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The Premier League’s all time top five Marcuses:
Bingo! Tom Worsley completes the set (though nobody has correctly named the final four). I’ll put you out of your misery in a moment…
@Simon_Burnton Have we had Marcus Hall yet? Must be him in a Cov kit…
Your super soaraway Man City match preview is here:
Sadly it’s Marcos Rojo. Rojo has made 68 Premier League appearances, fewer than Rashford’s 81, so would’t make the list anyway.
@Simon_Burnton Marcus Rojo!
Marcus Tudgay never played in the Premier League, alas.
@Simon_Burnton Marcus Tudgay?
And here’s a bit more detail on Kevin de Bruyne’s non-existent release clause:
Here’s more detail on Maurizio Sarri’s invitation for John Terry to join his coaching staff:
Whoever this is has named three out of the top four Premier League Marcuses.
@Simon_Burnton Stewart, Gayle, Bent and Hahnemann..?
Sean Dyche had some surprising news when asked what might come of Steven Defour, whose contract was believed to expire at the end of this season. Turns out he’s already extended it, but that Burnley didn’t think it was fair to tell anyone about it because Defour was injured.
He’s already signed, in the summer. He has two years [left] now. He re-signed and he’s staying for another two years. He was injured at the time and we leave players alone when they’re injured, so we didn’t go out to press and say he’s here for another two years.
Correct! Marcus Bent is the Premier League’s No1 Marcus, his 215 appearances putting him joint 300th in the all-time, all-name list.
@Simon_Burnton Marcus Bent is one…
Now this, I think, is quite tough. Can you name the four Marcuses who have made more Premier League appearances than Marcus Rashford? Tweet me your entries, please. There is, alas, no prize except the fame and glory that will come with a namecheck.
Here’s the day’s key stat:
Marcus Rashford has played 7.5% of all PL minutes by people called Marcus.
**Please note that this figure falls to 7.3% if you include DaMarcus Beasley and 6.5% if you include players called Markus**
There’s good news from Chelsea for John Terry, with Maurizio Sarri saying “of course” the door is open should he want a coaching job at some point. This is what he had to say about the idea:
The last time I spoke with him, a week ago, he told me he wants to play for another season. But I don’t know the situation now. Chelsea is his home, of course. For sure, he would be a point of reference for me. For everybody here, I think. His presence alone [would be]. This is John Terry’s home.
It’s up to him. I am very open with him because he is the history of the club. He has won everything with the club, so it’s up to him. But I don’t know [if it is possible]. He told me a lot of things, that he wants to play, so I’d have to speak to him again.
Hello, Simon here, back at the helm. I arrive with further news about Kevin de Bruyne’s release clause. The news is that it doesn’t exist after all. Here is Pep Guardiola’s reaction to the story: “I don’t know anything about that,” the Manchester City manager said. “The journalist asked me if we would sell for 250m and I said no. I don’t think he has a release clause in his contract.”
Tim Howard, the former Manchester United goalkeeper, is part of a consortium that has acquired … Dagenham & Redbridge. The National League club, managed by Peter Taylor, have been taken over by Victoria Road Football, LLC, an American entity. These days, the USA international plays his football for Colorado Rapids. Talking of Taylor, here’s an interview with the former England manager himself:
Who’s looking forward to Huddersfield v Crystal Palace? David Wagner’s men are winless this season, while Wilfried Zaha remains a doubt for Roy Hodgson’s side:
Maurizio Sarri has a good old-fashioned selection headache, admitting it is difficult to accommodate Ethan Ampadu and Ruben Loftus-Cheek into his first-team lineup. The former, who impressed for Wales over the international break, is a January transfer target for Neil Warnock and Cardiff City, who travel to Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Before beautifully referring to Loftus-Cheek as “Loftus”, Sarri said: “At the moment for me is not easy to give space to everyone. I have 28 players but I hope in the future I will be able to give him space, to give a space to Loftus. They are very young, they are for sure the future of the club. In this moment, it is important not to change the defensive line. In the first period, it’s very difficult to change the defensive line.”
Listen to Jürgen Klopp v Gary Neville:
Up in Kilmarnock, Steve Clarke has had a moan at the Scottish Football Association – for misspelling his name. Clarke was referred to as Steven, rather than Stephen, on a disciplinary charge sheet. “Maybe I’m being a little bit pedantic, but I thought it was disrespectful that they spelt my name wrong, both on the front cover and inside,” he huffed. “I won’t use the word amateurish but certainly unprofessional.”
More Chelsea team news: Cesc Fàbregas has been training this week and could return against Cardiff City, in some capacity. As well as those lump in the throats of Emerson and Zappacosta, Maurizio Sarri has also confirmed that Ruben Loftus-Cheek picked up a knock on international duty with England, so he’s a doubt.
I’m going to sneak off for a bit, and leave you Ben Fisher’s capable hands. You can email him here or tweet him here. I go as news breaks that Chelsea are suffering a sore-throat crisis, with both Emerson and Davide Zappacosta finding the infection sweeping the club hard to swallow. Bye for now!
Oliver emails about the West Ham team-news leak story, decrying the leak culture which has surrounded the club over the last few years, and which is not limited to the mysterious @ExWHUemployee on Twitter. “Something really needs to change with the club, because these sorts of stories breaking out just serves to do nothing but undermine the playing staff, management, and club in general,” he writes. “Between the board and these other ‘in the know’ sources, there’s obviously way too many people willing to speak to others about what’s going on behind the scenes without the impact of that being thought about.”
Pep Guardiola has revealed that Kevin de Bruyne has a release clause written into his contract. But before his many admirers start to get overexcited, the bad news is that they would have to cough up €250m to trigger it. “I’m sorry, he’s not for sale,” Guardiola said. “He’s very good. He’s a very dynamic player. De Bruyne does everything and everything well, but still has room to grow. I recently met his parents and understood a lot about why he is a fantastic guy.”
Ahead of Fulham’s game against Manchester City, Slavisa Jokanovic has exclusively revealed that he wants his team to play well:
We try to find our way, we try to adapt ourselves, we try to interpret what we have in our hands. We will choose what we believe is the best way for us to have the opportunity to win the game. Everyone knows how Manchester City play football, everyone knows what this team’s style is. “We are a team promoted from the Championship, we want to use similar weapons and we want to attack with possession of the ball. It’s not easy to compare us with City; they have other records and targets to us. Anyway, we want to follow our way of playing football.
There’s been a lot of talk of late about a mysterious twitter user who has been leaking West Ham’s line-ups for the last couple of years. This morning’s Times reports:
Manuel Pellegrini is growing increasingly frustrated that news of his team selections at West Ham United is routinely being leaked before he has announced it to his players. The manager is aware that a Twitter account with the handle @ExWHUemployee has revealed the team for more than 60 matches in succession, including the four Premier League defeats over which he has presided this season, leading him to make inquiries as to the likely source.
I am an absolute nobody (as those who have met me know) a fat lad with a twitter account. The fact I am being discussed on so many media platforms about a factually incorrect story started by one person shows the worrying state of some sports reporting in my opinion
First of all, it’s not true. I’m not angry about that. Normally in teams I managed before all the players know the day before [a game] who will play who will not play. I will not keep the starting XI for the hours before a game. There’s a lot of different ways someone can know the team. I don’t have any idea who is tweeting the teams, I don’t worry about that.
Bournemouth have been busy over the international break, spending some of it training with the SAS. “We like to do things that stretch the players and give them new life skills,” says Eddie Howe.
Here’s a hot take on Jurgen Klopp’s press conference:
In shock news, Jurgen Klopp has ridiculed Gary Neville’s suggestion that Liverpool should improve their Premier League title prospects by treating the Champions League lightly.
Here’s some Liverpool team news:
Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana will miss the trip to Tottenham as a groin strain suffered on England duty is likely to sideline him for a fortnight. Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has recovered from a hand injury to take his place among the substitutes as back-up to Alisson Becker. Defender Dejan Lovren is still recovering from a hip injury, but should return in the next month.
Those stats come from the Times’s interview with the always-interesting Troy Deeney. For example, his reaction to Gareth Southgate’s dismissal of his England chances is good. Here, for reference, is what Southgate said:
I think Troy is a player who really suits the way that Watford play. I’m a big fan of his, I think what he brings to their team, the way he leads their team and the way that they play in the games that they have, but I think that we play slightly differently.
Me personally, I’ve kind of given up on that dream. It’s not going to happen unless there’s a major crisis and someone who plays for Cheltenham gets injured. I might get a game then. I do respect his opinion because that’s his vision of where he wants to go and when you look at what he did at the World Cup, you have to tip your hat to him.
To be honest, I just thought that comment of, ‘He’s great for Watford, but not for what we want,’ I thought it was downplaying Watford a little bit really, like we’re just some small team. I just think what it says as a message is that unless you’re a certain mould of player or play in a certain way, don’t worry about playing for England. That’s what I took from it. Strikerwise I don’t know what he wants. It can’t be mobility and getting around and scoring goals because at the minute that’s what I’m doing.
Interesting stats, these. They won’t help Troy Deeney win an England cap, but they do illustrate his effectiveness pretty well:
Goodness me, look at Deeney’s chances created to the rest pic.twitter.com/F6saUxoE7I
Here’s some Cardiff team news:
Josh Murphy will be assessed before Cardiff’s Premier League trip to Chelsea on Saturday. Murphy, the £11m summer recruit from Norwich, has been troubled by a slight hamstring over the last fortnight, and faces a late fitness test with manager Neil Warnock again expected to link Bobby Reid and Danny Ward in attack. Aron Gunnarsson is still nursing a knee problem after missing international duty with Iceland and is unlikely to be risked.
Neil Warnock has given his pre-match press conference, in which he let slip a bit of transfer gossip. This from the Press Association:
The Cardiff manager Neil Warnock wants to sign Chelsea and Wales teenager Ethan Ampadu on loan in January.
The Bluebirds travel to Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Saturday, and Warnock says he will speak to Chelsea officials about the prospect of signing Ampadu on loan in the next transfer window.
More good reading for you, this time David Hytner’s interview with Nwankwo Kanu, who speaks about his own heart condition, and about his charitable foundation that provides treatment to children who need heart operations.
It changed how I saw the world. For example, if you haven’t been in a hospital, you don’t really understand what is going on in there. I realised there was more to life than only to be comfortable on your own. You can open up to help others. I know the pain that I went through as an adult, so imagine how it is for kids. It’s difficult for them to take that pain.
Here’s the bit of Mourinho’s press conference about Marcus Rashford that preceded the bit I quoted earlier. It is reminiscent of the rant about his record of promoting players from youth academies with which he introduced himself at United in 2016, only hopefully a little more factually accurate:
If you don’t mind to lose a couple of minutes with me, I’m going to do something for the United fans.
In the season 16/17 Marcus Rashford played 32 Premier League matches, 11 Europa League matches including the final, three FA Cup matches, six League Cup matches including the final and the Community Shield. He had 53 appearances but if you want to take the minutes of play he played 3,068 minutes and if you want to divide that by 90 minutes he played 34.2 matches in 16/17.
Here’s a bit of encouraging analysis for Liverpool:
Here’s a bit of south coastal team news:
The Scotland winger Ryan Fraser is a doubt for Bournemouth’s Premier League match against Leicester because of a hamstring problem picked up on international duty. Left-back Charlie Daniels (knee) missed the defeat at Chelsea before the international break and remains unavailable. Midfielder Junior Stanislas, who last week signed a new three-year contract, continues his comeback from a knee injury.
There has been a further update in the ongoing Watford/Everton/Marco Silva imbroglio. This from the Press Association:
The Premier League has asked a law firm to investigate if Everton made an illegal approach for Marco Silva when he was Watford’s manager last season.
Despite Premier League efforts to mediate between the two clubs, and hopes that Richarlison’s £40m move from Vicarage Road to Goodison Park meant relations had been restored, Watford’s anger over Everton’s autumn interest in Silva has not abated. As a result, the league has been forced to ask lawyers to start a preliminary, independent investigation.
This is a great yarn. You may want to tuck it behind your ear for some lunchtime reading, or you could consume it immediately like Jamie Vardy with a can of Red Bull. Either way, it’s worth a read.
In response to a question from the floor suggesting he should be in the team more often, José Mourinho has pulled out a piece of paper in his press conference today and reeled off a load of statistics about the number of appearances Marcus Rashford has made under his management, how many minutes he has played, and how many major finals he has contributed to.
The people who are speaking about his minutes, I think they’re a bit confused. Marcus Rashford is not Dominic Solanke, he’s not Ruben Loftus-Cheek, he’s not Dominic Calvert-Lewin, he’s Marcus Rashford, a Manchester United player with an incredible number of appearances and an incredible number of minutes played at the highest level and the biggest competitions. So for Manchester United supporters, to know what we’re doing with Marcus Rashford, with Jesse Lingard, with Luke Shaw, with Scott McTominay, that is what we are doing here.
Leicester boss Claude Puel has warned Bournemouth Jamie Vardy is “refreshed and hungry” as he prepares to return to action at the Vitality Stadium.
The striker has missed the last three matches through suspension following his straight red card during the home win against Wolves on August 18, and had a more relaxed international break after asking not to be considered for England duty.
With a traditional 3pm Saturday kick-off, I’ll have a can of Red Bull as soon as I wake up, which is gone in 30 seconds. I don’t have breakfast and won’t eat anything until I have a cheese-and-ham omelette with baked beans at 11.30am. I wash that down with another Red Bull, which I also neck quickly.
While we’re waiting and killing a bit of time, I have a double espresso. We get into the dressing room an hour and a half before kick-off, and I’ll have a third can of Red Bull straight away.
Jurgen Klopp is chatting with Sky, ahead of his team’s trip to Tottenham. He’s asked first about the international break, and about flying his Brazilian trio home in a private jet:
They’re all back, all fit, so it was a good break. We brought them back as comfortable as possible. On a plane like that it’s really comfortable so they could have a proper sleep. It’s the best way to do it. It’s absolutely not perfect, but it’s OK.
The team is doing well. That’s one thing. It gives us the time to work with him. He could have played already but the other players are a step ahead, they know already what we are doing. His time will come, 100%.
I’m not interested in it. It’s gone. The next game is Tottenham, it’s a completely different challenge. We have to see. It’s always a challenge. It’s always interesting, you never know exactly what will happen but I’m pretty sure we will have a good time in the next few weeks but we have to fight. It’s still early in the season. Four games only.
Of course it’s the toughest test so far, 100%. They’re a great team, they worked together for five years nearly. Still a very young squad but they made experiences together. It’s a really interesting project there. A good team, fantastic manager, can cause any team problems. So we have to see.
Meanwhile, here are 10 things to look out for in the Premier League this weekend:
Today’s Rumour Mill includes the knockout news that the man behind Watford’s Harry the Hornet, Sam Allardyce and Roy Hodgson’s least favourite mascot, has hung up his comedy outsize head for the last time.
I have officially stepped away from being the Match Day Mascot at #watfordfc my decision, proud of what I have achieved, the memories made and the experiences I’ve had – I was privileged and now heavy hearted also. Love you Harry! ⚽️
Here’s some early team news, all for some reason (media bias, presumably) from London or not-far-from-London teams:
Crystal Palace will be without Belgian striker Christian Benteke because of a knee problem for the Premier League trip to Huddersfield. Wilfried Zaha (groin) has returned to training and is being monitored. Defender James Tomkins (calf) has also stepped up his recovery so could be involved, but Scott Dann (knee) and Connor Wickham (calf) remain unavailable.
And lo, the weekend is upon us. This one features the following Premier League fixtures, about which I’ll be bringing you the very latest preaction and team news as the day unfolds: