Arsenal were denied a "clear penalty" in their 1-0 defeat to Sheffield United and did not deserve to lose the match, according to boss Unai Emery.

Lys Mousset scored the only goal in Monday's Premier League clash at Bramall Lane to earn the hosts a famous victory on his first league start.

The 23-year-old profited from some slack defending from a corner to punish Arsenal, who had previously gone eight matches unbeaten in all competitions.

Defeat for Arsenal cost them the chance to move up to third in the table, but Emery felt his side were denied an obvious penalty for John Egan's shirt pull on Sokratis inside the opening seven minutes.

"We did not deserve to lose and we conceded a lot of corners in the first half and they scored in one action," he told Sky Sports. "Above all, we have to improve by not allowing balls like that. 

"When we have our opportunities to attack, we created more chances than them but did not score today. 

"We deserved more from the game but they have conceded the least goals in the Premier League and it was going to be difficult if they scored first. We tried in the second half, created three good chances to score.

"There were two key moments in the match - one was their goal, and the second was a very clear penalty for us for a foul on Sokratis. It was very clear."

Bukayo Saka was later cautioned for a perceived dive inside the box under pressure from Enda Stevens, five minutes after Mousset's winning goal from close range.

"Saka drives forward but I do not know if it was a penalty," Emery said. "It is a hard action for a yellow card. With VAR, the foul on Sokratis should have been reviewed. It was clear but we have to accept it.

"We did not deserve to lose and we will think about where we can improve. When we were losing 1-0, we controlled the game and defended well but they had a lot of players in their box so it was difficult to achieve attacks."

Arsenal are now winless in four league games away from home since the opening weekend and Emery added: "We have challenges in each match. 

"Tonight we had a big challenge to get the three points. We are playing some young players who are taking experience but the most important thing is to win. The result is one thing, but we can analyse positively."

In over a year at the club, it's difficult to see what impact Unai Emery has actually had on Arsenal.

Even before kick-off at Bramall Lane, there was a certain aura around the contest that had Arsenal's struggles on Monday looking entirely predictable.

Firstly, the Gunners' record in Sheffield – for what it matters – is woeful in the Premier League, having won just once against United or Wednesday and losing six.

While the Blades' pre-match position of 15th was hardly anything to be impressed by, they have been lauded for their defensive solidity, conceding the joint-fewest goals in the division with Liverpool.

If there was a team you could see a mentally fragile Arsenal struggling against in a game many would ordinarily expect them to win, it was the Blades.

The Gunners' display was reassuringly typical.

Much of the build-up play was easy on the eye, yet they were sorely lacking killer instinct and once again appeared feeble at the back. On top of that, it remains a mystery as to what Emery's plan is.

Nicolas Pepe's performance was his Arsenal career in a microcosm. The Ivory Coast international showed some nice flashes and, in fairness, was arguably the visitors' most creative player, delivering 12 crosses – five of them accurate – and crafting a glorious chance for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

But then came the moment of horror. With Sead Kolasinac's low cross played right across the face of goal, Pepe was there to tap in from about two yards out, only he barely touched the ball and he was left with his head in his hands.

United capitalised and exploited Arsenal's defensive frailty with 30 minutes on the clock. Oliver Norwood's corner found Jack O'Connell unmarked at the back post and his header was diverted home by the similarly unattended Lys Mousset in the middle of the six-yard box.

It was the 22nd goal Arsenal have conceded from a set-piece in the Premier League since the start of last season, the third worst after Everton (24) and Watford (25).

As such, Arsenal have now kept just two clean sheets in their past 14 league games.

They were the dominant force after the interval, spending much of it in the Blades' half, but it was still unclear how they planned to find a way through.

Dani Ceballos' introduction at least saw a competent ball-player enter the fray, though he didn't offer much drive or incisiveness, rather spending most of his time spraying long-range passes out to the right flank.

It's the same old story; Arsenal possess talent but lack character.

Even in Arsene Wenger's latter days one could see an identity, but now that's less clear. Emery's general system resembles that of a counter-attacking team, though most weeks they look almost unrecognisable to the last.

Of course, part of that comes down to the players being used, but at the same time that suggests Emery regularly squeezes players into roles they aren't suitable for.

As their desperation grew on Monday, Arsenal's plan B seemed to be based on hooking hopeful balls into the penalty area and that never looked like working against this Sheffield United defence.

Arsenal's lack of inspiration and ingenuity meant defeat was entirely deserved, but most alarming is how predictable their gutless performance was. It was entirely in keeping with their away record under Emery, having won just eight of 24 Premier League games on the road since he took over, recording two clean sheets.

Until Emery fixes that spinlessness, he is doomed to leave Arsenal having changed nothing.

Virgil van Dijk is been joined by six Liverpool team-mates in the 30-man shortlist for the 2019 Ballon d'Or, while Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are also present.

Van Dijk played a vital role as Liverpool won the 2018-19 Champions League, producing several standout performances at the heart of Jurgen Klopp's defence en route to the title, making him one of the favourites for major individual awards.

He was pipped to The Best FIFA Men's Player award by Barcelona star Messi, who will surely be Van Dijk's biggest competition for the Ballon d'Or having inspired a Barca side many consider underwhelming to the league title.

Fellow Reds stars Sadio Mane, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mohamed Salah, Alisson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino all join Van Dijk on the list.

Ajax captured the imagination of neutrals in Europe's elite competition last term, reaching the semi-finals in stunning fashion before dramatically going out to Tottenham, and a couple of players from the Amsterdam's club are nominated.

Donny van de Beek and Dusan Tadic are in the running, while Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt - who have since moved on to Barcelona and Juventus respectively - are also included.

Elsewhere, Premier League champions Manchester City are represented by Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Sergio Aguero 

Tottenham's Son Heung-min and Hugo Lloris are included from the losing Champions League finalists' ranks, but there is no place for Harry Kane or Christian Eriksen.

Last year's winner Luka Modric also misses out following a below-par year for Real Madrid, as does Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar.

The Ballon d'Or winner will be named in Paris on December 2.

Meanwhile, De Ligt is one of 10 youngsters nominated for the Kopa Trophy, awarded to the best performing player under the age of 21.

Borussia Dortmund and England winger Jadon Sancho is listed for the prestigious accolade and Joao Felix - signed by Atletico Madrid from Benfica for €126m earlier this year - is also in contention.

Four contenders for the Yachine Trophy ply their trade in the Premier League, with Alisson, Ederson, Kepa Arrizabalaga and Lloris included on the 10-man shortlist.

The likes of Jan Oblak and Marc-Andre ter Stegen are also battling it out to win the new award, which is handed to the best goalkeeper of the past 12 months.


Full list of Ballon d'Or nominees:

Sadio Mane (Liverpool), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Dusan Tadic (Ajax), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Donny van de Beek (Ajax), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Alisson (Liverpool), Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Son Heung-min (Tottenham), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli), Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona), Mohammed Salah (Liverpool), Eden Hazard (Real Madrid), Marquinhos (Paris St-Germain), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid).

Arsenal missed out on the chance to move up to third place in the Premier League as they fell to a 1-0 defeat against Sheffield United on Monday.

Unai Emery's men entered the match unbeaten in eight matches, including five in the top flight, but came unstuck at Bramall Lane.

The only goal of the game was scored by Lys Mousset half an hour in, coming shortly after Nicolas Pepe had failed to round off a swift counter.

Arsenal had a strong penalty appeal turned down and ultimately could not find a way through, leaving them fifth in the table and winless in four league visits to this ground.

The visitors were punished for Pepe's close-range miss by Mousset's opener eight minutes later.

Jack O'Connell headed down a corner into the six-yard box, where Mousset was waiting to pounce to double his tally for the season.

The visitors were further frustrated when Bukayo Saka was cautioned for simulation when he went down in the box, despite arguing that contact was made by Enda Stevens.

Granit Xhaka had a long-range drive pushed aside by Dean Henderson and the same player glanced over just before half-time.

Pepe was also denied by Henderson from a free-kick and Sead Kolasinac headed over from a good position, but Arsenal were unable to find an equaliser on another day of frustration for Emery.

What does it mean? Away-day blues costing Arsenal

Arsenal are now winless in four Premier League away games since beating Newcastle United on the opening weekend, losing two and drawing two - an issue Unai Emery quickly needs to rectify.

The Gunners have also kept only two clean sheets in 24 top-flight matches on their travels, with this latest setback denying them the chance to move into the Champions League places.

Norwood takes control

Oliver Norwood has impressed during the early stages of the season and produced another composed display here.

He completed 34 passes - more than any other home player - and nobody could better his five tackles.

Pepe's miss proves costly

Arsenal's defence will understandably be criticised after conceding from another set-piece - only Watford and Everton have conceded more from those situations since the start of last season - but their attack also needs sorting.

Pepe squandered a glaring opportunity to put the visitors in front shortly before Mousset's opener and managed just one shot on target all match.

What's next?

Arsenal take on Vitoria Guimaraes in the Europa League on Thursday, before returning to league action with a home match against Crystal Palace on Sunday. Sheffield United have a five-day break prior to facing West Ham.

Manchester United striker Mason Greenwood is desperate for the chance to prove his worth in the Premier League after signing a four-year deal.

The 18-year-old signed his first professional contract with the club last week and is tipped for a bright future after a series of eye-catching cameos at Old Trafford.

Greenwood has scored in both the Europa League and EFL Cup this season, with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer repeatedly talking up the teenager's ability.

Asked if he was keen to repay Solskjaer for the faith he has shown in him, Greenwood told the club's official website: "Yeah. I'm going to show everyone what I can do in the times I come on or if I play games.

"I'll try my best and give it all for the team.

"[My aims are] to show everyone what I can do really and why I signed a contract – why I'm here. I just want to show everyone."

Greenwood also explained why he takes penalties with his right foot, even though he prefers his left.

"Actually, it happened when I was in the Under-13's," he added.

"I missed with my left foot against [Manchester] City when I was struggling in a game and, ever since, I've just gone with the right foot. Ever since then, really."

Greenwood has also represented England's Under-21 team this year but has played just 87 minutes of Premier League football.

Manchester United sit 13th in the Premier League table, two points above the relegation zone.

Manchester United are investigating after a fan in the home section at Old Trafford was alleged to have engaged in racial abuse during Sunday's 1-1 draw with Liverpool.

The club confirmed a person was removed from the stadium and they are looking into the situation with urgency.

A United spokesperson said: "We are aware of an incident at yesterday's [Sunday] game where an individual in the home section has allegedly engaged in racial abuse.

"The individual was identified and ejected from the stadium. We are currently investigating the matter as a priority.

"Racism and all forms of discrimination are completely unacceptable and do not reflect the values of our club."

United did not comment on a potential punishment, though Liverpool will be in favour of "the strongest possible action" should someone be found guilty.

The Reds also praised United's immediacy in beginning an investigation.

A spokesperson from the Anfield club said: "Liverpool Football Club takes all allegations of this manner extremely seriously and will support the strongest possible action being taken against anyone found to be responsible.

"At this stage it would be inappropriate to comment further on the alleged incident itself other than to welcome the swiftness with which Manchester United have launched an investigation and support their stance that racism and discrimination must be treated with zero tolerance."

 

Buoyed by scoring his first goal of the season on Saturday, Chelsea's Marcos Alonso is full of confidence.

The Spaniard showed off his dead-ball precision at Chelsea's training ground on Monday, scoring in a stunt with goalkeeper Willy Caballero.

Caballero held onto the frame of the goal and stuck his feet around a post to give Alonso a small target to aim at.

The left-footer had no problems, though, producing an excellent strike before embracing his teammate.

Alonso scored his first goal since April in Chelsea's 1-0 Premier League win over Newcastle United on Saturday.

Harry Kane acknowledged he is experiencing his toughest period at Tottenham but has backed the club to get out of their slump.

Spurs were held to a disappointing 1-1 Premier League draw by Watford on Saturday, leaving Mauricio Pochettino's side without a win in three matches in all competitions.

They are seventh in the Premier League and go into Tuesday's Champions League clash with Red Star Belgrade third in Group B after picking up just one point from their first two games.

Kane is at a loss to explain the club's poor run of form but believes they are only one positive result away from turning their season around.

"It's hard to put a finger on exactly what's wrong," the England international told a media conference. "Sometimes when you're having a run of form like this, things don't always go your way in games.

"It's about sticking together and if we win tomorrow night that can kick-start us.

"It's probably the toughest time since I've been here. It’s just another challenge, though. The road to success will always have bumps and this is just one of them.

"We went through an experience in the last Champions League campaign where we had less points than we do now. We know about the effort it takes to get through a Champions League group. We have to believe and fight for everything together."

Kane also dismissed rumours Tottenham's players are fatigued after being overworked by Pochettino.  

"There’s going to be speculation when things aren't going well, when you're not winning games," he added. "People will look from the outside for excuses. From our point of view, we work hard every day.

"We have worked hard since the manager came here to improve as players and as a team; that hasn't changed.

"It would be wrong to do more or less. We need to carry on doing what we have always done and that is keep working as hard as possible."

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard is prepared to discuss Olivier Giroud's future in January if the France international is still unhappy with his lack of game time.

The emergence of Tammy Abraham as Lampard's first-choice striker this season means Giroud has been restricted to a solitary start and two substitute appearances in the Premier League.

Speaking on international duty with France last week, Giroud said he would be prepared to leave the club if he is "forced" to make a decision.

Lampard understands the former Arsenal man's frustrations, accepting that he should not be content to sit behind Abraham in the pecking order.

"I had a good chat with Oli before he went away and I always respect all the players, but particularly the players of that age of low thirties," Lampard said.

"I love his professionalism. He was bang on when he spoke to me, and also with his quotes when away with France. He shouldn't be happy and accept not playing. That's what good players do. I think, as I said to Oli, he will get his games and be a big influence for us.

"At the moment, because of how Tammy is playing, there hasn't been the minutes, so I would happily sit down with Oli in January. But that is a long way away. I want him here."

Abraham, who has scored eight goals in nine Premier League games this season, says he thinks of Giroud as an "older brother".

"I look at Oli like an older brother," Abraham said. "I'm always learning from him on the training pitch and I've grown up watching him.

"He's always supporting me. When someone's doing well and scoring goals you have to support them and that's what he is doing for me.

“I look at different strikers. Oli is obviously not the fastest striker in the world, but what he has is unbelievable. His one-touch play, his hold-up play, his one-touch finishing. I just take those little things that I see in training."

With Zinedine Zidane on thin ice, a familiar face could return to Real Madrid.

Pressure is mounting on Zidane following Madrid's shock LaLiga loss to Real Mallorca on Saturday, a result that means they sit behind Barcelona in the table.

Former Madrid head coach Mourinho could be the answer to their problems…

 

TOP STORY – MADRID REACH OUT TO MOU

Real Madrid have contacted Jose Mourinho as pressure mounts on head coach Zinedine Zidane, according to El Chiringuito.

Zidane – in his second spell in charge after winning three successive Champions League titles prior to leaving ahead of the 2018-19 season – has failed to convince upon his return to the LaLiga giants.

And ex-Manchester United manager Mourinho, who spent three years in the Spanish capital – winning the 2011-12 LaLiga title, is reportedly wanted by Madrid president Florentino Perez.

ROUND-UP

- Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman could move to Barcelona in 2020. After Dutch Football Federation (KNVB) sporting director Nico-Jan Hoogma confirmed Koeman has a specific release clause in his contract built around his former club, Marca has linked the ex-Barca defender to Camp Nou.

Real Madrid are pushing to sign Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho and Salzburg teenager Erling Haaland, claims El Desmarque. Sancho has been heavily linked to Manchester United.

- Calciomercato says Arsenal are favourites to sign RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano. The 20-year-old was linked to the Gunners before the transfer window closed.

Inter are tracking Atalanta's Swedish teenager Dejan Kulusevski, reports Calciomercato. The 19-year-old is attracting interest during his loan spell at Parma, where he has scored two goals and supplied five assists in Serie A.

- According to SPORT, Barcelona are interested in two Bundesliga players. While Bayer Leverkusen sensation Kai Havertz is coveted, the LaLiga champions are also keeping an eye on Schalke's Amine Harit.

Manchester City are still not ready to win the Champions League, according to manager Pep Guardiola.

City responded to their shock Premier League loss to Wolves prior to the international break with a 2-0 victory at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Two-time reigning Premier League champions City are six points adrift of unbeaten leaders Liverpool ahead of Tuesday's Champions League fixture against Atalanta.

Having conquered English football, City covet European glory but Guardiola believes his team are not close to reigning supreme in the Champions League.

"The people say about the Champions League, that target. We still are not ready," said Guardiola, whose City have lost in the quarter-finals in each of the past two seasons.

"We create a lot, don't concede, but can improve. We've scored a lot over the last two seasons and I don't have doubts about that, but we have to keep going, work on that."

Gabriel Jesus scored in the victory at Selhurst Park, where the Brazil forward netted his 50th City goal since arriving from Palmeiras in 2017.

"He [Jesus] will have a long career and with his mentality always he will have success. He is hungry, he will become an important striker around the world and we are lucky to have him," Guardiola said.

"Gabriel was always good from the beginning. Unfortunately he had the two tough injuries. Last season it was tough for him, after the World Cup it was not easy, but he is strong.

"He is a number nine for Brazil. The club brought an incredible, young player for an incredible price. One of the best signings.

"To compete with Sergio [Aguero] is maybe the most difficult thing. Sergio is a legend, an outrageous player - amazing, but Gabriel is so calm.

"He is a competitor, he accepts the decision and every training session he fights like an animal, but he is so young and can improve."

Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld insisted Spurs are still "fighting" for manager Mauricio Pochettino amid the club's struggles.

Spurs were held to a disappointing 1-1 Premier League draw by Watford on Saturday, leaving Tottenham without a win in three matches in all competitions.

Pochettino's future has come into question as Tottenham languish in seventh position, while they were humiliated 7-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League prior to the international break.

However, Alderweireld said Spurs are behind Pochettino, who led Tottenham to the Champions League final last season.

"There is a team on the pitch and you see us fighting," Belgium international Alderweireld said.

"Everyone is behind the club and the manager otherwise we could not have put the effort we put in."

Alderweireld added: "I think we didn't make the right decisions. At the end they had one long ball and they scored. It's difficult, not positive, but in the second half we changed the game.

"We did a lot better. We could have scored a lot more goals. We need to improve and improve and improve. It's the same players [as last season] and we have to get out of this."

Tottenham host Red Star Belgrade on matchday three in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said the Glazer family do not want to sell the Premier League giants amid reported interest.

Woodward addressed speculation linking Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman with a takeover bid for United.

The Glazer family have owned United since 2005 and are not prepared to sell, having reportedly turned down two offers from Bin Salman already.

"Based on what I see, they're in it for the long-term," Woodward told the United We Stand fanzine of the Glazers. "With regards to offers or asking prices, my understanding is that there have been no discussions for a price for the club or anything like that. Every conversation we have is based on the long-term.

"The debt is a long-term, structured and similar to some other football clubs. It's a fixed amount for a fixed period of time which results in it being fairly cheap to service.

"It's just under two per cent of our annual revenue each year, so it doesn't really have any impact on us."

Woodward watched from the Old Trafford stands as United held unbeaten Premier League leaders Liverpool to a 1-1 draw on Sunday.

Marcus Rashford's first-half opener was cancelled out by Liverpool substitute Adam Lallana in Manchester, where the Reds' streak of 17 successive Premier League wins came to an end.

It was an improved display from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's United, who have gone four matches without a win and languishing in 13th position – 15 points behind Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp hit out at Manchester United because he believes they just set out to defend whenever they play against Liverpool following Sunday's 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.

Liverpool managed to salvage a point and keep their unbeaten run intact thanks to Adam Lallana's late equaliser, cancelling out Marcus Rashford's opener.

Rashford's goal itself was a cause of controversy as Liverpool were adamant Divock Origi had been fouled by Victor Lindelof in the build-up, but it was allowed to stand even after a VAR review.

Premier League leaders Liverpool had the better of the match and finished with 68 per cent of the possession, though only had three more shots than their hosts.

Yet Klopp – who insisted he was not frustrated – could not help himself from having a pop at United's setup.

"It doesn't frustrate me," he said. "I'm not the person who should be concerned about this style.

"It's just a fact that when we come here, they just defend. It's okay, no criticism, it's just a fact.

"When United plays Liverpool, usually you'd think both teams would play like this [like Liverpool], would try [to win].

"We are the one team everyone is on their toes when United play us. With the quality they have, the way they set up is really difficult.

"It's no excuse. I thought we could do better, but you cannot play each team like this.

"We don't have to say it's a compliment. It's just that we are a good team and it's normal that people think how they can stop us. We had a big say in that – we stopped ourselves.

"But of course, United defended really well and then had the speed with [Daniel] James and Rashford. They chip the ball in behind and then the race is on. That's not cool.

"We defended that okay, but we should have played much better football. That's what we expect of ourselves. No criticism or judgement of United, it's just about ourselves."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scoffed at Jurgen Klopp's claim Manchester United's goal in the 1-1 draw with Liverpool should not have stood due to a foul, the Norwegian reminding his counterpart they are not playing basketball.

United controversially took the lead late in the first half at Old Trafford when Marcus Rashford converted from Daniel James' cross.

But Liverpool were angered by the failure to award them a free-kick in the build-up after Victor Lindelof appeared to catch Divock Origi.

After a VAR review, it was decided referee Martin Atkinson did not need to consult a replay, allowing the goal to stand despite Liverpool's protests.

Klopp said he was "100 per cent sure VAR would overrule it", convinced Lindelof had fouled Origi, but Solskjaer would not entertain such opinions.

"No chance," Solskjaer said when asked if he felt it was a foul.

"We’re not playing basketball. He touched him, but it's not a clear and obvious error. I don't think it's a foul."

While the contest may not have been a classic that contained remarkable individual displays, Solskjaer was impressed with the pair who combined for United's goal.

James' pace troubled Liverpool's defence, while Rashford's direct running and off-the-ball movement kept the visiting backline guessing.

"[His] best game for ages, maybe in the 10 months with me," Solskjaer said of Rashford.

"His runs off the shoulder, he chases, defends well, holds the ball. There was a nice little race with [Virgil] Van Dijk in the corner, where you could see the boy is growing and getting stronger.

"[James] has a great attitude, no fear. He's brave, he gets kicked and gets up again. He's a nightmare to play against when he gets space. The boy has been a delight to work with, and him and Marcus played well."

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