All the Sky Sports articles written by Dan Long in August…
Started off August at Sky with an honour which I still can’t quite get my head round – I began Sky’s live blog coverage of Neymar’s transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain. As ever, you can find that (I covered it from the beginning until 5pm – typical that I missed the actual deal going through…) and everything else from August below:
WATCH: Double sending-off! (Copied and pasted due to 7 day story expiry)
Bramall Lane was the scene of the rare occurrence of a double sending off on Saturday as Barnsley and Sheffield United were reduced to 10 men.
Billy Sharp’s 20th goal in his last 29 appearances had given the Blades an early lead as they went in search of a ninth consecutive home win.
But though the next 25 minutes passed without incident, three minutes before the break, what should have been a minor incident intensified in the South Yorkshire derby.
Racing onto a long ball forward from the Sheffield United backline, frontman Leon Clarke battled with Tykes skipper Angus MacDonald but the situation boiled over and became an off-the-ball incident in which Clarke seemed to grasp his opponent’s neck.
A naturally incensed MacDonald squared up to Clarke, who in turn appealed to referee Tim Robinson. Following a discussion with his assistants, Robinson returned to brandish straight red cards for both men and leave both sides with ten.
The decision all-but curtailed hopes of a Barnsley comeback; they rarely threatened and fell to their third league defeat in four, while United climbed to tenth.
WATCH: Conor Hourihane’s hat-trick (Copied and pasted due to 7 day story expiry)
Conor Hourihane fired Aston Villa to their first league win of the season with an unprecedented hat-trick in Saturday’s 4-2 Sky Bet Championship home win over Norwich.
Villa started the season with a 1-1 draw against Hull, but backed that up with defeats against Cardiff and Reading which subsequently reignited calls for boss Steve Bruce to be relieved of his duties at Villa Park.
Those calls put increased pressure on the Midlands club to deliver for the visit of Norwich and that they did, with Hourihane’s treble almost single-handedly lifting the club from the Championship doldrums.
That said, debutant Keinan Davis played a starring role in the opener: dancing past his marker before hitting a low cross into the feet of Hourihane after being fed by Spurs loanee Josh Onomah.
Formerly of Barnsley, Hourihane doubled his tally after 68 minutes with a long-range effort that found the net via Harrison Reed’s deflection and made it 3-1.
And the Irishman found time to help himself to another five minutes from time, creating space on the edge of the box before his low shot beat Angus Gunn and nestled in the bottom right corner of the left.
WATCH: Premier League Saturday preview (Copied and pasted due to 7 day story expiry)
The Premier League season is now in full swing and we’ve got another six previews of Saturday’s action to offer up, including Manchester United vs Leicester City.
In the day’s early kick-off, Bournemouth host Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City at the Vitality Stadium hoping to kick-start their season in front of Sky cameras – you can catch all the action on Sky Sports Premier League HD from 11.30am.
Meanwhile, Jeff Stelling and the Soccer Saturday panel will then bring you all the 3pm action with four games including Newcastle v West Ham and Brighton’s trip to Watford’s Vicarage Road.
With the afternoon’s encounters out of the way, the focus turns to Old Trafford and the red side of Manchester as United welcome Leicester City hoping to maintain their 100 per cent record as Premier League leaders.
WATCH: Russell’s calamitous own-goal!
Derby’s Johnny Russell doubled Sheffield United’s lead, scoring an own goal while trying to clear his lines!
It goes without saying that scoring an own goal is a low point in any professional footballer’s career. But when you’re a goal behind, it becomes even more of an unwanted accolade; on Saturday it was Russell’s turn.
Having just blazed a shot over the bar at the other end, Russell tracked back to defend as United advanced towards Scott Carson’s goal and reached the 18-yard line as Kieron Freeman was weighing up a cross into the area.
But as Freeman’s delivery reached the feet of Caolan Lavery, he took a poor touch and the onrushing Russell connected sweetly with the ball, tucking his shot far to Carson’s right.
Visibly embarrassed, Russell retreated from the area with his head in his hands. It wasn’t to get much better for the Rams, as they eventually went down 3-1.