Mikel Arteta applauded Alexandre Lacazette's attitude after he came off the bench to score Arsenal's winner against West Ham.

France international Lacazette was left on the bench in favour of Eddie Nketiah, who was making his third Premier League start since returning from a short loan spell with Leeds United in January.

With the match still goalless approaching the hour mark, Arteta looked to Lacazette and he took the place of Nketiah – the former Lyon striker eventually sealing victory for the Gunners 12 minutes from time.

Arteta explained his choice of Nketiah came down to the profile of defender Arsenal were set to face, but he was impressed by Lacazette's focus and concentration despite likely frustration at not starting.

"I have two strikers at the moment that are making life difficult for me, but at the same time it's very good," Arteta told reporters.

"They are both scoring, they are both in a good moment. I decided to play Eddie today for the type of defenders they had and the game plan we had, but knowing that we needed Laca [Lacazette] in the final moments.

"He was ready to do that. I saw it straight away the moment I was talking with him, giving him instructions on the touchline.

"He was alert, focused and I could see in his face he was really determined to come out there and score the goal like he did."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang started on the left flank once again, but Arteta conceded he is using the Gabon forward and Gabriel Martinelli out wide due to a lack of options.

When asked if he sees Aubameyang and Martinelli as central forwards, Arteta said: "They are, but with the squad balance we have at the moment, to play in that position on the left, we don't have five players because we're using one of them to play as a left-back who is not a left-back.

"So, we're just trying to adapt to the situation we have. We try to put in the team players that have a goal threat, that can be successful for the team and that's part of managing the players that we have."

January signing Pablo Mari made his second successive start and earned another clean sheet, and Arteta is impressed with his adaptation.

"Good point, I'll take your advice then," Arteta said after it was put to him that Mari will have to start their next game as well.

"If it's as simple as that hopefully he'll do it again at Manchester City and he'll get a clean sheet. But no, he's doing well, he's adapting really well.

"It's not an easy league. For central defenders, in my opinion, to play in the Premier League is one of the toughest positions to play for any foreign players.

"But he's very willing, he's learning and has a very good experience and understanding with his team-mates."

Alexandre Lacazette came off the bench to score the winner as Arsenal extended their unbeaten Premier League run to eight games with a 1-0 victory over West Ham.

The France international scored only his second league goal of 2020, converting from close range in the 78th minute to clinch three points for Mikel Arteta's side, who struggled to break down a battling West Ham team before Lacazette's second-half introduction.

The best chances of the afternoon before the goal fell to Hammers striker Michail Antonio, who misfired from close range either side of half-time, and Hammers boss David Moyes will be disappointed his side failed to hang on for a precious point towards their battle against relegation.

Arteta started with Eddie Nketiah as a lone striker and failed to capitalise on what little possession came his way, while Gunners top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had an uncharacteristically quiet afternoon as he chased his 50th Premier League goal.

The result means Moyes is still without a win in 16 top-flight away games against Arsenal – no manager in Premier League history has taken charge of more winless away games against a single opponent.

Alexandre Lacazette has dismissed suggestions he could leave Arsenal if they do not qualify for next season's Champions League.

The 28-year-old has two years remaining on his current deal, but newspaper reports this week claim he has a clause in his contract allowing him to leave the Gunners if they fail to make it into European football's premier competition for the 2020-21 campaign.

Arsenal are ninth in the Premier League, seven points behind Chelsea in fourth, while they could qualify for the Champions League if they win this season's Europa League.

Lacazette, who could line up against Olympiacos in the Europa League last-32 second leg on Thursday after scoring the only goal of the first leg, has rubbished reports of the clause, insisting his future remains in north London.

"I didn't know about this [the clause]," he told a media conference. "I don't know. I have a contract with the club so there is no reason for me to leave if everybody is happy with me at the club."

Lacazette's strike partner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is another Gunners player who has been linked with a move away from the club.

The former Borussia Dortmund frontman is 30 and has been linked with other clubs, including Inter and Barcelona, as he approaches the final year of his contract.

The Gunners see him as a big part of their future, though, with Lacazette also keen for him to remain at the Emirates Stadium.

"It's really important," he added. "He is one of the best or maybe the best this season for Arsenal. Obviously, I hope he's going to stay long for the club."

The Gabon international took his tally for the season to 19 goals in all competitions with a brace against Everton at the weekend, but Lacazette is keen for people to start recognising his wider contribution to the side.

"I think people should talk more about Auba and what he's doing in the game," he said.

"He's more than a goalscorer. He's working a lot for the team defensively, making space for the strikers. I just think if we start to win trophies, people will talk more about what he's doing for the team."

Alexandre Lacazette believes Arsenal prospect Bukayo Saka has a claim to being the Premier League's best young player after breaking into the Gunners' first-team.

Saka, 18, has been a revelation for Arsenal this term, playing 26 times across all competitions having enjoyed an eye-catching pre-season.

Predominantly a winger, Saka has been used at full-back recently and taken to the new role with impressive ease, remaining a useful outlet despite operating from slightly further back.

The England youth international has less than 18 months left on his Arsenal contract and Mikel Arteta has previously spoken of his desire to tie his most promising youngsters down to long-term deals.

And Lacazette spoke glowingly of the teenager – who became the youngest player to assist in consecutive Premier League appearances since Francis Jeffers in 1999 when he teed up Eddie Nketiah's equaliser in the 3-2 win over Everton on Sunday – ahead of Thursday's Europa League last-32 second leg against Olympiacos, with the Gunners 1-0 up from their first meeting in Piraeus.

"He's really good," Lacazette told reporters in a news conference. "I think he is maybe the best young player in the league.

"He needs to improve in a few things, but we can see the quality he has, and he's humble - this is the best thing, I think, for him.

"He is really humble, he wants to work and accepts criticism because he wants to improve."

When asked what makes Saka the league's best young player, Lacazette replied: "Why is Saka the best? It's simple, his quality. He has a good left foot and, because he's humble, it's there for him to improve."

Alexandre Lacazette scored a late winner to secure Arsenal a 1-0 win at Olympiacos and hand the Gunners a significant advantage in their Europa League last-32 tie.

Mikel Arteta's men looked to be heading for an underwhelming goalless draw in Piraeus, but Lacazette struck nine minutes from time to get Arsenal a potentially vital away goal ahead of the return leg in London.

The Gunners had little difficulty taking control and should have netted early on when Lacazette was guilty of a dreadful miss, and the visitors failed to craft a better opportunity until late on.

Olympiacos generally appeared happy to hold on for a stalemate, but that approach backfired when Lacazette turned in Bukayo Saka's pass, putting Arsenal in complete control of the tie.

After surviving an early scare when Bernd Leno denied Mathieu Valbuena, Lacazette missed a glorious chance for the Gunners, somehow shooting wide from about eight yards having been teed up by Gabriel Martinelli.

Leno had to be alert again a few moments later, making a reaction save after Giorgos Masouras' cross was deflected goalwards by David Luiz.

A second opportunity came Lacazette's way just before the break, but Ousseynou Ba crucially got a touch to divert his fierce volley over the crossbar.

The contest became a cagier affair after the break, with Arsenal controlling possession but doing little to hurt an Olympiacos side seemingly content to absorb pressure.

But Arsenal finally produced some spark in attack through Saka in the 81st minute, the 18-year-old talent driving at the defence and feeding Lacazette, who tapped in from close range.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos almost doubled Arsenal's advantage when his late header came back off the crossbar.

Alexandre Lacazette scored for the first time since December to put the gloss on a much-needed 4-0 win for Arsenal and head coach Mikel Arteta against Newcastle United on Sunday.

Arsenal came into the clash at Emirates Stadium level on points with visitors Newcastle, having won just six times in the Premier League this season - and only once since Arteta's December appointment.

But after a frustrating opening period, the influential Nicolas Pepe laid on a goal for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the 54th minute, and Pepe himself scored three minutes later to all but settle the contest.

Mesut Ozil added another in the 90th minute, before substitute Lacazette, who last netted against Standard Liege on December 12, got in on the act in stoppage time.

Arteta, who revealed before the match he turned down an approach from Newcastle while still an assistant at Manchester City, could enjoy the closing stages of a precious victory, with Arsenal climbing back up to 10th and within sight of the European places.

Newcastle's set-pieces had caused early problems for Arsenal, and Sean Longstaff's deflected strike forced a scrambling save from Bernd Leno, before Joelinton awkwardly stabbed wide from six yards moments later.

Martin Dubravka was not troubled for over half an hour, but Arsenal pressure built heading into half-time as the Newcastle goalkeeper made stops from Aubameyang, Eddie Nketiah and Pepe.

The hosts were on the front foot again following the restart, and Pepe danced to the byline before cutting a cross back for Nketiah, who volleyed against the crossbar.

The opener soon followed, with Aubameyang towering over Valentino Lazaro to head Pepe's right-wing delivery across Dubravka into the bottom-right corner.

And the second came less than three minutes after the first, as Bukayo Saka nutmegged Lazaro on the left and squared for Pepe to sweep low inside the near post.

Ciaran Clark skewed wide from a great position in the area when teed up by Allan Saint-Maximin, who himself hit the post with a fine curling effort, but there was no dramatic Newcastle recovery.

Ozil's close-range finish deceived Dubravka for a scruffy third Arsenal goal, before Lacazette's own slightly untidy effort found the top-right corner to spark a joyous celebration.


What does it mean? Arsenal still finding their feet

There was some hope Arteta might have shaped a much-improved Arsenal over the recent mid-season break, but that did not appear to be the case in the first half. The Gunners struggled to break Newcastle down, before their quality came to the fore in a frantic spell. There would appear to be plenty still to do to restore Arsenal to their former glories despite this big win.

Purposeful Pepe

This has not been a wholly successful first season in England for Pepe, but there are signs he is rediscovering the form that convinced Arsenal to splash out a club-record fee last year. The winger was Arsenal's best player in a testing first half and then turned the game on its head with an assist and a goal within 12 minutes of the restart.

Lazaro loses out

Newcastle's new wing-back, making his full Premier League debut, enjoyed a promising first half, getting forward to good effect down the right while standing up to Saka going the other way. But he was later twice beaten for the crucial goals, first unable to challenge Aubameyang in the air and then embarrassed by Saka's trickery.

What's next?

Arsenal have a trip to Olympiacos in the Europa League on Thursday before their next league assignment at home to Everton. Newcastle have a clear midweek but are then back in the capital next Saturday to visit Crystal Palace.

Manchester City are reportedly lining up a move for Lionel Messi in a free transfer amid the star's troubles at Barcelona.

Messi, 32, has been involved in a public disagreement with the club's technical secretary Eric Abidal, leading to immediate questions over his future at Camp Nou.

City, and former boss Pep Guardiola, look ready to make their move.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY EYE MESSI FOR FREE AMID BARCELONA TROUBLES

Manchester City will swoop for Messi for free if the star cannot resolve his problems at Barcelona, according to The Sun.

While Messi is contracted until 2021, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu confirmed last year the Argentina international was free to leave after the 2019-20 season.

Messi worked with Guardiola at Barcelona, with the duo winning three LaLiga titles and two Champions League crowns among numerous other trophies at the club.

ROUND-UP

- There could be major changes coming at Arsenal. The Sun reports Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil are at risk with Arsenal perhaps prepared to sell their stars to finance a spending spree.

- Manchester United and Chelsea are set to go head-to-head in a bid to sign Lyon forward Moussa Dembele at the end of the season, according to The Mirror. Dembele, 23, has scored 12 Ligue 1 goals in 22 matches this season and has been linked with a move to Old Trafford previously.

- Staying in Manchester and City must wait until April to resolve the future of Leroy Sane after the attacker's switch of agent, according to The Telegraph and Bild. Sane is a reported target for Bayern Munich and Manchester City will have to wait to discuss the Germany international's future due to a clause in his deal with his previous agency.

- With Ousmane Dembele facing a long spell on the sidelines, Barcelona are eyeing Girona forward Cristhian Stuani, according to Deportes Cuatro, which reports the 33-year-old Uruguayan has a €20million release clause. Barca would need approval to complete the deal outside the transfer window.

- Could Liverpool have to search for a new back-up goalkeeper? Estadio Deportivo reports Real Betis are considering a move for their former shot-stopper Adrian, who is contracted to the European champions until 2021, with the club holding an option for a further year.

Mikel Arteta has claimed there is "no truth" in speculation linking Arsenal with a move for Manchester City defender John Stones.

Injuries to Sead Kolasinac, Calum Chambers, Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin have left Arsenal short of numbers at the back.

Reports casting doubt over Stones' future at City have also emerged, with Arteta having been linked with a move for the England international, who he worked with for three-and-a-half years at City.

However, Arteta insisted there is little truth behind the speculation, despite acknowledging his admiration for Stones, who has not been a regular starter for City this season.

"Bad news for you guys I have nothing to say," Arteta told a news conference when asked if Arsenal were expecting any immediate incomings in the January transfer window.

"No, no truth at all," he added when pressed on the Stones reports, while the Gunners' coach also dismissed links with Milan midfielder Franck Kessie.

"John is a player I really like. When I look at centre-backs he's got many attributes I like but I'm not looking at him."

Arteta did, however, confirm Arsenal are keen to bolster their squad this window if the right opportunity arises.

"It has to be the right player, in the right context, that financially, we can do and attract," he said. "All these factors, we put them together, it's not easy in this market. I have a [wishlist] yes. 

"We have a lot of injuries, it can happen, between December and January it's very common. We have to live with the situation, it's what we have. We have to put 11 players out on the pitch on Saturday. They will try their best and I will try my best to select the ones which are the best fit."

Arsenal will be without leading scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for Saturday's clash with Sheffield United and subsequent meetings with Chelsea and Bournemouth – in the Premier League and FA Cup respectively – after the striker's three-match suspension for a red card against Crystal Palace was upheld.

It means much of the goal-scoring burden will be on Alexandre Lacazette, who has not found the net in a Premier League match since December 5.

"It's a concern for me if he is concerned about not scoring," said Arteta of Lacazette. "In terms of his performances, I'm really happy.

"You can give him confidence but the ball has to end up in the net. That's the best medicine."

Mikel Arteta thinks Arsenal will benefit from having suffered against Leeds United on Monday before his angry half-time team talk sparked an improvement.

The Gunners claimed a 1-0 win at Emirates Stadium thanks to Reiss Nelson's second-half strike against the Championship leaders.

Arsenal were outplayed by the visitors in the first half, with Patrick Bamford hitting the crossbar and Emiliano Martinez making some crucial saves as Leeds fired in 15 shots before the break.

The hosts were vastly improved in the second half and Arteta hopes his players will have learned a lesson from the match.

"Now, I'm really pleased, but we saw two different teams from the first to second half," he told BBC Sport.

"I tried to tell them exactly what they were going to face and after 32 minutes we had won one duel, I think. We changed our attitude, desire and organisation at half-time and then we were completely different.

"Sometimes they have to experience themselves how tough and how hard it is going to be. I watched a lot of Leeds games and they battered every team every three days. It was good for my players to learn and to suffer on the pitch."

Striker Alexandre Lacazette admitted Arteta had some angry words for his players at the interval after 45 minutes in which they had just 37 per cent of the ball.

"The manager shouted a lot," he said. "He was not happy because we knew they'd play like this and we didn't respect what he had said."

Goalscorer Nelson said they were caught unawares by Leeds' high press in the first half but hopes the Gunners will head to Crystal Palace on Saturday with renewed confidence after recording consecutive wins for the first time since October.

"The emotions are high," said the midfielder. "They played well in the first half. Leeds are a great team and they pressed us; we didn't expect it. We got the goal in the end and that is the most important thing.

"This will give us confidence to go forward. We want to go to the Palace game and do well."

Arsenal finished as Europa League Group F winners after goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Bukayo Saka helped them fight back to claim a 2-2 draw with Standard Liege on Wednesday.

Samuel Bastien and Selim Amallah gave Standard a two-goal advantage as they chased a victory to qualify for the knockout phase.

However, those hopes were dashed when Lacazette and Saka scored in quick succession to settle Arsenal's nerves.

The Gunners progressed to the last 32 of the competition as group winners ahead of Eintracht Frankfurt after they lost 3-2 to Vitoria Guimaraes.

Liverpool cruised to a 5-2 victory in the Merseyside derby against Everton as they consolidated their lead at the top of the Premier League, despite a much-changed team.

Meanwhile, Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho endured an unhappy return to Old Trafford as his side lost 2-1 to Manchester United - the Portuguese has not won there as a visiting boss in his past five attempts.

Defending champions Manchester City thrashed Burnley 4-1 as Pep Guardiola made it eight wins in his nine games against the Clarets.

A midweek round of Premier League fixtures brought a range of milestones and telling stats, the best of which are below.

KLOPP ECLIPSES SHANKLY, PAISLEY AND DALGLISH 

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will likely need to deliver the Premier League title to secure his place in the pantheon of Anfield greats.

However, the German has put down a few markers suggesting he is ready to join the Kop's hall of fame by becoming the fastest Liverpool manager to 100 league victories. Klopp completed the feat in 159 games – quicker than Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and Kenny Dalglish.

Liverpool secured the win over Everton thanks to a brace from Divock Origi, and one goal apiece for Sadio Mane, Xherdan Shaqiri and Georginio Wijnaldum.

They are now unbeaten in their past 32 Premier League games which is their longest run without defeat in top-flight history.

Marco Silva's final match at the helm saw him become the first Everton manager to concede five league goals against Liverpool in a single match since Howard Kendall in November 1982.

 

MORE OF THE SAME FOR MOURINHO 

United's 2-1 win over Tottenham, secured courtesy of two goals from Marcus Rashford – taking his tally to nine in 10 games – made Mourinho's return to his old club a miserable one.

Mourinho has won none of his past five away Premier League matches against the Red Devils (D3 L2), failing to beat four different managers in that time – Alex Ferguson, David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and current United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

It was also Tottenham 35th Premier League defeat against United – more than they have suffered against any other team. 

Spurs' defence must also be a concern for Mourinho. They have conceded twice in their four matches in all competitions under the Portuguese – they only had a run of conceding two or more goals in four consecutive games once under Mauricio Pochettino, doing so in February and March 2015.

Midfielder Dele Alli has started to rediscover some of his old form, though, and his equaliser for Spurs was his third goal in as many appearances for the club in all competitions – the first time since March 2017 he has enjoyed such a purple patch.

 

CITY THREE AND EASY UNDER PEP

Gabriel Jesus' brace and one apiece for midfielders Rodri and Riyad Mahrez gave City some much-needed confidence with a 4-1 thrashing of Burnley – although they remain 11 points behind leaders Liverpool.

Jesus is now the third highest-scoring Brazilian player in Premier League history (32 goals), trailing only Philippe Coutinho (41) and Roberto Firmino (52).

It was the 36th time City have won a Premier League game by three or more goals under Guardiola – the most of any team in the competition since the start of the 2016-17 season.

David Silva's creative skills remain key for City and he took his tally to six assists from open play in the league this season – just one fewer than he managed in 33 games last season.

Burnley have now conceded 11 goals in their three home games against 'big six' opposition in the Premier League this season, compared to only two goals in five home games against the rest.

 

LJUNGBERG'S LOSS A DROUGHT-BREAKING BOOST FOR BRIGHTON

Managerless, beaten at home by Brighton and Hove Albion and now nine games without victory in all competitions – Gunners fans have every right to be gloomy.

Arsenal's 2-1 loss to the Seagulls made this their longest winless streak since a run of 10 between February and March of 1977.

Mesut Ozil registered his first assist in the league since February when his corner was met by Alexandre Lacazette, but the French forward's 25th English top-flight goal at Emirates Stadium failed to avert a first defeat for interim boss Freddie Ljungberg.

Adam Webster had opened the scoring before the interval and Brighton were able to celebrate their first Premier League away win over 'big six' opposition following Neal Maupay's 80th-minute header.

Arsenal, booed off at full-time, have faced 52 shots on target in home league games this season, four more than in the entire Invincibles campaign of 2003-04.

Arsenal's dismal run of form rolled on as Neal Maupay's superb header earned Brighton and Hove Albion a 2-1 victory at Emirates Stadium.

Alexandre Lacazette's 50th-minute equaliser on his 100th appearance for the club looked set to pave the way for Arsenal to claim their first win under caretaker boss Freddie Ljungberg.

Yet Brighton, who had deservedly taken the lead through Adam Webster in the first half, managed to wrest back control after David Luiz had a goal ruled out by VAR.

And it was Maupay who had the final say, as he brilliantly turned home Aaron Mooy's cross in the 80th minute to end Brighton's three-match losing streak and condemn Arsenal to their longest winless streak since 1977.

Keeping faith with the under-fire Unai Emery could have serious ramifications for Arsenal.

According to reports, club chiefs fear key players will question their long-term futures if Emery remains in charge.

Two star attackers are already said to be stalling on new deals with Arsenal sliding down the Premier League.

 

TOP STORY – GUNNERS FEAR EXODUS

Arsenal are at risk of losing Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, according to the Daily Mail.

The newspaper reports the pair have shown little interest in signing contract extensions as a direct consequence of poor results and concerns over Emery's "conservative" methods.

Arsenal have failed to win any of their past six games in all competitions and are facing the prospect of another season outside the Champions League, a problem for the likes of Lacazette and Aubameyang.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marco Silva's position at Everton is in peril but he could remain in charge until after the Merseyside derby on December 4, according to the Daily Mail. The Toffees lie 16th in the Premier League following a 2-0 home loss to Norwich City.

- Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores is likewise feeling the pinch. The Telegraph reports the Spaniard is "on the brink" of becoming the club's second managerial casualty of the season.

- Manchester United are set to trigger a 12-month extension to Timothy Fosu-Mensah's contract, claims The Sun. The Dutch defender is due to become a free agent at the end of the season.

- New MLS franchise Inter Miami are discussing the possibility of making Patrick Vieira their inaugural head coach, says CBS Sports reporter Roger Gonzalez. Vieira is currently in charge of Ligue 1 club Nice.

- Serie A side Roma are tracking Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham, according to Tuttomercatoweb. The French midfielder scored a vital Europa League goal against Lazio earlier this month and could be the subject of a January transfer bid from their Serie A rivals.

Jose Mourinho marked his first game as Tottenham head coach with a 3-2 victory at West Ham on Saturday, while Manchester City returned to winning ways with a 2-1 success against in-form Chelsea.

Spurs scored freely for 49 minutes in the lunchtime game at London Stadium but were pegged back by West Ham as errors crept in. Later in the day, City recovered from a goal behind to end Chelsea's winning run, which spanned six league matches heading into the early-evening kick-off.

Arsenal laboured in a 2-2 home draw against lowly Southampton, a late Alexandre Lacazette goal sparing Unai Emery's blushes at the Emirates Stadium.

Crystal Palace were sunk by a late goal in a 2-1 defeat to leaders Liverpool. Brighton and Hove Albion lost to Leicester City and Everton were beaten by Norwich City, both at home by 2-0 scorelines.

Wolves extended their unbeaten run to eight games with a 2-1 win at Bournemouth, and Burnley beat Watford 3-0 to clinch back-to-back league victories for the first time this season.

SPURS FIRE FOR JOSE BUT DEFENSIVE QUESTIONS LINGER

Three goals in 13 minutes put Spurs on course for a resounding result against West Ham but Michail Antonio and Angelo Ogbonna took the sheen off the Mourinho era curtain-raiser.

The visitors were marginally the better side of a tepid first half until the 36th minute when Dele Alli played in Son Heung-min whose angled drive from the corner of the six-yard box beat the flailing Roberto Jimenez for power.

Alli released Son down the left and he sent over a low cross that Lucas Moura bundled into the net at the far post to double Tottenham's advantage two minutes from half-time.

West Ham's defensive frailties came to the fore once again four minutes into the second half when Serge Aurier's cross picked out Harry Kane, who was given an easy ride by Issa Diop as he sent a header past Roberto's outstretched hand.

But when Spurs needed to close out the win, they allowed Antonio to pull one back from close range and Declan Rice had another ruled out for offside before Ogbonna converted from Robert Snodgrass' cross deep into stoppage time.

FIRMINO FIRES WINNER FOR RELENTLESS REDS

Liverpool's three-game winning streak was under threat when Wilfried Zaha scored for Crystal Palace in the 82nd minute to make it 1-1 at Selhurst Park, but the Eagles failed to keep Roberto Firmino at bay late on.

The Brazilian striker poked home in during an 85th-minute penalty box scramble amid heavy Reds pressure, typical of the never-say-die attitude that makes the Premier League front-runners so difficult to stop.

Sadio Mane's eighth league goal of the season had put Liverpool 1-0 in front, the Senegal international advancing into the box four minutes after half-time before unleashing a shot that hit both posts before finding the net.

Zaha's low, angled drive from 12 yards put Palace on course for a point their battling performance would have merited but Roy Hodgson's men failed to park the bus when a Liverpool onslaught was inevitable.

CITY SHOW FIGHTING SPIRIT

Manchester City lost 3-1 at Anfield before the international break to fall nine points adrift of Liverpool, and the Reds' lead over last season's champions was briefly extended on Saturday following their dramatic victory in south London.

Pep Guardiola's side welcomed goalkeeper Ederson back from injury, but the slender win over Chelsea was somewhat soured by Rodri, David Silva and Sergio Aguero all hobbling off.

Kicking off around 40 minutes after full-time at Selhurst Park, City's dwindling title hopes looked set to take another dent when N'Golo Kante marked his 150th Chelsea appearance with a deserved opening goal.

But Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez struck before half-time to give the hosts the lead and, despite Raheem Sterling having a late strike ruled out by VAR, City held on to deny Chelsea a club record of eight straight victories away from home in all competitions.

LACAZETTE BRACE KEEPS EMERY ERA HANGING BY A THREAD

Arsenal looked like a side taking victory for granted before Danny Ings opened the scoring for Southampton after eight minutes at Emirates Stadium.

It was only by virtue of Alexandre Lacazette's work rate and quality that the Gunners gave the home support anything to cheer, and the France international equalised after 18 minutes following scrappy Southampton defending.

The goal should have put the wind in Arsenal's sails, but Emery's men lacked cohesion and consistency, allowing Southampton to break repeatedly. The visitors restored their lead 19 minutes from time through James Ward-Prowse who scored at the second attempt after Bernd Leno saved his penalty.

Again it fell to Lacazette to spare Arsenal's embarrassment and he duly obliged, succeeding where Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil failed by converting a late chance at close range, rifling home from Gabriel Martinelli's cross to clinch his side a point they barely deserved.


Burnley, meanwhile, won 3-0 for the second game in a row with second-half strikes from Chris Wood, Ashley Barnes and James Tarkowski earning a victory at bottom side Watford that lifted the Clarets to sixth in the table.

 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang said Arsenal must ask questions of themselves after a 2-2 draw with Southampton left them without a win in five Premier League matches.

Alexandre Lacazette twice dragged his side back on terms against a team beaten 9-0 by Leicester City at the end of October, levelling after Danny Ings and James Ward-Prowse put the visitors ahead.

The second of Lacazette's goals - his fourth of the season in the Premier League - came deep in second-half stoppage-time and was met with muted celebrations around a disgruntled Emirates Stadium.

Indeed the Gunners left the field to boos and when Aubameyang was asked whether they were deserved, the Gunners' captain told the club's official website: "I don't know.

"When we are playing, we are the first to be disappointed when it doesn't work. We will try to keep fighting. I think we have the quality to come back and we have to fight.

"I think everybody has to try to ask themselves what they can change, what they can give more of. Everybody has to do this, me first. I will try to work hard and to get back to winning ways."

Aubameyang captained Arsenal for the first time against Southampton but his performance was very much overshadowed by that of Lacazette on a day when few Gunners players were anywhere near their best.

With a Europa League clash against Eintracht Frankfurt next up for Unai Emery's side, Aubameyang promised graft from the squad as they aim to pick up a first win in seven attempts.

Asked what has gone wrong at Arsenal, Aubameyang replied: "I don't know exactly. The only thing I can say is that we as a team, as players, will try to continue our work.

"We have to find a solution together. I think we have to stay strong. We are men and we have to carry on our hard work.

"We have a game on Thursday and we will start from this game to try to turn things around. In this case, it's really not easy for everybody but we are men and we have to carry on to try to sort it out. We are a group and we can find a solution internally. That's what we are going to do.

"Everybody is disappointed today, the fans and the players. It didn't work today. It's not a good result for us. Obviously we're playing at home and we have to win games at home. We have to keep fighting and keep trying to sort it out."

Page 1 of 3
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.