Tottenham produce woeful display against Arsenal

27/09/2021 - Premier League

By Archie Burkinshaw, Tottenham Hotspur writer

Against Crystal Palace there were players unavailable due to quarantine rules following the international break, against Chelsea we put up a fight but were deservedly beaten by the better side with huge resources at their disposal. But on Sunday there were no excuses for Tottenham's dismal display against their arch-rivals Arsenal. I could go into great depth about how Nuno got his tactics completely wrong, the midfield was non-existent and they invited Arsenal's youngsters to fly forward with little resistance, but it simply came down to Tottenham's lack of desire to be competitive.

Players were walking about after losing possession, nobody looked like they wanted the ball, which forced the defence to boot the ball long which consistently failed. There were no leaders on the pitch, Tottenham were 3-0 down within 33 minutes and nobody looked bothered. It was without a doubt the least competitive Spurs side I have ever seen play, no identity at all. It was only a few years ago that Alli, Kane and Son were up there with the best attacking trios in Europe - yesterday they looked like they had never kicked a ball together before.

We made Arsenal, who are an average team and won't get anywhere near the top four this season, look like the invincible side of 2004, highlighted by Aubameyangs celebration after scoring Arsenal's second goal that was reminiscent of the great Thierry Henry.

Following the game yesterday I saw several Tottenham fans go into a full meltdown on Twitter, calling for Nuno's departure. However, this is far from his fault, this is without a doubt at the door of Daniel Levy.

He is the man who decided to sack Pochettino, the best manager we've had in 40 years for the novelty appointment of Mourinho who was undoubtedly past his best. This was then followed by a completely embarrassing hunt for a new manager where Levy settled for his sixth choice Nuno Espírito Santo, who clearly does not want to play attacking football, which is what the fan base are desperate to see.

This isnt the time for Tottenham to sack their manager but if Nuno doesn't at least get the team playing at a competitive level again soon he will be gone. At the moment I am struggling to see where the next Premier League win is going to come from, with Aston Villa up next, I doubt it will be this weekend.

Tottenham welcomes NS Mura in the Europa Conference League next on Thursday, they must at least win this game to stop the club becoming a total embarrassment.


Potters continue their promotion push with a win over Hull City

27/09/2021 - Championship

By Lewis Williamson, Stoke City writer

Stoke City welcomed Hull this weekend to the Britannia Stadium, with Stoke having won midweek in the cup against Premier League side Watford, hopes were high.

In terms of lineup, Adam Davies retained his place in goals after a good performance midweek against Watford. Harry Souttar came into the back three in place of Danny Batth.

The midfield was changed from a four to a five, with Romaine Sawyers coming into the side in place of Jordan Thompson, Mario Vrančić in place of Sam Surridge, and Sam Clucas getting a start.

Nick Powell and Jacob Brown were rewarded with starts up top again after an impressive performance in the cup. Hull on the other hand only made three changes from their side that lost 3-1 to Sheffield United last week.

Hull City started the game strong with a chance glancing back off the post from right-back Lewie Coyle.

Stoke hit back hard with Romaine Sawyers feeding the ball through to Mario Vrančić who turned two defenders and kept his balance to smash the ball into the roof of the net. The goal saw the Bosnian open his scoring for the campaign as a Stoke player, giving the home side a 35th-minute lead going into half-time.

Hull’s fortunes did not change much after the break with Mallik Wilks going over the trailing boot of a Stoke defender in the box, but much to his frustration the referee waved play on.

Up the other end of the pitch, Stoke won a free-kick around the 25-yard mark with Nick Powell standing over the ball there was only one outcome on its way. Matt Ingram stood no chance as the ball rifled over his head into the top of the net.

With the game put beyond Hull City, Michael O’Neill’s men marched on to secure all three points.


Blades make it five unbeaten in the league

27/09/2021 - Championship

By Owain Wyse, Sheffield United writer

Sheffield United left it late as they required an 89th minute penalty to beat bottom of the league Derby County.

The Blades went into the game in good form having won 2 of their last three league games scoring 11 goals in the process but struggled to break down a resolute Derby side, who entered administration during the week. The first real chance of the match would fall to United, a lofted through ball from full back George Baldock landed on Billy Sharp’s foot who brought it down but could only fire his effort over the bar into the traveling fans in the Bramall Lane end. Derby hit back shortly after, Phil Jagielka heading against the crossbar from a Louie Sibley corner.

United dominated the ball but couldn’t find a way through and it was Derby who had another great chance to score inside the first half. Tom Lawrence’s volley deflected off Rhys Norrington-Davies and found its way to Sam Baldock waiting at the back post however he could only shoot wide of Olsen’s far upright.

Both sides probed but neither showed the necessary quality to break down the opposing defences at the beginning of the second half, until Ollie Norwood played one of his trademark passes over the top of the County backline. The race was on between Rams stopper Roos and Blades skipper Sharp, the striker got there first flicking the ball round the keeper and taking the hit from Roos, a red card for the keeper and now surely the Blades would break the deadlock.

United used the extra man to their advantage, getting down the sides of their opponents and delivering an abundance of crosses into the area, the experienced pair of Curtis Davies and Jagielka defending superbly well to head the majority of the balls away. The frustration inside Bramall Lane was tangible as United wasted many good attacking opportunities, with efforts from outside the box flying into the Kop and attacks breaking down on the edge of the area through misplaced passes and holding onto the ball for too long.

In the 89th minute substitute Conor Hourihane swung in a threatening ball towards the far post, it hit Curtis Davies’s upstretched arm and a penalty was a certainty. A brain fade from the defender handed a golden opportunity to Billy Sharp to do what he does best, score goals. That he did, smashing his penalty into the back of the net and sending Bramall Lane into raptures.

The win moves United up to 11th place with 12 points on the board. Opponents Derby remain rooted to the foot of the table on minus two points, nine away from safety. United will be pleased as they were able to win when they weren’t at their best, showing the fans that they can beat any team in this league especially if they perform much better than they did yesterday.

Up next for United is a Tuesday night trip up the A19 as they take on Neil Warnock’s Middlesbrough side.

Wigan make it five wins on the bounce against Robins

26/09/2021 - League One

By Charlotte Atherton, Wigan Athletic writer

Wigan Athletic stay top of Sky Bet League One for another weekend after a convincing win over Cheltenham Town at the DW Stadium.

Callum Lang opened the scoring just eight minutes into the match on Saturday afternoon, before Charlie Wyke doubled Latics’ lead two minutes into the second half.

Wigan dominated the opening stages of the match and they were rewarded with a goal in the eighth minute. A long ball from Max Power found Wyke who timed his pass into the box to perfection for Lang to slot home Wigan’s first of the afternoon.

Another opportunity broke for Latics shortly after when Will Keane picked up a loose ball and found Lang in the area once again, but his effort was saved by Scott Flinders in the Cheltenham net.

Tom Naylor had Wigan’s next chance to further their lead when good hold-up play from Wyke set him up to have a shot from distance, but his effort was just over the crossbar.

Just two minutes into the second half Wigan doubled their lead when Wyke grabbed his third goal in two league games. Power threaded a great ball through to Lang who picked out Wyke in perfect space to slice the ball into the back of the net.

At the other end of the pitch, Ben Amos was forced to make a save when Alfie May took a shot on himself from just inside the area but it proved no real danger for the Wigan keeper.

Wigan captain Tendayi Darikwa had the next chance for Latics when he linked up well with James McClean to force a decent save from Flinders.

The visitors tried to find a way back into the game but with no avail. Kyle Vassell looked to control of a deep ball on the right side, but his effort on goal glanced just wide of the post.

The win for Wigan means they have now produced their best start to a league campaign for over three decades; the Latics are now seven unbeaten in the league with five wins on the bounce.  

4 goals, 3 points – Sutton’s perfect Saturday

26/09/2021 - League Two

By Finley Chung, Sutton United writer

Sutton must have left any ghosts of their missed chances to Exeter firmly at the entrance to Gander Green Lane today as The U’s hit Carlisle for four, keeping a clean sheet in the process and shooting them above their visitors in the table as Sutton now sit 14th in the table.

Alistair Smith bagged a brace, while an own goal and a David Ajiboye strike consigned the visitors to a defeat on a dayw where they never really got going in South London. Tobi Sho-Silva was missing from the days starting eleven with injury, so in stepped Donovan Wilson, looking to add to his two goals so far this campaign.

The clock had just ticked onto the three-minute mark when Sutton and Ajiboye sprang into action. The winger exchanged passes with Richie Bennett before the former fizzed a teasing cross into the near post and Donovan Wilson, but the ball cannoned off Corey Whelan past his own goalkeeper and gave Sutton the dream start Ajiboye was the key to unlocking the Carlisle defence and his effort smacked the outside of the post after Boldewijn fed him the ball after a superb counterattack.

Dean Bouzanis was a busy man though in goal for Sutton while Carlisle stepped it up a gear, a smart save from Jon Mellish and a good, strong hand to claw away an in swinging free kick from Callum Guy. Sutton had managed to soak up the pressure and a throw from Rob Milsom was flicked on by Bennett to Donovan Wilson who laid the ball off to Ali Smith, who hit a low, rasping drive past Magnus Norman, to put Sutton two goals up going into the break.

Something Carlisle manager, Chris Beech said at Half Time must’ve worked a treat as Jon Mellish engineered some superb shooting space for himself, forcing Bouzanis into a fine stop. Manasse Mampala joined the action for the visitors and almost immediately clattered into Joe Kizzi which saw him enter the referee’s notebook and pick up a yellow card, as well did Ben Goodliffe and Brennan Dickenson after the resulting flare up.

Sutton started to flex their muscles and almost extended their lead superbly. Eastmond broke up a visitors attack and set Ajiboye away and the form he was in, nobody could catch him. His effort was superbly tipped over by Norman, Joe Kizzi turned over from the resulting corner. Eastmond was the next to be denied after he sent a crashing volley towards the goal, but Norman superbly tipped the ball away.

Isaac Olafoe was introduced midway through the second half, and he made an immediate impact, spinning away from Corey Whelan and his cross eventually found Smith who slid the ball home for his second and Sutton’s third. Mampala’s cameo this afternoon was over 18 minutes after he appeared off the bench as another reckless challenge on Kizzi earned him an early bath. The cherry on top of the Sutton cake was placed there by David Ajiboye who got his thoroughly deserved goal, picking up the ball and darting between two defenders before placing the ball past Norman to cap off his perfect afternoon and finally seal the three points for Sutton.

Footrace Round 15 review - Pep stops the rot, North London sees red and United hit for six

26/09/2021 - General

By Lewis Robinson, Chief Football Writer



Pep finally gets his revenge on Tuchel


A deflected Gabriel Jesus effort gave Manchester City a big three points at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea Saturday lunchtime. In what looks like two teams who will be battling for the league title this season, the win was huge for Guardiola’s side. The win was made sweeter for the Spaniard, as Thomas Tuchel had defeated Guardiola on the last three occasions the pair met. A repeat of the 2020/21 Champions League final was a tight battle, but City’s class shone through in the end.

Footrace verdict: Chelsea 1-0 Manchester City

Actual score: Chelsea 0-1 Manchester City 

Footrace points: 0



Tractor Boys leave it late to peg back the Owls

A last minute Conor Chaplin goal cancelled out Denis Adeniran 26th minute opener at Portman Road. The result probably fairly reflected each team’s form, with Wednesday now winless in four in the league and with the Tractor Boys still not being able to secure a victory at home.

The Owls very nearly stopped the rot, but an error from ‘keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell allowed Macauley Bonne to pass to Scott Fraser who squared the ball to Chaplin for an easy finish. Both clubs will be frustrated with their starts to the campaign, considering the transfer business of Ipswich and with the Owls recently relegated to the division.

Footrace verdict: Ipswich Town 2-2 Sheffield Wednesday

Actual score: Ipswich Town 1-1 Sheffield Wednesday

Footrace points: 21



Ruthless Chelsea end Manchester United’s unbeaten run

Chelsea have never lost a game against Manchester United, and that run continued in emphatic fashion, beating the Red Devils by six goals to one. A brace from Sam Kerr, along with goals from Fran Kirby, Pernille Harder, Drew Spence and Jessie Fleming saw Emma Hayes’ side secure their second victory of the season.

Manchester United however suffered their first loss of the season, and Marc Skinner will have been disappointed by the manner of the defeat, the result being the heaviest in United’s history. It could have been predicted that Chelsea may have had enough to defeat United, but the sheer difference between the sides was surprising considering the form of each side.

Footrace verdict: Manchester United Women 1-3 Chelsea Women

Actual score: Manchester United Women 1-6 Chelsea Women

Footrace points: 18



Gunners thrash Spurs

As the clock hit the 33rd minute, Spurs were 3 goals down with no reply at the Emirates. A nightmare scenario for anyone connected with Tottenham, but a dream for anyone associated with the red half of North London. Spurs could only muster up a single goal in reply to the onslaught brought by Arteta’s men, an antithesis to the slow, negative football produced by Nuno’s men. 

The unpredictability of a derby struck again, with nobody predicting an Arsenal victory by that margin. Arsenal very much deserved their victory, but could it be a sign of the Arteta project beginning to tick? Or was it more a case of Spurs being very poor? It will be interesting to see whether either side carries their form from this encounter into their upcoming games.

Footrace verdict: Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur 

Actual score: Arsenal 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Footrace points: 0

Nuno’s first North London derby comes at crucial time for Spurs

26/09/2021 - Premier League

By Archie Burkinshaw, Tottenham Hotspur writer

Two back to back 3-0 defeats by London opponents is followed up by a trip to Arsenal on Sunday. Is there a better time to play your arch rivals? Personally I think not. The performances have not been good enough recently and there is no other fixture in the football calendar that will rile up the fan base and players like Tottenham v Arsenal. This is also a golden opportunity for Nuno to state his claim as the right man for the job after a poor run of results in September. A win against Arsenal will no doubt cause fans to quickly forget about any problems at Tottenham and fill the Tottenham Hotspur stadium with optimism once again.

Usually in preview pieces I like to give an opinion about the tactics that I believe should be used but for a game like this it is purely about coming away with victory, even a draw, as long as Arsenal do not beat Tottenham. All I will say is I hope we go there with the intent to attack and win by scoring multiple goals instead of sitting on a slender lead.

Tottenham have no injury concerns following their penalty win against Wolves in the week. However, they do remain without Steven Bergwijn and Ryan Sessegnon but Lucas Moura could feature after recovering from an ankle injury. Harry Kane will be hopeful that his 250th Premier League appearance for Tottenham will result in a North London derby goal.

My prediction for this game is a 2-1 victory for Tottenham which would gain me 110 points on Footrace. Somehow, Footrace have Arsenal down as the favourites for this one offering 12 points for a Gunners victory, 22 points for a draw and 25 for a Tottenham win.


Depleted Leeds Host High Flying Hammers

25/09/2021 - Premier League

By Ben Brown, Leeds United writer

Leeds United continue their hunt for a first Premier League win of the season when they welcome West Ham to Elland Road this afternoon. Both sides tasted midweek Carabao Cup success, with the hosts edging past Fulham on penalties whilst the hammers claimed a mightily impressive 1-0 success away at Manchester United to avenge their 2-1 loss handed out by the same opponents in the league the previous weekend.

Leeds’ difficult start to the season has been further compounded by a mounting absentee list, particularly in central defence with Diego Llorente and Robin Koch still missing through injury and Pascal Struijk serving the last of a three-game suspension. Stand in centre half Luke Aylingmissed the midweek win with a niggle and may be replaced by 19-year-old academy captain Charlie Cresswell who impressed in that victory. Elsewhere Raphinha and Jack Harrison may return from injury and covid isolation respectively but recently capped England forward Patrick Bamford has been ruled out with an ankle injury.

West Ham’s only notable absentee comes in the form of Ryan Fredericks who immediately pulled up with a groin problem after teeing up Manuel Lanzini for the winner in theaforementioned cup win, with talismanic forward MichailAntonio back after serving a one game suspension last weekend. Ten changes were made between the two fixtures against Manchester United and David Moyes is almost certain to reinstate the likes of Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek into the starting XI.

Leeds lost this fixture 2-1 last season to a late Angelo Ogbonna header so vengeance is on the cards as well as a first league victory for Marcelo Bielsa’s men. With fellow early strugglers Burnley and Norwich facing tough trips to Leicester and Everton respectively, now could be the perfect time for the hosts to put some much needed breathing space between themselves and the bottom three.

Footrace Round 15 preview - Gunners, Tractors and James'

24/09/2021 - General

By Lewis Robinson, Chief Football Writer


Chelsea vs Manchester City

A barnstormer of a game welcomes us into the Saturday action, with Chelsea taking on Manchester City at Stamford Bridge. The evenness of the match up signified by the Footrace points this weekend, with a win for either side giving you 18 points, and a draw providing 20 points.

Buoyed by the return of N’Golo Kante, the Blues are in good form, not tasting defeat in all competitions so far this season. Along with the fact that Thomas Tuchel’s side have only conceded one goal in the Premier League so far, it is set to be a very tough match for Pep Guardiola and his City side.

Under Guardiola’s reign City have never failed to score in consecutive games, which is in danger on Saturday due to the resoluteness of Chelsea’s backline. However, Manchester City can never be written off, winning three out of the last four league titles. Also, Guardiola’s side have not started badly. Despite their opening day defeat to Spurs, the Cityzens have not lost a game in all competitions since the opening day.

The game on Saturday lunchtime will be an intriguing one, but can Tuchel make it four successes against Guardiola in a row?

Footrace verdict: Chelsea 1-0 Manchester City


Ipswich Town vs Sheffield Wednesday

Ipswich Town host Sheffield Wednesday, with both sides making a stuttered start to their League One campaigns. Visitors Wednesday are winless in the league since August 21, whilst the Tractor Boys are looking to build on their last victory, in which they beat Lincoln by one goal to nil. That victory was Ipswich’s first of the season.

The last meeting between the two teams was in 2019, where Wednesday actually beat the hosts one nil. The Owls have actually won their last two meetings against the Tractor Boys, which could provide a good omen for Saturday.

Sheffield Wednesday have lost their last two games on the road, combined with Ipswich’s slow start to the season, it could make the match up a fairly even one.

If you'd like to predict the spoils to be shared at Portman Road, 21 points are on offer. 

Footrace verdict: Ipswich Town 2-2 Sheffield Wednesday


Manchester United Women vs Chelsea Women

The Lauren James derby kicks off at lunchtime on Sunday, with James’ former club making the better start. Marc Skinner’s side have won two out of two so far.

Emma Hayes’ side responded to their opening day defeat by winning their last match against Everton by four goals to nil. Skinner’s side beat Leicester 3-1 in their last game, meaning they’ve won every game so far by two goals.
Chelsea have never lost a game against Manchester United previously, and the comprehensive nature of Hayes’ side’s win against the Toffees, there is evidence Chelsea may be back to their best. After already dropping points, Chelsea will be keen to make sure they secure a victory against a title rival.

Footrace verdict: Manchester United Women 1-3 Chelsea Women


Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur

The North London derby. Arsenal vs Tottenham. Once a fixture where Arsenal were the better side out of the two. Then Spurs took the ascendency. Now, Spurs probably still are the better side, but that bar is now lower for both teams.

The nature of the derby is that they’re unpredictable, a ‘cup final’ even, making them notoriously hard to predict. The head to head record between the two sides makes it even harder to predict, with Arsenal winning three to Spurs’ four in the last ten meetings between the sides in the league.

Neither side have been prolific in the league so far, with Arsenal only scoring two and Spurs scoring three. This suggests the game may be a low scoring affair, but will the unpredictability of a derby strike again?

A draw here would earn you 22 points, with a home win being worth 12 points. A Spurs win would get you 25 points.

Footrace verdict: Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham

Latics hoping to stay top as the Robins visit

24/09/2021 - League One

By Charlotte Atherton, Wigan Athletic writer

Wigan Athletic are back to Sky Bet League One action this weekend as they welcome Cheltenham Town to the DW Stadium.

Both teams were knocked out of the Carabao Cup in midweek, with the Latics losing to Sunderland and the Robins falling to defeat against Preston North End.

Attention now turns to the league and both teams will be hoping to keep their impressive start to the season going.

Cheltenham have been one of the surprise packages in League One so far this season, they currently sit in ninth place in the table having picked up back to back victories in their last two league games.

Wigan on the other hand have had a remarkable turnaround following last season’s relegation fight and find themselves top of the league going into Saturday’s fixture. The Latics are unbeaten in six league games and will be hoping to pick up their fifth win on the bounce this weekend.

For the game on Saturday, Wigan manager Leam Richardson will probably revert back to the team that beat Accrington Stanley 4-1 last weekend after making nine changes for Tuesday night’s cup game.

Cheltenham have a couple of ex-Wigan players amongst their ranks who will be making their return DW Stadium for the fixture. Most notably, Latics fans will no doubt give a warm welcome back to one of their own in Kyle Joseph, someone who played a huge part in keeping Wigan in the league last season.

Wigan will be strengthened by the return of a group of players that have given the club their best start to a season in 17 years, so there are just seven footrace points available for a Latics win this weekend compared to the 40 on offer for Cheltenham.





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