Man City return to the top, Joey Carbery on course for a big day in Chicago

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Groundstaff work on the Wembley pitch at half-time of Tottenham’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester City. Photograph: Ian Kington/AFP/Getty

Groundstaff work on the Wembley pitch at half-time of Tottenham’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester City. Photograph: Ian Kington/AFP/Getty

Manchester City returned to the top of the Premier League last night after they beat Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 at Wembley. Riyad Mahrez’s sixth minute goal, following two mistakes by Kieran Trippier, proved enough for Pep Guardiola’s side on a pitch which looked decidedly worse for wear following Sunday’s NFL clash between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Philadelphia Eagles. Meanwhile Real Madrid have fired manager Julen Lopetegui in the wake of last Saturday’s 5-1 humiliation away to Barcelona, with the European champions currently languishing in ninth place in La Liga.

Yesterday Joe Schmidt named his 26-strong Ireland squad for Saturday’s opening November international against Italy in Chicago. With back-to-back fixtures against Argentina and the All Blacks to follow a number of senior players, including Johnny Sexton, have stayed at home - with Joey Carbery set to take the number 10 jersey at Soldier Field. Meanwhile in his column this morning Gerry Thornley writes that an increase in red cards is a small price to pay in order to eradicate dangerous high tackles - such as Sam Cane’s hit on Robbie Henshaw on New Zealand’s last visit to Dublin in 2016. “Above all else World Rugby, and its officials, have a duty of care to those who play the sport and, furthermore, in the current climate it has to be seen to take drastic steps.”

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