Premier League news and buildup to Euro 2020 play-off draw – live! – The Guardian, Google News

Steve Clarke has urged the governing bodies in Scotland to “do all they can” to help his team qualify for Euro 2020, by ensuring there are no bothersome fixtures ahead of the big Israel showdown.Knowing how the suits north of the border historically roll, one could argue he may as well be shouting into a hole in the ground. However, he’s got the backing of Rangers boss Steven Gerrard, who says he’ll be willing to move fixtures to help.

I represent this club in this country so for me I give it the support I need to give it. I certainly won’t be standing in the way. But we don’t make those decisions. Ultimately it will be down to the SFA and stuff. We’ll go with the flow and if it means us skipping a game or adjusting a game we’ll do everything we can to support Scotland. That’s what you’ve got to do.

We already knew that Northern Ireland will travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina, while Republic of Ireland will be away to Slovakia.If both Irish sides make it to the Path B final, Northern Ireland will host.

To recap: Scotland will host Israel in the Euro 2020 qualifying play-offs next March.The draw, conducted in Nyon, paired Steve Clarke’s side with the nation that finished fifth in Group G. Should the Scots prevail, they’ll travel to Norway or Serbia for the Path C final.

The semi-final matches will be played on March 26 next year.The final matches follow a mere five days later, on March 31. Euro 2020 itself kicks off on 12 June. The fever’s building already.

And in path A …Bulgaria or Hungary will play host in the final.

Path B:Northern Ireland will host the Republic of Ireland in the final, should everything go to plan.

Should Scotland defeat Israel, they’ll have to travel to Norway or Serbia for the final of path C.Bah.

Now we need to find out which semi-final winners will play the final at home.First up, path D: the victors of Georgia-Belarus will host the final.

Path A:Iceland v Romania; Bulgaria v Hungary.

Path B:Bosnia-Herzegovina v Northern Ireland; Slovakia v Republic of Ireland. ************

Path C:Scotland v Israel; Norway v Serbia. ************

Path D:Georgia v Belarus; North Macedonia v Kosovo. We knew this already.

Time for the Euro 2020 play-off draw.Who will Scotland host in their semi-final? We’ll find out in a minute. As always with these things, there’s a load of interminable pre-draw faff to suffer. This time, it’s a chat with Angelos Charisteas, scorer of the winning goal in the Euro 2004 final for Greece. He’ll be assisting with the draw. No rush.

Now then, this could be good fun.Granit Xhaka might get a run-out tomorrow as Arsenal welcome fellow crisis club Southampton to the Emirates. He’s not played for the Gunners since effin ’and jeffin’ at his own fans, who in fairness were giving him dog’s abuse as he was hauled off against Crystal Palace. But he played in both of Switzerland’s internationals last week, is raring to go again, and let’s face it Unai Emery could do with the attention being on someone else at the moment. If Xhaka plays, and Saints take so much as a point, Arsenal Fan TV will make for some mighty fine viewing tomorrow evening.

Watford captain Troy Deeney has been out with a dodgy knee for most of the season.He last played for the Hornets on the second weekend of the campaign, at Everton. But he could return for the visit of Burnley tomorrow afternoon. Otherwise it’s not great news on the injury front for Hertfordshire’s finest. Roberto Pereyra (thigh), Tom Cleverley (heel), Domingos Quina (groin), Sebastian Prodl (knee), Daniel Bachmann (hamstring) and Danny Welbeck (hamstring) are all ruled out, while Christian Kabasele is suspended. Meanwhile for Burnley, Chris Wood is fit and raring to go, despite missing New Zealand’s recent match against Lithuania.

Fed up with Jose already?Make your peace with it, this ride’s only just started.

‘I’m delighted José’s back’: Premier League managers react to Mourinho’s Spurs move – video

Meanwhile, 20 miles but half a world away …

More from Ole.“It’s good to have Jose back, definitely – especially for you guys, maybe for me because you can talk and write about everything else! And for Mauricio, it’s always sad when one of your colleagues, a good man, you lose your job before Christmas. It’s never nice to see so I just wish him all the best. In football you can never be surprised at anything, or you can’t be shocked at anything. For me, I’ve just got to focus on us. ”

Manchester United travel to Sheffield United on Sunday.They’ll do so without star turn Paul Pogba. His ankle is no longer in a cast, but he’s only just started to step up his fitness program. “It’ll still be a few weeks,” says Solskjaer. “We hope to see him in 2019. ”Meanwhile Scott McTominay is out for“ a couple of weeks ”with an ankle injury of his own.

Does it bother Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that Mauricio Pochettino – so often linked with the Manchester United gig – is now available? “No. It doesn’t bother me at all. I’ve got the best job in the world. I’m sure if you’re in a job, or out of a job, and you’re a manager, you want this job. So it doesn’t really matter. I’ve got to focus on my job and do as well as I can. I speak with the owners all the time about how we’re going to move the club forward. That doesn’t change if some other clubs change. ”

Meanwhile, Mauricio Pochettino has been saying his goodbyes.

Poor Poch.
Poor Poch. Photograph: Twitter

There’s no shame in shedding a few tears, you know.

No, you’re crying.
No,you’recrying. Photograph: Twitter

Mourinho takes Spurs to West Ham tomorrow.His firstPremier Leaguematch at home comes the following Saturday, when he welcomes Bournemouth. Eddie Howe is already looking forward to that one. “You always welcome the best back into the league, it makes the league better. I was as surprised as everybody else watching from afar, but Jose is an unbelievable manager and it’s great he’s back. It’s not ideal timing for us to go to Tottenham, but it is what it is, and we’ll relish that challenge. For me he’s one of the all-time greats and he’s certainly got a lot more to give. ”(Non-Jose-related aside: Bournemouth host Wolves tomorrow.)

We should stress thatother Tottenham Hotspur nightwear is available.Forty quid for a special onesie. Twenty-five bar for cockerel-splattered moccasin slippers. A “waffle robe”; that sounds right up Jose’s alley. They’ll be flying off the shelves. This’ll pay for Mourinho’s £ 13 ma-year contract in no time.

Where else to start but here?So many questions . Can Wilfried Zaha prosper against depleted leaders Liverpool? Will Teemu Pukki prosper at Goodison Park? Is there any chance of Chelsea upsetting Manchester City? All this and more. Clickity click, be about your business. And enjoy!


Morning everyone, and welcome to the Friday football blog.The Premier League returns tomorrow after a fortnight’s hiatus. Jose Mourinho’s back, too, after 11 months away. God we’ve missed thePremier League.

Anyway, all the latest news and views to come.Plus the thunderingly underwhelming draw for the Euro 2020 qualification play-offs. That’s happening at 11 am GMT. Counting down the minutes already. OK, let’s go.

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