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That’s the lot for today. Thanks for reading, emailing and commenting and sorry if I couldn’t get your contribution in.

The place to see all our football stories in one place is here, or you could always check out the carefully curated football home page.

Good luck to your team(s) this weekend and enjoy the football – it should be a good one. Bye for now.

Emmanuel Adebayor celebrates scoring for Manchester City against Arsenal.
Emmanuel Adebayor celebrates scoring for Manchester City against Arsenal in 2009. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA

Hundreds of Heathrow airport workers will go on strike for three days later this month, potentially disrupting travel plans for football fans planning to fly to the World Cup in Qatar.

It was a different way of learning to what the young lads get now but it wasn’t any worse, just different. I feel lucky to have been in both eras.”

A really nice read here from Andy Hunter, interviewing Liverpool’s James Milner, who is soon to make his 600th Premier League appearance:

Despite the eventual result, looks like Zurich fans had a nice time on the way to “The Arsenal” last night. An impressively co-ordinated sing-song:

Andy Hunter

Andy Hunter

English players on the periphery of Gareth Southgate’s World Cup plans have been instrumental in the gradual improvement of both Everton and Leicester but, on the penultimate weekend of the Premier League season before its disgraceful interruption, is it too late for an audition at Goodison Park? James Maddison, James Tarkowski and Dominic Calvert-Lewin will be among those desperately hoping not. Tarkowski has impressed in a new-look defensive partnership with Conor Coady that has underpinned Everton’s greater resilience and character this season. While Coady looks a safe bet for Qatar, Tarkowski has not had a look-in at international level since 2018, when he was on stand-by for the last World Cup before undergoing a hernia operation. Maddison’s claims have also been ignored by the England manager despite producing six Premier League goals and two assists in a difficult season for Leicester. It is almost three years since he won his only senior cap as a second-half substitute against Montenegro. He must hope Southgate doesn’t play it entirely safe again.

If it’s weekend fixtures you’re after, why not take a look at our “Fixtures” page?

A line from Reuters below on Aubameyang’s looming meeting with his former employers, Arsenal:

Chelsea’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is “excited” for his Arsenal reunion when the two clubs face off in Sunday’s London derby but manager Graham Potter wanted the narrative to steer away from the striker.

Aubameyang fell out with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta last season over disciplinary issues. He was first stripped of the captaincy and had his contract terminated before a February move to Barcelona.

The Gabon international, 33, scored 92 times in more than 150 appearances for Arsenal and returned to the Premier League in September, signing for Chelsea where he has scored three times in 11 games.

“The history makes it an interesting one for Auba. But the past is the past as far as we’re concerned,” Potter said. “I don’t think we should make it about him. “He is an important part of the team for us but it takes everybody, not just one person. I understand the interest around him because it’s Arsenal. I think he’s looking forward to the game, excited for it.”

Aubameyang: Excited.
Aubameyang: Excited. Photograph: Chris Lee/Chelsea FC/Getty Images

Blake chips in on email, regarding offside, as well as VAR: “The intent of the rule is to keep players from camping out in the box, without the rule the sport would turn into basketball! So the spirit of the rule is not violated when a striker is offside a toe or a whisker. If it’s so minimal that no advantage is gained, offside shouldn’t be called.”

We’re warming up now!

So near and yet so VAR.
So near and yet so VAR. Photograph: James Williamson/AMA/Getty Images

There is an essential difference between the sports,” emails Tony on the VAR thing, and why it isn’t so controversial in cricket and rugby. “Only football allows the players to contest every decision the referee makes thereby creating a precedence for disputing VAR. As in rugby penalise any dissent on the pitch and the game will improve immeasurably. The players will soon learn and to my knowledge no referee has ever changed his decision based on player complaint.”

Gerard Piqué was dead good at playing football, insists Pep Guardiola:

'One of the best centre-backs in history': managers pay tribute to retiring Gerard Piqué – video

David Moyes has rejected the notion that the pre-World Cup schedule is causing more injuries. The schedule is always mad and always results in injuries, reckons the West Ham gaffer.

“It’s the time of the season where injuries happen,” he said. “We go into the Christmas period where you’re asking the players to play a ridiculous amount of games over a short period of time, but this is our culture and that’s what we do. But to highlight it more now, there’s probably the same number of injuries as there was last season when there was no World Cup, so if people are surprised then they shouldn’t be - because with football comes injuries.

“And let’s be fair with the amount of games the players, the clubs and the coaches have had to put up with, a huge scheduling - everybody’s scheduling a big, big amount of games. So I don’t think it should be too surprising knowing that there’s injuries.”

Sydney United 58 FC have been fined $15,000 and face possible bans from future competitions after a Football Australia investigation found fans behaved in a “deeply offensive” manner at last month’s Australia Cup final.

Just in case you missed it: Here is Barney Ronay’s piece from last week on all things Qatar:

Anyway, after so much World Cup stuff, on to something less controversial: VAR. Spurs were denied that late Kane goal against Sporting last week, so they needed a result in Marseille in midweek. One thing I was wondering about after writing about VAR last week – why does it make people so angry, compared to the TMO in rugby, or the third umpire in cricket?

I reckon the answer must lie partly in the fact that in both cricket and rugby, the decision-making process is talked through by the officials involved during the decision review process, so fans and viewers are kept in the picture not just on the final decision, but how and why it has been reached.

Another thing I’ve been wondering about is if football could introduce a ‘margin of error’ element for offside decisions, like umpire’s call in cricket.

What do you think? Feel free to email, tweet or post BTL.

A comment from CaressOfSteel:

“‘Fifa has written to World Cup teams urging them to focus on football in Qatar and not let the sport be dragged into ideological or political “battles”.’

“The exact argument used by every single sportsperson or team that broke the boycott against apartheid South Africa.”

It’s Friday – it’s 4pm-ish – yes! It’s time for The Fiver, courtesy of John Brewin:

Some more Antonio Conte quotes have dropped on the PA wire, starting with more on the schedule:

“We knew it was crazy to put a World Cup during the league and the Champions League. This type of schedule is crazy. Honestly, it is really strange in England that we start to play three days after the final of the World Cup. We are the only country to do it.

“Italy, France, Spain and Portugal and other countries, they are taking time to give rest and to breathe a bit. I find it crazy that December 21, after three days from the final, we are going to play a game in the Carabao Cup. I find this crazy. After three more days you have to play in the Premier League. The show must go on, this is the truth, but honestly I don’t like it.”

Tottenham Hotspur's Dejan Kulusevski is rehabbing after an injury but may feature against Liverpool this weekend.
Tottenham Hotspur's Dejan Kulusevski is rehabbing after an injury but may feature against Liverpool this weekend. Photograph: Paul Childs/Action Images/Reuters

Conte also said that Dejan Kulusevski may play a part against Liverpool on Sunday. He added: “It is better to start with a smile. Yeah, we need to face this situation [the schedule]. I said also before we have to try to finish these three games in the best possible way. We have these injuries and I can confirm Richarlison is not available for the game. It is the same for Romero but Bentancur is much better. Today he was part of the training session.

“It was the same for Kulusevski, today he had half a training session with us. The problem is Lucas Moura is having some different faces for his pain in his tendon. Today he was really bad and he said to me he was really worried for this but I ask of him to try to be available because we need (him). Also, Sonny, you know, is now having surgery. At the end, we have to be happy for qualification for the Champions League.”

England Lionesses news from PA, or “the PA”, if you prefer:

Jess Park has been called up to the England squad for this month’s friendlies with Japan and Norway. The 21-year-old forward, who is on loan at Everton from Manchester City, replaces Chelsea’s Fran Kirby in Sarina Wiegman’s 25-player squad.

Kirby has a viral infection and will remain with her club to complete her recovery. Kirby had been named in the initial squad on Tuesday despite missing four of Chelsea’s last five games.

Head coach Wiegman said at the time: “She’s being assessed right now and then hopefully she’ll progress this week and she’s ready to come in for camp.”

Wiegman’s squad will travel to Spain next week to take on Japan and Norway in Murcia. The European champions face Japan on November 11 and Norway four days later.

News from Germany, courtesy of AP:

With the World Cup only weeks away, Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is set to return to action with Bayern Munich for the first time in nearly a month following a shoulder injury.

Neuer has not played since a 2-2 draw with Borussia Dortmund on 8 October but Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann said Friday the keeper will play against Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga on Saturday as long as there are no setbacks in the final training session.

“We waited for as long as needed for him to be pain-free again. There’s always a certain risk but he and the doctors have given the green light,” Nagelsmann said. “Something can always happen. Soccer is a contact sport.”

Nagelsmann added that Germany forward Leroy Sané and France defender Lucas Hernandez will also return to the squad after recent injury absences but will only be involved off the bench. Sane had a thigh strain in the 5-0 win over Freiburg on 16 October and Hernandez has not played since tearing the adductor muscle in his left thigh against Barcelona in September.

Two other Bayern players with World Cup ambitions remain out of the squad. Nagelsmann said Germany forward Thomas Müller is in line to return next week after various minor injuries and illnesses which have restricted him to only brief appearances over the last month, while Netherlands defender Matthijs de Ligt missed training with a knee issue. Germany coach Hansi Flick is scheduled to announce his squad Thursday. Germany’s opening World Cup game is against Japan on 23 November.

Fifa has written to World Cup teams urging them to focus on football in Qatar and not let the sport be dragged into ideological or political “battles”. The letter from Fifa president Gianni Infantino and the governing body’s secretary general Fatma Samoura follows a number of protests made by World Cup teams, on issues ranging from LGBTIQ rights to concerns over the treatment of migrant workers.

“Please, let’s now focus on the football!” Infantino and Samoura wrote in the letter to the 32 nations contesting the World Cup. “We know football does not live in a vacuum and we are equally aware that there are many challenges and difficulties of a political nature all around the world. But please do not allow football to be dragged into every ideological or political battle that exists.”

“If Gianni Infantino wants the world to ‘focus on the football’ there is a simple solution: FIFA could finally start tackling the serious human rights issues rather than brushing them under the carpet,” Steve Cockburn, Amnesty International’s Head of Economic and Social Justice, said in a statement. “A first step would be publicly committing to the establishment of a fund to compensate migrant workers before the tournament kicks off and ensuring that LGBT people do not face discrimination or harassment,” Cockburn added.

“It is astonishing they still have not done so. Gianni Infantino is right to say that ‘football does not exist in a vacuum’. Hundreds of thousands of workers have faced abuses to make this tournament possible and their rights cannot be forgotten or dismissed. They deserve justice and compensation, not empty words, and time is running out.”

World Cup organisers have said that everyone, no matter their sexual orientation or background, is welcome, while also warning against public displays of affection. Qatar has acknowledged there are “gaps” in its labour system but the World Cup has allowed the country to make progress on worker rights. (Reuters)

We’ve heard from the following 13 Premier League managers so far today. We’re doing great!

Moyes Klopp Lampard Hassenhuttl Guardiola Emery Conte Potter Vieira Arteta Davis (Wolves) Ten Hag Howe

Do scroll down to see what they actually said. Who will be next?

Conte says condensed playing schedule is 'impossible'

Those Conte quotes in full regarding the schedule: “Many teams are having big injuries, this is because we are playing every three days. I think that we are seeing that this situation is impossible, it’s impossible for the future. It will be important for the future to understand, because many times I hear about the welfare of the players, but it’s only a polite way to show that you are really interested in their welfare. Because then, they [governing bodies] are not really worried about the welfare of the players if the schedule is this. In every moment you show that the most important thing is: ‘The show must go on’ then please, I don’t want to listen, to speak about the welfare of the players, because this is not true.”

Antonio Conte: “The schedule is impossible.”
Antonio Conte: “The schedule is impossible.” Photograph: Tottenham Hotspur FC/Getty Images

Antonio Conte also spoke about the punishing schedule, saying that ‘player welfare’ is a ‘polite’ way for authorities to claim they care about the players’ wellbeing, but that in reality the schedule comes first. A good point well made.

Graham Potter said Ben Chilwell is having a scan on his hamstring injury this afternoon, adding that they had to wait for swelling to go down a bit before doing checking the injury.

The Tottenham manager Antonio Conte, meanwhile, told Sky Sports News in his press conference that Heung-Min Son is “probably” having surgery on his eye fracture now.

David “Moyesy” Moyes of West Ham is having a chat.

Will Lucas Paquetá feature against Palace? “He’s been training … he’s probably ready to be included in the squad … we certainly think he could be involved.”

“We’re beginning to get some injured players back … Nayef Aguerd played 90 minutes last night.”

“We earned it, we won the games in the other rounds of the tournament [Europa Conference League] … in the end we found ourselves top of a group in Europe which is excellent from our point of view … we left some players behind who didn’t need to go to Romania [the 3-0 win against FCSB last night].

“We’ve not had the same preparation time as others as we’ve just got back from Hungary.

Are the players minds’ on the World Cup? “I’ve not really had any conversations with them [about the WC] … we have got a job to do here. I’ve got supporters and owners who want to see the team winning. That’s my position.”

David Moyes.
David Moyes. Photograph: Robert Ghement/EPA

“If Auba’s got something it’s the ability to put the ball in the back of the net.”

The Gunners gaffer Mikel Arteta says his former charge, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyeng, will be ‘very dangerous’ for his Arsenal team on Sunday.

Watch the video:

Arteta wary of 'very dangerous' Aubameyang before Arsenal's clash with Chelsea – video

Thanks Gregg and hello again everyone. Now, what Premier League press conference delights do we have coming up this afternoon? (Other divisions are available.)

Conte unhappy over player welfare after Spurs injuries

Antonio Conte has been speaking to preview Tottenham’s match against Liverpool. Wednesday was his first anniversary as Spurs manager but he doesn’t look in celebratory mood given he has a mounting injury list to contend with before taking on the Reds.

Sonny is having his surgery now. We have to try and finish these three games in the best possible way. I can confirm Richarlison is not available. It is the same for Romero but Bentancur is much better. Today he was part of training. It was the same for Kulusevski, today he had half training session with us. The problem is Lucas Moura is having some pain. Today it was really bad and they said he was really worried for this. I asked him to try to be available. About Romero I can tell you for him, if I ask the possibility to play with one leg, he wants to play with one leg. For this reason I tell the fans we have players really committed to the club.

Conte also railed against the lack of welfare shown towards Premier League players when it comes to the scheduling of matches, something his counterpart on Sunday, Liverpool’s Jürgen Klopp, will agree with him on.

I don’t want to listen or hear about the welfare of the player, because this is not true.

Admir Pajiæ writes in with this take on Unai Emery: “He was wrong for Arsenal in a similar way David Moyes was wrong for Manchester United or Roy Hodgson was wrong for Liverpool. He is excellent if you have a mid-table club that wants to punch above its weight and make a strong cup run but if you want a league title … Pass.”

My question is: in what season will Aston Villa win the Europa League?

Unai Emery with his favourite trophy.
Unai Emery with his favourite trophy. Photograph: Boris Streubel/Uefa/Getty Images

Wolves face Brighton tomorrow hovering just a point above bottom-placed Nottingham Forest. They really need to sort a permanent manager out don’t they? According to interim manager Steve Davis they’re close to finally doing that but possibly not before the winter break. “That obviously could change if there is some sort of announcement in the next couple of days,” he said. “But at the moment my focus is just getting up to Arsenal, up to the World Cup, and then beyond that we’ll see.” Wolves have found goals as hard to come by as hens’ teeth and their cause has not been helped by Diego Costa’s red card last weekend. The striker is out till Boxing Day.

Jürgen Klopp was awarded the freedom of the city of Liverpool yesterday. Naturally, after the ceremony he spoke about how he will be getting the ferry for free from now on the Qatar World Cup and how he thinks it shouldn’t be the responsibility of players to make political statements when the decision to host the tournament there was taken by different people many years ago. Here’s the video of what he had to say:

Klopp says teams should not feel pressure to make big political statements before World Cup – video

Will Donny van de Beek finally come good at Manchester United? Erik ten Hag doesn’t sound too confident but isn’t giving up on him just yet.

He had a good pre-season and then got injured, now he is back. I think it was a decent performance [against Sociedad] but he can do better. I know him very well [from Ajax]. He delivered what I expected in terms of positioning, pressing and in the transition. I can only talk about him [at United] from my time here and I think he can do more.”

Ten Hag also added he was not sure whether forwards Antony and Anthony Martial would be fit to make the trip to Aston Villa.

Hello, Gregg here. I’ll keep the blog ticking over while Luke is away. First up is a a bit of bad news for Leeds United’s bank balance. Cas has ruled that the club will have to pay £18.4m to RB Leipzig for Jean-Kevin Augustin, who made only three substitute appearances for the club in their Championship-winning season. He’s now at Nantes. Ouch.

Jean-Kevin Augustin 9right) now plays for Nantes.
Jean-Kevin Augustin 9right) now plays for Nantes. Photograph: Sebastien Salom-Gomis/AFP/Getty Images

Handing you over to Gregg Bakowski for the next hour.

Unai Emery: 'My dream is to win a trophy with Aston Villa'

Christian Purslow, the Aston Villa chief executive, kicks off their press conference with some words about Emery’s appointment, the club’s ambition, and he makes a point of thanking Emery’s former club Villarreal for their professional attitude in the deal.

“I am happy to be here,” Emery begins. “I decided to come here because it’s a great project.

“Our ambition is going to be together. Step-by-step I want to improve [things] here, and help with my experience … we are going to take each match, and focus on Sunday and Manchester United.”

What did he learn during his time at Arsenal? “I learned a lot … overall, each [opposition] team, they gave us some experience playing against them when I was in Arsenal … I learned as well, playing in Europe 15 years in a row against a lot of English teams … as a coach I am now 51 years old, I have managed in Spain, France in the Premier League … English teams are for me a big challenge – because I think now the Premier League is maybe the first league in the world.

“My dream is to win a trophy with Aston Villa … it’s my personal challenge. My second dream, my objective, could be to play with Aston Villa in Europe. But now we have to start thinking only about the next match because we are not in a good position in the table now. I want to test, I want to check, individually and collectively, the players.”

Frank Lampard speaks before the meeting with Leicester City tomorrow evening: “Getting consistency is what separates the top boys from the rest in the Premier League … sometimes they are operating in different ways

“We have to strive to control ourselves, how we prepare, and hopefully the result of that is winning back-to-back games.”

On the challenge of Leicester: “They are a great team, we have seen that in recent weeks … it was never in doubt for me [after a poor start], they’re a team that have worked together for a few years with a really good manager, they’ve shown resilience.

On Everton’s defence: “We’ve got good individuals doing their jobs and there’s a desire to defend our goal. I think you have to give credit [to the players'] on that point.

“Jordan [Pickford] is in the top bracket of goalkeeper’s in the world. He is England’s No 1 … if you look at the teams who have won titles in the last few years they have all got world-class goalkeepers.”

A reporter then says Leicester have conceded 26 goals from set pieces this season and that Everton have conceded the second-most goals from set pieces in that time. Lampard good-naturedly pulls him up on that and says it’s wrong. The reporter eventually agrees it’s from the start of last season.

“I came here in February so let’s leave that one,” jokes Lampard.

Could Brighton’s Lewis Dunk and/or Danny Welbeck go to the World Cup with England? The Seagulls manager Roberto De Zerbi thinks they are good enough but is largely staying out of it:

“Dunk is one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League,” says the Brighton manager. “That is my opinion … I don’t want to give advice. If Dunk will go to the World Cup, I will be happy for sure. The same for Welbeck. It’s not my work to decide 22 players to go to the World Cup.”

Good to see Unai Emery back in the league with the Villa,” says AbberNibble. “I doubt he was backed the way he would have liked at Arsenal, we were in a bit of a rut in that period, uninterested owner, squad needed sandblasting, supporters were unhappy.

“Hopefully he gets a good shot at it this time, not an easy job though Aston Villa, Unai does not shy away from the tough gigs, you have to give the man a bit of credit for constantly testing himself I think.”

Emery will be speaking to the media any second, I believe.

"It's his decision": Vieira keen to keep Zaha at Palace

Patrick Vieira has been talking before the trip to West Ham on Sunday, firstly on Crystal Palace’s away form: “We have to accept that we will suffer more away from home. At the moment, every time we are suffering away from home, we are conceding goals, and that’s not right if we want to win football matches.”

On West Ham’s European campaign: “It’s challenge to play Thursday, Sunday, Thursday, Sunday … but when you look at the starting 11 they had last Sunday, I don’t think any of those players [who played in Europe last night] will start.

“They are in a better place now … they didn’t have the start they were looking for … but now they are playing well and they look really solid. You just have to look at the squad that they have. They have players who can score goals, who can make a massive impact in games, of course it’s going to be a challenging game, but we I believe we have quality to go there and perform well, like we did last year.

“We have to believe in ourselves and go there and play as good as we can.”

Again, Vieira is asked about the future of Wilfried Zaha, the highly rated winger whose contract ends next summer: “It’s not a distraction for him and for the football club as well … the decision has to be his decision. We will do everything we can in our side to keep him. At the moment he is performing well and that’s all that matters for now.

Barcelona and Juventus have been linked with Zaha, says a reporter. Vieira previously smiled when those names were mentioned: “If you take any player in the Premier League, and you mention those names, that of course will have an impact … for any player in the PL that creates excitement.

“That [his future] will be his decision. We will do everything we can to convince him to stay … the next couple of years can be really exciting for the football club.”

Patrick Vieira and Wilfried Zaha.
Patrick Vieira and Wilfried Zaha. Photograph: Lee Smith/Action Images/Reuters

The Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl is having a chat now before fourth-placed Newcastle’s visit on Sunday.

How will they deal with the Toon press? “It’s impressive to see how they are doing. They are def having the players to do this … he is going for the players that give you this intense game, and we all know this can be a very nasty way of setting an opponent under pressure … As you said, we do it ourselves. I think when we do it well we can cause them some issues. When we have a good evening … we have shown we can break they rhythm and cause them some issues … this is the goal for Sunday.”

Hassenhuttl also said that Kyle Walker-Peters has no chance of being fit for the World Cup.

A story from last night, from Paul MacInnes, about an on-pitch protest against the effects of gambling harm due to take place this weekend:

“British footballers will stage their first on-pitch protest against the effects of gambling harm this weekend, with more than 100 players showing support for a ban on advertising by bookmakers.

“Players in FA Cup, Scottish Women’s Premier League Cup, Women’s Championship and non-league matches will wear yellow laces as they try to heighten the pressure on government to take action.”