider Bradford, Doncaster or Blackburn, Zoopla suggests.</p>
House-sellers slashing property prices, with average discount of £25,000

Home-buyers looking for ‘bargains’ could consider Bradford, Doncaster or Blackburn, Zoopla suggests.

<p>Home-buyers looking for &#8216;bargains&#8217; could consider Bradford, Doncaster or Blackburn, Zoopla suggests.</p>
House-sellers slashing property prices, with average discount of £25,000

Home-buyers looking for ‘bargains’ could consider Bradford, Doncaster or Blackburn, Zoopla suggests.

We&#39;re into the final month of the season across England&#39;s top four tiers, and there is still plenty to play for. The Premier League title is wrapped up, and the bottom three clubs are looking increasingly to be relegated, but lower down the footballing pyramid there is plenty still at stake. Here, we round-up who can still finish where in the Premier League and Football League. Premier League Every team has either four or five games remaining, but it wouldn&#39;t be all that surprising if everyone finished in exactly the position they currently find themselves - or at least in the positions that truly matter. Manchester City are champions, while Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham are looking good to finish in the top four, barring a significant late collapse coupled with a Chelsea recovery. Arsenal and Burnley are battling it out for sixth place (though Arsenal can technically still finish in the top four), with the losers of that race to go into the Europa League at the second qualifying stage - which starts on July 26. Everyone from Leicester in eighth and below can - mathematically - still be relegated, but it would take something dramatic for any of the teams above West Ham to be pulled back in to the dogfight. Southampton, Stoke and West Brom, all at least five points adrift of safety, are in real trouble. Premier League | Who can still get what? Championship Wolves are all but secure of the Championship title, 12 points clear of Cardiff, who have four games left and a vastly inferior goal difference. Cardiff are battling it out with Fulham and Aston Villa for the second remaining automatic play-off spot, though the Welsh side are in the best position to secure promotion. Two of those sides will go into the play-offs, joined by two more of Middlesbrough, Millwall, Derby, Preston, Sheffield United, Brentford and Bristol City, though the final four of those sides face an uphill task to sneak in. At the other end of the table, Sunderland are on the brink of a second successive relegation and last position, rooted to the foot of the Championship. Burton and Barnsley currently make up the bottom three, though Barnsley have a game in hand on Birmingham and Bolton, two points above them, just outside the relegation zone. Every side up to Nottingham Forest can still technically go down, but everyone from Reading and up should survive. Championship | What can still happen? League One Wigan and Blackburn look like they have won the race for the two automatic promotion spots, though Shrewsbury could technically still catch either. Whichever of those teams does not get into the top two will go into the play-offs, and with many sides still having to play five more games, the race for the three remaining play-off places is very, very open. Every team between Rotherham in fourth and Southend in 15th (apart from Fleetwood, due to the combination of other teams&#39; games) can still make it into the play-offs, though realistically, it is unlikely that anyone below ninth will. At the bottom, Bury are down, while everyone up to Bradford in 10th could feasibly get sucked into the relegation battle. Given only eight points separate Rochdale in 21st and Doncaster in 12th, there is an awful lot still to play for. League One | What can still happen? League Two Accrington Stanley have sealed promotion to League One, and Luton will join them with one more win. Wycombe are in pole position to secure the third and final automatic promotion slot, but every side currently in the play-off places is still in contention. The play-off berths will be filled by four teams from those currently between second and 14th (apart from Crawley, who have too few games remaining to make it into seventh). Relegation from the Football League is looking perilously likely for both Chesterfield and Barnet, though everyone up to Crewe in 17th could still be dragged into the drop zone, however unlikely that actually is. League Two | What can still happen?
Premier League and Football League relegation, promotion and play-offs: who can still finish where?
We're into the final month of the season across England's top four tiers, and there is still plenty to play for. The Premier League title is wrapped up, and the bottom three clubs are looking increasingly to be relegated, but lower down the footballing pyramid there is plenty still at stake. Here, we round-up who can still finish where in the Premier League and Football League. Premier League Every team has either four or five games remaining, but it wouldn't be all that surprising if everyone finished in exactly the position they currently find themselves - or at least in the positions that truly matter. Manchester City are champions, while Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham are looking good to finish in the top four, barring a significant late collapse coupled with a Chelsea recovery. Arsenal and Burnley are battling it out for sixth place (though Arsenal can technically still finish in the top four), with the losers of that race to go into the Europa League at the second qualifying stage - which starts on July 26. Everyone from Leicester in eighth and below can - mathematically - still be relegated, but it would take something dramatic for any of the teams above West Ham to be pulled back in to the dogfight. Southampton, Stoke and West Brom, all at least five points adrift of safety, are in real trouble. Premier League | Who can still get what? Championship Wolves are all but secure of the Championship title, 12 points clear of Cardiff, who have four games left and a vastly inferior goal difference. Cardiff are battling it out with Fulham and Aston Villa for the second remaining automatic play-off spot, though the Welsh side are in the best position to secure promotion. Two of those sides will go into the play-offs, joined by two more of Middlesbrough, Millwall, Derby, Preston, Sheffield United, Brentford and Bristol City, though the final four of those sides face an uphill task to sneak in. At the other end of the table, Sunderland are on the brink of a second successive relegation and last position, rooted to the foot of the Championship. Burton and Barnsley currently make up the bottom three, though Barnsley have a game in hand on Birmingham and Bolton, two points above them, just outside the relegation zone. Every side up to Nottingham Forest can still technically go down, but everyone from Reading and up should survive. Championship | What can still happen? League One Wigan and Blackburn look like they have won the race for the two automatic promotion spots, though Shrewsbury could technically still catch either. Whichever of those teams does not get into the top two will go into the play-offs, and with many sides still having to play five more games, the race for the three remaining play-off places is very, very open. Every team between Rotherham in fourth and Southend in 15th (apart from Fleetwood, due to the combination of other teams' games) can still make it into the play-offs, though realistically, it is unlikely that anyone below ninth will. At the bottom, Bury are down, while everyone up to Bradford in 10th could feasibly get sucked into the relegation battle. Given only eight points separate Rochdale in 21st and Doncaster in 12th, there is an awful lot still to play for. League One | What can still happen? League Two Accrington Stanley have sealed promotion to League One, and Luton will join them with one more win. Wycombe are in pole position to secure the third and final automatic promotion slot, but every side currently in the play-off places is still in contention. The play-off berths will be filled by four teams from those currently between second and 14th (apart from Crawley, who have too few games remaining to make it into seventh). Relegation from the Football League is looking perilously likely for both Chesterfield and Barnet, though everyone up to Crewe in 17th could still be dragged into the drop zone, however unlikely that actually is. League Two | What can still happen?
We would have appreciated more complete answers, says Rep. Marsha Blackburn, (R-Tenn.), providing her thoughts on Mark Zuckerberg&#39;s testimony before Congress on the data breach scandal. People expect protection, says Rep. Blackburn weighing in on regul...
Rep. Blackburn: Zuckerberg 'unprepared' for questions
We would have appreciated more complete answers, says Rep. Marsha Blackburn, (R-Tenn.), providing her thoughts on Mark Zuckerberg's testimony before Congress on the data breach scandal. People expect protection, says Rep. Blackburn weighing in on regul...
We would have appreciated more complete answers, says Rep. Marsha Blackburn, (R-Tenn.), providing her thoughts on Mark Zuckerberg&#39;s testimony before Congress on the data breach scandal. People expect protection, says Rep. Blackburn weighing in on regul...
Rep. Blackburn: Zuckerberg 'unprepared' for questions
We would have appreciated more complete answers, says Rep. Marsha Blackburn, (R-Tenn.), providing her thoughts on Mark Zuckerberg's testimony before Congress on the data breach scandal. People expect protection, says Rep. Blackburn weighing in on regul...
We would have appreciated more complete answers, says Rep. Marsha Blackburn, (R-Tenn.), providing her thoughts on Mark Zuckerberg&#39;s testimony before Congress on the data breach scandal. People expect protection, says Rep. Blackburn weighing in on regul...
Rep. Blackburn: Zuckerberg 'unprepared' for questions
We would have appreciated more complete answers, says Rep. Marsha Blackburn, (R-Tenn.), providing her thoughts on Mark Zuckerberg's testimony before Congress on the data breach scandal. People expect protection, says Rep. Blackburn weighing in on regul...
In front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg answers questions from Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.)
Zuckerberg: We don't consider what we do 'censoring speec...
In front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg answers questions from Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.)
In front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg answers questions from Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.)
Zuckerberg: We don't consider what we do 'censoring speec...
In front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg answers questions from Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.)
In front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg answers questions from Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.)
Zuckerberg: We don't consider what we do 'censoring speec...
In front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg answers questions from Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.)
Early polls give Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen an edge over GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn in the race to fill Republican Bob Corker&#39;s Senate seat, but she has the clear edge when it comes to money.
Joe Biden swoops in to give Democrat Phil Bredesen a money boost in tight Tennessee Senate race
Early polls give Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen an edge over GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn in the race to fill Republican Bob Corker's Senate seat, but she has the clear edge when it comes to money.
Welcome to a new Friday morning feature in which we preview the forthcoming Premier League weekend through the lens of 11 players. The idea is to pick a team of individuals likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome of their match, their club&#39;s fortunes or feature in the big stories come Monday morning. All Premier League matches will be covered in some way, and the aim is not to predict a &#39;Team of the Weekend&#39; before a ball has been kicked. For reasons of simplicity and week-to-week consistency, the players will be arranged in a 4-4-2 &#39;formation&#39;. Apologies to those of you who were fond of Premier League Bingo, which has gone the same way as the dodo, Woolworth&#39;s and Australian sportsmanship. GK: Jack Butland (Stoke) Trying to pick England&#39;s World Cup No.1 is like throwing darts blindfolded, with the position up for grabs for whoever strings together a few eye-catching performances. Stoke&#39;s trip to Arsenal should afford Butland the chance to catch the attention of Gareth Southgate. Despite their reputation as Arsène Wenger&#39;s side&#39;s nemesis, Stoke have lost every Premier League visit to the Emirates. Arsenal&#39;s league games are inconsequential with top four out of reach, exactly the circumstances when they tend to relax and flow as an attacking force. Will Jack Butland stake a claim for England&#39;s No.1 jersey? Credit: Reuters Butland could be in for a busy afternoon, but that is the type of match goalkeepers typically relish. He should draw inspiration from Robert Green and Fraser Forster, who in past run-ins produced goalkeeping exhibitions in Emirates clean sheets. Green with West Ham in 2007, Forster with Southampton in 2016. RB: Ezequiel Schelotto (Brighton) We all knew Chris Hughton&#39;s Brighton would approach the Premier League with tight organisation and steely resolve, the doubt was whether they carried enough attacking potency and speed to turn competitive performances into wins. Brighton have a chance to win their fourth consecutive home league match against Leicester on Saturday, and an unlikely threat has come to the fore in that run. Ezequiel Schelotto was signed late in the summer window from Sporting Lisbon, but has made himself a fixture at right-back since the turn of the year. The Italian flies forward with boundless enthusiasm, and at nearly six foot two is on the tall side for a full-back. With his long hair trailing behind him as he embarks on another offensive, it is quite an arresting sight that gets fans on the edge of their seats. It will be a good battle between he and the work-hungry Marc Albrighton. CB: Michael Keane (Everton) Defenders look good in defensive teams, and there is a suspicion that Michael Keane&#39;s qualities were embellished by Sean Dyche&#39;s protective methods at Burnley. The Man Utd youth product has been exposed at Everton since his big-money summer move, not helped by Ashley Williams&#39; weekly derelictions. Sam Allardyce is expected to partner him with Phil Jagielka on Saturday, and there is not sterner test than Manchester City. In some ways however, a backs-against-the-wall scenario might suit Keane, with his full-backs tucked in close to him and two holding midfielders patrolling shorter distances in front. A place in the England squad looks to have passed Keane by but he needs to show Allardyce, or any prospective Everton manager, that they can count on him for next season. England&#39;s World Cup 2018 squad - ranked. Who&#39;s on the plane to Russia? CB: Andreas Christensen (Chelsea) Christensen is undoubtedly Chelsea&#39;s defensive future, but the elegant centre-back has been through a rocky patch of form by his own admission. His misplaced pass led to Lionel Messi&#39;s crucial away goal at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea were knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona. In their defeat at Man Utd in February, the Dane was drawn out of position for Romelu Lukaku&#39;s equaliser and lost Jesse Lingard in the penalty area who headed home the decisive goal. Christensen faces another big-game test against Tottenham on Sunday, even though the visitors could be deprived of Harry Kane. There is no doubt he is a fantastic prospect, but he and Chelsea could do with an error-free 90 minutes. LB: Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace) Left-back has been a problem position for years at Crystal Palace. Van Aanholt and Jeffrey Schlupp are both closer to attacking wing-backs than full-backs, and Roy Hodgson looks to have settled on a compromise by playing both to sure-up Palace&#39;s troublesome left-flank. A home match against Liverpool is the last thing they need. Mohamed Salah is a master at exploiting that right &#39;half-space&#39;, the area between left-back and left-centre back, and van Aanholt will have to ignore his natural instincts and stay close to his centre back to block that channel. With Schlupp running back with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Palace could be forced to to defend in an auxiliary back-five for much of the game. With that in mind, Hodgson might drop either Schlupp or van Aanholt and pick an extra centre-back. RW: Tom Ince (Huddersfield) One point from home matches against Swansea and Newcastle leave Huddersfield precariously placed three points above the relegation zone. Only rock-bottom West Brom have scored fewer goals than David Wagner&#39;s side, but a trip to Newcastle could be a chance to put that right. Teams can pull themselves away from danger on the strength of one attacking player finding form: think Jon Stead at Blackburn, Hugo Rodallega at Wigan or Fabio Borini recalling what the goal was there for at Sunderland. Huddersfield need a hero to emerge. Fans are still waiting for the talented Ince to catch fire and the time is nigh. Has Jose Mourinho changed tactically since his early managerial days? CM: Paul Pogba (Man Utd) At home fixture against Swansea does not look like a test on which to judge Paul Pogba&#39;s quality, but the next few weeks could be crucial to his Man Utd future. &#39;Temporary disagreement&#39; could soon become &#39;irreconcilable difference&#39; should Jose Mourinho leave him on the bench or Pogba&#39;s form flat-line. Fresh from a sensational strike for France, this looks the perfect day for Pogba to find his rhythm and confidence again. That will probably attract &#39;flat-track bully&#39; accusations, and incredibly shallow criticism when you think about it. If you play for Manchester United, it is your job to be a flat-track bully. League titles are won by putting the dross away with painless regularity. CM: Mark Noble (West Ham) Southampton are embroiled in their own fight against relegation, with new manager Mark Hughes in the dug-out, but it is no slight on them to say West Ham are the story in this six-pointer. It is their first home game since fans invaded the pitch in their 3-0 loss against Burnley, with captain Mark Noble wrestling one to the ground - though he could be forgiven for acts of self-defence in the circumstances. Noble&#39;s legs have slowed, and West Ham should have replenished their central midfield long ago, but he is the last person at the club fans should direct their ire towards. Southampton are strong in this department with Oriol Romeu and Mario Lemina, two players who could play for a top-half team, and it could be a testing 90 minutes for West Ham&#39;s captain. Not to mention more &#39;fronting up&#39; in his post-match interview. West Ham could be in for another chastening afternoon at the London Stadium Credit: Reuters LW: Johan Berg Gudmunds­son (Burnley) Burnley have a bizarrely dreadful record at the Hawthorns, losing their last six league visits. Manager Sean Dyche even had his leg broken there as a player. They could not ask for a more presentable chance to change that record than this weekend however, against Alan Pardew&#39;s doomed West Brom side. West Brom have to throw bodies forward in search of a win, and that could suit Burnley perfectly who will defend in numbers and then pick them off. Dyche has developed their attacking play up a level from last season&#39;s rudimentary approach, and Gudmundsson&#39;s trickery and crossing has been an vital component of that. CF: Troy Deeney (Watford) Watford&#39;s captain has been back in vogue under Javi Gracia, but had two unhappy games at Arsenal and Liverpool with a missed penalty and a 5-0 defeat. Strangely enough, Deeney did not offer his punditry services after those salutary outings. A home match against Bournemouth is a chance for him to set the record straight and see if their centre-backs &#39;fancy it&#39;. CF: Heung-min Son (Spurs) Let&#39;s get one thing straight. Heung-min Son is not the Premier League&#39;s most underrated player, because everyone agrees he is a superb player and vocalises that opinion regularly. Mauricio Pochettino is likely to hand Son the keys to Tottenham&#39;s attack in the probable absence of Kane, rather than the cumbersome Fernando Llorente. Spurs have been an excellent side for two years now, but one valid criticism has been their lack pace across their forward line. It would be horribly contrived to claim they are better off without Kane, but Son&#39;s presence up top does give Spurs the counter-attacking power you need in big away matches. The South Korean could be very difficult to handle, darting into the space behind Chelsea&#39;s wing-backs and opening up holes for Christian Eriksen to exploit.
One to Eleven: The Premier League weekend analysed through XI players
Welcome to a new Friday morning feature in which we preview the forthcoming Premier League weekend through the lens of 11 players. The idea is to pick a team of individuals likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome of their match, their club's fortunes or feature in the big stories come Monday morning. All Premier League matches will be covered in some way, and the aim is not to predict a 'Team of the Weekend' before a ball has been kicked. For reasons of simplicity and week-to-week consistency, the players will be arranged in a 4-4-2 'formation'. Apologies to those of you who were fond of Premier League Bingo, which has gone the same way as the dodo, Woolworth's and Australian sportsmanship. GK: Jack Butland (Stoke) Trying to pick England's World Cup No.1 is like throwing darts blindfolded, with the position up for grabs for whoever strings together a few eye-catching performances. Stoke's trip to Arsenal should afford Butland the chance to catch the attention of Gareth Southgate. Despite their reputation as Arsène Wenger's side's nemesis, Stoke have lost every Premier League visit to the Emirates. Arsenal's league games are inconsequential with top four out of reach, exactly the circumstances when they tend to relax and flow as an attacking force. Will Jack Butland stake a claim for England's No.1 jersey? Credit: Reuters Butland could be in for a busy afternoon, but that is the type of match goalkeepers typically relish. He should draw inspiration from Robert Green and Fraser Forster, who in past run-ins produced goalkeeping exhibitions in Emirates clean sheets. Green with West Ham in 2007, Forster with Southampton in 2016. RB: Ezequiel Schelotto (Brighton) We all knew Chris Hughton's Brighton would approach the Premier League with tight organisation and steely resolve, the doubt was whether they carried enough attacking potency and speed to turn competitive performances into wins. Brighton have a chance to win their fourth consecutive home league match against Leicester on Saturday, and an unlikely threat has come to the fore in that run. Ezequiel Schelotto was signed late in the summer window from Sporting Lisbon, but has made himself a fixture at right-back since the turn of the year. The Italian flies forward with boundless enthusiasm, and at nearly six foot two is on the tall side for a full-back. With his long hair trailing behind him as he embarks on another offensive, it is quite an arresting sight that gets fans on the edge of their seats. It will be a good battle between he and the work-hungry Marc Albrighton. CB: Michael Keane (Everton) Defenders look good in defensive teams, and there is a suspicion that Michael Keane's qualities were embellished by Sean Dyche's protective methods at Burnley. The Man Utd youth product has been exposed at Everton since his big-money summer move, not helped by Ashley Williams' weekly derelictions. Sam Allardyce is expected to partner him with Phil Jagielka on Saturday, and there is not sterner test than Manchester City. In some ways however, a backs-against-the-wall scenario might suit Keane, with his full-backs tucked in close to him and two holding midfielders patrolling shorter distances in front. A place in the England squad looks to have passed Keane by but he needs to show Allardyce, or any prospective Everton manager, that they can count on him for next season. England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked. Who's on the plane to Russia? CB: Andreas Christensen (Chelsea) Christensen is undoubtedly Chelsea's defensive future, but the elegant centre-back has been through a rocky patch of form by his own admission. His misplaced pass led to Lionel Messi's crucial away goal at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea were knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona. In their defeat at Man Utd in February, the Dane was drawn out of position for Romelu Lukaku's equaliser and lost Jesse Lingard in the penalty area who headed home the decisive goal. Christensen faces another big-game test against Tottenham on Sunday, even though the visitors could be deprived of Harry Kane. There is no doubt he is a fantastic prospect, but he and Chelsea could do with an error-free 90 minutes. LB: Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace) Left-back has been a problem position for years at Crystal Palace. Van Aanholt and Jeffrey Schlupp are both closer to attacking wing-backs than full-backs, and Roy Hodgson looks to have settled on a compromise by playing both to sure-up Palace's troublesome left-flank. A home match against Liverpool is the last thing they need. Mohamed Salah is a master at exploiting that right 'half-space', the area between left-back and left-centre back, and van Aanholt will have to ignore his natural instincts and stay close to his centre back to block that channel. With Schlupp running back with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Palace could be forced to to defend in an auxiliary back-five for much of the game. With that in mind, Hodgson might drop either Schlupp or van Aanholt and pick an extra centre-back. RW: Tom Ince (Huddersfield) One point from home matches against Swansea and Newcastle leave Huddersfield precariously placed three points above the relegation zone. Only rock-bottom West Brom have scored fewer goals than David Wagner's side, but a trip to Newcastle could be a chance to put that right. Teams can pull themselves away from danger on the strength of one attacking player finding form: think Jon Stead at Blackburn, Hugo Rodallega at Wigan or Fabio Borini recalling what the goal was there for at Sunderland. Huddersfield need a hero to emerge. Fans are still waiting for the talented Ince to catch fire and the time is nigh. Has Jose Mourinho changed tactically since his early managerial days? CM: Paul Pogba (Man Utd) At home fixture against Swansea does not look like a test on which to judge Paul Pogba's quality, but the next few weeks could be crucial to his Man Utd future. 'Temporary disagreement' could soon become 'irreconcilable difference' should Jose Mourinho leave him on the bench or Pogba's form flat-line. Fresh from a sensational strike for France, this looks the perfect day for Pogba to find his rhythm and confidence again. That will probably attract 'flat-track bully' accusations, and incredibly shallow criticism when you think about it. If you play for Manchester United, it is your job to be a flat-track bully. League titles are won by putting the dross away with painless regularity. CM: Mark Noble (West Ham) Southampton are embroiled in their own fight against relegation, with new manager Mark Hughes in the dug-out, but it is no slight on them to say West Ham are the story in this six-pointer. It is their first home game since fans invaded the pitch in their 3-0 loss against Burnley, with captain Mark Noble wrestling one to the ground - though he could be forgiven for acts of self-defence in the circumstances. Noble's legs have slowed, and West Ham should have replenished their central midfield long ago, but he is the last person at the club fans should direct their ire towards. Southampton are strong in this department with Oriol Romeu and Mario Lemina, two players who could play for a top-half team, and it could be a testing 90 minutes for West Ham's captain. Not to mention more 'fronting up' in his post-match interview. West Ham could be in for another chastening afternoon at the London Stadium Credit: Reuters LW: Johan Berg Gudmunds­son (Burnley) Burnley have a bizarrely dreadful record at the Hawthorns, losing their last six league visits. Manager Sean Dyche even had his leg broken there as a player. They could not ask for a more presentable chance to change that record than this weekend however, against Alan Pardew's doomed West Brom side. West Brom have to throw bodies forward in search of a win, and that could suit Burnley perfectly who will defend in numbers and then pick them off. Dyche has developed their attacking play up a level from last season's rudimentary approach, and Gudmundsson's trickery and crossing has been an vital component of that. CF: Troy Deeney (Watford) Watford's captain has been back in vogue under Javi Gracia, but had two unhappy games at Arsenal and Liverpool with a missed penalty and a 5-0 defeat. Strangely enough, Deeney did not offer his punditry services after those salutary outings. A home match against Bournemouth is a chance for him to set the record straight and see if their centre-backs 'fancy it'. CF: Heung-min Son (Spurs) Let's get one thing straight. Heung-min Son is not the Premier League's most underrated player, because everyone agrees he is a superb player and vocalises that opinion regularly. Mauricio Pochettino is likely to hand Son the keys to Tottenham's attack in the probable absence of Kane, rather than the cumbersome Fernando Llorente. Spurs have been an excellent side for two years now, but one valid criticism has been their lack pace across their forward line. It would be horribly contrived to claim they are better off without Kane, but Son's presence up top does give Spurs the counter-attacking power you need in big away matches. The South Korean could be very difficult to handle, darting into the space behind Chelsea's wing-backs and opening up holes for Christian Eriksen to exploit.
Welcome to a new Friday morning feature in which we preview the forthcoming Premier League weekend through the lens of 11 players. The idea is to pick a team of individuals likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome of their match, their club&#39;s fortunes or feature in the big stories come Monday morning. All Premier League matches will be covered in some way, and the aim is not to predict a &#39;Team of the Weekend&#39; before a ball has been kicked. For reasons of simplicity and week-to-week consistency, the players will be arranged in a 4-4-2 &#39;formation&#39;. Apologies to those of you who were fond of Premier League Bingo, which has gone the same way as the dodo, Woolworth&#39;s and Australian sportsmanship. GK: Jack Butland (Stoke) Trying to pick England&#39;s World Cup No.1 is like throwing darts blindfolded, with the position up for grabs for whoever strings together a few eye-catching performances. Stoke&#39;s trip to Arsenal should afford Butland the chance to catch the attention of Gareth Southgate. Despite their reputation as Arsène Wenger&#39;s side&#39;s nemesis, Stoke have lost every Premier League visit to the Emirates. Arsenal&#39;s league games are inconsequential with top four out of reach, exactly the circumstances when they tend to relax and flow as an attacking force. Will Jack Butland stake a claim for England&#39;s No.1 jersey? Credit: Reuters Butland could be in for a busy afternoon, but that is the type of match goalkeepers typically relish. He should draw inspiration from Robert Green and Fraser Forster, who in past run-ins produced goalkeeping exhibitions in Emirates clean sheets. Green with West Ham in 2007, Forster with Southampton in 2016. RB: Ezequiel Schelotto (Brighton) We all knew Chris Hughton&#39;s Brighton would approach the Premier League with tight organisation and steely resolve, the doubt was whether they carried enough attacking potency and speed to turn competitive performances into wins. Brighton have a chance to win their fourth consecutive home league match against Leicester on Saturday, and an unlikely threat has come to the fore in that run. Ezequiel Schelotto was signed late in the summer window from Sporting Lisbon, but has made himself a fixture at right-back since the turn of the year. The Italian flies forward with boundless enthusiasm, and at nearly six foot two is on the tall side for a full-back. With his long hair trailing behind him as he embarks on another offensive, it is quite an arresting sight that gets fans on the edge of their seats. It will be a good battle between he and the work-hungry Marc Albrighton. CB: Michael Keane (Everton) Defenders look good in defensive teams, and there is a suspicion that Michael Keane&#39;s qualities were embellished by Sean Dyche&#39;s protective methods at Burnley. The Man Utd youth product has been exposed at Everton since his big-money summer move, not helped by Ashley Williams&#39; weekly derelictions. Sam Allardyce is expected to partner him with Phil Jagielka on Saturday, and there is not sterner test than Manchester City. In some ways however, a backs-against-the-wall scenario might suit Keane, with his full-backs tucked in close to him and two holding midfielders patrolling shorter distances in front. A place in the England squad looks to have passed Keane by but he needs to show Allardyce, or any prospective Everton manager, that they can count on him for next season. England&#39;s World Cup 2018 squad - ranked. Who&#39;s on the plane to Russia? CB: Andreas Christensen (Chelsea) Christensen is undoubtedly Chelsea&#39;s defensive future, but the elegant centre-back has been through a rocky patch of form by his own admission. His misplaced pass led to Lionel Messi&#39;s crucial away goal at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea were knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona. In their defeat at Man Utd in February, the Dane was drawn out of position for Romelu Lukaku&#39;s equaliser and lost Jesse Lingard in the penalty area who headed home the decisive goal. Christensen faces another big-game test against Tottenham on Sunday, even though the visitors could be deprived of Harry Kane. There is no doubt he is a fantastic prospect, but he and Chelsea could do with an error-free 90 minutes. LB: Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace) Left-back has been a problem position for years at Crystal Palace. Van Aanholt and Jeffrey Schlupp are both closer to attacking wing-backs than full-backs, and Roy Hodgson looks to have settled on a compromise by playing both to sure-up Palace&#39;s troublesome left-flank. A home match against Liverpool is the last thing they need. Mohamed Salah is a master at exploiting that right &#39;half-space&#39;, the area between left-back and left-centre back, and van Aanholt will have to ignore his natural instincts and stay close to his centre back to block that channel. With Schlupp running back with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Palace could be forced to to defend in an auxiliary back-five for much of the game. With that in mind, Hodgson might drop either Schlupp or van Aanholt and pick an extra centre-back. RW: Tom Ince (Huddersfield) One point from home matches against Swansea and Newcastle leave Huddersfield precariously placed three points above the relegation zone. Only rock-bottom West Brom have scored fewer goals than David Wagner&#39;s side, but a trip to Newcastle could be a chance to put that right. Teams can pull themselves away from danger on the strength of one attacking player finding form: think Jon Stead at Blackburn, Hugo Rodallega at Wigan or Fabio Borini recalling what the goal was there for at Sunderland. Huddersfield need a hero to emerge. Fans are still waiting for the talented Ince to catch fire and the time is nigh. Has Jose Mourinho changed tactically since his early managerial days? CM: Paul Pogba (Man Utd) At home fixture against Swansea does not look like a test on which to judge Paul Pogba&#39;s quality, but the next few weeks could be crucial to his Man Utd future. &#39;Temporary disagreement&#39; could soon become &#39;irreconcilable difference&#39; should Jose Mourinho leave him on the bench or Pogba&#39;s form flat-line. Fresh from a sensational strike for France, this looks the perfect day for Pogba to find his rhythm and confidence again. That will probably attract &#39;flat-track bully&#39; accusations, and incredibly shallow criticism when you think about it. If you play for Manchester United, it is your job to be a flat-track bully. League titles are won by putting the dross away with painless regularity. CM: Mark Noble (West Ham) Southampton are embroiled in their own fight against relegation, with new manager Mark Hughes in the dug-out, but it is no slight on them to say West Ham are the story in this six-pointer. It is their first home game since fans invaded the pitch in their 3-0 loss against Burnley, with captain Mark Noble wrestling one to the ground - though he could be forgiven for acts of self-defence in the circumstances. Noble&#39;s legs have slowed, and West Ham should have replenished their central midfield long ago, but he is the last person at the club fans should direct their ire towards. Southampton are strong in this department with Oriol Romeu and Mario Lemina, two players who could play for a top-half team, and it could be a testing 90 minutes for West Ham&#39;s captain. Not to mention more &#39;fronting up&#39; in his post-match interview. West Ham could be in for another chastening afternoon at the London Stadium Credit: Reuters LW: Johan Berg Gudmunds­son (Burnley) Burnley have a bizarrely dreadful record at the Hawthorns, losing their last six league visits. Manager Sean Dyche even had his leg broken there as a player. They could not ask for a more presentable chance to change that record than this weekend however, against Alan Pardew&#39;s doomed West Brom side. West Brom have to throw bodies forward in search of a win, and that could suit Burnley perfectly who will defend in numbers and then pick them off. Dyche has developed their attacking play up a level from last season&#39;s rudimentary approach, and Gudmundsson&#39;s trickery and crossing has been an vital component of that. CF: Troy Deeney (Watford) Watford&#39;s captain has been back in vogue under Javi Gracia, but had two unhappy games at Arsenal and Liverpool with a missed penalty and a 5-0 defeat. Strangely enough, Deeney did not offer his punditry services after those salutary outings. A home match against Bournemouth is a chance for him to set the record straight and see if their centre-backs &#39;fancy it&#39;. CF: Heung-min Son (Spurs) Let&#39;s get one thing straight. Heung-min Son is not the Premier League&#39;s most underrated player, because everyone agrees he is a superb player and vocalises that opinion regularly. Mauricio Pochettino is likely to hand Son the keys to Tottenham&#39;s attack in the probable absence of Kane, rather than the cumbersome Fernando Llorente. Spurs have been an excellent side for two years now, but one valid criticism has been their lack pace across their forward line. It would be horribly contrived to claim they are better off without Kane, but Son&#39;s presence up top does give Spurs the counter-attacking power you need in big away matches. The South Korean could be very difficult to handle, darting into the space behind Chelsea&#39;s wing-backs and opening up holes for Christian Eriksen to exploit.
One to Eleven: The Premier League weekend analysed through XI players
Welcome to a new Friday morning feature in which we preview the forthcoming Premier League weekend through the lens of 11 players. The idea is to pick a team of individuals likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome of their match, their club's fortunes or feature in the big stories come Monday morning. All Premier League matches will be covered in some way, and the aim is not to predict a 'Team of the Weekend' before a ball has been kicked. For reasons of simplicity and week-to-week consistency, the players will be arranged in a 4-4-2 'formation'. Apologies to those of you who were fond of Premier League Bingo, which has gone the same way as the dodo, Woolworth's and Australian sportsmanship. GK: Jack Butland (Stoke) Trying to pick England's World Cup No.1 is like throwing darts blindfolded, with the position up for grabs for whoever strings together a few eye-catching performances. Stoke's trip to Arsenal should afford Butland the chance to catch the attention of Gareth Southgate. Despite their reputation as Arsène Wenger's side's nemesis, Stoke have lost every Premier League visit to the Emirates. Arsenal's league games are inconsequential with top four out of reach, exactly the circumstances when they tend to relax and flow as an attacking force. Will Jack Butland stake a claim for England's No.1 jersey? Credit: Reuters Butland could be in for a busy afternoon, but that is the type of match goalkeepers typically relish. He should draw inspiration from Robert Green and Fraser Forster, who in past run-ins produced goalkeeping exhibitions in Emirates clean sheets. Green with West Ham in 2007, Forster with Southampton in 2016. RB: Ezequiel Schelotto (Brighton) We all knew Chris Hughton's Brighton would approach the Premier League with tight organisation and steely resolve, the doubt was whether they carried enough attacking potency and speed to turn competitive performances into wins. Brighton have a chance to win their fourth consecutive home league match against Leicester on Saturday, and an unlikely threat has come to the fore in that run. Ezequiel Schelotto was signed late in the summer window from Sporting Lisbon, but has made himself a fixture at right-back since the turn of the year. The Italian flies forward with boundless enthusiasm, and at nearly six foot two is on the tall side for a full-back. With his long hair trailing behind him as he embarks on another offensive, it is quite an arresting sight that gets fans on the edge of their seats. It will be a good battle between he and the work-hungry Marc Albrighton. CB: Michael Keane (Everton) Defenders look good in defensive teams, and there is a suspicion that Michael Keane's qualities were embellished by Sean Dyche's protective methods at Burnley. The Man Utd youth product has been exposed at Everton since his big-money summer move, not helped by Ashley Williams' weekly derelictions. Sam Allardyce is expected to partner him with Phil Jagielka on Saturday, and there is not sterner test than Manchester City. In some ways however, a backs-against-the-wall scenario might suit Keane, with his full-backs tucked in close to him and two holding midfielders patrolling shorter distances in front. A place in the England squad looks to have passed Keane by but he needs to show Allardyce, or any prospective Everton manager, that they can count on him for next season. England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked. Who's on the plane to Russia? CB: Andreas Christensen (Chelsea) Christensen is undoubtedly Chelsea's defensive future, but the elegant centre-back has been through a rocky patch of form by his own admission. His misplaced pass led to Lionel Messi's crucial away goal at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea were knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona. In their defeat at Man Utd in February, the Dane was drawn out of position for Romelu Lukaku's equaliser and lost Jesse Lingard in the penalty area who headed home the decisive goal. Christensen faces another big-game test against Tottenham on Sunday, even though the visitors could be deprived of Harry Kane. There is no doubt he is a fantastic prospect, but he and Chelsea could do with an error-free 90 minutes. LB: Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace) Left-back has been a problem position for years at Crystal Palace. Van Aanholt and Jeffrey Schlupp are both closer to attacking wing-backs than full-backs, and Roy Hodgson looks to have settled on a compromise by playing both to sure-up Palace's troublesome left-flank. A home match against Liverpool is the last thing they need. Mohamed Salah is a master at exploiting that right 'half-space', the area between left-back and left-centre back, and van Aanholt will have to ignore his natural instincts and stay close to his centre back to block that channel. With Schlupp running back with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Palace could be forced to to defend in an auxiliary back-five for much of the game. With that in mind, Hodgson might drop either Schlupp or van Aanholt and pick an extra centre-back. RW: Tom Ince (Huddersfield) One point from home matches against Swansea and Newcastle leave Huddersfield precariously placed three points above the relegation zone. Only rock-bottom West Brom have scored fewer goals than David Wagner's side, but a trip to Newcastle could be a chance to put that right. Teams can pull themselves away from danger on the strength of one attacking player finding form: think Jon Stead at Blackburn, Hugo Rodallega at Wigan or Fabio Borini recalling what the goal was there for at Sunderland. Huddersfield need a hero to emerge. Fans are still waiting for the talented Ince to catch fire and the time is nigh. Has Jose Mourinho changed tactically since his early managerial days? CM: Paul Pogba (Man Utd) At home fixture against Swansea does not look like a test on which to judge Paul Pogba's quality, but the next few weeks could be crucial to his Man Utd future. 'Temporary disagreement' could soon become 'irreconcilable difference' should Jose Mourinho leave him on the bench or Pogba's form flat-line. Fresh from a sensational strike for France, this looks the perfect day for Pogba to find his rhythm and confidence again. That will probably attract 'flat-track bully' accusations, and incredibly shallow criticism when you think about it. If you play for Manchester United, it is your job to be a flat-track bully. League titles are won by putting the dross away with painless regularity. CM: Mark Noble (West Ham) Southampton are embroiled in their own fight against relegation, with new manager Mark Hughes in the dug-out, but it is no slight on them to say West Ham are the story in this six-pointer. It is their first home game since fans invaded the pitch in their 3-0 loss against Burnley, with captain Mark Noble wrestling one to the ground - though he could be forgiven for acts of self-defence in the circumstances. Noble's legs have slowed, and West Ham should have replenished their central midfield long ago, but he is the last person at the club fans should direct their ire towards. Southampton are strong in this department with Oriol Romeu and Mario Lemina, two players who could play for a top-half team, and it could be a testing 90 minutes for West Ham's captain. Not to mention more 'fronting up' in his post-match interview. West Ham could be in for another chastening afternoon at the London Stadium Credit: Reuters LW: Johan Berg Gudmunds­son (Burnley) Burnley have a bizarrely dreadful record at the Hawthorns, losing their last six league visits. Manager Sean Dyche even had his leg broken there as a player. They could not ask for a more presentable chance to change that record than this weekend however, against Alan Pardew's doomed West Brom side. West Brom have to throw bodies forward in search of a win, and that could suit Burnley perfectly who will defend in numbers and then pick them off. Dyche has developed their attacking play up a level from last season's rudimentary approach, and Gudmundsson's trickery and crossing has been an vital component of that. CF: Troy Deeney (Watford) Watford's captain has been back in vogue under Javi Gracia, but had two unhappy games at Arsenal and Liverpool with a missed penalty and a 5-0 defeat. Strangely enough, Deeney did not offer his punditry services after those salutary outings. A home match against Bournemouth is a chance for him to set the record straight and see if their centre-backs 'fancy it'. CF: Heung-min Son (Spurs) Let's get one thing straight. Heung-min Son is not the Premier League's most underrated player, because everyone agrees he is a superb player and vocalises that opinion regularly. Mauricio Pochettino is likely to hand Son the keys to Tottenham's attack in the probable absence of Kane, rather than the cumbersome Fernando Llorente. Spurs have been an excellent side for two years now, but one valid criticism has been their lack pace across their forward line. It would be horribly contrived to claim they are better off without Kane, but Son's presence up top does give Spurs the counter-attacking power you need in big away matches. The South Korean could be very difficult to handle, darting into the space behind Chelsea's wing-backs and opening up holes for Christian Eriksen to exploit.
Welcome to a new Friday morning feature in which we preview the forthcoming Premier League weekend through the lens of 11 players. The idea is to pick a team of individuals likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome of their match, their club&#39;s fortunes or feature in the big stories come Monday morning. All Premier League matches will be covered in some way, and the aim is not to predict a &#39;Team of the Weekend&#39; before a ball has been kicked. For reasons of simplicity and week-to-week consistency, the players will be arranged in a 4-4-2 &#39;formation&#39;. Apologies to those of you who were fond of Premier League Bingo, which has gone the same way as the dodo, Woolworth&#39;s and Australian sportsmanship. GK: Jack Butland (Stoke) Trying to pick England&#39;s World Cup No.1 is like throwing darts blindfolded, with the position up for grabs for whoever strings together a few eye-catching performances. Stoke&#39;s trip to Arsenal should afford Butland the chance to catch the attention of Gareth Southgate. Despite their reputation as Arsène Wenger&#39;s side&#39;s nemesis, Stoke have lost every Premier League visit to the Emirates. Arsenal&#39;s league games are inconsequential with top four out of reach, exactly the circumstances when they tend to relax and flow as an attacking force. Will Jack Butland stake a claim for England&#39;s No.1 jersey? Credit: Reuters Butland could be in for a busy afternoon, but that is the type of match goalkeepers typically relish. He should draw inspiration from Robert Green and Fraser Forster, who in past run-ins produced goalkeeping exhibitions in Emirates clean sheets. Green with West Ham in 2007, Forster with Southampton in 2016. RB: Ezequiel Schelotto (Brighton) We all knew Chris Hughton&#39;s Brighton would approach the Premier League with tight organisation and steely resolve, the doubt was whether they carried enough attacking potency and speed to turn competitive performances into wins. Brighton have a chance to win their fourth consecutive home league match against Leicester on Saturday, and an unlikely threat has come to the fore in that run. Ezequiel Schelotto was signed late in the summer window from Sporting Lisbon, but has made himself a fixture at right-back since the turn of the year. The Italian flies forward with boundless enthusiasm, and at nearly six foot two is on the tall side for a full-back. With his long hair trailing behind him as he embarks on another offensive, it is quite an arresting sight that gets fans on the edge of their seats. It will be a good battle between he and the work-hungry Marc Albrighton. CB: Michael Keane (Everton) Defenders look good in defensive teams, and there is a suspicion that Michael Keane&#39;s qualities were embellished by Sean Dyche&#39;s protective methods at Burnley. The Man Utd youth product has been exposed at Everton since his big-money summer move, not helped by Ashley Williams&#39; weekly derelictions. Sam Allardyce is expected to partner him with Phil Jagielka on Saturday, and there is not sterner test than Manchester City. In some ways however, a backs-against-the-wall scenario might suit Keane, with his full-backs tucked in close to him and two holding midfielders patrolling shorter distances in front. A place in the England squad looks to have passed Keane by but he needs to show Allardyce, or any prospective Everton manager, that they can count on him for next season. England&#39;s World Cup 2018 squad - ranked. Who&#39;s on the plane to Russia? CB: Andreas Christensen (Chelsea) Christensen is undoubtedly Chelsea&#39;s defensive future, but the elegant centre-back has been through a rocky patch of form by his own admission. His misplaced pass led to Lionel Messi&#39;s crucial away goal at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea were knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona. In their defeat at Man Utd in February, the Dane was drawn out of position for Romelu Lukaku&#39;s equaliser and lost Jesse Lingard in the penalty area who headed home the decisive goal. Christensen faces another big-game test against Tottenham on Sunday, even though the visitors could be deprived of Harry Kane. There is no doubt he is a fantastic prospect, but he and Chelsea could do with an error-free 90 minutes. LB: Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace) Left-back has been a problem position for years at Crystal Palace. Van Aanholt and Jeffrey Schlupp are both closer to attacking wing-backs than full-backs, and Roy Hodgson looks to have settled on a compromise by playing both to sure-up Palace&#39;s troublesome left-flank. A home match against Liverpool is the last thing they need. Mohamed Salah is a master at exploiting that right &#39;half-space&#39;, the area between left-back and left-centre back, and van Aanholt will have to ignore his natural instincts and stay close to his centre back to block that channel. With Schlupp running back with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Palace could be forced to to defend in an auxiliary back-five for much of the game. With that in mind, Hodgson might drop either Schlupp or van Aanholt and pick an extra centre-back. RW: Tom Ince (Huddersfield) One point from home matches against Swansea and Newcastle leave Huddersfield precariously placed three points above the relegation zone. Only rock-bottom West Brom have scored fewer goals than David Wagner&#39;s side, but a trip to Newcastle could be a chance to put that right. Teams can pull themselves away from danger on the strength of one attacking player finding form: think Jon Stead at Blackburn, Hugo Rodallega at Wigan or Fabio Borini recalling what the goal was there for at Sunderland. Huddersfield need a hero to emerge. Fans are still waiting for the talented Ince to catch fire and the time is nigh. Has Jose Mourinho changed tactically since his early managerial days? CM: Paul Pogba (Man Utd) At home fixture against Swansea does not look like a test on which to judge Paul Pogba&#39;s quality, but the next few weeks could be crucial to his Man Utd future. &#39;Temporary disagreement&#39; could soon become &#39;irreconcilable difference&#39; should Jose Mourinho leave him on the bench or Pogba&#39;s form flat-line. Fresh from a sensational strike for France, this looks the perfect day for Pogba to find his rhythm and confidence again. That will probably attract &#39;flat-track bully&#39; accusations, and incredibly shallow criticism when you think about it. If you play for Manchester United, it is your job to be a flat-track bully. League titles are won by putting the dross away with painless regularity. CM: Mark Noble (West Ham) Southampton are embroiled in their own fight against relegation, with new manager Mark Hughes in the dug-out, but it is no slight on them to say West Ham are the story in this six-pointer. It is their first home game since fans invaded the pitch in their 3-0 loss against Burnley, with captain Mark Noble wrestling one to the ground - though he could be forgiven for acts of self-defence in the circumstances. Noble&#39;s legs have slowed, and West Ham should have replenished their central midfield long ago, but he is the last person at the club fans should direct their ire towards. Southampton are strong in this department with Oriol Romeu and Mario Lemina, two players who could play for a top-half team, and it could be a testing 90 minutes for West Ham&#39;s captain. Not to mention more &#39;fronting up&#39; in his post-match interview. West Ham could be in for another chastening afternoon at the London Stadium Credit: Reuters LW: Johan Berg Gudmunds­son (Burnley) Burnley have a bizarrely dreadful record at the Hawthorns, losing their last six league visits. Manager Sean Dyche even had his leg broken there as a player. They could not ask for a more presentable chance to change that record than this weekend however, against Alan Pardew&#39;s doomed West Brom side. West Brom have to throw bodies forward in search of a win, and that could suit Burnley perfectly who will defend in numbers and then pick them off. Dyche has developed their attacking play up a level from last season&#39;s rudimentary approach, and Gudmundsson&#39;s trickery and crossing has been an vital component of that. CF: Troy Deeney (Watford) Watford&#39;s captain has been back in vogue under Javi Gracia, but had two unhappy games at Arsenal and Liverpool with a missed penalty and a 5-0 defeat. Strangely enough, Deeney did not offer his punditry services after those salutary outings. A home match against Bournemouth is a chance for him to set the record straight and see if their centre-backs &#39;fancy it&#39;. CF: Heung-min Son (Spurs) Let&#39;s get one thing straight. Heung-min Son is not the Premier League&#39;s most underrated player, because everyone agrees he is a superb player and vocalises that opinion regularly. Mauricio Pochettino is likely to hand Son the keys to Tottenham&#39;s attack in the probable absence of Kane, rather than the cumbersome Fernando Llorente. Spurs have been an excellent side for two years now, but one valid criticism has been their lack pace across their forward line. It would be horribly contrived to claim they are better off without Kane, but Son&#39;s presence up top does give Spurs the counter-attacking power you need in big away matches. The South Korean could be very difficult to handle, darting into the space behind Chelsea&#39;s wing-backs and opening up holes for Christian Eriksen to exploit.
One to Eleven: The Premier League weekend analysed through XI players
Welcome to a new Friday morning feature in which we preview the forthcoming Premier League weekend through the lens of 11 players. The idea is to pick a team of individuals likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome of their match, their club's fortunes or feature in the big stories come Monday morning. All Premier League matches will be covered in some way, and the aim is not to predict a 'Team of the Weekend' before a ball has been kicked. For reasons of simplicity and week-to-week consistency, the players will be arranged in a 4-4-2 'formation'. Apologies to those of you who were fond of Premier League Bingo, which has gone the same way as the dodo, Woolworth's and Australian sportsmanship. GK: Jack Butland (Stoke) Trying to pick England's World Cup No.1 is like throwing darts blindfolded, with the position up for grabs for whoever strings together a few eye-catching performances. Stoke's trip to Arsenal should afford Butland the chance to catch the attention of Gareth Southgate. Despite their reputation as Arsène Wenger's side's nemesis, Stoke have lost every Premier League visit to the Emirates. Arsenal's league games are inconsequential with top four out of reach, exactly the circumstances when they tend to relax and flow as an attacking force. Will Jack Butland stake a claim for England's No.1 jersey? Credit: Reuters Butland could be in for a busy afternoon, but that is the type of match goalkeepers typically relish. He should draw inspiration from Robert Green and Fraser Forster, who in past run-ins produced goalkeeping exhibitions in Emirates clean sheets. Green with West Ham in 2007, Forster with Southampton in 2016. RB: Ezequiel Schelotto (Brighton) We all knew Chris Hughton's Brighton would approach the Premier League with tight organisation and steely resolve, the doubt was whether they carried enough attacking potency and speed to turn competitive performances into wins. Brighton have a chance to win their fourth consecutive home league match against Leicester on Saturday, and an unlikely threat has come to the fore in that run. Ezequiel Schelotto was signed late in the summer window from Sporting Lisbon, but has made himself a fixture at right-back since the turn of the year. The Italian flies forward with boundless enthusiasm, and at nearly six foot two is on the tall side for a full-back. With his long hair trailing behind him as he embarks on another offensive, it is quite an arresting sight that gets fans on the edge of their seats. It will be a good battle between he and the work-hungry Marc Albrighton. CB: Michael Keane (Everton) Defenders look good in defensive teams, and there is a suspicion that Michael Keane's qualities were embellished by Sean Dyche's protective methods at Burnley. The Man Utd youth product has been exposed at Everton since his big-money summer move, not helped by Ashley Williams' weekly derelictions. Sam Allardyce is expected to partner him with Phil Jagielka on Saturday, and there is not sterner test than Manchester City. In some ways however, a backs-against-the-wall scenario might suit Keane, with his full-backs tucked in close to him and two holding midfielders patrolling shorter distances in front. A place in the England squad looks to have passed Keane by but he needs to show Allardyce, or any prospective Everton manager, that they can count on him for next season. England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked. Who's on the plane to Russia? CB: Andreas Christensen (Chelsea) Christensen is undoubtedly Chelsea's defensive future, but the elegant centre-back has been through a rocky patch of form by his own admission. His misplaced pass led to Lionel Messi's crucial away goal at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea were knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona. In their defeat at Man Utd in February, the Dane was drawn out of position for Romelu Lukaku's equaliser and lost Jesse Lingard in the penalty area who headed home the decisive goal. Christensen faces another big-game test against Tottenham on Sunday, even though the visitors could be deprived of Harry Kane. There is no doubt he is a fantastic prospect, but he and Chelsea could do with an error-free 90 minutes. LB: Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace) Left-back has been a problem position for years at Crystal Palace. Van Aanholt and Jeffrey Schlupp are both closer to attacking wing-backs than full-backs, and Roy Hodgson looks to have settled on a compromise by playing both to sure-up Palace's troublesome left-flank. A home match against Liverpool is the last thing they need. Mohamed Salah is a master at exploiting that right 'half-space', the area between left-back and left-centre back, and van Aanholt will have to ignore his natural instincts and stay close to his centre back to block that channel. With Schlupp running back with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Palace could be forced to to defend in an auxiliary back-five for much of the game. With that in mind, Hodgson might drop either Schlupp or van Aanholt and pick an extra centre-back. RW: Tom Ince (Huddersfield) One point from home matches against Swansea and Newcastle leave Huddersfield precariously placed three points above the relegation zone. Only rock-bottom West Brom have scored fewer goals than David Wagner's side, but a trip to Newcastle could be a chance to put that right. Teams can pull themselves away from danger on the strength of one attacking player finding form: think Jon Stead at Blackburn, Hugo Rodallega at Wigan or Fabio Borini recalling what the goal was there for at Sunderland. Huddersfield need a hero to emerge. Fans are still waiting for the talented Ince to catch fire and the time is nigh. Has Jose Mourinho changed tactically since his early managerial days? CM: Paul Pogba (Man Utd) At home fixture against Swansea does not look like a test on which to judge Paul Pogba's quality, but the next few weeks could be crucial to his Man Utd future. 'Temporary disagreement' could soon become 'irreconcilable difference' should Jose Mourinho leave him on the bench or Pogba's form flat-line. Fresh from a sensational strike for France, this looks the perfect day for Pogba to find his rhythm and confidence again. That will probably attract 'flat-track bully' accusations, and incredibly shallow criticism when you think about it. If you play for Manchester United, it is your job to be a flat-track bully. League titles are won by putting the dross away with painless regularity. CM: Mark Noble (West Ham) Southampton are embroiled in their own fight against relegation, with new manager Mark Hughes in the dug-out, but it is no slight on them to say West Ham are the story in this six-pointer. It is their first home game since fans invaded the pitch in their 3-0 loss against Burnley, with captain Mark Noble wrestling one to the ground - though he could be forgiven for acts of self-defence in the circumstances. Noble's legs have slowed, and West Ham should have replenished their central midfield long ago, but he is the last person at the club fans should direct their ire towards. Southampton are strong in this department with Oriol Romeu and Mario Lemina, two players who could play for a top-half team, and it could be a testing 90 minutes for West Ham's captain. Not to mention more 'fronting up' in his post-match interview. West Ham could be in for another chastening afternoon at the London Stadium Credit: Reuters LW: Johan Berg Gudmunds­son (Burnley) Burnley have a bizarrely dreadful record at the Hawthorns, losing their last six league visits. Manager Sean Dyche even had his leg broken there as a player. They could not ask for a more presentable chance to change that record than this weekend however, against Alan Pardew's doomed West Brom side. West Brom have to throw bodies forward in search of a win, and that could suit Burnley perfectly who will defend in numbers and then pick them off. Dyche has developed their attacking play up a level from last season's rudimentary approach, and Gudmundsson's trickery and crossing has been an vital component of that. CF: Troy Deeney (Watford) Watford's captain has been back in vogue under Javi Gracia, but had two unhappy games at Arsenal and Liverpool with a missed penalty and a 5-0 defeat. Strangely enough, Deeney did not offer his punditry services after those salutary outings. A home match against Bournemouth is a chance for him to set the record straight and see if their centre-backs 'fancy it'. CF: Heung-min Son (Spurs) Let's get one thing straight. Heung-min Son is not the Premier League's most underrated player, because everyone agrees he is a superb player and vocalises that opinion regularly. Mauricio Pochettino is likely to hand Son the keys to Tottenham's attack in the probable absence of Kane, rather than the cumbersome Fernando Llorente. Spurs have been an excellent side for two years now, but one valid criticism has been their lack pace across their forward line. It would be horribly contrived to claim they are better off without Kane, but Son's presence up top does give Spurs the counter-attacking power you need in big away matches. The South Korean could be very difficult to handle, darting into the space behind Chelsea's wing-backs and opening up holes for Christian Eriksen to exploit.
Occurred on March 29, 2018 / Blackburn, Victoria, Australia Info from Licensor: "I was driving along Maroondah highway when I saw a car going against the flow of traffic. The car then went back and squeezed in between two cars, beat a red light, and hit a turning car before speeding off."
One Tight Squeeze
Occurred on March 29, 2018 / Blackburn, Victoria, Australia Info from Licensor: "I was driving along Maroondah highway when I saw a car going against the flow of traffic. The car then went back and squeezed in between two cars, beat a red light, and hit a turning car before speeding off."
Occurred on March 29, 2018 / Blackburn, Victoria, Australia Info from Licensor: "I was driving along Maroondah highway when I saw a car going against the flow of traffic. The car then went back and squeezed in between two cars, beat a red light, and hit a turning car before speeding off."
One Tight Squeeze
Occurred on March 29, 2018 / Blackburn, Victoria, Australia Info from Licensor: "I was driving along Maroondah highway when I saw a car going against the flow of traffic. The car then went back and squeezed in between two cars, beat a red light, and hit a turning car before speeding off."
Occurred on March 29, 2018 / Blackburn, Victoria, Australia Info from Licensor: "I was driving along Maroondah highway when I saw a car going against the flow of traffic. The car then went back and squeezed in between two cars, beat a red light, and hit a turning car before speeding off."
One Tight Squeeze
Occurred on March 29, 2018 / Blackburn, Victoria, Australia Info from Licensor: "I was driving along Maroondah highway when I saw a car going against the flow of traffic. The car then went back and squeezed in between two cars, beat a red light, and hit a turning car before speeding off."
Occurred on March 29, 2018 / Blackburn, Victoria, Australia Info from Licensor: "I was driving along Maroondah highway when I saw a car going against the flow of traffic. The car then went back and squeezed in between two cars, beat a red light, and hit a turning car before speeding off."
One Tight Squeeze
Occurred on March 29, 2018 / Blackburn, Victoria, Australia Info from Licensor: "I was driving along Maroondah highway when I saw a car going against the flow of traffic. The car then went back and squeezed in between two cars, beat a red light, and hit a turning car before speeding off."
Alex McLeish supervised the first victory of his second spell in charge of Scotland, thanks to a well-worked goal scored by Matt Phillips, four minutes into the second half of this friendly against Hungary in Budapest. The Hungarians are currently 19 places behind Scotland in 50th spot in the Fifa rankings and it showed in the rawness of their play. Nevertheless, they were capable of threat and Allan McGregor had to produce three decisive interventions to maintain a clean sheet. In contrast to the 1-0 defeat by Costa Rica at Hampden Park on Friday night, when Andrew Robertson was the outstanding performer amongst the home contingent, the Liverpool defender had a quiet evening and made way for Barry Douglas midway through the second half. Scott McKenna, though, extended his impressive form at Aberdeen with an authoritative display on the left of the Scots’ three-man back line and there were positive showings from John McGinn and Callum McGregor. McLeish produced a surprise with a team selection that contained only four players who had started against Costa Rica - Allan McGregor, McKenna, Mulgrew and Robertson. The manager had lamented a slow start against Costa Rica, with the Scots sluggish throughout a first half in which they conceded the only goal of the game to Marcos Urena. That failing was remedied in Budapest as Scotland took control of possession by a ratio of close to 2:1 but by the interval McLeish’s players had been thwarted by the familiar failing of inability to convert chances. Even a penalty kick, awarded fortuitously for a foul by Laszlo Kleinheisler on the margin of the box, could not conjure the breakthrough when taken by Mulgrew, normally a reliable striker of a dead ball. Instead, the Blackburn Rovers man attempted a finish that lacked conviction, power and direction, making it an easy block for Peter Gulacsi, the new first choice in goal for Hungary. Indeed, Allan McGregor had more to do at the other end of the field and he had to dive full length to divert a free kick from Balazs Dsudzsak which was heading for the top corner. Mulgrew came close to an even more ignominious moment in the second half when he dawdled on the ball and was ambushed by Adam Szalai but was rescued my McGregor’s reflexes as the goalkeeper came smartly off his line to block the shot. Between times, however, Scottish anxiety had been soothed somewhat when Phillips found the mark after a fluent attack prised open the Hungarian defence. Scotland clap the travelling support at the end of their win Credit: PA Fraser was the architect with a first-time cross low into the heart of the box, where Phillips made a side-footed contact to shoot across Gulacsi into the net. “I definitely enjoyed that,” said the West Brom winger afterwards. “We played some really good stuff. You can see the boys gelling. We&#39;re delighted to win the game because it&#39;s important for us to start winning games. It&#39;s a new group, it will take time but there are plenty of positives.” The Hungarians were stung by Phillips’ contribution and a dangerous free kick by Roland Varga was dipping below the crossbar when McGregor rose to divert the ball over the top. In a less salubrious fashion, Hungary’s frustration was manifested by a clattering challenge on McGinn by Akos Elek, who had replaced Adam Pinter for the second half, and who was cautioned for the foul. Elek was very fortunate to stay on the field after a late lunge saw his studs planted on Kenny McLean’s instep. The yellow card was also shown to Adam Szalai for a ludicrous dive when the striker was challenged by Stuart Armstrong, although the Scots were not squeaky clean and Mulgrew, McGinn and Callum McGregor all went into the Austrian referee’s book. Hungary played long in the closing minutes, striving for a face-saving equaliser but Scotland were pleasingly solid. “We&#39;re getting used to the formation a bit more and hopefully in the summer we carry that on,&quot; said McKenna, who was named Scotland’s man of the match. “They tried to batter us about, but we stood strong. “It&#39;s a massive achievement for me to be here and I want to stay.”
Hungary 0 Scotland 1: Alex McLeish gets first win of second spell thanks to Matt Phillips goal
Alex McLeish supervised the first victory of his second spell in charge of Scotland, thanks to a well-worked goal scored by Matt Phillips, four minutes into the second half of this friendly against Hungary in Budapest. The Hungarians are currently 19 places behind Scotland in 50th spot in the Fifa rankings and it showed in the rawness of their play. Nevertheless, they were capable of threat and Allan McGregor had to produce three decisive interventions to maintain a clean sheet. In contrast to the 1-0 defeat by Costa Rica at Hampden Park on Friday night, when Andrew Robertson was the outstanding performer amongst the home contingent, the Liverpool defender had a quiet evening and made way for Barry Douglas midway through the second half. Scott McKenna, though, extended his impressive form at Aberdeen with an authoritative display on the left of the Scots’ three-man back line and there were positive showings from John McGinn and Callum McGregor. McLeish produced a surprise with a team selection that contained only four players who had started against Costa Rica - Allan McGregor, McKenna, Mulgrew and Robertson. The manager had lamented a slow start against Costa Rica, with the Scots sluggish throughout a first half in which they conceded the only goal of the game to Marcos Urena. That failing was remedied in Budapest as Scotland took control of possession by a ratio of close to 2:1 but by the interval McLeish’s players had been thwarted by the familiar failing of inability to convert chances. Even a penalty kick, awarded fortuitously for a foul by Laszlo Kleinheisler on the margin of the box, could not conjure the breakthrough when taken by Mulgrew, normally a reliable striker of a dead ball. Instead, the Blackburn Rovers man attempted a finish that lacked conviction, power and direction, making it an easy block for Peter Gulacsi, the new first choice in goal for Hungary. Indeed, Allan McGregor had more to do at the other end of the field and he had to dive full length to divert a free kick from Balazs Dsudzsak which was heading for the top corner. Mulgrew came close to an even more ignominious moment in the second half when he dawdled on the ball and was ambushed by Adam Szalai but was rescued my McGregor’s reflexes as the goalkeeper came smartly off his line to block the shot. Between times, however, Scottish anxiety had been soothed somewhat when Phillips found the mark after a fluent attack prised open the Hungarian defence. Scotland clap the travelling support at the end of their win Credit: PA Fraser was the architect with a first-time cross low into the heart of the box, where Phillips made a side-footed contact to shoot across Gulacsi into the net. “I definitely enjoyed that,” said the West Brom winger afterwards. “We played some really good stuff. You can see the boys gelling. We're delighted to win the game because it's important for us to start winning games. It's a new group, it will take time but there are plenty of positives.” The Hungarians were stung by Phillips’ contribution and a dangerous free kick by Roland Varga was dipping below the crossbar when McGregor rose to divert the ball over the top. In a less salubrious fashion, Hungary’s frustration was manifested by a clattering challenge on McGinn by Akos Elek, who had replaced Adam Pinter for the second half, and who was cautioned for the foul. Elek was very fortunate to stay on the field after a late lunge saw his studs planted on Kenny McLean’s instep. The yellow card was also shown to Adam Szalai for a ludicrous dive when the striker was challenged by Stuart Armstrong, although the Scots were not squeaky clean and Mulgrew, McGinn and Callum McGregor all went into the Austrian referee’s book. Hungary played long in the closing minutes, striving for a face-saving equaliser but Scotland were pleasingly solid. “We're getting used to the formation a bit more and hopefully in the summer we carry that on," said McKenna, who was named Scotland’s man of the match. “They tried to batter us about, but we stood strong. “It's a massive achievement for me to be here and I want to stay.”
Alex McLeish supervised the first victory of his second spell in charge of Scotland, thanks to a well-worked goal scored by Matt Phillips, four minutes into the second half of this friendly against Hungary in Budapest. The Hungarians are currently 19 places behind Scotland in 50th spot in the Fifa rankings and it showed in the rawness of their play. Nevertheless, they were capable of threat and Allan McGregor had to produce three decisive interventions to maintain a clean sheet. In contrast to the 1-0 defeat by Costa Rica at Hampden Park on Friday night, when Andrew Robertson was the outstanding performer amongst the home contingent, the Liverpool defender had a quiet evening and made way for Barry Douglas midway through the second half. Scott McKenna, though, extended his impressive form at Aberdeen with an authoritative display on the left of the Scots’ three-man back line and there were positive showings from John McGinn and Callum McGregor. McLeish produced a surprise with a team selection that contained only four players who had started against Costa Rica - Allan McGregor, McKenna, Mulgrew and Robertson. The manager had lamented a slow start against Costa Rica, with the Scots sluggish throughout a first half in which they conceded the only goal of the game to Marcos Urena. That failing was remedied in Budapest as Scotland took control of possession by a ratio of close to 2:1 but by the interval McLeish’s players had been thwarted by the familiar failing of inability to convert chances. Even a penalty kick, awarded fortuitously for a foul by Laszlo Kleinheisler on the margin of the box, could not conjure the breakthrough when taken by Mulgrew, normally a reliable striker of a dead ball. Instead, the Blackburn Rovers man attempted a finish that lacked conviction, power and direction, making it an easy block for Peter Gulacsi, the new first choice in goal for Hungary. Indeed, Allan McGregor had more to do at the other end of the field and he had to dive full length to divert a free kick from Balazs Dsudzsak which was heading for the top corner. Mulgrew came close to an even more ignominious moment in the second half when he dawdled on the ball and was ambushed by Adam Szalai but was rescued my McGregor’s reflexes as the goalkeeper came smartly off his line to block the shot. Between times, however, Scottish anxiety had been soothed somewhat when Phillips found the mark after a fluent attack prised open the Hungarian defence. Scotland clap the travelling support at the end of their win Credit: PA Fraser was the architect with a first-time cross low into the heart of the box, where Phillips made a side-footed contact to shoot across Gulacsi into the net. “I definitely enjoyed that,” said the West Brom winger afterwards. “We played some really good stuff. You can see the boys gelling. We&#39;re delighted to win the game because it&#39;s important for us to start winning games. It&#39;s a new group, it will take time but there are plenty of positives.” The Hungarians were stung by Phillips’ contribution and a dangerous free kick by Roland Varga was dipping below the crossbar when McGregor rose to divert the ball over the top. In a less salubrious fashion, Hungary’s frustration was manifested by a clattering challenge on McGinn by Akos Elek, who had replaced Adam Pinter for the second half, and who was cautioned for the foul. Elek was very fortunate to stay on the field after a late lunge saw his studs planted on Kenny McLean’s instep. The yellow card was also shown to Adam Szalai for a ludicrous dive when the striker was challenged by Stuart Armstrong, although the Scots were not squeaky clean and Mulgrew, McGinn and Callum McGregor all went into the Austrian referee’s book. Hungary played long in the closing minutes, striving for a face-saving equaliser but Scotland were pleasingly solid. “We&#39;re getting used to the formation a bit more and hopefully in the summer we carry that on,&quot; said McKenna, who was named Scotland’s man of the match. “They tried to batter us about, but we stood strong. “It&#39;s a massive achievement for me to be here and I want to stay.”
Hungary 0 Scotland 1: Alex McLeish gets first win of second spell thanks to Matt Phillips goal
Alex McLeish supervised the first victory of his second spell in charge of Scotland, thanks to a well-worked goal scored by Matt Phillips, four minutes into the second half of this friendly against Hungary in Budapest. The Hungarians are currently 19 places behind Scotland in 50th spot in the Fifa rankings and it showed in the rawness of their play. Nevertheless, they were capable of threat and Allan McGregor had to produce three decisive interventions to maintain a clean sheet. In contrast to the 1-0 defeat by Costa Rica at Hampden Park on Friday night, when Andrew Robertson was the outstanding performer amongst the home contingent, the Liverpool defender had a quiet evening and made way for Barry Douglas midway through the second half. Scott McKenna, though, extended his impressive form at Aberdeen with an authoritative display on the left of the Scots’ three-man back line and there were positive showings from John McGinn and Callum McGregor. McLeish produced a surprise with a team selection that contained only four players who had started against Costa Rica - Allan McGregor, McKenna, Mulgrew and Robertson. The manager had lamented a slow start against Costa Rica, with the Scots sluggish throughout a first half in which they conceded the only goal of the game to Marcos Urena. That failing was remedied in Budapest as Scotland took control of possession by a ratio of close to 2:1 but by the interval McLeish’s players had been thwarted by the familiar failing of inability to convert chances. Even a penalty kick, awarded fortuitously for a foul by Laszlo Kleinheisler on the margin of the box, could not conjure the breakthrough when taken by Mulgrew, normally a reliable striker of a dead ball. Instead, the Blackburn Rovers man attempted a finish that lacked conviction, power and direction, making it an easy block for Peter Gulacsi, the new first choice in goal for Hungary. Indeed, Allan McGregor had more to do at the other end of the field and he had to dive full length to divert a free kick from Balazs Dsudzsak which was heading for the top corner. Mulgrew came close to an even more ignominious moment in the second half when he dawdled on the ball and was ambushed by Adam Szalai but was rescued my McGregor’s reflexes as the goalkeeper came smartly off his line to block the shot. Between times, however, Scottish anxiety had been soothed somewhat when Phillips found the mark after a fluent attack prised open the Hungarian defence. Scotland clap the travelling support at the end of their win Credit: PA Fraser was the architect with a first-time cross low into the heart of the box, where Phillips made a side-footed contact to shoot across Gulacsi into the net. “I definitely enjoyed that,” said the West Brom winger afterwards. “We played some really good stuff. You can see the boys gelling. We're delighted to win the game because it's important for us to start winning games. It's a new group, it will take time but there are plenty of positives.” The Hungarians were stung by Phillips’ contribution and a dangerous free kick by Roland Varga was dipping below the crossbar when McGregor rose to divert the ball over the top. In a less salubrious fashion, Hungary’s frustration was manifested by a clattering challenge on McGinn by Akos Elek, who had replaced Adam Pinter for the second half, and who was cautioned for the foul. Elek was very fortunate to stay on the field after a late lunge saw his studs planted on Kenny McLean’s instep. The yellow card was also shown to Adam Szalai for a ludicrous dive when the striker was challenged by Stuart Armstrong, although the Scots were not squeaky clean and Mulgrew, McGinn and Callum McGregor all went into the Austrian referee’s book. Hungary played long in the closing minutes, striving for a face-saving equaliser but Scotland were pleasingly solid. “We're getting used to the formation a bit more and hopefully in the summer we carry that on," said McKenna, who was named Scotland’s man of the match. “They tried to batter us about, but we stood strong. “It's a massive achievement for me to be here and I want to stay.”
Ellie Blackburn calls Katie Brennan on stage to lift the Premiership cup.
Bulldogs walking on AFLW sunshine despite rain-sodden Ikon Park
Ellie Blackburn calls Katie Brennan on stage to lift the Premiership cup.
It tends to be pretty obvious when a player is delivering platitudes and going through the motions in the interests of diplomacy but there was nothing contrived about Marcus Rashford’s answer as he waited eagerly to interject. The subject had turned to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the young Manchester United striker’s eyes had widened as he began to discuss the Swede’s impact at Old Trafford. “What I have learnt from him is irreplaceable,” Rashford said. “You will see the benefits in years to come. No other forward in the world could have come in and been able to pass on so much. There is nobody else that we could have learnt that much about football - and mentally – from. For me, it’s the mentality he’s brought with him that’s the biggest thing I’m going to take from what he’s offered us. His mentality alone is what puts him head ahead of the game. Before he’s even kicked a ball on the pitch, in his mind he’s already ahead of everyone else, and that’s a massive mentality to have.” Rashford was talking in April last year, a few days after Ibrahimovic had succumbed to a cruciate knee ligament injury against Anderlecht in the Europa League that would bring a premature end to a debut United campaign which had yielded 28 goals. It was an injury that would also mark his last meaningful contribution in a red shirt, an unfortunate end for a player whose contribution at Old Trafford may ultimately be measured as much for what he brought off the field as on it. There was a sad inevitability about the news on Thursday that United had released Ibrahimovic from his contract, which still had over three months to run, in order to allow him to join Los Angeles Galaxy as he prepares for a career swansong in Major League Soccer in the US following that brief, aborted comeback. It also raises some questions about the wisdom of United offering a new 12-month deal last August to a then 35-year-old who had suffered such a serious injury. It felt very much like sentimental indulgence and so it has proved but, whatever the rights and wrongs of that particular move, Ibrahimovic’s time at United will remembered for those first 12 months when he led by example and reintroduced a winner’s mentality to a meek, cowed dressing room far removed from the uncompromising place it once was. Ibrahimovic scored the winning goal in the EFL Cup final Credit: Reuters Indeed, to truly gauge Ibrahimovic’s impact is to recognise just how far standards had fallen at a club once synonymous with character, resilience, big, forceful personalities and iron will. Jose Mourinho’s thinking may appear more muddled now but even before the manager was in situ at United he had established very clearly that the dressing room lacked leaders and natural born winners. Ibrahimovic’s signing served to address that problem head on. They laugh about it now but it became very apparent to some when they first witnessed this supposed veteran strip down to the waist in pre-season and start striding around the dressing room in full voice, a rippling six-pack the feature of a towering, muscular 6ft 5in frame, that this was a player who would not tolerate any drop in standards. It was intimidating, especially at first. Ibrahimovic would be incredibly exacting and demanding in training, rebuking team-mates for misplaced passes or dropping off in the closing stages of sessions. More often than not, though, he would not need to say anything. “You’d just get that withering stare,” one source said. “The fans have probably seen it in matches – the one where he looks disgusted at what he’s just witnessed.” Juan Mata encapsulated Ibrahimovic’s impact quite neatly midway through last season. “He has brought a lot of things to the team, not just his mentality, but his way of understanding football, his way of behaving with the players in the dressing room,” he said. “He is always pushing buttons in the right moment and in the right way trying to motivate everyone.” Great things also come to an end and it is time to move on after two fantastic seasons with Manchester United. Thank you to the club, the fans, the team, the coach, the staff and everybody who shared with me this part of my history. #foreverredpic.twitter.com/vo1Gs3SUHL— Zlatan Ibrahimović (@Ibra_official) March 22, 2018 Accusations of insufferable arrogance are invariably misplaced. Ibrahimovic is arrogant but in the best sense and playful with it. It is no secret he would strut around the club pretending he was God but always with a twinkle in his eye. Staff say he will be missed not least because he was so funny, that lofty glare masking a very sharp sense of humour. He would encourage the self-proclaimed “lion” persona and parody himself in the process. “I bet you wish your husband looked like this” Ibrahimovic told one female member of staff before erupting into laughter. Asked to do social media for the club, Ibrahimovic replied, deadpan: “Why, do you want me to increase your following?” Mourinho had claimed Ibrahimovic would be a “gift” for Rashford and Rashford agreed but it was not only the England striker who benefited. Ibrahimovic was generous with his time with the young players, and always ready to speak his mind when he saw something he did not like. When Anthony Martial’s representative, Philippe Lamboley, claimed publicly that they were exploring the option of a move to Sevilla in January last year, Ibrahimovic waded in and pulled the France forward aside, bluntly telling him to park such talk, buckle down and focus on making a success of things at United. It was a measure of the significance Mourinho placed on Ibrahimovic that, when the manager spotted the Swede’s wife, Helena Segar, a very strong character herself, as he walked past the players’ lounge at Old Trafford after one game, he stopped to tell her: “Thank you for keeping your man happy here. It’s really important.” Zlatan And no one could underplay Ibrahimovic’s significance on the pitch. Yes, he missed some big chances in some big games that would prove costly and in the weeks leading up to that ruptured anterior cruciate the impact of being asked to play so many games had begun to take its toll but there were times when he carried the team. Eleven goals in 11 matches between Nov 27 and Jan 15 of that first season featured numerous decisive moments. Then again in the February it was Ibrahimovic who kept rising to the occasion, a hat-trick in a Europa League game against St-Etienne followed by a late winner in a difficult FA Cup tie against Blackburn Rovers and then, most memorably, two goals in the League Cup final against Southampton at Wembley, including a dramatic 87th minute winner. It was certainly interesting to talk to Ibrahimovic after the game. He has an acute sense of theatre, Ibrahimovic, and he was well and truly playing to the crowd as he fielded questions from reporters about his form and future. One exchange was particularly amusing. Reporter: “You’ve said you’re like a lion, how …”. Ibrahimovic, interrupting: “Like a lion? I’m not like a lion. I am a lion. I don’t want to be a lion. The lion is born a lion. It means I’m a lion!” Suffice to say, Matteo Darmian does not talk this way but then few do. Zlatan celebrates with the Europa League trophy Credit: AP There were signs before the injury of Ibrahimovic getting restless, though. He had won the title in nine of his previous ten seasons with Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan and Paris St-Germain and to see United so cut adrift and with so much work to do frustrated him. At one stage, he even suggested the club needed to prove they were willing to match his own ambition if he was to stay on. “Everything depends on what you want and what the club wants, what the vision of the club is because I said from day one I didn’t come here to waste time, I came here to win. If you want to win bigger then you have to create bigger.” His comeback in November, only 212 days after sustaining that injury against Anderlecht, seemed too good to be true and that was born out over 187 minutes of laboured football before Ibrahimovic concluded that he was not up to it. It was no disgrace. It can take another six to nine months following a lengthy rehabilitation process for much younger players to get fully back up to speed after a cruciate injury. The problem was, at 36, the luxury of time was not something Ibrahimovic had at United. It was certainly a disappointment that supporters did not get to see a fit Ibrahimovic for a second season but it will have been of more disappointment to many of them that he did not come to the club several years before.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic should be remembered at Man Utd for reintroducing a winner’s mentality
It tends to be pretty obvious when a player is delivering platitudes and going through the motions in the interests of diplomacy but there was nothing contrived about Marcus Rashford’s answer as he waited eagerly to interject. The subject had turned to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the young Manchester United striker’s eyes had widened as he began to discuss the Swede’s impact at Old Trafford. “What I have learnt from him is irreplaceable,” Rashford said. “You will see the benefits in years to come. No other forward in the world could have come in and been able to pass on so much. There is nobody else that we could have learnt that much about football - and mentally – from. For me, it’s the mentality he’s brought with him that’s the biggest thing I’m going to take from what he’s offered us. His mentality alone is what puts him head ahead of the game. Before he’s even kicked a ball on the pitch, in his mind he’s already ahead of everyone else, and that’s a massive mentality to have.” Rashford was talking in April last year, a few days after Ibrahimovic had succumbed to a cruciate knee ligament injury against Anderlecht in the Europa League that would bring a premature end to a debut United campaign which had yielded 28 goals. It was an injury that would also mark his last meaningful contribution in a red shirt, an unfortunate end for a player whose contribution at Old Trafford may ultimately be measured as much for what he brought off the field as on it. There was a sad inevitability about the news on Thursday that United had released Ibrahimovic from his contract, which still had over three months to run, in order to allow him to join Los Angeles Galaxy as he prepares for a career swansong in Major League Soccer in the US following that brief, aborted comeback. It also raises some questions about the wisdom of United offering a new 12-month deal last August to a then 35-year-old who had suffered such a serious injury. It felt very much like sentimental indulgence and so it has proved but, whatever the rights and wrongs of that particular move, Ibrahimovic’s time at United will remembered for those first 12 months when he led by example and reintroduced a winner’s mentality to a meek, cowed dressing room far removed from the uncompromising place it once was. Ibrahimovic scored the winning goal in the EFL Cup final Credit: Reuters Indeed, to truly gauge Ibrahimovic’s impact is to recognise just how far standards had fallen at a club once synonymous with character, resilience, big, forceful personalities and iron will. Jose Mourinho’s thinking may appear more muddled now but even before the manager was in situ at United he had established very clearly that the dressing room lacked leaders and natural born winners. Ibrahimovic’s signing served to address that problem head on. They laugh about it now but it became very apparent to some when they first witnessed this supposed veteran strip down to the waist in pre-season and start striding around the dressing room in full voice, a rippling six-pack the feature of a towering, muscular 6ft 5in frame, that this was a player who would not tolerate any drop in standards. It was intimidating, especially at first. Ibrahimovic would be incredibly exacting and demanding in training, rebuking team-mates for misplaced passes or dropping off in the closing stages of sessions. More often than not, though, he would not need to say anything. “You’d just get that withering stare,” one source said. “The fans have probably seen it in matches – the one where he looks disgusted at what he’s just witnessed.” Juan Mata encapsulated Ibrahimovic’s impact quite neatly midway through last season. “He has brought a lot of things to the team, not just his mentality, but his way of understanding football, his way of behaving with the players in the dressing room,” he said. “He is always pushing buttons in the right moment and in the right way trying to motivate everyone.” Great things also come to an end and it is time to move on after two fantastic seasons with Manchester United. Thank you to the club, the fans, the team, the coach, the staff and everybody who shared with me this part of my history. #foreverredpic.twitter.com/vo1Gs3SUHL— Zlatan Ibrahimović (@Ibra_official) March 22, 2018 Accusations of insufferable arrogance are invariably misplaced. Ibrahimovic is arrogant but in the best sense and playful with it. It is no secret he would strut around the club pretending he was God but always with a twinkle in his eye. Staff say he will be missed not least because he was so funny, that lofty glare masking a very sharp sense of humour. He would encourage the self-proclaimed “lion” persona and parody himself in the process. “I bet you wish your husband looked like this” Ibrahimovic told one female member of staff before erupting into laughter. Asked to do social media for the club, Ibrahimovic replied, deadpan: “Why, do you want me to increase your following?” Mourinho had claimed Ibrahimovic would be a “gift” for Rashford and Rashford agreed but it was not only the England striker who benefited. Ibrahimovic was generous with his time with the young players, and always ready to speak his mind when he saw something he did not like. When Anthony Martial’s representative, Philippe Lamboley, claimed publicly that they were exploring the option of a move to Sevilla in January last year, Ibrahimovic waded in and pulled the France forward aside, bluntly telling him to park such talk, buckle down and focus on making a success of things at United. It was a measure of the significance Mourinho placed on Ibrahimovic that, when the manager spotted the Swede’s wife, Helena Segar, a very strong character herself, as he walked past the players’ lounge at Old Trafford after one game, he stopped to tell her: “Thank you for keeping your man happy here. It’s really important.” Zlatan And no one could underplay Ibrahimovic’s significance on the pitch. Yes, he missed some big chances in some big games that would prove costly and in the weeks leading up to that ruptured anterior cruciate the impact of being asked to play so many games had begun to take its toll but there were times when he carried the team. Eleven goals in 11 matches between Nov 27 and Jan 15 of that first season featured numerous decisive moments. Then again in the February it was Ibrahimovic who kept rising to the occasion, a hat-trick in a Europa League game against St-Etienne followed by a late winner in a difficult FA Cup tie against Blackburn Rovers and then, most memorably, two goals in the League Cup final against Southampton at Wembley, including a dramatic 87th minute winner. It was certainly interesting to talk to Ibrahimovic after the game. He has an acute sense of theatre, Ibrahimovic, and he was well and truly playing to the crowd as he fielded questions from reporters about his form and future. One exchange was particularly amusing. Reporter: “You’ve said you’re like a lion, how …”. Ibrahimovic, interrupting: “Like a lion? I’m not like a lion. I am a lion. I don’t want to be a lion. The lion is born a lion. It means I’m a lion!” Suffice to say, Matteo Darmian does not talk this way but then few do. Zlatan celebrates with the Europa League trophy Credit: AP There were signs before the injury of Ibrahimovic getting restless, though. He had won the title in nine of his previous ten seasons with Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan and Paris St-Germain and to see United so cut adrift and with so much work to do frustrated him. At one stage, he even suggested the club needed to prove they were willing to match his own ambition if he was to stay on. “Everything depends on what you want and what the club wants, what the vision of the club is because I said from day one I didn’t come here to waste time, I came here to win. If you want to win bigger then you have to create bigger.” His comeback in November, only 212 days after sustaining that injury against Anderlecht, seemed too good to be true and that was born out over 187 minutes of laboured football before Ibrahimovic concluded that he was not up to it. It was no disgrace. It can take another six to nine months following a lengthy rehabilitation process for much younger players to get fully back up to speed after a cruciate injury. The problem was, at 36, the luxury of time was not something Ibrahimovic had at United. It was certainly a disappointment that supporters did not get to see a fit Ibrahimovic for a second season but it will have been of more disappointment to many of them that he did not come to the club several years before.
It tends to be pretty obvious when a player is delivering platitudes and going through the motions in the interests of diplomacy but there was nothing contrived about Marcus Rashford’s answer as he waited eagerly to interject. The subject had turned to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the young Manchester United striker’s eyes had widened as he began to discuss the Swede’s impact at Old Trafford. “What I have learnt from him is irreplaceable,” Rashford said. “You will see the benefits in years to come. No other forward in the world could have come in and been able to pass on so much. There is nobody else that we could have learnt that much about football - and mentally – from. For me, it’s the mentality he’s brought with him that’s the biggest thing I’m going to take from what he’s offered us. His mentality alone is what puts him head ahead of the game. Before he’s even kicked a ball on the pitch, in his mind he’s already ahead of everyone else, and that’s a massive mentality to have.” Rashford was talking in April last year, a few days after Ibrahimovic had succumbed to a cruciate knee ligament injury against Anderlecht in the Europa League that would bring a premature end to a debut United campaign which had yielded 28 goals. It was an injury that would also mark his last meaningful contribution in a red shirt, an unfortunate end for a player whose contribution at Old Trafford may ultimately be measured as much for what he brought off the field as on it. There was a sad inevitability about the news on Thursday that United had released Ibrahimovic from his contract, which still had over three months to run, in order to allow him to join Los Angeles Galaxy as he prepares for a career swansong in Major League Soccer in the US following that brief, aborted comeback. It also raises some questions about the wisdom of United offering a new 12-month deal last August to a then 35-year-old who had suffered such a serious injury. It felt very much like sentimental indulgence and so it has proved but, whatever the rights and wrongs of that particular move, Ibrahimovic’s time at United will remembered for those first 12 months when he led by example and reintroduced a winner’s mentality to a meek, cowed dressing room far removed from the uncompromising place it once was. Ibrahimovic scored the winning goal in the EFL Cup final Credit: Reuters Indeed, to truly gauge Ibrahimovic’s impact is to recognise just how far standards had fallen at a club once synonymous with character, resilience, big, forceful personalities and iron will. Jose Mourinho’s thinking may appear more muddled now but even before the manager was in situ at United he had established very clearly that the dressing room lacked leaders and natural born winners. Ibrahimovic’s signing served to address that problem head on. They laugh about it now but it became very apparent to some when they first witnessed this supposed veteran strip down to the waist in pre-season and start striding around the dressing room in full voice, a rippling six-pack the feature of a towering, muscular 6ft 5in frame, that this was a player who would not tolerate any drop in standards. It was intimidating, especially at first. Ibrahimovic would be incredibly exacting and demanding in training, rebuking team-mates for misplaced passes or dropping off in the closing stages of sessions. More often than not, though, he would not need to say anything. “You’d just get that withering stare,” one source said. “The fans have probably seen it in matches – the one where he looks disgusted at what he’s just witnessed.” Juan Mata encapsulated Ibrahimovic’s impact quite neatly midway through last season. “He has brought a lot of things to the team, not just his mentality, but his way of understanding football, his way of behaving with the players in the dressing room,” he said. “He is always pushing buttons in the right moment and in the right way trying to motivate everyone.” Great things also come to an end and it is time to move on after two fantastic seasons with Manchester United. Thank you to the club, the fans, the team, the coach, the staff and everybody who shared with me this part of my history. #foreverredpic.twitter.com/vo1Gs3SUHL— Zlatan Ibrahimović (@Ibra_official) March 22, 2018 Accusations of insufferable arrogance are invariably misplaced. Ibrahimovic is arrogant but in the best sense and playful with it. It is no secret he would strut around the club pretending he was God but always with a twinkle in his eye. Staff say he will be missed not least because he was so funny, that lofty glare masking a very sharp sense of humour. He would encourage the self-proclaimed “lion” persona and parody himself in the process. “I bet you wish your husband looked like this” Ibrahimovic told one female member of staff before erupting into laughter. Asked to do social media for the club, Ibrahimovic replied, deadpan: “Why, do you want me to increase your following?” Mourinho had claimed Ibrahimovic would be a “gift” for Rashford and Rashford agreed but it was not only the England striker who benefited. Ibrahimovic was generous with his time with the young players, and always ready to speak his mind when he saw something he did not like. When Anthony Martial’s representative, Philippe Lamboley, claimed publicly that they were exploring the option of a move to Sevilla in January last year, Ibrahimovic waded in and pulled the France forward aside, bluntly telling him to park such talk, buckle down and focus on making a success of things at United. It was a measure of the significance Mourinho placed on Ibrahimovic that, when the manager spotted the Swede’s wife, Helena Segar, a very strong character herself, as he walked past the players’ lounge at Old Trafford after one game, he stopped to tell her: “Thank you for keeping your man happy here. It’s really important.” Zlatan And no one could underplay Ibrahimovic’s significance on the pitch. Yes, he missed some big chances in some big games that would prove costly and in the weeks leading up to that ruptured anterior cruciate the impact of being asked to play so many games had begun to take its toll but there were times when he carried the team. Eleven goals in 11 matches between Nov 27 and Jan 15 of that first season featured numerous decisive moments. Then again in the February it was Ibrahimovic who kept rising to the occasion, a hat-trick in a Europa League game against St-Etienne followed by a late winner in a difficult FA Cup tie against Blackburn Rovers and then, most memorably, two goals in the League Cup final against Southampton at Wembley, including a dramatic 87th minute winner. It was certainly interesting to talk to Ibrahimovic after the game. He has an acute sense of theatre, Ibrahimovic, and he was well and truly playing to the crowd as he fielded questions from reporters about his form and future. One exchange was particularly amusing. Reporter: “You’ve said you’re like a lion, how …”. Ibrahimovic, interrupting: “Like a lion? I’m not like a lion. I am a lion. I don’t want to be a lion. The lion is born a lion. It means I’m a lion!” Suffice to say, Matteo Darmian does not talk this way but then few do. Zlatan celebrates with the Europa League trophy Credit: AP There were signs before the injury of Ibrahimovic getting restless, though. He had won the title in nine of his previous ten seasons with Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan and Paris St-Germain and to see United so cut adrift and with so much work to do frustrated him. At one stage, he even suggested the club needed to prove they were willing to match his own ambition if he was to stay on. “Everything depends on what you want and what the club wants, what the vision of the club is because I said from day one I didn’t come here to waste time, I came here to win. If you want to win bigger then you have to create bigger.” His comeback in November, only 212 days after sustaining that injury against Anderlecht, seemed too good to be true and that was born out over 187 minutes of laboured football before Ibrahimovic concluded that he was not up to it. It was no disgrace. It can take another six to nine months following a lengthy rehabilitation process for much younger players to get fully back up to speed after a cruciate injury. The problem was, at 36, the luxury of time was not something Ibrahimovic had at United. It was certainly a disappointment that supporters did not get to see a fit Ibrahimovic for a second season but it will have been of more disappointment to many of them that he did not come to the club several years before.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic should be remembered at Man Utd for reintroducing a winner’s mentality
It tends to be pretty obvious when a player is delivering platitudes and going through the motions in the interests of diplomacy but there was nothing contrived about Marcus Rashford’s answer as he waited eagerly to interject. The subject had turned to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the young Manchester United striker’s eyes had widened as he began to discuss the Swede’s impact at Old Trafford. “What I have learnt from him is irreplaceable,” Rashford said. “You will see the benefits in years to come. No other forward in the world could have come in and been able to pass on so much. There is nobody else that we could have learnt that much about football - and mentally – from. For me, it’s the mentality he’s brought with him that’s the biggest thing I’m going to take from what he’s offered us. His mentality alone is what puts him head ahead of the game. Before he’s even kicked a ball on the pitch, in his mind he’s already ahead of everyone else, and that’s a massive mentality to have.” Rashford was talking in April last year, a few days after Ibrahimovic had succumbed to a cruciate knee ligament injury against Anderlecht in the Europa League that would bring a premature end to a debut United campaign which had yielded 28 goals. It was an injury that would also mark his last meaningful contribution in a red shirt, an unfortunate end for a player whose contribution at Old Trafford may ultimately be measured as much for what he brought off the field as on it. There was a sad inevitability about the news on Thursday that United had released Ibrahimovic from his contract, which still had over three months to run, in order to allow him to join Los Angeles Galaxy as he prepares for a career swansong in Major League Soccer in the US following that brief, aborted comeback. It also raises some questions about the wisdom of United offering a new 12-month deal last August to a then 35-year-old who had suffered such a serious injury. It felt very much like sentimental indulgence and so it has proved but, whatever the rights and wrongs of that particular move, Ibrahimovic’s time at United will remembered for those first 12 months when he led by example and reintroduced a winner’s mentality to a meek, cowed dressing room far removed from the uncompromising place it once was. Ibrahimovic scored the winning goal in the EFL Cup final Credit: Reuters Indeed, to truly gauge Ibrahimovic’s impact is to recognise just how far standards had fallen at a club once synonymous with character, resilience, big, forceful personalities and iron will. Jose Mourinho’s thinking may appear more muddled now but even before the manager was in situ at United he had established very clearly that the dressing room lacked leaders and natural born winners. Ibrahimovic’s signing served to address that problem head on. They laugh about it now but it became very apparent to some when they first witnessed this supposed veteran strip down to the waist in pre-season and start striding around the dressing room in full voice, a rippling six-pack the feature of a towering, muscular 6ft 5in frame, that this was a player who would not tolerate any drop in standards. It was intimidating, especially at first. Ibrahimovic would be incredibly exacting and demanding in training, rebuking team-mates for misplaced passes or dropping off in the closing stages of sessions. More often than not, though, he would not need to say anything. “You’d just get that withering stare,” one source said. “The fans have probably seen it in matches – the one where he looks disgusted at what he’s just witnessed.” Juan Mata encapsulated Ibrahimovic’s impact quite neatly midway through last season. “He has brought a lot of things to the team, not just his mentality, but his way of understanding football, his way of behaving with the players in the dressing room,” he said. “He is always pushing buttons in the right moment and in the right way trying to motivate everyone.” Great things also come to an end and it is time to move on after two fantastic seasons with Manchester United. Thank you to the club, the fans, the team, the coach, the staff and everybody who shared with me this part of my history. #foreverredpic.twitter.com/vo1Gs3SUHL— Zlatan Ibrahimović (@Ibra_official) March 22, 2018 Accusations of insufferable arrogance are invariably misplaced. Ibrahimovic is arrogant but in the best sense and playful with it. It is no secret he would strut around the club pretending he was God but always with a twinkle in his eye. Staff say he will be missed not least because he was so funny, that lofty glare masking a very sharp sense of humour. He would encourage the self-proclaimed “lion” persona and parody himself in the process. “I bet you wish your husband looked like this” Ibrahimovic told one female member of staff before erupting into laughter. Asked to do social media for the club, Ibrahimovic replied, deadpan: “Why, do you want me to increase your following?” Mourinho had claimed Ibrahimovic would be a “gift” for Rashford and Rashford agreed but it was not only the England striker who benefited. Ibrahimovic was generous with his time with the young players, and always ready to speak his mind when he saw something he did not like. When Anthony Martial’s representative, Philippe Lamboley, claimed publicly that they were exploring the option of a move to Sevilla in January last year, Ibrahimovic waded in and pulled the France forward aside, bluntly telling him to park such talk, buckle down and focus on making a success of things at United. It was a measure of the significance Mourinho placed on Ibrahimovic that, when the manager spotted the Swede’s wife, Helena Segar, a very strong character herself, as he walked past the players’ lounge at Old Trafford after one game, he stopped to tell her: “Thank you for keeping your man happy here. It’s really important.” Zlatan And no one could underplay Ibrahimovic’s significance on the pitch. Yes, he missed some big chances in some big games that would prove costly and in the weeks leading up to that ruptured anterior cruciate the impact of being asked to play so many games had begun to take its toll but there were times when he carried the team. Eleven goals in 11 matches between Nov 27 and Jan 15 of that first season featured numerous decisive moments. Then again in the February it was Ibrahimovic who kept rising to the occasion, a hat-trick in a Europa League game against St-Etienne followed by a late winner in a difficult FA Cup tie against Blackburn Rovers and then, most memorably, two goals in the League Cup final against Southampton at Wembley, including a dramatic 87th minute winner. It was certainly interesting to talk to Ibrahimovic after the game. He has an acute sense of theatre, Ibrahimovic, and he was well and truly playing to the crowd as he fielded questions from reporters about his form and future. One exchange was particularly amusing. Reporter: “You’ve said you’re like a lion, how …”. Ibrahimovic, interrupting: “Like a lion? I’m not like a lion. I am a lion. I don’t want to be a lion. The lion is born a lion. It means I’m a lion!” Suffice to say, Matteo Darmian does not talk this way but then few do. Zlatan celebrates with the Europa League trophy Credit: AP There were signs before the injury of Ibrahimovic getting restless, though. He had won the title in nine of his previous ten seasons with Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan and Paris St-Germain and to see United so cut adrift and with so much work to do frustrated him. At one stage, he even suggested the club needed to prove they were willing to match his own ambition if he was to stay on. “Everything depends on what you want and what the club wants, what the vision of the club is because I said from day one I didn’t come here to waste time, I came here to win. If you want to win bigger then you have to create bigger.” His comeback in November, only 212 days after sustaining that injury against Anderlecht, seemed too good to be true and that was born out over 187 minutes of laboured football before Ibrahimovic concluded that he was not up to it. It was no disgrace. It can take another six to nine months following a lengthy rehabilitation process for much younger players to get fully back up to speed after a cruciate injury. The problem was, at 36, the luxury of time was not something Ibrahimovic had at United. It was certainly a disappointment that supporters did not get to see a fit Ibrahimovic for a second season but it will have been of more disappointment to many of them that he did not come to the club several years before.
It tends to be pretty obvious when a player is delivering platitudes and going through the motions in the interests of diplomacy but there was nothing contrived about Marcus Rashford’s answer as he waited eagerly to interject. The subject had turned to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the young Manchester United striker’s eyes had widened as he began to discuss the Swede’s impact at Old Trafford. “What I have learnt from him is irreplaceable,” Rashford said. “You will see the benefits in years to come. No other forward in the world could have come in and been able to pass on so much. There is nobody else that we could have learnt that much about football - and mentally – from. For me, it’s the mentality he’s brought with him that’s the biggest thing I’m going to take from what he’s offered us. His mentality alone is what puts him head ahead of the game. Before he’s even kicked a ball on the pitch, in his mind he’s already ahead of everyone else, and that’s a massive mentality to have.” Rashford was talking in April last year, a few days after Ibrahimovic had succumbed to a cruciate knee ligament injury against Anderlecht in the Europa League that would bring a premature end to a debut United campaign which had yielded 28 goals. It was an injury that would also mark his last meaningful contribution in a red shirt, an unfortunate end for a player whose contribution at Old Trafford may ultimately be measured as much for what he brought off the field as on it. There was a sad inevitability about the news on Thursday that United had released Ibrahimovic from his contract, which still had over three months to run, in order to allow him to join Los Angeles Galaxy as he prepares for a career swansong in Major League Soccer in the US following that brief, aborted comeback. It also raises some questions about the wisdom of United offering a new 12-month deal last August to a then 35-year-old who had suffered such a serious injury. It felt very much like sentimental indulgence and so it has proved but, whatever the rights and wrongs of that particular move, Ibrahimovic’s time at United will remembered for those first 12 months when he led by example and reintroduced a winner’s mentality to a meek, cowed dressing room far removed from the uncompromising place it once was. Ibrahimovic scored the winning goal in the EFL Cup final Credit: Reuters Indeed, to truly gauge Ibrahimovic’s impact is to recognise just how far standards had fallen at a club once synonymous with character, resilience, big, forceful personalities and iron will. Jose Mourinho’s thinking may appear more muddled now but even before the manager was in situ at United he had established very clearly that the dressing room lacked leaders and natural born winners. Ibrahimovic’s signing served to address that problem head on. They laugh about it now but it became very apparent to some when they first witnessed this supposed veteran strip down to the waist in pre-season and start striding around the dressing room in full voice, a rippling six-pack the feature of a towering, muscular 6ft 5in frame, that this was a player who would not tolerate any drop in standards. It was intimidating, especially at first. Ibrahimovic would be incredibly exacting and demanding in training, rebuking team-mates for misplaced passes or dropping off in the closing stages of sessions. More often than not, though, he would not need to say anything. “You’d just get that withering stare,” one source said. “The fans have probably seen it in matches – the one where he looks disgusted at what he’s just witnessed.” Juan Mata encapsulated Ibrahimovic’s impact quite neatly midway through last season. “He has brought a lot of things to the team, not just his mentality, but his way of understanding football, his way of behaving with the players in the dressing room,” he said. “He is always pushing buttons in the right moment and in the right way trying to motivate everyone.” Great things also come to an end and it is time to move on after two fantastic seasons with Manchester United. Thank you to the club, the fans, the team, the coach, the staff and everybody who shared with me this part of my history. #foreverredpic.twitter.com/vo1Gs3SUHL— Zlatan Ibrahimović (@Ibra_official) March 22, 2018 Accusations of insufferable arrogance are invariably misplaced. Ibrahimovic is arrogant but in the best sense and playful with it. It is no secret he would strut around the club pretending he was God but always with a twinkle in his eye. Staff say he will be missed not least because he was so funny, that lofty glare masking a very sharp sense of humour. He would encourage the self-proclaimed “lion” persona and parody himself in the process. “I bet you wish your husband looked like this” Ibrahimovic told one female member of staff before erupting into laughter. Asked to do social media for the club, Ibrahimovic replied, deadpan: “Why, do you want me to increase your following?” Mourinho had claimed Ibrahimovic would be a “gift” for Rashford and Rashford agreed but it was not only the England striker who benefited. Ibrahimovic was generous with his time with the young players, and always ready to speak his mind when he saw something he did not like. When Anthony Martial’s representative, Philippe Lamboley, claimed publicly that they were exploring the option of a move to Sevilla in January last year, Ibrahimovic waded in and pulled the France forward aside, bluntly telling him to park such talk, buckle down and focus on making a success of things at United. It was a measure of the significance Mourinho placed on Ibrahimovic that, when the manager spotted the Swede’s wife, Helena Segar, a very strong character herself, as he walked past the players’ lounge at Old Trafford after one game, he stopped to tell her: “Thank you for keeping your man happy here. It’s really important.” Zlatan And no one could underplay Ibrahimovic’s significance on the pitch. Yes, he missed some big chances in some big games that would prove costly and in the weeks leading up to that ruptured anterior cruciate the impact of being asked to play so many games had begun to take its toll but there were times when he carried the team. Eleven goals in 11 matches between Nov 27 and Jan 15 of that first season featured numerous decisive moments. Then again in the February it was Ibrahimovic who kept rising to the occasion, a hat-trick in a Europa League game against St-Etienne followed by a late winner in a difficult FA Cup tie against Blackburn Rovers and then, most memorably, two goals in the League Cup final against Southampton at Wembley, including a dramatic 87th minute winner. It was certainly interesting to talk to Ibrahimovic after the game. He has an acute sense of theatre, Ibrahimovic, and he was well and truly playing to the crowd as he fielded questions from reporters about his form and future. One exchange was particularly amusing. Reporter: “You’ve said you’re like a lion, how …”. Ibrahimovic, interrupting: “Like a lion? I’m not like a lion. I am a lion. I don’t want to be a lion. The lion is born a lion. It means I’m a lion!” Suffice to say, Matteo Darmian does not talk this way but then few do. Zlatan celebrates with the Europa League trophy Credit: AP There were signs before the injury of Ibrahimovic getting restless, though. He had won the title in nine of his previous ten seasons with Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan and Paris St-Germain and to see United so cut adrift and with so much work to do frustrated him. At one stage, he even suggested the club needed to prove they were willing to match his own ambition if he was to stay on. “Everything depends on what you want and what the club wants, what the vision of the club is because I said from day one I didn’t come here to waste time, I came here to win. If you want to win bigger then you have to create bigger.” His comeback in November, only 212 days after sustaining that injury against Anderlecht, seemed too good to be true and that was born out over 187 minutes of laboured football before Ibrahimovic concluded that he was not up to it. It was no disgrace. It can take another six to nine months following a lengthy rehabilitation process for much younger players to get fully back up to speed after a cruciate injury. The problem was, at 36, the luxury of time was not something Ibrahimovic had at United. It was certainly a disappointment that supporters did not get to see a fit Ibrahimovic for a second season but it will have been of more disappointment to many of them that he did not come to the club several years before.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic should be remembered at Man Utd for reintroducing a winner’s mentality
It tends to be pretty obvious when a player is delivering platitudes and going through the motions in the interests of diplomacy but there was nothing contrived about Marcus Rashford’s answer as he waited eagerly to interject. The subject had turned to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the young Manchester United striker’s eyes had widened as he began to discuss the Swede’s impact at Old Trafford. “What I have learnt from him is irreplaceable,” Rashford said. “You will see the benefits in years to come. No other forward in the world could have come in and been able to pass on so much. There is nobody else that we could have learnt that much about football - and mentally – from. For me, it’s the mentality he’s brought with him that’s the biggest thing I’m going to take from what he’s offered us. His mentality alone is what puts him head ahead of the game. Before he’s even kicked a ball on the pitch, in his mind he’s already ahead of everyone else, and that’s a massive mentality to have.” Rashford was talking in April last year, a few days after Ibrahimovic had succumbed to a cruciate knee ligament injury against Anderlecht in the Europa League that would bring a premature end to a debut United campaign which had yielded 28 goals. It was an injury that would also mark his last meaningful contribution in a red shirt, an unfortunate end for a player whose contribution at Old Trafford may ultimately be measured as much for what he brought off the field as on it. There was a sad inevitability about the news on Thursday that United had released Ibrahimovic from his contract, which still had over three months to run, in order to allow him to join Los Angeles Galaxy as he prepares for a career swansong in Major League Soccer in the US following that brief, aborted comeback. It also raises some questions about the wisdom of United offering a new 12-month deal last August to a then 35-year-old who had suffered such a serious injury. It felt very much like sentimental indulgence and so it has proved but, whatever the rights and wrongs of that particular move, Ibrahimovic’s time at United will remembered for those first 12 months when he led by example and reintroduced a winner’s mentality to a meek, cowed dressing room far removed from the uncompromising place it once was. Ibrahimovic scored the winning goal in the EFL Cup final Credit: Reuters Indeed, to truly gauge Ibrahimovic’s impact is to recognise just how far standards had fallen at a club once synonymous with character, resilience, big, forceful personalities and iron will. Jose Mourinho’s thinking may appear more muddled now but even before the manager was in situ at United he had established very clearly that the dressing room lacked leaders and natural born winners. Ibrahimovic’s signing served to address that problem head on. They laugh about it now but it became very apparent to some when they first witnessed this supposed veteran strip down to the waist in pre-season and start striding around the dressing room in full voice, a rippling six-pack the feature of a towering, muscular 6ft 5in frame, that this was a player who would not tolerate any drop in standards. It was intimidating, especially at first. Ibrahimovic would be incredibly exacting and demanding in training, rebuking team-mates for misplaced passes or dropping off in the closing stages of sessions. More often than not, though, he would not need to say anything. “You’d just get that withering stare,” one source said. “The fans have probably seen it in matches – the one where he looks disgusted at what he’s just witnessed.” Juan Mata encapsulated Ibrahimovic’s impact quite neatly midway through last season. “He has brought a lot of things to the team, not just his mentality, but his way of understanding football, his way of behaving with the players in the dressing room,” he said. “He is always pushing buttons in the right moment and in the right way trying to motivate everyone.” Great things also come to an end and it is time to move on after two fantastic seasons with Manchester United. Thank you to the club, the fans, the team, the coach, the staff and everybody who shared with me this part of my history. #foreverredpic.twitter.com/vo1Gs3SUHL— Zlatan Ibrahimović (@Ibra_official) March 22, 2018 Accusations of insufferable arrogance are invariably misplaced. Ibrahimovic is arrogant but in the best sense and playful with it. It is no secret he would strut around the club pretending he was God but always with a twinkle in his eye. Staff say he will be missed not least because he was so funny, that lofty glare masking a very sharp sense of humour. He would encourage the self-proclaimed “lion” persona and parody himself in the process. “I bet you wish your husband looked like this” Ibrahimovic told one female member of staff before erupting into laughter. Asked to do social media for the club, Ibrahimovic replied, deadpan: “Why, do you want me to increase your following?” Mourinho had claimed Ibrahimovic would be a “gift” for Rashford and Rashford agreed but it was not only the England striker who benefited. Ibrahimovic was generous with his time with the young players, and always ready to speak his mind when he saw something he did not like. When Anthony Martial’s representative, Philippe Lamboley, claimed publicly that they were exploring the option of a move to Sevilla in January last year, Ibrahimovic waded in and pulled the France forward aside, bluntly telling him to park such talk, buckle down and focus on making a success of things at United. It was a measure of the significance Mourinho placed on Ibrahimovic that, when the manager spotted the Swede’s wife, Helena Segar, a very strong character herself, as he walked past the players’ lounge at Old Trafford after one game, he stopped to tell her: “Thank you for keeping your man happy here. It’s really important.” Zlatan And no one could underplay Ibrahimovic’s significance on the pitch. Yes, he missed some big chances in some big games that would prove costly and in the weeks leading up to that ruptured anterior cruciate the impact of being asked to play so many games had begun to take its toll but there were times when he carried the team. Eleven goals in 11 matches between Nov 27 and Jan 15 of that first season featured numerous decisive moments. Then again in the February it was Ibrahimovic who kept rising to the occasion, a hat-trick in a Europa League game against St-Etienne followed by a late winner in a difficult FA Cup tie against Blackburn Rovers and then, most memorably, two goals in the League Cup final against Southampton at Wembley, including a dramatic 87th minute winner. It was certainly interesting to talk to Ibrahimovic after the game. He has an acute sense of theatre, Ibrahimovic, and he was well and truly playing to the crowd as he fielded questions from reporters about his form and future. One exchange was particularly amusing. Reporter: “You’ve said you’re like a lion, how …”. Ibrahimovic, interrupting: “Like a lion? I’m not like a lion. I am a lion. I don’t want to be a lion. The lion is born a lion. It means I’m a lion!” Suffice to say, Matteo Darmian does not talk this way but then few do. Zlatan celebrates with the Europa League trophy Credit: AP There were signs before the injury of Ibrahimovic getting restless, though. He had won the title in nine of his previous ten seasons with Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan and Paris St-Germain and to see United so cut adrift and with so much work to do frustrated him. At one stage, he even suggested the club needed to prove they were willing to match his own ambition if he was to stay on. “Everything depends on what you want and what the club wants, what the vision of the club is because I said from day one I didn’t come here to waste time, I came here to win. If you want to win bigger then you have to create bigger.” His comeback in November, only 212 days after sustaining that injury against Anderlecht, seemed too good to be true and that was born out over 187 minutes of laboured football before Ibrahimovic concluded that he was not up to it. It was no disgrace. It can take another six to nine months following a lengthy rehabilitation process for much younger players to get fully back up to speed after a cruciate injury. The problem was, at 36, the luxury of time was not something Ibrahimovic had at United. It was certainly a disappointment that supporters did not get to see a fit Ibrahimovic for a second season but it will have been of more disappointment to many of them that he did not come to the club several years before.
In Katie Brennan’s absence, Ellie Blackburn will lead the Bulldogs.
AFLW grand final 2018: Lions out to capitalise on Brennan absence
In Katie Brennan’s absence, Ellie Blackburn will lead the Bulldogs.

What to read next

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes