Champions League draw in full: Reaction and analysis from Monaco as it happened


3:38 pm

Hello dear friends and welcome to Monaco.

I say welcome to Monaco, but I mean that in a more figurative sense as I am, in fact, sat 22 floors up in Canary Wharf, gazing across London’s sun-mottled edifices.

It’s Champions League draw day, which is all fairly exciting if you’re a fan of one of the four-strong English contingent, or a Celtic aficionado.

Otherwise, some might say it’s simply another chance to remind the have-nots really how much they haven’t got, but that’s probably a debate for a different live blog.

Nobody wants to piss on Gianni Infantino’s chips after all.

3:54 pm

And so, before it all gets truly underway allow us to drop you a wee reminder about the possibilities here.

Our man in Manchester, David McDonnell, wrote last night that now would be the time Manchester City’s Champions League nightmare last year came back to haunt them – and looking at the potential groups it is hard to argue.

Being in pot three means it will make it incredibly hard for them once again to qualify for the knockout stages, something they have never done.

on Man City’s strife.

4:04 pm

THE CHAAAAAMPIAAHHHHNS! Sky Sports News’ coverage has begun.

That’s 22 minutes after ours so 1-0 Mirror.

Oh, in vaguely Champions League news, Chelsea have just announced a strengthening to their squad ahead of the draw.

4:11 pm

One of our summer signings, Welsh wizard Richard Beech, has whipped up

Manchester United have had some fairly easy rides through the group draw in recent years, and we make the most favourable result for them to be:

Manchester United (or Arsenal/Chelsea for that matter)MarseilleOlympiakosAustria Vienna

If you’re a fan of any of the latter three clubs and are desperately offended by your inclusion then please direct all complaints to – thanks.

4:18 pm

Crikey, what is this ‘reasoned debate’ I see before me?

Someone on Twitter has just asked us the following question:

4:21 pm

I can’t think of a better way of doing it, so if you do have any suggestions for a better method of ranking sides then please let us know, I’ll bounce it around the office and see what we get.

Perhaps they just make it a free-for-all and chuck 32 balls in a bucket?

But I suppose then if you got three English teams in a group then it would be a bit of a snorefest.

Hmmm, send us your thoughts @MirrorFootball

4:25 pm

TONS of responses to that debate! Here are some of the best:


4:34 pm

I think the following is a very good point:

But what I’d add to that is that it’s the nouveau riche (apologies for the phrase) who are experiencing the most problems.

For example, when Monaco inevitably qualify for the Champions League next season they’ll be in Pot 4.

That will be an absolutely horrendous surprise for one group who could find themselves up against the most expensively-assembled team ever.

Clubs like Borussia Dortmund who have built gradually and organically are still feeling their way into the reckoning in Europe, but being drawn in a low Pot makes it harder for them to progress, ergo it makes it harder for them to get a better coefficient and earn the money to improve.

A vicious cycle, if you will.

4:34 pm

And the most pertinent of arguments from the Telegraph’s Jonathan Liew here:

4:42 pm

Not long until draw time now.

I say draw time, what I mean is it’s not long until they begin the tedious pre-draw explanations and flattery but we’re actually quite a way off the balls being saved from their spherical perspex hell.

Oh yeah, and I heard a rumour Cristiano Ronaldo is NOT in Monaco today.

He is up for an award after the draw, so obviously doesn’t want to be pictured all sour-faced after Messi beats him to an award… again.

4:43 pm

I’m strongly in favour of this suggestion from our man Iain Macintosh:

4:46 pm

This is a handy little picture.

It quite clearly shows the six teams you don’t want to draw in terms of travel difficulties.

The atmosphere also tends to be pretty feisty there too.


4:48 pm

NOW PLAYING: Cringing montage scene with Lionel Messi doing stuff (we’re not really sure what).

And here are our hosts!

The delightful Melanie Winiger (me neither) and the Yanko-European voice of Pedro Pinto are our hosts for the afternoon/evening.

I’m sure their jovial manners will cut right through the tedium.


4:50 pm

Oh look, a montage!

It’s impossible to watch any unintentionally funny montage without due reference to the ultimate takedown.


4:56 pm

Right, time for a trip to maths corner.

Because no two teams from the same country can be drawn together, when we look at the pot configuration we can work out how likely it is that certain teams are drawn together.

For example:

Schalke have a 38% chance of being drawn vs Real Madrid or Barcelona – the most likely pairingThe second most-likely pairing is Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund (26%)There is a 15% chance that Barcelona or Real Madrid will end up in a group with Man City5:00 pm

This is hideous. Utterly hideous (and it will probably be in Lionel Messi’s hands later)

5:02 pm

It’s everyone’s favourite time of the draw, when Italian egg impersonator Gianni Infantino goes through the draw process in LUDICROUSLY EXCRUCIATING DETAIL just so everyone in the room is aware of how complex and difficult it is to draw some balls out of pots.

Hopefully we’re getting nearer.

Oh, they’re going through the pots for us. Brilliant.

Just Pot 1? Oh, we’re about to begin! STAND BY YOUR BEDS….

5:04 pm

Group F: Arsenal. The Gunners are first out and win the Champions League draw!

Or something like that.

Group F. The sixth one. There you go.

5:05 pm

Group E: Chelsea!

The British teams are romping home in this Champions League draw so far.

Luis Figo picks the group out… and it’s Group E.

5:06 pm

Group B: Real Madrid.

Apparently they’re expecting to make a new signing in the coming days.

Rest assured we’re ferreting away trying to work out who it is for you.

5:07 pm

Group D: Bayern Munich.

Last year’s champions, now with Pep Guardiola in charge, are in Group D.

This means they’re in Group D. We know nothing more at this time. Thank you for your patience.

5:09 pm

Group H: Barcelona.

In terms of away trips, it would be a nice one – but you’d not be returning with any points.

Gerardo Martino’s first taste of the Champions League.

5:09 pm

Group C: Benfica.

The Portuguese giants are one of the softer draws in that top pot, so Man City will be watching out for that one.

5:10 pm

Group G: Porto.

Always a contender with their South American imports, Porto are under new management again.

They’re in the second half of the draw.

5:11 pm

Group A: Man United.

There we are.

David Moyes’ first proper tilt at the Champions League and he’s in the first group.

5:13 pm

Man United in Group A, which means (I think) that City can’t now be drawn with Benfica in Group C – Porto would be their easiest pot one draw.

Meanwhile, in other news:

5:15 pm

Pot two now and first out is Marseille.

They go into Group F – with Arsenal.

They’ll be pretty happy with that you’d venture. What we’d outlined as the softest draw from the second pot.

5:17 pm

Group H: Barcelona, Milan – Ouchy.

Unfortunately it’s a fixture we had last year, but still a decent match-up.

5:17 pm

Group E: Chelsea, Schalke – not bad for Chelsea.

Not bad at all.

They’ll be happy with that as long as they avoid a clanger in pot three.

5:18 pm

Group C: Benfica, Paris Saint-Germain – a tough one for the Portuguese champions.

PSG will be looking to make a mark again after narrowly being eliminated by Barca last season.

5:20 pm

Group D: Bayern, CSKA Moscow – the Russians drawn with the champs.

Not easy for them, and given that they’ve sped up slightly I can also announce that Atletico Madrid join Porto in Group G.

Juventus still there…

5:21 pm

Group B: Real Madrid, Juventus – boom!

A belting group shaping up there.

Will be a great tie at least.

5:22 pm

Group A: Man United, Shakhtar Donetsk – and it’s a long, difficult trip for United.

Shakhtar may have sold Willian but they’ve also strengthened well this summer – as always.

I’m a fan of Facundo ‘Chucky’ Ferreyra, who they picked up from Argentine side Vélez last month.

5:26 pm

Group E: Chelsea, Schalke, Basel – Jose Mourinho giggles to himself.

Them of the epic Tottenham Hotspur encounter will return to London.

Is Marco Streller still playing?

5:27 pm

Group C: Benfica, Paris Saint-Germain, Olympiakos – PSG will be loving this.

Galatasaray out next, and they’re in Group B with Real Madrid & Juventus.

City avoid one group of death.

5:29 pm

Group A: Man United, Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayer Leverkusen – United get a trip to Germany.

Not terrible for David Moyes so far.

Zenit St Petersburg out now. Big spenders. And they are in Group G with Porto & Atletico.

5:30 pm

Group H: Barcelona, Milan, Ajax – a group of early 90s beauty.

Wonderful memories wrapped up in that group.

5:31 pm

Group D: Bayern, CSKA Moscow, Man City.


Tough stuff for Manuel Pellegrini, who has to impress his new owners on the continental stage.

5:32 pm

Group F: Arsenal, Marseille, Dortmund – good.

Good. Strong. Solid.

Arsenal got off nicely from the second pot but have been bitten by the third.

Napoli to top it off and things are difficult.

5:33 pm

POT 4: Rafa Benitez’s Napoli are indisputably the team to avoid.

Former QPR manager and Champions League winner Paulo Sousa is going to help out with the conclusion of the draw.

Let’s go then…

5:35 pm

Napoli out first:

Group F!

Arsenal, Marseille, Dortmund, Napoli – it’s an absolute rotter for Arsene Wenger.

5:37 pm

Group A: Man United, Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayer Leverkusen, Real Sociedad.

A beautiful trip for travelling Mancs as they get a midweek jaunt to San Sebastian.

Group C: Benfica, Paris Saint-Germain, Olympiakos, Anderlecht.

5:38 pm

Group H: Barcelona, Milan, Ajax, Celtic.

A stonker for the Scots.

5:40 pm

Group E: Chelsea, Schalke, Basel, Steaua Bucharest.

Jose’s unable to keep it as a giggle and rolls around on the floor laughing.

Group B: Real Madrid, Juventus, Galatasaray, Copenhagen.

5:41 pm

Group D: Bayern, CSKA Moscow, Man City, Viktoria Plzen.

It could have been worse, I suppose.

And the draw finishes with…

Group G: Porto, Atletico Madrid, Zenit, Austria Wien.

5:43 pm

The Champions League group draw – in full:

Group A: Man United, Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayer Leverkusen, Real SociedadGroup B: Real Madrid, Juventus, Galatasaray, CopenhagenGroup C: Benfica, Paris Saint-Germain, Olympiakos, AnderlechtGroup D: Bayern, CSKA Moscow, Man City, Viktoria PlzenGroup E: Chelsea, Schalke, Basel, Steaua BucharestGroup F: Arsenal, Marseille, Dortmund, NapoliGroup G: Porto, Atletico Madrid, Zenit, Austria WienGroup H: Barcelona, Milan, Ajax, Celtic 5:51 pm

Analysis: Well, what is there to say about that?

Arsenal have got a really tricky draw, and Rafael Benitez’s return to Napoli (allied with Gonzalo Higuaín’s presence) makes for at least two interesting ties – not to mention Jurgen Klopp and Dortmund being in town.

Chelsea will be rolling around with laughter, an easier draw they barely could have dreamed of.

Manchester United have a long journey to Donetsk, but otherwise David Moyes will be breathing a sigh of relief ahead of a period where he’ll be under unprecedented pressure.

Manchester City must play the champions, and while Moscow is never an easy trip you’d have to trust Manuel Pellegrini’s nous in Europe to see them through.

And Celtic? Well Lineker says it best…



Champions League draw: Arsenal handed tough Champions League group


Arsenal and Manchester City were handed tough Champions League tasks after was made in Monaco.

were pitted together with last year’s beaten finalists Borussia Dortmund, Marseille and Napoli in Group F.

Manchester City also face a tall order if they are to reach the knockout phase for the first time after being drawn with holders Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow and Viktoria Plzen in Group D.

Chelsea, who won the competition in 2012, appear to have an easier draw after they were put in Group E alongside Schalke, Basel and Steaua Bucharest.

Manchester United have a long trip to Shakhtar Donetsk and also face German and Spanish opposition in the form of Bayer Leverkusen, Real Sociedad in Group A.

Celtic have possibly the hardest task of all the British teams though after being drawn alongside three former winners Barcelona, AC Milan and Ajax. Neil Lennon will be hoping his charges will be able to repeat their heroics against the Catalan side last year, when they beat Barca 2-1 at Celtic Park.

See how all the action unfolded .

Poll loading …

The draw in full:

Group A: Manchester United, Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayer Leverkusen, Real Sociedad

Group B:  Real Madrid, Juventus, Galatasaray, Copenhagen

Group C:  Benfica, Paris St-Germain, Olympiakos, Anderlecht

Group D:  Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow, Manchester City, Viktoria Plzen

Group E:   Chelsea, Schalke, Basel, Steaua Bucharest

Group F:   Arsenal, Marseille, Borussia Dortmund, Napoli

Group G:  Porto, Atletico Madrid, Zenit St Petersburg, Austria Vienna

Group H:  Barcelona, AC Milan, Ajax, Celtic

Transfer news recap: Starring Leighton Baines, Erik Lamela and Samuel Eto'o


7:10 am

The clock is ticking, and it seems like we’re going to see a few exciting deals going through today. Leighton Baines has reportedly asked Roberto Martinez for a move to Manchester United.

Although it should be noted that there are no reports that he has handed in a formal transfer request.

Spurs look set to be bringing in Erik Lamela and Cristian Eriksen, and they’re also after Manchester United’s Javier Hernandez.

Samuel Eto’o has signed a one year deal at Chelsea worth a whopping £7million, that’s according to the Daily Mail anyway. It would be good to see Eto’o in the Premier League, though it does feel like a move back to the days when Chelsea favoured the use of mercenaries.

It’s all kicking off today, so stay up to date here. Open up a tab, leave our live transfer news blog running, and check for updates when your boss isn’t looking.

7:45 am

Exclusive story in today’s Daily Mirror:

Manchester United have made Everton an improved joint .

It comes as Baines reportedly asks to leave Everton.

A certain Mr Evra must be a little bit worried about his place in the Man Utd squad, Baines is that bit younger but they’re both similar style wing backs.

Perhaps they should just swap clubs – Patrice Evraton, anyone?

8:43 am

Well Roberto Martinez has slammed early reports from The Independent and The Sun suggesting that Leighton Baines has asked to be allowed to go to Manchester United.

He said, sounding tired and fed-up:

"I speak with all the players as you can imagine, and it is disappointing when you get so many stories going round, you’re questioning and wondering where the stories are coming from, but there’s nothing to comment on in those two cases.

"It is getting a little bit too much at the moment, it’s not just here it’s up and down the league, you get all these stories.

"We need to do something we need to protect the league and be respectful to the fans."

9:08 am

Swansea update:

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup is ­confident they will land a striker before Monday’s transfer deadline, and ­admits .

Laudrup’s made some great signings since taking over at Swansea, so watch this space.

10:04 am

Roberto Martinez is not a happy man:

"I am sure the authorities will look at it and do something about it because it is becoming a bit of a footballing circus and it is not helping anyone," said Martinez.

"It is not just for Everton. It happens at every football club up and down the country, not just the ones who are fighting to win the title or avoid relegation.

"Unfortunately it is the reality of the game. I do feel a bit worried about it. It is not getting easier and it is not getting better."

Knowing Everton are hardly in a position to resist a bid from United should it reach the levels his club require, Martinez has to have contingency plans in place, and his philosophy is simple.

"You always need to make sure when the window closes, the squad is stronger than it was when you started," he said.

"That doesn’t mean you will never lose players. It means you need to be prepared for any situation.

"That is what we are focusing on for the next four days in the window.

"There is a lot of speculation and stories, but once you have important games to prepare for, it is a bit of a farcical position that goes against the values we are trying to present in the Premier League."

11:07 am

Ruddy hell, we predicted that today would be a big day in the transfer window, but this morning has fallen flat so far.

Cristian Eriksen has missed training with Ajax today, but that’s about the only thing to report. Probably means he’s having a free lunch with Daniel Levy.

11:30 am

One for the Toon Ba’Army:

Newcastle fans, you’re not going to like this. It seems that after having to let go of Erik Lamela and Dani Osvaldo, Roma are in desperate need of some attacking players.

Their prayers could be answered in the form of one Demba Ba, who probably won’t get much first team football at Chelsea this year.

There were rumours yesterday that Newcastle were interested in bringing Demba Ba back to St James’ Park on a season-long loan.

Pards is giving a press conference at around 1:30pm today, so he’ll inevitably be asked about the links to Bafetimbi Gomis and Demba Ba.

11:48 am

Really bad news for Arsenal:

Although it could end up being good news. Podolski is going to be out of action for eight to 10 weeks. That’s a mighty long time in the Premier League, Arsenal will be around a quarter of the way through the season when he is back.

Podolski was one of the shining lights for the Gunners so far this season, so will it force Arsene Wenger to spend some money and bring in a new attacking option?

12:13 pm

Ricardo Vaz-Te has entered a written transfer request at West Ham.

It’s a wise move for him, he probably won’t get a great deal of first-team action this season.

Only question is – did he write out the request himself?

Probably not.

12:33 pm

Arsenal fans not massively pleased about the Podolski news. But remember, it could lead to transfers…

12:53 pm

Erik Lamela is at the Spurs training ground, and Gareth Bale suddenly turns into a distant memory.

Spurs’ attacking line is looking fearsome, do they have the same in the back though?

Villas-Boas has just said that Tottenham will be fielding a team of kids in tonight’s match against Dinamo Tbilisi, that’s Brad Friedel firmly out of contention then,

1:13 pm

Lots of images of Vlad Chiriches walking through Heathrow airport with a redheaded woman this morning. The £8.5million valued defender is only 23-years-old and he looks like he could turn his hand to rugby if he wanted.

He’s a big bloke!

If he does get snapped up, there will be plenty of competition for those centre back places at Spurs.

AVB must be one happy bloke at the moment.

1:19 pm

Few people on Twitter asking if Dawson will be the defender to miss out on a place in favour of Vlad Chiriches.

I am not Andy Brassell, and never will be, but Dawson has really come on leaps and bounds in the past five years. His positioning is mostly spot-on, apart from when he occasionally loses his head, and he has good strength and good ability in the air.

He’s also more experienced than he looks, because he looks like a 12-year-old. He’s actually 29.

So I think Dawson will at least be given the opportunity to demonstrate why he should keep his place, but with the knowledge that if he slips up, there is a youngster snapping at his heels.

It’ll be that way across the park at Spurs this season, the only player who won’t feel too much pressure is Soldado, and the best centre forwards have always been those who can relax in the knowledge that they are the star player and there is nobody threatening their place.

Look at the difference between Berbatov, for example, at Spurs and Man Utd.

1:35 pm

All this talk of Spurs is making me feel a bit sorry for Arsenal fans, so now to balance it out a bit. Our man John Cross wrote a very entertaining column in which he compared Yohan Cabaye to a costly fondle in a nightclub.

, but the gist of the piece is that Arsene Wenger is playing a very dangerous game at the moment, not only with Arsenal’s chances of silverware this season, but also with his own career.

Roberto Martinez said this morning that each season you want to make sure that your squad is better than it was last year.

Have Arsenal done that? Is Roberto Martinez right? Anyway, here’s some reaction to Mr Cross’s column:

1:36 pm

Bit of banter between sport journalists:

1:52 pm

Alan Pardew has confirmed that he expects Yohan Cabaye to play for Newcastle against Fulham this weekend, that’s good news for the Toon Army.

Pards has left Cabaye on the sidelines while Arsenal were sniffing around, and the fact he’s bringing him back might mean that the danger from Arsenal is now over.

More bad news for Arsenal fans though. Would you want Cabaye in the squad at the Emirates? Let us know @MirrorFootball

2:13 pm

Considering that it says in the headline of this article that the transfer news today will be starring Baines, Eto’o and Lamela, it probably makes sense to make it clear exactly what is going on with regards to these lads.

Baines: Martinez came out this morning for a press conference at the unreasonable hour of 8am and basically said that Baines has in no way said that he wants to leave Everton. Contrary to reports in a couple of the papers.

Eto’o: Sam the man is due to become a Chelsea player today, and it will be interesting to see how he performs in the Premier League, could go one of two ways.

Lamela: He’s at the Tottenham training ground, having a physical, coughing for the doc. He is tipped to be the man to make Spurs fans forget that Gareth Bale ever existed. He made more successful dribbles than Bale did last season, and he scored 15 goals too, and he’s only 21.

2:28 pm

Demba Ba has been left out of Senegal’s World Cup qualifying squad, that’s got to hurt. Alain Giresse tends to choose players who are playing regularly for their clubs, and Demba Ba currently doesn’t match that description.

With Eto’o coming in, Ba is going to be even less likely to start for Chelsea. He’s going to have to make a move, isn’t he?

Roma, Newcastle, anywhere. He’s got to high-tail it out of Stamford Bridge.

3:24 pm

Mathieu Flamini has rejoined Arsenal, reportedly on a three-year deal.

It’s the Gunners’ SECOND signing of the summer – and still not a penny spent.

– and a nice little stat below, too.

4:28 pm

Samuel Eto’o has been confirmed as Chelsea’s newest signing – agreeing a one-year deal.

You .

And here’s how the Blues announced it:

5:21 pm

While the Champions League draw gets going – and you can – the world of transfers never stops. Well, until Monday, of course.

Here’s a couple of tidbits for you.

Ian Holloway has admitted that he’s had talks with free agent William Gallas, but has conceded that for the former Chelsea/Arsenal/Spurs man.

Over in Stoke, Mark Hughes is toying with the idea of , but only to the right club. 

6:17 pm

Right, that’s it from us today. But make sure to follow @MirrorFootball on Twitter for all the latest transfer news as it happens.

Until tomorrow, goodbye.


Liverpool vs Manchester United: Anfield trip is the sort of game you get into football for says Ashley Young


Alex Livesey

Ashley Young claims his Manchester United side can handle the bear-pit atmosphere they will walk into at Liverpool on Sunday to record another win.

Anfield will be rocking as the arch-rivals meet, and the home side feel they have an opportunity to close the gap on this season after years trailing in their wake.

, winning three out of three in all competitions, and a fourth victory on the spin would see them open up a five-point gap over their fiercest rivals at this early stage.

Liverpool will hold a minute’s applause before kick-off to commemorate , which will surely add to the atmosphere, and Young knows United are in for a hot reception.

“I don’t think there has ever been a time when Manchester United have gone there and Liverpool HAVEN’T been up for it,” said the England winger.

“We know what to expect. It will be a fiery atmosphere.

“As long as we go there and play the way we have done in previous seasons, and as we have started this one, hopefully at the end of it, we’ll have the three points.

“You know what the rivalry is like between the two clubs. You want to play in the fiery games.

“You want to play in the big games. You dreamt as a boy to play in big games like this – especially games as fiery as this.


“You want to go out and play. We will keep a cool head, let the fans have their rivalry and try to do our jobs in the right way.”

United’s critics are looking for any sign that their crown is slipping now David Moyes has succeeded the retired Alex Ferguson as manager, but Young says their new boss shares their hunger for success.

“The players want to win things, but the new manager wants to win things as well,” he said of Moyes, who spent 11 potless years at Everton.

“He’s told us already that we are in four competitions and we want to win them all.

“As players, every competition you are in, you want to win. We want to retain our title, we want to win the cups.

‘We want more success and more trophies. I want to be stood here at the end of the season saying we have had more success and more silverware.

“Once you get that first medal, you want more and more. When you come to a place like Manchester United, you want success.

“You look at the trophy cabinet and the history. You want a piece of that. Everybody is a winner here.”

Young, 28, made his first competitive appearance for United since April as a substitute in .

After suffering two ankle injuries, he is delighted to be back.

“I’m a winger who wants to get at defenders,” he said. “There’s no better feeling for someone like myself than getting past your man, putting a cross in and someone scoring or getting a goal yourself.

“It’s been a long time since I last played at Old Trafford.

“I was delighted to get those minutes under my belt and hopefully it will continue.”

Home win?

David Moyes masterminded just three wins in 22 Premier League clashes with Liverpool when he was Everton manager (Drew seven, Lost 12) – and NONE of those wins were at Anfield (Drew six Lost five).

Daniel Sturridge has scored 10 goals in his last eight appearances in all competitions for Liverpool.

Steven Gerrard has scored four goals in his last six Premier League appearances against Manchester United, including a goal in each of the last two encounters at Anfield.

Away win?

Manchester United have not lost any of their last 13 Premier League away games – the longest current run in the competition.

Robin van Persie has scored four times in his last three Premier League appearances against Liverpool (two for Arsenal and two for United).

If United win, they will have equalled Moyes’ best ever start to a Premier League season (2006-07) with seven points from three matches.

Chelsea vs Bayern Munich: Jose Mourinho Pep Guardiola


Getty Images

Jose Mourinho has launched into an embarrassing rant that highlights his bitter rivalry with Pep Guardiola, writes John Cross in Prague.

Mourinho set out to defend his poor head-to-head record against Guardiola ahead of their latest face-off in Chelsea’s Friday night European Super Cup showpiece against Bayern Munich here in the Czech Republic.

But boss scored a spectacular own goal by getting his stats wrong.

Mourinho, now back in charge of Europa League winners Chelsea, has pitted his wits against Guardiola, new coach of European champions Bayern, 15 times over the years.

And their rivalry developed into an ugly feud while they were in charge of Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.

But The Special One is clearly better at management than mathematics, because Mourinho insisted a journalist was wrong to correctly claim the Portuguese had enjoyed just three wins in those 15 matches.

Mourinho snapped: "Your statistics are wrong as a start. Very wrong. Very wrong. Because… but I don’t want to discuss that because it’s not important. I’ll just say it’s wrong.

"Go there and see what happened with Inter in the Champions League semi-final. The league records in Spain. The Copa del Rey in Spain. The SuperCup in Spain.

"You are very, very wrong. You are wrong. But it’s not important.

"That’s not me against him, it’s club against club. That’s not important.

"I just know that I won the Champions League semi-final with Inter. I won the Spanish Cup final in Valencia. I won the SuperCup in Spain. I was champion in Spain. I won the match of the title in Barcelona with Real Madrid.

"So, I don’t know…

"Maybe you are right and I am wrong, but I don’t care. It’s not important for me."

The stark facts are Mourinho teams have won matches against Guardiola teams only three times, but he has won additional tie on aggregate with Inter after each club won their home leg.

Mourinho then got further wound up when asked whether it annoyed him that he was portrayed as an enemy of football when at Real, while Guardiola earned all the plaudits for Barca’s crowd-pleasing style of play.

Pointing angrily to the Chelsea crest on his sweatshirt, Mourinho said: "If you want questions about Chelsea I’m here until 4 o’clock. If you want questions about Real Madrid and Barcelona, I’m not here.

"It’s not about me and Pep. It’s about Chelsea and Bayern Munich. It’s about a SuperCup, where the European champions are playing the Europa League champions.

"Pep is not European champion and I’m not the Europa League champion. We’re just coaching these teams. It’s not about us. It’s about Chelsea and Bayern."

Mourinho also snapped when asked about Bayern president Uli Hoeness’s claim this week that Guardiola is "miles ahead" of his Chelsea counterpart.

"It is his opinion," said Mourinho. "It’s his opinion. No problem."

Chelsea were outclassed by Atletico Madrid and Radamel Falcao in particular a year ago when, as European Cup holders under Roberto Di Matteo, they were .

Twelve months on, Mourinho’s return to the Chelsea hot-seat gives the Super Cup an extra edge because of the rivalry with Guardiola.

Mourinho’s new signings from Anzhi Makhachkala, and , will not be involved against Bayern as they did not register in time.


Meanwhile, the Portuguese insisted there will be no exit for against Fenerbahce.

Mata, who appears to have been frozen out under Mourinho, could start here in Prague, but the Special One insists the Super Cup is no place for sentiment as both clubs – and indeed both coaches – are desperate to win.

Mourinho added: "I don’t like to call it a competition – it’s a match that gives a trophy. If any one of us says he doesn’t want to win a trophy, it’s not true.

"It’s always difficult to play against Bayern. I’ve played them many times. It doesn’t matter the system or the player. It’s always a powerful team, a big club. It’s always difficult. Tactics don’t matter.

"Mata didn’t play against Man United. It was my option.

"I always have my reasons. I feel it’s my duty to explain to the players the reasons, and I do. It’s not my duty to explain to the media the reasons for my choices.

"But everything is clear between me and the player. We have no problem.

"He’s a very important player for us, I want him to stay, he wants to stay, the club wants him to stay, and he will be a very important player for us.

"We have a lot of players in these positions behind the striker, but they can all also play wide from the side.

Shaun Botterill 

"Go to Man City, Arsenal, United, every big team – Tottenham, Bayern – they’ve all got many options because people want to compete in different positions.

"And it’s a World Cup year, which makes it more difficult for the national teams because, even for friendlies, they [the players] go, they don’t have rest, they travel…

"After this match, we have a double fixture with the national teams, then Premier League, Champions League and Capital One Cup consecutively…

"We need numbers. We can’t do it with 10-12 players. We have to do it with 20. That’s the reason why we strengthened our squad."

Probable teams

Chelsea Cech; Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Cole; Ramires, Lampard; Mata, Oscar, Schurrle; Torres.

Bayern Munich Neuer; Lahm, Boateng, Dante, Alaba; Schweinsteiger; Robben, Muller, Kroos, Ribery; Mandzukic.

Sunderland drop Stephane Sessegnon after drink-drive arrest DURING their League Cup match


Victor Fraile

Stephane Sessegnon has been axed by Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio following his drink-drive charge.

Forward Sessegnon has been left out of the squad for Saturday’s trip to Crystal Palace in a crackdown by hard-line Italian boss.

The Benin international was stopped and in Newcastle city centre WHILE his team-mates were battling back from 2-0 down to earn a gutsy Capital One Cup victory over MK Dons.

He will appear before Magistrates in October.

Di Canio refused to comment on the alleged offence, but the disciplinarian feels let down by Sessegnon’s decision not to watch , for which he had been rested.

The striker was not ordered to attend the game on Tuesday night, but the head coach is adamant he should have been at home rather than being spotted round the corner from arch-rivals Newcastle’s James’ Park stadium.

Sessegnon has struggled for form this term, and been substituted in both Sunderland’s Premier League games so far.

The former Paris Saint-Germain favourite had been set to return against Ian Holloway’s men, but arch-disciplinarian Di Canio has now told the 29-year-old he won’t be travelling to London.

Defender Phil Bardsley has frozen out since , but Sessegnon could yet find a way back into the fold after Di Canio praised his attitude earlier this summer.

Di Canio said: “I will judge each case on its merits and if a footballer says he is really sorry and you think he means it, then yes, there is a second chance.

“If you arrive late for training and are fined and then become more professional, there is a way back. But if you don’t even think you are doing wrong and say sorry without really meaning it, that’s different.

“I can read my players and I know the ones who are genuinely sorry if they do something wrong. It’s difficult to give second chances to somebody who breaks the rules and thinks that’s normal, because they’ll then do it again.”

Connor Wickham is likely to make his first start of the season up front against the Eagles, after his two-goal substitute appearance on Tuesday night.

Transfers: Arsenal labelled ridiculous by Tony Adams over Suarez bid


Getty Images

Arsenal legend Tony Adams has branded Arsene Wenger’s £40million bid for Luis Suarez “ridiculous” – and admitted he fears the worst in Sunday’s North London derby.

Adams poured scorn on a futile stakeout for big-money signings at the Emirates before the transfer window closes on Monday.

While arch-rivals and neighbours Spurs have spent £109m on an expensive summer refit, only major recruit so far has been to re-sign French utility warhorse Mathieu Flamini.

And ahead of this weekend’s partisan tiff along the Seven Sisters Road, Adams claimed Wenger was shopping at the wrong end of the pitch by – because shoring up the defence should be his priority.

Dear old Tone – at 46, it is now 11 years since he made the last of his 504 appearances for Arsenal, where he choreographed the offside trap like a dance routine on Top of the Pops.

But after a penalty shoot-out with fellow north London legends Ian Wright, Ledley King and Les Ferdinand in Trafalgar Square to launch Vodafone’s 4G network, the former England captain took Le Professeur to task.

Adams said: “It’s not Arsene’s style to pay top dollar and gamble huge sums of money on a single player, but my main criticism of him is that I would do things differently.

“This team is so gung-ho, and they are so open, that the balance is not right. They are too susceptible to the counter-attack and they never look like keeping a clean sheet.

“It’s so scary, I sit there holding my breath every week. So to try and shell out £40m on Suarez or Wayne Rooney would be money badly spent on yet another player who can open doors in the attacking third while the back door remains wide open.

“I thought it was a ridiculous bid for Suarez – I would never have gone there in a million years. You have got the baggage as well, but I’m not even talking about the baggage.

“Arsenal have not got a problem scoring goals, because Giroud scored 17 last season, they have got the pace of Theo, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wilshere, Ramsey. They can score from all over the pitch.

“They need someone to lock it up when it breaks down, and I would be scouring Europe for the next Gilberto.

“I must have been the only person in the country doing somersaults watching Manchester United and Chelsea keeping clean sheets the other night – two fantastic, organised, solid sides giving nothing away.

“That wasn’t a boring game for me, because I was wishing Arsenal could do that more often.”

Like a man who knows he is not about to land a job on the Emirates coaching staff any time soon, Adams – currently a consultant to Azerbaijan club FC Gabala – has become increasingly vocal in his criticism of Wenger’s methods.

And with the clock ticking over into a ninth season without Arsenal winning a trophy, Adams fears the balance of power in north London may be about to shift.

He added: “There’s not going to be a lot in it on Sunday.

“Tottenham have spent a lot of money, they have got better and Arsenal have not been challenging for trophies while too many big players have walked out of the door, which has been galling for the supporters.

“Tottenham have come back to Arsenal in recent years and north London derbies have certainly changed a lot since my first one, when Stewart Robson kicked Glenn Hoddle all over the pitch and we could have a good fight.

“I’m also critical of Arsene for selling Robin van Persie.

“Once you have got that type of player, you should give him the world to keep him. But Robin chose to join a club who are challenging for the title every year where Arsenal are now challenging to finish in the top four.

“I admire Arsene for sticking to his principles, but somewhere along the line you have to win trophies as well. It’s easy to criticise from this side of the fence, but Arsene didn’t do enough to keep Van Persie.”

Vodafone kicks off 4G network in London with a choice of Sky Sports TV or Spotify Premium before launching in 12 more cities later in 2013.

Pep Guardiola: I do want to manage in England before I finish my career


Stuart Franklin

Pep Guardiola turned down Chelsea to take over at Bayern Munich but is still determined to manage in the Premier League one day, writes John Cross in Prague.

FIrst-year Bayern boss Guardiola was Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich’s No.1 target last year, but he took a sabbatical and then went to Germany to join the European Cup holders rather than move to England.

Guardiola said: "Chelsea has a super trainer. Bayern too! And I am happy to be here. I don’t know if it’s true (Chelsea’s interest), but I think Mourinho is happy to be there.

"I am a young trainer at 42, and just four years as a trainer in a professional world.

"Before I finish my career I would like to go to England as a trainer, but in a few years.

"I would like, first of all, to remain as long as possible at this club because it’s so important for the people in Munich, in Germany and all the way round the world.

"I work a lot and try to do my best. After that, I’d like to live this experience. But Chelsea have a good trainer now.

"It (the Premier League) appeals to me for the experience, to live that. Just to live. I can’t explain to you why because I’ve not been there. But once I have I can explain why. But it’s fantasy, football fantasy right now."

Ex-Barcelona boss Guardiola also insisted that his past battles with former Real Madrid coach Mourinho are history, and that he is now looking forward – to helping a Bayern side that won the Bundesliga and Champions League double last season become even better.

Guardiola added: "The record is done. It’s just for the record books. That’s all.

"Football is life. Football is the moment. Tomorrow is a challenge. I have won games and I’ve lost a lot of games, too.

"My past is my past, part of my life, in my brain and my heart, but I’m here for my experience as a coach.

"Bayern gave me this opportunity to train this marvellous club and I’ll always be thankful for that. I did my best in Barcelona and I’ll try to do my best here."

Arsenal renew interest in Di Maria, Ozil and Benzema? Transfer Rumours and gossip from today's papers


Drew Hallowell

According to reports in today’s papers, Arsenal have renewed their interest in Real Madrid trio Karim Benzema, Angel Di Maria, and Mesut Ozil.

Find out the latest on all this, and more, in our transfer gossip round-up, with the latest rumours from all of today’s papers.

Transfer news, rumours and gossip from today’s Daily Mirror

after signing fellow striker Samuel Eto’o.           


, in order to strengthen up at the back.

Everton want Manchester United to pay .

Arsenal’s former captain Tony Adam has taken to his soapbox once more to criticise his old club, .

as experienced back-up to keeper Simon Mignolet.

, formerly at West Ham, after trail for Bendtner goes cold.

West Ham forward .


Transfer gossip from other newspapers and websites

Scott Sinclair has slammed Roberto Mancini for bringing him to Manchester City and not giving him a chance at first team action, Sinclair has subsequently moved on loan to West Brom (The Sun).

Fellaini and Baines have been told by Roberto Martinez not to assume the grass is greener on the other side (The Sun).

The Daily Mail have brought back rumours that Arsenal are after Benzema, Di Maria and Ozil. But do the trio have any interest in joining The Gunners? (The Daily Mail).

Marouane Fellaini has reportedly told Roberto Martinez that he wants to leave Everton. Rumours in The Sun and The Independent yesterday suggested that Baines had done the same thing, but Martinez denied it at a press conference (The Daily Mail).


Bonus Robbie Savage: Why it's the top-four or the tin-tack for Tottenham boss Villas-Boas – Robbie Savage


Michael Regan

Unless Tottenham qualify for the Champions League next season, I can’t see Andre Villas-Boas staying at White Hart Lane.

That may sound harsh, and Villas-Boas did have a decent first year at Spurs, but he is smart enough to accept a blunt truth.

If – admittedly, most of it offset by selling Gareth Bale – you are going to be under huge pressure to finish in the top four.

Roberto Soldado, Erik Lamela, Etienne Capoue, Paulinho and Vlad Chiriches are all decent signings, and between them they may well make up for losing Bale.

But if Spurs CAN’T break back into the top four with all that spending power at his disposal, Villas-Boas knows where the buck will stop.

Sunday win worth more than three points to Moyes

David Moyes never won away at Liverpool, Manchester United or Arsenal as Everton manager.

It’s pretty safe to assume his first win at Old Trafford won’t be far away, but on Sunday he has the chance to make an early dent in that unwanted record when he takes United to Anfield.

You can get excited about the Old Firm match, the Milan derby and El Clasico but, for me, is one of THE great club fixtures in world ­football.

After United’s difficulty in breaking down Chelsea on Monday, they won’t find it any easier to breach the Kop’s wall of noise than it was to .

Moyes needs to find a goal-scoring midfielder and a wide player with immaculate delivery of crosses – end-product being the most important ­ingredient – before the window shuts.

But he may have his hands full trying to keep Daniel Sturridge quiet and sending Philippe Coutinho up dead-ends in the red-hot ­atmosphere of an old rivalry.

What I do know is that he will put a lot of credit in the bank with United fans if he breaks his personal Anfield hoodoo.

Fingers crossed I won’t get clobbered

To prepare for my debut as a pundit on Match of the Day tomorrow night, I’ve been exchanging playful tweets with host Gary Lineker this week.

After a few appearances on MotD2 last season, it’s my first outing in the chair on a Saturday night, and of course I’m anxious to make a good impression.

Hopefully, I’ve already cottoned on to the first rule of punditry: Wear a nice shirt.

On the opening day of the season, to wear on Final Score.

I’d like to think there will be as much attention on my analysis as my dress sense!

Two side to carry-on with Cabaye

It’s easy to blame the player when he is left out of the side amid transfer ­speculation and big-money bids from major clubs.

Wayne Rooney’s ­application for Manchester United against Chelsea, a club who openly coveted him, was fantastic.

Up at Newcastle, Yohan Cabaye has been ­slaughtered for allegedly refusing to play because Arsenal had bid £10million for him.

But hang on a minute: Has Cabaye been swinging the lead, or is it convenient for Newcastle to leave him out ?

If there is £20m riding on the move, they have a vested interest in Cabaye staying fit and keeping him out of the firing line.

There are usually two sides to a story – and in Cabaye’s case, all may not be as it seems.

Sloppy Joe needs someone to push him

Take nothing away from Cardiff, whose ­performance against Manchester City showed why I think they will stay in the Premier League for more than one season.

But, after his error in the England-Scotland friendly, there was more evidence of .

Competition for places never did a footballer any harm, and I don’t think he is being pushed hard enough – for club or country.

It would not be the worst thing to happen in Hart’s career if City signed a top-class keeper in the transfer window.

And finally…

Well done to Yeovil for as atonement for the Glovers’ controversial 90th-minute equaliser in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night.

Hindsight, of course, is a wonderful thing, but why did Yeovil wait until they were 3-2 up to make the gesture, instead of doing it immediately?

Now click here for .