Friday, 25 August 2017

Paying €150m for Dembele proves desperate Barca still counting French forward becomes the world's second-most expensive player in an outlay that could have been avoided with better planning by the Catalan club

An opportunity missed. In April last year, Barcelona were watching Ousmane Dembele and his release clause was, reportedly at least, just €5 million. A few months later, he left Rennes to join Borussia Dortmund for €15m. Now, he is set to become a Barca player for a fee that could reach 10 times that amount.
The information was revealed by L'Equipe and published by Catalan daily Sport under the headline "Barca can sign Dembele for €5m". And even though the Rennes president and the player's agent both denied the reports, the French forward did depart Ligue 1 to join BVB for just €15m last summer.
At that time, of course, Barcelona were not particularly concerned with bringing in a forward. The trident of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, described by coach Luis Enrique as the finest in football history, was still at the peak of its powers and there appeared little sign that would change.
In fact, Barca had trouble bringing in forwards in the summer of 2016 because their targets were wary of a probable lack of first-team opportunities. Kevin Gameiro and Luciano Vietto chose Atletico and Sevilla, respectively, while Nolito moved to Manchester City. Barca eventually brought in Paco Alcacer from Valencia.
Dembele move graphic
But a 19-year-old Dembele would have jumped at the chance of joining Barca and, after deliberately missing training at Dortmund recently in order to force through a move, his wish has now been granted. It has come, however, at a significant price.
That was always going to happen after Paris Saint-Germain paid Neymar's €222 million release clause to take the Brazil forward to the Parc des Princes earlier this month. Suddenly, the Blaugrana were left needing a replacement with less than a month left in the transfer window - and everybody knew exactly what they had to spend.
The Catalans had hoped to bring in both Dembele and Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho, but a move for the latter now looks out of the question as the Reds stand firm in their refusal to sell the Brazilian - once tipped as a potential team-mate for Neymar at Camp Nou.
Liverpool have told Barca not to bother coming back with a fresh offer for the 25-year-old and a bid in the region of €150m also now seems unlikely, with Dembele set to cost an initial €120m plus around €30m in variables that will make the 20-year-old the world's second-most expensive player.
Neymar PSG Paris Saint-Germain
Josep Maria Bartomeu Barcelona
And an outstanding player he is too, but better planning could have seen the French forward arrive for a much lower fee. Because earlier this summer, prior to Neymar's move to PSG, it was reported in Germany by Bild that the 20-year-old could be available for around €50m.
From €5m, to €15m, €50m and then €70m as the summer wore on, Barca have ended up paying what could amount to €150m for a player who is extremely talented, yet has only two years at an elite level.
Will it work out? Who knows? Dembele is, without doubt, one of most exciting prospects in world football at this point and he can cover all of the positions across the forward line, be it Neymar's role out on the left, a central striker position or a right-wing slot where he operated most often at Dortmund.
So, it seems to be a strong signing and the switch should be met with a more positive reaction at Barca than the critical response to the €40m arrival of Paulinho. Dembele is the real deal and he does look like a good buy, even though more new players are surely needed for the Blaugrana to compete with Real Madrid this season.
However, there is plenty of pressure on the youngster's shoulders - and also on the directors at the Catalan club - following this transfer. And amid these desperate times, Dembele was also outrageously overpriced as Barca desperately sought a successor for Neymar.
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Now it is down to the player to prove one of Florentino Perez's favourite sayings. "The best players," the Madrid president often says, "are not expensive at all." How the under-fire Barca board will hope they can say something similar about Dembele in a few years' time.

Everton Team News: Injuries, suspensions and line-up vs Chelsea you need to know ahead of the Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon
Having qualified for the group stages of the Europa League and taken a point at Manchester City, Everton are in buoyant mood.
The Toffees remain unbeaten in six competitive matches this season, but face a tough task on Sunday as they travel to Stamford Bridge.
But can they do enough to shock the Premier League champions and continue their fine start to the campaign?

                                                          EVERTON INJURIES
Seamus Coleman is unlikely to feature until around Christmas after the broken leg he suffered playing for the Republic of Ireland against Wales in March while fellow defender Ramiro Funes Mori is set for nine months on the sidelines with a knee problem.
Yannick Bolasie will also not feature until the new year at the very earliest as he continues to build up his fitness following two operations on a cruciate ligament injury.
Ross Barkley has suffered a further injury setback after picking up a hamstring problem that could sideline him for around a month, though with the England international keen on leaving Goodison Park, he may have already played his final match for the Toffees.
Summer signings Sandro Ramirez and Davy Klaassen both missed Thursday's clash with Hajduk Split and face a race against time to be fit for Sunday's game.
Ross Barkley Everton


Morgan Schneiderlin is banned following his red card against Manchester City while for Chelsea Gary Cahill remains suspended after being sent off on the opening day of the season against Burnley.
Dabblebet odds for Chelsea Everton GFX


After marking his full debut with a stunning strike against Hajduk Split, Gylfi Sigurdsson will likely make his first Premier League start for the Toffees.
Mo Besic could deputise for Schneiderlin in midfield while Dominic Calvert-Lewin will likely lead the line again after impressing against Manchester City.
DCL 7/2 with dabblebet to score anytime
Everton XI GFX


Eden Hazard is moving ever closer to full fitness and could feature within the matchday squad following the ankle injury picked up early in pre-season.
Cesc Fabregas will return having been suspended against Tottenham while Pedro could start after coming off the bench to lay on the winner for Marcos Alonso at Wembley.
Fabregas's availability means David Luiz could drop back into defence, with Andreas Christensen likely to make way should that come to pass.
Diego Costa remains in Brazil as a move to Atletico Madrid continues to stall, with Alvaro Morata set to again lead the line.
Marcos Alonso Chelsea


  • Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 22 home Premier League games against Everton since a 0-1 loss in November 1994 (W12 D10). Only against Tottenham (25) are they on a longer unbeaten Premier League run at Stamford Bridge.
  • Chelsea haven’t lost back to back home Premier League games since November 2011 when they were managed by Andre Villas-Boas.
  • The Toffees have only lost one of their last 11 Premier League games against the reigning champions (W6 D4); a 1-0 defeat to Manchester City in December 2014.
  • Wayne Rooney scored his 200th Premier League goal in Everton’s 1-1 draw at Manchester City on Monday night. He managed this feat in his 462nd game, while the only other player to reach 200; Alan Shearer (260), did this in 306 matches.
  • Everton had eight English players in their starting XI for their last Premier League game at Manchester City. One of the eight players in their last match was Tom Davies, who wasn’t born when Everton last did this on Boxing Day 1997.


The match kicks off at 13:30 BST but it is not due to be shown live in the UK. The game's highlights will be first televised on BBC's Match of the Day 2, which airs at 22:35. 

Ronaldo sees Mbappe, Neymar and Rashford among his potential successors Real Madrid star has tipped stars from the likes of Monaco, PSG and Manchester United to follow in his illustrious footsteps and land top awards
Cristiano Ronaldo believes Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Marcus Rashford are among those who can follow in his illustrious footsteps and dominate world football.
The Real Madrid superstar is current celebrating the landing of another top personal prize, with the 32-year-old named the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year for 2016-17.
That gong has been added to an enviable collection which already sees Ronaldo as the current holder of the Ballon d’Or and FIFA’s Best award.
The Portugal international has been locked in competition with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi for such prizes over the past decade, but he acknowledges that there is plenty of potential within the game ready to inherit the most prestigious of crowns.
Asked by reporters to name his possible successors after picking up his latest award, Ronaldo said: “That is a very good question. I see some with great potential: Asensio, Mbappé, Neymar, Dembele, Hazard, Rashford ... and some others. In the next generation there are at least 10 players with very, very great potential.”
Marco Asensio has established himself as a player of great promise alongside Ronaldo at Real Madrid, while Chelsea star Eden Hazard is among those to have been heavily linked with a move to Santiago Bernabeu for some time.
Manchester United forward Rashford has also drawn links to Real, with the teenager’s potential having been noted both inside and outside of Old Trafford.
Kylian Mbappe Monaco 2017
Monaco sensation Mbappe could also end up in the Spanish capital at some stage, amid talk of record-breaking transfer deals, while Ousmane Dembele will soon be turning out in La Liga as Barcelona close on a move to make him the successor at Camp Nou to Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar.
The current market movement, along with that still to come, is making the European game ever more competitive at the very highest level.
Ronaldo, though, does not believe that there will be any surprises in the 2017-18 Champions League as Real once again seek to fend off the competition and secure a third successive crown.
He added: “The teams are the same every year - Real, Barca, Bayern, Paris, Juve.
“I do not expect any surprise this year. Four of these teams will be in the semi-finals.”
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A strong Premier League contingent will hope to have something to say about that, with Hazard and Rashford among those who will be hoping to lead an English charge which also includes Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Benitez confirms interest in want-away Arsenal striker Lucas Spanish striker is looking for a way out of Emirates Stadium and could be offered an escape route by another Premier League manager
Lucas Perez wants out of Arsenal and Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez admits that he would welcome a deal for the striker.
Sportmasta revealed last week that the Spaniard has handed in a formal transfer request after growing disillusioned with life at Emirates Stadium.
Despite being snapped up for a fee of over £17 million, Lucas was restricted to just 21 appearances in his debut campaign with the Gunners – with only two of those outings being Premier League starts.
He did manage seven goals in his sporadic showings, though, and Magpies boss Benitez has confirmed that he is keeping a close eye on a proven frontman.
Merson's savage Arsenal prediction
“I like the player because I have good friends in A Coruña,” told reporters after a friendly victory over Verona.
“I know that he did really well. He’s come here and not played in many games, but I like the player.”
Lucas Perez Arsenal
He added: “We know what we need and will try to do it until the end of the transfer window.
“We are now trying to work in different directions.”
While Newcastle are eager to keep Lucas in the Premier League, he has also been heavily linked with a return to Deportivo La Coruna just 12 months after leaving their books.
Wenger: Arsenal will sell this summer
It is understood that Arsenal are looking to recoup around £13 million from any deal, with Arsene Wenger having previously admitted that the forward could be moved on – and revealed after a Community Shield success on Sunday that further sales are set to be sanctioned in the coming weeks.
Arsenal have bolstered their attacking ranks with the signing of Alexandre Lacazette this summer, with that big-money deal nudging Lucas even further down the pecking order and closer to the Emirates exit door.

Ronaldo & Bale in Real Madrid Super Cup squad to face Man Utd Portugal international could return to action against his former club following a summer overshadowed by a tax trial
Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale have been included in Real Madrid's squad to face Manchester United in the UEFA Super Cup.
The Portuguese has not played in pre-season thus far, but could feature against his former club, though he only returned to training last weekend.
Ronaldo's summer has been overshadowed by a trial in Spain, after allegations of tax evasion.
The 32-year-old even told the court that he wishes to return to England due to the amount of "problems" he faces in Madrid.

And Ronaldo could return to action against the club where he made his name in Macedonia this week.
Bale, meanwhile, has been heavily linked with a return to the Premier League, as the Spanish giants attempt to sign Kylian Mbappe from Monaco.
Rooney: CR7 would break my record
The Welshman struggled with injury last season, appearing just 19 times in La Liga, but he scored seven goals.
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Bale has subsequently been mooted as a potential target for United, though Jose Mourinho has attempted to distance himself from any bid.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley shout down

    1           VS        1                    
90' The fourth official has indicated that there will be five minutes of added time. Can either side find a late winner?
89' A thumping free-kick from inside the Chelsea half of the pitch picks out Morata on the edge of the Arsenal box. The striker rises high and then nods the ball down into the path of Azpilicueta, but Cech is there to cut out the danger at the vital moment.
88' Musonda, who hasn't been able to see much of the ball so far, is finally presented with a chance to break away quickly. He can't make it count, though, as he's almost immediately closed down by blue shirts and is dispossessed just outside of the Arsenal penalty area.
R. Nelson
D. Welbeck
Arsenal FC
87' Arsenal have made a substitution, with Reiss Nelson coming on to take the place of Welbeck.
86' Arsenal quickly win the ball back from the under-pressure opponents before pushing forward downt he right flank, but a pass into the path of Bellerin is poorly hit and rolls out for a goal-kick.
84' It's all Arsenal now as they continue to fly forward. Bellerin twists and turns deep down the right flank before the ball is eventually worked over to Oxlade-Chamberlain, who swings in a slightly overhit cross that is easily collected by Courtois.
G. Xhaka
Arsenal FC
82' That was a great ball into the box from Xhaka, but Chelsea should have done much better defensively. Like Arsenal for the earlier goal, they switched off when it mattered, with Fabregas playing everyone onside.
S. Kolašinac
Arsenal FC
82' GOAL! Kolasinac equalises for Arsenal! The new boy rises high from the resulting free-kick and reaches Xhaka's cross, and he then nods a lovely header down past Courtois and into the bottom corner of the net.
C. Musonda
Chelsea FC
81' Chelsea have made another late alteration, with Willian making way for Charly Musonda.
Red Card
Chelsea FC
80' RED CARD! Pedro flies into the back of Elneny and catches the Egyptian on the heel with a late, dangerous sliding challenge that leaves the midfielder in a lot of pain. The referee isn't at all happy with the Spaniard's tackle, and he doesn't hesitate in giving him his marching orders.
A. Rüdiger
Marcos Alonso
Chelsea FC
79' Another debutant has come on for Chelsea, as Alonso has departed for Antonio Rudiger.
78' Space opens up for Chelsea as they push forward on the break, allowing Willian to get himself into a promising position. He then swings a cross into the box and over to the far post, where Morata sticks out a leg but can't hit the target with his hopeful effort.
76' The resulting corner is fired into the heart of the penalty area and picks out Holding, but the young defender is unable to keep his headed effort down and sends it sailing over the top of the crossbar.
75' What a save by Courtois! Xhaka unleashes an almighty strike from 30 yards out that looks set to find the top left-hand corner of the net, but Courtois does brilliantly well to parry the shot wide of the goal with a great one-handed stop.
Álvaro Morata
M. Batshuayi
Chelsea FC
74' A huge roar erupts from the Chelsea end of the stadium as new signing Alvaro Morata comes on to replace Batshuayi up front.
73' Arsenal are knocking on the door, but Chelsea are doing well not to let them in. The Blues have looked much more defensively solid since the break, and they now look content to sit deep and defend before hitting their opponents on quick counter-attacks.
71' Welbeck and Giroud initially link up well deep down the left flank, but neither are able to find a way into the Chelsea penalty area and lose out to Moses. The wing-back then tries to kick-start a counter-attack, but he's clattered into by Kolasinac and wins a free-kick for his side.
69' A determined Chelsea attack results in a free-kick for Chelsea in a promising position, and it's one that David Luiz is eyeing up. The Brazilian steps up and instead chips a pass into the box, where it's well dealt with by Arsenal and fails to result in a chance on goal.
67' Welbeck muscles his way down the left wing as he tries to find a way into the box. He beats two players and then takes on Azpilicueta on the edge of the penalty area, but it's the Spaniard who comes out on top with a clever interception.
T. Walcott
A. Iwobi
Arsenal FC
66' And the second is Theo Walcott, who takes the place of Iwobi.
O. Giroud
A. Lacazette
Arsenal FC
66' Arsenal have decided to make a double substitution as they try to get back into the game. The first player to come on is Olivier Giroud, who replaces Lacazette.
64' Lovely play by Bellerin sets up Iwobi to fire in a low cross from the right wing. It rolls into the Chelsea penalty area and looks set to pick out Lacazette, but Azpilicueta is there to knock the ball back to Courtois, who then blasts it back up the pitch.
62' Vital interception by Holding! Willian charges down the right flank on a wonderful run and then fires a low cross into the middle of the box, where it almost finds Pedro but is well dealt with by Holding at the vital moment.
61' Almost another chance for Arsenal! The Gunners move the ball around patiently on the edge of the penalty area before Elneny eventually sets up Lacazette in front of goal, but the striker isn't able to control the ball and knocks it out of play before eventually being flagged offside.
59' Elneny goes close to equalising! Space opens up for the Egyptian deep down the right wing, allowing him to swing in a cross. His pass ends up looking more like a shot, and it forces Courtois into making a smart diving save at the near post.
57' After a couple of minutes receiving medical treatment, Cahill and David Luiz are able to get back to their feet and the game gets underway once again. Chelsea try to quickly break down the right wing, but Kolasinac is there to out-muscle and dispossess Willian.
55' The corner is swung into the middle of the box and finds Holding, who manages to get a head on the ball but can't control it fully. Arsenal are able to keep the move alive, however, before a chipped cross is sent in by Monreal, but Cahill and David Luiz clash heads nastily and force the referee into temporarily pausing the game.
54' Iwobi sends a lovely pass into the penalty area and towards Lacazette, who just about manages to get a toe on the ball to keep the danger alive. Bellerin is then set up over on the right flank, where, under pressure from Alonso, he does well to win Arsenal a corner.
52' Pedro slides into Xhaka from behind and brings the midfielder crashing to the ground, resulting in a free-kick for Arsenal on the halfway line. It's sent short and quickly worked down the left wing, where the ball is almost immediately picked up by a blue shirt.
50' Arsenal break away on their first attacking move of the second half as they try to find a quick equaliser. The ball eventually falls to Elneny just outside of the box, but he scuffs his first-time strike and sends it high over the top of the crossbar.
48' Chelsea quickly push forward once again and win themselves another corner. This one is sent short before Fabregas whips a lovely cross into the box that's only just dealt with by Holding. Batshuayi then manages to get a shot away, but it's easily stopped by Cech in the middle of the goal.
G. Cahill
Chelsea FC
46' Cahill did well to set up Moses with a strong, looping header back into the penalty area, but Arsenal really should have done better defensively. Everyone seemed to fall asleep and left the Nigeria international all alone in front of goal.
V. Moses
Chelsea FC
46' GOAL! What a start to the second half for Chelsea! An early corner isn't dealt with at all well enough by Arsenal, allowing the Blues to come back once again. A header from Cahill beats all the defenders and finds Moses, who takes on Cech and gets the better of the goalkeeper from close range.
46' We're underway once again!
The two teams are making their way back out on to the pitch ahead of the start of the second half. Neither side have made any substitutions during the half-time break.
It's been a relatively even game so far, although Arsenal have arguably been the better of the two sides and should head down the tunnel happiest. They started particularly well and caused plenty of problems for a Chelsea back line that looked slightly off the pace, resulting in Lacazette hitting the post with a wonderful curling effort. At the other end, the reigning league champions have created little, with Batshuayi struggling to get into the game despite some good play by Pedro and Willian on a few occasions.
45' + 3' A chipped cross in from Oxlade-Chamberlain is met by Azpilicueta, who can only head it behind for a corner. Xhaka steps up and curls a deep ball into the box, but it's slightly too heavy and fails to find a team-mate.
45' + 1' Chelsea are unable to fully clear the danger over on the left flank and gift the ball to Bellerin. The wing-back quickly moves it over to Welbeck just outside of the penalty area, but the forward brings a promising attacking move to a disappointing end with a wild shot that flies well wide of its intended target.
45' The fourth official has indicated that there will be three minutes of added time.
44' Space opens up in the middle of the pitch, allowing Iwobi to burst forward. He plays a quick one-two with Oxlade-Chamberlain and then manages to get a shot away from inside the box, but it lacks the power needed to trouble Courtois in the middle of the goal.
42' Beautiful defending by David Luiz! A bouncing pass flies into the Chelsea penalty area and towards the Brazilian, who is immediately put under pressure by Welbeck. He does really well to knock the ball over the forward and up into the air, and he then coolly and calmly pulls off a backwards header that sends the ball into the hands of Courtois. The crowd loved that!
41' Another attempted Chelsea attack breaks down, allowing Arsenal to fly forward over on the left flank. Kolasinac charges deep into the Chelsea half of the pitch on a wonderful run and then sets up Oxlade-Chamberlain, who fires a low cross into the box that fails to find a red and white shirt in front of goal.
40' N'Golo Kante and Willian link up really well on the edge of the Arsenal penalty area before the latter tees up Batshuayi. The striker initially holds off his marker before spinning and getting a shot away, but, under pressure, he can only fire it straight into the chest of Holding.
39' Poor play by Chelsea gifts the ball to Xhaka, who then quickly works it forward and out to the left wing. Oxlade-Chamberlain is unable to take advantage of the error, however, as a loose pass can only find a blue shirt in the middle of the park.
Yellow Card
Chelsea FC
37' Big call by the referee! Willian skips into the Arsenal box and takes on Bellerin before throwing himself to the ground. He immediately screams for a penalty, but the referee isn't at all impressed with the Brazilian's antics and shows him a yellow card for diving.
Marcos Alonso
Yellow Card
Chelsea FC
35' After Arsenal's attempted attacking move fails to come to an end, Chelsea counter quickly. Willian fires a wonderful cross-field pass over to Pedro, who controls it well and unleashes a thumping strike that Cech comfortably saves. Arsenal then try to break forward on a counter-attack of their own, but they're unable to do so due to a crunching challenge from Alonso on Bellerin.
34' Arsenal are able to get back on the ball as they patiently work their way from one flank to another. Oxlade-Chamberlai is eventually set up just outside of the Chelsea box, but he's quickly outnumbered and fails to get a shot away before being dispossessed.
S. Kolašinac
P. Mertesacker
Arsenal FC
32' Kolasinac has indeed come on to replace Mertesacker in what is his official debut for Arsenal.
31' The game gets underway once again after a groggy looking Mertesacker departs the field. Chelsea try to make their numerical advantage count as they pile forward, but Moses' thumping low cross in from the right is deflected away by the outstretched limbs of Petr Cech.
30' This doesn't look good for Mertesacker, who is losing a lot of blood as he receives medical treatment inside the Arsenal penalty area. Sead Kolasinac is getting ready on the substitutes' bench, and it looks as if he's going to have to come on and take the German's place.
28' Victor Moses gets the better of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain deep down the right flank before trying to skip past Welbeck, who pokes the ball behind for a corner with an excellent sliding tackle. The set-piece is swung into the box and almost finds Cahill, but he ends up smashing into the nose of Mertesacker as the two battle for the ball, leaving the Arsenal defender in a heap on the floor and covered in blood.
26' Holding charges deep into the Chelsea half of the pitch and does well to carve out a pocket of space for himself just outside of the box. He looks set to pull the trigger, but just as he's about to, Pedro dispossesses him with a well-timed tackle.
24' Azpilicueta tries to pick out Alonso with a lofted pass over the top of the Arsenal back line and into the penalty area, but it's overhit and fails to pick out the wing-back near to the byline.
23' Lacazette hits the post! Another swift counter-attack causes all sorts of problems for the Chelsea back line. Welbeck does really well on the left-hand side of the penalty area before setting up Lacazette, and the Frenchman then beats Courtois with a wonderful curling strike that smashes off the woodwork.
21' Pedro embarks on a wonderful run as he darts through a sea of Arsenal shirts and into the penalty area. He heads towards the byline and then tees up Alonso, who tries to fire a cross into the box but sends it sailing out for a throw-in on the opposite flank.
20' Fabregas knocks a lovely pass into the box and towards Willian, who is quickly closed down by Rob Holding and has to settle for a corner. It's sent short before Fabregas eventually unleashes a cross, but it's poorly hit and easily defended.
18' Michy Batshuayi, who has been quiet so far, is eventually brought into the game after a deflected shot from Fabregas loops into his path. The Belgian is able to control the ball under pressure from Per Mertesacker but does so with his hand, resulting in Arsenal being awarded a free-kick.
17' Slightly sloppy play by Chelsea deep inside their own half of the pitch almost results in David Luiz being closed down by Lacazette, but just as the Frenchman's about to poke the ball away from him, the defender is able to knock it back to Courtois.
Yellow Card
Arsenal FC
15' Ouch! Bellerin quickly becomes the second player to enter the referee's book after catching Alonso with a late sliding challenge as the Chelsea wing-back tried to break down the left flank.
14' The resulting free-kick is sent short before Monreal fires a great cross into the heart of the penalty area, where it looks set to find Lacazette but is well dealt with by Gary Cahill under pressure.
Yellow Card
Chelsea FC
13' Victor Moses cuts inside and tries to take on a group of Arsenal players, but he loses out and allows the Gunners to counter quickly. Lacazette bursts through the middle of the pitch on a great run before being closed down by Cesar Azpilicueta, who cynically drags down the Frenchman and gives away a free-kick before being booked.
12' After a tough opening 12 minutes, Chelsea are finally able to string together a decent string of passes. Cesc Fabregas then fires a long ball forward and into the path of Pedro, who manages to get a boot on the pass but can't control it fully before being flagged offside.
10' It's been a really good start to the game by Arsenal, who are comfortably bossing possession. Once again, they move the ball around quickly before Iwobi skips towards goal, but he's closed down by both Courtois and Marcos Alonso before he can get a shot away.
8' And now Danny Welbeck goes close! A lovely lofted pass from Granit Xhaka flies over the top of the Chelsea defence and into the penalty area. It picks out Welbeck, who had made a great run forward, but his header lacks the power needed to beat Courtois.
7' Alexandre Lacazette goes close! Alex Iwobi dances his way into the left-hand side of the Chelsea box on a wonderful run as he easily gets the better of David Luiz. He heads towards the byline and then fizzes a pass across the face of goal, where it deflects off Courtois and just behind Lacazette.
5' Good play by Mohamed Elneny sees him muscle his way down the left wing and into a promising position. He then does well to work the ball over to the right wing and into the feet of Hector Bellerin, who swings in a low, bouncing cross that's easily collected by Thibaut Courtois.
3' After a patient start to the game by Chelsea, it's Arsenal who push forward on the first real attacking move of the game. They work the ball around nicely before Oxlade-Chamberlain tries to pick out Nacho Monreal deep down the left flank, but his chipped pass is overhit and bounces behind for a goal-kick.
1' We're off! Chelsea get us underway, attacking from left to right.
The two sides are making their way out onto the pitch, with just a few minutes to go until kick-off.
Meanwhile, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has made just one alteration to the team that featured in their final pre-season friendly, with new signing Alvaro Morata making way for Pedro, who has recently returned from injury.
Arsene Wenger has decided to make four changes to the Arsenal side that started the 2-1 defeat against Sevilla last weekend, with Rob Holding, Per Mertesacker, Granit Xhaka and Alex Iwobi coming into the starting line-up to replace Laurent Koscielny, Aaron Ramsey, Joseph Willock and Mesut Ozil, respectively.
Chelsea substitutes: Caballero, Christensen, Rudiger, Scott, Musonda, Boga, Morata.
Chelsea XI (3-4-3): Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Fabregas, Kante, Alonso; Willian, Batshuayi, Pedro.
Arsenal substitutes: Ospina, Kolasinac, Willock, Nelson, Maitland-Niles, Walcott, Giroud.
Arsenal XI (3-4-3): Cech; Holding, Mertesacker, Monreal; Bellerin, Elneny, Xhaka, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Welbeck, Lacazette, Iwobi.
There’s just over 15 minutes left to go until kick-off, so let’s have a look at how the two teams will be lining up this afternoon…
Games between these two sides have always been exciting affairs, but they took on a new meaning last season. Arsenal’s 3-0 win in September was the catalyst for Chelsea’s switch to the three-man defence that brought them so much joy, whilst the Gunners’ victory in the FA Cup final denied Conte an even better start to his time in England. Which way will it go today?
Both sides have spent handsomely in an attempt to strengthen their squads ahead of the new season, and some new faces are set to be on show today. Almost £150m has brought Tiemoue Bakayoko, Antonio Rudiger and Alvaro Morata to the club, whilst Arsenal most notably splashed £46.5m on Alexandre Lacazette, who starts up front in his first competitive game in English football.
As for Chelsea, they now face the tough task of improving on what was an excellent debut season for Antonio Conte. The Italian guided his side to the Premier League title with a record-breaking 30 victories, but he’ll be well aware how badly the Blues’ last title defence went. That started with a defeat to Arsenal in the Community Shield, and it’s something Conte will want to avoid as his team go in search of their seventh top-flight crown.
The FA Cup triumph was the only bright moment in an otherwise deeply disappointing season for the Gunners, who have to head into the new campaign without Champions League football for the first time since 1996. A fifth-place finish means they’ll be featuring in the Europa League instead, and they’ll be desperate to hit the ground running with a win here today.
The traditional curtain-raiser for the new Premier League season brings together the two sides that did battle in the final game of the last campaign, and what a fascinating encounter it’s set to be. Despite most of the bookies favouring a second Double for league champions Chelsea, it was Arsenal who came away with a record-breaking 13th FA Cup victory, making Arsene Wenger the most successful manager in the tournament’s history.
Good afternoon and welcome to our live text commentary of today’s Community Shield clash between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

PSG president Al-Khelaifi lauds Barcelona for co-operating in Neymar deal
The capital club's chief praised the Blaugrana for facilitating the Brazilian's switch after La Liga refused his release clause payment
Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has labelled Barcelona "one of the best clubs in the world" for helping push through Neymar's transfer to the French capital.
Neymar's world-record €222million move from Barca to the Parc des Princes was completed on Thursday, with the Brazil superstar presented to the media 24 hours later.
The transfer looked like it had hit a hitch when La Liga rejected the payment from PSG that met the player's release clause, but the Ligue 1 side co-operated with Barca instead to get the deal done, Neymar's lawyers going to the Catalan club's offices to hand over the money.
And Al-Khelaifi told RMC: "When that [La Liga's refusal] happened, Barcelona called me to say 'come on, let's do it together'.
"I told them we were ready. I want to thank Barca, their president, supporters, players, for everything they have done. They are one of the best clubs in the world.
"I started thinking about how to sign Neymar three years ago, and it took us a year to think about how to talk to him and Barcelona. Two weeks ago that operation really started.
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"It was very complicated, we could not sleep a lot, the whole team, not only me, I thank my team for the work that has been done, many did not want to do it but we had a goal that was to sign Neymar. He's here."

Pogba rescues caged grandmother in Twitter Q&A!
While passing judgement on who would win a fight between a taco and a grilled cheese sandwich, the United star became a granny-freeing hero
Answering fans' questions on social media is all part of the job for the modern football star, but Paul Pogba may have just saved a life with his latest Q&A!
Man United 125/1 to go unbeaten in Premier League
The Manchester United star was put through his paces by fans on Saturday as he took the virtual stand on Twitter.
And amid the usual teasers on his favourite players and biggest influences, he was called into action to help release a caged grandmother.
"Reply, or I don't let my gran out," a user wrote to him, accompanied by a picture of said gran locked inside a bird cage.
Pogba pledged to come to the rescue, to the delight of the Manchester United fan who apparently went to such lengths to get his attention. 

I want to go back to England' says: Cristiano Ronaldo
The former Manchester United star, who has generated plenty of transfer talk this summer, has made the revelation to the judge at his tax trial
Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo told the judge at his tax trial in Spain that he wants to go back to England.
The Portugal international stands accused of defrauding authorities out of €14.7 million.
He has been in court fighting those charges, with his comments regarding a possible return to England made on July 31.
They have just come to light, through Cadena SER, with the former Manchester United forward seemingly opening the door to a possible second stint in the Premier League.
Ronaldo said: "In England, I never had these problems, that's why I want to go back there.
"I always paid my taxes, always. In England and in Spain.
Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid England
“As you know, I cannot hide anything, it would be ridiculous on my part to do such a thing. I am an open book.
“You don't need to do anything but type my name into Google and everything about Cristiano comes out. For example, Forbes magazine releases all of my earnings"
Ronaldo was
He added: "I paid everything in 2014. I don't understand anything about this, I only went to school until my sixth year and the only thing I know how to do is play football well. When my advisors tell me, 'Cris, it's okay' then I believe them.
Ronaldo went on to defend his agent Jorge Mendes, saying: "I pay, I want to be honest and I always pay.
"I trust my advisors and they are the best. I pay them well and they do good things and I leave everything in their hands."
Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid
The 32-year-old sparked exit talk earlier this summer when reports emerged suggesting that he wanted out of Real Madrid after being accused of tax fraud.
Speculation dragged on throughout his involvement at the Confederations Cup, before he finally addressed the issue.
Zidane supports Ronaldo in tax case
Ronaldo told Marca in July: "Winning major trophies with my club last year was great, just like the individual trophies. Doing it again would be fine.
"You have to work hard, year after year, I will continue to do it. Football is my life, it is my passion."
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Ronaldo signed a five-year contract with Real in November 2016.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Memphis throws down challenge to PSG star Neymar
The former Manchester United man believes he can score more free kicks than the Brazil international over the course of the season
Having signed for Paris Saint-Germain for a world-record €222 million, it hasn’t take Neymar long to receive a challenge from a Ligue 1 rival.
Memphis Depay joined Lyon from Manchester United in August and has laid down a challenge to the new PSG striker.
On his Instagram account, the Dutchman wrote: “Hey Neymar, welcome to Ligue 1! I look forward to see who nets the most free kicks this season – I’m most definitely up for the challenge.”
Memphis caught the eye last season when he scored from his own half in a fixture against Toulouse.Neymar, meanwhile, may have a struggling winning the right to take free kicks for his new side after fellow new arrival Dani Alves scored a blistering effort against Monaco in the Trophee des Champions win against Monaco last Saturday. The Brazilian hopes to debut against Amiens this week, but may have to wait for the round 2 match against Guingamp before pulling on his new club’s

Sunny Dhaliwal is an Indian citizen now
The Toronto FC Academy graduate sees his future in Indian football, tells India U-17 team's COO Abhishek Yadav...
There was more hope than despair as the India Under 17 squad were humbled 5-1 by their Mexican counterparts in their opening game of the Torneo de 4 Naciones in Mexico City on Thursday.

The Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the India U-17 team, Abhishek Yadav confirmed the arrival of the squad's newest member, Sunny Dhaliwal - the goalkeeper who stands at a towering height of 6 feet 5 inches.

"We are delighted to have him on board and would like to thank the authorities as well as Sunny's determination to finally procure an Indian passport. Even though he was a Person of Indian Origin (PIO) but he has denounced his Candian passport and is now a citizen of India," Yadav told Goal over the phone from the Mexican capital.


The Indian visa laws do not allow for a person to hold dual citizenship but have a provision for minors under eighteen years old to do such. However, both Canadian and Indian laws state that a person upon completing his eighteenth birthday will have a further six months time to declare his/her nationality and surrender the other if one has so.

The former national team striker Yadav, who now holds one of the key positions in the Indian Colts set-up confirmed that there would be no complications as such in Dhaliwal's case. "He has an Indian passport but also holds a Canadian citizenship card given that he was born there", said Yadav.

Sunny Dhaliwal Toronto FC U-18

"Having a player of that height in Sunny is a bonus and with the proper training and infrastructure provided to him, I am sure he sees his future in India. As a player, he wants to be a future star of the senior national men's team and being a part of this U-17 World Cup at home will go a long way in him establishing himself as a top prospect," he added.

Under the watchful eyes of Abhishek Yadav and his team of scouts, Dhaliwal becomes the second foreign-based player to join the India U-17 squad. Namit Deshpande, who plays as a stopper was drafted in earlier this year and had already been a part of the European exposure tour in the summer.


"Contrary to Sunny, Namit was born in India and his parents shifted to the United States when he was a toddler. Namit always had an Indian passport so it was never much difficult to draft him in," Yadav revealed.

Born on 28 March 2000, Dhaliwal did not feature in the opener against hosts Mexico and is unlikely to take the field against Colombia (incidentally grouped along with India in the World Cup) on 4 August. Upon completion of his initiation into head coach Luis Norton de Matos's scheme of things, Dhaliwal could be expected to be made available for selection in their last game on 6 August versus Chile.

Neymar set for double PSG presentation in front of thousands of fans
The colossal world-record deal will be celebrated over the course of 48 hours in the French capital, where the forward will spend the next five years
Neymar will be officially presented as a Paris Saint-Germain player on Friday ahead of a welcome by thousands of fans at Parc des Princes 24 hours later.
The Brazil star finalised his move to the Ligue 1 side on Thursday in a €222 million deal that has smashed the world transfer record.
La Liga had rejected an attempt by Neymar's representatives to pay the sum that would trigger his release clause at Barcelona but the money was later accepted by the club at Camp Nou.
The 25-year-old has agreed a five-year contract that will reportedly see him earn €30m a year after saying his goodbyes to his old team-mates at Barca this week.
PSG's official club shop will open at 10:00 local time (09:00BST) on Friday to sell a limited number of special Neymar shirts to lucky customers before the forward is whisked off to Parc des Princes for a news conference with president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.
He will then be presented to fans inside the stadium at 15:45 local time (14:45BST) on Saturday before they begin their Ligue 1 campaign with a home match against Amiens.
Neymar to bring CL glory to PSG
Neymar, who posted a heartfelt message of thanks to Barca fans via Instagram after arriving in Paris, said he was motivated to join PSG by the "ambition" of the club, who are yet to win the Champions League.
Al-Khelaifi stated that Neymar's arrival will bring PSG "even closer, with the support of our faithful fans, to realising our greatest dreams".Supporters were filmed gathering outside Neymar's hotel in the early hours of Friday, ready to welcome the world's most expensive footballer.

Liverpool loss Hummels' 'worst game ever' at Bayern Munich
The centre-back says that enough in enough after a wretched pre-season in which FCB have lost five of their seven matches
Bayern Munich defender Mats Hummels says the 3-0 pre-season defeat to Liverpool was his worst experience at the club.
Jurgen Klopp's side ran out comfortable winners at the Allianz Arena in the Audi Cup on Tuesday thanks to goals from Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Daniel Sturridge.
Sections of the home support booed the team in the closing stages as they slumped to arguably their lowest point in a difficult pre-season in which they have lost five times in seven matches.
And Hummels, who signed from Borussia Dortmund last year, says it was his toughest game yet.
"We made it far too easy for Liverpool, and it was the worst game that I had ever experienced at Bayern," said the Germany international.
Bayern fans were similarly unimpressed as they watched their side lose 2-0 to Napoli on Wednesday, although Hummels feels the booing was misdirected given that Carlo Ancelotti had named a largely inexperienced team.
"Looking at who was on the pitch, the boos were badly timed," said Hummels.
"Let's put it this way: perhaps it's taken them 20 hours and they were still upset after yesterday. We have to accept that.
Neymar to bring CL glory to PSG
"Sometimes it's good to get a shot across the bows but we've had two or three and that's enough now, otherwise it'll be a really difficult August."
Bayern face Borussia Dortmund in the DFL-Supercup on Saturday before they face Chemnitzer in the DFB-Pokal a week later.
Their Bundesliga title defence begins against Bayer Leverkusen at the Allianz Arena on August 18.

Neymar sends heartfelt goodbye to Messi, Suarez and Barcelona
The Brazil ace has branded the Argentine as his "idol" and has joked that the most important lesson the Uruguayan taught him was to kick out first
Neymar has hailed former Barcelona team-mates Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez in an Instagram post wishing both the best of luck for the future.
Barcelona 19/20 to win La Liga
Along with the South American duo, the Brazil star, who moved to Paris Saint-Germain on Thursday for a world-record €222 million, formed one third of the famed ‘MSN’ offensive trio that is regarded as one of the best forward lines in the history of the game.
Neymar is sad to have ended that relationship but is grateful for the time spent together.
“Brothers, I wish you all the best. Thank you for these years of great joy and learning,” he wrote on Instagram.
“I’m a more accomplished guy for playing with you. One of the reasons I signed for Barcelona was you Lionel Messi, because I wanted to play with my idol and the greatest I’ve ever seen in football.
"Thank you for the affection you had with me and everything I learned from looking at you closely. I am your fan and will always admire you.
Neymar: Why I signed for PSG
“Luis Suarez brought us great joy and brought us together even more. Who would say that three South Americans would work? I learned several things with you and the biggest one was to kick first! I wish you all the best! I love you
Hermaniitooosss ... desejo tudo de bom pra vocês, obrigado por estes anos de muita alegria e aprendizado. Sou um cara realizado por ter jogado com vocês.... um dos motivos que vim ao barcelona foi você @leomessi porque queria jogar com meu ÍDOLO e o MAIOR que já vi no futebol, te agradeço por todo carinho que teve comigo e tudo que aprendi olhando você de perto, não tem jeito .. sou teu fã e pra sempre irei te admirar!! Gordooo @luissuarez9 chegou trazendo uma alegria enorme e nos juntando mais ainda, quem diria que 3 de SUDAMÉRICA iriam dar certo 😂🤣 aprendi diversas coisas com você e a maior delas foi chutar de primeira hahaha 😂🤣 LOS DESEO LO MEJOR PARA VOSOTROS !! AMO VOCÊS e sentirei SAUDADES, principalmente do basquete hahaha 😂🤣 e tambem agradeço a todos os meus companheiros que tive estes anos .. cheguei um menino sonhador, querendo aprender com vocês e hoje saio um homem orgulhoso de ter tido vocês ao meu lado esse tempo! Que vocês nunca percam a humildade que tem e que sejam felizes sempre! Tamo junto E o resto ? ... É HISTÓRIA 🤙🏽😜
2 hours ago“I also want to thank my dear friends that I’ve had for all these years. I arrived a dreamy boy, wanting to learn from you, and today I am a proud man to have had you by my side for this time!
“May you never lose your humility and may you always be happy!
“We’re together. And the rest… it is history!”

PSG's ambition attracted me. says: Neymar
The Brazilian was drawn to the French side by the club's ambition, while the team's president is proud to welcome a new star to
World-record signing Neymar says his move to Paris Saint-Germain came about after he was impressed by the French club's ambition.
Neymar completed his historic move from Barcelona on Thursday after PSG met his release clause of €222 million, a deal that smashes the transfer record previously held by Manchester United's Paul Pogba (€105m).
The 25-year-old, who spent four successful seasons with Barca, says he was always attracted by the French club's project.
"I am extremely happy to join Paris Saint-Germain," said Neymar, who will be presented by his new club on Friday.
"Since I arrived in Europe, the club has always been one of the most competitive and most ambitious. And the biggest challenge, what most motivated me to join my new team-mates is to help the club to conquer the titles that their fans want.
"Paris Saint-Germain's ambition attracted me to the club, along with the passion and the energy this brings. I played four seasons in Europe and I feel ready to take the challenge.
"From today, I will do everything I can to help my new team-mates, to open up new horizons for my club and to bring happiness to its millions of supporters around the world."
PSG lost out on the Ligue 1 title to Monaco last season, the first time in five years they had missed out on France's top honour.
But the Champions League has long been the top aim for president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who believes the addition of Neymar – who helped to dump PSG out of the competition in a famous last-16 tie last season – brings his side closer to that goal.
"It is with immense joy and pride that we welcome Neymar Jr to Paris Saint-Germain," he said.
It's official! Neymar signs for PSG
"Neymar Jr is today one of the very best players in world football. His winning mentality, strength of character and sense of leadership have made him into a great player.
"He will bring a very positive energy to this club. In six years, we have built a very ambitious project that has already taken us to the highest level of national and European football.
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"Today, with the arrival of Neymar Jr, I am convinced that we will come even closer, with the support of our faithful fans, to realising our greatest dreams."

Friday, 21 July 2017

Wimbledon & French Open: Tennis Integrity
Matches at this year's Wimbledon and French Open will be investigated by the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) for potential match-fixing.
One match at Roland Garros and three at Wimbledon, two of them in the qualifying tournament and one in the main draw, triggered alerts for unusual betting patterns.
The TIU says it received 53 alerts for the period April to June 2017.
Three of those were on the ATP Tour and one on the WTA Tour.
There were 20 each on the lower-level men's ATP Challenger and ITF Futures circuits and five on the ITF women's circuit.
The TIU says an alert on its own is "not evidence of match-fixing" and can be due to a number of other factors, including conditions and player fitness.
There have been 83 alerts in the first six months of 2017, down 38 on the same period in 2016.

India beat Australia to set up final against England
Harmanpreet Kaur's stunning century helped India beat six-time champions Australia by 36 runs in Derby and reach the Women's World Cup final.
Kaur smashed an unbeaten 171 - the highest score by an India player at a World Cup - as they made 281-4 from their rain-reduced 42 overs.
A big-hitting cameo from Alex Blackwell (90) gave Australia hope but they were bowled out for 245 with 11 balls left.
Mithali Raj's side will face England in Sunday's sold-out final at Lord's.
Kaur's powerful hitting, which included 20 boundaries and seven sixes, put the defending champions under pressure as India struck 81 runs from the final six overs.
Australia were nine wickets down and still 113 runs behind when Blackwell began to hit out.
Her aggressive innings, the vice-captain striking 10 boundaries and three sixes, took Australia to within touching distance of reaching their ninth World Cup final.
It is the first time India have reached a World Cup final since 2005 in South Africa, where they lost to Australia by 98 runs.

After a three-hour delay and faced with a miserly Australia bowling attack, Kaur looked stuck until Raj was dismissed by leg-spinner Kristen Beams for 36.
Once Raj fell, Kaur found her feet, targeting the Australian spinners and the off-target pace of Megan Schutt as she moved from 50 to three figures in just 26 deliveries.
Kaur's century was marred by her own over-reaction when, on 98, she called partner Deepti Sharma through for a quick two. Kaur turned quicker than Sharma and both players were briefly stranded mid-pitch, before the throw from mid-wicket hit Sharma's stumps.
A review showed that Sharma was in, but Kaur had already thrown her helmet and bat away in frustration and was yelling at her partner as it was confirmed she had reached three figures.
An embarrassed Kaur apologised to Sharma, who was near tears, and later put all her frustration into consecutive towering sixes off off-spinner Ashleigh Gardner as she plundered 23 runs from one over.
Despite losing Sharma towards the end of the innings, Kaur barely let up, taking 19 runs from one Elyse Villani over despite clearly struggling with cramp.
She raced from 100 to 150 in just 17 deliveries as she made the fifth highest score in women's ODIs and left Australia looking uncertain.

'Best innings I've seen' - analysis

Ex-England captain Charlotte Edwards: "The innings was out of this world. If you put it into context - against Australia, in a semi-final, to play at Lord's - I don't know how she's played with that freedom and power. It was unbelievable hitting.
"That was the best innings I've ever seen and some of the best hitting you are going to see. She picked her gaps with ease, and such power."

Meg Lanning, who has struggled with a shoulder injury throughout the tournament, looked static as she fell for an eight-ball duck and Australia were soon floundering at 21-3.
Elyse Villani has had an underwhelming career - prior to this match she had scored just two half-centuries in 24 innings - and had twice fallen to her first ball in this tournament, but she showed intent from the beginning.
She stood out of her crease to strike both spinners and seamers across the ground and overcame a drop on 10 to bring up her 50 from 41 balls, including 10 boundaries.
However, India dried up her run-scoring options and she chipped spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad to Smriti Mandhana to spark Australia's downfall.

Ellyse Perry had made four consecutive half-centuries in this World Cup but after opening the bowling she looked tired, and ended her innings sending a simple catch through to the wicketkeeper.
The players watched forlornly from the sides as they lost four wickets for 29 runs, before Blackwell let loose.
She struck Gayakwad for two straight sixes, forcing Raj to turn to her part-time bowlers, but Blackwell was savvy enough to rotate the strike to protect number 11 Beams.
However, there was only so much Blackwell could do, and she was bowled trying to swat Sharma out of the ground to spark raucous celebrations from India.

What the captains said

India captain Mithali Raj: "Harman's innings was exceptional and the bowlers have done very well. Overall, this unit looks compact now, after losing we came back and beating Australia is a huge achievement.
"We have players who of international standard, someone stands up in every game. The top order is scoring when it is needed and response from the bowling unit has been brilliant.
Australia captain Meg Lanning: "The innings from Kaur was incredible, we couldn't stop her and it was a very special effort in a high-pressure game so well done to India. Alex Blackwell was hitting it well at the end and we left her too much to do, but her knock was outstanding.
"I don't think we really nailed a full game at any stage of the tournament, so it was a disappointing end."

England's band of sisters ready for final
Tammy Beaumont has lots of spare keys for her house because Alex Hartley managed to lose three sets on three separate nights out.
When Katherine Brunt was in Australia, unable to sleep and in tears because of a back injury, it was Nat Sciver who walked her around a Melbourne park at 5am.
Fran Wilson has a reputation for leaving things in hotel rooms, while Laura Marsh is called upon to fix anything that breaks, or assemble flat-pack furniture.
Taken in isolation, these things aren't particularly remarkable. Collectively they help paint a picture of an England women's side that is less of a cricket team and more a group of friends that just happen to be playing in a World Cup final on Sunday.
Some of them would take it further than that. Fast bowler Brunt says the squad is a family. Loughborough, where most of them live, is like a cricketing community.
Brunt is well placed to comment. At 32, she is not only the oldest member of the England squad, but also the owner of a house that is home to four other England internationals (and Bailey the dog, who has his own Twitter account).
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Inside 'Alan' (the name given to the house because of the street it is on), Wilson is the chef, with Beth Langston as her assistant. Sciver is the last one to be ready, while Amy Jones spends the longest in the bathroom. Brunt, the mother of the house, admits she has been known as "matron".
"I don't want to be seen as the bossy mum, but I like to live in a clean space," said Brunt. "They feel like they are still at university.
"We have lots of fun, we live and train together, all of us get on so well. I sometimes think: 'Katherine, when are you going to grow up?'.
"It's quite harmonious, we never argue."
All of that harmony, companionship and sisterhood was needed when Jones, a 24-year-old wicketkeeper, was the only member of 'Alan' left out of the World Cup squad.
"There were tears," said Brunt. "At first, you're chuffed because you have made it into the squad, but five seconds later you are feeling awful for your best mate.
"We've tried to give her perspective, to make her realise that her time will come. She also loves food, so we fed her with her favourite meals to keep her mind off it for as long as we could."
Anyone who saw the heart-stopping semi-final victory over South Africa on Tuesday will know England are an emotional team.
Soon after taking the job as coach, Mark Robinson was required to give each player an appraisal. Tears became so regular he got tissues for his desk.
Brunt cried when she presented fellow pace bowler Langston with her first one-day international cap in Sri Lanka last year. She wept once more when her father was on hand to make a presentation to mark her 100th appearance earlier in the World Cup.
"It's a strength and a weakness," said Robinson, who made the move from coaching Sussex in the men's game at the end of 2015.
"The girls are very together in a genuine, supportive way. They will share the pain of a team-mate and that can be a burden, but you wouldn't swap it. We have a motto of 'never leaving a sister behind'."
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Robinson has not only had to adjust his own methods, but also guide England into the world of professionalism.
Full-time contracts arrived in 2014, but so too did greater demands on time, fitness, attitude and results.
"This group of players are the first group of professionals we have had and they are learning on their feet about the good and the bad of it," he said.
"They are all going through highs and lows - more training, more expectation, more press. It's bonded them together to share those experiences."
There is a balance to be struck, though. Professionalism can be all-consuming, especially when on tour, so Robinson has attempted to make sure the players see more than the nets and their hotel rooms.
Film nights (themed on the country they happen to be in), table tennis tournaments and quizzes (hosted by spinner Danni Hazell) are arranged, while time spent with family is encouraged both abroad and at home.
"One of my first games, in South Africa, the parents of two of the players were there," said Robinson.
"I asked them if they had gone to speak to them yet and they said 'no, are we allowed?' I had to explain that of course they were, their parents had travelled all that way to see them.
"We want all the team to have a connection to the things that keep you grounded and give you a sense of perspective."
Danni Wyatt's West Indies tour diary
Family time is harder for batter Beaumont, whose parents live in the United States.
They travelled to the World Cup in India in 2013, but didn't see her play a game. Now, after 18 months during which Beaumont has established herself in the England side, the opener's excitement is obvious when she explains her mum has been at every match in this tournament.
When her parents aren't in the country, Beaumont can rely on that close-knit England squad of players and staff.
"Within Loughborough it is like a second family for me," she said. "The coaches are like uncles. I had to ring Ali Maiden, the assistant coach, when I had a problem with my car. I had a puncture and I didn't know what to do."
Beaumont forms an impressive opening partnership with Lauren Winfield, a friend since their days at university. On tour they can be found on adjacent sunloungers; at home they can be found on the golf course.
Even that, though, cannot prevent the rivalry among elite sportswomen. Both have separately complained to Robinson about the other hogging the strike when they bat together.
And that, perhaps, is the England women in microcosm. Team-mates, housemates, professional athletes, competitors and family. Come Sunday, they could be World Cup winners, too.
"They have great values and morals," said Robinson. "They aren't spoiled by money or ego and they are very genuine.
"I find them very humbling, because they are lovely.