Tag Archives: EPL

Just in: Eric Garcia set to join Barcelona on ‘free transfer’

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The Spanish side failed to strike a deal back then but remained open to doing business in January if City were prepared to lower their asking price – something Pep Guardiola has always refused to do.

Manchester City centre-back Eric Garcia is expected to join Barcelona as a free agent once his contract comes to a close this summer.

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It was revealed last summer that Garcia had rejected the chance to sign a new contract with City as he has his heart set on a move to Camp Nou, where Barcelona have been trying to sign him ever since.

An agreement over a transfer fee is all that is needed as Fabrizio Romano has again stressed that Garcia has already agreed personal terms with Barcelona, and it’s just a case of when rather than if.

Guardiola was asked about Garcia’s future during a press conference on Friday, but as he has always done, he suggested that City will try to refuse any offers to sell the 20-year-old this month, although he was not as definitive as he has been in the past.

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“I hope not but maybe Barcelona knows better than me,” he said when asked whether a deal will happen. “I don’t know what’s going to happen but maybe it’s going to happen.”

Guardiola has been reluctant to offload Garcia this season as he wants to the Spaniard to stay and act as cover for his regular starters, despite the fact that refusing to sell will cost City some money.

Manchester City Centre Back, Eric Garcia

Garcia is usually fifth in the pecking order behind John Stones, Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte and Nathan Ake, but the latter two have been sidelined with injuries in recent weeks.

Ordinarily, that would have opened the door to Garcia, but injuries and illness have kept him out since early December.

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However, Guardiola clearly believes that keeping another senior centre-back at the club has its merits, and he has urged the club to reject Barcelona’s advances, but it could all come down to how hard Ronald Koeman’s side push for the deal.

Barcelona are not expected to do any real business until after their presidential elections, with will be held on January 24.

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Mourinho got United more penalty goals – Rashford.

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But Rashford is also adamant that United do not go out looking for penalties or are awarded more than they deserve.

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has revealed that former manager Jose Mourinho taught him to be ‘more savvy’ in the penalty area so that he is more likely to win a penalty if he is fouled by giving the referee no doubt

A player who tries to stay on their feet when fouled in the box can end up disadvantaged and not getting the decision because a foul is not always as clear.

“When you are making runs in behind or dribbling with the ball and if you see a challenge coming, you don’t want to get tackled because you are looking at an opportunity to score a goal,” he said on Thursday night as he accepted the Football Writers’ Association 2021 Tribute Award.

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“There is no way you are going to let somebody take the ball off you, so for me it is a case of us wanting to score goals and the teams wanting to defend goals and penalties can happen. There have been times when we have probably not got penalties.

“When Jose [Mourinho] was manager, there were five or six times where I should have had a penalty and Jose ended up saying to me, ‘If you are not savvy about the way you do it, then you are not going to [get] it.’ After that, we started to get a few penalties.

“It was something, in terms of development, you have to learn and understand.”

Bruno Fernandes attacked by critics for scoring penalty goals.

Jurgen Klopp recently made a pointed jibe that United have had more penalties since 2018 than Liverpool have had in his entire time at the club.

That is true, but this season alone United have had only one more in the Premier League and both have scored five.

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It is actually Leicester that have been awarded far more than anyone else – 10 so far, scoring eight.

Liverpool have also benefitted more from penalties, taken seven additional points as a direct result of scoring from the spot. United over the same period have taken six additional points.

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Bruno Fernandes ‘named’ EPL player of December.

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United have also completed a clean sweep of player and manager of the month awards in the WSL, with Leah Galton and Casey Stoney respectively recognised.

Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes has been named Premier League Player of the Month for December for his performances that helped fire his team up the table.

It is the second month in a row in which Fernandes has scooped the individual prize, while he has also made history as the first player ever to win four times in a single calendar year following previous wins for February and June, as well as obviously November.

“Three goals and four assists was a complete month. Scoring and assisting your team-mates is perfect. I want to achieve other trophies and awards but I’m really happy to make history,” the Portugal international told the Premier League’s official website.

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Initially rested, Fernandes was brought on at half-time in United’s opening game in December and helped the team pull off a 3-1 comeback win after trailing.

Bruno Fernandes

He later got two goals and an assist in a 6-2 thrashing of Leeds in the club’s final game before Christmas, a goal and assist in a 2-2 draw with Leicester on Boxing Day, plus another assist in a 1-0 win over Wolves to end the month and the calendar year.

As a team, United rose from seventh at the end of November to second by the end of December. Now, that momentum has continued into January and they are top of the table.

This weekend, Fernandes and United face second place Liverpool at Anfield in what will now be the biggest game of the 2020/21 season so far.

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“It’s a long way before we can start talking about being champions. We have to keep working. We play against one of the best teams in England and we know what it means to the fans. But the main point is the same: three points,” Fernandes explained.

It is the second month in a row the league leaders have received both awards, with Tobin Heath previously winning for November.

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Tottenham needs to quit ‘old playing style’

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A late ball is pinged into the box as Newcastle search for a dramatic equaliser. The ball ricochets of Eric Dier’s arm in the box and he’s penalised. Callum Wilson scores the spot kick. Two points dropped.

Fabian Bulbuena heads in, Davinson Sanchez heads past Hugo Lloris, and Manuel Lanzini sends a scorcher in off the woodwork. A 3-3 draw with West Ham. Two points dropped.

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Tottenham sit off and off and off at Crystal Palace, eventually resulting in Jeffrey Schlupp scrambling in an equaliser at Selhurst Park. Two points dropped.

We could go on, and we will.

Roberto Firmino, Romain Saiss and Ivan Cavaleiro have also all scored late goals against Tottenham during the last month or so in games Jose Mourinho’s side either could or should have taken points from. That bunch and their goals took another five points off Spurs.

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So, that’s 11 points in total Tottenham have let slip in the last 15 minutes in league games this season. Y’know where they would be in the Premier League had they held on in those matches? First, five points clear of Manchester United, just two games before the halfway point of the season.

Spurs make their fans feel sick numerous times during each campaign, and there are always moments of ‘what if?’, but this term it’s hitting particularly harder. To see the same performance and result time and time again this season is now bordering on infuriating, because it’s clear lessons are not being learned.

Following the 3-3 draw with West Ham, there was a clear switch to a stubborn, deep pattern of play. Tottenham had blown Southampton and Manchester United away in 5-2 and 6-1 victories respectively, highlighting the attacking force in their ranks. We’ve all seen the Harry Kane and Son Heung-min statistics and know what they can do when given free rein.

But while there were initially wins that took Spurs to the top of the Premier League, there have since been moments of predictable downfall.

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During the 1-1 draw with Fulham, as Tottenham dropped deeper and deeper, there was no ignoring that nagging thought in the mind or the swirling feeling in the gut. That feeling was guided by what we’d seen before rather than the trademark pessimism the fan base owns and is renowned for.

The Cottagers grew in confidence with the more possession they enjoyed, and one moment of quality at the expense of Sanchez and Dier – one getting skinned out wide and the other losing an aerial battle – was enough to render the effort in sh*thousing an opponent meaningless.

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It must be knackering for the players, as it’s certainly tiring viewing for those at home.

Since the 3-3 West Ham draw, Tottenham have scored three goals in a league game just once, that being the simple victory over Leeds. They give themselves a brief period to score in the first half of games and look to shut up shop in the second.

The problem with that is it panders to the side’s weaknesses rather than their strengths.

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Is it more sensible to give Kane and Son every chance to express themselves and contribute even more than they already have this season, or rely on Dier and Sanchez to close out a 1-0 win with tonnes of pressure piled on them late on? It’s not really a contest, is it?

Mourinho hinted that the defeat involved problems with ‘individual skills, individual ability’, and he may be right. Neither of the centre back duo would be touted as among the Premier League’s best central defenders right now, even if there’s a dearth of quality options to choose from, but they’re not being given a fair chance with the style of play currently employed.

Fulham were good on Wednesday evening and deserved their point – hell, they could have nicked all three with some more precision in attack – but Tottenham need to be winning at home against teams in the relegation zone. They have to give their creative players more chances in possession and not sit off and allow themselves to be battered while defending. It’s not their strength.

Albert Einstein once said – or may not have, according to history nerds – that ‘the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’. Yet numerous times this season we’ve seen Tottenham put in the same performance, and it continues to halt any suggestion of a title push.

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It’s time for a change in style, before they slip any further down the table. The gap to United can still be reduced to three points with a win at Sheffield United on Sunday, before the Red Devils’ trip to Liverpool.

Fingers crossed that Bramall Lane encounter doesn’t end in a 1-1 draw.

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Arteta speaks on whether Mustafi is leaving.

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However, Arsenal have already loaned out William Saliba to Nice and are set to allow Sokratis Papastathopoulos to leave the club in the coming weeks as well, so Arteta has no plans to shrink his centre-back group any further.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has revealed that German centre-back Shkodran Mustafi will not be leaving the club this month as he is needed to cover for the first team.

Mustafi has been limited to just three Premier League appearances this season – a total of 43 minutes – so it was widely expected that the 28-year-old would be shipped out in some capacity, with Barcelona tipped to push for Mustafi’s signature on loan.

“His future right now is here,” Arteta said. “I’m trying to help. We have Papa that probably is going to leave the club in this window, William that has already gone on loan, so we don’t have that many right now.

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“Gabriel’s been out now for a period, David [Luiz] has been injured, so the situation is completely different to before.”

Arteta was then asked to defend the need to keep five centre-backs on the books (six if you include the injured Calum Chambers). Rob Holding and Pablo Mari are currently shining for the Gunners, but Arteta was adamant that Mustafi may still be handed some opportunities before the season comes to a close.

“Musti came back from a really difficult injury when he got injured at the end of last season,” he added. “Up to that period I think he was doing really well, I think his performances were increasing and getting better and better.

“When he came back it was a moment when we had seven or eight centre-backs so he had to get his performance level up. I think physically he still needed some time, then he started to play some games in Europe which I think he did well as well.

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“And now it’s about when do you make the next step to be a starter, and the reality is that we have to change for different reasons, use different personnel.

“He’s been very close in a few games but now we’ve found as well a partnership that is giving us clean sheets and sometimes when you do that it’s difficult to change, but he’s still in contention.”

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#Newsworthy

Tottenham’s draw against Fulham gets Mourinho ‘yelling’

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Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho was left hugely frustrated after seeing his side held to a 1-1 draw by Fulham and miss the chance to climb up to third in the Premier League.

Spurs took the lead midway through the first half as Harry Kane headed home a wonderful cross from Sergio Reguilon, but some sloppy finishing (and a fantastic showing from Fulham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola) kept the visitors alive.

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Spurs’ profligacy was punished late on as Ivan Cavaleiro responded with a header of his own, and Mourinho was left to field questions about Spurs’ failure to push on and see off yet another opponent.

“Not good enough, but good enough to win,” Mourinho said of Spurs’ performance (via football.london).

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“Not good enough because I think we have to play better in a more consistent way, but good enough to create four or five big chances, good enough to give Hugo in a very quiet evening.
Good enough to win the game but not good enough because we have to play better than we did.

“I understand that in the first half we had chances to kill the game. Some of them are Areola’s responsibility. In the second half we had the biggest chance to kill the game but when you don’t do it you cannot concede goals the way we did do it.

“This is the same story basically since the beginning of the season. We can talk about not killing the game yes, we can speak about that, and today was a clear situation where we could and should have killed the game in the first half but then you go back to the goals that we concede and it’s not also easy to assimilate that.

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“I think there are things [to do with the goals Spurs have conceded] that have to be with the characteristics of players. There are things that are difficult too. There are some things they have to do with organisation of the team, but other things they have to do with individual skills, individual ability, and its as simple as that.”

It was a performance which also left midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg frustrated, with the Dane questioning Spurs’ lack of bravery yet again.

“Very disappointing,” said Hojbjerg (via the Daily Mail). “We have to do better in a couple of aspects of the game. More bravery, more focus in terms of organising the team and being solid as a team.

“That doesn’t mean you have to stand in your own box and defend, it means the team is compact, the team is close to each other. I had a chance, I had to score. There are many details we have to do better.

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“I’m happy there is a game in three days again so we can show a reaction, show we are better than this. We are ready to go again, and of course heads are high.

“There’s a long way to go. We’re still very ambitious. We’re still very solid and very hungry as a team. We’ll keep going.”

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Manchester City eye best replacement for Fernandinho

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Despite this small blot on his record, Locatelli’s passing has come on leaps and bounds this season and a few years of Guardiola’s tutelage should be enough to get him up to scratch.

After nearly a decade of effortless success, Fernandinho’s Manchester City career is finally drawing to a close.

His contract is set to expire at the end of the campaign and even if he does pen fresh terms, one more season is likely all that City can ask of the 35-year-old.

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Despite his declining involvement, he remains an important member of Pep Guardiola’s squad. His absence in midfield last season was harshly felt and it was telling that he recently started in the Manchester derby.

Replacing Fernandinho is not going to be an easy task. City have already tried it once, bringing in Rodri for over £60m two summers ago, but with the Spaniard looking increasingly like a different sort of player, they may be tempted to dip into the market once again.

Recent reports suggest that they are interested in Sassuolo’s Manuel Locatelli. Aged just 23, he has already been capped multiple times for Italy – but is he really what the Citizens are looking for? NoRM analysed all the relevant stats to find out.

The profile.

At his peak during the 2017/2018 season, Fernandinho was unquestionably the best defensive midfielder in the world.

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Operating as City’s deepest midfielder in their famous 4-3-3, he balanced the roles of playmaker, destructive ball winner and anchor man to devastating effect.

If City want to return to their peak, discovering a player capable of doing all of this is necessary. Therefore, we are looking for a midfielder who can not only excel defensively but also possesses significant playmaking ability and positional discipline.

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Does Locatelli fit the bill? Let’s take a look…

Passing.

Following in a rich tradition of Italian deep lying playmakers before him, Locatelli’s is a terrific passer of the ball.

Capable of breaking the lines with short and long passes, his playmaking ability has particularly stood out this season. During the 2019/2020 campaign, he averaged a progressive passing distance of 296.7 yards per 90 minutes, ranking him 155th in Serie A.

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This term, his numbers have spiked dramatically. After 17 league games this season, he was averaging over 400 yards per 90, a figure eerily close to what Fernandinho posted during City’s Centurions campaign.

Locatelli makes 50+ yards switches to Sassuolo’s wide men look ludicrously easy and his ability to drill hard, low passes through the opponent’s midfield is also worth a mention. While he prefers to pluck away in deep positions, he is often involved in the final stages of the attack as well, racking up well over two shot creating actions per 90 after 17 league matches this season.

Of course, while Guardiola has somewhat surrendered his obsession for possession this season, playing in midfield for one of he teams will not always consist of Hollywood passes. In order to move the opposition out of shape, the Citizens’ deepest midfielder is often used as a bounce board for recycling possession.

This is an area that Locatelli may require some refinement in. Last season, he successfully received 95.5% of his passes. An impressive stat – until you realise Fernandinho has averaged closer to 98% when playing in midfield during his recent career. It may seem like a marginal difference but being sloppy in possession can have significant knock-on effects for a team like City.

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Defending.

Few players are capable of making defending look as sexy as Locatelli. His sliding tackles, in which he contorts his legs at near impossible angles, are a highlight, though his reading of the game is equally impressive.

After his first 16 Serie A games this season, he was leading the way for tackles + interceptions, registering 71 in total.

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Even more impressive, especially for a centre-midfielder, is that he tackled 50% of the dribblers that unwisely choose to take him on during this period. Locatelli also featured in the top ten for blocks at the end of gameweek 17.

Like with his progressive passing stats, his defending has dramatically improved this season, providing further evidence of his exciting potential.

If he comes close to matching the same level of performance for the rest of the campaign, Locatelli will not only match Fernadinho’s 2017/2018 numbers, he will easily surpass them.

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The only area in which there might be a few question marks is his defensive discipline. At times Locatelli plays like, well, a 23-year-old out to prove himself, storming into advanced positions to try and inspire his team to victory.

The fact that he is far better than the majority of his teammates partly explains this, however, to fill Fernandinho’s shoes he will need to be develop increased defensive discipline.

What else can Locatelli bring Manchester City?
Manuel Locatelli
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While it may not suit him well to an anchor man role, one of Locatelli’s other strengths is driving forward using his pace and strength.

Not only is he strong physically, he also possesses a wide array of flicks and feints, as well as lightning fast feet, which allows him to evade opposition midfielders in close quarters. This box of tricks makes him a real handful for the opposition and it little surprise that only three out-and-out midfielders had carried the ball for more yards progressive yards than him after 17 Serie A games.

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He has also displayed an appetite for an eye-catching goal during his career so far, most notably when he fired an unstoppable effort past Gianluigi Buffon aged just 18.

These two traits suggest that, as well as being well primed to step into the void left by Fernandinho, Locatelli may also excel in a more advanced role at the Etihad Stadium. This makes snapping him for a reported £30m a complete no brainer for Guardiola’s side.

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#Newsworthy

‘It took City’s solid defense’ to have defeated Brighton.

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Their victory over Brighton was their seventh on the bounce, and their recent success has been built on their newfound solid defensive foundations.

A touch of class from Phil Foden coupled with Manchester City’s newfound defensive solidity proved to be the difference as Manchester City recorded a narrow 1-0 win over Brighton on Wednesday evening.

After two flawless, title-winning campaigns, Pep Guardiola’s side could hardly muster a Premier League title challenge last season, with Liverpool runaway champions – and the Citizens’ vulnerability at the back was a major contributing factor in their failure to defend their crown.

After a slightly unconvincing start to the 2020/21 campaign, City have come into a bit of form of late.

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Ruben Dias – evidence to suggest that if you throw enough money at a problem it might actually go away eventually – and John Stones have forged a really nice central defensive partnership, the pair complimenting each other well. They’re assured, calm and composed – and you don’t get the fear that they’ve got a mistake in them…a concern that Stones has previously been guilty of.

The centre back pairing of Dias and Stones have kept 11 clean sheets in the 14 games they have started together. With City’s backline finally settled and sorted, they have been able to flourish going forward.

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This wasn’t necessarily the case against Brighton. Having turned in sumptuous attacking performances against Chelsea and Manchester United at the beginning of January, City were slightly more subdued going forward on Wednesday evening.

This is in part a credit to Brighton, who were compact, dogged and frustrated Guardiola’s side for large periods of the game.

But this is where the class of Foden shone through.

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The Manchester City youngster has not been used quite as lavishly in the Premier League as had been expected following the departure of David Silva in the summer.

However, Foden had been the beating heart of City’s recent victories over Chelsea and United, and he proved to be the match winner on Wednesday too.

The 20-year-old drifted past Joel Veltman and collected Kevin De Bruyne’s pass on the edge of the box, before getting the better of Adam Webster with a fabulous first touch.

Having singlehandedly created the space inside the area, Foden then found the bottom corner with a low, pin point effort.

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It was a demonstration of Foden’s soaring importance at City, who would not have taken all three points against Brighton were it not for the England international’s moment of quality.

In this season’s most bizarre of title races, sitting four points off top spot with a game in hand, a consistent, solid defensive base and the watch-winning capabilities Foden is a pretty healthy position to be in.

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PFA warns EPL Players over goals Celebration

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The Premier League, Women’s Super League, English Football League and FA Cup – both men’s and women’s – have all had games postponed this season due to the pandemic.

The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) has reminded players to be careful when celebrating goals, as COVID-19 cases increase in England.

“We’ve sent a message to all our members saying: ‘You have done a great job, you’ve kept the game going and you deserve a lot of credit, but it’s important you keep to the protocols,’” PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor told the Times.

“Always abide by what you’re being told by doctors and medical staff with regard to the protocols about keeping your distance and the hygiene that’s required.

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“I understand with the celebration of a goal it’s difficult to just put the ball in the back of the net and act as though nothing has happened.

“It’s that adrenaline rush… that’s what the game is all about, but that’s part and parcel of the process, so they’ll be reminded.”

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Carabao Cup: Tottenham beats Brentford; to face either Man Utd or Man City at Final

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Spurs were heavy favourites against the in-form Championship side and showed their class for much of the match.

Tottenham Hotspur will face either Manchester United or Manchester City in the final of the Carabao Cup at Wembley, after beating Brentford 2-0 on Tuesday evening.

Moussa Sissoko and Heung-min Son netted in each half in what was a routine win.

Although the Championship side started brightly, it was Spurs who took the lead through an unmarked Sissoko headed home Sergio Reguilon’s inch-perfect cross.

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Brentford started the second half brightly, with Toney forcing Serge Aurier to make a crucial block, before the Ivory Coast international very nearly scored himself up the other end but blazed over.

Good work down the left saw Harry Kane feed Tanguy Ndombele and the rejuvenated midfielder played a brilliant pass in behind the Brentford defence for Son, who took a couple of touches and then rifled the ball into the back of the net.

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Liverpool knocks Crystal Palace with 7 tremendous goals

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Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah scored twice at Selhurst Park, while Takumi Minamino, Sadio Mane and Jordan Henderson also netted.

Liverpool ended a three-month wait for an away win in the Premier League in comprehensive fashion with a 7-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace on Saturday to move six points clear at the top of the table.

In an ominous sign for the challengers hoping to dethrone Jurgen Klopp’s men as English champions, the Reds built on the momentum of a last-minute winner that beat second-placed Tottenham in midweek.

Klopp has repeatedly bemoaned having to play Saturday lunchtime kick-offs after Wednesday night games, but his side suffered no hangover from their exertions against Spurs.

Salah was given a rare rest from the start, but his Japanese replacement Minamino took just three minutes to open the scoring when he was teed up by Mane for his first Premier League goal

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Palace had chances to get back into the game as Fabinho’s intervention just took Wilfried Zaha’s dangerous cross away from Jordan Ayew.

Ayew then wasted a glorious chance as he pounced on an uncharacteristic error from Fabinho, but tried to tee up Zaha rather than going for goal himself and played the ball behind the Ivorian.

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At the other end, the visitors were ruthless as Mane ended his longest goal drought as a Liverpool player at nine games with an excellent turn and low finish from Firmino’s pass.

A clinical counter-attack made it three before the break as this time Firmino latched onto Andy Robertson’s cross before calmly flicking the ball beyond Vicente Guaita.

Liverpool had not won in their previous five league games and have already dropped more points this season than they had prior to sealing a first league title in 30 years last season.

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However, Klopp’s men have so far survived an injury crisis and with more players returning to fitness are now in pole position to defend their title.

Trent Alexander-Arnold is one of those to have returned in recent weeks after a month out and the England international’s pass was swept home by Henderson from outside the box to make it 4-0.

Klopp then took the chance to give Mane a rest, but the Senegalese voiced his frustration at being removed to be replaced by Salah.

The Egyptian played his part for the fifth with the pass into Firmino, who has now scored as many goals in his last two games than his previous 27 Premier League appearances.

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Salah then moved to the top of the Premier League goalscoring charts this season with a late double by heading home from a corner before bending an incredible effort into the top corner.

Victory ensured Liverpool will lead the league at Christmas for a third successive season and on this evidence will take some catching in the new year.

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#Newsworthy

Aston Villa disgrace Arsenal in 0-3 away win.

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Aston Villa went up a gear in the second half with Jack Grealish pulling the strings in midfield and it was no surprise when Watkins headed home in the 72nd minute.

Aston Villa returned to winning ways in stunning fashion as Ollie Watkins scored twice in a 3-0 away thumping of an abject Arsenal in drizzly north London on Sunday.

The visitors had already seen a John McGinn goal ruled out for a harsh offside decision when Bukayo Saka, under pressure from Trezeguet, put into his own goal after 25 minutes.

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Watkins struck again three minutes later after a rapid counter-attack to seal the points.

Two consecutive defeats had halted Aston Villa’s early season charge but they moved back up to sixth with 15 points from eight games.

Inconsistent Arsenal are down in 11th with 12 points after four wins and four defeats so far.


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I am disappointed – Arteta speaks after Arsenal’s defeat.

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Speaking after the match, Arteta discussed an array of matters having now seen his side gain nine points from their opening five league matches of the 2020/21 season.

There were chances for Bukayo Saka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in a tight affair, but the contest was settled by Raheem Sterling’s first half strike.

While the 1-0 scoreline demonstrates a vast improvement from the club’s most recent trip to face City, the end result was nevertheless the same. Having had chances in the match, Arteta claimed he was proud of the performance, but was disappointed to see his side play so deep.

“Upset obviously not to get anything from the game the way the game went because I felt that we kept growing and growing and having more belief that we could actually get something from it,” he said.

“At the same time I’m extremely proud about the way we played individually and collectively to put the performance that we put in tonight in this stadium. It’s not an easy thing to do. I think we had a real go.

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“It’s upsetting to see your team so deep. In the second half we were really aggressive, we played in the opponents’ half, they had a lot of issues to get out of our pressure. We could have created more, I think, in the final third.

Much of the talk pre-match centered around whether deadline day signing Thomas Partey would jump straight into Arteta’s starting lineup, but the Spaniard opted to keep the £45m addition on the bench for the Etihad showdown. On the topic, Arteta insisted it was too soon to thrust the Ghanaian into action.

“We will see how quickly we can make it with him but as well we have to respect that process and that time for him because he only trained a day really with us,” he said.

“It’s a lot of new information, it’s a completely different game model for him to understand. We have to respect a little bit that. When he came on he looked good.”

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It looked as if the Gunners would be handed a lifeline late in the first half, as Kyle Walker’s high foot came within inches of connecting with Gabriel Magalhaes’ head in the penalty box.

Hoping for a VAR review, referee Chris Kavanagh opted to blow the whistle for half time seconds late, indicating no second look had taken place.

“You need everything to go your way to get a win here and obviously when you have the three or four big chances we had you have to put them away because you know that in your box that’s going to be the case,” Arteta concluded.

“It’s that situation, I’ve seen it back, I just ask for the refs to watch it back and I don’t think they checked it because it took two seconds for the whistle to go.

“I am disappointed with that.”


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EPL Giant, Man Utd signs Cavani, Telles on last day

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Manchester United have confirmed the signing of Edinson Cavani, Uruguay striker, on a free transfer on deadline day.

The former Napoli striker had been without a club since the expiration of his contract at Paris Saint Germain (PSG) in June.

The Uruguay international has signed a one-year deal at Old Trafford and United have the option to extend his stay for a further season.

“Manchester United is delighted to announce the signing of striker Edinson Cavani. The Uruguay international joins on a one-year contract with the option to extend for a further year,” the club said in a statement on Monday night.

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Cavani has won six Ligue 1 titles with PSG and lifted the Copa America with his country back in 2011.

“Manchester United is one of the greatest clubs in the world, so it is a real honour to be here. I’ve worked really hard during the time off and I feel eager to compete and represent this incredible club,” he said.

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“I have played in front of some of the most passionate supporters in football during my career and I know that it will be the same in Manchester. I cannot wait to experience the Old Trafford atmosphere, when it is safe for the fans to return.

“I look forward to continuing to write my little story inside the book of football and I know that’s why my focus has to remain the same as always – work, work, work. I have had a conversation with the manager and this has increased my desire to wear this beautiful shirt.”

Cavani is Manchester United’s third signing on transfer deadline day following the capture of Alex Telles, a left-back from FC Porto for £15 million, and 18-year-old Amad Traore for an undisclosed fee.

The 27-year-old Brazilian left back has signed a contract until June 2024, with the option of a further year.

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“To join a club with the prestige of Manchester United is a huge honour,” said Telles.

“You have to work hard to get to this moment in your career and now I am coming to this club, I can promise that I will give everything in my heart to be a success here.

“I won many trophies at FC Porto and I want to continue that at United. The manager has a clear plan and direction for this team and I can’t wait to pull on the famous shirt.”

Traore, one of the most promising young attackers in world football, is expected to link up with his new club in January.


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Premier League fixtures 2020/21 revealed

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2020/21 Premier League fixtures revealed: Liverpool vs Leeds on the opening day

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Officially: De Bruyne named EPL best player of the Season

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Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has been named Premier League Player of the Season for the 2019/20 campaign.

The Belgian playmaker beat Liverpool trio Jordan Henderson, Sadio Mane and Trent Alexander-Arnold, Southampton striker Danny Ings, Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope and Leicester’s Golden Boot winner Jamie Vardy to the award.

De Bruyne was the only Manchester City player to be nominated for the prize after they relinquished their Premier League title to Liverpool following two seasons as champions.

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But even if City’s domestic campaign fell short of their previous lofty standards, De Bruyne enjoyed his most productive season since arriving at the Etihad in 2015.

As well as recording 20 assists – equalling the league record set by Thierry Henry in 2003 – he also scored 13 times to help City finish as the division’s highest scorers for the third successive season.

Liverpool’s Alexander-Arnold was named Young Player of the Season, while his manager Jurgen Klopp won the award for Premier League Manager of the Season.

Klopp held off competition from Frank Lampard, Chris Wilder, and Brendan Rodgers to win the award.

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