Harvey Barnes has suffered a setback in his return from a knee injury, ruling the winger out for not just the remainder of the domestic season but also Euro 2020.

Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers confirmed on Wednesday that Barnes – who has not played since a 3-1 home loss to Arsenal on February 28 – underwent a second operation to clean out the knee.

The procedure means the Foxes will have to do without the 23-year-old for the Premier League run-in, as well as the FA Cup final against Chelsea on May 15.

Barnes scored nine goals and provided four assists in 25 league games for Leicester, who are on course to qualify for next season's Champions League with a top-four finish.

"We've had a slight setback with Harvey," Rodgers told the media.

"He's just gone in to have a second, minor operation, just to clear up some of the damage in his knee.

"It will probably rule him out for the rest of the season, but the plan is really to get him through this second little operation and then he'll be back for pre-season and fit and ready for next season."

 

Barnes impressively outperformed his expected goals (xG) number of 5.9 in league action in 2020-21, scoring nine times from 56 shots while also creating 26 chances for his team-mates.

His impressive form at club level led to a full international debut last October, as he came on as a late substitute in England's 3-0 friendly win over Wales.

However, any hope he had of forcing his way into Gareth Southgate's plans for Euro 2020 have been ended by further surgery, with Rodgers making clear the target is to be ready for the start of the 2021-22 season.

"It's a shame because he's been absolutely outstanding for us this season," Rodgers added. "Of course, we hoped he'd be back to play some part, but it’s not to be.

"The most important thing is getting his knee right and getting him ready for next season."

Leicester sit third in the table with five games remaining – they have a seven-point gap over fifth-placed West Ham after Monday's 2-1 home win over Crystal Palace, putting them on course to play in the Champions League for just the second time in their history.

Tottenham's Jose Mourinho gamble has not paid off and once again Spurs find themselves at a crossroads with their next managerial appointment.

Installing Mourinho as boss, even with his astounding list of achievements, appeared a slightly bemusing decision considering the complete contrast between his pragmatic style and the more high-intensity football played by predecessor Mauricio Pochettino.

There were plenty of signs of promise, not least the 6-1 hammering of Mourinho's former employers Manchester United at Old Trafford in the infancy of a Premier League campaign that offered early promise of a title tilt.

But a run to the EFL Cup final has not done enough to assuage Spurs' hierarchy, who have decided to pull the trigger after a slump in form has left Tottenham seventh in the table, out of the Europa League and in serious jeopardy of missing out on Champions League football again.

So, 17 months after his appointment, Mourinho has been sacked. Here, we look at the potential candidates to replace the Portuguese.

JULIAN NAGELSMANN

Is there a more in-demand young coach in world football than RB Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann right now? Hansi Flick dropped a huge bombshell on the world of football when he announced on Saturday that he intends to leave Bayern Munich at the end of the season, with the German national team likely to be his next venture. Nagelsmann is thought to be Bayern's top target but reports in Germany suggest Leipzig will attempt to resist such a move, given it would considerably strengthen a rival. The 33-year-old has long-been linked to Tottenham, and the decision to wield the axe on Mourinho may have been prompted by Flick's announcement and the need to act fast to land a top target.

BRENDAN RODGERS

Another man whose name has been heavily linked with Tottenham is Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers, one of the most revered coaches in the Premier League. After falling agonisingly short of leading Liverpool to the Premier League title in the 2013-14 campaign, Rodgers departed Anfield in October 2015 and went on to enjoy an excellent period of success at Celtic. He has since turned Leicester into Champions League contenders over the past two seasons, playing an exciting brand of football at the same time. A potential stumbling block may be the fact his contract runs until 2025 but many believe Daniel Levy sees Rodgers as the man to lead Tottenham.

MASSIMILIANO ALLEGRI

Massimiliano Allegri is a name that crops up pretty much any time a vacancy becomes available at a big club across Europe, and it is not hard to see why. The Italian won five straight Serie A titles with Juventus, also lifting the Coppa Italia on four occasions during that golden period. With a top-flight title to his name during his time at Milan also on his resume, Allegri has proven to be a serial winner in the past. With the 53-year-old out of work, Allegri would provide a cheaper solution than others. His compatriot Maurizio Sarri, a Europa League winner with Chelsea, has also been touted – he too led Juventus to Serie A glory before being replaced by Andrea Pirlo ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.

LEDLEY KING/RYAN MASON

It seems unlikely, but Spurs may decide to appoint from within. One option would be to instil former captain Ledley King, who made 268 Premier League appearances for Tottenham. Upon his retirement, King took up an ambassadorial role at the club and was appointed to Mourinho's coaching staff as first team assistant last August. Another who provides an internal option is Ryan Mason, who has been asked to take first-team training. The former England midfielder was forced to retire at the age of 26 after fracturing his skull and has been working in Tottenham's academy coaching set up.

GERRARD, BENITEZ AND OTHER OUTSIDERS

Even the best laid plans can go to waste and should luring Nagelsmann or Rodgers not come to fruition, several other interesting candidates have been mooted. Chief among them is Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, who has cut his managerial teeth at Rangers and ended Celtic's dominance in Scotland by leading the club to Scottish Premiership glory this season, while a 2-0 win over their Old Firm rivals on Sunday kept them in the hunt for Scottish Cup glory. Rafael Benitez, the man who Gerrard lifted the Champions League under at Liverpool, is another interesting name said to be in the running. The Spaniard has plenty of experience in England having managed the Reds, Chelsea and Newcastle United and is out of work having left Chinese side Dalian Professional back in January. Fulham boss Scott Parker, a former Tottenham midfielder, and ex-Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe have also been suggested as potential alternatives.

Brendan Rodgers is hoping to write his name in Leicester City folklore by guiding them to FA Cup glory in next month's final against Chelsea.

Leicester edged out fellow Premier League side Southampton 1-0 at Wembley on Sunday through a Kelechi Iheanacho strike to reach their first final since 1969.

The Foxes were memorably crowned English champions in 2015-16 but never before have they lifted the FA Cup, finishing runners-up on four occasions.

Rodgers is looking to put that right as Leicester attempt to balance their cup exploits with finishing in the top four of the Premier League over the remainder of the season.

"We have the chance to create history. That is what this game is about, creating a memory," he told BBC Sport. 

"I have been made aware since I've been at Leicester how important this cup is for the supporters. When we arrived here that was the ambition. 

"We said we wanted to be competitive. From a football perspective we wanted to be able to compete and we've been able to do that. Now we have a trophy to genuinely go for. 

"When you fail it is an integral part of being successful. We missed out last year, so a great credit to the players this time."

The victory was Leicester's first at Wembley since the 2000 EFL Cup final, with Iheanacho once again the hero.

He scored for the third round running to take his tally in the competition to 14 goals in 19 appearances since his first-such outing in January 2016 – the most of any player over that period.

"I've been unlucky in the past few years but I need to keep working hard to go to the next level now," Iheanacho told BT Sport.

"We did it together. Without the whole team we wouldn't have won. It's not a one-man show. 

"I'm happy with the way we played together and stayed together at the end and I was at the right place at the right time. We are in the final and we're really happy.

"I think the FA Cup loves me and I love the FA Cup."

Iheanacho is the first Nigerian player to score 15 goals in all competitions in a season for a Premier League club since Odion Ighalo in 2015-16 for Watford.

Rodgers added: "His confidence levels are very high. Some of his set-up play was a bit loose today but his confidence was not affected by that. 

"Him and Jamie [Vardy] are a real threat but it is very much a team effort."

Southampton have been eliminated in eight of their last 10 FA Cup semi-final appearances, two of which have come in the last four seasons.

The Saints had kept a clean sheet in each of the previous four rounds and scored eight goals, but they failed to have a single shot on target this time around.

"It's hard to take because we haven't been the worst team," Ralph Hasenhuttl told BBC Sport. "We saw a not very good football game to be honest, with both teams a little nervous.

"That such a goal decides such a game is a pity for us. We had a good run and we wanted to get to the final to give our fans the chance of another final. 

"In the end, especially in the final third, we didn't have good moments. We couldn't get a shot on goal and this is not enough. We had the chance to get to the final. We'll try again next year."

England international James Maddison was one of three Leicester City stars dropped for the 3-2 Premier League defeat at West Ham on Sunday after breaching COVID-19 protocols.

Maddison, Hamza Choudhury and Ayoze Perez were absent for disciplinary reasons, with the Telegraph reporting the trio were left out by manager Brendan Rodgers for attending a party last weekend.

Speaking after the game, Rodgers said he was "bitterly disappointed" with their breach of the rules but said the players would be back in contention for the FA Cup semi-final against Southampton next weekend.

He said in a press conference: "My objective coming into Leicester City was to create a standard on and off the pitch. The standards fell way below what we'd expect and particularly at this time of the season, when we're challenging and fighting to finish off a really exciting season.

"That standard and the values we have as a club, they fell well below that. The guys that weren't involved in the squad today would have been, but as a consequence of their behaviour, they weren't.

"I could easily fine players and it's a drop in the ocean now and everything is right, but then the dynamic isn't quite right in the squad. I had to deal with that throughout the week, the players are bitterly disappointed.

"They are good boys, they knew what the consequence was, they wouldn't be involved in this game and now we draw a line under it. They will rejoin the squad, train next week and get ready for next weekend."

Leicester said in a statement: "The club has made its expectations around adherence to COVID-19 protocols abundantly clear to all its personnel.

"It is extremely disappointing, therefore, to learn of a breach that had the potential to undermine the efforts of club staff to protect the environments in which our teams train and play. Appropriate measures have been taken to prevent our team bubbles being compromised.

"We wholly expect our people to behave in a way that reflects the national effort and the sacrifices made by our communities to control the spread of the virus. Those involved have apologised for their poor judgement.

"Our response to the matter will be concluded internally."

David Moyes has urged West Ham to attack their dream of finishing in the Premier League top four, an achievement he feels would be his best as a manager.

West Ham are fourth in the Premier League ahead of hosting third-place Leicester City in a huge encounter on Sunday.

According to reports, Michail Antonio could miss the rest of the season and Moyes has confirmed the forward has a hamstring strain.

Declan Rice is also ruled out for West Ham, who face massive stakes in their eight-game run-in, which starts with the key clash against the Foxes.

Leicester were the last non 'big six' team to finish in the top four in 2016, ending an 11-year wait after Moyes was in charge of the previous team do it (Everton in 2005).

But Moyes thinks reaching the top four with West Ham would top that.

"I think it would be [even greater]," he said to Sky Sports.

"I'd been at Everton for three years by then so that would mean it would be a bigger achievement given we're already competing. 

"[European football] would not be something new for the club, but it would be new in the modern era of West Ham.

"I still feel the Premier League has an established order - there's a lot of teams knocking at the door to see if they can get in.

"A few of the big teams are worried about it because we see that in other situations and developments with talk of a new [breakaway] league.

"We are having a really good season at the moment, we are trying to stick with it and we are not hiding from the fact we believe we are outsiders. 

"But we also believe we have got a great opportunity so why do not we try to attack it full on?

"This time last year, we had to win games in order to stay in the Premier League so we're actually all feeling very light and not heavy.

"We'll try to take a few risks, try to go for it and see if we can win them. The aim is to try to finish around the top end.

"I think most people will not expect us to make Champions League, so I hope we can try to do something very similar to what Leicester did when they went on to win the league. 

"Nobody thought they could win it."

West Ham are winless in five home matches with Leicester (D2 L3), losing 2-1 last season.

Ahead of the game, Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers backed striker Jamie Vardy to emerge from a goalscoring slump that has seen him score just once in 17 matches.

"The team has still been winning," Rodgers said. "What's most important for Jamie is you have to continue to work, make runs and sometimes you just need that bit of luck.

"He has created a number of opportunities for us. We know his threat and he can score any time.

"Jamie has just been very unfortunate, between keepers making saves and blocks on the line and some chances that, maybe, he would have put away.

"He is always going to be there. He is such a threat, his sharpness and speed, he is such an important player for us."

West Ham are looking to record their first Premier League double over Leicester since the 1999-00 season under Harry Redknapp.

The Hammers have the second-best home record in the Premier League (28 points), while Leicester have the second-best away record so far this term (34 points). 

League leaders Manchester City are the team at the top in both categories.

Benjamin Mendy was an unlikely goalscorer as Manchester City took another step towards the Premier League title with an authoritative 2-0 victory at Leicester City.

Pep Guardiola's side were dominant for long periods, Kevin De Bruyne hitting the crossbar, but had to wait until the 58th minute for left-back Mendy to find the breakthrough.

Both teams had seen goals ruled out for offside by that point, with Jamie Vardy frustrated in first-half stoppage time, although nothing approaching a repeat of Leicester's 5-2 early season triumph at the Etihad Stadium ever appeared to be on the cards.

A majestic De Bruyne throughball allowed substitute Raheem Sterling to tee up Gabriel Jesus for a game-sealing goal that put the leaders 17 points clear of Manchester United, albeit having played two games more than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men.

Manchester City captain Fernandinho drilled a 25-yard drive into the bottom corner but his fifth-minute effort was ruled out because Sergio Aguero jumped over the shot in an offside position.

De Bruyne went closer for the visitors, rattling the bar with a 23rd-minute free-kick, before Kasper Schmeichel saved with his boot to thwart former team-mate Riyad Mahrez and Jesus thrashed over before half-time.

Leicester's first shot belatedly arrived in the 48th minute, when Youri Tielemans treated Ederson to a routine stop.

Ruben Dias slid in to make a telling block from the Belgium midfielder moments later after Kelechi Iheanacho picked Fernandinho's pocket.

Mahrez stung Schmeichel's palms before the hour and Leicester failed to clear the danger – possession falling to Mendy, who stepped inside Marc Albrighton and slotted home right footed.

Sterling and Jesus threatened to undo De Bruyne's imperious work 16 minutes from time but held their nerve to seal victory as blue shirts darted back towards the goalmouth in vain.

Mahrez trudged off having come agonisingly close to scoring against his former employers, clipping a shot just wide after Jesus mugged a flagging Jonny Evans.

In-form Leicester City star Kelechi Iheanacho has signed a new three-year contract with the Foxes.

The Nigeria international, who joined from Manchester City in August 2017, has agreed to a deal that will run until at least the end of the 2023-24 season.

"I can't express how I'm feeling," Iheanacho, who has scored 12 goals this season, told the club's website. "I'm excited, I'm happy, I'm overwhelmed! It's a great moment and I'm happy that Leicester City gave me a new contract.

"It's been a great time here. It's not been easy, but there's a lot of people here that are good people, great people to work with. They are nice people and they make me feel comfortable and welcome since I came in.

"It's been really great being here. It's like a family. I'm happy being here and hopefully I can stay here many more years."

Iheanacho has hit a rich vein of form after previously struggling for Leicester, the 24-year-old having scored seven goals in his previous four appearances.

His five top-flight goals in March, including a hat-trick against Sheffield United, helped him to win the Premier League Player of the Month award, while he also struck the opener in Leicester's 3-1 FA Cup quarter-final win over Manchester United.

His minutes-per-goal rate last month (48) was bettered only by Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski (38.75) across Europe's top-five leagues.

In total, he has scored 32 goals in 117 games for Leicester, leaving manager Brendan Rodgers delighted with his recent performances and his overall attitude.

"Since he has come into the team he has just been fantastic," Rodgers told Sky Sports. "I am delighted for him because he is such a conscientious guy, such an honest guy, and as you can see now, a very talented player.

"All the guys love him. Now what you are starting to see is all his qualities. How he receives the ball. His strength. His finishing ability. His anticipation as a striker. You are seeing all of these things now because he is playing with confidence. I am delighted for him."

Ralph Hasenhuttl and Brendan Rodgers have backed Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp's stance on potentially withholding players from upcoming international fixtures.

Premier League players travelling to 'red list' countries during next week's break would be forced to quarantine for 10 days when they return to England, missing games for their clubs as a result.

On Wednesday, Klopp suggested he would not allow that to happen, saying: "The players are paid by the clubs so that means we have to be the first priority. You cannot make everyone happy in this period of our lives.

"I think everybody agrees that we cannot let the players go and come back and quarantine for 10 days in a hotel - that's not how we can do it."

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer later agreed with his Reds counterpart, insisting it "didn't make sense" for his players to travel under those conditions.

And they have now been supported in that view by Southampton boss Hasenhuttl who, when asked whether he would also prevent players from leaving, replied: "Absolutely no question for me.

"I mean, you cannot think that I send any player anywhere when he has to quarantine when he's coming back. This is absolutely nonsense. Forget it. Definitely not.

"Because, I mean, there's business travel if you want…why should I send them there?

"Nobody can say that he's coming back at least two weeks out and cannot play for us so this is not possible. Definitely not."

Leicester manager Rodgers, meanwhile, hit out at football's governing bodies over a lack of leadership that has left clubs to make difficult decisions.

"I think the clubs are being told it is going to be an individual case for each club," he said.

"But I think in essence all the clubs will be looking at not wanting to send players, I'm pretty sure, into countries where there is going to be a risk of them coming back and not being able to play and have to go into quarantine in a hotel. 

"I don't think any club will want that for any of the players."

Harvey Barnes is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers confirmed the winger would likely require surgery on a knee injury.

The in-form 23-year-old, whose impressive displays had put him firmly in the conversation around England's Euro 2020 squad, was substituted six minutes into the second half of Sunday's 3-1 loss to Arsenal.

And Rodgers confirmed Barnes had significantly aggravated an issue that first came to light earlier this month.

"It's not good news, it looks like he needs to go in for an operation, so it will be a minimum of six weeks," said Rodgers, whose squad has been hugely impacted by injury setbacks.

"I believe it's around his cartilage. He had a clash of knees a few weeks ago, so it has just been irritable. Today he's had a challenge right on it [and that] has just made it worse.

"He'll need that repaired. He's had niggles with it, that's why we tried to recover him on Thursday, to take some pressure off him, but unfortunately it's a bad one for him, and a huge blow for us.

"I'll hear more on Monday, but initially that's what we think it is."

The Foxes' treatment room is a busy place at present, with James Maddison, James Justin, Wesley Fofana, Ayoze Perez, Dennis Praet and Wes Morgan all out of action.

Worse still for the Champions League hopefuls, defender Jonny Evans was forced off with a calf problem against the Gunners, who roared back from 1-0 down at the King Power Stadium.

"He's had this dead calf, which he's been able to get through, but in some games he has made some actions that have aggravated it," said Rodgers. "He'll need a scan to see where he's at.

"We're down to the bare bones, we've carried it all season and the players have been great. It's absolutely fair enough.

"My players to this point have been brilliant, but we've suffered with a lot, and found a way, but when you're missing the influential players and can't change, it makes it difficult. We'll find a way.

"One thing that goes when you have that tiredness is technique, when passes go astray. With our team, it's usually crisp and precise with our passing."

The minimum six-week recovery time for Barnes would see him miss five top-flight games and the FA Cup quarter-final with Manchester United.

Despite the defeat, which came on the heels of Thursday's Europa League exit at the hands of Slavia Prague, Leicester sit third in the Premier League.

Brendan Rodgers blamed a lack of intensity, creativity and quality for Leicester City's Europa League exit as his own poor record in the competition's knockout stage continued.

The Foxes were favourites to progress from their last-32 tie with Slavia Prague after a goalless draw in the first leg, but succumbed to a 2-0 loss at the King Power Stadium on Thursday

Rodgers has now been eliminated from all five of his Europa League knockout ties as a manager (all last 32) – with Liverpool in 2012-13 and 2014-15, Celtic in 2017-18 and 2018-19 and Leicester this season.

"We didn't create enough over two legs. That's the reality," Rodgers told BT Sport.

"We didn't defend with any intensity. We gave away two disappointing goals.

"We got into some good areas but lacked quality when we arrived in them. We started pretty well and exploited some spaces in behind, but we didn't have enough quality to break them down.

"Before this game we were in three competitions and we wanted to give it our all. We know where our priorities are and now, we'll do our very best. We just lacked intensity and quality.

"Overall, the better team won and got through. We have to recover for the weekend."

Rodgers was without injured playmaker James Maddison while Harvey Barnes, their top scorer in Europe this season, started on the bench.

The Northern Irishman defended his decision to leave Barnes out of the starting line-up and felt those players selected were good enough to get them through the tie.

"We lost to the better team. I take responsibility for the team I've picked. I picked a team I felt could win the game," Rodgers added.

"Was it a game too far with our domestic commitments? Yes, but I don't want to give too many excuses. We had players not available tonight at the top end of the field. Guys that can make a difference for us.

"However, I still expected us to show up more. They'll learn from it, like they always do, and although we're disappointed to be out but we know we weren't good enough."

Leicester reaction

February 25, 2021

 

 

 

Leicester City were knocked out of the Europa League at the last 32 stage after a meek 2-0 home defeat to Slavia Prague on Thursday.

With the first leg having finished goalless in Prague, Leicester were strong favourites to reach the last 16 at the King Power Stadium.

But Lukas Provod gave Slavia the lead early in the second half with a cool volleyed finish inside the penalty area after his run went unchecked by the Leicester defence.

Abdallah Dipo Sima made the outcome certain with 11 minutes left when he fired home spectacularly from just outside the box as the Premier League high-flyers went crashing out.

The Foxes tried to seize the early initiative as Cengiz Under twice struck efforts from distance, but their opponents looked the more threatening side in the first half.

A weak Caglar Soyuncu header from a Slavia long ball allowed striker Sima to break clear just before the half hour but his early shot went wide of Kasper Schmeichel's goal.

The unmarked Jan Kuchta should have done better for the Czech First League leaders when he planted a header wide from a good position.

Moments before the interval Jamie Vardy escaped down the left but with few options in the box he kicked the advertising hoardings in frustration after his cross was easily gathered by Ondrej Kolar.

Slavia took a deserved lead four minutes into the second half when Nicolae Stanciu's cross picked out the run of Provod, who side-footed a volley beyond Schmeichel.

Rodgers missed the creative talent of the injured James Maddison but he did bring top scorer Harvey Barnes off the bench just after the hour.

However, Slavia grabbed a second when the impressive Sima was allowed time and space by the Leicester defence and curled a powerful low shot into the corner of the net.

Manchester City showed few signs of slowing as they recorded another win at Arsenal on Sunday.

The runaway Premier League leaders remain 10 points clear of both Manchester United and Leicester City, who each enjoyed victories of their own.

West Ham complete the top four, meanwhile, after a long-awaited triumph for manager David Moyes.

We start at the London Stadium in recapping the best of Sunday's action with the help of Opta data.
 

West Ham 2-1 Tottenham: Moyes ends miserable run against Mourinho

Moyes finally got the measure of Jose Mourinho as West Ham climbed into the top four with a 2-1 home win against Tottenham.

This was Moyes' first victory over Mourinho in 16 attempts in all competitions, halting his worst winless record against any one coach.

Michail Antonio's fifth Premier League goal against Spurs and 42nd in total - all of which have come from inside the box - opened the scoring early on, before another swift strike in the second half took the game away from Tottenham.

Scorer Jesse Lingard, whose best spell of his United career came under Mourinho, has netted as many goals (three) for Moyes in four league games on loan at West Ham as he did in 36 appearances for Red Devils manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Although Lucas Moura's header halved the deficit, Mourinho has now suffered 15 defeats and picked up only 81 points from his first 50 league games as Tottenham coach - the worst such returns of his career.
 

Aston Villa 1-2 Leicester City: More Villa Park joy for Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers maintained his 100 per cent winning record away to Aston Villa as Leicester won 2-1 at Villa Park.

Rodgers has won all six of his Premier League games at Villa Park as manager, the past two with Leicester ensuring the Foxes have enjoyed back-to-back away top-flight wins against Villa for the first time since October 1960.

James Maddison's eighth Premier League goal of the season broke the deadlock and made this his best scoring campaign in the top tier, before Harvey Barnes added his 13th in all competitions in 2020-21 - second only to Jamie Vardy (14) among Leicester players.

Bertrand Traore got a goal back and has now been involved in eight in the league for Villa since his debut, but the absent Jack Grealish, the only man at the club this season to better that tally (10), was sorely missed.

0.9 - Under Dean Smith, Aston Villa have averaged 1.5 points-per-game in league competition when Jack Grealish has featured compared to 0.9 points-per-game without him, losing all three Premier League matches without the Englishman since the start of last season. Centrepiece. pic.twitter.com/QafEdQ7IKY

— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 21, 2021  

Arsenal 0-1 Manchester City: Records stacking up for Pep's class of 2021

City equalled their own record for consecutive away wins across all competitions by a team from England's top flight, landing a 1-0 success at Arsenal.

An 11th straight victory on the road - tying their 2017 run - also made City the first visiting team to ever enjoy four league wins in a row at Arsenal without conceding.

In all, Arsenal have lost eight league matches on the bounce to City, tying Leeds United's benchmark streak against the Gunners from 1973 to 1976, and a familiar foe proved their undoing.

Raheem Sterling has scored in three consecutive league games at Emirates Stadium and no player in the division has more than his 20 on the road since the start of last season.

City stood firm at the other end with a 15th league clean sheet of the campaign and more achievements might be on the horizon, as a 25th game without defeat across all competitions takes them closer to their best run under Pep Guardiola of 28 in 2017.
 

Manchester United 3-1 Newcastle United: Red Devils dominate Magpies again

United's dominant home record against Newcastle United only briefly looked at risk as they won 3-1 in Sunday's final match.

Newcastle have won on just one of their past 36 league visits to Old Trafford, where Marcus Rashford's 40th goal in all competitions since the start of last season broke the deadlock - his tally is only bettered in that time by Mohamed Salah (47), Harry Kane (45) and Sterling (44).

Allan Saint-Maximin soon equalised - his fifth goal involvement of the campaign - but Dan James restored the home advantage from Bruno Fernandes' pass.

Fernandes secured the points from the penalty spot and now has 15 goals and 10 assists in the Premier League this season, the third player to reach double figures in both goals and assists in Europe's 'top five' leagues (also Kane and Thomas Muller).

United, who have just one defeat in 19 in the league, have now scored 53 times in 25 league matches, their best return at this stage of a season since their title-winning 2012-13 campaign (60).

Manchester United are making plans for Paul Pogba's departure and may have already identified the Frenchman's replacement in Real Madrid's Federico Valverde.

The 22-year-old has struggled with injuries this season, while veteran midfielders Luka Modric and Toni Kroos have been in vintage form for LaLiga's champions.

Valverde has only started 12 games in all competitions this season, but the Uruguayan has impressed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer enough for United to step up their efforts to bring him to Old Trafford this off-season.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED EYE VALVERDE TO PLUG MIDFIELD

Valverde has shown his class while featuring in 89 games during his three seasons in the Spanish capital and has turned heads at United.

The Red Devils are said to admire his energy and box-to-box qualities as they seek a long-term solution to lock down a place in the centre of Solskjaer's midfield, according to The Sun.

One snag in the recruitment drive could be the Uruguay international's buy-out clause of a staggering £148million, though United can offer him a major improvement on his current £120,000 per week wage.

Leicester City scored three goals in the space of seven minutes to stun Liverpool as the Premier League champions slipped to a 3-1 defeat in Jurgen Klopp's 300th match in charge. 

Mohamed Salah's carefully placed finish gave the visitors a 67th-minute lead at the King Power Stadium, yet from a position of strength they suffered a dramatic collapse to slip to a third successive loss. 

James Maddison equalised with a free-kick from a tight angle – the strike was initially ruled out for offside prior to a VAR check – before a calamitous moment between Alisson, at fault for two goals in last Sunday's 4-1 loss to Manchester City, and debutant Ozan Kabak gifted Jamie Vardy his first goal of 2021. 

With Liverpool still reeling, Harvey Barnes wrapped up a first win for Brendan Rodgers over his former employers since the end of his Anfield reign – and moved his current club six points clear of them in the table. 

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