Mikel Arteta was left bemused by what he felt were VAR inconsistencies after Jamie Vardy escaped a red card during Arsenal's 1-1 draw with Leicester City on Tuesday.

The Gunners looked to be heading for a fourth successive Premier League win after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's first-half opener, but Eddie Nketiah's straight red 15 minutes from time – shortly after coming off the bench – gave Leicester encouragement.

Nketiah caught James Justin with a high boot to the knee and a VAR check led to the striker's dismissal, but Arteta felt it highlighted inconsistency.

Vardy, who went on to score a late equaliser, had been involved in an incident just before half-time where his flailing foot caught Shkodran Mustafi in the face as the pair fell to the floor.

Despite the presence of VAR, the former England striker avoided punishment, but Arteta thinks he should have been dismissed.

"I have my opinion, I prefer to keep it like this," he said. "What I am saying is, if you review incidents of that type, you should review them all.

"If Eddie's is a red card then for sure the other is a red card. If [Nketiah] can be a red card then Leicester has to play with 10 men after 42 minutes – that has to be a red card as well."

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers claimed to have not seen the incident involving Vardy, though he was adamant Nketiah's sending off was justified for "a horrific challenge".

"To be honest, I can't even remember that one," he said. "I haven't seen it to be honest, I didn't even think about looking at it afterwards.

"Obviously, Mikel will have his feelings of it but like I said with Eddie, it wasn't intentional but dangerous to go in on the stretch with his studs up.

"I think when you see it like he [the referee, Chris Kavanagh] has, it was a clear red. The kid is just stretching but it ended up being an horrific challenge so was absolutely deserving for a red card."

Mikel Arteta claimed Arsenal must learn to shut out games if they are to propel themselves into a side capable of beating teams at the top of the Premier League table.

Jamie Vardy's 84th-minute goal salvaged a 1-1 draw for visiting Leicester City at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday, ending Arsenal's winning streak in the Premier League.

Victory would have lifted the Gunners, who took the lead through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the first half but were disappointing after the break, into sixth place.

However, Eddie Nketiah's red card reduced the hosts to 10 men with 15 minutes remaining, and head coach Arteta was left to rue Arsenal's inability to put the result to bed.

"We have to learn. When you play against this opposition, when you have them, you have to kill them off," Arteta told reporters.

"That's the fourth time that we've had to play with 10 men. It's not possible for that long against this opposition. And I didn't like the goal we conceded.

"It's very difficult to do. The hardest thing to do is score goals. We generated the chances to go in with a much bigger margin at half time. If you don't do that you cannot play these games.

"I'm extremely proud of our team and the way we played against this type of opposition with how dominant we were in the first half.

"But clearly, we should've gone three or four-nil up and killed the game. That's what you have to do with this type of opposition."

Nketiah's dismissal came just four minutes after the 21-year-old had been introduced, and Arteta called on experienced forwards Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette to help the youngster learn from his mistake.

"He's disappointed," Arteta said. "He's on the front foot in every action and he didn't see the player.

"He needs to learn from this situation. They [Auba and Laca] will have to support him."

Arsenal's focus will now switch to Sunday's north London derby, with the match crucial for the Gunners' – and Tottenham's – European hopes.

Eddie Nketiah's red card proved costly for Arsenal as Jamie Vardy's late goal salvaged a 1-1 draw for Leicester City in the Premier League.

Mikel Arteta's side looked set to make it four league wins on the spin on Tuesday, thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's 21st-minute goal.

Yet, just four minutes after coming on, substitute Nketiah received his marching orders for a rash tackle on James Justin – referee Chris Kavanagh consulting VAR to deem the youngster's tackle worthy of a straight red.

And Leicester made their numerical advantage count with six minutes remaining – Vardy's goal standing after a long VAR check for offside as the Foxes claimed a valuable point.

 

 

Arsenal are in talks over making Dani Ceballos' loan switch from Real Madrid permanent.

The 23-year-old Spain midfielder had his season interrupted by a hamstring injury but has now started seven of the previous eight Premier League games and is thriving under Mikel Arteta.

The Gunners are back in action against third-placed Leicester City on Tuesday, where building on their 2-0 weekend triumph at Wolves is vital in terms of maintaining their slim hopes of Champions League qualification.

A strong finish could also make Emirates Stadium a more attractive long-term home for Ceballos.

"Yeah, we are talking to [Real Madrid]," Arteta said.

"Obviously we don't own the player, it is not in our hands. We need to have a communication and see what we can do."

Ceballos' last-gasp winner against Sheffield United set up an FA Cup semi-final showdown with holders Manchester City and Arteta is impressed by the player's enthusiasm as much as his quality.

"I'm really happy with him the way he is evolving. And, as well, I love how much he likes to play football, the passion that he puts in every training session and in every game," he added.

"You have to see his celebrations. Whether he's on the pitch or on the bench, the way he celebrates the goals. He puts his life into it.

"I'm really happy with him. I think he is evolving the right way and becoming a really important player for us."

Such satisfaction applies across the board for Arteta, with Arsenal stringing together three consecutive Premier League victories since returning from lockdown with damaging losses at City and Brighton and Hove Albion.

"I think the players are trying their maximum, the effort they put into every press, every duel. It's tough," he said.

"Even at Brighton, where I was a little bit more critical, I never criticised the effort or the determination that they put in on the pitch; just some focus on the way that we competed in certain moments in the game to give chances to the opponent.

"I am delighted with how the team is acting, how active they are, how alive they are, how hungry they are to compete and put everything into the game."

Matteo Guendouzi remains an exception in this regard, however.

The midfielder has not featured since the 2-1 loss to Brighton, with Arteta calling for Guendouzi and similarly jettisoned playmaker Mesut Ozil to be "100 per cent committed to our culture".

Asked whether the situation with the 21-year-old Guendouzi should have changed since he issued the ultimatum, Arteta replied: "I don't know. The reality is that is hasn’t so we are still where we are."

Mikel Arteta has been outstanding in coping with the pressure at Arsenal and shown "courage" in his initial months at the helm, says Brendan Rodgers.

Leicester City play away to Arteta's Arsenal side in the Premier League on Tuesday.

They won November's reverse fixture 2-0 as Unai Emery's tenure with the Gunners was drawing to a close, with Arteta taking charge the following month.

Arsenal have won four straight games in all competitions ahead of the Leicester clash at the Emirates Stadium, and Foxes boss Rodgers has been impressed.

"I think Mikel has done very, very well since he's gone in," said Rodgers, whose team are third in the table.

"He's gone into a club with huge expectations, which he knows from being a player there. He's gone in on his first job, into a huge task, and I think how he's dealt with it so far has been outstanding.

"From a tactical perspective, he's made it very clear how they want to play. The style, you can see.

"That is not an easy style to put in place and implement, especially at a club that want to be challenging straight away as well.

"His courage since he's gone in, to want to develop that. They've played with a couple of different systems but the style has always remained the same. 

"That is something that bodes well for the future and for him."

Leicester have said James Maddison and Ben Chilwell are major injury doubts for the game, with Chelsea and Manchester United breathing down their necks in the race for a top-four finish.

Saturday's 3-0 home win over Crystal Palace ended a four-match winless run since the Premier League's resumption and Rodgers has confidence ahead of the last five games of the campaign.

Asked if his side were capable of finishing the job to secure Champions League football, Rodgers said: "There is absolutely no doubt.

"We've shown over 33 games our talent. Okay, we are maybe missing some players that have helped us along that way but as a squad we're very focused on achieving it.

"We will fight to the very, very last whistle to finish as high as we possibly can."

Chelsea are one point adrift of Leicester, with a resurgent Manchester United three behind.

Seventh-placed Arsenal have moved to within six points of United and are still hoping to challenge for a European place.

James Maddison and Ben Chilwell are "big doubts" for Leicester City when they travel to play Arsenal on Tuesday, says manager Brendan Rodgers.

Leicester won the reverse fixture 2-0 in November, with Maddison scoring and Chilwell playing the full game.

But the two England internationals are unlikely to be fit this time around, with the Foxes embroiled in a competitive battle to finish in the Premier League's top four.

Maddison injured his hip ahead of last week's defeat at Everton and had to miss Saturday's 3-0 home win over Crystal Palace, a game in which Chilwell had to be withdrawn at half-time.

"We've got doubts over James Maddison and Ben Chilwell," said Rodgers.

"They are the two that could struggle but we'll see how they are [on Monday]. We just have to wait and see. There are big doubts over both.

"Ben's is his plantar fascia, the bottom of his foot, which is giving him pain. We'll just have to assess that and see what the specialists say on it.

"You can play through it but of course there are times you get a real bad pain in it, so it's just trying to manage that.

"They will both be big doubts ahead of the game but we'll give them every chance."

The win over Palace was crucial for third-placed Leicester, who had failed to win their first four matches since the top-flight's resumption.

"It was important, but it always has to be about performance," added Rodgers.

"We've been down on our luck lately and I felt the win was coming. We knew we had to improve, but the confidence it gives you is huge."

Chelsea have moved to within two points of them while a resurgent Manchester United are three behind with five matches to go in the race to secure Champions League football.

Chelsea cruised to victory over Watford, moving them back above Manchester United, while Leicester City boosted their bid for a Champions League spot.

The in-form Mason Greenwood struck twice as United thumped Bournemouth 5-2 at Old Trafford to briefly rise into fourth place in the Premier League, but Chelsea later responded to a midweek loss at West Ham to leapfrog the Red Devils. 

Leicester are a point better off than Chelsea in third after they ran out 3-0 winners over Crystal Palace, Jamie Vardy reaching the 100 Premier League goals landmark with a late double. 

Arsenal dealt a huge blow to Wolves' top-four hopes with a 2-0 win at Molineux, while Norwich City looked doomed to relegation after they lost 1-0 at home to Brighton and Hove Albion. 

 

Willian on target again on Lampard anniversary

Brazilian Willian again showed why Frank Lampard is so keen to keep him, scoring his sixth goal in his last seven games as he converted from the penalty spot against Watford at Stamford Bridge. 

Olivier Giroud, preferred to Tammy Abraham, opened the scoring before Willian struck late in the first half. Ross Barkley rifled home his first Premier League goal since October 2018 in stoppage time to round out a comfortable 3-0 triumph. 

Chelsea had too much quality for relegation-threatened opponents a year to the day since Lampard was appointed, Christian Pulisic again catching the eye with another dazzling display. 

Ruthless United march on, Gunners fire

United stretched their unbeaten run to 16 matches in all competitions by putting beleaguered Bournemouth to the sword. 

Teenager Greenwood gave another demonstration of his quality with a goal in each half, with Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Bruno Fernandes also findingthe net after Junior Stanislas had given the Cherries a shock lead. 

Meanwhile, goals from Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette gave Arsenal a win at Wolves that moved them into seventh place, three points behind their opponents. 

Foxes get back on track, time running out for Canaries 

Former England striker Vardy scored his first goals since the season restarted as Leicester got back on track following a run of four games without a win. 

Brendan Rodgers' side were looking over their shoulders after losing at Everton in midweek, but Kelechi Iheanacho put them on their way to a home victory over Palace before Vardy took centre stage. 

In the early kick-off, Brighton eased their relegation fears and pushed bottom side Norwich closer to an immediate return to the Championship, Leandro Trossard scoring the only goal at Carrow Road. 

Manchester United and Leicester City bolstered their top-four hopes with Premier League wins on Saturday – as Mason Greenwood announced himself as a major star and Jamie Vardy reached a long-awaited landmark

Third-placed Leicester have laboured since England's top flight resumed last month, collecting two points from three matches heading into the home game against Crystal Palace.

Kelechi Iheanacho's close-range finish from Youri Tielemans' low 49th-minute cross set the Foxes on course for a 3-0 win and a costly slip by Mamadou Sakho allowed Harvey Barnes to tee up Vardy for his 100th Premier League goal.

The former England striker then streamed clear in stoppage time to dink past Vicente Guaita and Brendan Rodgers' side remain three points ahead of United, who are up to fourth – at least temporarily – after dismantling Bournemouth 5-2.

The relegation-threatened visitors hit the front at Old Trafford through Junior Stanislas, who cheekily nutmegged Harry Maguire before beating David De Gea at his near post.

But teenage forward Greenwood then took centre stage, blasting into the top corner to equalise.

He finished with similar venom after half-time, the 18-year-old's 15th in all competitions this term making it 4-2 after Marcus Rashford converted from the penalty spot and Anthony Martial spectacularly found the top corner.

Another penalty by Joshua King - Eric Bailly the handball offender as Adam Smith was before him – briefly gave Bournemouth hope early in the second half, although that had dissipated by the time Bruno Fernandes crashed in a 59th-minute free-kick from the edge of the area.

Wolves and Chelsea must now offer their response, with the Blues knowing a win over Watford in Saturday's late kick-off will put them back above United.

Nuno Espirito Santos' Wolves face Arsenal before that in a crunch clash at Molineux, where three points would pull them level with the Red Devils.

Watford head to Stamford Bridge in 17th and a point better off than second-bottom Bournemouth, although the relegation picture became grimly clearer for Norwich City.

Brighton and Hove Albion's Leandro Trossard scored the only goal at Carrow Road, moving the Seagulls nine points clear of the drop zone and leaving Norwich seven from safety with five matches to play.

Jamie Vardy scored his 100th Premier League goal as he netted against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

The Leicester City striker brought up the landmark on his 205th appearance in the division, putting the Champions League-chasing Foxes 2-0 to the good.

Few of the former England international's ton have been so straightforward, as Harvey Barnes capitalised upon a slip from Palace defender Mamadou Sakho to leave Vardy with a simple finish.

It makes him the 29th player to reach a century of goals in the Premier League and the 16th to do so for a single club. 

Vardy now has 20 this season, making the 33-year-old the leading scorer in England's top flight.

His achievement is made all the more remarkable by the fact that Vardy was still playing non-League football at the age of 25.

Lionel Messi's future is often a topic of discussion.

Messi has an early break clause in his Barcelona contract.

As Barca look to re-sign Messi, the 33-year-old superstar is reportedly ready to walk away next year.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI WANTS BARCA EXIT

Lionel Messi will leave Barcelona when his contract expires at the end of 2020-21, according to Cadena SER.

Barca captain Messi – previously linked to Inter and Manchester City – has reportedly been in talks over a new two-year deal at Camp Nou.

However, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner and Barca's all-time leading scorer is reportedly tired of being blamed for issues at the club, with the LaLiga champions set to be dethroned by Real Madrid.

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Camp Nou and club legend Xavi has agreed to become Barcelona head coach next season. Mundo Deportivo journalist Francesc Aguilar says the Al-Sadd boss has agreed a €6million salary to replace under-fire coach Quique Setien.

- Mundo Deportivo reports Manchester United and neighbours City have asked Barca about the availability of out-of-favour forward Antoine Griezmann. A big-money signing from Atletico Madrid at the start of the season, Griezmann has struggled and found himself on the bench in recent weeks. However, the report claims Barca are not considering a transfer.

Liverpool are poised to sign Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara, says Sport. Thiago is out of contract at the end of 2020-21 and the Spaniard is not willing to re-sign. Now, Liverpool are believed to be in advanced negotiations as Bayern seek £31m (€35m) for Thiago.

- Everton full-back Lucas Digne has emerged as a target for City and Chelsea if they fail to land Leicester City star Ben Chilwell, according to ESPN.

Borussia Dortmund have completed the signing of Birmingham City teenager Jude Bellingham, reports Bild. United were also chasing the 17-year-old sensation.

- After signing Achraf Hakimi from Real Madrid, Sky journalist Fabrizio Romano claims Inter have opened talks with Chelsea for Italian full-back Emerson Palmieri.

Juventus are hoping to settle Paulo Dybala's new contract between July and August, says Calciomercato.

- The Telegraph reports Chelsea are ready to step up their pursuit of Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz after Saturday's DFB-Pokal final against Bayern. Havertz has been linked to Bayern, Madrid, United, Liverpool and Barca.

- Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga could be shipped out on loan to Sevilla, claims The Sun. The world's most expensive keeper has been criticised for his performances this season.

Allan Saint-Maximin produced an inspired performance to lead Newcastle United's 4-1 win over hapless Bournemouth, while Leicester City's hold on a Champions League spot slipped again.

Leicester's slump in form continued with a 2-1 defeat at Goodison Park, with Everton battling to a second Premier League win on the bounce.

The Toffees enjoyed a great start, as Richarlison turned home a fine pass from youngster Anthony Gordon early on and then Gylfi Sigurdsson converted a penalty following a handball by Wilfred Ndidi.

Leicester were brighter after the break once James Maddison and Kelechi Iheanacho were introduced, with the latter netting fortuitously, but Everton held on to the win and owed thanks to Michael Keane for clearing off the line following a Jordan Pickford error.

Defeat leaves the Foxes just three points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United.

Elsewhere, Newcastle's performance was by no means perfect at the Vitality Stadium, but they still blew their hosts away – Saint-Maximin playing a major role.

The Frenchman picked out Dwight Gayle for a fifth-minute opener and then dazzled Bournemouth as Newcastle went 2-0 up with half-an-hour played, tricking his way past Adam Smith before picking out Sean Longstaff.

Saint-Maximin completed his hat-trick of assists when teeing up Miguel Almiron just prior to the hour, and Valentino Lazaro rounded things off towards the end after Jonjo Shelvey's pass, moving Newcastle on to 42 points and leaving the Cherries - who got a late consolation through ex-Newcastle midfielder Dan Gosling - second from bottom after a fourth successive loss

The day's other early kick-off saw Arsenal hammer rock-bottom Norwich City 4-0.

Leicester City have confirmed Premier League games will still go ahead at the King Power Stadium despite the region being placed under a local lockdown.

A spike in COVID-19 cases in Leicester led to the government extending the restrictions on the city on Monday.

The measures will last for at least two weeks and apply to the city centre and a number of suburbs.

The Foxes, however, have confirmed their three remaining home fixtures – against Crystal Palace, Sheffield United and Manchester United – will go ahead as planned.

"The club has consulted with local authorities, its Safety Advisory Group and the Premier League, following Monday night's government announcement relative to coronavirus measures in Leicester," a statement read.

"All parties remain entirely satisfied that, through the continued implementation of our COVID operations plan, the club's football operations can continue to safely function under existing protocols and, in doing so, there will be no greater risk posed to club personnel, visiting teams or our surrounding communities.

"Consequently, first team training will continue at Belvoir Drive and our forthcoming Premier League fixtures remain unaffected.

"The club remains agile to the evolving nature of the situation and suitable continuity arrangements are in place in the event we are required to deviate from our existing protocols."

Leicester travel to Everton on Wednesday before welcoming Roy Hodgson's Palace on Saturday.

Brendan Rodgers defended Jamie Vardy's form and said his focus was on Leicester City as a whole amid their goalscoring struggles.

Since returning to action earlier this month, Leicester have scored just one goal in three games, having bowed out in the FA Cup quarter-finals with a 1-0 loss to Chelsea on Sunday.

Vardy is without a goal in those three games, but has scored 19 times in 33 matches this season, to go with six assists.

Asked about the forward's form, Rodgers backed Vardy and said he wanted more from his entire attack, not just the Englishman.

"There's lots of focus on Jamie, but this is not just about Jamie, this is the responsibility of the team and it's my responsibility to find ways in which we can find ways to increase our goalscoring," he told a news conference.

"It's the responsibility of everyone. I think if you look at his record in terms of his goals and what he has done up until this point, he hasn't needed a lot of action, he's a true finisher.

"He is not one of those players who is involved in the link-up, in the game. That's not his strength. His strength is in the box and running from deep in behind.

"Of course we want to get him more service, but we are looking at ways to develop and get our wingers back to being involved and scoring and creating goals, and of course our midfield players.

"A lot of spotlight [is] on Jamie, but it is not just the striker, it's the team's contribution. So that's something we need to improve."

Leicester City, who are third in the table, are away to Everton in the Premier League on Wednesday.

Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers insists he is paying no heed to the possibility of playing home games at neutral venues amid suggestions the region will be placed under a local lockdown.

Three of the Foxes' remaining seven Premier League fixtures - against Crystal Palace, Sheffield United and Manchester United - are due to be staged at the King Power Stadium.

However, a spike in COVID-19 cases in the city of Leicester - where 866 of their 2,987 positive cases have been reported in the two weeks to June 23 - has led to the possibility of the region being placed back under a localised lockdown.

That could prevent Champions League-chasing Leicester from playing at their own ground and while Rodgers acknowledged his players are prepared for any eventuality, he is trying not to focus on the possibility of playing at neutral venues.

"It's something I'm not really thinking of, to be honest," Rodgers told reporters at a news conference on Monday.

"It's all hypothetical at the moment so there's nothing really to answer on. We'll just get on with our work.

"Nothing's changed really in terms of how we've been working thus far throughout this situation.

"I've always said, we'll react accordingly. We have to have agility in this period.

"In this moment in time we're in the safest place we can be in terms of our work, the stadium also, it's a very safe environment for the games to be in. We'll just keep working until we're told otherwise."

Rodgers tested positive for coronavirus himself in March but recovered during the Premier League's hiatus.

Though the region where Leicester play is struggling to contain COVID-19, Rodgers believes the players are as well protected as they can be.

"As a football club, we're very protected, the players and everyone, we're still in a bubble where the players are in, they're tested twice a week," Rodgers said after Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final loss to Chelsea.

"They're virtually in and back home again, a lot of them don't live in that central Leicester area, it's more urban and outside of that.

"You're always concerned nationally in terms of COVID and trying to ensure the rates are down, but I think we're in a position here at the club, like most other clubs, we're very much protected.

"We couldn't be in a better place so that gives confidence to continue your work."

Frank Lampard has no concerns over Chelsea's young players, despite conceding his side were far below their best against Leicester City.

Ross Barkley came on from the bench to score in the 63rd minute on Sunday, securing a 1-0 victory to send Chelsea through to the FA Cup semi-finals, with Manchester United up next on July 18 or 19.

However, Lampard's side were second best in the first half, with the Blues boss making three changes at half-time – Barkley being one of the alterations. 

Mason Mount, Billy Gilmour and Reece James were the players to make way, but Lampard insists he has full confidence in the young trio.

"The first half wasn't what we're used to in terms of performance this season," Lampard, who took advantage of the temporary rule allowing five substitutions, told a news conference.

"We seriously lacked urgency and intensity in the first half, so the three subs... I probably could have made more subs or different subs.

"Of course, if we didn't have the extra subs, I wouldn't make the three at half-time, but the reason the subs are here is because they are trying to prevent injury and understand that the players have missed a proper pre-season.

"We can probably look at that we had three big games in a week, a very difficult game on Thursday, so I'll allow us a bit of credit, and the fact they showed enough to turn it around against good opposition.

"I don't think we have played that badly this season in 45 minutes; we played a lot better and lost games. So when it looks like I'm criticising, I'm actually positive that it's not the norm for us but it felt like it had to be addressed.

"I could've made different changes as well. In Mason's situation, he played two games in a week and gave a lot of input against Man City. Reece James hasn't played in a long time since going into lockdown and Billy's the same, so there are contributing factors around it.

"They are going to be top players, they will have top careers in football - that's the players they are - so whether you can call it a learning experience, I did do that.

"They are all good lads, they train well and I've never had a problem with them at all, so I've got no worries."

One player who did draw Lampard's praise was goalscorer Barkley, who has looked sharp since the resumption of the campaign.

"I played with Ross and I know he's a great lad. He wants to be the best player he can be and has a great attitude," Lampard added.

"Before lockdown, he put in some really good performances for us, his attitude has been spot on in training, he looked after himself in lockdown, and he was unfortunate not to start against Aston Villa. Since then, he's made an impact in every match he's played.

"I've got lots of time for Ross. He's a big player for us - you saw that today and in the last three games."

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