Norwich 3-2 Man City: Canaries owners Delia Smith and Michael Wynn-Jones reveal ‘a lot of alcohol was consumed’ after stunning win

16 Sep

Delia Smith has told talkSPORT the booze was flowing in the Norwich City boardroom after the club’s spectacular 3-2 victory over Manchester City.

The Premier League champions were stunned by the plucky, injury-hit Canaries on Saturday as they suffered their first loss of the season at Carrow Road.

It was a typically passionate and dogged performance from last season’s Championship winners, who have been transformed by manager Daniel Farke.

Norwich claimed the most stunning of wins over Manchester City
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The magnitude of their triumph was highlighted by the differences between the two line-ups; Norwich’s starting XI cost a total of £6.45million, while City’s was worth a massive £406.1m.

Following the match, the German boss paid a special tribute to majority shareholders Smith and her husband Michael Wynn-Jones, saying the win was for the couple who ‘lead this club with so much passion’.

Smith and Wynn-Jones have been board directors at the Norfolk club for 23 years, and this was surely one of their most memorable victories.

The owners spoke talkSPORT host Jim White on Monday to reflect on the match and, asked how they celebrated, Delia said: “It was incredible… a lot of alcohol was consumed.”

To which her husband replied: “Did it? I don’t remember that!

“The end was a little bit panicky – the added time was six of the longest minutes I can remember.”

“It’s just incredible,” Smith added.

“We are totally overwhelmed. I don’t think we could move yesterday, we were so tired.

“Yesterday our head of recruitment was at the match with us, so I was getting down on my knees and bowing down to him! I mean, we got [Teemu] Pukki on a free – a really good striker on a free!”

Norwich star Teemu Pukki has started the new season in fine form – with six goals and two assists in five games
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The chef and British broadcasting icon ensured she returned the favour to manager Farke, hailing the ‘humble’ German.

And Smith also sent another passionate message to the Norwich supporters for making her ‘let’s be havin’ you’ wishes come true.

Responding to Farke’s praise of their ownership, she said: “We both had tears in our eyes when he said that, it was just very moving.

“We have a great deal of confidence in Daniel. When I first met him and first shook his hand I had an instinct, I could tell straight away he was a humble man, not an ego.

Norwich City manager Daniel Farke has been hailed by owner Delia Smith
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“Then you can go anywhere, can’t you, because it’s the ego that gets in the way.

“I know Daniel has paid tribute to us, but we want to pay tribute to him and to everyone else. In all the years we’ve been board directors, I think we now have a really good spirit in the football club, a spirit of oneness, of all being together, and it’s come about with supporters as well. I’ve never seen that before.

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“It’s just wonderful that the supporters are just there along with it. And of course the whole world knows that’s what I’ve always wanted!

“If you’re all one you can do anything, you can go anywhere – that’s about life, not just about football, and that’s what we’re working hard for.

“We do have, as I said on that famous night, the best supporters in the world.”

Listen back to Norwich owners Delia Smith and her husband Michael Wynn-Jones on talkSPORT above

Watford 2-2 Arsenal: Gunners star says he’s to blame for Vicarage Road draw – ‘I cost the game for the team’

16 Sep

Arsenal’s defence has been criticised for Watford’s fightback to a claim a 2-2 draw on Sunday – and one of their defenders has now accepted responsibility for the Gunners’ performance at Vicarage Road.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos says he is solely to blame for the Hornets coming back from two goals down to rescue a valuable point, as the Hertfordshire club welcomed back Quique Sanchez Flores for his second spell as manager.

Though Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fired the visitors ahead in the first-half, the striker was left frustrated as all his good work was undone by Arsenal’s defence.

The free-scoring Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was let down by Arsenal’s dodgy defence
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Watford pulled their first goal back when a horrible attempt to play out of the back from a goal kick presented Tom Cleverley with a perfect scoring opportunity, and the hosts’ equaliser was netted from the penalty spot after David Luiz fouled Roberto Pereyra in the area.

Unai Emery, the Arsenal head coach, refused to criticise his players after the match, while captain Granit Xhaka claimed they had been ‘scared’ in the second-half.

But Sokratis, signed from Borussia Dortmund last summer, said the buck stopped with him following his costly error.

“I think that I cost the game for the team,” he said. “It was my mistake for something simple that I don’t have to do. I think this was the problem why we lose the three points.

“This is all about our responsibility and we have to do better. It was my mistake and today without my mistake, we would take the three points.

“I don’t want to speak about others. Today it was my mistake and this cost the game. Nothing else. The other guys tried their best. I don’t have to do this mistake.”

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Watford had 31 shots on goal during the game as they dominated after the interval, with Sokratis admitting Arsenal were not up to scratch in the second 45 minutes.

“Of course. I apologised because today I cost the game for the team and I have to work harder,” he added.

“I know up to this moment I didn’t have a mistake, I didn’t do nothing. Everything was near to perfect. We didn’t have the same pace in the second half as in the first half.

“But if we didn’t do these mistakes, I don’t think we draw. Of course they had other chances to score more, but if we didn’t do these mistakes then nothing happens.”

Arsenal needed to sign a leader in defence and David Luiz just isn’t that, declares Tony Cascarino

16 Sep

Arsenal needed to sign a commanding centre-back in the summer, but instead opted for David Luiz who was not the answer to their defensive problems.

That is the view of talkSPORT’s Tony Cascarino, who has been far from impressed with the impact the defender has had since joining the club from Chelsea.

David Luiz was at fault for Watford’s equaliser against Arsenal on Sunday
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The Gunners let a two-goal lead slip at Watford to draw 2-2 on Sunday, with Luiz and Sokratis Papastathopolous at fault for the respective goals.

Luiz, an £8m acquisition, made the error for the equaliser as he clumsily brought down Roberto Pereyra for a penalty, which he then coolly dispatched from the spot.

That means the Brazilian has already conceded two penalties in four Premier League games for the Gunners, only one less than he did in 160 Premier League games for Chelsea.

Meanwhile, Sokratis was badly at fault for Watford’s first, sloppily gifting possession to former Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley to score from an Arsenal goal kick.

“Arsenal had no control, no composure. They needed to sign a defender this summer, someone who is cool under pressure and has leadership qualities — and they went and spent £8 million on David Luiz, a player who has never embodied any of those qualities,” Cascarino wrote in his column for the Times.

“Emery has been at Arsenal for more than a year and, while they have improved in some areas, the same problems remain.

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“Last season we were talking about whether they had the players to always be passing the ball out from the back, and we are still having that debate now — it must be infuriating for Arsenal fans to watch and I don’t see it changing anytime soon.”

Unai Emery’s men, who currently lie seventh in the Premier League after five games, entertain newly-promoted Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon.

Before that, though, is the Europa League group game against Eintracht Frankfurt, who reached the semi-finals last season.

‘I can’t see Liverpool slipping up this season’ – Ian Holloway backing Reds to beat Man City to Premier League title

16 Sep

Ian Holloway has told talkSPORT he ‘can’t see Liverpool slipping up’ this season and believes the Reds will finally end their wait for the Premier League title.

Why? Because of two men – Liverpool’s ‘Rolls Royce’ centre-back Virgil van Dijk and Manchester City’s injured Aymeric Laporte.

Jurgen Klopp’s unbeaten side went five points clear at the top of the table after five games following this weekend’s action, which saw Liverpool beat Newcastle and title rivals City suffer a shock defeat at Norwich.

ON FIRE – Liverpool have won their opening five matches of the 2019/20 Premier League season
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City were a shambles at the back at Carrow Road as they badly missed top centre-back Laporte, who is facing more than FOUR MONTHS out with a serious knee injury.

And Holloway believes the Frenchman’s absence has swung the title race so far in Liverpool’s favour that he can’t see any other outcome than the Reds lifting their first league trophy in 30 years.

Speaking on Monday’s Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, the former Premier League manager said: “Liverpool are phenomenal.

“Can you see them slipping up? I just can’t see it.

“Their back line with Van Dijk, he’s like a Rolls Royce. Even Joel Matip looks magnificent next to him.

“Whoever you put next to Van Dijk is sensational and I think that could be the bearing on this year.

Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte has been ruled out until the new year through injury
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“Pep Guardiola said Laporte was outstanding last season, and maybe we’re now seeing the fact that Man City’s wonderful team is missing one key element at the back.

“That might [decide] the whole thing.”

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Watch a clip of Ian Holloway on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast above

The fixtures Liverpool must win to beat Manchester City’s Premier League record of 18 consecutive victories, includes Chelsea, Man United and Tottenham

16 Sep

Liverpool have so far not faltered in their search for a league title.

Their blistering start has seen them win all five of their Premier League matches this season, while also averaging three goals a game to go five points clear at the top of the table.

Not even Manchester City have been able to keep up the pace as they were beaten by Norwich on Saturday.

Jurgen Klopp’s side’s free-flowing form has stretched back to the end of last season.

Sadio Mane has been vital to Liverpool’s recent success
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They won nine Premier League games in the 2018/19 season run-in, only to be pipped to the title by Pep Guardiola’s side.

The Reds are just the fourth team in Premier League history to win 14 in a row and have equalled Arsenal’s 2002 record by beating Newcastle 3-1.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have a 100 per cent record this season
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The Gunners’ run was brought to an end by a 2-2 draw with West Ham, while Tottenham’s draw with City last month ended their 15-match run.

Guardiola holds the record for the two longest streaks with those 15 games and an incredible 18 in 2017.

Crystal Palace prevented City from adding to that fantastic winning run with a goalless draw in December 2017.

Liverpool, though, may not be thinking about surpassing that number and reaching 19 straight wins just yet.

They need to win their next five games and it will not be easy.

Those matches include trips to Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford, while there are tricky home encounters against Leicester and Spurs.

A visit to Bramall Lane to face Sheffield United should also not be underestimated considering the problems they have caused teams this season.

Liverpool's next five Premier League matches

  • Chelsea (a) – September 22
  • Sheffield United (a) – September 28
  • Leicester (h) – October 5
  • Man United (a) – October 20
  • Tottenham (h) – October 27

Liverpool also kept up their impressive record of 43 matches unbeaten at Anfield for Klopp’s side.

Their last defeat came in April 2017 when Crystal Palace beat them 2-1.

Before their win over Newcastle, Klopp said: “It’s nice; it’s a number, nothing else. It was clear we had to change things since I came here.

“Not only this, but we had to make Anfield a fortress again, that was clear. Everyone wants to do that with their own stadium because each second game is there.

“That makes 100 per cent sense, using your own crowd and using the atmosphere, we all want to do that. But it’s still difficult.”

All the time the Reds have Sadio Mane in their side then they should be okay at home.

The Senegal international reached an incredible 50 matches without defeat at Anfield.

He scored twice in the 3-1 win against Newcastle to extended that to a half century.

Mane already held the Premier League record for most games without suffering a defeat at one ground and is continuing to extend that.

Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino compared to Manchester United legend Eric Cantona after stunning performance vs Newcastle

16 Sep

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce has heaped praise on Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino – evening comparing him to Manchester United legend Eric Cantona.

The Brazil international continued his excellent start to the season, coming off the bench to help Liverpool recover from a goal down and beat Newcastle 3-1 in Saturday’s lunchtime clash.

Firmino had a huge impact when he was introduced against Newcastle
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Jetro Willems’ stunning strike gave the Toon a shock lead, but a brace from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah’s lone strike helped extend Liverpool’s winning run and send them five points clear at the top of the Premier League.

However, many of the plaudits were reserved for Firmino, who replaced Divock Origi on 37 minutes and played a crucial part in two goals at Anfield.

Last month, he became the first Brazilian to score 50 goals in Premier League history when he struck against Burnley, and Newcastle boss Bruce noticed similarities between Firmino and his former team-mate Cantona.

“He’s one that drifts into that little area and he naturally does it, where it’s so difficult for defenders to go,” said Bruce, who played alongside Cantona in United’s title-winning sides of the 1990s.

“And his attitude and work-rate, it’s so important. Of course, their [Liverpool’s] front three are as good as you are going to play against as a threat to you.

Eric Cantona is a Manchester United legend
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“The way they play with the intensity, the full-backs are only young and the delivery and presence they bring to the box you can see why they are Champions of Europe.

“Cantona is as good a player as I’ve ever seen. I haven’t seen Firmino week in week out like that, but just when you see him here and what he gives them, it’s a perfect balance. And Cantona gave us that.”

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Firmino has hit double figures for goals in each of his four years at Liverpool, and he’ll hope to extend his record for a fifth consecutive season having already netted twice this term.

Manchester United legend Gary Neville would ‘run a mile’ if ever offered the chance to manage Red Devils

16 Sep

Gary Neville has admitted he would ‘run a mile’ if ever offered the chance to manage former club Manchester United.

The Old Trafford legend gave the candid response as he conducted a question and answer session on social media on Sunday evening.

Neville made 602 appearances for Man United during his 19-year career
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Neville spent four months in his first, and so far only, managerial role at Valencia, whom he took charge of in December 2015.

A surprise appointment, Los Che won only 10 of 28 matches under Neville, and he was sacked with the club just six points clear of the relegation zone.

He returned to media duties with Sky Sports upon his dismissal, and remains in this position to this day.

And though Neville may return to football management in the future, he has made it clear he will NOT be taking charge of United.

During the Twitter Q&A session, one fan asked the ex-United full back: “If the opportunity ever arose would you take the United managerial role?”

Without hesitation, Neville replied: “That call isn’t coming and if it did I would run a mile.”

Neville also made a joke at his own expense, when told to name the weirdest thing he’s ever been asked to sign. He replied, quite simply: ‘Valencia contract.’

Man United beat Leicester 1-0 on Saturday to claim their second win of the Premier League season under Neville’s former team-mate Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

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Watford 2-2 Arsenal: Gunners slammed by Graeme Souness for ‘capitulating’ during Vicarage Road draw

16 Sep

Graeme Souness’ famously sharp tongue was back in use on Sunday as he launched a scathing attack on Arsenal after their 2-2 draw at Watford.

The Gunners were pegged back in the second-half by the still winless Hornets, who came from two goals down to rescue a valuable point in the Hertfordshire sunshine.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice but was let down by Arsenal’s dodgy defending
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And Quique Sanchez Flores’ side really should have claimed all three points, as they managed a remarkable 31 shots against Arsenal – but poor finishing let them down.

Gerard Deulofeu had a number of chances as he dominated the left flank, but he failed to seriously test Bernd Leno in goal, while Abdoulaye Doucoure wasted a glorious opportunity to score the winner in the the dying stages of injury time.

Arsenal have been accused of collapsing as soon as Watford scored their first goal, with many saying Unai Emery has been unable to fix the brittle core which dogged Arsene Wenger’s latter teams.

And Souness, working for Sky Sports, was typically critical of the Gunners as he discussed their collapse at Vicarage Road.

“They capitulated,” said Souness. “Proper teams don’t play like that.

“They brought on some kids. That was a game when it was 2-1 and it was time to dig in. When the kids came on it was all over the place, it was like a game of basketball.

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“Persisting with playing out from the back was going to cost them a goal, and they were lucky it was only one.”

Arsenal return to Premier League action on Sunday with the visit of Aston Villa to the Emirates, though they face a trip to Germany before hosting Dean Smith’s side.

Eintracht Frankfurt are up next on Thursday as Arsenal open their Europa League campaign, and talkSPORT 2 will bring you full LIVE commentary of the match.