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And that’s about it for today. Thanks for reading. Let’s sign off with this Louise Taylor piece on October’s Premier League Player of the Month, Miguel Almirón.

All the weekend Premier League team news in one place including injuries, suspensions, disciplinary records, form and even top goalgetters. West Ham’s joint-top scorers have managed just two goals apiece. Chelsea’s leading marksmen have just three each.

The World Cup in Qatar: are you watching or boycotting? If you have decided against travelling or are switching off at home, we want to hear from you…

Brentford take on Manchester City at the Etihad in Saturday’s early game and Bees boss Thomas Frank has been talking about the hosts, giving particular focus to Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne.

“Is it going to be difficult? It’ll be unbelievably difficult. They have an almost complete squad and added Haaland who will be destroying goal records in the coming years. A lot has been said about him - he is a machine. They are an unbelievably difficult side to close down, but I back us to do something. We have never, ever gone into a game believing that we’re not capable of winning. It’s most likely the biggest challenge and we’re looking forward to it.”

He added: “(Haaland) is playing for a team that is giving him probably the best possibilities to score goals; they will provide him with good opportunities from crosses or slide passes. It’s about trying to stop the source; the more we can stop the source, the better. It will not be the first time that people have tried to keep De Bruyne quiet. He always seems to find a way.”

A few Opta stats to make Frank feel worse. Then again, it’s not certain Haaland will play.

  • Manchester City have won each of their last 11 Premier League home games, their longest such run since a run of 14 in the 2017-18 campaign. They’ve scored at least twice in their last 15 at the Etihad.

  • As well as being the top scorer in the Premier League this season, Erling Haaland’s goals have been worth a league-high 13 points to Manchester City. It’s the most points won by a Man City player in a single Premier League campaign since 2016-17 (Sergio Agüero, 13).

It’s 5pm, so a good time for this…

Welcome to the future. Let Arsene Wenger explain how it will unfold… via Reuters.

FIFA will share in-depth match data, graphics and video from every World Cup match in Qatar with all participating teams as well as supporters and media through a new performance analysis service announced on Friday. The service, led by FIFA’s chief of global football development Arsene Wenger and developed by the world governing body’s High Performance team, will offer insight on 11 metrics including expected goals, possession control and phases of play.

“Every match will have its own unique set of in-match and post-match enhanced football intelligence visuals presented as augmented reality and traditional graphics,” FIFA said. “These new statistics break down each area of the game into fine detail and provide operational definitions and multiple video examples to clearly define each action.” FIFA has also set up a specialist coaching website to provide detailed video explanations on each metric.

Former Arsenal manager Wenger said making the data readily available aimed to “help everyone to better understand the game”. He added: “Enhanced football intelligence will be our blueprint for how we analyse football in the future. We would like to share our vision of using football data analytics combined with technical expert interpretation to create a new football intelligence. My team will continue to provide new and insightful football analysis content to help share new understanding of the game combined with performance data, video examples and technical explanations.”

While we’re on Argentina, let’s go back to 1978. Lots of ticker tape and a classic “Kempes… 1-0” from David Coleman. I’ve always loved that first Argentina goal. So quick and slick from Luque and Kempes after Ardilles drives forward.

Argentina name World Cup squad

Next up in squad naming news… it’s Argentina. Injured forward Paulo Dybala made the cut as Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni named his 26-man squad on Friday. Dybala has not played for his club AS Roma since early October but Argentina hope he regains fitness before their World Cup campaign begins on 22 November against Group C opponents Saudi Arabia.

“They are proud to be called up and wear this jersey, let’s hope that you as fans are too. All together,” Scaloni said in an Instagram video.

Argentina will be without services of Giovani Lo Celso, however, after the midfielder picked up a hamstring injury last month while playing for Villarreal, with Scaloni saying he was ‘irreplaceable’.

Manchester City forward Julian Alvarez, 22, was named in the squad after a stellar year where he scored 18 goals while on loan at Argentine club River Plate before netting seven times in all competitions for City.

Inter Milan forward Lautaro Martinez, who scored 25 goals last season and has begun this campaign with eight in all competitions, is expected to lead the line. Argentina also play Mexico and Poland in Group C.

Goalkeepers: Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa), Franco Armani (River Plate) and Geronimo Rulli (Villarreal) Defenders: Gonzalo Montiel (Sevilla), Nahuel Molina (Atletico Madrid), German Pezzella (Real Betis), Cristian Romero (Tottenham Hotspur), Nicolas Otamendi (Benfica), Lisandro Martinez (Manchester United), Juan Foyth (Villarreal), Nicolas Tagliafico (Olympique Lyonnais), Marcos Acuna (Sevilla) Midfielders: Leandro Paredes (Juventus), Guido Rodriguez (Real Betis), Enzo Fernandez (Benfica), Rodrigo De Paul (Atletico Madrid), Exequiel Palacios (Bayer Leverkusen), Alejandro Gomez (Sevilla), Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton Hove Albion) Forwards: Paulo Dybala (AS Roma), Lionel Messi (Paris St Germain), Angel Di Maria (Juventus), Nicolas Gonzalez (Fiorentina), Joaquin Correa (Inter Milan), Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan), Julian Alvarez (Manchester City).

Leeds boss Jesse Marsch says his side have no fear of playing the Premier League big boys ahead of Saturday’s visit to Tottenham. Fair point. His side have beaten Liverpool and Chelsea already this season and missed a penalty in a narrow 1-0 defeat to leaders Arsenal.

Here’s the American talking about that trip to Spurs. “We know this is a big challenge once again against a top opponent in our league that is disciplined to play the way they do. But the beauty of where we are is that we are not perfect but we are not afraid, we have shown this year that we are not afraid of big opponents. We are going to go down and play confidently and go after the game in every way.

“We have been talking internally about being winners, that in a lot of these matches we are right in it. The way the games have gone it is often very even and we have to be more poised to capitalise on those situations and stay strong and stable. In both of those matches we were able to capitalise and it looked like we were going to win.”

On the team news front, Adam Forshaw, Stuart Dallas, Patrick Bamford and Mateusz Klich are all out while Jack Harrison is doubtful due to a muscle strain.

Conte in no rush for Tottenham contract talks

Tottenham manager Antonio Conte will meet with chairman Daniel Levy and sporting director Fabio Paratici during the upcoming domestic football break but insists discussions over his own contract will not be on the agenda. Spurs host Leeds in the Premier League on Saturday before the focus turns to the World Cup, with all domestic leagues around the globe on pause while the tournament in Qatar takes place.

Given the unusual lengthy period without fixtures, it has regularly been put to Conte that it could be the perfect time to discuss a new deal with his current terms set to expire in June, although the club do hold the option to extend his contract by a further 12 months, the PA news agency understands. The Italian rejected any need to urgently discuss his terms but did admit the January transfer window will be a key topic of discussion with the hierarchy.

Antonio Conte talks to the press on Friday.
Antonio Conte talks to the press on Friday. Photograph: Tottenham Hotspur FC/Getty Images

Last week Conte celebrated a year at Tottenham and in a strange twist of fate he will again take on Leeds at home this weekend. The same fixture marked the beginning of the ex-Chelsea manager’s era at Spurs but while he is more than happy to wait before opening talks over any potential new contract, he wants to deserve fresh terms. “You know very well that my contract expires on June 30. I think until that moment the club has to make the best evaluation,” Conte added. “I think everything (you get,) you need to deserve. For this reason it’ll be important to see the rest of the season what happens and if we’re happy with the improvement we’re making, but every situation, it’s important to deserve.

“In my opinion on my side, it’s important for me professionally I have to feel I deserve to have a new contract and to sign 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 pointed out his conversations with Paratici and Levy during the past 12 months have always been “good” but knows they must continue to be honest about where Spurs are in their project to become a genuine title contender.

He insisted: “For sure, every time we speak together they’re always good conversations, because there is only one target to try to improve, to improve the club in every aspect. On and outside the pitch. Then to find the best solution in every moment. I think until now we worked only with this target to improve. To improve and to find a good way to bring this club to be competitive, but I’m understanding very well this year that it’s not easy.”

(PA Media)

Staying with Senegal, here’s a flashback to the opening game of the 2002 World Cup. Liverpool looked like they’d signed a real star in El Hadji Douf. That didn’t quite work out (six goals in 79 games and dissing Steven Gerrard quite a lot). Senegal play the Netherlands in the second game of the 2022 World Cup on 21 November.

Senegal shock France in the opening game.

Will Unwin

A chat with QPR goalkeeper Seny Dieng, who is heading off to the World Cup with Senegal.

“Ever since I was young I’ve wanted to play for Senegal,” says Dieng, born in Switzerland to a Senegalese father and Swiss mother. “I watched Senegal going through to the quarters at the World Cup in 2002 and I knew I wanted to be at that level. The first thing is to come out of the group at the World Cup and then I think there is no limit to where we can get.”

Alexandra Topping

Alexandra Topping

The major moral dilemma represented by attending a World Cup in Qatar. This is well worth a read.

“It’s a World Cup and England are there so we will go out, but wearing as much rainbow gear as we possibly can so we can do our piece to represent England and progress in the world.”

Guardiola will assess Haaland fitness after training

Pep Guardiola has been speaking and this will be of interest to both fantasy managers and actual England manager Gareth Southgate. The Manchester City boss has given updates on three of his squad: Erling Haaland, who isn’t going to the World Cup, and England duo Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips, who are. This from the Manchester City website:

Pep Guardiola will use Friday afternoon’s training session to assess the latest fitness of Erling Haaland. The Norwegian has been used sparingly since picking up a foot injury against Borussia Dortmund in October.

He missed the games against Leicester City and Sevilla, and only appeared midway through the second-half of the 2-1 win over Fulham last weekend, scoring a dramatic late winner from the spot. An unused substitute against Chelsea in midweek, Guardiola says he will wait and see how his top scorer feels before planning the team for Brentford.

Asked if Haaland would play against the Bees, the boss said: “We will see. After today’s training, we will see.” Then, asked if Haaland was better, Pep added: “A little bit.”

Kalvin Phillips and Kyle Walker were included in England’s 26-man squad for the World Cup on Thursday and Guardiola was asked for his thoughts on their selection – particularly as Walker is yet to start training after his September surgery. Phillips made an impressive cameo against Chelsea on Wednesday evening, but Walker is still to return to full training.

“Kalvin you saw in the last game,” he said. “He is ready – Kyle, not yet. It’s a decision for Kyle and Southgate (the decision to select him) - 100% their decision. I am not involved. After Saturday, the players belong to the national teams. I am not worried.”

Paul MacInnes

Paul MacInnes

The unique circumstances of the Qatar World Cup have created an unprecedented risk of injury during the tournament, the international players’ union, Fifpro, has warned.

Paul MacInnes highlights yet another reason why the 2022 edition is fraught with problems.

If it seems like the managerial merry go-round has been spinning fast this season, that’s because it’s true. Clubs in the Premier League and English Football League (EFL) have broken the record for most manager departures within the first 15 weeks of a season, PA analysis shows.

Thursday’s sacking of Leam Richardson by Wigan took this season’s tally of permanent managerial changes to 26, with the campaign having started just 105 days ago on July 29. This is a new record for the Premier League era, surpassing the previous mark that was set initially in 2001-02, before being equalled in 2007-08 and 2014-15.

Richardson was the third head coach to leave his post this week, with his departure coming immediately after Nathan Jones had left Luton to take up the manager’s job at Southampton, which had in turn been vacated by Ralph Hasenhuttl’s dismissal on Monday. Rochdale’s sacking of Robbie Stockdale opened the floodgates all the way back on August 18, just 20 days into the season.

There were just 14 manager changes by this point last year, the lowest for eight seasons and around half as many as in 2022-23. Five of those were in the Premier League - Xisco Munoz (Watford), Steve Bruce (Newcastle), Nuno Espirito Santo (Tottenham), Daniel Farke (Norwich) and Dean Smith (Aston Villa) - but the remaining 72 EFL clubs had seen only nine departures between them.

The excellent Tim Key stays topical with a World Cup squad announcement poem.

With five Premier League wins and a draw in October, Newcastle were always likely to sweep the monthly awards. Opta add some further perspective on their rise ahead of Saturday’s home game against Chelsea.

  • Newcastle are playing a Premier League game starting the day in the top three for the first time since November 2011, losing 3-1 at league-leaders Manchester City. This is the first time they’re facing Chelsea while above them in the table since May 2012, and a 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge.

Thanks Gregg. All our World Cup team guides can be found here by the way. Each profile contains a ‘Qatar stance’ section and the Dutch KNVB has been one of the few football associations to criticise human rights and working conditions in the country. Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal gave a further update when announcing his 26-man squad on Friday. This from Reuters:

The Netherlands will take time during their stay in Qatar to talk to migrants who helped build the stadiums for the World Cup, van Gaal said on Friday. The team will meet a group of about 20 migrants on November 17 to talk about their working conditions and to give them the opportunity to join the players in training.

Last year, Qatar’s government denied claims in a report by human rights organisation Amnesty International that thousands of migrant workers were being trapped and exploited.

Van Gaal said the meeting with the migrants was meant to give attention to the often dire conditions under which stadiums and other infrastructure for the tournament were built before the team’s focus totally shifts to the World Cup itself. “It will of course be a somewhat manufactured situation, but the fact we are willing to do this tells you something about the ideas of the KNVB and of this squad,” Van Gaal said of the meeting.

Van Gaal earlier this year said he felt it was ridiculous that the World Cup was being played in Qatar, as he accused world soccer’s governing body FIFA of taking the tournament to the Middle East emirate for money and commercial reasons.

With it being a weekend of Copa del Rey games in Spain, La Liga has already packed up for the World Cup. Here’s Sid Lowe on the state of play as it goes on hiatus for 50 days:

And with that, I’ll hand back to Dave.

Graham Potter’s Chelsea take on high-flying Newcastle at St James’ Park tomorrow and they’re struggling a bit, aren’t they? They haven’t won in four league games and Potter was asked whether he is worried about recent performances:

We played Milan in-between Wolves, Reece [James] got injured - a key player - so lacked stability in solution, Wesley [Fofana] as well. Then a blow to NG [N’Golo Kante]. We’ve performed well against Salzburg, got a good result. Suffered first 20 against Brighton, and that’s knocked us back a little bit. I think there is more to come from the team we have and the group we have. We’ve had some key players out: Kanté, [Ben] Chilwell, James, Fofana. They are key players and a couple of them are replacing key ones who left in the summer. Our performance against Arsenal wasn’t good, but I thought we played well against Man City. It’s always a process, and I’m pretty sure there are going to be lots of things that enter the head as we have time. I think we can do better than we have and that is where my focus is on. [Newcastle] have got results and got results deservedly. That builds confidence and momentum. I have huge admiration for [Eddie Howe]. He’s galvanised the team and the club.

Welsh schoolchildren will be allowed to swap their pencils and set squares to watch Gareth Bale and co at the World Cup from their classrooms.

This from PA:

The Welsh government has left it for schools to decide how to manage the Iran game, which kicks off at 10am on Friday 25 November. Wales will be playing at their first World Cup for 64 years in Qatar and their other two group games, against the United States and England, have later kick-offs at 7pm.

The Football Association of Wales has organised a ‘Cymru Football Friday’ for the Iran game, with 1,100 schools throughout the country preparing for a “full day of football activity”. FAW chief executive Noel Mooney said: “We’ve worked with Welsh government and created packs so every school in the country can celebrate with bunting, footballs, flags and images of the players. We want to create a festival in all our schools and the Iran game is perfect for us. You want a child to remember it, and hopefully go on to play for us and become the future.”

What, no bucket hats?

Klopp has analysed 'half Saints, half Luton'

Jürgen Klopp was asked about a few different subjects. On how he has prepared for the match this weekend he said the analysts had had to look at Luton as well as Southampton.

I thought [Ralph] Hasenhuttl did an exceptional job [at Southampton]. If they showed anything it was attitude, they were highly motivated. We always expect a motivated opponent but there’s not a lot of time [for Jones] to change a lot. We have analysed them half Saints/Luton.

On Trent Alexander-Arnold’s England inclusion, he said: “[Trent] was very pleased about the news … I’m very happy for him. I heard Gary Neville said something [about Trent]. But he’s now 24 and won quite a few finals, important games where you have to defend against world-class players. He was always there, defending well. I don’t know why we have this discussion.” He then spoke about having only seven players at the World Cup, saying: “We would usually have Diogo [Jota] as well. I’m happy about the number we have for our pre-season training. Luis [Díaz ] is back running outside [which is] really positive. It’s our last game for a long time and that’s why we want to finish on a high.”

And on Ibrahima Konaté’s getting called up to a very good France World Cup squad, he said: “He was very good before, we can’t say he learned everything here! He came back in time for the World Cup. It’s worked out really well and he deserves it.”

Afternoon. Jürgen Klopp is currently giving his thoughts on Liverpool’s opponents tomorrow, Southampton, who have a new manager in Nathan Jones. I’ll update you on his opinions shortly. In the meantime here’s a Liverpool-related view from reader Admir Pajiæ:

“Here is unpopular opinion: Thiago is basically a Veron. He is a brilliant playmaker who signed for an English club that didn’t need one.”

I can see where you’re coming from Admir – Liverpool’s strongest midfield was the brawny Wijnaldum-Fabinho-Henderson trio. Thiago is a brilliant footballer, though at Liverpool he has often seemed less than the sum of his very talented parts. Perhaps injuries haven’t helped and the system perhaps isn’t best suited to him, either.

Time for a spot of lunch so I’ll hand the blog over to Gregg Bakowski for a while.

Serbia name World Cup squad

Now it’s time for Serbia to reveal their hand.

Serbia’s all-time top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic, who is nursing an ankle injury, was named by coach Dragan Stojkovic in their 26-man squad for the World Cup in Qatar on Friday. Fulham striker Mitrovic, who missed their Premier League defeat to Manchester City last weekend and is a doubt for Sunday’s game against Manchester United, has bagged 50 goals for his country and is in the squad along with Juventus striker Dusan Vlahovic.

The duo, who have scored 17 goals between them for their clubs this season, are expected to lead the line for Serbia at the Nov. 20-Dec. 18 tournament with Fiorentina’s 24-year-old Luka Jovic waiting in the wings. Serbia will be captained by Ajax Amsterdam’s Dusan Tadic, who has 90 caps for the national team, scoring 18 times.

Their midfield will also be led by Lazio’s versatile Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who has six goals in 35 appearances for the national team. Predrag Rajkovic is the most experienced goalkeeper in the squad but Torino’s Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, who has six caps, started in four of their six Nations League matches earlier this year.

Serbia are in Group G alongside Brazil, Switzerland and Cameroon. Serbia, who have never moved past the group stages, take on five-times champions Brazil in their opening group game on Nov. 24. They will first play a friendly match with Bahrain in Manama on Nov. 18 before flying to their base in Doha a day later. (Reuters)

Goalkeepers: Marko Dmitrovic, Predrag Rajkovic, Vanja Milinkovic-Savic Defenders: Stefan Mitrovic, Nikola Milenkovic, Strahinja Pavlovic, Milos Veljkovic, Filip Mladenovic, Strahinja Erakovic, Srdjan Babic Midfielders: Nemanja Gudelj, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Sasa Lukic, Marko Grujic, Filip Kostic, Uros Racic, Nemanja Maksimovic, Ivan Ilic, Andrija Zivkovic, Darko Lazovic Forwards: Dusan Tadic (captain), Aleksandar Mitrovic, Dusan Vlahovic, Filip Duricic, Luka Jovic, Nemanja Radonjic

If you hadn’t noticed, Spain are going to the World Cup without Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea and Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara. Imagine being that blessed in midfield that you can do without Thiago! He’d surely get into any other squad heading to Qatar. At least there’s still one World Cup winner in the family: nowhere near as talented dad, Mazinho, who lifted the trophy with Brazil in 1994. Different sorts of players I guess. Anyway, more here from Reuters on the manager’s thinking.

Luis Enrique declined to comment on the players who were left out, but the absence of veterans like De Gea, Thiago and Barcelona defender Marcos Alonso points to the manager’s preference to go all-in with Spain’s new generation of talent.

De Gea has fallen out of favour with Luis Enrique who said in March he “wanted to test other goalkeepers” and Thiago saw his role diminish with the rise of Barca teenagers Pedri, 19, and 18-year-old Gavi.

“Youth gives you freedom because you are not yet aware of the consequences,” Luis Enrique said. “Yet, most of the youngsters that are with us are already in high-level teams. The bar that I’m setting is infinity. My goal is to compete in every game. There’s no one outside of Spain who rules out Spain as a candidate to be among the best.”

On a weekend where Nathan Jones had expected to welcome Rotherham to Kenilworth Road, the former Luton boss will now be heading to Anfield as manager of Southampton.

Talking about his first few days at St Mary’s, the 49-year-old Welshman said: “We have to make small steps and we have to make them quickly. All I’ve done is address them and ask them for a few key things. I can’t do ground-breaking work in a day because of the game on Wednesday (Southampton beat Sheffield Wednesday in the Carabao Cup on penalties) and the amount of people who played.

New Southampton boss Nathan Jones.
New Southampton boss Nathan Jones. Photograph: Matt Watson/Southampton FC/Getty Images

“Yesterday was a recovery day and I only get today to work with them. It won’t be some sort of categorical shift in how we play, but I hope it will be an uplift in energy and that they work for the club and for me. Anfield is one of the toughest places in Europe to go, but what a great start. You can be scared or excited by it. You can be motivated by it, and I’m definitely one of those.”

Jones says he has had a “whirlwind week” travelling up and down the country and opened up on his family connections with Southampton at his first media conference. His wife’s great-grandfather played for Southampton and all her family are supporters of the club. Jones laughed: “So there’s zero pressure. My wife’s dad has already been giving me tips, so he’s been blocked. I can’t have that! But, seriously, it’s a wonderful connection for that family.”

(PA Media)

A bit more on that Spain World Cup squad from AP.

Twenty-year-old Barcelona forward Ansu Fati was included in Spain’s squad for the World Cup on Friday. Ansu has not played for Spain since making his fourth appearance as a teenager in October 2020 shortly after breaking the record for Spain’s youngest scorer. His spectacular start for Spain and Barcelona was cut short by leg injuries.

Besides Fati, there were no other surprises when Spain coach Luis Enrique announced his 26-man squad. The former midfielder, who played in three World Cups, will rely on a young team in Qatar, including Barcelona midfielders Pedri Gonzalez (19) and Gavi Paez (18). “We are going to war in Qatar,” Luis Enrique said.

Luis Enrique guided a similar Spain squad to the semi-finals of last year’s European Championships. Spain’s players will travel to Jordan on Monday, where they will play a friendly against that country’s national team on November 17. They will then fly to Doha, where the team will have its base camp during the World Cup. Spain will play their opening match at the World Cup against Costa Rica on November 23. The 2010 champions will also face Germany and Japan in Group E.

This is a lovely story about Wales. And, yes, those bucket hats are a nod to the Stone Roses.

May I also recommend Jonny Owen’s ‘Together Stronger’ on the iPlayer.

Uruguay include Cavani in World Cup squad

Another World Cup squad to peruse – Uruguay. Can Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez and former Reds striker Luis Suarez cause havoc? Edinson Cavani is also named although the former PSG and Manchester United striker is not fully fit.

(Reuters) Uruguay have gambled on the recovery of Ronald Araujo in naming the Barcelona defender in their 26-man squad for the World Cup in Qatar, while Valencia striker Edinson Cavani also gets the green light despite a recent injury scare. Araujo, a linchpin of the Uruguayan defence, underwent thigh surgery after an injury while on national team duty in September and has been making a steady recovery, the country’s soccer federation chief said on Thursday.

The inaugural World Cup winners have gone for a mix of youth and experience, including the ageing Luis Suarez, Diego Godin and Cavani in what are almost certain to be their last appearances at soccer’s showpiece event. The 35-year-old Cavani has netted four times in his seven league games for Valencia this season but faces a race against time to recover from an ankle injury with less than two weeks to go before Uruguay’s opener with South Korea.

Uruguay, who also meet Portugal and Ghana in Group H, have included Real Madrid’s Federico Valverde and Tottenham Hotspur’s Rodrigo Bentancur in the midfield as well as Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez and Giorgian De Arrascaeta of Flamengo among the forwards.

Goalkeepers: Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray), Sergio Rochet (Nacional), Sebastian Sosa (Independiente) Defenders: Jose Maria Gimenez (Atletico Madrid), Sebastian Coates (Sporting CP), Diego Godin (Velez Sarsfield), Martin Caceres (LA Galaxy), Ronald Araujo (Barcelona), Guillermo Varela (Flamengo), Jose Luis Rodriguez (Nacional), Mathias Olivera (Napoli), Matias Vina (Roma) Midfielders: Lucas Torreira (Galatasaray), Manuel Ugarte (Sporting CP), Matias Vecino (Lazio), Rodrigo Bentancur (Tottenham Hotspur), Federico Valverde (Real Madrid), Facundo Pellistri (Manchester United), Nicolas De La Cruz (River Plate) Forwards: Agustin Canobbio (Athletico Paranaense), Facundo Torres (Orlando City), Giorgian De Arrascaeta (Flamengo), Maxi Gomez (Trabzonspor), Luis Suarez (Nacional), Edinson Cavani (Valencia), Darwin Nunez (Liverpool)

After a massive eight years of hurt since winning the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, is it Germany’s time again? Analysis here in our hot-of-the-press team guide.

Back to the Premier League and Everton manager Frank Lampard will target attacking reinforcements in January as he sees to find a solution to their goalscoring problems. The Toffees have managed a paltry 11 goals in 14 Premier League games this season.

Injury-plagued striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin is currently dealing with three issues and while the hamstring problem sustained in last weekend’s defeat against Leicester will keep him out of Saturday’s trip to Bournemouth, a previously dislocated shoulder and, more significantly, a knee injury from the start of the season are ongoing issues. Everton have scored just 11 goals in 14 Premier League matches - their top scorer is Anthony Gordon with three - and it is an area which Lampard knows needs to be addressed.

“We are certainly considering it in the squad,” said the former midfielder when asked whether attacking signings were a priority in January. “When we looked at the (summer) window I knew we had to strengthen throughout the squad in different areas and the priority was to stop conceding and be more solid through midfield. It (attack) may be the next step, considering we haven’t had Dominic as well for a big portion of this season so far, to give ourselves more options in an attacking sense to help the squad.

“Leicester (last weekend’s 2-0 defeat) is a prime example: it was tightly-contested, 50-50 possession, they have got some really good players and a threat and we missed two really big chances and they scored two amazing goals. Those things in both boxes can be really critical.”

Calvert-Lewin has managed just 339 minutes of football - and completed 90 minutes just once - so far after a knee injury on the eve of the season sidelined him for two months. Lampard hopes the break for the World Cup will give them chance to sort finally sort his issues.

“The hamstring is a small injury, it is a 10-day injury as such which is slightly irrelevant now. The shoulder was a whack he took against Newcastle (a month ago) and he had a recurrence against Fulham. He has been strapped up a lot and it was something which was looked at by a specialist yesterday and doesn’t need any surgery. He has been getting through with some issues but the knee is probably the most prominent injury that we want to get right, which is a similar to what he had before and it’s been aggravated so this period gives us time to get it back right. We hope the break comes at a good time for him and we expect him back for Wolves on Boxing Day.”

(PA Media)

Spain and Netherlands announce World Cup squads

The World Cup squad announcements keep rolling in. Spain and the Netherlands are the latest countries to reveal their 26-man line-ups. Remember, if England finished second in their group, they’ll play the winners of Group A and there’s a strong chance that could be Virgil van Dijk and co.

Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal included injured Barcelona forward Memphis Depay and uncapped teenager Xavi Simons in his 26-man squad for the World Cup, but left out veteran goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen.

Depay has not played since limping off during the Netherlands’ Nations League match against Poland on Sept. 22, and has played less than 150 minutes for Barcelona this season. But Van Gaal had already said his top scorer would be certain of a place as long as there was a chance of him playing during the tournament.

Xavi Simons, 19, has made a strong impression since his move from Paris St Germain to PSV Eindhoven this summer, scoring eight goals in 13 league matches. Van Gaal sprung a surprise in goal by leaving out 33-year-old Cillessen, who rejoined his old club NEC Nijmegen from Valencia this summer in the hope of reviving his international career.

Goalkeepers: Justin Bijlow (Feyenoord), Andries Noppert (Heerenveen), Remko Pasveer (Ajax Amsterdam) Defenders: Nathan Ake (Manchester City), Daley Blind (Ajax), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Denzel Dumfries (Internazionale), Jeremie Frimpong (Bayer Leverkusen), Matthijs de Ligt (Bayern Munchen), Tyrell Malacia (Manchester United), Jurrien Timber (Ajax), Stefan de Vrij (Internazionale) Midfielders: Steven Berghuis (Ajax), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Davy Klaassen (Ajax), Teun Koopmeiners (Atalanta Bergamo), Marten de Roon (Atalanta Bergamo), Xavi Simons (PSV Eindhoven), Kenneth Taylor (Ajax) Forwards: Steven Bergwijn (Ajax), Memphis Depay (Barcelona), Cody Gakpo (PSV), Vincent Janssen (Antwerp), Luuk de Jong (PSV), Noah Lang (Club Brugge), Wout Weghorst (Besiktas).

Spain coach Luis Enrique named this 26-man squad:

Goalkeepers: Unai Simon (Athletic Club), Robert Sanchez (Brighton Hove Albion), David Raya (Brentford FC). Defenders: Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea FC), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Eric Garcia (FC Barcelona), Hugo Guillamon (Valencia CF), Pau Torres (Villarreal CF), Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City), Jordi Alba (FC Barcelona), Jose Gaya (Valencia CF). Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (FC Barcelona), Rodri Hernandez (Manchester City), Gavi (FC Barcelona), Carlos Soler (Paris St Germain), Marcos Llorente (Atletico de Madrid), Pedri Gonzalez (FC Barcelona), Koke Resurreccion (Atletico de Madrid). Forwards: Ferran Torres (FC Barcelona), Nico Williams (Athletic Club), Yeremi Pino (Villarreal CF), Alvaro Morata (Atletico de Madrid), Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Pablo Sarabia (Paris St Germain), Dani Olmo (RB Leipzig), Ansu Fati (FC Barcelona)

(Reuters)

More details on Sade Mane’s injury and his inclusion in Senegal’s World Cup squad.

Senegal coach Aliou Cisse is confident Mane could recover in time to play at the tournament. He said Senegal had sent the Senegalese federation’s doctor to examine Mane on Thursday and had been told he would not require surgery. ”That’s very good news and we now have the chance to try and get him fit for the tournament. We now have two weeks to observe and see how the injury reacts to treatment,” Cisse said. “I prefer to keep him in the squad because he is such an important part of us.”

The coach used the example of Watford attacker Ismaila Sarr, who had been injured going into January’s Africa Cup of Nations finals, but was included in the squad and recovered after the first round to contribute to Senegal’s success in the tournament. “We will do all in our power to ensure we can recover Mane in time to play,” Cisse added.

Cisse kept faith with the majority of the squad that won the Cup of Nations in Cameroon but did include Monaco defender Ismail Jakobs and strikers Nicolas Jackson (Villarreal) and Ilimane Ndiaye (Sheffield United), who earned their first caps after World Cup qualification was secured in March. “The players chosen correspond with our vision and philosophy. They are competitors of a high level,” said Cisse, who had his contract as coach extended by a further two years on Thursday.

(Reuters)

Story from last night. The Danish Football Association (DBU) said that Fifa had rejected Denmark’s request to train at the World Cup in shirts with the words “human rights for all” on them.

Ben Fisher

Ben Fisher

Nathan Jones has been installed as the new manager of Southampton and first up for the former Luton coach is… a trip to Anfield. Ben Fisher says Jones has earned a top-flight chance.

Paul Gascoigne has been having a word with PA media following the announcement of the England World Cup squad…

Paul Gascoigne hopes the England players will gel as a team at the World Cup - rather than just counting on one of them to make the difference in Qatar. Gareth Southgate’s squad open their campaign against Iran and will then take on the United States before meeting Wales in the final Group B fixture. Gascoigne reflected on his own World Cup experience 32 years ago in ‘Italia 90: Four weeks that changed the world’, which will will air on Sky Documentaries from November 13.

Tottenham midfielder Gascoigne had never started a competitive international, so was something of a controversial selection for Sir Bobby Robson’s squad. Gascoigne, though, took centre stage in Italy as England built momentum from a slow start to go on and reach the semi-finals, where they were beaten on penalties by West Germany in Turin. The likes of James Maddison, Jack Grealish, Jude Bellingham, Mason Mount, Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka will all be hoping to make an impact in Qatar. Gascoigne feels it will be important how well they can all work together as a unit which will determine how far the Three Lions can go.

“We have got some quality players there (in the squad), but we are talking now individual players,” Gascoigne told the PA news agency. “You have got to look at a team player - I was fortunate, because in 1990 and then at Euro 96, we were a team. Today’s teams have got a quite a few individual players, but it is whether you gel together, that is more important than anything else.

“In 1990, I was so proud of the players that didn’t play because when we scored, they were all up celebrating, there was nobody who sulked if they were not playing - some of them went there and never got a game, but they were still behind us, which is what the players are going to need more than anything. I was just 23 and the other players were coming into their prime, like Bryan Robson, John Barnes, Chris Waddle, Peter Beardsley, Gary Lineker, Terry Butcher, Peter Shilton, Stuart Pearce - they were unbelievable. So I was fortunate to be amongst all them and they just let me get on and enjoy myself, and of course Bobby Robson was a brilliant manager.”

As well as drawing praise for his mesmerising performances to help drive England on through the knockout stages of Italia 90, Gascoigne also captured the hearts of the nation watching back home during the semi-final. After being shown a yellow card for a challenge which appeared to make minimal contact on Thomas Berthold, so ruling him out of the final should England have progressed, the young midfielder struggled to hold back his tears.

“Even to this day, I still don’t think I touched him,” said Gascoigne, 55. “It wasn’t just the fact I was going to miss the final - I didn’t want to be selfish in that way because (in) the last 20 minutes, I gave my all. It was heartbreaking to get the second yellow card after going so far (in the tournament), having done so well and really enjoyed myself. (Everyone) saying that seeing my tears changed the game around (in England) is a nice feeling - but it was certainly a shock getting back home and seeing all the fans, when it was just ‘wow’.”

Newcastle’s Callum Wilson is heading to the World Cup but he may not be available for Saturday’s Premier League clash against Chelsea.

(Per PA Media) Newcastle boss Eddie Howe has saluted Callum Wilson’s resilience after the striker was called up to England’s World Cup squad. The 30-year-old has battled his way through a series of injuries, including two cruciate ligament ruptures, to make it into the party for Qatar.

Howe, who signed him for Bournemouth back in 2014, said: “It’s an amazing thing for him individually and I’m sure for his family. Callum has had a difficult career, it’s not always been about the successes. He’s had huge successes and he’s risen from the lower leagues to the Premier League and now to the national squad at a World Cup. It’s been a brilliant thing to witness at first hand for me.

Newcastle’s Callum Wilson has been named in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad.
Newcastle’s Callum Wilson has been named in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad. Photograph: Richard Lee/REX/Shutterstock

“Then when you see how it’s been achieved, you see it’s been through dedication, consistency in his work, a really positive mindset. Even sometimes when he would get injured, his first instinct was always, ‘I’m going to come back better’ and then he put the work in to come back better, so it’s not just talk with Callum, he actually delivers. He’s got a way of scoring goals, a uniqueness about him, so I’m delighted for him and I hope that he can go and I hope he can make real impact.”

Wilson, who won his last cap in 2019, is facing a race to be fit for his club’s final Premier League game before the World Cup break, against Chelsea on Saturday evening, after struggling with illness in the last week. He came off at half-time in Sunday’s 4-1 win at Southampton feeling the after-effects and missed the midweek Carabao Cup victory over Crystal Palace.

Asked if he would be available, Howe said: “We’ll wait and see. He’s been training separately from the group this week. He had an illness, so he’s been away from the group. He’s been working well but I need to make a decision on whether he’s fit enough to play.”

We’ve reached Costa Rica in our World Cup 2022 team guides. Makeweights? Well, let’s not forget 2014 when they somehow topped a group featuring England, Italy and Uruguay before reaching the quarter-finals.

Four Armed Forces personnel will take charge of the League One fixture between Cambridge United and Bolton Wanderers on Remembrance Weekend.

For the first time, the Royal Air Force, British Army and Royal Navy will all be represented during the match at the Abbey Stadium on Saturday.

The RAF’s Sergeant Darren Drysdale will be the referee, supported by his two assistant referees - the Army’s Corporal Declan O’Shea and Captain Steve Finch. The Royal Navy’s Chief Petty Officer Scott Jackson will be the fourth official, completing a team with almost 100 years of combined military service.

The pre-World Cup conspiracy theories are starting.

Michael Gibson emails in with this: “I saw your earlier comment re Southgate having kittens when Harry Kane contests 50-50s against Leeds. I bet Brenden Aaronson has been primed by Greg Berhalter to leave one in on Kane or Eric Dier if he gets the chance. Actually the reverse might also be true.”

Yeah, and this bloke I know reckons he knows a bloke, who’s friends with a guy that works for Match of the Day who reckons Aaronson and Callum Wilson are best mates so crocking Kane makes perfect sense.

Time, dear readers, for YOUR help (pointy finger emoji).

How well will your team perform at the World Cup? What is the mood like at home? Whether you’re cheering on one of the favourites or supporting an underdog, share your hopes and expectations with us by filling out the form in the article below.

Here’s Barney Ronay’s take on England’s World Cup squad.

“This is not to say that England have an obvious champion squad. But it is the best squad Southgate could have picked, one that on the face of it offers no space to carp or rage at talent squandered, favouritism applied.

“A first XI of Jordan Pickford in goal, Kieran Tripper, John Stones, Harry Maguire (who will play, and who is also more suited to the sedentary rhythms of England football) and Luke Shaw in defence; the Rice-Phillips-Bellingham trio, plus Southgate’s favoured front three of Kane-Sterling-Foden … this looks pretty good.”

“We’re on our way, we are Gareth’s 26…”. Okay, it doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as 1982 but Southgate’s squad are nearly on their way. Will they get it right? This time? Here’s the story and squad if somehow your missed it. And below it a link to see Dave Watson, Steve Foster, Joe Corrigan et al recording their smash No.2 hit. Fun fact: Joint writers, Chris Norman and Pete Spencer of Smokie, had written “Head Over Heels in Love” for Kevin Keegan in 1979.

Sadio Mane named in Senegal World Cup squad

Breaking news: Sadio Mane shall go to the ball – but how fit is he? It was always likely Senegal would do everything to patch him up although maybe this has echoes of Keegan and Brooking in ‘82. Perhaps he can recover during the group stage before returning in the last 16 for a likely clash with England if my When Saturday Comes wallchart prediction works out. Here’s the Reuters report.

Sadio Mane has been named in Senegal’s squad for the World Cup in Qatar despite injury concerns after he was hurt playing for his German club at the weekend.

Sadio Mane has been named in Senegal’s World Cup squad despite injury fears.
Sadio Mane has been named in Senegal’s World Cup squad despite injury fears. Photograph: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images

The 30-year-old striker, whose decisive penalty kicks won both the Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup qualification for his country this year, suffered an injury to his right fibula in Bayern’s 6-1 win against Werder Bremen and misses this weekend’s clash against Schalke.

But coach Aliou Cisse included the team’s talisman when he named his 26-man squad at a news conference in Dakar on Friday

Manchester United made it through to the last 16 of the Carabao Cup with a 4-2 win over Aston Villa last night, Qatar-bound Marcus Rashford getting the hosts’ second. Here’s Jamie Jackson’s match report.

In bonkers scheduling news, the fourth round ties are being squeezed in between the World Cup final (December 18) and the resumption of the Premier League (December 26). Manchester City kids/reserves v Liverpool kids/reserves is the standout tie. Here’s the draw.

Wolves v Gillingham Southampton v Lincoln City Blackburn Rovers v Nottingham Forest Newcastle v Bournemouth Manchester City v Liverpool Manchester United v Burnley MK Dons v Leicester Charlton v Brighton

Let’s kick off with a weekly staple. Gonna miss you my friend.

“Maddison will hope to sign off from domestic duty by helping Leicester beat West Ham. Standing in his way, though, will be an international teammate: Declan Rice. This is a huge game for West Ham’s captain. David Moyes’s side are two points above the bottom three after stinking the place out against Crystal Palace last weekend and they could do with an inspirational midfield display from Rice.”

Preamble

And for the final time until Boxing Day, here we go with another round of Premier League fixtures.

Sounds weird doesn’t it but due to a World Cup in Qatar being plonked in the middle of the season, when the Fulham v Manchester United game finishes at around 6.20pm on Sunday, the Premier League table will be frozen in time for (checks calendar) 43 days.

While Premier League managers strive to leave the standings looking as favourable for them as possible - Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace could actually go into the break in sixth if an awful lot went their way - World Cup-bound bosses will spend the weekend chewing finger nails.

Senegal manager Aliou Cisse is already cursing that star man Sadio Mane may not be fit after picking up an injury playing for Bayern Munich this week so Gareth Southgate will be having kittens every time Harry Kane contests a 50-50 in Tottenham’s home game against a Leeds side not known for standing back and admiring.

Let’s go then. If you’re looking for team news, hot press conference quotes and World Cup build-up, step right this way…