Tottenham coach Nuno Espirito Santo insists he has the backing of his players despite mounting scrutiny over their recent form.

Spurs made an excellent start to life under their new head coach, winning four of their first five games in all competitions while conceding just one goal.

Their recent form has taken a dramatic turn for the worse, however. Consecutive 3-0 Premier League defeats to Crystal Palace and Chelsea came as they also drew 2-2 with Rennes and Wolves in the Europa Conference League and EFL Cup.

Last weekend, Tottenham suffered a humbling 3-1 loss to north London rivals Arsenal, a result made all the more eye-catching given it came just under a month after top-flight history was made when Spurs ended the day top of the table while the Gunners were at the bottom.

Such has been the reversal of their fortunes – only Everton in 1993-94 have ever won their opening three Premier League games of a season only to lose the next three – that doubts are already being cast over Nuno's future.

However, the former Wolves boss says the players believe in his methods and that criticism does not concern him.

Speaking ahead of Thursday's game against Mura, he said: "Yeah, [they] totally believe. There are no doubts about that because we work together every day, we prepare together and these moments we need to stick together and the belief is the first step to do things, and we have it.

 

"You have to realise sometimes it's not possible. Sometimes opponents are better than you, and you have to be humble to give credit, and sometimes you don't perform. Sometimes the plan is no good. The belief in all of us is here.

"I'm not worried about the judgements. What I'm worried about is how we can play better. The judgement and the criticism and the opinion and all of that is all part of it. And we have to deal with that.

"That doesn't interfere with the way we work, it can only distract us. I'm very simple, telling you: my focus is how can we improve, how can we improve. In terms of the fans, now is not the moment to ask them. Of course, we need their support, because the players and the team need the support of the fans. But it's not the moment to ask them, it's the moment to deliver.

"We don't panic because we know that this is football. It's how you react to the bad moments. It's something that you cannot avoid. Every team goes through a moment like this. History shows that. Sticking together is the only way to do it."

Nuno believes Spurs' three consecutive wins at the start of the season disguised the fact he is still getting used to working with his squad.

"Since day one, we are knowing each other better, we are realising our strengths and weaknesses, so we can improve. The moment that we were winning was only disguising to the outside," he said.

"Inside, we knew we still had things to improve. Now it's obvious that we have things to improve. In terms of what I'm seeing, I'm seeing players that want to achieve, that work hard to achieve it, but we are not able to be consistent to do it.

"We are still having problems when we concede a goal. We lose our focus. We lose our solidity and how compact we are and that we must avoid. So, a lot of analysis is going on. A lot, but with the tools and the belief that we have a talented team with quality players to get out of this situation and play much better football."

Leonardo Bonucci has continued to rub salt into the wounds of England after Italy's success in the Euro 2020 final, saying Declan Rice played a part in motivating the tournament winners.

West Ham midfielder Rice said ahead of the final in July that England would be 10 times more ready than their opponents for the Wembley showpiece.

Those words, and the repetitive playing of England's Three Lions song after the country's semi-final win over Denmark, fuelled Bonucci and his team-mates, who ultimately won the competition on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

"We didn't pay much attention to it [the Three Lions song] until the Spain game," Bonucci, who ridiculed England's 'It's Coming Home' catchphrase on the pitch after Italy's win, said in an interview with The Athletic.

"Then the anger inside of us began to mount. We wanted to show them that the final hadn't already been decided. That they hadn't already won. 

"Hearing that song on repeat and the comment from Declan Rice saying England were 10 times more motivated to win than us – well, they're the kind of mistakes young players make. 

"You don't say that. You should never say you want something more than somebody else, or you're better than somebody else.

"You should always put yourself on the same level as your opponent, keep a low profile and strike at the right moment. That's what we did."

 

Italy also won their semi-final against Spain on penalties, and Bonucci felt Roberto Mancini's men had the right mix of confidence and humility.

The Juventus defender added: "We never said we were going to win, just that we were an inch away from going all the way and getting the right result.

"We were never presumptuous about it. We stayed humble and that's what made the difference.

"We had a great team, a great coach and a great staff behind us. To give our country and ourselves that kind of joy was something truly special."

Manny Pacquiao will go down as one of the greatest fighters of all time and newly crowned world heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk possesses a similar skillset, says Joseph Parker.

Pacquiao's decorated boxing career has come to an end, with the sport's only eight-division world champion announcing his retirement.

His decision came under a month after his unanimous points loss to Yordenis Ugas for the WBA super welterweight title.

The 42-year-old had made his boxing return against Ugas for the first time since July 2019, but the Filipino's comeback did not go according to plan in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao, who has declared his candidacy in the 2022 Philippine presidential election, retires with a record of 62 wins (39 knockouts), eight losses and two draws.

Heavyweight contender Parker, who was speaking prior to the formal announcement from Pacquiao, suggested he did not want to see one of the best boxers in history fight on. 

He also thinks Usyk, who has just been crowned WBA, WBO and IBF champion after defeating Anthony Joshua, possesses some of the same traits.

"I feel like he's going to go down as one of the best of all time," New Zealander Parker said to Stats Perform.

"It is quite hard to see someone like Pacquiao to continue to fight when he had this great legacy and great career. 

"And now he can still beat a lot of guys but it is hard to see someone who is not in his prime. They keep fighting and let these guys get the better of them."

Describing what makes Pacquiao special, Parker added: "I feel like he is similar to [Usyk]; his movement, his footwork; he's very quick on his feet and also the volume of punches that he throws. 

"He throws a lot of punches and combinations. 

"And I feel like it's really hard to fight someone like Pacquiao when he's trying throwing all these punches and the movement that he presents.

"His legacy? The eight-time division champion - just the achievement of that and a lot of a lot of young fighters look up to him. 

"You have to say that he's going to go down in history and he's going to always be talked about, as an eight-time division world champion. 

"And he can give a lot back to the sport by teaching the [young] fighters, signing other fighters and just being involved as a manager or promoter, as he knows the game and set up.

"My favourite Pacquiao fight? I really like the fight against Ricky Hatton. Just the timing and precision of when he landed the big shot to finish the fight. 

"Hatton is a beast himself and has had a great career, but when you’re in the ring with Manny Pacquiao it’s a different story."

Arsenal have revealed midfielder Granit Xhaka has been ruled out for around three months after sustaining knee ligament damage against Tottenham last weekend.

The Switzerland international returned to Arsenal's starting line-up for the north London derby after serving a three-match ban but was forced off in the 82nd minute.

Xhaka was accidentally caught by Lucas Moura in the Gunners' 3-1 win at Emirates Stadium after the Brazil international had initially been challenged by Thomas Partey.

Speaking after Sunday's victory, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta admitted he was "pretty worried" about a potential injury lay-off for the 29-year-old.

Arsenal have now confirmed that, while Xhaka does not require surgery, the injury is serious enough to potentially keep him out of action for the rest of 2021.

"Further to injuring his right knee during Sunday's match against Tottenham, assessments and scans have confirmed Granit Xhaka suffered a significant injury to his medial knee ligament," a club statement read on Wednesday.

"A specialist consultation took place in London on Tuesday evening, which has determined that Granit does not require surgery. 

"Granit's recovery and rehabilitation programme will start immediately, and we are aiming for him to be back in action in approximately three months.

"Everyone at the club will now be supporting and working hard with Granit to get him back on the pitch as soon as possible."

Xhaka will therefore miss November's meetings with Liverpool and Manchester United and may be doubtful to face Manchester City on New Year's Day. Arsenal visit Spurs two weeks later.

He will also play no further part in Switzerland's World Cup qualifying group-stage campaign.

Despite only Bukayo Saka making more appearances (46) for Arsenal last season in all competitions, Xhaka was heavily tipped to join Roma during the most recent transfer window.

The former Borussia Monchengladbach man instead agreed a contract extension with Arsenal and started four of their opening six Premier League games this term.

Xhaka ranks second to Albert Sambi Lokonga for tackles won among Arsenal players in the Premier League in 2021-22 – seven compared to nine, having played a game fewer than his team-mate – while only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has won more duels (25) than Xhaka's 22.

It is about time Ole Gunnar Solskjaer delivered trophies for Manchester United despite the progress he has already made since taking charge of the club.

That is the view of the United manager's former treble-winning team-mate Teddy Sheringham ahead of the Red Devils' key Champions League clash with Villarreal on Wednesday.

Although they have made the latter stages of multiple competitions and finished as high as second in the Premier League, United have not won a trophy for four seasons.

An impressive transfer window that saw the Old Trafford club sign World Cup winner Raphael Varane, long-term target Jadon Sancho and returning hero Cristiano Ronaldo raised expectations for them in 2021-22.

But after a bright start, the past fortnight has seen United lose to Young Boys in their Group F opener, crash out of the EFL Cup at the hands of West Ham and suffer their first league defeat of the season to Aston Villa.

Sheringham believes Solskjaer will deliver much-needed silverware but thinks the Norwegian can have few complaints about the expectations.

Asked if it was time for Solskjaer to step up as a manager, Sheringham told Stats Perform: "Without a doubt. 

"You only have to look at the signings that Manchester United have made this season.

"Looking at Varane, Sancho and then Ronaldo becoming available, and then they got him as well – it was just unbelievable. 

"But that increases the pressure for Ole, and he knows that. He's in charge of the biggest football club in Europe, maybe even the world, and he knows he has to win things. 

"The pressure is there for them to win things, and I'm sure they will this year as it's about time.

"There's been steady progression for the club over the last two or three seasons, but it's about time they won something."

United need a positive result against Villarreal to get their campaign on track in the Champions League. 

The four previous Champions League clashes between United and Villarreal have all finished 0-0, making it the most played fixture in the history of the competition to see no goals scored.

United also suffered a painful Europa League final defeat to the Spanish side on penalties last season.

Despite being one of the biggest clubs who typically qualify for the Champions League, United have not got past the quarter-finals in Europe's elite club competition for a decade.

"It's tough," added Sheringham. "When you look at Sir Alex Ferguson and his record in the Champions League, it didn't happen overnight.

"It was again a steady progression. They got to the quarter-finals, got knocked out, got to the quarter-finals, then they got to the semi-finals, and then they won it. 

"So, if Ole can gain the experience, the players that he's got there, if they gain the experience along the way, then hopefully everybody's ready to win it. 

"Then you need to get a little bit of luck when you need it, and you come out on top."

While he hopes United will get there, Sheringham is more confident that the other English clubs could dominate the competition this season after Manchester City and Chelsea contested in an all-English final last year.

He added: "I think they [English clubs] will [dominate again].

"I expect probably three of those four English teams to get into the semi-finals – that is how dominant English teams are at the moment.

"We were talking about the chances of Manchester United and I don't really think they are one of the best teams in England at the moment. 

"You have to say that Manchester City [have a chance], Chelsea without a doubt, and Liverpool will also feature as well very high." 

Greg Rutherford is dreaming of becoming the first athlete in almost 100 years to win gold at both the Summer and Winter Games after being named in Great Britain's bobsleigh squad ahead of Beijing 2022.

The 34-year-old won gold for Britain in the long jump event on home soil at London 2012 and followed that up with a bronze in Rio four years later.

Rutherford announced his retirement from athletics in July 2018 and started training in the bobsleigh five months ago.

He has now confirmed that he made the cut for GB's five-man squad that will now attempt to qualify for the upcoming Winter Games, which takes place in February 2022.

"A massive milestone has been hit in my bobsleigh journey," Rutherford posted on Instagram. "A few weeks ago we had our trials and I managed to qualify for the British team to compete this winter!

"The team now has to qualify for the Olympic Games by placing well on the World Cup circuit (as does every team).

"This has been a huge undertaking, going from a very retired former athlete, to retraining in a new sport and qualifying for the team. A massive thank you to everyone who's helped thus far.

"We start competing in a couple of months' time with the medal dream very much alive."

Only six British athletes have ever contested at both the Summer and Winter Games, most recently former sprinter and bobsledder Allyn Condon in 2000. None of them have won medals at either event.

Rutherford told the Guardian: "There were a few doubters when I said I wanted to make the Winter Olympics in April, but I always back and believe in myself, and I am absolutely delighted to have been selected.

"I am extremely confident we can qualify for Beijing and go on to achieve something very special."

There have been just six previous examples of athletes from any country winning medals at both the Summer and Winter Games.

Eddie Eagan (in 1920 and 1932) and Gillis Grafstrom (in 1920 and both 1924 and 1928) set the benchmark for Rutherford by taking gold at both, although the latter competed in the same sport – figure skating – on each occasion.

Eagen built on his light-heavyweight boxing triumph in the four-man bobsled.

Marcus Rashford is "raring to go" as he closes on a return to action with Manchester United, according to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Rashford had surgery on a long-standing shoulder injury in July and so has not played for club or country since missing a penalty against Italy for England in the Euro 2020 final.

The striker may be back in the fold after the coming international break, though, when United visit Leicester City.

Amad Diallo has also been out with a thigh issue, which put paid to a planned loan move to Feyenoord.

"[Rashford and Amad] are still a few weeks away, so hopefully after the international break they could be available," Solskjaer told United's official website.

United have played eight games without Rashford so far this term ahead of Wednesday's meeting with Villarreal, where Aaron Wan-Bissaka will miss the first of two matches through suspension – his punishment increased due to "rough play" as he was sent off against Young Boys.

Rashford missed just four United games in the whole of last season as he scored 21 goals and assisted a further 12 in 57 appearances in all competitions.

Among outfield players in Europe's top five leagues, the England man's 4,153 minutes ranked 16th in 2020-21. Wan-Bissaka (4,707) led that list.

Going back further, across his five full seasons as a senior United star, Rashford played 253 times, behind only Manchester City's Bernardo Silva (255) in that period.

This sort of lay-off is unfamiliar to the forward, then, and he is not lacking motivation.

Solskjaer continued: "They're working hard, both of them positive, and it's been a long, long time for Marcus, of course – probably the longest he's been out, but he's needed it.

"He looks raring to go, happy, and he knows he's missed out on pre-season, but he's done loads of good conditioning work and should be ready soon."

Palmeiras coach Abel Ferreira took inspiration from Jose Mourinho's early-career Champions League success as he masterminded an away-goals win against Atletico Mineiro in the Copa Libertadores semi-finals.

The reigning South American champions returned to the Libertadores final with a 1-1 draw at Atletico on Tuesday, having played out a goalless first leg at home.

Eduardo Vargas' header had put the home side in front, but Dudu equalised 22 minutes from time to crucially extend Palmeiras' record-breaking unbeaten away run in the competition to 15 matches.

Abel never doubted that leveller was coming, revealing Palmeiras had planned simply to score once in order to advance.

The coach referred to Mourinho's 1-1 draw at Manchester United with Porto in 2004, in which the visitors netted in the 90th minute through Costinha to knock Alex Ferguson's men out 3-2 on aggregate. Porto went on to win the Champions League.

"I'm Portuguese with great pride, I'm European with great pride," Abel said.

"We have the best coaches in the world, like Mourinho; we have the best referees in the world, like Pedro Proenca; we have in Portugal the president with the most titles in the world [Pinto da Costa]; and we have one of the best players in the world, [Cristiano] Ronaldo.

"When you look at Ronaldo, you see great mental strength, an insatiable work discipline, wanting to win and wanting to do more and better, and that is the Portuguese mentality and the European mentality.

"This I will never abdicate. And that calm and that intelligence inspired me.

"I talked about the game between Manchester United and Porto in which Mourinho in the last second at Old Trafford made it 1-1 and [went through]. It was in this game that I was inspired.

"That's what I told our players: we have to come here to score a goal, and we're going to do it because we have had an impeccable Libertadores.

"What is sometimes lacking here in Brazil is rigour and discipline in work and daily dedication to sacrifice. They know what it means, that to win you pay a price to be in the final, and these players were willing to pay that price to be in the final."

Palmeiras had just 36.7 per cent of the possession but blocked seven of their opponents' 17 shots.

Veteran captain Felipe Melo contributed one of those and led by example as he made nine clearances, three tackles and three interceptions.

Palmeiras' reward was a second consecutive Libertadores final, becoming the fourth club to achieve that feat in the 21st century – after Boca Juniors in both 2000 and 2001 and 2003 and 2004, Sao Paulo in 2005 and 2006 and River Plate in 2018 and 2019.

They will face Flamengo or Barcelona in the showpiece, with their Brazilian rivals 2-0 up after the first leg.

Gianluigi Donnarumma has laughed off "nonsense" claims he is unhappy at Paris Saint-Germain and seeking a swift return to Serie A.

The 22-year-old only joined PSG in July after reaching the end of his Milan contract and failing to agree fresh terms with his boyhood club.

However, according to reports from Italy this week, Donnarumma is already eyeing up a move to Juventus in January as he is not happy about having to challenge Keylor Navas for a starting spot.

Donnarumma was given an extended break after playing a huge part in Italy's Euro 2020 success and had to wait until six games into the campaign to make his debut in a 4-0 Ligue 1 win over Clermont.

He has played a further two games since – the 2-1 league win over Lyon and 2-0 victory over Manchester City in the Champions League on Tuesday – compared to eight appearances for Navas in all competitions.

But after being given the nod to start the big game with City, Donnarumma dismissed reports he is unwilling to share goalkeeping duties with Navas 

"I laugh at it," he told Sky Sport when asked about the recent speculation. "Every time I open the phone, I read a lot of it. 

"I know my strength, I know who I am and there is no problem whatsoever. I am here, and I am happy to be here. 

"I have a club that always supports me, and I just laugh when I read all this nonsense. I'm fine, and I'm going to continue."

Donnarumma impressed on his Champions League debut for PSG by making seven saves at the Parc des Princes, as goals from Idrissa Gueye and Lionel Messi earned the hosts a deserved win.

"I dreamed of a night in the Champions League like this," Donnarumma said. "It was a great match and gives me immense joy. 

"I thank all the people who have been close to me, from my parents to my girlfriend. It hasn't been an easy time, but I have an incredible family. I knew this moment would come.

"Playing with these champions is fantastic, they help you a lot and make you grow. Congratulations to Leo as well for his first goal. He is a phenomenon – there's nothing more to say."

Mauricio Pochettino must now decide whether to stick with Donnarumma in goal for Sunday's league trip to Rennes or instead turn to Navas.

Navas has conceded eight goals in his eight appearances for PSG this campaign, compared to one goal shipped in three outings for Donnarumma, who also boasts a better save percentage (92.86 compared to 75.76).

Donnarumma's save percentage of 92.86 is the best of any player from Europe's top five leagues to have played at least three times across all competitions, with Arsenal's Aaron Ramsdale (91.67) and Chelsea's Edouard Mendy (88.89) next on the list.

Emma Raducanu has been given a wildcard entry to the Indian Wells Open in her first tournament since winning the US Open.

The 18-year-old claimed a sensational triumph at Flushing Meadows earlier this month, becoming the first qualifier to take a major title.

Raducanu defeated fellow unseeded teenager Leylah Fernandez 6-4 6-3 in the final of only her second grand slam.

The Briton did not drop a set throughout her fairytale run and climbed from 150th in the WTA rankings to now sit 22nd.

And Raducanu's remarkable display has earned her the opportunity to enjoy further stateside success at Indian Wells, having missed the cut when the entry list was first announced during the US Open.

She still has an outside chance of making the WTA Finals in Guadalajara, with appearances planned at tournaments in Russia and Romania later in October.

Raducanu's hopes of another deep run at Indian Wells have been boosted by the absence of superstar pair Naomi Osaka and Ash Barty, who have both withdrawn from the event.

Oleksandr Usyk is ready to beat Anthony Joshua for a second time following confirmation that the dethroned heavyweight champion has "activated in principle" a rematch clause.

Former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk outclassed Joshua at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday to win the IBF, WBA and WBO titles by unanimous points decision.

Joshua, who is now 24-2 after suffering a second defeat in four fights, said after his latest surprise loss he is "110 per cent" up for a rematch to win back his belts.

Speaking at a news conference in Kiev, Usyk's promoter Alexander Krassyuk confirmed the wheels are in motion for the two men to meet again, likely in early 2022.

"The rematch was specified in the contract," Krassyuk said. "It has already been activated in principle, from the side of Joshua.

"So I remember when we discussed with Oleksandr the issue of rematch, he was delighted and said, 'Wow, cool, I will beat [Anthony] twice'."

Usyk's southpaw stance and smooth footwork troubled Joshua from the outset and the unbeaten Ukrainian left his opponent on the ropes and desperate for the bell in the final round.

However, Joseph Parker – the first man to take Joshua the distance in their 2018 unification fight – has backed the Briton to come back stronger if the rematch goes ahead.

"Usyk showed everyone watching tremendous skill and footwork and movement. You just saw him outbox and outsmart AJ for the 12 rounds," Parker told Stats Perform.

"But [Joshua's] a smart man, and he's got a smart team. He's faced a loss and adversity, and he's come back with a better game plan. That's what he's going to need to do. 

"I think I saw an interview saying he's already watched the fight straight after it happened, and he just needs to make those adjustments and how to counter someone like Usyk.

"Who wins the rematch depends on the training, it depends on who shows up on the day. But going into the rematch, Usyk would have big confidence. 

"It's pretty crazy how he came from the cruiserweight division, unified champion of the world, and then has three fights and he's the unified champion of the world. 

"That's the goal of a lot of heavyweights, to be champion of the world and be unified champ. It's so crazy how things happen."

Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn said he expects the rematch to take place in February or March next year, and it is "very likely to happen in the United Kingdom", as he effectively ruled out staging the high-profile bout in Ukraine.

But two-weight world champion Usyk, who is now 19-0, reiterated his desire to face Joshua in front of a packed crowd at the Olympic Stadium in his homeland.

Usyk said: "How does Hearn know that in February at the Olympic Stadium it is bad to box? Has he ever fought in February at the Olympic Stadium?"

Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden says he has never felt better heading into the new NBA season after enduring an injury-ravaged 2020-21 season.

Harden missed 23 games in the 2020-21 season due to a hamstring injury, which he aggravated during the Nets' playoffs campaign.

The 32-year-old, who had joined the Nets in January, played through pain as Brooklyn bowed out of the postseason in the Eastern Conference semifinals to eventual champions the Milwaukee Bucks.

Harden's teammate Kyrie Irving also had injury problems derail the Nets in the playoffs, leaving plenty on the shoulders Kevin Durant, the final member of 'the big three'.

"I've had two and a half months to recover, and I feel very, very good," Harden told ESPN. "I get an entire year, training camp included, with the guys."

He added: "I've tried to get my mind and my body right. That's all I've tried to focus on this summer. I've come back even better, bigger, stronger and quicker. I feel better than I probably have ever felt before.

"[I'm] just more confident knowing we have a legit chance to be the last team standing."

Harden, who won the 2018 NBA MVP award, also offered an update on his contract status with title favourites Brooklyn, having not yet extended his deal, which has a player option for $47million at the end of the coming season and expires the following year.

"Over the course of my career, I've never been a free agent before," Harden said.

"I've always been loyal, signing contract extensions and being there, being there, being there. I want to take my time with it.

"It's going to be very difficult to leave here or leave Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. I want this season to focus on winning the championship. Everything else will work itself out."

Harden played 36 times for the Nets during the 2020-21 season, averaging 24.6 points, 8.5 rebounds and 10.9 assists per game.

His 24.6 points per game for the year, including eight games with the Houston Rockets, represented his lowest average since his final season with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2011-12, when he started just twice.

However, playing alongside Durant and Irving, Harden's usage rate fell to 29.0 per cent, having been as high as 40.5 per cent in 2018-19.

The St Louis Cardinals extended their remarkable streak to 17 consecutive victories and clinched the second National League Wild Card spot with a 6-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday.

The triumph seals a postseason spot for the Cardinals for the third consecutive year after a franchise-record run.

The Cardinals become the third team in the expansion era to win 17 straight within a season, behind only the 2017 Cleveland Indians (22) and the 2002 Oakland Athletics (20).

St Louis were forced to come back from a multi-run deficit for the sixth time during their streak after Luis Urias' two-run blast in the fourth inning.

The Cards responded immediately, with Adam Wainwright's bunt helping Harrison Bader tag to level it up.

Avisail Garcia's error from Tyler O'Neill's base hit allowed Paul Goldschmidt home, before home runs from Jose Rondon and Nolan Arenado sealed the win and another postseason berth.

Morton fires Braves past Phillies

Charlie Morton had 10 strikeouts as the Atlanta Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 to edge a step closer to the clinching a fourth consecutive NL East title.

The result means the Braves (84-72) are 3.5 games ahead of the Phillies (81-76).

In the battle for the NL West title, the San Francisco Giants (103-54) produced a four-run sixth-inning rally to win 6-4 over the Arizona Diamondbacks, while the Los Angeles Dodgers (101-56) survived a late scare to win 2-1 against the San Diego Padres.

The Seattle Mariners kept alive their hopes of reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2001 with a 4-2 win over the Oakland Athletics, with Mitch Haniger hitting his 100th career homer.

The Houston Astros stayed 4.5 games ahead of the Mariners with a 4-3 walk-off win over the Tampa Bay Rays, where J.T. Chargois walked the last two runs.

Salvador Perez claimed the outright lead for home runs in the majors with his 47th for the season in the Kansas City Royals' 6-4 over the Cleveland Indians.

Wind out of Red Sox's sails

The Boston Red Sox fluffed a 2-0 lead in a must-win game in the AL Wild Card race, going down 4-2 to the lowly Baltimore Orioles. Chris Sale had six strikeouts and none earned through five innings before the Orioles flipped the game on its head, leaving the Red Sox unstable at 88-69, marginally ahead of the Mariners (88-70) and the Toronto Blue Jays (87-70).

Stanton's hot streak continues

Giancarlo Stanton crushed an improbable 421-foot three-run home run as the New York Yankees secured a critical 7-2 win over the Blue Jays in the AL Wild Card hunt. In-form Stanton now has 13 RBI in his past four games, with his seventh-inning homer opening up a four-run lead for the Yankees in a crucial game. Stanton has also homered in four straight games.

Tuesday's results

New York Mets 5-2 Miami Marlins
Pittsburgh Pirates 8-6 Chicago Cubs
Baltimore Orioles 4-2 Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees 7-2 Toronto Blue Jays
Atlanta Braves 2-1 Philadelphia Phillies
New York Mets 2-1 Miami Marlins
Minnesota Twins 3-2 Detroit Tigers
St Louis Cardinals 6-2 Milwaukee Brewers
Texas Rangers 5-2 Los Angeles Angels
Kansas City Royals 6-4 Cleveland Indians
Houston Astros 4-3 Tampa Bay Rays
Chicago White Sox 7-1 Cincinnati Reds
Colorado Rockies 3-1 Washington Nationals
San Francisco Giants 6-4 Arizona Diamondbacks
Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1 San Diego Padres
Seattle Mariners 4-2 Oakland Athletics

Phillies at Braves

The Phillies get another chance to keep alive the race to win the NL East division when they face the Braves in the second game of their three-game series on Wednesday.

Manchester United need points to get their Champions League campaign going, and doing so by getting revenge for their Europa League final shoot-out loss to Villarreal would be a moment to enjoy for the Old Trafford fans.

When it comes to established elite needing results, United are not alone. Barcelona head to Benfica looking to banish thoughts of that humbling home loss to Bayern Munich on matchday one, while Massimiliano Allegri could use a strong performance against strong opposition when Chelsea visit Juventus.

Bayern themselves host Dynamo Kiev, as Mircea Lucescu looks to fare a little better than the last time he took a team to the Allianz Arena.

Read on for more as Stats Perform looks at the key Opta facts ahead of Wednesday's Champions League action.

 

Benfica v Barcelona: Can Memphis Depay breathe life back into Catalans?

Barcelona's 3-0 loss to Bayern Munich on matchday one was the first time in at least 186 Champions League matches in which they did not attempt a single shot on target.

Memphis Depay did not manage a shot of any kind, something he had never before experienced when starting a game in this competition. However, with two goals in his previous two games against Benfica, he could be the man to get Barca firing in Lisbon.

Benfica have not beaten Barcelona since the European Cup final in 1961, but if they do manage to pile more pressure on Ronald Koeman with a victory, it will mark the first time the Blaugrana have lost their opening two games of the season in Europe since 1972-73, when they lost twice to Porto.

Bayern Munich v Dynamo Kiev: More unhappy memories beckon for Lucescu

The Allianz Arena was the scene of Lucescu's heaviest Champions League defeat: his Shakhtar Donetsk side lost 7-0 to Bayern Munich in March 2015.

Having failed to score in seven of their previous 11 games in this competition, it is hard to expect Dynamo to stop Bayern from claiming what would be a 33rd home win out of their most recent 35 in the group stages.

In fact, across the past three seasons, Bayern have won the most games (20) and scored the most goals (73) of any team in the tournament. In 14 of their 22 games in that time, they have netted at least three goals.

 

Juventus v Chelsea: Bianconeri out to keep up king-slayer tradition

Juventus have won seven matches against the holders in this competition's history, a figure only Real Madrid can beat (11 wins). They also beat Chelsea 3-0 in their previous meeting back in the 2012-13 group stage.

Still, Chelsea have only lost three of their past 32 group games and none of their most recent 12. Thomas Tuchel's 68 per cent win ratio is bettered by only two men among managers to take charge of 20 or more group games: Pep Guardiola (71 per cent) and Jupp Heynckes (73 per cent).

The last time Juve hosted an English team in the Champions League, Jose Mourinho's Manchester United snatched a 2-1 win in November 2018. Massimiliano Allegri's side have never lost consecutive home games to English opponents.

 

Manchester United v Villarreal: Goals at last in Europa League final repeat?

All five previous European meetings between Manchester United and Villarreal have ended in draws. The first four did not even see a goal scored – it's the most played Champions League match never to see a goal – while the Europa League final last season finished 1-1, with the LaLiga side winning 11-10 on penalties.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the only manager to take charge of 10 or more Champions League matches at an English club and lose more than half of them (he's lost seven out of 11). Should they suffer defeat at Old Trafford, it will mark the first time in history they have ever lost their first two European games of a season.

If he plays, Cristiano Ronaldo will break Iker Casillas' record of 177 Champions League appearances. However, he has failed to score in four games against Villarreal in the competition – only against Lille and Benfica has he played as many times without finding the net.

Other fixtures:

Atalanta v Young Boys

30 – Atalanta's 30 Champions League goals have all been scored by non-Italians. They have netted more goals without any coming from a player of the nationality of the club he's representing in Champions League history. Young Boys have scored six times in the competition, but none has come from a Swiss player.

17 – David Wagner's side had 17 more shots than Manchester United in their opening-round win (19 vs 2). The last time a coach saw his team have that many more attempts than their opponents in his first game in charge was when Hansi Flick's Bayern Munich had 27 shots to Olympiacos' three in November 2019.

Zenit v Malmo

1 – Zenit have only taken one point from their previous eight group-stage matches and have lost four of their past seven home games in European competition.

8 – No team faced more shots on target than Malmo on matchday one of this campaign (eight against Juventus), while their xG against total of 3.5 was the most of any team in the opening round.

Salzburg v Lille

40 – This will be Lille's 40th Champions League match. They only won six of their first 39 - only Dinamo Zagreb (five) and FCSB (four) have ever won fewer than eight of their first 40 games in the competition.

35 – Although 10 of Salzburg's starting XI against Sevilla last time out were aged 24 or younger, they also included 35-year-old Andreas Ulmer, who was two years and 158 days older than his coach, Matthias Jaissle. It's the first time a player has been over two years older than their manager in a Champions League match since Naldo for Schalke in December 2018 under Domenico Tedesco (three years and two days older).

Wolfsburg v Sevilla

3.7 – Wolfsburg's previous six games against Spanish opponents in European competition have seen a total of 22 goals scored (11 for, 11 against), at an average of 3.7 per game.

7 – Sevilla are unbeaten in their past seven away games in this competition (W3 D4), their longest ever unbeaten run away from home in the European Cup/Champions League. They last suffered defeat on the road in October 2017, losing 5-1 away to Spartak Moscow.

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