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Mason Greenwood & Bukayo Saka: Who are the teenagers scoring for Man Utd & Arsenal?

Bukayo Saka and Mason Greenwood both scored their first senior goals on Thursday

It was a night when “dreams came true” for two emerging English talents.

Manchester United and Arsenal struggled for large parts of their respective Europa League openers, but by the end two teenagers announced themselves on the senior stage.

First, 18-year-old academy graduate Bukayo Saka scored his first senior goal, and set-up Arsenal’s other two, to help the Gunners beat Eintracht Frankfurt.

Then, 17-year-old Mason Greenwood, who has come through the United youth ranks, rescued Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side from a frustrating draw against Astana with his first goal for the club.

So who are they? What records have they broken and what are people saying about their futures?

‘Greenwood will be a United starter for years to come’

Mason Greenwood made his Manchester United debut in the Champions League against PSG last season

Manchester United are keen to tie Greenwood down to a new contract.

Greenwood signed a professional contract last year but celebrates his 18th birthday on 1 October and United are hopeful of being able to mark the occasion with a lucrative new deal.

“We are always in talks with the boys about how we see the future. Mason is one we want to keep with us,” said Solskjaer.

There are few better places for a Manchester United academy graduate to score their first goal than in front of the Stretford End.

United had been kept out by Kazakh side Astana for 73 minutes on Thursday before Greenwood cleverly cut on to his right foot and finished through the goalkeeper’s legs.

In doing so, the striker became United’s youngest scorer in Europe and the first player born in the 2000s to score for the club.

Greenwood made his United debut in last season’s Champions League last-16 tie against Paris St-Germain, featured heavily in pre-season and came off the bench in the Reds’ first four Premier League games this season.

Last season, he scored 26 goals in 30 games across United’s youth, reserve and senior teams and made his England Under-21 debut earlier this month.

Solskjaer has said Greenwood’s progress reminds him of United legend Ryan Giggs while his fellow United striker Marcus Rashford says his natural abilities are “frightening”.

After Greenwood’s match-winning performance against Astana, former Manchester United and England striker Michael Owen told BT Sport: “I really like Mason Greenwood and not just because of tonight.

“I’ve seen him many times in the youth team and he is a proper, proper player. He could be a Man Utd starter for years to come. I think he will be.”

‘He looked better than Pepe’

Bukayo Saka (right) was one of three Arsenal academy products in the starting line-up, along with Joe Willock and Emile Smith Rowe

Saka was making just his fifth senior start as part of an inexperienced Arsenal forward line, alongside fellow academy graduates Emile Smith Rowe, Joe Willock and striker Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, but was the Gunners’ most impressive player in a tough game in Germany.

The winger set up Willock for the Arsenal’s opening goal, smashed in the second in the 85th minute, and teed up Aubameyang two minutes later.

He was a threat throughout with his pace and trickery on the left flank and the teenager’s goal made him Arsenal’s youngest scorer in Europe since Aaron Ramsey in October 2008.

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown said Saka looked more impressive than the Gunners’ record signing Nicholas Pepe who joined this summer for £72m.

“They toiled away trying to get young players in and they have found one in Saka,” Keown said on BT Sport.

“You think of the way Pepe is playing at the moment and they paid £72m for him, and this kid looks better than him tonight.”

Saka, born in London in 2001, was given his senior debut in last season’s Europa League and scored five times and made eight assists in 20 games for the reserve side last season.

He has made eight appearances for England’s Under-19s and has scored three times and set up another two.

‘A dream come true’ – what they said

Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka: “I’m so happy to score for Arsenal, it’s a dream come true – I have been dreaming of this moment since I was a kid.

“I just want to keep working hard to make sure I can feel this feeling again.”

Shades of Van Persie – what you said on #bbcfootball

Richard Berry: The way Greenwood moves reminds me a lot of Van Persie.

Stuart Mitchell: Greenwood is the best striker to come through the united academy in years, he will have a better goal scoring career than Rashford.

Emil, Stroud: I’ve been watching Mason Greenwood play for the youth team for years. The kids got bags of talent, a real star for the future.

Adam Salter: Saka has grown and grown and grown in this game. Looked nervous at the beginning, but that goal caps a brilliant performance. Easily the Man of the Match.

Fred, Hampshire: Two assists and a goal, looks like Saka may be knocking at the door after all.

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Hampton Hill ‘explosion’: Residents evacuated after building fire

Hampton Hill

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The London Fire Brigade evacuated 30 residents after a building on High Street in Hampton Hill caught fire

About 30 residents have been evacuated and part of a building has been destroyed following a suspected explosion.

London Fire Brigade said it was called to a fire after the suspected blast on High Street in Hampton Hill, south-west London, on Tuesday night.

On social media, one witness described hearing a “boom” before the blaze. No was injured.

Road closures remain in place at the scene, Richmond Council said.

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Edgware Road stabbing: Fourth teen arrested over Josiph Beker death


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Josiph Beker died from a stab wound to the chest

A fourth teenager has been arrested on suspicion of the murder of a boy at a chicken shop in central London.

Josiph Beker, 17, was stabbed to death outside Edgware Road KFC, Westminster, at about 14:00 BST on 10 September.

A 16-year-old boy was arrested on Sunday in connection with the murder. He remains in custody.

Two 16-year-old boys were charged with murder on Saturday. An 18-year-old arrested over the murder has been bailed pending further inquiries.

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Heathrow climate change drone protest arrests rise to 18


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Activists planned to fly drones within the exclusion zone at Heathrow Airport

Police have arrested 18 people believed to be involved in a climate change protest at Heathrow Airport.

Heathrow Pause activists threatened to fly drones in the exclusion zone, but no flight disruption has been reported.

The 18 arrested people have all been held on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a public nuisance.

Heathrow Pause said one of the arrested – Roger Hallam, an Extinction Rebellion co-founder – was still planning to fly a drone on Saturday.

The group said Mr Hallam was released from custody at about 22:00 BST on Friday and that he would be flying the drone at midday “near Heathrow” with the location “to be announced nearer the time”.

The Metropolitan Police said that, out of those arrested, five remained in custody on Friday night. The others have been bailed.

Police say those arrested range in age from 19 to 69.

Heathrow Pause had previously said it intended to fly drones within the 5km exclusion zone around the airport on Friday morning, but the group claimed the airport was using “signal jamming to frustrate” their efforts.

Both the airport and police refused to comment on “security matters”.

The Met Police said a dispersal order at the airport would be effective until early on Sunday morning.

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A 5km dispersal zone order has been placed around Heathrow

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said: “We are really clear that [flying drones] is unlawful, it is a criminal offence, and anybody who turns up expecting to fly drones in that exclusion zone will be arrested.”

The force made seven pre-emptive arrests on Thursday, including that of Extinction Rebellion co-founder Roger Hallam.

Heathrow Airport said it was committed to addressing climate change, but this was best tackled through “constructive engagement and working together to address the issue”.


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Vivianne Miedema: Arsenal’s striker on Virgil van Dijk & Dutch success

Vivianne Miedema was top scorer in the Women’s Super League last season

Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema is the Netherlands’ all-time leading goalscorer, has won three league titles in two countries and holds the record for most Women’s Super League goals in a season. She is also just 23.

Fresh from playing in this summer’s World Cup final, Miedema sat down with BBC Sport to discuss her Dutch roots, football chats with Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk and her childhood fascination with Robin van Persie.

Family, Feyenoord and Van Persie

Growing up in Hoogeveen, a town in the north-east of the Netherlands, Miedema would join her father and younger brother Lars in making the 120-mile trip to Rotterdam to watch Feyenoord play.

And when asked about the influence of her family on her playing career, Miedema jokes she “never really had a choice” but to pursue football as a profession.

“My dad used to play football, my granddad used to play football and my little brother is playing now too,” she tells BBC Sport, referring to Lars’ contract with FC Den Bosch, the club where Ruud van Nistelrooy began his career.

“We just loved it and there was nothing else for me. I am four years older than my brother but I used to play football with him and it’s made me a better player and I think him too.”

Last year, Miedema posted a photo of her younger self with childhood hero Robin van Persie on Instagram

The Miedema family were all big Feyenoord fans and between 1996 and 2004 were able to watch as ex-Manchester United and Arsenal striker Van Persie developed on his way to becoming one of the best strikers in Europe.

Reflecting on that time, she says: “If you are a young girl now it might be a bit different because there are lots of female players to look up to but I used to be a fan of the Feyenoord players. I used to buy the little kits of Robin van Persie and watch every single game.

“They were the only games I was allowed to stay up late for during the week. We used to go to some of their games. Sometimes, as a birthday present, I would go to a fan day or an open training session.

“I met van Persie once – I can’t really remember it because I was so young. But [at Feyenoord] you got to meet some of the players and go on the pitch with them. It was amazing.”

Celebrating Dutch success with Virgil van Dijk

Virgil van Dijk and Miedema were the first players from the same country to win PFA Player of the Year awards in the same year

Like Van Persie, Miedema has become one of the most prolific strikers in the game.

She scored 22 goals and picked up 10 assists in 19 league appearances last season in helping Arsenal win their first WSL title in seven years, her performances leading to being named the PFA Player of the Year. Compatriot Van Dijk picked up the men’s prize.

“It was quite a big thing back home – two Dutch players winning it made it even bigger than it probably was for me and for him,” says Miedema.

“It was nice to get the awards after the year we both had but we are both quite down to earth and the day after the focus was on the football again.”

For Miedema, focussing on football meant the then-upcoming World Cup. Liverpool defender Van Dijk was supporting Miedema and her Dutch team-mates this summer, wishing them luck before their defeat in the final by champions the USA.

“I spoke with him [Van Dijk] at the PFA awards and he is a nice guy,” says Miedema. “Obviously we had some football chat – I went to the Liverpool v Barcelona Champions League semi-final as well.

“It was just nice. We see them [the men’s internationals] when we are away with the national team as well. We watch their games and they watch ours and he was watching the World Cup final. It’s nice to have that contact and respect each other.”

Breeding confidence at Arsenal

Dutch players have enjoyed success in the English game, with Ruud van Nistelrooy, Edwin van der Sar and Arjen Robben among players to have enhanced their reputations in the Premier League.

In 2018-19, there were four Dutch players in Arsenal Women’s title-winning squad and all four started the World Cup final. This summer, midfielder Jill Roord joined from Bayern Munich.

“The English league is one of the most attractive leagues to go to right now,” Miedema says.

“The step from Holland to England is small, it’s not like going to Spain where you don’t understand a word and it’s a different life. In England, it is quite similar to how we live and that makes it a lot easier.”

Women’s World Cup 2019: Vivianne Miedema scores again to make it 3-1 Netherlands

Miedema, who has scored 63 goals in 83 appearances for her country, adds that success on the international stage breeds confidence with team-mates back at Arsenal.

“Nobody expected us to win the Euros or do well at the World Cup but we did it, again,” she says. “I played my part in that and it was good to get back into it recently for the start of the Euro qualifiers.”

After becoming the first player to surpass 16 goals in a single WSL season in 2018-19, there are higher expectations of Miedema and her team-mates to defend their title.

“I am lucky because I have been in this situation when I was at Bayern Munich [winning back-to-back league titles in 2015 and 2016]. I have that experience,” she says.

“It is something that’s extra special because obviously every team comes for you and has nothing to lose. They want to get a point off you and work a bit harder against you than other teams.

“That’s just extra motivation to get better every single week and play better football than we did last year.”

Miedema’s all-time Dutch goalscoring record was celebrated in the recent Euro 2021 qualifying win over Turkey – their first home game since reaching the World Cup final

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London Underground: More than 36,000 shifts lost to Tube strikes

Official picket outside King's Cross St Pancras station

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The RMT Union represents 10,000 workers on the London Underground

Trade unions suspended a threat of strike action on the London Underground last week after successful talks with Transport for London (TfL). There has not been a strike on the Tube during 2019 but have industrial relations improved since Sadiq Khan took over as Mayor of London from Boris Johnson three years ago?

Figures obtained by the BBC show that in the past 11 financial years, since Mr Johnson took over as mayor from Ken Livingstone, there have been more than 36,000 days lost to strike action.

The number of days lost is so high because TfL counts “one day lost for every member of staff missing” and it has led one academic to describe the London Underground as “a museum of bad industrial relations”.

Various disputes over issues including ticket office closures, job cuts, new rotas, employee dismissals and the introduction of the Night Tube have resulted in 68 individual dates of strike action since April 2008.

The London School of Economics’s Prof Tony Travers explained these industrial rows resembled “trigger points” that each mayor would aim to avoid in order to prevent any big strikes.

“These trigger points are usually something new,” he said. “These include the Night Tube, Olympics or working Boxing Day.

“Unions have long used the Underground as good leverage when trying to get better pay because of the monopoly that it serves.”

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More than 7,000 days were lost to strike action over four dates in early 2014

Between April 2008 and May 2012, during Mr Johnson’s first spell as Mayor of London, 12,523 shifts were lost to strike action – despite him trying to negotiate no-strike deals with the Tube unions.

Figures showed a further 19,689 working days were lost while he was mayor during his second term between May 2012 and May 2016.

In his 2016 Mayor of London election campaign Mr Khan pledged to “reduce the number of days lost to strike action” and he has seen 3,824 shifts lost to strike days during his time at City Hall.

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As Mayor of London Boris Johnson called for strikes to be made illegal unless 50% of staff in a workplace took part in a ballot

While there have been significantly fewer working days lost to strikes under Mr Khan, there have been 25 dates of industrial action in his three years as mayor, compared with 33 across the whole eight years Mr Johnson was in office.

“Under Sadiq there have been fewer days lost,” Prof Travers said. “But the entire record for Tube strikes is particularly dire.”

TfL said the effect of any strike was dependent on the nature of the dispute, the number of unions involved and where the strike had been called.

The figures included strikes that affected either the whole Tube network or just part of it.

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Nearly 70 periods of strike action have been taken by various unions since April 2008

A spokesman for the Mayor of London said strike action had “reduced” under Mr Khan because he “listens to the concerns of workers”.

However, Conservative London Assembly member Keith Prince defended Mr Johnson’s record, instead accusing Mr Khan of having a “worse strikes record (than) any of his predecessors”.

According to the TfL data, strike action was predominantly taken by the RMT union, which has about 10,000 members employed on the Tube, and saw workers walk out on 34 occasions.

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Transport for London says it deploys additional staff on strike days

Aslef, which represents 2,456 Tube drivers, took 13 dates of strike action, while Unite had eight disputes which led to industrial action.

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) walked out on two occasions over “employee terms and conditions”.

Aslef’s Finn Brennan said his union had “regular meetings between transport unions, Mr Khan and his team”.

He added: “Aslef uses these meetings to highlight issues that go beyond the remit of the machinery meetings with employers and to encourage a more reasonable attitude on matters we have raised with the company.”

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Make supermarket booze more expensive, says think tank

A pint of beer

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Alcohol sold in supermarkets should be taxed at a higher rate than drink sold in pubs, a think tank has suggested.

A “pub relief” would make drinking at home less affordable and support the pub sector, according to the Social Market Foundation (SMF).

The Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS), which commissioned the research, said it would help to cut problem drinking.

Taxing cider and wine by the unit in England would also have public health benefits, the IAS said.

The idea would be to shift taxation towards high-strength drinks bought for consumption at home – and away from weaker products bought in pubs and bars, the SMF said.

That could mean that beer in pubs would become less expensive, depending on how the duties were structured.

Taxing cider and wine by the unit, as is already the case with beer and spirits, would also help cut down problem drinking, it added.

Landlord pressures

According to recent research, cheap supermarket alcohol was the “number one” concern for publicans, said IAS senior policy analyst Aveek Bhattacharya, followed by competition from big chains.

“Wetherspoon’s comes in, and that’s a killer,” he said, adding: “Business rates are a big pressure.”

The number of pubs in the UK has declined by nearly a quarter since 2008 as small pubs disappear and big chains consolidate their businesses, according to the latest official figures.

‘Tougher and tougher’

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Colin ‘CJ’ Lewis says higher taxes for supermarket alcohol is a great idea in theory, but might not work out in practice.

“I’ve been in the game 20 years, and it’s got tougher and tougher,” says “CJ” Lewis, the manager of the independent King and Queen pub in London’s Fitzrovia district.

“And to be honest, the supermarkets are a little bit to blame,” he says.

He says that alcohol available in supermarkets “is, in theory, too cheap”.

“The price of alcohol here [in the pub] compared with the price in a supermarket is a bit ridiculous.”

However, he adds: “I can’t complain, because I buy it myself.”

He says the idea of higher taxes for alcohol in supermarkets is “great” for the pub industry in theory, but he’s not sure how it would work out in practice.

Supermarkets may still find a way to cut prices, he says.

And any tax relief on beer sold in brewery-owned pubs might be clawed back from landlords by the breweries, he adds. The breweries could charge those landlords more for their beer, and it would stay the same price in the pub for customers, he says.

Mr Bhattacharya said alcohol in supermarkets is cheap for a number of reasons.

Alcohol duty has been cut in real terms every year since 2013, and beer duty in real terms is 18% lower than then.

One of the main reasons supermarket booze is cheaper than pubs is bargaining power, he says.

Supermarkets can squeeze brewers on price because they are such large customers, but when it comes to landlords negotiating with brewers, “the boot’s on the other foot”, he said.

Supermarkets can also use alcohol as a loss leader – that is, it’s sold at a loss to attract shoppers into stores, where they will buy more profitable items.

Duty of care

Katherine Severi, IAS chief executive, said: “Alcohol has become a lot more affordable, and cheaper too, by comparison with other goods… For too long, alcohol duty has been politicised.”

Landlords have a duty of care to people in their pubs, she said, adding that a change in the tax regime would “reduce societal harms”.

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), which represents brewers, said: “The focus should be on reducing the overall beer duty rate, which is one of the highest in the EU and places an enormous burden on pubs.

“It is also important that the report recognises that the excise duty regime should encourage the consumption of lower-strength products.”

A Treasury statement said: “We are committed to supporting our pub industry and responsible drinkers, while tackling the sources of harmful drinking.

“That’s why we’ve consistently cut or frozen alcohol duties, saving drinkers £5.2bn, and introduced a new higher rate of tax for harmful high-strength ciders.”

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Northern Line suspended due to ‘signal failure’

Commuters at Balham station

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Commuters were queuing at Balham station

The entire Northern Line on the London Underground has been suspended due to a signal systems failure at the main control centre.

The line was suspended at about 06:30 BST and Tube tickets are being accepted on Southeastern and Thameslink trains, as well as on trams and buses.

Both the Bakerloo line and Metropolitan line have minor delays while a new signalling system is established.

Transport for London said it was “working hard to restore the service.”

The delays come as schools open for the new term this week and one commuter tweeted that he “hated the Northern Line”.

Brian Woodhead, London Underground’s director of customer service, said: “I am extremely sorry for the disruption suffered by customers on the Northern line today following a signalling system failure at our control centre.

“Our engineers are working hard to fix the problem and restore a full service as quickly as possible.”

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No-deal Brexit ‘could hit house prices’


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UK house prices could drop by 6.2% next year if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 31 October, according to accountants KPMG.

However, if a deal is reached, KPMG predicts that house prices will rise by 1.3%.

London will probably see a fall in prices with or without an exit deal this year and next, it said, with sharper declines if no deal is reached.

However, the low supply of new housing stock could prop up prices over time.

“Overall, while a no-deal Brexit could dent property values in the short term, it may make less impact on one of the fundamental factors driving the market: the stock of regional housing,” said the report.

“Housebuilders are expected to reduce the supply of new housing in some regions in the short term as a response to a deteriorating economic outlook.

“So, while there will be fallout from the initial economic shock following a no-deal Brexit, the market is expected to recover most ground in the long run,” it said, assuming the economy recovers.

With the housing market hard to predict, KPMG said prices could drop in a no-deal scenario by as much as 10-20%.

“Transactions volumes will likely fall much more than prices – making government housing delivery targets impossible to achieve and slowing new building across the sector,” said Jan Crosby, UK head of housing at KPMG.

Assuming no agreement is reached, KPMG says Northern Ireland will be the hardest hit next year, with average price declines of 7.5%, followed by London at 7%. The least-hit will be Wales and the East Midlands, with 5.4% declines apiece.

This year, most regions will see changes of less than 2%, KPMG says, with the exception of London, down 4.8%, and Northern Ireland, down 2.2%.

If a deal is struck, prices in London and Northern Ireland are still predicted to fall this year, by 4.7% and 1.2%, while most other regions will be largely unchanged. Scotland and the North West will see gains of 1.4% and 1.6%.

And next year, all regions will gain aside from London’s predicted 0.2% slide. The average increase will be 1.3%.

KPMG noted that the UK housing market is healthier than it was at the time of the last housing crash – when prices fell by 15% in 2008. House prices are lower as a percentage of earnings in most regions outside London and the South East.

In addition, compared with the aftermath of the 1991 recession – when housing prices dropped 20% over about four years – mortgages are much cheaper. Back then, the Bank of England’s base rate was about 14%.

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