Maurice Norman obituary | Tottenham Hotspur

The footballer Maurice Norman, a tall, powerfully built defender, who has died aged 88, was a mainstay of Tottenham Hotspur’s famous double-winning team of 1960-61 and played 23 times for England – including in the 1962 World Cup – before his career was ended prematurely by injury in a friendly match in 1965.

While at Spurs, Norman played first at right-back and then more notably at centre-half, where he was dominating in the air and a powerful tackler on the ground. He played his first game for the north London club in 1955, and remained at White Hart Lane for a decade, making 411 appearances, 357 of them in the league.

In the process he became a key member of Bill Nicholson’s great side that won both Division One and the FA Cup in 1960-61, retained the FA Cup in 1962 and won the 1963 European Cup Winners’ Cup final (5-1 against Atlético Madrid).

Maurice Norman, back row, second from right, with the Tottenham Hotspur 1961-62 squad at their Hertfordshire training ground, with the Football League championship trophy and the FA Cup.
Maurice Norman, back row, second from right, with the Tottenham Hotspur 1961-62 squad at their Hertfordshire training ground, with the Football League championship trophy and the FA Cup. Photograph: PA

Born in Mulbarton, Norfolk, Norman played for Norfolk Schools and started with the local junior side, Mulbarton FC, and Wymondham Minors FC. He was spotted by a Norwich City scout playing on the Mulbarton village green and was signed up in 1952. The Norwich manager Norman Low, himself once a useful centre half, extolled him as “the best Norwich discovery since Alf Kitchen”, referring to a famed outside-right of the 1930s and 40s.

Norman was then working as a farm hand but was able to pursue his footballing dreams thanks to a generous employer, who gave him time off to play. In 1998 he told the Eastern Daily Press: “There were times when I’d play for Norwich, miss the last bus back and have to walk the five miles back home. I’d be feeding pigs at midnight.”

Maurice Norman, left, for Tottenham Hotspur attempts to halt Chelsea’s 17-year-old star Jimmy Greaves in a Division One match at White Hart Lane, August 1957.
Maurice Norman, left, for Tottenham Hotspur attempts to halt Chelsea’s 17-year-old star Jimmy Greaves in a Division One match at White Hart Lane, August 1957. Photograph: Popperfoto/Getty Images

In 1955, after 35 league appearances for Norwich, Norman was transferred for the substantial sum of £28,000 to Spurs, where his team-mates fondly nicknamed him “the Swede” because of his agricultural background. In an interview to mark his 80th birthday in 2014, Norman recalled arriving for his first match that November: “Until then, I had never been to London and it was very strange finding my way around. Then, when I walked into the dressing room for the first time and saw the other players, many of whom were internationals, I really wondered what I was doing there. I really was overawed.”

He was a member of the England squad for the 1958 World Cup finals in Sweden, but did not get a game and had to wait another four years before he was at last capped for England, in the same game that saw the England debut of the future World Cup-winning captain, Bobby Moore. That was a friendly against Peru in Lima on the way to the 1962 World Cup finals in Chile, in which both players would figure.

Norman played in all England’s four games there. In the last, against Brazil, in the quarter final in Viña del Mar, he was famously outjumped at a corner by the remarkable Brazilian winger Garrincha, at 5ft 7in, who headed his team’s first goal. He would keep his England place until December 1964.

Maurice Norman, second from left, battling for the ball with the Brazilian player Garrincha, left, in the World Cup quarter final between England and Brazil at Viña del Mar, Chile, 10 June 1962.
Maurice Norman, second from left, battling for the ball with the Brazilian player Garrincha, left, in the World Cup quarter final between England and Brazil at Viña del Mar, Chile, 10 June 1962. Photograph: Topham Picturepoint

Norman described his Spurs double-winning team-mates as “like one happy family”, and thought that continuity played a large part in their success: “I think we felt almost invincible. We rarely looked at a team sheet to see who we would be playing because we had only used 15 players during those seasons.”

Alas, his White Hart Lane career came to a miserable end in the course of a game against a Hungarian Select XI, in November 1965, when Norman broke his left leg. After a year in plaster, followed by an operation in which his leg was rebroken, in 1967 he announced his retirement.

Thereafter Norman worked in various jobs: at a petrol station in Southgate, north London; as a mail order sports outfitter in Frinton on Sea, Essex, where, with his wife, Jacqueline, he also ran a haberdashery outlet, the Wool Shop; and as a gardener at Wickham Market in Suffolk.

He is survived by Jacqueline (nee Knight), a former nurse, whom he married in 1961, and their son, Michael, and daughter, Johanna, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Maurice Norman, footballer, born 8 May 1934; died 27 November 2022

Richarlison praised as ‘idol Brazilians deserve’ after Bolsonaro era | Brazil

Richarlison’s “balletic barnstormer” has been called one of the great World Cup goals; an unstoppable scissor kick that launched Brazil’s campaign in Qatar with a bang. But after his thrilling two-goal blitz against Serbia, the Tottenham forward is being celebrated as much more than just a sporting hero.

Brazilian fans, pundits and politicians lined up to hail Richarlison as a paragon of human decency, compassion and good sense after four gruelling years in which Jair Bolsonaro’s far-right government divided society, wrecked the environment and mishandled a Covid outbreak that killed nearly 700,000 citizens.

“Richarlison is the idol Brazilians deserve after so much suffering,” the sports journalist Talyta Vespa wrote on Friday in one of many tributes to the player’s off-field activism and charity work.

Richarlison – or the Pigeon, as fans know him, thanks to his avian-style celebrations – is by far the most progressive member of Brazil’s seleção. In recent years, as his homeland fell under the control of Bolsonaro’s far-right administration, Richarlison has repeatedly spoken out on topics such as racism, poverty, police and gender violence, LGBTQ+ rights and environmental destruction.

He questioned how Brazil’s yellow jersey had been dragged into the country’s political dispute, and adopted a jaguar to highlight the threats to Brazil’s Pantanal wetlands.

A selection of Brazilian newspaper front pages on Friday.
A selection of Brazilian newspaper front pages on Friday.

When the British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian Indigenous expert Bruno Pereira vanished in the Amazon in June, Richarlison was one of the first celebrities to champion the campaign to try to find them. “On top of everything, he’s sensitive and committed to Brazil,” Pereira’s widow, Beatriz Matos, tweeted at the player on Friday.

During Brazil’s devastating coronavirus emergency – which Bolsonaro called a “little flu” – Richarlison publicly backed vaccination efforts that the science-denying president had actively undermined.

“He’s not only a star on the pitch, he’s a star off it too,” said the favela activist Rene Silva, remembering how Richarlison donated oxygen cylinders to the Amazon city of Manaus when its healthcare system buckled during the pandemic.

Juca Kfouri, one of Brazil’s top football writers, said the outpouring of adoration for Richarlison, while perhaps slightly excessive, reflected how millions of progressive fans were desperate to fall back in love with a team that many had grown profoundly disillusioned with.

Particularly to blame for that estrangement was Neymar, who alienated millions of progressive Brazilians by supporting Bolsonaro’s failed re-election bid and then promising to dedicate his first World Cup goal to him. Other players, including the defender Dani Alves, have also backed Bolsonaro, who lost October’s election to the former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

“Richarlison represents a more loving, more affectionate side to the Brazilian seleção,” said Kfouri. “He’s seen as being a citizen who actually cares about Brazil.”

Bolsonaro has fallen silent since losing last month’s election and has said nothing of Brazil’s triumph in Qatar. Leftwing politicians, in contrast, were united in their commemoration of Richarlison and his teammate Vinícius Júnior, who helped create Thursday’s sensational goal and has also been outspoken on issues such as racism.

“Much more than a great player, Richarlison is a model citizen,” tweeted the Worker’s party politician Paulo Pimenta.

Writing in the black website Alma Preta, the journalist Pedro Borges described the state of ecstasy he had found himself in after watching Richarlison and Vinícius shine. He wrote: “Not just because of Brazil’s victory … [but] because the standout players were black athletes who respect our history, who didn’t ignore the suffering of the people and who understand the role they have in our country.”

Rene Silva said Richarlison’s off-field endeavours, which also include helping cancer patients, made him an inspiration to children and teens. “He is a Brazilian idol,” Silva said. “After everything we have been through, this was a moment of hope.”

We love Brazilian skill, so why do we criticise their flair players so much? | World Cup 2022

The World Cup has finally started and, for some Brazil players, representing their national team may prove a welcome break from the day job. Manager Tite included 12 players from the Premier League in his 26-man squad – second only to England – and 22 in total from European clubs. Brazilian players have increasingly made home in Europe but their style is not always feted. At least once a month this season a young, skilful Brazilian has been criticised for doing what they do best: entertaining fans, expressing themselves and exhibiting their art.

Most recently, it was Antony’s turn to suffer a media pile-on in his adopted home. The São Paulo product was one of new Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag’s marquee signings in the summer. The Dutchman convinced the club to pay Ajax £82m – an Eredivisie record – for the 22-year-old. The forward has enjoyed a strong start in England, setting a record as the first United player to score in his first three Premier League games. He was generally well received by fans and the media. Until he did the unthinkable and tried to pull off a trick during a 3-0 win over Sheriff in the Europa League.

Former United player Paul Scholes called the youngster a “clown” after he span 720 degrees with the ball glued to his feet and then misplaced a forward pass. “That’s the way he plays,” said Scholes. “I’ve seen him do it many a time at Ajax as well and that’s just the way he is, but I think he needs that knocking out of him.” Robbie Savage called Antony “embarrassing”, adding: “If I was the manager and he did that again, I would drag him off.”

Savage’s wish was granted when Ten Hag replaced Antony with Marcus Rashford at half-time. The manager said after the match that he would “correct” his player, explaining: “When there is a trick like that, it’s nice as long as it’s functional. If you’re not losing the ball, then it’s OK – but if it’s a trick because of a trick, then I will correct him.”

Antony, meanwhile, was defiant. “We’re known for our art and I’m not going to stop doing what got me where I am,” he said on Instagram.

Antony in action for Manchester United against Sheriff in the Europa League.
Antony in action for Manchester United against Sheriff in the Europa League. Photograph: Jon Super/AP

The hugely popular Brazilian football pundit Paulo Vinicius Coelho sees both sides of the argument. “Like everything in the world, there’s reason in the middle of it,” says Coelho. “Brazil still sees football as if it were a team sport won by individuals when it is increasingly a collective game that is resolved by collective aspects. From this point of view, the English are correct and Paul Scholes was right to criticise him. Dribbling and tricks need to have an objective.

“There is also a certain contempt in Europe for the dribble, as if it wasn’t a beautiful thing. I think there’s an exaggeration in Brazil about the aesthetics of the dribble and an exaggeration in some parts of Europe in the contempt there is for these aesthetics. But there’s a place in the middle of this. Dribbling and tricks are some of the beauties of football, but they need to lead to a chance or a goal. From this last point of view, Antony can improve how he uses tricks – tricks that aren’t to promote himself but to advance his own team.”

If footballers face a battle between aesthetics and results, Brazilians have always tended to be more artful than pragmatic. But their choices have not always been appreciated in Europe. When Tottenham Hotspur forward Richarlison indulged in a few keepy-ups against Nottingham Forest earlier this season, Forest manager Steve Cooper was appalled, saying: “I wouldn’t want my players to do what Richarlison did. It wouldn’t be accepted here.”

Vinicius Jr has also been criticised for doing the samba after he scores for Real Madrid, which leads to the question of just how much these Brazilian players are appreciated in Europe. Why buy skilful Brazilian wingers for their craft and then chide them for doing skilful Brazilian winger things? Would they even bother leaving home if – and this is a big if – they weren’t guaranteed higher wages and the chance to play in the Champions League? Would staying in Brazil be more fulfilling than moving to Europe, being chastised for entertaining and made to play in rigid, mechanical systems that offer little room for creativity.

Moments like Antony’s are no longer allowed to pass by fleetingly, raising a smile from supporters. They are scrutinised to their limit by commentators and pundits, and used by rival fans to attack players. This feels like something new. Players such as Ronaldinho and Garrincha, artists with the ball, were lauded for their skills. Not everything they tried came off. Zico and Sócrates wowed the planet at the 1982 World Cup, but would they be branded show ponies today for crashing out of the tournament before the semi-finals?

As Neymar said last year when his Brazil teammate Lucas Paquetá was booked for attempting a rainbow flick while playing for Lyon against Troyes – something that Neymar himself has been cautioned for in Ligue 1 – “joga bonito is over”.

Perhaps the World Cup will give Brazilians a chance to be themselves and charm a generation of fans who have become obsessed with results over aesthetics. Maybe the current crop of players, who refined their art on muddy pitches and concrete favela courts, can win over hearts and minds by winning a sixth World Cup – and doing it in style.

Premier League clubs face mixed risks of sending players to the World Cup | Premier League

Pep Guardiola was notably accepting of Manchester City’s defeat by Brentford in their last match before the World Cup. “My staff and I will have time to reflect on what we did well and what to do better,” he shrugged. Guardiola and his staff may also have to watch events in Qatar through their hands, clenching as heavy tackles fly in and muscle injuries stack up given City – with 16 players – are the Premier League club sending the most players to the finals.

Even if Erling Haaland will be spending much of the next six weeks on the Etihad Campus, key players such as Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and Rodri will return bearing the physical and mental scars of the tournament. And individual success in Qatar may not necessarily be good news for a player’s club. To take the example of England’s Euro 2020 finalists, a number of Gareth Southgate’s players made indifferent starts to their 2021-22 club campaigns.

Such are the intangibles for clubs of this World Cup. Jürgen Klopp is a vocal critic of the tournament being staged in Qatar, particularly in mid‑season, but he will see only seven players jet out to pre-tournament training camps. Like Guardiola, Klopp has a star forward getting a needed rest, in Mohamed Salah, but it is Uruguay rather than Liverpool who will be the immediate beneficiaries of Darwin Núñez’s recent flowering.

Overall the Premier League is providing more World Cup players than any other division, with 134 players at the tournament – 16% – plying their trade in the English top flight. The league leaders, Arsenal, have 10 players in World Cup squads but their England contingent of three contains two players, Aaron Ramsdale and Ben White, expected to be reserves in Southgate’s squad. The same may go for Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli among a Brazil squad featuring heavy competition for forward places. Mikel Arteta appears to be getting off rather lightly, though how to motivate players disappointed at being underused is yet another consideration to add to the pile.

The response of players to disappointing tournaments is also important. How, for example, might Antonio Conte coax the best from Harry Kane at Tottenham should England’s captain flop in Qatar? Or, to name another player among Spurs’ 11 call-ups, someone carrying a yet heavier burden for his national team, Son Heung‑min? Will his disappointing season so far – and the facial injury he is nursing – cast a shadow over his World Cup and consequently his return to Tottenham? Every player is on a sliding scale. How might they react to playing in a mid‑season tournament in which their country’s expectations are sky‑high while playing for a different coach using probably very different tactics?

Player stats

For managers such as Graham Potter and Erik ten Hag, relative newcomers to their clubs trying to install a fresh playing doctrine, losing players in mid‑season is unhelpful. Manchester United, sending 14, have made significant improvements under Ten Hag, and though Cristiano Ronaldo can be discounted from the list of players whose fitness he will care about, Casemiro, Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martínez have all been crucial to United’s revival. Each is playing for a nation expected to go deep in the tournament.

Potter’s Chelsea have stalled of late. His players have appeared unresponsive to his tactics. Chelsea will have 12 players in Qatar but a mid‑season training camp planned for Abu Dhabi also gives Potter a decent core with which to work. Reece James, Wesley Fofana, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Marc Cucurella, Trevoh Chalobah, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho and Pierre‑Emerick Aubameyang are among those players not travelling.

Quick Guide

Qatar: beyond the football


This is a World Cup like no other. For the last 12 years the Guardian has been reporting on the issues surrounding Qatar 2022, from corruption and human rights abuses to the treatment of migrant workers and discriminatory laws. The best of our journalism is gathered on our dedicated Qatar: Beyond the Football home page for those who want to go deeper into the issues beyond the pitch.

Thank you for your feedback.

Manchester United and Chelsea will return to action at Christmas looking at Newcastle in third place, and while Eddie Howe will not welcome a loss of momentum only five players are being lost from his squad to the World Cup, two of them – Callum Wilson and Nick Pope – likely to be on the England bench. And while Bruno Guimarães is a player Newcastle cannot afford to lose, other leading players from this season in Sven Botman, not picked for Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands team, and Miguel Almíron, whose Paraguay did not qualify, will return to Tyneside after taking short rests.

Further down the table, the World Cup break throws up an opportunity for Nathan Jones, freshly arrived at Southampton, who are sending only two players. Should Bournemouth appoint a new manager – or Gary O’Neil stay on – only the Wales pair of Kieffer Moore and Chris Mepham will not be around.

Three managers ended the season’s first tranche of fixtures under pressure. At West Ham David Moyes will have mixed feelings if England progress deep in the tournament, with Declan Rice a key midfielder. Lucas Paquetá, the summer’s big signing, is yet to shine in east London but is favoured by the Brazil coach, Tite. Perhaps a good showing in Qatar can energise Paquetá’s club season. Jesse Marsch will be roaring on Team USA, though in Brenden Aaronson and Tyler Adams he will fear fatigue in two players who have become important to Leeds.

Which leaves Frank Lampard, with Everton losing four players to the tournament. Until his mistakes at Bournemouth at the weekend, Jordan Pickford had been exemplary in goal. An injury or the loss of form that can follow for players scapegoated for English failure could mortally wound Everton. Such are the myriad equations the World Cup must turn over in the minds of Premier League managers.

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.

England fans ‘must not worry’ about Harry Kane’s fitness, insists Conte | Harry Kane

Antonio Conte has played down concerns over Harry Kane’s fitness levels for the World Cup, having said on Wednesday that the England captain was “very, very tired” after starting 21 games in a row for Tottenham.

The Spurs manager backed the forward to enjoy a “fantastic” tournament and defended his decision to keep playing Kane during a packed run of domestic fixtures. “It’s very difficult to make a decision to put him on the bench,” Conte said. “We are talking about a player with great experience to manage his body.”

Kane was withdrawn after an hour of the midweek Carabao Cup defeat at Nottingham Forest and Conte revealed afterwards the 29-year-old had been struggling with fatigue in a training session on Tuesday. Despite that, the Italian insists he has no concerns about Kane before Saturday’s visit of Leeds, or for England’s campaign in Qatar.

Quick Guide

Qatar: beyond the football


This is a World Cup like no other. For the last 12 years the Guardian has been reporting on the issues surrounding Qatar 2022, from corruption and human rights abuses to the treatment of migrant workers and discriminatory laws. The best of our journalism is gathered on our dedicated Qatar: Beyond the Football home page for those who want to go deeper into the issues beyond the pitch.

Thank you for your feedback.

“I think and I am sure Harry is going to play a fantastic World Cup because in this season he was never injured, he has had the possibility to have a good training session and he is good physically,” Conte added. “The fans must not be worried for him. After this game they [England] have one week, eight days to prepare for the World Cup, but he is ready because he is working very well.”

Conte had planned to rest Kane at some point during a run of 13 games in 43 days, but injuries to Dejan Kulusevski, Richarlison and Son Heung-min left Tottenham short of attacking options. The former Italy manager also warned Gareth Southgate that Kane “wants to play every game. This is important for me because it means he feels well. He wants to finish well with us. Tottenham is at the top of his thoughts until Saturday [night].”

“He is the captain of England, the most representative player, we are talking about a really top striker in the world,” Conte continued. “[The World Cup] is a big competition, the most important in the world and he has great desire to do something special for his national team, but they have to do this after the [Leeds] game.

“When you are a player like Harry that gives you everything in every game, it’s very difficult to put him on the bench or to give him a rest because [of] his desire, and his eyes are full of energy.”

Conte’s Tottenham deal expires at the end of the season, although the club reportedly hold an option to trigger a 12-month extension. The manager does not see the need to urgently discuss terms, but said the January transfer window will be a key topic of discussion with the club hierarchy.

“In my opinion, it’s important for me professionally [that] I have to feel I deserve to have a new contract with this club. I have to feel this. But for sure we’ll talk with the club and we’ll find the best solution,” Conte said. “It depends always on the possibilities of the club and also the ambition, but for sure we’ll speak.”

Conte added that conversations with the chairman, Daniel Levy, and sporting director Fabio Paratici have been “good”, but suggested that talks over “realistic ambitions” for the club are required. “Until now we worked only with this target to improve, and to find a good way to bring this club to be competitive,” he added.

“For this reason it will be very important to speak [and] to understand very well what is the realistic possibility for us, which are the realistic ambitions for the club, because I think the truth is very important. If you know the truth, you can work to find the best solution for the future.”

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

Conte fears for ‘really tired’ Kane after Nottingham Forest sink Tottenham | Carabao Cup

As Gareth Southgate names England’s World Cup squad on Thursday, Antonio Conte has warned that Harry Kane is so fatigued he had to stop training to rest on the eve of Tottenham’s Carabao Cup defeat to Nottingham Forest.

The Spurs manager played the England captain for the first hour of a tired performance on a night when Jesse Lingard posted a reminder that he can help Forest continue their resurgence.

Conte said he had no alternative but to field Kane, who is not injured, as he had no other fit strikers and praised a selfless attitude that Southgate, the England manager, will recognise but not necessarily appreciate as he copes with his own injury crisis. Kane has started all 21 of Spurs’ games this season.

On a night when Lingard assisted Renan Lodi for Forest’s opener before scoring his first goal for the club since his free transfer from Manchester United, Spurs went two goals behind for the fifth successive domestic game.

But while Forest could toast a fourth consecutive home game without defeat and a place in the last 16 of this competition, the main talking point after this game was Kane’s fitness for a World Cup campaign that kicks off in Doha against Iran a week on Monday.

Jesse Lingard celebrates after scoring Nottingham Forest’s second goal.
Jesse Lingard celebrates after scoring Nottingham Forest’s second goal. Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images/Reuters

“This morning we waited to see if he could start or not,” Conte said. “In this situation he was the only striker. I can only say thanks for the availability they show me.

“In our hearts and minds was the desire to go ahead in this competition. But the difference was the energy. It was really different between us and Nottingham Forest.

“Other players maybe they could tell me I’m tired and don’t want to play and help the team. When I speak, I have a group of players who are before players they are men, and because of this another could be selfish and think for himself because in one week they have to play the World Cup. Instead, Harry Kane showed to be a really good man.

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Carabao Cup roundup


Angelo Ogbonna missed the crucial penalty as a youthful Blackburn dumped West Ham out of the Carabao Cup 10-9 on spot-kicks. After 19 successful penalties Ogbonna’s effort crashed off the underside of the crossbar to send Championship side Rovers through to round four following a 2-2 draw at the London Stadium. 

It was a deserved win for a callow Rovers side with an average age of just 22 and a half as Jon Dahl Tomasson made 11 changes with more than one eye on Sunday’s Championship derby against promotion rivals Burnley. They led through an early goal from Jack Vale before Pablo Fornals hauled West Ham level and Michail Antonio put the hosts in front. 

But the substitute Ben Brereton Díaz, Rovers’ top scorer, sent the match to a shootout and Italian defender Ogbonna was the fall guy. The result means that all six top-flight London clubs have gone out in the fourth round, with third-tier Charlton the only team from the capital in Thursday’s fourth-round draw.

Boubacar Traoré’s late winner sent Wolves through, the substitute striking with five minutes left to down much-changed Leeds and seal a 1-0 victory for the hosts. It settled an uneventful game which looked to be heading to penalties and gave the incoming Wolves manager Julen Lopetegui and his coaches food for thought.  

Lopetegui is due at the club’s Compton training base on Friday, before watching Saturday’s visit of Arsenal, before officially taking charge on Monday. The former Spain manager’s lieutenants were at Molineux having already briefly introduced themselves to the squad. PA Media

Photograph: Rob Newell/CameraSport

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“No [he is not injured], it was a problem of tiredness. [He is] really, really tired and yesterday we had a soft training session and at one point he stopped to recover energy. But he’s OK, it’s only fatigue but normal because Harry played every game. When you have a player like him it’s difficult to decide you don’t play with him. Also if I wanted to start with another it was impossible because of injuries to Richarlison, [Dejan] Kulu[sevski] and Lucas Moura … two weeks ago, Sonny [Heung-Min]. It was difficult for Kane today.”

After a quiet first half, Forest caught fire with two goals in the first 15 minutes of the second. Lingard did well to steer Orel Mangala’s under-hit pass beyond Matt Doherty and Lodi, the Brazilian left-back on loan from Atlético Madrid, cut inside Davinson Sánchez superbly before swerving a powerful right-footed shot into the far corner.

Lingard had already blasted in a shot that Fraser Forster was relieved to punch clear and in the 56th minute he headed in his first goal for the club that put this tie beyond Spurs’ reach. From a breath-taking counterattack, the former Spurs right-back Serge Aurier crossed for Sam Surridge to head intelligently back for Lingard to nod over the line.

That was the signal for Conte to summon Kane away from any more danger of injury for country or club amid four prompt substitutions and Spurs could not capitalise on the late dominance that Mangala’s second yellow card afforded them.

Steve Cooper said of Lingard: “He was excellent. I thought his positional play was good. He found the spaces really well. And, more importantly, he did what you want your attacking players to do – you want them to be a threat and have end product at the end of it.”

Champions League last-16 draw: tie-by-tie analysis | Champions League

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Last month, Real Madrid’s president, Florentino Pérez, advocating for a Super League, lamented that his club have faced Liverpool in just nine competitive games. His wish for more has been granted sooner than he expected and perhaps would have liked. Real beat Liverpool reasonably comfortably in last season’s final and had few issues topping a relatively straightforward group, while Liverpool have suffered a miserable start to the season. With Mohamed Salah returning to form, though, Jürgen Klopp’s side may have improved by February and, out of the title race, can afford to focus on Europe. Aurélien Tchouaméni has joined Real and Eduardo Camavinga was beginning to make an impact last season, but the sense remains that the post-Casemiro midfield is yet to be really tested.

Winners Liverpool.

RB Leipzig's André Silva is congratulated after scoring against Manchester City last season
RB Leipzig’s André Silva is congratulated after scoring against Manchester City last season. Photograph: Ronny Hartmann/AFP/Getty Images

RB Leipzig v Manchester City

These teams met in last season’s group stage, City winning 6-3 at the Etihad before a 2-1 defeat in Germany, with qualification long since secured. In the first of those games, Leipzig were managed by Jesse Marsch; in the second by the caretaker Achim Beierlorzer. Since then Domenico Tedesco has come and gone and now, under Marco Rose, there has been a significant upturn. Saturday’s 3-0 win at Hoffenheim extended Leipzig’s unbeaten run to 11 games and they have been prolific in that time. The front four of André Silva, Dominik Szoboszlai, Christian Nkunku and Timo Werner, who should be back from his ankle injury by February, will test City on the counter.

Winners Manchester City.

Club Brugge v Benfica

Club Brugge were the great surprise of the group stage, winning their first three games without conceding a goal. They secured progress with a 0-0 draw at Atlético Madrid, but the heavy home defeat to Porto that ultimately cost them top spot perhaps gave a truer impression of their abilities: no pushovers, well-organised, but essentially limited. Benfica, meanwhile, ended the group stage in joyous form, with Rafa Silva and João Mario playing probably the best football of their careers. There may be defensive concerns but, even more than the 6-1 win at Maccabi Haifa that meant they topped the group, the 4-3 win over Juventus, when they should have won far more convincingly, demonstrated just how dangerous Roger Schmidt’s side can be.

Winners Benfica.

Milan v Tottenham

Tottenham have not lost to Milan in their four previous meetings, a Peter Crouch goal giving them a 1-0 win at San Siro in their last tie in 2010-11, but how good they are at the moment is anyone’s guess. Hampered by injuries to forwards, with a weird inability to play in the first half (particularly when Dejan Kulusevski is absent) and a dislocation between the midfield and the forward line, their results have been rather better than performances so far this season. The Italian champions have suffered only two defeats in Serie A and have in Rafael Leão one of the more exciting forwards in Europe, but they were desperately poor in losing twice to Chelsea during the group stages, with injuries offer only some excuse.

Winners Tottenham.

André-Frank Zambo Anguissa celebrates scoring Napoli’s second goal in their 4-1 win against Liverpool in September
André-Frank Zambo Anguissa celebrates scoring Napoli’s second goal in their 4-1 win against Liverpool in September. Photograph: Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

Eintracht Frankfurt v Napoli

Top of Serie A, unbeaten domestically and hugely impressive in the group stage, Napoli may be the most serious Italian challengers since Juventus decided five league titles in five seasons just wasn’t good enough and got rid of Max Allegri. They are playing fast, dynamic football under Luciano Spalletti and, after the failure of Italy, Nigeria and Georgia to qualify for the World Cup, have an unusual number of players who should be refreshed by a winter break. But unfancied as they may be under Oliver Glasner, Eintracht Frankfurt have become masters of the European away leg. Their Europa League success last season featured victories at Real Betis, Barcelona and West Ham, and this season they won on the road against Marseille and, when they absolutely needed it, Sporting.

Winners Napoli.

Borussia Dortmund v Chelsea

After a shaky start, progress from the group ended up being straightforward for Chelsea, but this is a club still undergoing transition as the recent league defeats to Brighton and Arsenal have shown. There were problems to be addressed in the squad even before the complications of sanctions, and recent injuries have exposed the imbalances that Graham Potter will need to resolve. With Sevilla in miserable form, Borussia Dortmund qualified for the last 16 easily enough, thanks in no small part to a 4-1 win in Spain, a game that highlighted just how important Jude Bellingham has become to Alen Terzic’s side. He may be only 19 but only he, Julian Brandt and Nico Schlotterback have played all 13 league games this season.

Winners Chelsea.

Internazionale v Porto

Porto trail Benfica by eight points domestically but they showed admirable resolve to bounce back from successive defeats at the start of the group stage to qualify with four wins in a row. After suffering a knee injury a month ago, Pepe is a doubt for the World Cup but Porto should have his experience back at the heart of the defence for the last 16. This has not been an easy season domestically for Internazionale and they were twice well-beaten by Bayern Munich, but two fine counterattacking performances against Barcelona ensured progress to the knockout phase for only the second time in the past decade. If Romelu Lukaku can rediscover his form and fitness, his partnership with Lautaro Martínez represents a major threat.

Winners Porto.

PSG’s Keylor Navas concedes the only goal of the 2020 Champions League final to Bayern Munich's Kingsley Coman
PSG’s Keylor Navas concedes the only goal of the 2020 Champions League final to Bayern Munich’s Kingsley Coman (second right). Photograph: Miguel A Lopes/AP

Paris Saint-Germain v Bayern Munich

For most of the group stage Paris Saint-Germain seemed to be cruising to top spot, but they were undone at the last by Benfica’s flurry away to Maccabi Haifa and are punished with a repeat of the 2020 final. In a sense they fell into a trap they had dug themselves by drawing at home against Benfica the day after stories broke of Kylian Mbappé’s supposed unhappiness at the club. The competing egos will always be the biggest challenge for a PSG coach. Bayern are top of the Bundesliga again, but four draws and a defeat at Augsburg have led to a certain amount of chuntering about Julian Nagelsmann, despite six wins out of six in the Champions League. His record in big European games is not brilliant.

Winners Bayern Munich.

Liverpool to face Real Madrid in last 16 of the Champions League | Champions League

Liverpool and Real Madrid have been drawn to face each other in the last-16 of the Champions League, bringing together the teams who met in last season’s final in Paris.

The first leg will take place at Anfield in February and for Jürgen Klopp’s side the tie represents an opportunity to avenge May’s 1-0 defeat to Real in the French capital , an encounter that was marred by organisational chaos which led to the kick-off being delayed and hundreds of Liverpool supporters fearing for their safety.

Manchester City, meanwhile, have again been handed a favourable tie, this time against the German side RB Leipzig, while Tottenham face Milan, the Serie A champions, and Chelsea take on Borussia Dortmund.

Elsewhere there is an eye-catching meeting between Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich, the French and German champions respectively.

The other last-16 ties see Eintracht Frankfurt face Napoli, Club Brugge face Benfica and Internazionale take on Porto.

The first legs are scheduled for 14/15/21/22 February, with the second legs on 7/8/14/15 March.