West Ham boss David Moyes has admitted he has been close to the sack several times this season.

The Scot has faced a number of so-called ‘must-win’ games throughout a turbulent Premier League campaign, but his side have delivered on each occasion.

The picture looks a lot brighter now, however, with West Ham safe from relegation and reaching an historic European final, their first in 47 years, in the Europa Conference League.

Should they beat Fiorentina in Prague on June 7 and lift a first trophy since the FA Cup in 1980, Moyes will have turned a disappointing campaign into one of the most successful in the club’s 128-year history.

“Seasons are long, and you never know how they are going to work out, but this could turn out to be one of West Ham’s best-ever seasons,” said Moyes.

“There’s still some work to be done in the Premier League, but finishing seventh and getting to the Europa League semi-finals last year was huge, and in some ways it’s probably taken its toll on us this season.

“But reaching a European final will make up for a lot of the other things that have happened this year.

“Sometimes, when things aren’t quite going right, you need to show a bit of resilience, and I’ve got to say there have been times this season when it was tough and there were bits that weren’t so enjoyable.

“On several occasions I could easily have lost my job, but you need good people who understand how you work and that makes life a lot easier and the board have been very supportive. In some ways, I hope this repays their faith in what they chose to do.

“I didn’t doubt myself, but I was more disappointed that I couldn’t quite get our rhythm back, but over my career I’ve managed to find ways of winning when my teams haven’t been doing so well.

“I’ve been brought back here twice before to help the club avoid relegation and on three occasions when we’ve been in this position we’ve managed to do that. I think I’m still able to find a way of winning games when it’s required.”

West Ham face Leeds on Sunday in what looks likely to be captain Declan Rice’s final home match before a summer move away.

“If he’s selected,” added Moyes. “In truth I don’t want to get into the Declan question because we’re asked about it every week. He’s still a hugely important player to us and we really hope he will be a West Ham player.

“He’s a leader and he takes a lot on, but he’s still a young boy – and he’s a young player who’s already been in two European semi-finals and now he’s going to a final as captain of the team.”

Frank Lampard has defended Chelsea’s decision not to allow Carney Chukwuemeka to join the England Under-20 squad for the World Cup in Argentina.

The 19-year-old is one of two players from the club to have been withheld from manager Ian Foster’s selection, with midfielder Lewis Hall also told he must stay for the remainder of the season.

Hall started as Chelsea drew with Nottingham Forest last weekend and Lampard has indicated he will play a part in his side’s remaining three matches, but Chukwuemeka has started only twice since December and has not been in the matchday squad for any of the last eight games.

Lampard said that owing to injuries the club deemed it necessary to keep the former Aston Villa player, who arrived at Stamford Bridge in a £20million deal last summer, available for the remainder of the season.

“He’s a Chelsea player and we’ve got injuries in that area,” said Lampard. “The situation with Carney is that he’s come into a club, it was a big move for him, and this season he hasn’t managed to get so many minutes. He’s settling in at a new club.

“Hopefully there’s opportunity in these three games for him and also he’s our player, and whilst we have lost players we need him to stay.

“There’s a possibility he can join up at the end of the season if the team gets through to the next stages. That might be the best of the both worlds in an ideal way.

“But he’s our player and we had to make the decision. Carney was keen to go, but at the same time what happened meant he had to stay.”

Chelsea take on the newly-crowned Premier League champions Manchester City on Sunday in what will be Pep Guardiola’s side’s first match since retaining the crown they have won in each of the previous two seasons. 

Their third straight title triumph was confirmed by Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

It is Guardiola’s fifth title since arriving in England in 2016 and his personal record could be further gilded in June if City add the FA Cup and Champions League to land the treble.

Lampard, who has lost six of his eight games in interim charge of Chelsea since being appointed in early April, was asked about the frustrations of struggling to replicate his success as a player since taking up management. 

“As a manager everyone’s situations are different,” said Lampard. “What club you work at, what is a version of success at the club that you work at.

“Knowing Pep a little bit and having watched him work for a couple of days when I’d finished playing, it’s clear that he’s got an incredible football brain and an amazing work ethic. I think if I can try and follow that in my own way, that’s the best I can do, that’s the way to do it.

“It’s not that hard, you just understand that going to Everton, trying to keep them in the league, it’s a compromise. You have to come and train and play different ways to get a result, which we did.

“When I had my first year at Chelsea and I came in and we had a young squad that were really willing to learn, to try and do the things wanted them to do, I think we got a really exciting team. 

“Everyone’s journey in management is different, because what you’re working with dictates sometimes in terms of how you might have to compromise. When you’re a player you just focus on yourself. As a manager you have to work around many more different variables.”

Barcelona's LaLiga title celebrations fell flat at Camp Nou as they suffered a 2-1 defeat to Real Sociedad on Saturday.

Xavi's side claimed the top-flight crown with a 4-2 win over Espanyol last time out, with the team celebrating on the pitch afterwards – much to the chagrin of their rivals' fans.

Yet the Blaugrana were unable to mark their first league title since 2019 with a victory on their return home, with Mikel Merino's early strike and Alexander Sorloth's breakaway finish claiming the points for La Real.

Robert Lewandowski's late header sparked hope for Barca, but their visitors clung on for a first away win at Camp Nou since May 1991, putting Imanol Alguacil's side in the box seat for Champions League football with three games remaining.

La Real caught their hosts cold on the counter inside five minutes, with Merino tucking home an early finish.

Barca seemed set to equalise when Ousmane Dembele met Lewandowski's delivery, but Alex Remiro made a fantastic save, before the Poland international dragged wide from close range.

The Blaugrana meanwhile lived a charmed life at the other end, as Ander Barrenetxea squandered two golden opportunities either side of Marc-Andre ter Stegen denying Mohamed Ali-Cho.

Sorloth subsequently headed wide from six yards out, but the Norway international made no mistake afterwards when he finished a superb counter-attack.

Lewandowski's fine header set up a grandstand finish late on but La Real held firm through five minutes of added time to move five points clear of fifth-place Villarreal with a worthy win.

Tommy Fleetwood will take inspiration from previous final-round heroics after playing his way into contention for the 105th US PGA Championship.

Fleetwood defied miserable conditions at Oak Hill to card a third round of 68 and set the early clubhouse target of one over par.

The Ryder Cup star was six shots off the lead when he signed his card, but can call on the memories of his record-equalling final round of 63 in the 2018 US Open as he bids to claim a maiden major title.

“It would be the low round of the day if somebody did do it,” Fleetwood said with a smile when asked by the PA news agency if a 63 was possible at Oak Hill.

“Who knows? Didn’t think it was on at Shinnecock but it happened there and it’s obviously something that happens very rarely.

“But I think you just have to go out and hit your shots and play well and see what score you can get. I played really, really well today in tough conditions and actually gave myself a bunch of chances on the front nine.

“You saw guys going low on the back nine yesterday. Any golf course there’s chances out there if things are going your way and you hole some putts.

“We’ll see what Sunday brings, but always nice to have good memories of being able to go low on a major Sunday in your memory bank and who knows? Start off hot and we’ll see.”

Fleetwood’s entire round was played in persistent rain but as conditions eased for the later starters, Canada’s Corey Conners led the way on five under after starting his third round with seven straight pars.

Conners led by one from Norway’s Viktor Hovland, with Justin Rose and Brooks Koepka a shot further back. Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry were another two strokes back after 12 holes.

Earlier in the day, Jordan Spieth admitted his wrist injury had cost him a number of shots after carding a third round of 71 to lie six over.

Spieth, who needs to win the US PGA to complete a career grand slam, was a doubt for the year’s second major after withdrawing from last week’s PGA Tour event due to “severe pain” in his left wrist.

“I’ve been doing a lot of recovery [on the wrist] every day since I injured it,” Spieth said.

“But on course there’s been a couple of scenarios where I bailed out of a couple shots that if it weren’t a factor I wouldn’t have, and unfortunately those shots did affect my score.

“I was hoping that wouldn’t be the case here but it’s only been a couple of times.

“My normal swings, it’s not an issue. It’s just when you’ve got to really flick under a flop shot or a bunker shot – I had that today where I just don’t have the confidence in it not making it worse, so I just bail a little bit.

“I probably cost myself a few shots on that. But coming in here I kind of figured that might be the case.

“It’s nothing major, but it’s significant enough that I would have liked to have had two or three weeks off before this event just to feel like I got prepared.”

England’s Tyrrell Hatton had defied the conditions to card an impressive 69, a round compiled alongside 2021 winner Phil Mickelson, who had made the cut for the 100th time in his major championship career.

Mickelson is the fourth player to achieve that feat after Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Tom Watson and also tied the record for the most cuts made in the US PGA, joining Nicklaus and Ray Floyd on 27.

The six-time major winner may have wished he had not made the weekend however, carding a birdie-free 75 which left him on 10 over par.

Manchester City captain Ilkay Gundogan praised a collective effort after Pep Guardiola’s side were crowned Premier League champions once again following Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest.

The Gunners needed to win to delay City’s title celebrations ahead of their home match against Chelsea on Sunday.

However, Taiwo Awoniyi’s first-half goal proved enough to give Forest victory in front of a raucous home crowd, which secured their own top-flight status once again.

Guardiola’s side will lift the Premier League trophy on Sunday for a third successive campaign, and a fifth time in six seasons, sealed with three matches to spare.

City had overhauled Arsenal’s eight-point lead as Mikel Arteta’s men faltered, winning 11 Premier League games in a row including a 4-1 victory over their rivals at the end of April.

Unbeaten in their last 23 games through all competitions, City have also reached the finals of both the FA Cup and Champions League as they remain on course for the treble.

“To have helped the club win a third straight Premier League title is something very special,” Gundogan said on the Manchester City website.

“The Premier League is without doubt the most demanding and competitive league in the world so that tells you everything about what an achievement this is.

“This squad is so talented and so special and to have been captain this season has been an enormous privilege.”

German midfielder Gundogan added: “I would also like to thank Pep, all the backroom staff and everyone who works across this football club.

“Every single day they help provide us as players with everything we need in order to try to be successful. There is no way we could have won this title without all their support.

“To have won this trophy three times in a row and five times in six years is incredible. That quality and consistency helps sum up what Manchester City stand for and ensures the club will continue to strive for success going forward.

“It has been a season I will never forget. Our amazing fans have been with us every single step of the way.

“Without their amazing backing I don’t think there is any way we would have been able to achieve what we have done these past six seasons.

“Their passion and support have been so important and inspirational for us all. Hopefully winning the Premier League title again is a fitting way for us to say thank you to our fans.”

Erling Haaland’s goals helped fire City to the title, as the Norway forward set a new Premier League record with 36 so far.

He wrote on Twitter: “Always give your best. Always believe. It pays off. C’MON CITY!”

City defender Aymeric Laporte posted: “What a season tho. Credit to absolutely everyone involved from top to bottom.

“Every one of use fought for this. More to come soon hopefully but we can already be proud of this one.”

Arsenal had been insatiable for most of the campaign, spending 248 days on top of the table before their late collapse handed City an opportunity to ruthlessly hunt them down.

City defender Kyle Walker said: “Arsenal pushed us right to the limit they’ve been fantastic, so all credit to them.

“We just went on an incredible run, they had a few hiccups and we capitalised on it and we’ve managed to end up where we have now.

“It’s the players we’ve got. We’re a bunch of lads who have achieved so much over the last number of years and we understand the standards we’ve set.

“We achieved so much over the past five or six years, but we knew the bar wasn’t high enough at the start of the season.

“When we came back after the World Cup, we had to kick on and fair play to the lads.

“We wanted to prove anyone doubting us wrong – it wasn’t good enough.

“With the lads we have in the dressing room we always believe we can do something.

“The standards of the Premier League have gone up, but this is what this club is built for, certainly that’s how it’s been for the six years I’ve been here, so fair play to everyone involved.

“You’ve got to be ready at the business end of the season because that’s what this club is all about and what we are built for.”

Olivier Giroud's hat-trick helped Milan maintain their push for Champions League qualification as they cruised to a comfortable 5-1 victory over Serie A's bottom club Sampdoria.

Giroud netted a first-half double and added a third following the break at San Siro on Saturday to keep the Rossoneri – who were licking their wounds after falling short to rivals Inter in the Champions League semi-finals – on track in their pursuit of a place in the top four.

Rafael Leao opened the scoring, though already-relegated Sampdoria restored parity through veteran forward Fabio Quagliarella.

But after Giroud's quickfire double, Brahim Diaz got in on the act before the France forward rounded off his hat-trick to cap an emphatic success.

Milan needed just nine minutes to carve open their visitors, with Leao latching onto Diaz's lob delivery outside the box before slotting a low finish past Nicola Ravaglia.

Sampdoria seized a shock equaliser against the run of play when Quagliarella drilled an Alessandro Zanoli cut-back beyond Mike Maignan, but parity was short-lived.

Giroud restored Milan's lead three minutes later when he nodded Diaz's cross in, before converting a penalty after Leao was felled by Koray Gunter.

Any comeback hopes Sampdoria may have harboured heading into the second half were extinguished in the 63rd minute, with Diaz tucking home from Sandro Tonali's square pass.

Giroud completed his hat-trick five minutes later, with the striker shrugging off Bram Nuytinck to smash home at close-range and seal the deal.

Mikel Arteta was apologetic as he reflected on a “really sad day” after Arsenal’s faint Premier League title hopes were ended by a 1-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest.

Manchester City were confirmed as champions after Taiwo Awoniyi’s first-half goal saw Forest earn the three points that secured their top-flight status.

The Gunners, who were insatiable for most of the campaign, had spent 248 days on top of the table and held an eight-point lead over City in March, but an alarming slide saw them overtaken by Pep Guardiola’s relentless juggernaut who claim a fifth title in six seasons.

No team has spent more time on top of the table and not won the league, which left Arteta crestfallen.

“Really sad day, a lot of difficult emotions, we lost the game, we lost the championship after 10 and a half months fighting for it and nine and a half months almost on top of it,” he said.

“We built a lot of illusion and belief that we could go all the way and win it and in the end we fell short. Congratulations to Man City, they are the champions, they deserve to be the champions, they have done it for 38 games, we haven’t been able to do that.

“That is it and from my side I apologise because we have built that belief that we could do it and in the end the team wasn’t able to do it and that is my responsibility.

“Today is just a lot of sadness. You see a lot of people, they put everything, they put so much work, so much belief and so much hours and I am sad, I am sad for them because we wanted to find a way and squeeze everything we had in that group.

“We fell short and this is my job and my responsibility, I have to analyse that and think.

“Today we should have played much better, we gave them a goal and gave them another chance to score another goal if they wanted and we fell short to break them down.

“You need, when you come to April and May, 24 players there and available, fit and playing at their best, full of confidence and ready to go and for many reasons we haven’t had that.

“There are key moments in the league that define, the momentum goes there, the result goes there and we didn’t have those margins going on our side.”

For Forest it was a real red letter day as they secured their survival against the odds.

For large parts of the season, which began with more than 20 new signings, they looked destined to return straight back to the Championship, not least when they were on an 11-game winless run going into the end of April.

But Awoniyi’s hot streak, with five goals in three games, helped Steve Cooper’s side lift themselves out of the bottom three and they can no longer be caught by Southampton, Leicester or Everton.

It completes an impressive job by Cooper, who repaid Forest for the faith they showed when backing him amid their poor run, and his stock continues to rise.

Asked how he felt, the Welshman said: “Just pride, a great sense of belonging at being part of something really special and important for me.

“A brilliant day for the players and an equally great day for the supporters and one we deserved. It is difficult to use the word achievement at this football club because you have to be careful but it is just amazing to be able to allow the club to move forward, that’s what we all want to do.

“Now is the time to talk about the players, the supporters and the game. It is a real sense of belonging and being part of something greater than any one person.

“This was always going to be my toughest coaching challenge, but an enjoyable one, not a negative one. We have had everything this year, both positive and negative.

“It feels great, but I am more thinking about it just allows us to progress.”

The New York Yankees have decided to cut ties with struggling outfielder Aaron Hicks.

The Yankees designated Hicks for assignment on Saturday before their game against the Cincinnati Reds.

Through 28 games this season, Hicks is slashing just .188/.263/.261 with one home run, two doubles and five RBIS.

Among the 315 major league hitters with at least 75 plate appearances, Hicks' .524 OPS ranks 299th.

It is a costly decision for the Yankees, as Hicks' contract runs through 2025 and the team will be forced to eat nearly $30million remaining on the seven-year, $70m contract he signed in 2019.

The sides agreed to that deal after Hicks enjoyed a career year in 2018, when he hit 27 homers and drove in 79.

In almost four-and-a-half seasons since then, however, the 33-year-old Hicks has managed just 31 home runs while batting .218.

In a corresponding move Saturday, the Yankees selected the contract of outfielder Greg Allen from the minors.

The 30-year-old Allen was acquired in a trade from the Boston Red Sox on Friday and is beginning his second stint with the Yankees after appearing in 15 games for them in 2021.

Erling Haaland led Manchester City to the Premier League title with a record 36 goals.

The Norwegian beat the record of 34, set in the league’s early 42-game seasons by Andy Cole and Alan Shearer, and smashed Mohamed Salah’s 38-game record of 32.

With up to three league games remaining for Haaland, the PA news agency looks at his record in his debut season in England.

Hot-shot Haaland

From the moment Haaland announced himself with a brace against West Ham on his Premier League debut, he has proved a relentless threat to opposing defences.

He scored a record nine in his first five games, with hat-tricks against Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest, and equalled Micky Quinn’s six-game record to reach double figures.

Further trebles against Manchester United and Wolves made it four for the season, one off Shearer’s record of five in 1995-96, with Haaland adding five doubles for good measure.

In all, he has scored in 23 of his 33 league appearances and against 16 different opponents.

He failed to score in his one league appearance against Liverpool, or in their Community Shield clash, but did score in the Carabao Cup fourth-round tie. Brentford and Chelsea are the other names missing from the list, with return fixtures against those two clubs still to come.

Golden Boot winners

Haaland began hauling in previous Golden Boot-winning tallies as early as November 5 after 18 goals in his first 12 games.

The 23-goal mark that has won the last three awards lasted only until January’s hat-trick against Wolves, which accounted for nine previous Golden Boot seasons in all, while he matched Salah in 28 appearances and Shearer and Cole in 30 on his way to inevitably adding a first Norwegian name to the roll of honour.

18 goals – Michael Owen, Dion Dublin and Chris Sutton 1997-98; Owen, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Dwight Yorke 1998-99
Appearances: 12
v Fulham (H), November 5

19 – Nicolas Anelka 2008-09
Appearances: 14
v Leeds (A), December 28

20 – Didier Drogba 2006-07; Dimitar Berbatov and Carlos Tevez 2010-11
Appearances: 14
v Leeds (A), December 28

22 – Teddy Sheringham 1992-93; Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 2018-19
Appearances: 18
v Tottenham (H), January 19

23 – Hasselbaink 2000-01; Jamie Vardy 2019-20; Harry Kane 2020-21; Salah and Son Heung-min 2021-22
Appearances: 19
v Wolves (H), January 22

24 – Thierry Henry 2001-02
Appearances: 19
v Wolves (H), January 22

25 – Alan Shearer 1996-97; Ruud van Nistelrooy 2002-03; Henry 2004-05; Kane 2015-16
Appearances: 19
v Wolves (H), January 22

26 – Robin van Persie 2012-13; Sergio Aguero 2014-15
Appearances: 22
v Arsenal (A), February 15

27 – Henry 2005-06
Appearances: 24
v Bournemouth (A), February 25

29 – Drogba 2009-10; Kane 2016-17
Appearances: 27
v Southampton (A), April 8

30 – Kevin Phillips 1999-2000; Henry 2003-04; Van Persie 2011-12
Appearances: 27
v Southampton (A), April 8

31 – Shearer 1995-96; Cristiano Ronaldo 2007-08; Luis Suarez 2013-14
Appearances: 28
v Leicester (H), April 15

32 – Salah 2017-18
Appearances: 28
v Leicester (H), April 15

34 – Andy Cole 1993-94; Shearer 1994-95
Appearances: 30
v Fulham (A), April 30

Manchester City sowed the seeds for their latest title success before they had even completed their 2022 triumph.

In May last year, as the team fought hard on the field to hold off the challenge of Liverpool, off it the top brass agreed a deal with Borussia Dortmund to sign Erling Haaland.

It was a bold statement by a club used to making bold statements.

The prolific Norwegian striker joined them in the summer and, almost instantly, an already formidable team became a seemingly unstoppable force.

Obviously it was not quite so straightforward, but after City’s powerful spring charge – when they reeled in and then flew past Arsenal without even a hint of feeling pressure – few could argue they are now one of the greatest teams to have graced the Premier League.

Haaland has been at the heart of it, scoring a barely believable and record-breaking 36 league goals so far in the process.

He not only surpassed the greats of the past, but left them trailing in his wake.

He overtook the previous record mark of 34 – set by Andy Cole and Alan Shearer in 42-game seasons in the mid-1990s – with five matches to spare.

He helped himself to four hat-tricks and formed a potent combination with the team’s chief playmaker, Kevin De Bruyne.

Rarely has a player made as big an impact as Haaland has and, given how City have adapted and improved around him as the season has gone on, there would seem to be plenty more to come.

Yet while Haaland may have been a hugely significant factor in City’s fifth title in six seasons, it would be unfair to give him all the credit.

De Bruyne has enjoyed another highly influential campaign, laying on 16 assists and scoring seven goals himself. Jack Grealish, now looking far more comfortable with his £100million tag, has also been a driving force while Rodri has developed into one of the strongest midfielders in the game and John Stones has excelled in a hybrid defence-midfield role.

Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan, Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden and Nathan Ake have also made big contributions at different times.

The key once again, however, has been the man in charge, Pep Guardiola. The inspirational Catalan has produced another masterclass of management, underlining his pre-eminence in the game and strengthening his position among the greats.

After two successive title wins with false nines or makeshift centre-forwards, Haaland’s arrival signalled a change of approach from the former Barcelona boss.

Initially there were doubts, with fears Haaland’s presence might disrupt City’s natural flow. Indeed, early on, it did seem his goals were masking some disjointed and indifferent performances.

Form either side of the World Cup break was patchy and underwhelming and allowed Arsenal to take early control of the race.

Yet Guardiola worked through the inconsistencies and ironed out the problems, with excellent man-management, tactical nous and his ferocious winning mentality. There were some well-timed criticisms, surprise selection calls and eyebrow-raising departures – Raheem Sterling, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Gabriel Jesus and Joao Cancelo – all of which have been vindicated as City came good when it really mattered.

Arsenal obviously let a strong position slip but, in a disrupted season, when City had more players at the World Cup than any other club, Guardiola paced the challenge perfectly. To have maintained intensity while also competing in two other competitions makes it all the more remarkable.

City still have to win two more finals to complete a glorious treble, but their Premier League success alone is a phenomenal achievement.

Tom Lawes’ career-best five for 22 included the wickets of England pair Zak Crawley and Sam Billings to propel LV= County Championship leaders Surrey to a 10-wicket thrashing of Kent.

Crawley fell for 34 having added just three to his overnight score before edging into the cordon, departing after Billings nicked off as the Kent captain bagged a pair at the Kia Oval.

Kent had slipped from 78 for one to 80 for four the previous evening and the writing was on the wall early on the third day as they were all out for a paltry 141 to leave Surrey needing just 58 to win.

Captain Rory Burns’ run-a-ball 36 helped them to their target in just 11.3 overs for their fourth win in six Division One matches this season – achieved with five sessions to spare.

Hampshire claimed their third win of the campaign as Liam Dawson’s six for 61 wrapped up an innings-and-135-run triumph over Northamptonshire at the Ageas Bowl.

Resuming on 50 for two in their follow-on and still needing 261 just to make their opponents bat again, Northamptonshire crumbled to a third successive innings defeat against bogey side Hampshire.

Saif Zaib, the only batter to reach double figures in Northamptonshire’s first innings of 56, registered an unbeaten 57 on Saturday as his side slid to 176 all out second time around.

Craig Overton recorded his best figures this summer to propel Somerset to their first championship win of 2023 as they crushed Middlesex by an innings and 12 runs at Lord’s.

Overton finished with five for 46, supported by fellow seamer Peter Siddle’s effort of three for 57, to dismiss the home side for 216 in their follow-on, with more than four sessions to spare.

Mark Stoneman, who occupied the crease for almost three hours in compiling 60, was the only man to register a fifty for a Middlesex side who have managed to post in excess of 250 only once this season.

Sir Alastair Cook is 13 runs away from a maiden century at Trent Bridge, where Essex nudged ahead of Nottinghamshire thanks to unbeaten half-centuries from the former England captain and Tom Westley.

Cook is 87 not out with Essex captain Tom Westley unbeaten on 70 as Essex closed on 199 for one for a 55-run lead over Nottinghamshire, who were earlier all out for 442, with Matthew Montgomery the penultimate batter to fall for a terrific 177.

In Division Two, England and Sussex will be nervously awaiting the results of a scan on Ollie Robinson’s left ankle, which restricted the seamer to just an eight-over burst against Glamorgan at Hove.

In his absence, Marnus Labuschagne, in his final innings for Glamorgan this summer, hit 138 ahead of linking up with Australia for the World Test Championship final and the Ashes.

Kiran Carlson’s 187 not out ushered Glamorgan to 499 for five and a lead of 141 at stumps.

Adam Hose and Gareth Roderick played major roles in Worcestershire achieving a three-wicket win over Leicestershire at New Road.

The odds were in the Foxes’ favour after Worcestershire lost two wickets for two runs on Friday evening on a pitch of variable bounce after being asked to chase 271 – the highest score of the game.

But Hose struck a fluent 84 and Roderick dug in for more than five hours to make an equally crucial 59 before Brett D’Oliveira, who battled away for 137 deliveries to score an unbeaten 41, and Adam Finch saw Worcestershire home.

England seamer Matthew Potts took two for 28 as Gloucestershire closed on 181 for six after being set 426 by Durham at Bristol.

Leo Cullen spoke of Leinster’s “devastation” as they were beaten 27-26 by La Rochelle in Saturday’s Champions Cup final at the Aviva Stadium.

The Irish province led 23-7 on the half hour mark after making a sensational start but they were unable to sustain the pace and the holders took charge after the interval to repeat the outcome of last season’s final.

Replacement prop Georges Henri Colombe scored the match-winning try in the 72nd minute to leave Leinster distraught in front of a home crowd in Dublin, mourning their third successive loss in a European final.

“Devastation is probably the word,” Cullen told BT Sport.

“The occasion, the amazing atmosphere in the crowd, both sets of supporters and two sets of players going full at it – everything you want in a final which goes down to one point. Unfortunately we’re the losers.

“We started the game really well. We could have been further in front. I thought we gave up a couple of softish tries. In the second-half although we had the lead we struggled to get out of that end of the field.

“La Rochelle got over in the end and you’ve got give them a huge amount of credit. Bitterly disappointing.

“It was two really good teams going at it and it was always going to go down to little moments.

“We were so close and at the end we just lacked a little bit of composure. It’s an agonising defeat. All the players were here in front of their friends and family, so it’s hard one.

“It’s painful when you reach this point and you know it means so much to everybody. We just haven’t quite been good enough to finish the job.”

La Rochelle head coach Ronan O’Gara revealed that during his half-time talk he reminded his players of Leinster’s recent record in Champions Cup finals, including last season when the rivals clashed in Marseille.

“It’s fantastic. It’s an incredibly special day at Lansdowne Road, a very special ground. It was a very difficult task that got even more difficult at 17-0!” O’Gara said.

“There was a bit of me going at half-time ‘is my speech going to be about playing for pride or do we have a chance’? 23-14 felt like a great half-time result for us.

“One of the staff reminded me we were minus eight in Marseille and today we were minus nine, so we built a little story about that to get the boys pumping.

“We had the internal energy and we had a great grip on the second-half. We won the hard way which is very, very pleasing.

“Unfortunately for the opponents, they haven’t got over the line in a long, long time, so that was always going to play.

“Of course it is (a psychological thing for Leinster) but it’s not respectful for me to go there. I was a coach grasping at straws trying to give his team hope at half-time, you have to tap into that.”

Manchester City have won the Premier League for a third successive year and a fifth time in six seasons.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the key players in their latest triumph.

Erling Haaland

The Norwegian has been an absolute sensation, scoring a record – and scarcely believable – 36 goals in City’s successful campaign. People doubted whether he would be able to maintain the phenomenal scoring rate of his early career once he arrived in the Premier League following his £51million move from Borussia Dortmund but he quickly dispelled their reservations. He formed a potent partnership with Kevin De Bruyne and bagged four hat-tricks along the way. City had to adjust their playing style to accommodate him, and this was seen as a factor in their early to mid-season inconsistency, but things had truly clicked by the run-in as City reeled in, then stormed past, Arsenal.

Kevin De Bruyne

It may not have been a vintage De Bruyne season, and some of Guardiola’s comments about him at times suggested the manager was not entirely satisfied with the Belgian, but he still produced another highly effective campaign. He truly got going and delivered when it really mattered as City entered the run-in, with his statistics again impressive. He contributed 16 assists, and while that figure is also testament to the brilliance of Haaland’s finishing, it is five more than anyone else in the competition. He also weighed in with seven goals.

Jack Grealish

It has taken time for Grealish to live up to his £100million billing but his second season at the club has been a considerable improvement on his first. There were some impressive performances in the early part of the campaign and since the World Cup he has reached that level on a consistent basis. He now seems more confident on the ball and has been harder for defenders to knock off it, while also showing a greater ability to pick out his team-mates. His progress has been good and City will hope there is more to come.

John Stones

The second half of the season saw Stones successfully combine all facets of his game. The England centre-back’s defending has improved considerably in recent years and, now comfortable in that role, he is confident enough to step into midfield when City are in possession. With his ball-playing ability, this defence-midfield hybrid role has added an extra dimension to the team’s play.

Rodri

The Spaniard’s influence in the City midfield has grown steadily since his arrival in 2019 and this season has seen him come of age. Physically strong and highly energetic, Rodri has been City’s driving force. He reads the game superbly, breaks up opposition attacks and powers forward. His passing ability and vision have been excellent with the likes of Haaland, De Bruyne and Grealish all benefiting enormously.

Manchester City are celebrating their third successive Premier League title and a fifth in six seasons.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the key games in their successful campaign.

October 2, Man City 6 Man Utd 3

City did not really hit their stride or find consistency until the spring but there were still some awesome demonstrations of their firepower – and particularly that of Erling Haaland – in the opening months. Their thrashing of arch-rivals United was especially sweet. Haaland helped himself to a hat-trick, his third treble in successive home games and one of six he notched in a record-breaking campaign, while Phil Foden also hit three in an emphatic display.

January 19, Man City 4 Tottenham 2

Pep Guardiola let his anger at his side be known after they rallied from 2-0 down at half-time to beat Spurs with goals from Julian Alvarez, Haaland and Riyad Mahrez (two). After defeats in the previous two games, the City boss felt the first-half showing was another indicator his players – who he labelled ‘happy flowers’ – were not fully focused. It did not mark a turning point in terms of results, as City were beaten at Spurs a few weeks later, but perhaps in attitude.

February 15, Arsenal 1 Man City 3

Fixture disruption in the autumn meant the two leading title contenders were kept apart until February and it was City who landed the first blow when they eventually met. Kevin De Bruyne’s opener was cancelled out by a Bukayo Saka penalty but City upped the tempo in the second half to win comfortably with goals from Jack Grealish and Haaland. The win took City above the Gunners to the top, albeit only on goal difference and having played a game more at that stage, but it was psychologically important and key in the final reckoning.

April 1, Man City 4 Liverpool 1

Despite the win over Arsenal, City had still not hit their fluid best and there remained doubts about their consistency. They started to show they really meant business when they put Liverpool, their chief title rivals in recent years, to the sword at the Etihad Stadium. Mohamed Salah put the Reds ahead with a thumping finish but City’s response, without injured top-scorer Haaland, was determined and impressive. Alvarez, De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan and Grealish all scored in a convincing win.

April 26, Man City 4 Arsenal 1

City outclassed the Gunners to take firm command of the title race. Just weeks earlier, Arsenal had been in control of their destiny but their advantage was eroded by three successive draws prior to their trip to the Etihad. It was clear the momentum was with City and they emphasised that with a dominant display in which Haaland and De Bruyne ran riot. De Bruyne scored two, both from Haaland passes, and the Norwegian inevitably got on the scoresheet himself. John Stones scored their other goal in an unexpectedly one-sided clash. Arsenal remained two points clear but, with two games in hand, City held the upper hand and did not relinquish it.

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