A survivors’ group has welcomed a report on the Grenfell Tower fire, calling for the government to treat its response as “a national emergency”.
The report, published on Wednesday, followed the first phase of an inquiry, looking at what happened on the night of 14 June 2017, when 72 people died.
It was critical of the London Fire Brigade’s response and said the tower did not meet building regulations.
The LFB said it was “disappointed” by some of the criticism of individuals.
Campaign group Grenfell United said the report showed “the immediate and real dangers” of “highly combustible cladding and insulation”.
“Lives are at risk and the government need to treat this as a national emergency,” the group said.
The report made 46 recommendations, including improvements in training for fire brigade staff and the development of national guidelines for evacuating high-rise buildings.
Grenfell United called for the recommendations to be implemented in full, saying they would save lives.
The report condemned the LFB for “serious shortcomings” and systemic failures in its response to the fire.
Inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick said the absence of a plan to evacuate the tower was a “major omission” by the LFB and more lives could have been saved had the “stay-put” policy been abandoned sooner.
Grenfell United responded: “It is heartbreaking to read that more of our loved ones could have been saved that night if the building was evacuated earlier.”
At an emotional press conference, relatives of 20 victims of the fire called for an overhaul of the LFB, saying its leadership should resign and even face prosecution.
Nazanin Aghlani, who lost two family members in the fire, said some firefighters displayed a “serious lack of common sense” and failed to see “what was so vivid in front of them”.
“If a fire happened tonight the same thing would happen again,” she said.
‘Too little too late’
The report said evidence from London Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton that she would not have changed anything about the brigade’s response was “insensitive”.
Ms Cotton said many of the recommendations were welcome and would be “carefully considered”.
She expressed her “deepest sorrow at not being able to save all those who died in the Grenfell Tower fire”.
She added: “We welcome the chairman’s recognition of the courage, commitment and bravery of firefighters on the night, but we are disappointed at some of the criticism of individual staff members who were placed in completely unprecedented circumstances and faced the most unimaginable conditions while trying to save the lives of others.”
However, Natasha Elcock, chairwoman of Grenfell United who was rescued with her six-year-old daughter from the 11th floor, said Dany Cotton’s statement was “too little too late”.
“She stood up in the inquiry, in a room full of bereaved and survivors and said there’s nothing she would do to change that night,” she told the BBC.
“If she’d expressed that sorrow that day in that room, that potentially would have washed with us today.”
Grenfell United expressed concern at the report’s finding that the LFB were “at risk of not learning the lessons from Grenfell”, adding that firefighters were “let down by their training, procedures, equipment and leadership”.
Other issues highlighted in the report included:
- A lack of training in how to “recognise the need for an evacuation or how to organise one”
- Incident commanders “of relatively junior rank” being unable to change strategy
- Control room officers lacking training on when to advise callers to evacuate
- An assumption that crews would reach callers, resulting in “assurances which were not well founded”
- Communication between the control room and those on the ground being “improvised, uncertain and prone to error”
- A lack of an organised way to share information within the control room, meaning officers had “no overall picture of the speed or pattern of fire spread”
In the House of Commons, MPs held a minutes’ silence to remember victims of the fire, before a debate on the inquiry.
Boris Johnson told MPs that survivors and the bereaved had been “overlooked and ignored” before the fire and “shamefully failed” afterwards.
The second phase of the inquiry will focus on wider circumstances of the fire, including the design of the building.
While this was not the focus of the first phase, the report found there was “compelling evidence” external walls of the building failed to comply with building regulations and “actively promoted” the spread of fire.
It said the principal reason the flames shot up the building so fiercely was the combustible aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding with polyethylene cores which acted as a “source of fuel”.
Grenfell United said the second phase of the inquiry “must now focus on where responsibility for the devastating refurbishment [of the building] lies”, with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the tenant management organisation and the companies involved facing “serious questions”.
League One side AFC Wimbledon have appointed caretaker boss Glyn Hodges as their new permanent manager.
The ex-Wales midfielder, 56, has been in charge since Wally Downes was suspended by the club last month, after being charged by the Football Association over bets placed on games.
Downes left Wimbledon on Sunday, two days after being given a four-week FA suspension for admitting the charge.
Former Wimbledon player Hodges had been assistant to Downes at Kingsmeadow.
More to follow.
Celebrity Extinction Rebellion supporters have admitted in an open letter being “hypocrites” over their high-carbon lifestyles.
Stars including Jude Law said their guilt is shared with everyone in “this fossil-fuel economy” and urged people to campaign for “systemic change”.
It comes as Extinction Rebellion launches a legal challenge against a London-wide ban on its protests.
Some have defied the ban, including a group of mothers and babies.
Jude Law and Benedict Cumberbatch are among more than 100 celebrity supporters of Extinction Rebellion who signed an open letter to the media.
Along with Steve Coogan, Bob Geldof, Sir Mark Rylance, and Ray Winstone, they confessed their culpability in the climate crisis.
The letter says: “Dear journalists who have called us hypocrites. You’re right.
“We live high carbon lives and the industries that we are part of have huge carbon footprints.
“Like you, and everyone else, we are stuck in this fossil-fuel economy and without systemic change, our lifestyles will keep on causing climate and ecological harm.”
But they called on the media to focus on the “more urgent story” of life on earth dying in a sixth mass extinction.
They said they cannot ignore the call of young people such as Greta Thunberg to “fight for their already devastated future”, even if it means putting themselves “in your firing line”.
Writers Ian McEwan and Michael Morpurgo also signed the letter.
Meanwhile, lawyers for Extinction Rebellion activists have launched a High Court action over the police decision to prevent them demonstrating anywhere in London.
The claimants include the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas and Baroness Jenny Jones, Labour MPs Clive Lewis and David Drew and writer George Monbiot.
The Metropolitan Police said they made more than 1,600 arrests in the ongoing protests, and on Monday they announced new restrictions under Section 14 of the Public Order Act.
The order required protestors to disperse by 21:00 BST or risk arrest.
Any assembly of more than two people linked to the Extinction Rebellion action is now illegal in London.
The force said it decided to impose the rules after “continued breaches” of conditions which limited the demonstrations to Trafalgar Square.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor, who is leading the policing of the demonstrations, said he was confident the Met’s decision was “entirely lawful” and “entirely proportionate”.
Extinction Rebellion argue the ban is disproportionate and an unprecedented curtailment of the right to free speech and free assembly.
The group hopes the High Court will quash the decision to implement the blanket ban.
In London’s King’s Cross on Wednesday, a group of mothers and babies defied the restriction, staging a “feed-in” outside Google’s offices, while other activists targeted the nearby offices of YouTube – a Google subsidiary.
They said they wanted to highlight the company’s political donations to organisations that have campaigned against action on climate change.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said concerns had been raised about the police’s decision to ban the protests, adding that shadow home secretary Diane Abbott was discussing it with the police.
“I think it’s important to protect the right of free speech, and the right to demonstrate in our society – obviously in a non-violent way,” he said.
He added that Labour’s London Mayor Sadiq Khan had no involvement in the “operational decision” by police to remove the protesters.
On Tuesday, Mr Khan said he was “seeking further information” about why the ban was necessary, saying he believed “the right to peaceful and lawful protest must always be upheld”.
A government spokesman said the UK was already taking “world-leading action to combat climate change as the first major economy to legislate to end our contribution to global warming entirely by 2050”.
“While we share people’s concerns about global warming, and respect the right to peaceful protest, it should not disrupt people’s day-to-day lives,” he added.
What are the rules around protests?
Police have the powers to ban a protest under the Public Order Act 1986, if a senior officer has reasonable belief that it may cause “serious disruption to the life of the community”.
Police are also under a duty to balance the task of keeping the streets open with the right freedom of assembly under Article 11 of the Human Rights Act 1998 and freedom of expression, under Article 10. These rights are not absolute – the state can curtail them.
However, the BBC’s home affairs correspondent Dominic Casciani said: “The test, if and when it gets to a human rights court battle, is whether police action was proportionate to the threat and only what was strictly necessary.”
By law, the organiser of a public march must tell the police certain information in writing six days in advance.
Police have the power to limit or change the route of the march or set other conditions.
A Section 14 notice issued under the Public Order Act allows police to impose conditions on a static protest and individuals who fail to comply with these can be arrested.
A drug dealer has been jailed for stabbing a police officer who tried to apprehend him in a park in Portsmouth.
PC Russell Turner, 56, suffered a collapsed lung after being stabbed twice by Michael Enzanga in February.
Enzanga, 20 was found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, possession of a knife and drugs offences following a trial in August.
He was jailed for 16 years and ordered serve at least two thirds before consideration for parole.
Prosecutor Dale Sullivan said the case was made more serious because the stabbing took place near to a nursery, and because it was against a police officer.
In an emotional statement, PC Turner told the court on Wednesday he felt anger towards Enzanga for leaving him lying in his “own blood”.
“Most of all I can never forgive him for the upset, pain and emotional trauma he caused my family,” said PC Turner.
‘Thinking all sorts’
“On the day I was stabbed my wife was at home and my sergeant knocked on the door and told her what happened.
“During that half hour car journey her mind was thinking all sorts, wondering if I was going to live.”
A father-of-two, PC Turner was not able to return to work for 10 weeks and has now left Hampshire Constabulary.
During the trial jurors heard how PC Turner was stabbed during a “full-on fight” with Enzanga while investigating reports of drug dealing in Stamshaw Park.
The plain clothes officer got out his warrant card out and identified his colleague PC Clare Parry and himself as police officers when Enzanga tried to run away and the struggle broke out.
‘Hiding under tarpaulin’
PC Parry broke down in tears as she described Enzanga as like a “caged animal fighting for his life”.
After the stabbing, Enzanga fled in the direction of a block of flats but was seen by members of the public and on CCTV carrying a knife before being Tasered by officers.
He was eventually found hiding under a tarpaulin in a back garden with the barbs from the Taser still lodged in his back.
Passing sentence, Judge Roger Hetherington told Enzanga: “You were no innocent dupe. You were already an experienced criminal who knew exactly what you were about.”
Speaking after the sentencing, Det Insp Matthew Barcraft-Barnes said: “Enzanga’s brutal actions that day could have easily caused the death of our officer.
“As young children watched on, he didn’t think twice about using his knife, all he cared about was his escape, no matter what the consequences were for anyone else.
“It is never easy to have to deal with a case when one of our colleagues is seriously injured for simply doing their job, but the team showed great professionalism and dedication to ensure this dangerous man was taken off of our streets.”
Enzanga, of Ashfield Road, Tottenham, was also convicted of four charges of possessing crack cocaine and diamorphine (heroin) with intent to supply, and a charge of possessing criminal property in the form of £1,000 in cash.
The sight of Jason Donovan in his underpants tackling a fire was certainly a surprise for one crew of firefighters.
Officers called to Notting Hill, London came across the Australian actor and singer tackling the fire with an extinguisher.
Donovan, 51, who lives across the road spotted the flames from his home.
The London Fire Service quipped, “everyone needs good neighbours”.
On social media the artist posted his views on his firefighting attire:
Watch manager Thomas Wolfe explained: “When we arrived a gentleman was tackling the fire using a fire extinguisher. We took over from him and quickly dealt with the blaze.
“It soon transpired that it was Jason Donovan who noticed the fire from his property over the road.”
Asked if the good “neighbour” would get a commendation, the watch commander quipped: “He looks good for his age.”
The fire, on 22 September, was located in the side passage next to a house and was believed to have been caused by a fault in electrical cabling.
A man stabbed to death at a London Underground station was an Arsenal fan on his way to a match.
Tashan Daniel, 20, was fatally wounded in an “unprovoked attack” on the platform at Hillingdon station on Tuesday shortly before 16:00 BST.
He had been heading to the Emirates Stadium to see the Gunners face Nottingham Forest in the third round of the Carabao Cup.
It is the third murder investigation on the Tube network this year.
A spokesman for the Premier League club said: “Everyone at Arsenal Football Club is shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Arsenal fan Tashan Daniel.
“Our thoughts are with Tashan’s family and friends at this sad time.”
Mr Daniel, who had recently celebrated his birthday, was on the platform waiting for a Piccadilly Line train into central London when he was attacked by two men, British Transport Police (BTP) said.
Attempts were made to save Mr Daniel who was pronounced dead inside a Tube carriage.
Det Ch Insp Sam Blackburn said no arrests had been made, but both suspects left the station in the direction of Auriol Drive and a knife was recovered nearby.
“Tashan did not deserve to lose his life during this senseless attack,” he said.
“His family are completely broken by this news and we are doing everything we can to offer them support.”
Extra officers are going to be carrying out patrols in the Hillingdon area, Det Ch Insp Blackburn added.
Danielle Foster, who was driving past Hillingdon station at the time of the stabbing, said upon “hearing so many sirens, I knew something terrible had happened”.
“Lots of people were being turned away from the station as it had been closed,” she said, adding: “Then the police helicopter began circling the scene.”
The station was closed by Transport for London (TfL) while police searched the area.
It remained closed for the rest of Tuesday evening and reopened at 05:45 on Wednesday.
So far in 2019 more than 100 murder investigations have been launched across London by the Metropolitan Police and BTP.
About 20,000 fans are expected at Sunday’s Women’s Super League game between West Ham and Tottenham at the London Stadium, Jack Sullivan has said.
The Hammers’ women’s side will be playing at the 60,000-seater stadium for the first time.
Both sides have won once and lost once in the WSL this term.
“We have either sold, or given away to local community groups and schools, just under 20,000 tickets,” said West Ham women’s managing director Sullivan.
“I think we’ll get maybe just over 20,000 there, and considering we only had five weeks to sell it, we’re pretty happy with that number.”
Such a turnout would be the third-largest in the WSL era, which began in 2011, and comfortably a club record for West Ham’s women.
They usually play at Rush Green Stadium, on the site of West Ham’s Rush Green training ground near Romford.
A crowd of 1,297 saw their first home league game of this season – the 1-0 win over Birmingham on 15 September.
Sullivan added: “It’ll be a really amazing occasion for us but they are the sort of numbers we’re hoping for, which will fill the lower bowl and just a bit above that as well.
“It’s an exciting week off the back of the men’s team beating Manchester United as well, so hopefully there’s a feel good factor around the club and we can kick on with those numbers.”
Manchester City, Chelsea and Bristol City all hosted matches at the home of their male team’s ground during the opening weekend of the WSL season, with attendances of 31,213, 24,564 and 3,041 respectively.
The turnout at the Etihad Stadium smashed – by almost a factor of six – the previous league record, which had been the 5,265 that saw Arsenal clinch last season’s title at Brighton’s Amex Stadium.
Spurs, who were promoted to the WSL from the Championship at the end of last term, will host the Gunners at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on 17 November, during the Football Association’s first annual Women’s Football Weekend.
BBC Sport has launched #ChangeTheGame to showcase female athletes in a way they never have been before. Through more live women’s sport available to watch across the BBC in 2019, complemented by our journalism, we are aiming to turn up the volume on women’s sport and alter perceptions. Find out more here.
James Maddison’s first league goal of the season helped Leicester come from behind to beat Tottenham in an absorbing encounter at the King Power Stadium.
Maddison drilled a superb low effort into the far corner from distance to lift Brendan Rodgers’ side back into the top four of the Premier League at the visitors’ expense.
Ricardo Pereira had put the Foxes back on level terms, moments after Spurs had been denied a second goal when Serge Aurier’s low drive was disallowed for a marginal offside call against Son Heung-min.
Harry Kane’s fourth league goal of the campaign had given Spurs the lead in the first half, the England striker slotting Son’s clever flick beyond Kasper Schmeichel despite being knocked off balance by Foxes defender Caglar Soyuncu.
Leicester thought they had opened the scoring themselves when Wilfred Ndidi scored on the rebound after Paulo Gazzaniga spilled Youri Tielemans’ effort, but the goal was ruled out for offside by the video assistant referee.
Tightest of VAR calls denies Spurs
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino accused his players of “lacking fight” after they surrendered a two-goal lead to draw with Olympiakos in the Champions League midweek.
The result mirrored their 2-2 draw with north London rivals Arsenal in their previous away league game, with Kane admitting after Wednesday’s Group B opener that Spurs had failed to learn from recent mistakes.
Pochettino made six changes to the team that started in Greece, with Hugo Lloris unavailable due to his wife giving birth and Dele Alli left out of the squad altogether. Christian Eriksen, Lucas Moura and Eric Dier all had to settle for places on the bench.
Perhaps as a result, the visitors looked disjointed in the early stages and were fortunate not to fall behind when Ndidi’s effort was chalked off.
There was nothing fortunate about Kane’s opener 13 minutes later, however.
The England striker managed to latch on to Son’s back-heel and despite losing his balance under Soyuncu’s challenge, he somehow managed to knock the ball past Jonny Evans before lifting it over Schmeichel into the far corner.
Spurs thought they had doubled their lead when Aurier drilled a powerful drive into the far corner, but Son was adjudged to have been marginally offside in the build-up and the goal was chalked off.
Buoyed by that narrow decision, Leicester threw bodies forward and restored parity through Pereira, before Maddison struck with five minutes remaining to extend Spurs’ winless league run away from home to nine games.
Leicester prove top-six credentials
After watching the Foxes slip to their first defeat of the campaign at Old Trafford last weekend, Leicester fans were hopeful that their team could continue their impressive home form against a Spurs side who have looked vulnerable on their travels of late.
They had lost their last three meetings with Tottenham in the Premier League prior to today’s game, but this latest performance provided further compelling evidence that Rodgers’ team can mount a serious challenge for a top-six finish this season.
Maddison was heavily involved early on, the 22-year-old curling an effort narrowly off target from the edge of the box before firing straight at Gazzaniga from a tight angle after twisting and turning to find room for the shot.
Rodgers’ side did not let their heads drop after falling behind, with Harvey Barnes and Jamie Vardy both going close to equalising before Pereira’s strike midway through the second half.
Just as the game appeared destined to end in a draw, Maddison collected Hamza Choudhury’s pass before firing low into the bottom corner from a central position – all in front of watching England manager Gareth Southgate.
The result was no less than Maddison and his team-mates deserve and lifts the Foxes – temporarily at least – to second in the Premier League.
Man of the match – James Maddison (Leicester)
VAR takes centre stage – the stats
- There were two goals disallowed by VAR in this match, while no other game in the Premier League in 2019-20 has had more than one chalked off.
- Tottenham have failed to win three consecutive away Premier League games when they were leading at half-time for the first time since March 2008.
- Leicester have suffered just one defeat in their last nine Premier League home games (W6 D2), after losing four in a row directly before that.
- Tottenham are without a win in their last nine away games in the Premier League (W0 D2 L7) – they last had a longer winless away run between April and December 2006 (10).
- Leicester’s Ricardo Pereira scored his third goal in 41 Premier League appearances – all three have come at the King Power Stadium.
- Tottenham striker Harry Kane has scored 14 goals in 13 games in all competitions against Leicester, four more than he has versus any other side in his professional career.
- Since the start of last season, Kane has scored 13 Premier League away goals, more than any other player in this period.
- Leicester’s James Maddison ended a run of 31 shots in the Premier League without a goal, since netting versus Huddersfield in April.
- Spurs’ Son Heung-min has been directly involved in seven goals in his last six Premier League appearances versus Leicester (4 goals, 3 assists).
‘A wonderful performance’ – what the managers said
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers on BBC Sport: “It was a wonderful performance. I thought the players were outstanding. We started the game with a great tempo, which sets the emotion in the stadium.
“It was just a case of preparing the players mentally for the second half. We had to adapt the system at half-time. The players deserve huge credit. The quality we showed was top-class against an outstanding team.”
“Some of the offside decisions – it’s fine margins. Whatever the decision, you have to adapt and keep your focus on the game. The players did that very well.”
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino on BBC Sport: “We dominated the game and we deserved more but that’s football. It can change quickly. We need to keep working. We have a lot of games coming and we need to be ready.
“I’m always saying that sometimes it (VAR) benefits you and sometimes it goes against you. You can’t complain afterwards. You have to accept it.
“Today, we were the better side but I hope they (Leicester) have a very good season. I admire Brendan Rodgers and wish them the best.”
Leicester travel to Luton Town in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, 24 September (19:45 BST), while Spurs visit Colchester United at the same time.
Goals from academy gradates Joe Willock and Bukayo Saka helped Arsenal overcome a difficult test against Eintracht Frankfurt and begin their Europa League campaign with a victory.
Willock put the Gunners in front with a deflected shot in the first half before Saka smashed in his first senior goal for the club in the 85th minute.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang added a third two minutes later as Arsenal ended their three-game winless run.
The Gunners had created further chances but also relied on goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez to come to the aid of their fragile defence.
The Argentine produced excellent low saves to deny Filip Kostic and Andre Silva in the first half.
The second period was frantic in front of a vociferous home crowd with Arsenal’s late goals only coming after Dominik Kohr was shown a second yellow card for a cynical foul.
The Gunners, beaten finalists in last year’s Europa League, are top of the early Group F table on goal difference after Standard Liege beat Vitoria in the night’s other game.
Youngsters star in attack
Manager Unai Emery opted for a mix of youth and experience for the game in Germany, despite it arguably being Arsenal’s toughest test in Group F, and it was their young players who stood out.
Eighteen-year-old Saka, playing for the first team for the first time this season and fifth time in total, was excellent on the left flank, scoring once and setting up the other two goals.
He created Willock’s goal by beating his marker with fine skill in midfield and was the main threat for the Gunners in the first half.
The only criticism was he spurned a number of chances to increase Arsenal’s lead but he silenced those doubts with an emphatic finish from the edge of the area late on.
Willock played as the Gunners most advanced central midfielder and offered a goal threat but also linked play well, notably with a fine driving run in the second half which ended with Martin Hinteregger excellently blocking an Aubameyang shot.
The scoreline flattered Arsenal in the end but the game will be most memorable for the performance of their youngsters.
Defensive issues remain
The Gunners came into the game on the back of their disappointing 2-2 draw against Watford, after which their defensive display was heavily criticised as they spurned a two-goal lead.
Although Arsenal kept a second clean sheet of the season, they still looked uncertain at the back and allowed Eintracht 24 shots on goal – seven fewer than the Hornets’ 31 on Sunday.
Arsenal’s deeper midfielders Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira failed to control proceedings with the second half end-to-end until Kohr was dismissed.
Eintracht, who reached the semi-finals of the Europa League last season before losing on penalties to Chelsea, lost strikers Sebastien Haller and Luka Jovic to West Ham and Real Madrid respectively in the summer and had either been in their line-up on Thursday, Arsenal’s slack defence may have been punished.
Kostic caused right-back Calum Chambers significant problems but was wasteful, as was AC Milan loanee Silva, who shot well wide in the second half when given another good opportunity.
That said, Martinez, brought in for first-choice goalkeeper Bernd Leno, impressed with key saves in the first half and assured handling when called upon.
Man of the match – Bukayo Saka
‘A dream come true’ – reaction
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.”
Arsenal manager Unai Emery: “We knew tonight was going to be difficult, they fell back very deep and caused us problems early on.
“We recovered the ball well and the young players showed the confidence to take their chances.
“Everybody can be happy and continuing in this competition is important, so it was good to get a good win, especially away from home.”
Eintracht coach Adi Hutter: “It’s a bitter defeat for us, because the performance does not reflect that result.
“When it was still 1-0 for Arsenal, we tried to score the equaliser but then conceded another one.
“The important thing is for us to create chances, I have seen enough of those. A goal can help open some doors, give you a boost, that did not happen today.”
Aubameyang’s goal-scoring run – the best stats
- Arsenal have only lost one of their 13 group stage games in the Europa League (W10 D2), while this was their sixth consecutive clean sheet in the group stage of the competition.
- Arsenal picked up their first European away win against German opposition since November 2013 (1-0 v Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League), having failed to win on any of their previous five trips (D1 L4).
- Eintracht Frankfurt suffered their heaviest home defeat across European competitions – in what was their 74th such game on home soil.
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has netted seven goals in his last seven Europa League appearances for Arsenal, with four of those coming away from home.
- Bukayo Saka is the youngest player to score for Arsenal in the Europa League/Champions League since October 2008, when Aaron Ramsey (17y 300d) netted against Fenerbahce.
Chelsea’s return to the Champions League ended in disappointment as Ross Barkley missed a late penalty that ensured Valencia claimed victory at Stamford Bridge.
Frank Lampard’s first game as a manager in the tournament he won as a player with Chelsea in 2012 turned into a night of frustration as Valencia took advantage of slack marking at a free-kick for Rodrigo to score the winner on 74 minutes.
Chelsea, who lost in-form youngster Mason Mount to injury early on, had the chance to rescue a point when referee Cuneyt Cakir awarded a penalty for handball after consulting VAR when Daniel Wass blocked Fikayo Tomori’s header.
Barkley had only come on as a substitute eight minutes earlier but insisted taking the spot-kick instead of the Blues’ regular taker Jorginho and Willian, who argued his own case to take it before relenting.
It was a tight and tense encounter with chances at a premium and a tricky Group H, which also includes Lille and last year’s semi-finalists Ajax, has got even tougher for Chelsea after starting their campaign with a damaging home loss.
Chelsea lack touch of class
This was a tough start to life in the Champions League for Lampard and a Chelsea side robbed of the ‘X Factor’ given to them for so long by Eden Hazard.
The mood in the camp will not have been helped by Barkley’s insistence on taking that ill-fated late penalty when it appeared Jorginho, who scored in the Super Cup final against Liverpool, was stepping forward for the task.
Barkley’s determination came at a heavy price, glancing a poor effort off the bar and high into the Matthew Harding Stand. He took the kick after conversations with Jorginho, Willian, Tammy Abraham and captain Cesar Azpilicueta.
It ended with a handshake from Jorginho before the spot-kick but it was a chaotic scene with an almost inevitable conclusion.
It was a night when not much went right for Chelsea, starting with what looked like a nasty ankle injury to Mount, who was caught by a reckless follow-through in a challenge by former Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin.
Chelsea had their moments, especially when Jasper Cillessen saved from Willian and Marcos Alonso – but Lampard’s side simply could not produce the touch of quality to break down Valencia and were too static as Daniel Parejo’s free-kick released Rodrigo.
This means Chelsea are on the back foot only 90 minutes into their return to the Champions League and are still to win at Stamford Bridge this season.
Valencia lift the gloom
Chelsea’s disappointment will be even more acute as this looked like the perfect opportunity to get their Champions League campaign off to a winning start against a Valencia side who arrived in London amid turmoil.
Valencia’s players and fans had been infuriated by the decision to sack coach Marcelino last week after he won the Copa del Rey last season and took them back into the Champions League.
Marcelino’s successor Albert Celades started his reign with a 5-2 defeat at Barcelona on Saturday – but his Valencia side showed plenty of resolve here and were always a threat, which was realised by that free-kick that was just too quick and too smart for Chelsea and resulted in Rodrigo’s goal.
This was a real morale booster for Celades and Valencia but a serious blow for Chelsea as Ajax signalled their threat in Group H with a 3-0 win over Lille.
Tough night for Chelsea’s young guns
Chelsea’s young brigade have taken the Premier League by storm with Tammy Abraham scoring seven goals and Mason Mount on the mark three times.
Abraham found this a much tougher assignment although he still had moments of threat, particularly a glancing first-half header that was off target.
The 21-year-old never lost heart but he was starved of decent service and this was not to be his night.
It was even more painful for Mount, literally, as he never recovered from Coquelin’s early challenge and his attempts to carry on ended in despair. He and Chelsea will now anxiously await the medical verdict.
Defender Tomori did well in defence and also made his contribution in attack with a surging first-half run that brought danger and a header that resulted in the penalty.
There will be better nights than this but the Champions League will be adding layers to their learning experience.
Rare losing start for Chelsea – key stats
- This was only Chelsea’s second defeat in their past 42 Champions League group games at Stamford Bridge (W30 D10), with the other against Basel in 2013.
- Chelsea lost their opening Champions League match of a campaign for only the second time – the first was against Basel in 2013-14.
- Frank Lampard became the first Chelsea manager to lose his opening Champions League match in charge – 10 of the previous 11 had won, while Gianluca Vialli drew with AC Milan in 1999.
- Chelsea became the first team since Liverpool in December 2008 against PSV (Darby, Kelly, Spearing) to hand three Champions League debuts to Englishmen aged 21 or younger in the same game (Abraham, Mount, Tomori).
- Valencia registered only their second away Champions League win in England (D7 L3) – their first was a 1-0 win at Liverpool in October 2002.