Manny Pacquiao is a man on a mission as he attempts to reclaim the WBA 'super' welterweight belt he was riled to relinquish.

The Filipino superstar tackles Cuban defector Yordenis Ugas in Las Vegas in a title bout on Saturday night, gently teasing it might be his last fight.

That seems unlikely, given the 42-year-old expressed such an obvious hunger for more success in the pre-fight news conference.

But Pacquiao might have to think seriously about his future should Ugas spring a huge surprise after being called into the main event at late notice.

Pacquiao was meant to face Errol Spence Jr, but the American withdrew from the bout with a torn retina in his left eye.

Spence's stand-in Ugas was promoted to be recognised as the WBA's champion when Pacquiao was controversially stripped of his title in January, relegated to champion-in-recess status due to inactivity.

Now raring to go, two years since he last fought, with COVID-19 pandemic factors largely the cause of his absence, Pacquiao said he "felt bad" about Spence's setback.

"But it's a good thing that Ugas wanted to challenge me in the ring, and a good thing we can settle the dispute about the WBA belt. It will be good for us to talk in the ring, settle down in the ring on Saturday," Pacquiao told a news conference.

"I feel young. I'm just happy doing this. Boxing is my passion and I'm enjoying doing the training camp and excited to undergo the sacrifices and discipline especially to prepare for a fight like this.

"The coaching staff were trying to stop me, because I wanted to do more but they told me I might get over-trained."

Speaking at Friday's weigh-in, Pacquiao added: "I don't want to be taking this fight lightly. I don't want to be over-confident for this fight, but I want to make sure that tomorrow night we get a victory. I will do my best. I will give my best for my fans and of course the honour of my country."

Ugas, who won a bronze medal for Cuba at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, majorly troubled Shawn Porter in a WBC title fight in March 2019, and he wants to show there is merit in him owning the WBA belt.

Pacquiao feels disenchanted by the WBA's decision, saying it was "not good" that he had been stripped of that title out of the ring.

"Let's see if he will get the belt on Saturday. Both of us are champions," Pacquiao said this week. "It might be my last fight or there's more, one at a time. That's my answer to the question of whether it's my last fight."

Ahead of the tussle as the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Ugas said: "This has been a long road for me. It's a short-notice fight but I'm thankful for this opportunity and I'm ready.

"I have come to prepare for 12 hard rounds. If this is the final fight that the legend Manny Pacquiao has, [I want to show] that he fought against a guy who brought his best and who is a world-class fighter."

RECENT HISTORY

Pacquiao has had a busy time of it, but not so much in the boxing ring. The coronavirus crisis has kept him occupied in his day job as a senator in the Philippines, where some expect him to make a bid to become president next year, a move that would surely end his boxing career. Pacquiao has made allegations of corruption in government, which have been denied, as he pulls no punches in his second career.

'PacMan' last fought against Keith Thurman at the MGM Grand in July 2019, where Ugas won on the undercard. Ugas has since had a seventh-round stoppage win over Mike Dallas Jr and a split-decision victory against Abel Ramos.

TALE OF THE TAPE

MANNY PACQUIAO

Age: 42
Height: 5ft 5.5ins (166cm) 
Weight: 146 lbs
Reach: 67 ins
Professional record: 62-7-2 (39 KOs) 
Major career titles: Eight-division world champion

YORDENIS UGAS

Age: 35
Height: 5ft 9ins (175cm) 
Weight: 147 lbs
Reach: 69 ins
Professional record: 26-4 (12 KOs) 
Major career titles: Holder of WBA 'super' welterweight belt

Inter announced the exit of another key figure behind their Scudetto success as influential technical chief Gabriele Oriali was "relieved of his duties".

Oriali, who has been working in the same role with Euro 2020 champions Italy, departs Inter three months after head coach Antonio Conte walked away from the Serie A winners.

Former Italy midfielder Oriali, 68, who was a World Cup winner in 1982, returned for a second spell on the Inter backroom staff when Conte was appointed two years ago.

At the time, Inter said Oriali was "back where he belongs", yet the two parties will now go their separate ways.

There have been reports in Italy that Oriali may follow Conte to his next job and serve again on his staff.

Conte was linked with Tottenham soon after his Inter exit, which came just weeks after the Nerazzurri won the Scudetto for the first time in 11 years, but he has yet to take up a new appointment.

Inter said in a statement on Friday: "FC Internazionale Milano can confirm that as of today Gabriele Oriali has been relieved of his duties as first team technical manager. The club would like to thank him for his work and wishes him all the best for his future endeavours."

The brevity of that announcement offered no explanation for Oriali's departure, yet with a new coach coming in, in Simone Inzaghi, it was perhaps inevitable that changes behind the scenes would follow.

Inter vice-president Javier Zanetti, who was a player at the club when Oriali previously served from 1999 to 2010, separately issued a glowing tribute, striking a different tone to Inter's statement.

 

On Instagram, Zanetti described Oriali as "one of us" and said: "Inter fans do not forget those who leave a mark in the history of this club, just as I cannot forget the days, the work, the moments shared with Lele [Oriali] and Antonio Conte in a long, tiring ride, full of obstacles but extraordinarily successful.

"All this with one goal every day: the good of Inter, ahead of anything else. Do not forget the days at work with Antonio Conte for a group that will remain in the history of Inter with an indelible championship.

"The story of Lele Oriali tells it: with great regret we lose a winner, a real man and above all a great Inter fan. A huge hug to Lele and a huge 'good luck' for the next challenges, the new goals. Inter is and will always be your home."

Thomas Tuchel insists "the door is always open" for Chelsea's academy players to make an impact in the first team, with Trevoh Chalobah the latest example of a young star successfully making the transition.

Tuchel spoke at length about Chalobah on Friday ahead of Chelsea's game against London rivals Arsenal.

Chalobah, who is reportedly to be offered a new contract, "is a guy we absolutely want to keep", Tuchel said.

The 22-year-old joined the Blues at the age of eight but had never featured for the senior side until this season when he was handed his chance under Tuchel following a loan with Lorient.

Through two games, Chalobah is one of only three Chelsea players to feature in every minute for the European champions, scoring a fine goal against Crystal Palace and securing a place in the squad for this campaign.

The defender, who can also play in midfield, is merely the latest example of an academy graduate succeeding, though.

Former coach Frank Lampard was credited with bringing through a number of homegrown stars, as Mason Mount played the most games (80) and minutes (5,868) and Tammy Abraham scored the most goals (29) in all competitions during his tenure.

But that trend has continued since Tuchel's appointment, as no Chelsea player has featured more often than Reece James (30 appearances) while Mount's six goals lead the way.

Abraham has left the club, as has Marc Guehi, while Billy Gilmour has gone out on loan, but Chalobah has joined James, Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in Tuchel's squad.

Asked if there was the opportunity for others to follow, Tuchel replied: "Always. Always, always, always. The door is always open. I love it and I truly believe that the supporters love it.

"The mix between big names, players from abroad, big personalities and famous players, the mix with academy guys, this is what makes the club special.

"When you look in the photo how we raised the trophy in the Champions League, there are so many boys in the academy on this photo. That makes it special and this is how it has to be. It is always about the mix.

"At the same time, there are no gifts on this kind of level. You have to earn your way, you have to overcome obstacles, you have to fight hard for it.

"If you want to make it at Chelsea, it's so much harder than in most of the clubs in Europe. It's simply like this, it's a reality.

"We cannot start to be political and prefer somebody from the academy over another player if he does not provide the same level, because in the end we are here to win football games and to push the group to the highest level.

"But this is what Trevoh did and I'm more than happy to have him in the squad, more than happy about how he managed to make his way through to first-team football at this kind of level.

"He joined the academy at I think eight years old, and this is simply fantastic.

"I will always be happy to push players like this, but you have to take your heart into your hands and be brave and courageous enough to take responsibility when it's there. We will never hold you down.

"If you come from the academy, if you can produce, if you are a nice guy, like Reecey, like Mason, like Trevoh, like Callum, we will never stop pushing you. We like it and I truly believe it has to be like this.

"But we cannot go through the door, we can just open it and show them the way. The guys have to go through it themselves."

Mikel Arteta does not believe the return of Martin Odegaard will hamper Emile Smith Rowe's progress, instead believing the move is important to "protect" Arsenal's number 10.

Arsenal announced two new signings on Friday, with Odegaard followed to Emirates Stadium by goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

Odegaard is already familiar with his surroundings, though, having spent the second half of the 2020-21 season on loan from Real Madrid.

During that time, he started just eight times alongside Smith Rowe in all competitions, although Arsenal won five of those matches.

Now back as a permanent signing, there could be concern Odegaard will limit opportunities for Smith Rowe, who has penned an improved contract and taken on a more prominent role for the new season following interest from Aston Villa.

While the pair are similar players, Odegaard is further ahead in his development and had a greater impact in the final third last term.

He created 2.1 chances and had 1.6 shots per 90 minutes, while Smith Rowe forged 1.7 opportunities and had 0.8 attempts.

But this issue was put to Arteta and he was not concerned, citing Smith Rowe's relative inexperience having made his senior league bow with RB Leipzig in 2019 – five years after Odegaard broke into the Stromsgodset side as a 15-year-old.

"It's the contrary," the Gunners manager said. "What we want is to have Emile in a better place to develop him and have alternatives in that position.

"They are players that can play perfectly together – they showed that last year – and we cannot rely on one player. We already lost a lot of creative players.

"We cannot rely on one player with all the things he showed us, because Emile has never played 50 games at that level yet in his career.

"We will need to protect him and, for sure, we need other players that are able to do that as well."

Mohamed Salah does not need extra motivation to break records and achieve potential legendary status, according to Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp.

The Reds cruised to a 3-0 victory against Norwich in their Premier League opener on Sunday, Salah scoring one and assisting twice.

His 74th-minute curler marked his fifth consecutive goal on the opening day of a Premier League season, a feat never achieved before.

As Klopp's men prepare for Saturday against Burnley, who ended Liverpool's 68-game unbeaten run at Anfield last term, Salah nears another Premier League milestone.

The Egypt forward has scored 98 goals in 159 Premier League games, with only four players ever reaching 100 in their first 160 matches in the competition – Alan Shearer (124), Harry Kane (141), Sergio Aguero (147) and Thierry Henry (160).

Klopp, though, says his part in motivating Salah to achieve such accolades is limited.

"I don't have to," Klopp responded when asked if he needed to encourage Salah. "He knows that, he is aware of all these things.

"He enjoys the time here. I didn't know when he broke the record last week. When he plays as hard as he does, he comes in situations that he can score.

"He is very hungry for goals. There is no doubt about that. With his quality, he can set records in assists as well.

"I have never told him that he could be the, or one of the biggest Liverpool legends ever. That is nothing you go for. Records, yes, but becoming a legend… it [is for] after your career is over. Hopefully, he can stay like this."

Since Salah's return to the Premier League in June 2017, no Liverpool player has created more chances than his 252, while only Andy Robertson can boast as many as his 35 assists.

In the same time period, no top-flight player can match his 96 goals for the Reds, Tottenham's Harry Kane eight goals behind in second.

Indeed, Salah ran riot at Carrow Road as he was involved in nine of Liverpool's 19 shots against - no player was involved in more of their side's attempts on matchday one.

While the 29-year-old continues to cause chaos on the pitch, there is still speculation off the field with his current contract due to expire in 2023.

Asked if there was any progress with a new deal, Klopp said: "I am involved with pretty much everything in the club. We don't speak about these things.

"From the first day he came back, he has been absolutely great. We are all professionals. There are talks and there are talks.

"When there is a decision, we will tell you. Until then, it is only important how the parts work together. Two years left, you can imagine that there are talks."

Chelsea star Kai Havertz has made a €200,000 donation to launch a German Red Cross flood crisis fund after being stunned by the extent of the tragedy.

The North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate regions were severely affected in July, with over 180 deaths recorded and shocking levels of structural damage caused.

Now Germany international Havertz, who hails from Aachen in North-Rhine Westfalia, has expressed sorrow and concern at his homeland being susceptible to such devastating events.

Havertz will also auction off special edition Nike football boots to boost financial support for the relief effort, he said, with 100 pairs produced. He is also urging others to make cash donations to the fund.

The 22-year-old told Bild he spoke to the German Red Cross about what could be done, saying: "It is important for me to show my support to people: I grew up in the area.

"The pictures of the flood were just terrible to look at. The disaster was only a few weeks ago, but something has already disappeared from the consciousness of many people, you don't really know how those affected are doing there.

"That's why it was important to me to help people. Even if the water may be gone: there are still many without electricity, without a roof over their heads, without clothes. People just lost everything. Friends of friends are affected, the whole thing is very close, tangible."

Extreme levels of rainfall led to the flooding which also affected other countries in central Europe, with Belgium among those hit hard.

Havertz, who scored the winning goal in last season's Champions League final against Manchester City, said it was easy to allow such shocking events to be overtaken in the public eye as the cycle of news moves to the next major story. But his view is that with the flooding, everything should be done to avoid this happening while many continue to suffer.

Ahead of his team's match at Arsenal on Sunday, Havertz hopes his rallying call for the German floods cause is heard.

The former Bayer Leverkusen attacker added: "When natural disasters happen, you notice it and pay attention for a moment, but maybe lose sight of it again.

"The natural disaster on my doorstep changed my thinking. This is not a hurricane in Florida, it happened here, in the middle of Germany."

Ash Barty and Angelique Kerber set up a blockbuster Western and Southern Open semi-final – but Petra Kvitova suffered a fitness scare ahead of the US Open.

World number one Barty won 6-2 6-4 against French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, who she also defeated in the fourth round during her Wimbledon title run last month.

Kerber and Kvitova then battled it out for the right to tackle Barty in the last four, but a quarter-final that was building momentum ended prematurely when two-time Wimbledon winner Kvitova found a recent stomach problem too troublesome.

Kerber was 6-4 3-3 ahead in the contest, having recovered from being an early break down in the second set, getting her game together as 31-year-old Kvitova began to suffer.

During an injury timeout, which Kvitova called after the fifth game of the second set, the Czech received a massage to her abdominal region and played on briefly, before walking up to the net to concede the match.

It remains to be seen whether the setback in Cincinnati might have consequences for her involvement at Flushing Meadows, with the US Open due to begin on August 30.

Kvitova wrote on Twitter minutes after coming off court: "I stayed out there as long as I could. I have been struggling with a stomach issue for several days and unfortunately couldn't finish the match today. Good luck Angie - sorry to end it that way - and can't wait for the next battle with you."

Kerber said in an on-court interview: "Of course, this is not the way you would want to win the match. I hope Petra will recover as fast as possible and be ready for the US Open.

"I know she's a big fighter and fights until the last points, so I hope she is not too bad and hope she is fine really, really soon."

Kerber has now won 14 of her last 15 matches, with the exception being her Wimbledon semi-final defeat to Barty.

Barty got through in a more routine manner on Friday, albeit having to battle from a break down in the second set against the fast-rising Krejcikova, who has shot up from 65th in the world to a career high of number 10 this year.

Barty said: "Barbora served exceptionally well early in that second set and was able to take advantage of a service game of mine where I just hit too many second serves.

"I wanted to try and get a little bit more positive on her service games and then try to get myself in the points a little bit more. I'm happy to run away with that one in the end."

Mina Harigae and Georgia Hall shared the lead after the second round of the Women's Open at Carnoustie.

American Harigae carded a brilliant 67 on Friday to surge up the leaderboard, with three birdies in her first six holes setting up a strong day.

The 31-year-old had missed the cut in four of her seven majors on United Kingdom soil but ensured she would go into the weekend at the summit after a second successive birdie at the formidable 18th.

She sat alongside Hall at seven under par, the Englishwoman having shot a 69 despite a double bogey at the par-four 15th.

"I'm a much better golfer the last 12 months, I've been playing well," Harigae said. "I just feel like I'm in a good place.

"It was definitely a little softer out there and I thought it was a little breezier than when I played yesterday afternoon.

"So I didn't think it was easy conditions, but also I know it can be a lot tougher."

Kim Sei-young, one of the three to share the overnight lead after round one, was just a stroke further back, level with Lizette Salas.

World number one Nelly Korda and Madelene Sagstrom, who had matched Kim at five under on Thursday, each fell three strokes behind the leaders after second-round 73s.

The best round of the day belonged to Megan Khang, who made the cut at one under after a stunning round of 66 that included five birdies from the 11th to the 18th – a spectacular improvement on her opening-round 77.

Arsenal have completed the signing of goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale from Championship club Sheffield United for a reported £24million plus add-ons.

Ramsdale made England's squad at Euro 2020 after Dean Henderson had to pull out through injury, though it was Jordan Pickford who played every minute of the Three Lions' campaign.

The 23-year-old joined Sheffield United in 2020 after going down with Bournemouth, but he suffered a consecutive Premier League relegation as the Blades finished bottom last season.

However, Mikel Arteta sees Ramsdale as genuine competition for Bernd Leno, and perhaps a long-term replacement for the Germany international, too.

Ramsdale was left out of the Blades' squad for Wednesday's game against West Brom. Slavisa Jokanovic had previously insisted Ramsdale was not for sale, though ahead of the Baggies match, conceded a deal could happen if the club's valuation was met.

Arsenal confirmed on their official website on Friday that he has signed a long-term deal at Emirates Stadium, with the fee reportedly set to rise to up to £30m if performance-based add-ons are met.

The Gunners, who lost their opening game of the season at newly promoted Brentford, have now made five signings in total this window, with Ramsdale joining Ben White, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Nuno Tavares and playmaker Martin Odegaard, whose move from Real Madrid was made permanent on Friday. 

 

IS RAMSDALE THE RIGHT FIT?

Ramsdale conceded 63 goals in 38 league appearances last season, the third-most in the league behind Crystal Palace's Vicente Guaita (64) and West Brom's Sam Johnstone (74).

In total, Ramsdale faced 546 shots on his goal (including blocks), with only Johnstone (579) facing more. 

Ramsdale made 147 saves, second-most in the competition – again, trailing Johnstone (166) – registering a save percentage of 69.86 per cent, above the average of 69.01 per cent.

Leno, Arsenal's current first-choice goalkeeper, ended the season with a save percentage of 69.42, with the former Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper stopping 86 attempts in total. He made one error leading to a goal, compared with Ramsdale's two.

A key facet to Arsenal's play under Arteta has been their intent to play out from the back, a tactic that has not always borne fruit.

In a more direct style of play at Sheffield United, Ramsdale attempted 1,019 passes – ranking fifth in the league for goalkeepers – though his completion rate of 43.38 per cent was the second-worst of any shot-stopper to play over 20 matches.

Ramsdale was only marginally better when it came to passes in his own half, completing 76.78 per cent of such attempts, way behind Leno's 94.27 per cent, while the German had a 76.83 per cent accuracy overall.

The numbers would suggest Ramsdale may well be able to hold his own when it comes to shot-stopping, if not represent a slight improvement on Leno, though if Arteta insists on a possession game, then there is much work to be done.

Arsenal have completed the signing of goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale from Championship club Sheffield United for a reported £24million plus add-ons.

Ramsdale made England's squad at Euro 2020 after Dean Henderson had to pull out through injury, though it was Jordan Pickford who played every minute of the Three Lions' campaign.

The 23-year-old joined Sheffield United in 2020 after going down with Bournemouth, but he suffered a consecutive Premier League relegation as the Blades finished bottom last season.

However, Mikel Arteta sees Ramsdale as genuine competition for Bernd Leno, and perhaps a long-term replacement for the Germany international, too.

Ramsdale was left out of the Blades' squad for Wednesday's game against West Brom. Slavisa Jokanovic had previously insisted Ramsdale was not for sale, though ahead of the Baggies match, conceded a deal could happen if the club's valuation was met.

Arsenal confirmed on their official website on Friday that he has signed a long-term deal at Emirates Stadium, thought to run through until the end of 2024-25, with the fee reportedly set to rise to up to £30m if performance-based add-ons are met.

The Gunners, who lost their opening game of the season at newly promoted Brentford, have now made five signings in total this window, with Ramsdale joining Ben White, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Nuno Tavares and playmaker Martin Odegaard, whose move from Real Madrid was made permanent on Friday. 

IS RAMSDALE THE RIGHT FIT?

Ramsdale conceded 63 goals in 38 league appearances last season, the third-most in the league behind Crystal Palace's Vicente Guaita (64) and West Brom's Sam Johnstone (74).

In total, Ramsdale faced 546 shots on his goal (including blocks), with only Johnstone (579) facing more. 

Ramsdale made 147 saves, second-most in the competition – again, trailing Johnstone (166) – registering a save percentage of 69.86 per cent, above the average of 69.01 per cent.

Leno, Arsenal's current first-choice goalkeeper, ended the season with a save percentage of 69.42, with the former Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper stopping 86 attempts in total. He made one error leading to a goal, compared with Ramsdale's two.

A key facet to Arsenal's play under Arteta has been their intent to play out from the back, a tactic that has not always borne fruit.

In a more direct style of play at Sheffield United, Ramsdale attempted 1,019 passes – ranking fifth in the league for goalkeepers – though his completion rate of 43.38 per cent was the second-worst of any shot-stopper to play over 20 matches.

Ramsdale was only marginally better when it came to passes in his own half, completing 76.78 per cent of such attempts, way behind Leno's 94.27 per cent, while the German had a 76.83 per cent accuracy overall.

The numbers would suggest Ramsdale may well be able to hold his own when it comes to shot-stopping, if not represent a slight improvement on Leno, though if Arteta insists on a possession game, then there is much work to be done.

Primoz Roglic held on to La Roja but saw his Vuelta a Espana lead cut to eight seconds as Michael Storer claimed victory on stage seven.

The first mountain stage of this year's Vuelta promised to shake things up in the general classification pack but two-time defending champion Roglic retained his place in pole position.

However, his lead was trimmed down by 17 seconds in total, with Felix Grossschartner - who finished one minute and 32 seconds behind Storer - closing the gap.

Enric Mas, who was in second, stayed 25 seconds back from Roglic.

The day belonged to Storer, however, with the Team DSM rider powering to victory on the breakaway, finishing 21 seconds clear of Carlos Verona up the Balcon de Alicante, the last of six categorised climbs on Friday.

Storer's aggression paid off with 4km remaining when he countered an attack from Movistar's Verona, who crossed the line 38 seconds ahead of third-placed Pavel Sivakov, who also clinched the lead in the climbers' classification.

Verona's effort capped a difficult day for Movistar, who lost Alejandro Valverde with around 40km of the route remaining.

The Spaniard, who started the day fourth overall, attacked on the Puerto El Colloa, attempting to put his GC rivals onto the back foot, only to spin out of control on a difficult right-hand turn.

Valverde, the 2009 Vuelta champion, crashed through a gap in the barriers and onto the lip of the hillside, though fortunately managed to avoid tumbling over it.

He attempted to carry on after receiving treatment, but could not last and is out of the tour.

STAGE RESULT

1. Michael Storer (Team DSM) 4:10:13
2. Carlos Verona (Movistar) +0:22
3. Pavel Sivakov (INEOS Grenadiers) +0:59
4. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) +1:16
5. Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) +1:24

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 25:18:35
2. Felix Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:08
3. Enric Mas (Movistar) +0:25

Points Classification

1. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) 131
2. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 130
3. Magnus Cort (EF Education-Nippo) 67

King of the Mountains

1. Pavel Sivakov (INEOS-Grenadiers) 16
2. Michael Storer (Team DSM) 12
3. Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) 11

What's next?

It is back to the flats for stage eight, with a sprint finish into La Manga del Mar Menor rounding off the first week of action.

Chelsea star Christian Pulisic has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss Sunday's London derby against Arsenal.

The setback for the 22-year-old attacking midfielder comes less than a week after he scored in the Blues' 3-0 win against Crystal Palace on the Premier League's opening weekend.

Pulisic also helped Chelsea last week lift the UEFA Super Cup, netting in the penalty shoot-out as Thomas Tuchel's Champions League winners edged out Villarreal for more silverware.

On Friday, Pulisic posted in an Instagram story: "Hi all, unfortunately I tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week.

"Thankfully I'm fully vaccinated and I have no symptoms so far. Can't wait to get back in action! Than you for your support."

Chelsea boss Tuchel confirmed United States international Pulisic would miss the short trip to Emirates Stadium, saying: "With Christian, it's unfortunately very easy to explain. 

"He had a positive test and needs to follow the protocols so he won't be available for the game."

The news follows Arsenal confirming Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette were absent against Brentford last Friday after testing positive for coronavirus.

It remains to be seen whether the Gunners forwards are fit and available to face Chelsea this weekend, with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta saying it was a "very uncertain" situation.

"They had some tough days. Laca still hasn't trained so he's not been very good," Arteta told a news conference.

Simone Inzaghi did not expect to be without Romelu Lukaku heading into his first season as Inter head coach.

Lukaku, who scored 24 Serie A goals last season to help Inter win their first league title since 2010, was sold to Chelsea last week for a reported £97.5million (€115m).

Inter needed to sell players as they deal with financial difficulties compounded by the coronavirus pandemic, and they had already sold full-back Achraf Hakimi to Paris Saint-Germain.

Meanwhile, Lukaku's former strike partner Lautaro Martinez has been linked with a move to London as well, with Tottenham reportedly agreeing a fee for the Argentina forward, though that move seems likely to depend on Harry Kane's future.

In the wake of Lukaku's departure, Inter have bolstered their squad with the arrival of experienced striker Edin Dzeko, from Roma, and Netherlands right-back Denzel Dumfries, who has arrived from PSV. The Nerazzurri had previously signed Hakan Calhanoglu on a free transfer from rivals Milan.

Inter start their title defence against Genoa on Saturday and, ahead of his first league game in charge, former Lazio coach Inzaghi revealed the club did all they could to keep Lukaku, who is poised to make his second Chelsea debut on Sunday against Arsenal.

"It was an unexpected and unplanned departure," Inzaghi told a news conference on Friday, also confirming Inter are in the market for another forward.

"It is normal that I, [chief executive Giuseppe] Marotta and [sporting director Piero] Ausilio tried to convince him.

"In the week I trained him, I understood why he is so decisive and loved. When he decided, he came to tell me honestly that Chelsea was his dream. We talked to him but the choice was made by the boy. With Dzeko and another signing, we will cover his departure."

 

Asked about Inter's ambitions for 2021-22, Inzaghi said: "I think that Inter's goals are certainly ambitious.

"I don't like making proclamations, but what will make the difference will be the motivations of the boys: during the retreat they showed me that they have a lot of them, I'm confident.

"We will do everything to ensure that things go the right way. It will obviously be a season with difficulties, but the goal in all of us is the match against Genoa.

"There is an excellent relationship with the club, a team level is still missing something but so far I am happy with the players who have arrived.

"We know that there have been some sales, such as that of Hakimi, that of Lukaku and the problem of [Christian] Eriksen. Dzeko would have been my request regardless of Lukaku's situation. Dumfries will need to settle down."

Kavian Kerr won Jamaica’s second medal at the WorldU20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya today when he claimed the bronze medal in the long jump competition.

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