‘When he talks, people listen’: Tyler Adams is a formidable USA captain | USA

As the youngest United States men’s national team in generations plotted their return to soccer’s biggest stage after an eight-year absence, manager Gregg Berhalter relied on a captaincy-by-committee approach. More than a dozen different American players took on the role of captain over the past three and a half years as Berhalter rotated the armband across a leadership collective drawn from the team’s senior players.

But when the time finally arrived to select a World Cup captain, the question was put to a player vote. To no one’s surprise, Tyler Adams got the call from his peers.

As the United States prepare for Saturday’s match with the Netherlands and an opportunity to reach the last eight of the World Cup for the first time in two decades, no single player has made a bigger impact than Adams, the Leeds United midfielder who has been the team’s brightest star across three matches in Qatar, both on and off the pitch.

The 23-year-old from Wappinger, New York, about 60 miles north of Manhattan, has thrived as the defensive bulwark of a midfield that will be the US team’s biggest strength against the favored Dutch. Adams offers a controlled, efficient presence for the Americans from a deep position. He’s also more than lived up to his role as the unflappable leader of a romper room that has fielded the youngest starting XI of any team at this World Cup.

“His leadership has been vital to us from day one,” Berhalter said early Wednesday morning after the US defeated Iran in a riveting group-stage finale to seal their progress to the knockout stage. “In this World Cup, he’s extremely focused and his play has been outstanding over the course of these three games. He’s been performing lights out.”

Adams’ age makes him an unorthodox choice as a World Cup skipper – the only other captain in the whole tournament under 30 is England’s Harry Kane, who is 29 – but his maturity has made him a tailor-made fit for this precocious group.

“When you start talking about the captain types … Tyler fits a very specific role,” said Berhalter. “He’s the general, he’s the strategist. He’s the guy that goes out there and leads by example. When he talks, people listen.”

As much as Adams has stood out for the United States on the pitch, it’s been his poise and composure off it that’s captured attention back home. That was never clearer than earlier this week, when US Soccer’s decision to scrub the emblem of the Islamic Republic from Iran’s national flag on social media kicked off a political firestorm.

At a tense news conference on Monday afternoon, a phalanx of Iranian press members peppered Berhalter and Adams with provocative questions that invoked US immigration policy, school shootings, runaway inflation rates and even America’s military presence in the Gulf. Amid the barrage, Adams was sharply chastised by Iranian journalists for mispronouncing their country’s name, then immediately pressed to answer for America’s centuries-old legacy of inequality and racial discrimination.

“First of all, you say you support the Iranian people but you’re pronouncing our country’s name wrong: our country is named ee-ran, not eye-rahn” one reporter said. “Please once and for all, let’s get this clear. Second of all, are you OK to be representing a country that has so [much] discrimination against Black people in its own borders?”

Adams, after apologizing for the mispronunciation, delivered a confident, assured response.

“There’s discrimination everywhere you go,” Adams said. “One thing that I’ve learned, especially from living abroad in the past few years and having to fit in and kind of assimilate into different cultures, is that in the US we’re continuing to make progress every single day.

“Growing up for me, I was in a white family with an African-American heritage and background, as well. So I had a little bit of different cultures and I was very easily able to assimilate in different cultures. Not everyone has that, that ease and the ability to do that, and obviously it takes longer for some to understand. Through education, I think it’s super important. Like you just educated me now on the pronunciation of your country. It’s a process. I think, as long as you see progress, that’s the most important thing.”

Tyler Adams mispronounced Iran and was called out by an Iranian journalist – who followed up with a question on discrimination in the United States.

His response: An all time classy answer- Captain & Leader. #USMNT 👏 pic.twitter.com/pELQmBttPl

— Stu Holden (@stuholden) November 28, 2022

The exchange has since gone viral, spreading far beyond the typically parochial soccer discourse in the United States into the mainstream, making for think-piece fodder and winning the praise of commentators who typically focus exclusively on the country’s more established sports.

Adams, who has a white mother and a Black father but grew up in a white family, is the frontman of a diverse and multicultural US collective that reflects the nation they represent like never before. Although Latino players remain curiously underrepresented, nearly half of the 26-man squad is comprised of players of color – a long-overdue shift in a nation where the sport has far too long been the province of upper- and middle-class white kids.

He joined the New York Red Bulls’ academy in 2011, during childhood idol Thierry Henry’s four-year stint in Major League Soccer. Adams signed a professional contract and made his senior-team debut four years later. Having forged a reputation as an industrious ball-winning defensive midfielder, Adams moved to NYRB’s sister club RB Leipzig in 2019, making his biggest splash when he fired in the last-gasp winner that lifted the Bundesliga club into the Champions League semi-finals. After three promising seasons in Germany, he landed at Leeds in a $24.2m (£20m) transfer this summer, where he has come into his own under the American manager Jesse Marsch and alongside US teammate Brenden Aaronson.

Tyler Adams’ dynamism has helped the US reach the last 16 in Qatar
Tyler Adams’ dynamism has helped the US reach the last 16 in Qatar. Photograph: Amin Mohammad Jamali/Getty Images

Cutting his teeth in two of the world’s best leagues has done wonders for Adams’ play and it’s paid off handsomely in Qatar, where he’s passed well and made countless important interceptions in the No 6 role, helping the Americans overrun the midfield for long stretches. But as Berhalter has noted, his readiness as a locker-room leader was apparent from the moment he made his international debut back in 2017.

“We think he has great leadership capabilities and he leads by his actions and his words,” Berhalter said. “Tyler’s a guy that’s just mature beyond his years, and you notice it from the minute you start talking to him. He’s a guy that teammates know exactly what they’re going to get from him. They know that he’s going to go out on the field and compete.”

For Adams, who wants to pursue sports psychology once his playing days are done, it’s a moment that he’s prepared for since he first broke in with the national team.

“One thing, at the end of the day, that I always want to do is I want to be a winner,” Adams said last week. “So first off, I’m very competitive. I want to hold the guys around me to the same standard. I don’t want to lose and then have to point the finger and say ‘You let me down today’. I just want to make sure that everyone’s on the same page. Intensity-wise, mentality-wise, that we all buy into the same thing.

“I think I’ve been doing that since a young age and as much as I know my strengths, I know my weaknesses as well. And I want people to criticize me. I’m open to feedback all the time and I want to get better and improve.”

Spurs seal another dramatic comeback as late Bentancur double sinks Leeds | Premier League

Six weeks’ pause for breath never looked so tempting. This match had a seesaw feel about it at the outset and went on to surpass itself; Tottenham and Leeds were exhilarating and exasperating in turn, often during the same sequence of play, but when the music stopped it was Antonio Conte who could savour the moment with his inimitable brand of arm-whirling euphoria. He had enjoyed watching Harry Kane and Ben Davies adorn their World Cup preparations with goals but nobody in the ground could have predicted the identity of the player who turned things on their head.

Rodrigo Bentancur had been helpless to prevent his opponent and namesake, the forward Rodrigo, from scoring his second outstanding goal of the game but need not have been concerned. Spurs were losing again with 14 minutes left but, by the time seven more had passed, the Uruguayan had converted two chances of his own. The first was a 15-yard drive deflected in via Luke Ayling, Leeds’s unfortunate substitute; next up was a close-range finish after stellar work from Dejan Kulusevski, whose return to the starting lineup after injury made all the difference for Tottenham. Now Conte can avoid too many awkward questions given Spurs will spend Christmas in the top four.

“It was really strange; tough,” Conte said. “Every coach doesn’t want to have this type of game, it shows a lot of instability in one side and the other side.” Tottenham were first to display it, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg allowing Brenden Aaronson to get the wrong side of him and slide through Crysencio Summerville, the diminutive young winger, who scored a well-taken fourth goal in four games.

Summerville could have scored again before Kane’s equaliser but Spurs had already been full of threat, the hapless Emerson Royal skying a sitter and Kulusevski irresistible on the right. Leeds and Jesse Marsch were left to fume when Illan Meslier, boxed in by Clément Lenglet and Richarlison, could not make clean contact with a corner. Kane took advantage emphatically via some nifty footwork.

“It’s a foul,” Marsch said, while Conte preferred to wax lyrical about the England captain’s preparedness for Qatar. “He’s in really good physical condition and in my opinion he’s also mentally stronger than before,” he said. “I see a player that is ready, I see in his eyes a desire to be a protagonist in the best competition in the world.”

The injured Son Heung-min marvels at Rodrigo Bentancur’s match-winning double before the pair head off to the World Cup.
The injured Son Heung-min marvels at Rodrigo Bentancur’s match-winning double before the pair head off to the World Cup. Photograph: Tottenham Hotspur FC/Getty Images

Rodrigo will not be there with Spain but his volley just before half-time, meeting Rasmus Kristensen’s header adroitly, would have been worthy of the stage. Spurs needed to do it all again and Davies, whose 20-yarder squirmed through a combination of Meslier and Kristensen after the former had blocked from Kane, restored morale with the second period six minutes old.

Leeds dictated possession in the subsequent spell, with Spurs oddly flat, and appeared primed to win when Marc Roca played Rodrigo through for an immaculate finish into the only far-post spot Hugo Lloris could not cover. Tottenham claimed Bentancur had been fouled by Tyler Adams in the buildup; they may have had a point but, in seizing on a weak clearance to equalise again via that small stroke of fortune, he set up a hefty dose of revenge.

Kulusevski’s contribution to the clincher, reaching the byline for the umpteenth time before nudging the ball back cleverly, was outstanding; how Spurs have missed the sometimes understated but unfailingly effective Swede since September. There was still time for Adams, who Kane had deceived in the act of scoring, to be dismissed for a second yellow card and ensure his manager departed feeling desolate.

“I’m gutted,” Marsch said. “I feel like someone has ripped my heart out. I thought we had control of the match but then we let it slip.” His angst was understandable.

A relieved Conte reflected on the impact of a taxing spell, which included the death of his popular fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone, on his squad. He pointed out that the fixture schedule, and subsequent lack of time to fine-tune on the training pitch, may have laid part of the ground for the chaos that unfolded here.

“When you don’t work on tactical aspects you are going to lose something; we lost a lot I think,” he said. The neutral gained the wildest of mid-season rides.

Premier League team news: predicted lineups for the weekend action | Manchester City

Bournemouth v Everton

Saturday 3pm Venue Vitality Stadium Last season n/a

Referee Craig Pawson This season G7 Y31 R0 4.43 cards/game

Odds H 19-10 A 7-4 D 9-4

Bournemouth v Everton


Subs from Dennis,Christie, Marcondes, Rothwell, Stacey, Lowe, Stanislas, Zemura, Dembélé, Pearson, Hill, Anthony

Doubtful Zemura (knock)

Injured Brooks (thigh, 26 Dec), Kelly (ankle, 26 Dec), Neto (thigh, 26 Dec)

Suspended Mepham (one match)

Discipline Y22 R0


Leading scorer Billing 4


Subs from Begovic, Jakupovic, Lonergan, Patterson, Mina, Keane, Holgate, Vinagre, Doucouré, Garner, Davies, Rondón, McNeil, Welch, Mills, John, Cannon

Doubtful Holgate (knee)

Injured Calvert-Lewin (hamstring/knee, 26 Dec), Godfrey (broken leg, 26 Dec), Townsend (knee, 26 Dec)

Suspended None

Discipline Y33 R0


Leading scorer Gordon 3

Liverpool v Southampton

Saturday 3pm Venue Anfield Last season Liverpool 4 Southampton 0

Referee Simon Hooper This season G9 Y26 R0 2.88 cards/game

Odds H 3-11 A 11-1 D 6-1

Liverpool v Southampton


Subs from Adrián, Kelleher, Davies, Ramsay, Matip, Tsimikas, Phillips, Milner, Jones, Elliott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Bajcetic, Carvalho, Gomez

Doubtful Matip (calf), Milner (concussion)

Injured Keïta (thigh, 26 Dec), Díaz (knee, 26 Dec), Jota (calf, Jan), Arthur (thigh, unknown)

Suspended None

Discipline Y12 R1


Leading scorers Firmino, Salah 6


Subs from Caballero, McCarthy, Caleta-Car, A Armstrong, Mara, Djenepo, Edozie, Diallo, Walcott

Doubtful xnamex (xreasonx), xnamex (xreasonx)

Injured Walker-Peters (thigh, 26 Dec), Livramento (knee, Jan), Larios (groin, unknown)

Suspended None

Discipline Y22 R0


Leading scorer Adams 3

Nottingham Forest v Crystal Palace

Saturday 3pm Venue City Ground Last season n/a

Referee John Brooks This season G6 Y24 R0 4 cards/game

Odds H 11-5 A 16-11 D 2-1

Nottingham Forest v Crystal Palace

Nottingham Forest

Subs from Hennessey, Smith, Soh, Williams, Colback, Awoniyi, Surridge, Cafú, Kouyaté, Dennis, McKenna, Badé, Boly, Taylor

Doubtful Kouyaté (knock), McKenna (knock)

Injured Richards (calf, 26 Dec), Toffolo (thigh, 26 Dec), Biancone (knee, unknown), Niakhaté (thigh, unknown)

Suspended Mangala (one match)

Discipline Y34 R0


Leading scorer Awoniyi 3

Crystal Palace

Subs from Butland, Johnstone, Whitworth, Milivojevic, Tomkins, Mateta, Clyne, Hughes, Édouard, Ebiowei, Ferguson, Balmer, Riedewald, Gordon, Wells-Morrison, Phillips, Goodman, Rodney

Doubtful Édouard (thigh)

Injured McArthur (groin, unknown), Richards (thigh, unknown)

Suspended None

Discipline Y29 R0


Leading scorer Zaha 6

Tottenham v Leeds

Saturday 3pm Venue Tottenham Hotspur Stadium Last season Tottenham 2 Leeds 1

Referee Michael Salisbury This season G6 Y31 R0 5.16 cards/game

Odds H 11-17 A 43-10 D 17-5

Tottenham v Leeds


Subs from Forster, Austin, Doherty, Spence, Sánchez, Tanganga, Bissouma, Skipp, Sarr, Lucas Moura, Gil

Doubtful Lucas Moura (tendon)

Injured Romero (calf, 14 Nov), Sessegnon (knock, 14 Nov), Son (eye, unknown)

Suspended None

Discipline Y25 R1


Leading scorer Kane 11


Subs from Klaesson, Robles, Ayling, Llorente, Firpo, Hjelde, Gelhardt, Greenwood, Harrison, Gyabi, Drameh

Doubtful Gelhardt (knock), Harrison (knock)

Injured Bamford (hip, 26 Dec), Forshaw (knee, 26 Dec), Gray (ankle, 26 Dec), Klich (knee, 26 Dec), Sinisterra (ankle, 26 Dec), Dallas (broken leg, Jan)

Suspended None

Discipline Y25 R1


Leading scorer Rodrigo 7

West Ham v Leicester

Saturday 3pm Venue London Stadium Last season West Ham 4 Leicester 1

Referee Jarred Gillett This season G6 Y24 R0 4 cards/game

Odds H Evs A 11-4 D 5-2

West Ham v Leicester

West Ham

Subs from Areola, Randolph, Johnson, Coufal, Fornals, Antonio, Lanzini, Downes, Ogbonna, Aguerd, Coventry, Ashby

Doubtful None

Injured Cornet (calf, unknown), Palmieri (knock, unknown)

Suspended None

Discipline Y16 R0


Leading scorers Antonio, Benrahma, Bowen, Scamacca 2


Subs from Iversen, Smithies, Ward, Vardy, Albrighton, Iheanacho, Pérez, Amartey, Vestergaard, Mendy, Soumaré

Doubtful None

Injured Pereira (calf, Jan), Justin (achilles, May), Bertrand (knee, unknown), Soyuncu (hamstring, unknown)

Suspended None

Discipline Y17 R0


Leading scorer Maddison 6

Newcastle v Chelsea

Saturday 5.30pm Sky Sports Premier League Venue St James’ Park Last season Newcastle 0 Chelsea 3

Referee Robert Jones This season G8 Y28 R1 3.63 cards/game

Odds H 7-5 A 2-1 D 28-11

Newcastle v Chelsea


Subs from Darlow, Gillespie, Karius, Lascelles, Targett, Manquillo, Lewis, Shelvey, Anderson, S Longstaff, Wood, Fraser, Murphy

Doubtful Darlow (ankle), Fraser (calf), Wilson (illness)

Injured Isak (thigh, 26 Dec), Ritchie (calf, 26 Dec), Krafth (knee, Aug), Dummett (calf, unknown)

Suspended None

Discipline Y20 R0


Leading scorer Almirón 8


Subs from Bettinelli, Jorginho, Pulisic, Broja, Zakaria, Ziyech, Gallagher, Koulibaly, Soonsup-Bell, Hall

Doubtful Jorginho (ankle)

Injured Arrizabalaga (ankle, 26 Dec), Kanté (thigh, Feb), Chilwell (thigh, unknown), Chukwuemeka (thigh, unknown), Fofana (knee, unknown), James (knee, unknown)

Suspended None

Discipline Y31 R2


Leading scorers Havertz, Sterling 3

Brighton v Aston Villa

Sunday 2pm Sky Sports Premier League Venue Amex Stadium Last season Brighton 0 Aston Villa 2

Referee Chris Kavanagh This season G4 Y16 R0 4 cards/game

Odds H 9-10 A 10-3 D 3-1

Brighton v Aston Villa


Subs from McGill, Steele, Lamptey, Colwill, Welbeck, Sarmiento, Enciso, Undav, Gilmour, Van Hecke, Veltman

Doubtful None

Injured Moder (knee, Feb)

Suspended None

Discipline Y17 R0


Leading scorer Trossard 7

Aston Villa

Subs from Olsen, Steer, McGinn, Sanson, Ings, Chambers, Augustinsson, Young, Nakamba, Bednarek, Guilbert, Archer, Kamara

Doubtful None

Injured Coutinho (thigh, unknown), Diego Carlos (calf, unknown)

Suspended None

Discipline Y30 R1


Leading scorers Bailey, Ings 3

Fulham v Manchester United

Sunday 4.30pm Sky Sports Premier League Venue Craven Cottage Last season n/a

Referee Paul Tierney This season G11 Y43 R2 4.09 cards/game

Odds H 3-1 A Evs D 3-1

Fulham v Manchester United


Subs from Rodak, Kurzawa, Adarabioyo, Duffy, Chalobah, James, Mbabu, Harris

Doubtful None

Injured Solomon (knee, Jan), Kebano (calf, unknown), Mitrovic (ankle, unknown)

Suspended Reed (one match), Tete (one match)

Discipline Y35 R1


Leading scorer Mitrovic 9

Manchester United

Subs from Dubravka, Heaton, Jones, Maguire, Ronaldo, Fred, Sancho, Pellistri, Van de Beek, Elanga, McTominay, Mengi, Shoretire, Garnacho

Doubtful Antony (match fitness), Ronaldo (illness), Sancho (illness)

Injured Varane (hamstring, 22 Nov), Tuanzebe (match fitness, unknown), Wan-Bissaka (match fitness, unknown), Williams (match fitness, unknown)

Suspended Dalot (one match)

Discipline Y36 R0


Leading scorer Rashford 4

Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action | Football

1) Saka should take heavy tackles as a compliment

Officially, Bukayo Saka is the 33rd most fouled player in the Premier League. Unofficially, Arsenal fans will tell you that their man is the victim of some sinister conspiracy between opposition left-backs and referees to get him hacked out of the game. So, a valid concern or the usual tribal tinfoil nonsense? It’s actually more complex than it looks. What sets Saka apart is his unique close dribbling style, the ball almost wedged between his feet as he runs. So when he buys the contact – because all wingers buy contact – the tackle often takes ball and man together, making it hard to see which impact came first. Simply put, referees need to do better here. But it also needs a recognition from Arsenal fans that Saka isn’t being deliberately victimised or singled out: he’s just really, unusually good. Jonathan Liew

2) Can Emery nurture Villa’s stars-in-waiting?

It feels a long time ago now but Unai Emery gave Arsenal debuts to Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe. It is a slice of history that would appear to bode well for Aston Villa, whose academy graduateJacob Ramsey completed the scoring in victory over Manchester United on Sunday. Ramsey replaced Ashley Young in Villa’s only change and he repaid Emery’s faith with a vibrant midfield display, smartly combining with Ollie Watkins, Emiliano Buendía and Leon Bailey, and the way the 21-year-old, who joined Villa aged six, has started under Emery suggests he will be in the thick of things. Emery referenced Villa’s academy at his unveiling last week and in the Spaniard the club believe they have one of the the best coaches in the world to nurture talent. Ben Fisher

3) Núñez looks ill-suited to wide role

It’s fair to say that Darwin Núñez is not the world’s most silky-smooth footballer, and indeed his doomed, ungainly scurries down the left provided Spurs fans with some rare levity in the first half. If the target man’s bungled dribbles raised the question of what he was doing out on the wing, then perhaps Mohamed Salah’s two goals – dispatched after stealing into central positions – provided the answer: an attack spearheaded by Roberto Firmino gives Liverpool’s best finisher licence to drift infield. Not that this will be much consolation to Núñez, who remains the jigsaw piece that doesn’t fit. The lineage of Liverpool players signed as thrilling goalscorers only to labour painfully out wide is a long one that stretches from Heskey to Aspas via Diouf, Cissé and Babel. If the Uruguayan is to avoid joining that list, his manager must find an effective way of playing him centrally. Whether such a solution exists, on current evidence, is far from certain. Alex Hess

Darwin Núñez in possession
Darwin Núñez played on the left against Tottenham. Photograph: Marc Atkins/Getty Images

4) Howe’s first year has been a revelation

While it seems increasingly unlikely Ralph Hasenhüttl will make it as far as a fourth anniversary at Southampton, the man opposite him in the dugout at St Mary’s celebrates 12 months with Newcastle job this week. The turnaround in that time has been remarkable, from a relegation battle to genuine top-four contenders. Their win on the south coast was Eddie Howe’s 20th in 41 league matches – and 19 have come in the last 32 games. For all the inevitable talk of Saudi riches, Howe has also coached a set of individuals into a fine collective: 13 of his latest match-day squad predated his arrival. When one press member made a comparison with Leicester’s 2016 title winners, Howe smiled. “I remember that Leicester team very well. But I just think we are trying to be ourselves.” Sam Dalling

5) Gnonto changes the game for Leeds

Wilfried Gnonto. Remember the name because Jesse Marsch’s 19-year-old Italy forward is very good indeed. It is no exaggeration to say that Gnonto altered the entire topography of a game Bournemouth had been in control of after he came off the bench at half-time. No matter that Leeds swiftly fell 3-1 behind, Gnonto – along with his fellow substitute Sam Greenwood and Marsch’s inspired switch from 4-2-3-1 to 4-3-3 – recalibrated the power balance. After goals by Greenwood and Liam Cooper levelled the score, Gnonto created Crysencio Summerville’s second winning goal in two games with a wonderful run and beautifully weighted through pass. “Wilfried’s a very intelligent young man,” said Marsch. “Wherever you play him you see his savviness and clarity of thought. He speaks multiple languages, understands tactics and has quality. He’s making a big case for more minutes.” Louise Taylor

6) Guardiola’s recipe for City success

Manchester City refused to accept anything less than a win despite João Cancelo’s first-half red card. Pep Guardiola was asked if his team take an elixir to feed their addiction to victory. “A magic potion like Asterix and Obelix?” he said. “No but I see Fulham, they do good things and I made warnings to the players, they trained incredibly well, I saw how focused they were, so I went to sleep confident.” Kevin De Bruyne was again in fine form, claiming the 95th-minute penalty that Erling Haaland dispatched. His manager’s contract expires in the summer and the Belgian seemed no more informed than anyone else about how the situation might play out. “After seven years maybe it is more calm for him. To be honest I don’t know [about his future], I don’t think you’ll get too much out of him. And that is fine.” Jamie Jackson

7) Lallana looks a natural leader for Brighton

Roberto De Zerbi says he needs clever footballers who fully understand his complex tactics and style. One player who is helping his teammates is Adam Lallana. The 34-year-old was briefly part of the coaching staff between Graham Potter’s exit to Chelsea and De Zerbi’s arrival, offering an indication of his future plans. “Lallana is a teacher on the pitch,” De Zerbi said after defeating Wolves 3-2. “I think he will become a very good coach. I hope not now because I want him on the pitch but he is very intelligent, very smart.” While working with the squad, his “enthusiasm, commitment and professionalism” impressed the chief executive, Paul Barber. On the pitch, he looks perfect operating behind Leandro Trossard and excels with the one-touch play in and around the area. He has a few years left in his legs but when the time comes to hang up the boots, he will have options. Will Unwin

In the second half came one of those moments common to these pre-World Cup times. Lucas Paquetá screamed out after a tackle from Jordan Ayew, rolling over several times. Was his Qatar dream dead? The Brazilian, his ankle checked over, continued and played out the 90 minutes. “If anybody was maybe going to create or craft us a goal late in the game it was probably going to be Lucas,” said David Moyes, putting the anguish down to cramp. The Hammers are yet to see the best of a player counted among Brazil manager Tite’s chosen ones, suggesting the problems of recruiting in this interrupted season. Paquetá did not look much interested in physical battles with Crystal Palace and is back in the team after a shoulder problem. Moyes, like so many other Premier League managers, is forced to rely on players whose focus is drifting – a suboptimal situation. John Brewin

Lucas Paqueta in action against Crystal Palace
Lucas Paqueta is yet to peak at West Ham. Photograph: Tom Dulat/Getty Images

9) Foxes find form at both ends of field

“How are you lot behind us?” asked one incredulous Evertonian of a Leicester City video analyst sat in the Goodison Park press box on Saturday night. It was a reasonable query on the final whistle, given the superiority of Brendan Rodgers’ team in every department over their error-strewn hosts, although Leicester are now above Everton on goal difference and heading in a different direction. Creatively, the contributions of James Maddison, Harvey Barnes, Youri Tielemans and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall eclipsed anything Everton had to offer. And their defence made Frank Lampard’s team appear impotent, particularly after Dominic Calvert-Lewin departed with another injury. Leicester conceded 22 goals in the first seven Premier League games of the season; they have conceded three in the last seven. “The summer was tough for us,” said Rodgers, who reserved special praise for his only outfield summer signing. “But I always said that with patience and hard work on the training field we could get back to our level. It’s great to see them playing with joy and quality and you can see the difference that Wout Faes is making.” Andy Hunter

10) The joy of a good goalmouth scramble

Amid the glitz and glamour of the Premier League – a division of otherworldly finesse and scarcely believable skill – there’s nothing like a horribly messy goalmouth scramble to remind us that we’re all human after all. Nottingham Forest’s 96th-minute equaliser against Brentford had a bit of everything: a desperate flap from David Raya, several seconds of human pinball, a helpless last touch from Mathias Jørgensen and, finally, a heroic clearance from Ben Mee – only for goalline technology to intervene and leave him with his head buried in the turf. Thomas Frank’s side have played some excellent football this season, but they have also been highly inconsistent. Without a victory in four, they are now on their longest winless run of the campaign and face an unenviable trip to Manchester City before the World Cup. They have not tasted victory away from home in the league all season; going on their wildly unpredictable form, they’ll probably win 3-0. Will Magee

Crysencio Summerville hits high note again to seal comeback win for Leeds | Premier League

The Leeds squad marked Halloween with a fancy dress party and, for most of a shockingly slapdash first half, Jesse Marsch must have suspected they were still in disguise.

With Marcus Tavernier excelling, Bournemouth were in complete control but a couple of inspired substitutions ensured that thanks to Cyrsencio Summerville’s second winning goal in consecutive games the visitors were consigned to a fourth straight Premier League defeat.

“In our good moments you can see how strong we are,” said Marsch. “Consistency is lacking but the belief is still high. That’s what I love about the team. But the first half wasn’t our best. We dug ourselves a big hole.”

Although Leeds were initially confused by Bournemouth’s habit of segueing between a back four and a back five, they started strongly. Inside the first minute, Summerville, the scorer of last weekend’s winner at Liverpool, accelerated into the area only to be clumsily hacked down by Marcos Senesi. Rodrigo stepped forward to take the penalty and, after a somewhat elaborate run up, used his left foot to send Mark Travers the wrong way.

Marsch has recently toned down his touchline celebrations but as Rodrigo converted his sixth goal of the season – and third in three games – the American reverted to default mode, punching the air with untrammelled abandon.

Bournemouth possess a rather useful left-winger of their own in Tavernier and it did not take their summer signing from Middlesbrough long to remind everyone of his talent. When Philip Billing crossed menacingly, Robin Koch could only head the ball as far as Tavernier whose volley was too good for Illan Meslier.

Although Meslier parried Tavernier’s next shot, Billing – who tortured Pascal Struijk throughout –reacted quickest to lash the rebound high into the net.

If Jack Harrison’s relocation from the left to the right wing appeared to have reduced Leeds’s attacking threat it represented the least of their problems. With Koch and Liam Cooper bullied by Dominic Solanke and Kieffer Moore, a static home defence was fortunate not to concede at least three more goals before half time.

Crysencio Summerville fires home the winner for Leeds.
Crysencio Summerville fires home the winner for Leeds. Photograph: Marc Atkins/Getty Images

“I’m bitterly disappointed,” said Bournemouth manager, Gary O’Neil. “We created loads and loads of chances.”

At least Leeds had Wilfried Gnonto on the bench. The striker signed from FC Zurich in the summer is already a full Italy international at the age of 19 and he replaced Harrison at half-time as Leeds switched to a 4-3-3. Before Gnonto could make an impact a counterattacking Bournemouth scored again. Tavernier all too easily – and not for the first time – dodged Rasmus Kristensen before sending in a low cross which Solanke brilliantly flicked past Meslier.

The rain and the boos cascaded down in almost equal measure. At that point Leeds fans pining for the injured Patrick Bamford could hardly have guessed that, in replacing Marc Roca with Sam Greenwood, Marsch was about to make a transformational substitution. Greenwood is a central midfielder these days but used to be a striker and emphasised the point by wrapping a foot around a bouncing ball and reducing the deficit courtesy of a sublimely curving, 20-yard half volley.

Sudddenly Elland Road became reacquainted with the concept of hope. Such faith was justified when Cooper headed Leeds level from a corner. Given that Greenwood took the set-piece and that Gnonto – intelligent, incisive and blessed with a wicked change of pace – was petrifying the defence, redemption beckoned for Marsch.

It arrived when Gnonto collected the ball deep inside his own half, hared forward and slipped a beautifully weighted pass into Summerville’s path. Some forwards might have lost their composure at such a pivotal moment but the 21-year-old Dutch winger proved a study in poise and precision, sliding his shot beyond the advancing Travers.

Almost immediately, fireworks began illuminating the skies above Elland Road. “We never have simple wins,” Marsch said. “We don’t make things easy.”

Jesse Marsch says Leeds have ‘stopped the bleeding’ after win over Liverpool | Leeds United

Jesse Marsch claimed Leeds had “stopped the bleeding” after they ended a run of eight Premier League games without a win by beating Liverpool for the first time since April 2001.

Leeds, who started the day in the relegation zone and with their manager under intense pressure, produced a highly impressive away display to condemn Jürgen Klopp’s team to a first home league defeat in 30 matches.

Crysencio Summerville struck the winner in the 89th minute – and on the eve of his 21st birthday – to spark wild celebrations among the Leeds’ fans and in Marsch’s technical area.

A relieved Leeds manager said: “At 1-1 and when it was close against Fulham last week it was like we were waiting to lose more than pushing to win. The best part tonight was that you saw real resolve at 1-1. We needed Illan [Meslier] to make some big saves but I think the mentality to push and stay in the match and see if we could get three points showed resolve and belief.

“It was necessary to stop the bleeding. The guys are happy. There is music in the dressing room I want them to enjoy the moment, but we have use this to launch ourselves.”

Marsch admitted “the heat” was on him after eight league games without a win but insisted he felt no pressure from the Leeds hierarchy. He said: “Everybody’s made a big deal about firing me but the board and I have been unified and we’ve stuck together. My focus was on the team. The ability for them, at an incredibly tough moment in the season at a very difficult place against one of the best teams in the world, to come away with three points is incredibly important.”

Jürgen Klopp
Jürgen Klopp said Champions League football would be beyond Liverpool if their form does not improve. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

Liverpool are eight points adrift of fourth-placed Newcastle after a second Premier League defeat in succession. Klopp admitted Champions League qualification will be beyond his team this season should their inconsistent form continue.

The Liverpool manager said of the gap: “That is not my main worry but of course I am not that dumb that I don’t know about the distance and who is up there. We cannot qualify for the Champions League if we play as inconsistently as we do at the moment. We have to fix that. A lot of things are still possible but for that we have to win some football games.”

Klopp admitted his team are finding it “difficult” to control games this season and again highlighted injuries as a contributory factor but cited poor defending for Liverpool’s first home league defeat since March 2021.

He added: “We have to fight through and fight for momentum and for confidence. I would have taken a point tonight nobody would have been happy but me, but my main issue is how we defended the second goal. We had a two v one situation on the wing but no challenge. Then we had three v one inside the box but no challenge.”

Crysencio Summerville strikes late to lift Leeds and stun Liverpool | Premier League

Jesse Marsch wanted Leeds to show they remained united and on the right path at Anfield. He got that, and so much more, as his struggling team condemned Liverpool to a first Premier League home defeat since March 2021 courtesy of Crysencio Summerville’s 89th-minute winner.

The under-pressure Leeds manager tasted a first victory since August and his club’s first against Liverpool in more than 21 years thanks to an inspired display from their goalkeeper, Illan Meslier, and a collective effort that richly deserved the release of a precious win. Jürgen Klopp’s side were flat throughout as they slumped to a second successive league defeat and their first Anfield league loss for 30 matches.

Leeds almost made the worst possible start due to a defensive howler only to benefit from one to make the best possible start. How Marsch enjoyed the fine margins going his way for a change.

Only 39 seconds had elapsed when the visitors went close to gifting Liverpool the lead. A long clearance by Alisson produced a breakdown in communications in the Leeds defence with Meslier racing from his line as Liam Cooper attempted to clear ahead of Mohamed Salah. The Leeds captain headed the ball past his goalkeeper and freed Salah for an awkward chance that he hooked goalwards. Pascal Struijk managed to head clear from just in front of the goalline.

Three minutes after that let-off, Leeds led. There appeared little danger when Joe Gomez dispossessed the impressive Brenden Aaronson as they chased a Struijk pass down the left but the Liverpool defender played a careless backpass in the general vicinity of Alisson. The keeper slipped and Rodrigo, who had sprinted away from Virgil van Dijk as soon as Gomez turned towards his goal, was handed the simple task of tapping into an unguarde net from close range. Alisson’s slip was unfortunate but offered no mitigation for Gomez’s error. The backpass would not have found the goalkeeper anyhow and, for the eighth time this season, Klopp’s team found themselves trailing first.

Rodrigo runs away having pounced on an early error from Joe Gomez to give Leeds the lead.
Rodrigo runs away having pounced on an early error from Joe Gomez to give Leeds the lead. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

It gave Leeds something to hold on to but the lead lasted all of 10 minutes. Meslier saved bravely at the feet of Roberto Firmino when, having dummied an Andy Robertson pass infield, the Brazil forward was played through by a touch off Rodrigo. Leeds struggled to clear the resulting corner from Robertson, Salah found Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right and his deep cross was missed by Meslier at the back post. Robertson swept it back into the danger zone where Fabinho was unable to connect with a header but Salah, reading the flight of the cross and adjusting his body perfectly, tucked away a volley from six yards out.

The game flowed in entertaining fashion and both sides had good opportunities to score a second before the interval. Aaronson volleyed against the crossbar from close range after getting ahead of Alexander-Arnold to connect with Rasmus Kristensen’s cross. A minute later Rodrigo released Jack Harrison inside the Liverpool area but his shot was well saved by Alisson. Darwin Núñez could have edged the hosts ahead when played through a chasm in the Leeds defence by Alexander-Arnold’s pass but Meslier read the striker’s attempt to check inside and cleared with a clean challenge.

Leeds’ fans have made their disapproval clear in recent weeks but were given reason to get behind an encouraging away display at Anfield. Marsch’s side took the game to Liverpool at every opportunity and were tireless in their efforts to keep Salah, Núñez and Firmino quiet.

It was the Liverpool crowd whose grumblings could be heard when the visitors took control early in the second half. But they should have been rejoicing again when Cooper made a mess of clearing a high ball under pressure from Salah. The Leeds centre-half miscued his header, then an attempted clearance, allowing Salah to play Núñez clean through on goal. Meslier reacted well, however, and was quick off his line to block the Uruguay international’s shot.

The Leeds keeper thwarted Núñez again when he curled a 25-yard shot towards the top corner only for Meslier to tip over superbly. He also denied Salah and a late Firmino header before Summerville sent the away end into raptures with a late winner. When Wilfried Gnonto’s cross looped off fellow substitute Patrick Bamford, Summerville reacted quicker than any Liverpool defender to prod a low finish inside Alisson’s far corner. Cue delirium in the Leeds’ technical area.

‘I’m not done here’: defiant Jesse Marsch enters extra time at Leeds | Leeds United

Almost 4,000 miles separates Leeds from Racine but the values Jesse Marsch absorbed as a child growing up in the Wisconsin factory town are arguably keeping him in a job at Elland Road just now. The midwest is a part of the United States noted for the striking humility and sheer “niceness” of its inhabitants and, at least away from the pitch, Marsch seems a typically empathic export.

The Leeds manager’s impeccable politeness, patience and openness in the face of relentless questioning about his somewhat precarious job security partly illustrate why club executives are so reluctant to sack Marcelo Bielsa’s successor. It is no exaggeration to say Marsch’s disarming warmth away from the pitch has bought him extra time in West Yorkshire.

His team travel to Liverpool on Saturday seeking a first Premier League win in nine attempts, while also aiming to end a run of four straight defeats. Opinion is divided on whether Marsch has been unlucky or is promoting a football version of Liz Truss’s disastrous “Trussonomics”.

“We keep finding ways to lose,” says Marsch. “Every game’s been in the balance but when the players’ stress levels are high their attention span isn’t. And when we get the breaks, we’re not seizing the moment.”

Many of Marsch’s peers would have turned decidedly tetchy in such circumstances, yet, publicly at any rate, that midwestern charm remains pretty much intact, apparently continuing to just about win its internal conflict with “Ivy League Jesse”. During the years he spent studying history at Princeton University, Marsch acquired a level of self-belief that can sometimes straddle the narrow border between confidence and cockiness.

This swagger generally served him well as a midfield enforcer for Chicago Fire and as the manager of New York Red Bulls and Red Bull Salzburg before a rather less successful stint in charge of RB Leipzig. “I’ve never lost this much in my entire career,” says the manager, who turns 49 next month. “I’m angry; I’m sick and tired of us being the better team and coming away with nothing. But the board and I have spoken multiple times and they’re very supportive.”

If his high-energy, high counterpressing system shows few signs of serious modification, Marsch is not entirely change-resistant. Significantly he has recently dialled down the alpha male technical area strutting which, quite apart from running counter to his general off-pitch persona, occasionally brought him into conflict with referees and rival managers as Leeds won last spring’s relegation skirmish.

Jesse Marsch talks to his Leeds players during the 1-0 defeat by Arsenal at Elland Road.
Jesse Marsch talks to his Leeds players during the 1-0 defeat by Arsenal at Elland Road. Photograph: Paul Thompson/ProSports/Shutterstock

Marsch’s revelations this week that, among other backroom alterations, psychologists would be playing a heightened role at Leeds’ training base near Wetherby, was perhaps a tacit admission that his sometimes overzealous touchline motivation had been a distraction and provoked often-costly ill-discipline. Confidence is another problem, and may explain why Patrick Bamford has, uncharacteristically, missed nine clear chances this season.

After spending last season sidelined by injury, Bamford is inching closer to full fitness, but although the striker’s movement remains excellent Marsch’s sole proven finisher has mislaid his shooting boots. Bamford looks unusually nervous, something betrayed by his recent habit of dashing down the tunnel, perhaps to visit the lavatory, shortly before he is due to come on as a substitute. However Marsch is not alone in suspecting that once Bamford scores his first goal and the pressure eases, a lot more will follow.

Numbers can be deceiving but directors at a club that is 44% owned by the statistics-obsessed, NFL-rooted San Francisco 49ers Enterprises have noted that Leeds’ expected goals tally is the seventh-best in the Premier League and the same goes for their average possession quotient of 52.5%.

Moreover, despite some calamitous individual mistakes, the team’s overall defending is pretty decent, with only six top-flight rivals facing fewer shots on target from opponents. “We know we’re close,” says Marsch, who spent the summer balancing the books.

Although Leeds invested £99m on new players, most notably the midfielders Brenden Aaronson, Tyler Adams and Marc Roca, they recouped £97.5m in sales, losing their two outstanding players, the England midfield anchor Kalvin Phillips and the Brazilian winger Raphinha.

Marsch knows not signing reliable cover for Bamford represented a big mistake but remains too polite to point fingers. “I’m not going to start playing hindsight or throw anyone under the bus,” he says. He is close to the club’s Spanish director of football, Victor Orta, and is well aware that money needs to be found to redevelop the dated Elland Road.

Orta identified Marsch ahead of 39 other longlisted coaches as Bielsa’s best-equipped successor and appears loth to rip up a pressing philosophy it is hard to envisage Rafael Benítez, to name one potential new Leeds manager, retaining. Even more crucially, the team, who face a vital home game against Bournemouth next Saturday, seem still to be buying into Marsch’s message.

“We’re fully behind the manager, we believe in Jesse,” says the captain, Liam Cooper. “We’ve let ourselves down.”

Patrick Bamford applauds Leeds fans after the defeat to Fulham.
Patrick Bamford applauds Leeds fans after the defeat to Fulham. Photograph: Simon Davies/ProSports/Shutterstock

A certain level of cynicism at such sentiments is understandable, but Cooper does not do platitudes. He is noted for his sincerity, and like most of his teammates he seemingly enjoys working with a non-hierarchical coach who is happy to hold detailed tactical debates and share jokes on WhatsApp with players he treats as adults.

Along the road to Leeds, Marsch watched his father work night shifts on the assembly line of a Racine tractor factory, penned a 117-page Princeton dissertation on earthquake awareness in California, and took his wife and three children on a six-month backpacking trip around south-east Asia and the Middle East, with Egypt a favourite stop-off.

Such diverse experiences have made him very good at connecting with all sorts of people. For the moment at least, that knack appears to be keeping the Leeds boardroom and dressing room, if not the fanbase, onside.

“I’m not done here,” maintains Marsch. “But I’m not dumb … I understand that, if we don’t win, I put the board in a difficult position.”

Jesse Marsch vows to ‘stop the bleeding’ after Leeds slide into relegation zone | Premier League

Jesse Marsch has described Leeds United’s travails as “painful” and said he must “stop the bleeding” as his position came under increased scrutiny following defeat against Fulham on Sunday.

Although the Elland Road board approached the game with an apparent resolve to offer their American manager time to put things right, the club are now in the Premier League relegation zone after four successive defeats.

Leeds have gone eight matches without a win but Marsch, who replaced Marcelo Bielsa at the club last spring, made it clear he believes he retains the support of his directors following talks with the hierarchy.

“The board and I are unified completely,” replied a manager subjected to loud boos and chants of “sacked in the morning” at the final whistle when he was asked if he expected to still be in charge for the trip to Liverpool next weekend.

“We’ve had clear discussions that we’re in this together. I understand the frustration from the fans. We’re equally frustrated but we’re together. We’re unified. The players have been great, too. I know it hasn’t been easy for them or us but we believe in them; I just have to find ways to help them get better.

“It’s painful right now and I take responsibility. I have to find a way to put us on the right path and stop the bleeding. We have to do everything we can to try to figure out how to get the win.”

Marsch believes restoring confidence to be among his principal tasks. “It’s going to be about discipline, confidence and belief. We’re not converting chances in our good moments but we mustn’t stop believing. We have to stay strong and stay together. In our good moments we can be quite good, we can be aggressive and play attractive football with intensity and power.

“But, in our weak moments we look naive and vulnerable and are too weak defensively. I take responsibility. I have to find solutions, get momentum and kickstart our season.”

For the moment at least, he does not want to alter tactics or philosophy. “If we were getting killed in matches we’d have more to worry about but it’s not like that. We’re creating some good chances – and I believe things can change quickly.

“Today’s game was in the balance but Fulham are a team with confidence and it showed. Part of the problem is we’re so anxious to get forward so quickly the game starts to open up and we struggle with transitions.”

Marco Silva was considerably happier after Fulham rose to seventh, with their Serbia striker Aleksandar Mitrovic scoring his ninth goal in 11 league matches. “We were the best team, we deserved to win,” said the manager, who revealed Mitrovic is carrying a slight ankle injury. “We’ve shown we can cope with the pressure – and Mitro is a top player. He’s brilliant. He’s a really, really important player, and there’s much more to come from him.”

Aleksandar Mitrovic sparks Fulham’s comeback win over struggling Leeds | Premier League

As recently as Friday, the message from the Leeds United boardroom was that the club’s directors were determined to keep faith with Jesse Marsch but that resolve could be about to be tested.

Marsch’s side suffered a fourth straight Premier League defeat here, extending their winless run to eight games and leaving them stuck in the bottom three.

Small wonder the Leeds manager had described Sunday’s visit from Marco Silva’s Fulham as a “big, big game”, adding that his players were “motivated and angry” following last Thursday’s 2-0 defeat at Leicester. “We want to put things right,” he said.

Although the afternoon ended with a mass exodus of home fans before the final whistle as Fulham headed to seventh place in the table, it certainly looked as if Leeds were on something of a mission as they began at characteristically high tempo but the first real chance fell to Fulham. When Antonee Robinson crossed from the left, Aleksandar Mitrovic flicked on and Harrison Reed shot right footed, leaving Marc Roca to block on the line before Robin Koch defied the hovering Mitrovic by scrambling the ball to safety.

Then, just as the first murmurs of anxiety and mutterings of discontent began rippling around Elland Road, Leeds scored. Brenden Aaronson played Jack Harrison in and his right wing cross-shot struck Tim Ream’s leg, sending the ball arcing upwards to the point where Rodrigo was able to direct a header beyond Bernd Leno.

Marsch had spent much of the game standing in his trademark alpha male, legs planted wide apart, touchline stance but, most un-typically, the American did not celebrate that opener. Instead he stood impassively, suggesting this was not quite the right moment to jump for joy with characteristically extravagant abandon.

Such circumspection looked wise once Mitrovic equalised. The Serbia striker’s ninth Premier League goal in 11 games arrived after he sneaked in front of Luke Ayling to connect with Andreas Pereira’s corner and head Fulham level.

The look on Illan Meslier’s face suggested that the Leeds goalkeeper thought he should have saved it but the Frenchman subsequently proved more than equal to the danger when Pereira shot straight at him after being put clean through by Willian’s clever counter-attacking pass.

Marsch’s side were ceding control of a midfield in which 20-year-old Sam Greenwood, a former striker, had been drafted into an anchoring role in place of the injured Tyler Adams and the general mood turned correspondingly fractious.

Willian (right) celebrates scoring Fulham’s third goal against Leeds at Elland Road.
Willian celebrates after scoring Fulham’s third goal against Leeds. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA

Perhaps responding to the heat generated by both a series of niggling on-pitch altercations and the increasingly edgy home support, Silva removed his coat, revealing a smartly understated black polo neck jumper beneath.

Fulham’s manager must have had reason for quiet satisfaction as Leeds lost a further degree of discipline with Liam Cooper booked for an unnecessary foul on Pereira and sporadic boos greeted the half-time whistle.

It would surely have been worse for Marsch had Pereira scored when one on one against Meslier but the Leeds manager had more than enough to worry about at the end of a half in which Leno had barely been exerted and only Luis Sinisterra consistently troubled Silva’s defence.

There was a distinct lack of inventive attacking movement on the home side’s part and, shortly after the hour mark, Marsch endeavoured to correct it by introducing Patrick Bamford in place of Rodrigo.

Before Bamford had time to make an impact Fulham took the lead. This time, another Pereira corner was only partially cleared and the ball ended up falling kindly for Pereira to cross in the direction of the entirely unmarked Bobby De Cordova-Reid. Making the very best of such defensive generosity he duly headed past Meslier, leaving Marsch standing with hands on hips as he stared grimly at a screen in his dug-out presumably highlighting his rearguard’s failure to track De Cordova-Reid.

Fulham’s third goal, slid in left footed by Willian after Reed’s deconstruction of the Leeds backline, proved the cue for a mass, 83rd minute, exit of home fans accompanied by a soundtrack of boos. By now the, albeit half-hearted, early second half choruses of “Marching on Together” seemed to belong to a different era.

Although Crysencio Summerville and Joe Gelhardt, two second half substitutes, combined for Summerville to reduce the deficit in the 90th minute it was too little too late for Leeds and Marsch.