Frank Lampard once again got the better of his former manager Jose Mourinho as Chelsea beat Tottenham 2-1 to boost their top-four hopes.

Ex-Blues midfielder Lampard saw his side complete a Premier League double over Spurs at Stamford Bridge in Saturday's early kick-off.

In the late game, Manchester City put seven points between themselves and third-placed Leicester City with a 1-0 win at the King Power Stadium.

It was a good day elsewhere for fourth-placed Chelsea too, as Sheffield United dropped points at home, drawing 1-1 with Brighton and Hove Albion.

Struggling Aston Villa and Bournemouth both suffered away defeats but Crystal Palace moved above Newcastle United with a 1-0 success at Selhurst Park.

 

LONDON DERBY DELIGHT FOR CHELSEA

Olivier Giroud and Marcos Alonso rewarded Lampard's faith in them by marking their returns to the starting line-up with goals.

Striker Giroud scored his first club goal since August before Alonso doubled the lead prior to the break, with Chelsea hanging on despite a late own goal from Antonio Rudiger.

In leading his side to home and away Premier League victories over Tottenham in 2019-20, Lampard became the first boss to beat a team managed by Mourinho in both league fixtures in a single season.

Chelsea moved four points clear of both Spurs and Sheffield United, who were held by Brighton at Bramall Lane as Enda Stevens' opener was cancelled out by Neal Maupay.

JESUS CITY'S SAVIOUR AFTER AGUERO’S PENALTY MISS

Sergio Aguero became the latest City player to miss a penalty before Gabriel Jesus scored a late winner in a 1-0 victory at Leicester.

Aguero's second-half spot-kick was saved by Kasper Schmeichel, with four different City players having failed to convert their last four Premier League penalties.

Yet Jesus, brought on for Aguero, slotted past Schmeichel 10 minutes from time to move City seven points clear of third-placed Leicester.

SAINTS AND EAGLES BOOST SURVIVAL HOPES

Southampton moved 10 points clear of the bottom three thanks to goals 87 minutes apart from Shane Long and Stuart Armstrong in a 2-0 triumph over Villa.

Roy Hodgson's Palace claimed their first victory of 2020 as Patrick van Aanholt's free-kick on the stroke of half-time proved enough to beat Newcastle, who lost Valentino Lazaro to a late red card.

Bournemouth were unable to put some distance between themselves and the bottom three, however, as they went down 3-0 at Turf Moor.

The Cherries had two goals disallowed in the defeat to Burnley, who moved up to eighth thanks to second-half goals from Matej Vydra, Jay Rodriguez and Dwight McNeil.

Frank Lampard once again got the better of his former manager Jose Mourinho as Chelsea beat Tottenham 2-1 to boost their top-four hopes.

Ex-Blues midfielder Lampard saw his side complete a Premier League double over Spurs at Stamford Bridge in Saturday's early kick-off.

It was a good day elsewhere for fourth-placed Chelsea too, as Sheffield United dropped points at home, drawing 1-1 with Brighton and Hove Albion.

Struggling Aston Villa and Bournemouth both suffered away defeats but Crystal Palace moved above Newcastle United with a 1-0 success at Selhurst Park.

 

LONDON DERBY DELIGHT FOR CHELSEA

Olivier Giroud and Marcos Alonso rewarded Lampard's faith in them by marking their returns to the starting line-up with goals.

Striker Giroud scored his first club goal since August before Alonso doubled the lead prior to the break, with Chelsea hanging on despite a late own goal from Antonio Rudiger.

In leading his side to home and away Premier League victories over Tottenham in 2019-20, Lampard became the first boss to beat a team managed by Mourinho in both league fixtures in a single season.

Chelsea moved four points clear of both Spurs and Sheffield United, who were held by Brighton at Bramall Lane as Enda Stevens' opener was cancelled out by Neal Maupay.

 

SAINTS AND EAGLES BOOST SURVIVAL HOPES

Southampton moved 10 points clear of the bottom three thanks to goals 87 minutes apart from Shane Long and Stuart Armstrong in a 2-0 triumph over Villa.

Roy Hodgson's Palace claimed their first victory of 2020 as Patrick van Aanholt's free-kick on the stroke of half-time proved enough to beat Newcastle, who lost Valentino Lazaro to a late red card.

Bournemouth were unable to put some distance between themselves and the bottom three, however, as they went down 3-0 at Turf Moor.

The Cherries had two goals disallowed in the defeat to Burnley, who moved up to eighth thanks to second-half goals from Matej Vydra, Jay Rodriguez and Dwight McNeil.

Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus is reportedly wanted by Serie A giants Juventus.

Jesus, 22, has struggled for regular game time since arriving at City from Palmeiras in early 2017.

And Juve may be prepared to take the Brazil international to Turin.

 

TOP STORY – JUVENTUS WANT MAN CITY'S JESUS

Juventus want Jesus in a €69.9million (£58.5m) move, according to The Sun.

The report adds the Serie A champions also want Mauro Icardi, who is on loan at Paris Saint-Germain from Inter.

Jesus has scored 36 goals in 90 Premier League games for City, but just 48 of those have been starts.

ROUND-UP

- With his contract at Real Madrid ending in 2021, Sergio Ramos seemingly wants a new deal. AS reports the Madrid captain, 33, wants a further two years on his deal, but the LaLiga giants are not keen to offer it.

- Paulo Dybala looks likely to re-sign at Juventus. CalcioMercato reports the playmaker is getting closer to a renewal with the club with his current contract expiring in 2022.

- Amid Liverpool's reported interest in RB Leipzig star Timo Werner, Roberto Firmino has been linked with a stunning move to Bayern Munich. However, Goal reports the Premier League leaders' front three of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Firmino are "going nowhere" at the end of the season.

- Newcastle United remain keen to sign Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare. Le 10 Sport says the Premier League club are continuing to press for the 20-year-old to make the move after being unable to get a deal done in January.

- Arsenal are eager to re-sign Bukayo Saka. The 18-year-old, who has impressed at left-back, is in talks over a lucrative long-term deal, according to The Times.

Mikel Arteta insisted he is "not conflicted at all" by Manchester City's looming UEFA ban after Arsenal thrashed Newcastle United to move within sight of the European places in the Premier League.

Former City assistant coach Arteta oversaw a 4-0 defeat of Newcastle on Sunday, but the news Pep Guardiola's side are facing a two-year suspension from European competition dominated the weekend.

While City have announced an intention to appeal the ban, there is the possibility fifth could now secure Champions League qualification, with the Europa League potentially in reach for a team in eighth depending on who wins the domestic cups.

Arsenal are 10th, lifted by second-half goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette, but Arteta was not looking to revel in his former employers' gloom.

"We don't know anything about it," he told Sky Sports. "We will have to wait and see.

"It's very difficult. I'm not conflicted at all. I want the best for Manchester City, the best for Pep, for the players.

"I love a lot of people there and I am so grateful for the time I spent there. The only thing I want for them is positive and good things.

"I just want to do the best we can for Arsenal, to achieve ourselves what we deserve."

Arsenal were poor before half-time against Newcastle, making a slow start and surviving the occasional scare, and Arteta is not getting carried away.

"We want to go game by game because, 10 days ago, I was disappointed by the game at Burnley," he said. "A lot of things are going to happen.

"It's up to us and how consistent we can be from now until the end of the season. If we want to have a chance [of qualifying for Europe] in the last few games, we have to put wins together."

Asked what Arteta told his team after the tough first half, captain Aubameyang said: "'Just keep going'. We started not at our best.

"But in the second half, we put in some more energy and we went through and scored the first, the second, the third."

On the coach's overall impact at Emirates Stadium since his December appointment, the striker added: "We feel better. We have an idea of playing that's very clear.

"We'll try to maintain this level. We are happy to keep going like this."

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.

Eddie Nketiah was selected for a first Premier League start in Arsenal's game against Newcastle United on Saturday.

The 20-year-old was expected to go back out on loan after being recalled from Championship side Leeds United due to a lack of game time in January, but Mikel Arteta opted to retain his services.

After featuring as a substitute against Sheffield United and Burnley, Nketiah was chosen to lead the line against Newcastle at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Nketiah was joined in the front three by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe, with Alexandre Lacazette and Gabriel Martinelli dropping to the bench.

Dani Ceballos was handed a place in a Premier League starting line-up for the first time since a 1-1 draw with Wolves on November 2.

Arsenal spent their mid-season break on a warm-weather training camp in Dubai, while Newcastle were granted an extended weekend off.

Mikel Arteta is keen for Arsenal to tie their most promising youngsters to the club with renewed contracts, but accepts he is not in charge of such matters.

Arsenal are going through something of a transition, with the club still rebuilding following the exit of long-time manager Arsene Wenger in 2018.

Wenger's replacement Unai Emery only lasted until November last year, leaving Arteta with a squad in relative limbo given it had been put together by different managers.

But under Emery, some talented young players began to emerge, with Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka all showing signs of great potential.

Saka, 18, has made arguably the biggest impact on the first-team this season, making 10 Premier League starts and often impressing with his ability on the ball.

The England youth international's contract expires in 2021, meaning Arsenal are running out of time to make their mind up about him, but Arteta is seemingly relaxed about the situation.

"I'm really happy how they [Arsenal's young players] are developing," Arteta told reporters on Friday ahead of Sunday's clash with Newcastle United.

"Part of that development is to improve their contracts and tie them to the club. That has to follow a natural process.

"We have Edu [technical director], Raul [Sanllehi, head of football], Vinai [Venkatesham] and Huss [Fahmy, contract negotiator] who are in charge of that.

"We will do the right things when players deserve to improve and extend their contract."

With Arteta at the helm, Arsenal bolstered their defensive options in January, making Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares the new coach's first two signings.

But there is still plenty of work to be done, with Arteta confirming the club is already working hard on end-of-season recruits.

"Absolutely, we have to plan," the Spaniard said. "We need to know the direction we want to have. To do that we need to bear in mind different scenarios.

"With that in mind, I have to tell the club what we need, where we think we can improve and where we want to aim. If we all aim for the same thing and we put a plan together to try to execute it and make the process as short as possible."

Neither of Arsenal's two new signings have made their debut yet and, although Mari is close to being in contention, Soares is not and neither will feature on Sunday.

Arteta added: "Pablo hasn't competed since the end of December. He had a little issue. He's been training with us the last week or so in and out a little bit. He's been looking good.

"I think this game will come a little bit too early for him, but I expect him to start joining the squad in the next week or so.

"[Cedric] is very disappointed. Obviously, when you join a new club you want to make an impression straight away.

"He had an issue in his knee. It's not completely healed yet. He hasn't been training with us. I expect him to be back with us in the coming weeks, but I can't give you a date."

Liverpool opened up a whopping 22-point lead over Manchester City at the top of the Premier League as four second-half goals saw them cruise past Southampton 4-0 at Anfield on Saturday.

The Reds were lucky to not be behind at the break after a chaotic first half, but normal service was resumed after the interval as they racked up a 16th consecutive top-flight triumph.

Merseyside rivals Everton, meanwhile, came from two goals down to edge past Watford 3-2 in a thrilling game at Vicarage Road.

Antonio Rudiger scored twice as Chelsea and Leicester City played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at the King Power Stadium, while there were wins for Sheffield United and Bournemouth over Crystal Palace and Aston Villa respectively.

Brighton and Hove Albion came from two goals down to draw 3-3 at West Ham, while bottom side Norwich City held Newcastle United to a goalless draw at St James' Park.

SALAH AT THE DOUBLE FOR RELENTLESS REDS

Mohamed Salah scored twice as runaway leaders Liverpool produced a second-half surge to seal a comprehensive victory over Southampton.

Jurgen Klopp's world champions secured a 24th win from 25 top-flight games this season, with Salah striking twice in the last 18 minutes.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain opened the scoring in the 47th minute against his former club, unleashing a low drive past Alex McCarthy, before Jordan Henderson doubled their lead on the hour mark.

RUDIGER HEADS BRACE IN LANDMARK MATCH

Rudiger marked his 100th appearance for Chelsea with an unlikely brace but Frank Lampard's side were unable to secure maximum points.

Chelsea went ahead a minute into the second half at the King Power Stadium when Rudiger nodded in Mason Mount's corner.

Their lead lasted less than 10 minutes, Harvey Barnes drawing Leicester level with the aid of a deflection off Reece James to give Willy Caballero - picked ahead of Kepa Arrizabalaga - no chance.

Ben Chilwell put the hosts ahead with a cool finish in the 64th minute, but the Blues claimed a share of the spoils to stay eight points behind third-placed Leicester when Rudiger headed home his second 19 minutes from time.

TOFFEES STING HORNETS WITH LATE STRIKE

Everton's Theo Walcott scored in the 90th minute to complete a remarkable turnaround against Watford.

Adam Masina and Roberto Pereyra had put the Hornets 2-0 up, but defender Yerry Mina scored twice in first-half stoppage time to haul Carlo Ancelotti's side level.

Everton's hopes of sealing all three points looked to be over when Fabian Delph was dismissed 13 minutes from time for two yellow cards, but Walcott steered home after a quick break to send the travelling faithful into raptures.  

Newcastle United have signed Tottenham left-back Danny Rose on loan until the end of the season.

Rose, who joined Tottenham in 2007, has become the third signing of the January transfer window for Newcastle, following on from the loan additions of Nabil Bentaleb – a former team-mate at Spurs – and Inter winger Valentino Lazaro.

The 29-year-old England international comes in as a much-needed defensive reinforcement for Newcastle after Paul Dummett and Jetro Willems each suffered season-ending injuries.

Rose, who has made over 150 Premier League appearances for Spurs, has made only one start in the top flight since October - in a 1-0 defeat to Liverpool on January 11.

"It's a great honour for me to be here. I'm so grateful that the manager has brought me in and I'm looking to repay him in every way I can as soon as I'm playing," Rose told NUFC TV.

"For me, it's really exciting that I can come here and have the chance to play in front of the Newcastle fans.

"Newcastle are one of the biggest clubs in England. I spoke to the manager last night and he told me there were 50,000 fans here at the weekend against Oxford.

"You can't go wrong with that kind of passion and support from the fans, and it's something I'm looking forward to."

The time might have come for Chelsea to cash in on one of their longest and most loyal servants.

According to reports, LaLiga giants Barcelona are eager to take winger Willian to Camp Nou before the January transfer window closes on Friday.

The experienced Brazilian has been with Chelsea since 2013, but his contract is due to expire at the end of the season.

 

TOP STORY - BARCA WANT WILLIAN

Barcelona will test Chelsea's resolve with a late €23.6million (£20m) offer for Willian, Sky Sports have reported.

The Blaugrana are said to be are "long-term admirers" of the 31-year-old and hope to have him on board for the remainder of their title battle against Real Madrid.

Willian could leave Stamford Bridge on a free at the end of June if Chelsea choose not to cash in now.

Frank Lampard last month said contract talks were ongoing with the former Shakhtar Donetsk attacker, but he has not yet agreed a new deal.

 

ROUND-UP

- News of Barca's approach comes amid suggestions they have had an eye-watering €100m (£85m) offer for Richarlison rejected by Everton, rumours the Mirror indicates have been laughed off at Goodison Park.

- Chelsea, however, could be preparing their Willian replacement. According to the Daily Mail, the Premier League top-four aspirants are looking to sign 32-year-old Napoli forward Dries Mertens for a cut-price £6m fee.

- Barca, meanwhile, are trying to find a new home for Philippe Coutinho after learning Bayern Munich will not activate their €120m option to buy the on-loan playmaker, say Catalunya Radio.

- England international Danny Rose will spend the remainder of the season at Newcastle United after Tottenham accepted a £2m loan fee for the left-back, claim the Guardian.

- Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund must improve their bid from €22m to €30m to convince Serie A champions Juventus to part with midfielder Emre Can, claim CalcioMercato.

Newcastle United have completed the signing of Inter wing-back Valentino Lazaro on loan until the end of the season.

The Austria international, who can also play as a winger, joined Inter from Hertha Berlin at the start of the season but struggled to establish himself at San Siro, starting only three Serie A matches.

Lazaro was subsequently linked with Newcastle and Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig, and he became the Premier League club's second January signing – after Nabil Bentaleb ​– on Friday.

Bentaleb joined on loan from Schalke with an option to buy, but Newcastle confirmed only the temporary deal for Lazaro – despite reports he could sign for £20million (€23.5m) at the end of the campaign.

"I'm very happy to be here and can't wait to meet all my team-mates, get out on the training pitch and hopefully get a lot of victories in the future," Lazaro told the Magpies' official website.

"I've only heard great things about the club. I've had good talks with the coach, so I feel very happy to be here now. Those conversations convinced me that this is the right place for me to come."

Lazaro's opportunities at Inter were further hindered this month by the arrivals of wing-backs Ashley Young and Victor Moses.

Meanwhile, Newcastle have also been linked with a move for Tottenham left-back Danny Rose following injuries to Jetro Willems and Paul Dummett.

Head coach Steve Bruce told reporters on Friday: "He's a quality player and a class act, the kid. Whether it's possible, who knows?"

Chelsea failed to make the most of their numerical advantage as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Arsenal at Stamford Bridge in a thrilling London derby that included a late goal from either side.

Much of the pre-match focus was on the two managers, with Frank Lampard beginning to come in for a bit of criticism after a difficult run, while Mikel Arteta has been accused of doing little to improve Arsenal's fortunes since coming in.

And there were plenty of hints as to why the sides are out of form, with the two sets of defences failing to inspire a great deal of confidence. 

Manchester City avoided dropping points, however, with a substitute sparing their blushes in a 1-0 win at Sheffield United, while there was plenty of drama at the bottom of the table.

DAVID LUIZ SEES RED BUT ARSENAL CLING ON

It was an unhappy return to Stamford Bridge for former Chelsea defender David Luiz, who was given a frosty reception and then sent off for a cynical foul that led to a penalty.

From that spot-kick, Jorginho opened the scoring in the 28th minute, suggesting Chelsea were set to cruise.

But a wonderful solo effort from Gabriel Martinelli restored parity just after the hour, leaving Lampard looking a little nervous.

Chelsea retook the lead with what they thought was a winner from Cesar Azpilicueta, the captain turning in a left-wing cross.

But Hector Bellerin's well-placed left-footed effort from the edge of the box found the bottom-left corner and secured the Gunners a share of the spoils, a commendable achievement given their disadvantage. The draw moves Arsenal up to 10th, while Chelsea go six points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United.

AGUERO THE DIFFERENCE FOR CITY

City handed Aymeric Laporte his first appearance since August at Bramall Lane, the Frenchman having recovered from a serious knee injury.

But he was given some rough treatment by the Blades – with Muhamed Besic catching him with a heavy challenge early on.

City did enough in the first half to take the lead, but Dean Henderson was in excellent form between the United posts, making several impressive saves and keeping out Gabriel Jesus' penalty.

But the visitors' persistence paid off. Sergio Aguero came off the bench to get the winner 17 minutes from time, finishing clinically after a glorious pass from Kevin De Bruyne.

That moves them six clear of Leicester City in third, though the 13-point gap behind leaders Liverpool remains daunting.

CHERRIES STOP THE ROT

After six matches – five of which ended in defeat – without a victory, Bournemouth finally got back to winning ways against Brighton and Hove Albion on Tuesday.

Harry Wilson got the ball rolling with a driven effort from the edge of the box after Dominic Solanke teed him up in the 36th minute.

Pascal Gross then put past his own goalkeeper just before the break, diverting in after a Bournemouth corner caused havoc in the visitors' box.

Callum Wilson then wrapped up a comfortable win 16 minutes from time, rounding Mat Ryan and slotting in unchallenged, with Aaron Mooy's late effort a mere consolation in a 3-1 defeat for the Seagulls.

It was not enough to move Bournemouth out of the bottom three, though – Aston Villa's last-gasp 2-1 win over fellow strugglers Watford decisive in that sense, as Tyrone Mings got the all-important clincher.

NEWCASTLE STUN EVERTON WITH COMEBACK

Everton looked to be easing to a 2-0 win over Newcastle United – but it all went wrong in stoppage time.

Moise Kean initially put Everton in front in the 30th minute with his first Premier League goal, though he required a little luck, as he capitalised on Newcastle's inability to clear the ball and then shot under Martin Dubravka, who probably should have done better.

The in-form Dominic Calvert-Lewin got his 10th top-flight goal of the season early in the second half, but that two-goal cushion was insufficient.

Florian Lejeune was Newcastle's hero, first scoring with an acrobatic attempt after a Jordan Pickford error, then restoring parity with a volley that just about found its way over the line amid a scramble in the penalty box, both goals coming in stoppage time.

There was no such drama at Selhurst Park, however, as Southampton managed to hang on to their 2-0 lead in an ill-tempered affair, moving them into the top half of the table.

Palace's Wilfried Zaha might find himself in danger of retrospective action as well, after television cameras caught him poking James Ward-Prowse in the face during a half-time altercation.

Newcastle United have completed the signing of ex-Tottenham midfielder Nabil Bentaleb on loan from Bundesliga side Schalke.

Bentaleb, 25, left Spurs in 2016 and quickly established himself as a regular in Germany.

However, the Algeria international has not featured for Schalke since April, having been dropped for alleged unprofessional behaviour. 

He has now signed for Newcastle on loan until the end of the season with an option to make the deal permanent, becoming Steve Bruce's first signing of the January transfer window.

"I'm very happy to come back to the Premier League, especially with a club such as Newcastle," Bentaleb told Newcastle's official website.

"The project really interested me. I wanted absolutely to come back to the Premier League. The coach had some trust in me and the club also – I saw that straight away – and I think it's the perfect move for me."

Bentaleb made 97 appearances in total for Schalke across three and a half seasons with the club, scoring 19 goals.

Newcastle are also reportedly in talks with Inter for wide player Valentino Lazaro, while Bruce indicated Jetro Willems' season-ending knee injury may mean they look to bring in a left-back.

Steve Bruce hopes to sign Valentino Lazaro from Inter despite fearing a rival club could pounce following news of Newcastle United's interest.

Lazaro has struggled to make an impact at San Siro since signing from Hertha Berlin ahead of the season, and the Nerazzurri have now brought in Ashley Young from Manchester United while being linked with Chelsea's Victor Moses.

Those moves would appear to allow the Austria international to leave, and his agent was pictured in Newcastle at the 1-0 win over Chelsea.

Bruce confirmed the club's interest on Monday, with Schalke midfielder Nabil Bentaleb also reportedly en route to Tyneside, but was unsure of progress on the Lazaro deal.

"We hope [Lazaro will sign]. I think it's fairly common knowledge now that the agent was at St James' Park at the weekend," Bruce told a news conference ahead of facing Everton. "We hope that we can develop it.

"Unfortunately, when it gets out like it did, it adds to the competition. We'll see. We'll see what the next 24 to 48 hours bring."

However, it appears Newcastle will be forced to make further moves as their injury crisis shows no sign of subsiding.

Left-backs Jetro Willems and Paul Dummett have both suffered season-ending issues in recent days, leaving only Matt Ritchie – himself just returning to fitness – in that position.

"It's what we feared [with Willems], he's ruptured his anterior cruciate [ligament] and will miss, obviously, the rest of the season," Bruce said. "And we've had bad news on Dummett, too.

"It's not looking so good for him as well – it looks like he's probably ruled out for the rest of the season as well with a tendon injury in his leg.

"It's been a bad weekend in that respect. We wish them well and hope for a speedy recovery.

"Things change in two or three days. We have got funds available, we are active at this moment. Because of what's just happened, we're short in that area.

"We might have to look and see if we can do anything in the short term. We'll see what we can do, see who's out there."

Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard says he did not insist on a one-to-one conversation with Kepa Arrizabalaga after his latest error and still has faith in the Spain goalkeeper.

The Blues succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at Newcastle United on Saturday thanks to Isaac Hayden's winner deep into stoppage time.

Questions were once again asked of Kepa, as Hayden got a slight touch on Allan Saint-Maximin's delivery and, although it still appeared to be in the goalkeeper's path, he failed to react quickly enough to keep it out.

It was by no means the first mistake Kepa has made since joining from Athletic Bilbao in 2018 – he also struggled in a similar situation against Ajax this season in the Champions League.

Lampard is keen not to pile the pressure on the 25-year-old, however.

"I'll always defend the players and I think if there are individual errors, then players are the ones who stand and hold their hands up," Lampard told reporters on Monday ahead of Tuesday's Premier League clash with Arsenal.

"I think goalkeepers should be as well, it's quite an isolated, difficult job and the spotlight is really on individually. He's made good saves for us this season and at times he'll have wanted to do better, because he's still relatively young as a goalkeeper and wants to improve, as he should do. He can improve just like all the team can improve.

"I didn't have a direct conversation with him. I'm sensitive to the fact that goalkeepers are under the microscope and that can be tough, but if it's not going for you, like a striker, you have to just work hard and keep your head down and be humble about how you work.

"That's how I push everyone to work. He's a good goalkeeper, we know that. He's saved us points and then there's times when we look and go, 'is it an individual error or a team error?'

"And sometimes the goalkeeper takes the brunt if we haven't defended right as a team. I don't want to dwell on it. If it's not right, we need to make it better."

Lampard also jumped to the defence of his Manchester United counterpart Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after it emerged Marcus Rashford is set to miss at least six weeks after aggravating a back problem.

The England international came on as a substitute against Wolves and was then forced off again as his injury developed into a double stress fracture, leading to criticism of Solskjaer for bringing him on even though he was involved in Juan Mata's winning goal.

"You can't criticise a manager for making a decision like that," Lampard said. "Rashford has been in incredible form, scored 19 goals and he's a huge factor in their team.

"Hindsight is a beautiful thing, but if you have a player who wants to play even with issues, then you have to make a decision.

"I've heard managers get slated when they turn away from the FA Cup and play a second-string team and now I hear him getting slated for bringing on one of their best players to try and win a game in the cup, so you can't have it both ways."

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