Dreams of Premier League glory began to feel like an inevitability at Anfield as Liverpool beat Manchester United on a weekend that saw Leicester City, Chelsea and Manchester City drop points.

Jurgen Klopp's side dispatched their old rivals with goals from Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah, leaving Reds supporters full of confidence after Burnley came from behind to beat third-placed Leicester 2-1 at Turf Moor.

There was a surprise result at St. James' Park on Saturday, Frank Lampard's Chelsea dominating for long periods against Newcastle United but succumbing to a late Isaac Hayden goal in a 1-0 defeat.

There were late goals at the Etihad Stadium, where Sergio Aguero thought he had won it with a brace, only for Fernandinho to put through his own net in a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

The weekend's Opta data offers detailed insights into the stories behind those results, as well as Wolves' dramatic 3-2 comeback victory over Southampton at St. Mary's.

 

ANFIELD FULL OF HOPE AFTER BACK-TO-BACK HOME WINS OVER UNITED

They are no longer saying it quietly: Liverpool fans firmly believe the title is theirs after watching their side beat United on Sunday.

The victory marked the first time Liverpool have claimed consecutive home Premier League wins over the Red Devils since winning three in a row between September 2008 and March 2011 and there was an air of invulnerability around Anfield at the final whistle.

Liverpool have taken 91 points from a possible 93 in their last 31 Premier League matches, winning 30 and drawing just one, while United have now lost nine of their last 16 top-flight away games (W3 D4 L9).

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men have failed to score in eight of those games and they gave Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson little to do despite creating a number of goalscoring opportunities.

Alisson kept himself busy by becoming the first Reds keeper to assist a Premier League goal since March 2010, when Pepe Reina laid on a goal against Sunderland.

 

 


LATE HAYDEN WINNER LEAVES LAMPARD'S BLUES REELING

Chelsea have lost as many Premier League games this season as they did in the entirety of 2018-19 after Hayden scored in the 94th minute to snatch victory for Newcastle over Lampard's inconsistent Blues.

Four of Chelsea's eight league defeats this season have come in their last eight matches and supporters making the trip to Tyneside had reason to be fearful of their side coming unstuck.

Chelsea have now lost five of their last seven top-flight trips to St. James' Park but defeats to teams managed by Steve Bruce have been a rare occurrence - this was only the second time he has beaten the Blues in 23 games against them as a manager (D5 L16).

Prior to Hayden's strike, Newcastle had not scored a last-minute winner since Ayoze Perez struck against Tottenham in December 2015.

It was Hayden's third Premier League goal and came in his 70th appearance in the competition, his last coming in February 2019 against Wolves.

 

POROUS CITY PAY FOR ERRORS AT THE BACK

City came from behind to lead with three minutes left in their clash with Palace but conceded at home in the Premier League for the 12th time this season as the Eagles secured a point at the death.

Pep Guardiola's men have now conceded as many goals at home in the league as they did in the whole of last season and this was their third draw of the 2019-20 season - in their title-winning campaign last term they only drew twice.

Aguero's double inside five minutes marked the Argentina international's 250th and 251st goals in all competitions for the club in his 360th appearance, but Fernandinho became the first City player to score a Premier League own-goal since Nicolas Otamendi against Huddersfield Town in November 2017.

The scoring was opened by new signing Cenk Tosun, who netted in the 39th minute to become the fourth Turkish player to reach 10 Premier League goals after Muzzy Izzet, Tuncay Sanli and Tugay.

Palace are ninth in the table after four consecutive draws - the last time they drew as many Premier League games in a row was in 1992-93 when they started the season with the same sequence.

 

WOLVES EMERGING AS COMEBACK SPECIALISTS

When Raul Jimenez scored from the penalty spot at St. Mary's he pulled Wolves level after they had been two goals down, but there was even better to follow for Nuno Espirito Santo's men.

Jimenez scored again in the 76th minute, taking his tally to 19 goals in all competitions this season and clinching three points for Wolves that means they have now picked up 18 from losing positions in the Premier League this season - seven more than any other side.

Falling behind after 15 minutes to a Jan Bednarek goal was nothing new for the visitors, who have conceded first in 16 league games this season including each of their last seven in a row.

But Jimenez has been directly involved in 28 goals this season and after Shane Long netted his 54th Premier League goal to make it 2-0 to the Saints, Pedro Neto scored for the second time in his last three league appearances to tee up the Mexico international for a memorable brace.

Jimenez now has 19 goals and nine assists to his name in all competitions this season, giving him more direct goal involvements than any other top-flight player in 2019-20.

Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard said the Blues cannot rely on striker Tammy Abraham after their shock 1-0 Premier League loss away to Newcastle United.

Isaac Hayden snatched a last-gasp winner as Chelsea failed to make their dominance count in a dramatic defeat to Newcastle at St James' Park on Saturday.

Chelsea had almost 70 per cent of the possession but the visitors were unable to find the back of the net, with Abraham spurning two great chances.

It was the first time Chelsea failed to score away from home in the Premier League this season since their opening-day rout at Manchester United.

"We can't absolutely rely on Tammy Abraham," Lampard told reporters post-match of the 22-year-old England international, who has scored 13 league goals this season.

"We have to have goals from across the frontline if we want to bridge the gap upwards. Tammy has been fantastic this season - it didn't quite come off for him today but that’s football.

"I can't complain about anything from the team really. Of course we don't want to give headers away in our box, they're big and that happens but other than that, we gave everything we could to try to win the game."

Asked if Chelsea can address their attacking issues in the transfer market, Lampard replied: "We'll see.

"I think you can address it on the training ground with the players. But we can't practice finishing, we can't practice entering the final third more than what we do. When we are on the pitch and in games we have to be more clinical, the players know that.

"I am very pleased with the players we have got. We have a lot of talent in this team, but sticking the ball in the back of the net is a huge thing and if we want to do it as a club going forward, this season and next season going forward and we are controlling games as we are, then we have to score goals."

 

Frank Lampard insists Chelsea cannot do more than they already are doing in training to improve their finishing and has urged his team to find a "killer instinct" in front of goal.

Chelsea failed to make a dominant display count as Isaac Hayden's last-gasp header handed Newcastle United a 1-0 win in Saturday's Premier League encounter at St James' Park.

While Joelinton had earlier hit the bar for the home side, Tammy Abraham spurned two glorious chances, while Willian had also failed to take a good opportunity.

Lampard offered no excuses for the defeat, though, insisting Chelsea only have themselves to blame as he acknowledged his side's deficiency in regards to goals from their attacking players.

"It's football, you have to get your head around it very quickly. I'm not always massive on stats but the feel of the game was domination," Lampard told Sky Sports.

"They hit the bar with a header, one of I think three headers they had in the game and they scored with one of them. Other than that, second half I don't remember them endangering our box, we were camped around their box and creating chances.

"We know we have problems at the top of the pitch, scoring goals. We don't get enough front-line goals if we want to bridge the gap and that's something we've seen a lot this season, especially at home. 

"Today was like a home game in how we performed on the pitch and if you don't score then you're always liable to a sucker punch and we got it.

"It's something we need to address, the instinctive nature to score the goal. We're working on it.

"We need to be clinical. We can't make any bones about it, it's a reality. We can't work anymore in training on finishing. You have to have that killer instinct in front of goal. We need to score more goals from front-line areas to get where we need to be."

Lampard insisted in his pre-match news conference that he would not be drawn into making any "kneejerk" signings.

However, he conceded it is clear Chelsea need reinforcements in the final third.

"It doesn't matter until it's done," Lampard said when he was asked if any incomings were close.

"It's quite clear that I know where we need to strengthen, so we'll see."

Isaac Hayden snatched a last-gasp winner as Chelsea failed to make their dominance count in a dramatic 1-0 Premier League defeat to Newcastle United at St James' Park.

Heading into Saturday's fixture on the back of a 3-0 demolition of Burnley, Chelsea had almost 70 per cent of the possession, yet could not pick their way through Steve Bruce's well-drilled side and came unstuck in the final minute of stoppage time.

Having cleared a corner, Chelsea switched off when the ball was worked back in, giving Hayden the chance to head in from point-blank range, though Kepa Arrizabalaga could have done better.

Prior to Hayden's winner, it had been all Chelsea, with Tammy Abraham spurning two great chances, though Joelinton had hit the crossbar midway through the second half.

Ultimately, though, the Blues' dominance counted for nothing as Frank Lampard's fourth-placed side suffered their first defeat in four top-flight matches.

Fernandinho's stoppage-time own goal gave Crystal Palace a 2-2 draw at Manchester City, while Wolves fought back from two down to beat Southampton and Norwich City claimed a huge Premier League win on Saturday.

Cenk Tosun's first Palace goal put the London club in front, but Aguero equalised with his 250th for City eight minutes from time before putting the second-placed champions in front at the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola's side were unable to see it out, though, as Fernandinho turned the ball into his own net to leave City 13 points behind leaders Liverpool, who play Manchester United in one of their two games in hand on Sunday.

Resurgent Saints looked set to move into the top half when they were two up at St Mary's Stadium, but Raul Jimenez's double after a Pedro Neto strike moved Wolves up to sixth.

Norwich striker Teemu Pukki scored the only goal against second-bottom Bournemouth, who had defender Steve Cook sent off for a spectacular save, while fellow strugglers Aston Villa drew 1-1 at Brighton and Hove Albion.

John Fleck rescued a 1-1 draw for Sheffield United at Arsenal, while it was the same scoreline in the clash between David Moyes' West Ham and his former club Everton.

 

CITY SLIP UP DESPITE AGUERO BRACE 

Palace claimed a stunning 3-2 win at City last season and looked like picking up another three points until Aguero intervened with a late brace.

New boy Tosun headed the Eagles into a first-half lead with his first goal for the club, but the leading overseas scorer in Premier League history levelled to take his City tally to 250 and struck again with time running out.

VAR overturned a penalty decision after Jairo Riedewald was penalised for handball before Aguero equalised and there was more drama when Wilfried Zaha squared the ball, with Fernandinho turning it into his own net.

 

WOLVES BRING SAINTS BACK DOWN TO EARTH

Saints, on a high after five wins and a draw from their last six games, appeared to be making further strides up the table after Jan Bednarek and Shane Long put them in command at half-time.

But Wolves were transformed after the break, Neto giving them hope and the clinical making Jimenez no mistake from the penalty spot following a VAR intervention for Jack Stephens' challenge on Jonny.

Jimenez was on target again to win in 13 minutes from time, Adama Traore setting the striker up with his second assist, to give Wolves a first win in five in all competitions.

 

CHERRIES PAY THE PENALTY FOR IMPULSIVE COOK STOP

Norwich claimed their first top-flight win since November courtesy of a Pukki penalty as Bournemouth endured another miserable afternoon at Carrow Road.

Pukki converted from 12 yards 33 minutes in after Cherries defender Steve Cook made an acrobatic one-handed stop to keep out Kenny McLean's goal-bound shot.

Cook was given his matching orders and there was no way back for Bournemouth, who have picked up only four points from their last 12 games, as Norwich held on despite Ben Godfrey's dismissal 13 minutes from time.

Frank Lampard has ruled out a January exit from Chelsea for Ross Barkley, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek is taking positive steps in his return to fitness.

Barkley was a regular for Maurizio Sarri last season but has made just six Premier League starts under Lampard, though a foot injury suffered in October ruled him out for almost two months.

A reunion with David Moyes, who handed him his top-flight debut at Everton in 2011, at West Ham had been touted, but the Blues boss was adamant the England international will not be leaving.

"There's no talk here of Ross Barkley going anywhere. He's our player. I've got a lot of faith in Ross. That's news I heard like everyone else this week," said Lampard.

Asked about other potential departures, Lampard said there has been no movement on a deal for Olivier Giroud, who is reportedly a target for Newcastle United – Chelsea's opponents on Saturday – Aston Villa and Inter, while Willian will be staying put and could extend his contract beyond this season.

"Olivier Giroud there may be something that can happen. He's experienced and I have a great relationship with him. If the circumstances fall right it might happen.

"Willian is not going anywhere. His contract is up at the end of the season but he's still in talks with the club."

Lampard remains open to potential incomings at Stamford Bridge but assured there was "nothing imminent".

However, his squad could be bolstered after the February break with Loftus-Cheek stepping up his recovery from an Achilles rupture that has ruled him out since May.

"He's training now with the Under-16s, Under-18s and then the Under-23s in a short space of time, which is good for us. The sooner he can be back with us the better," said Lampard.

"We're working in every way. There's a different look on his face, more smiley and happy. It's been tough. He's not one that's walked around head down creating a negative atmosphere, but it's a lonely place.

"He's integrating more towards us now. It can be forgotten we've missed a hugely influential player. If he can be training with us after the break he might not be far away."

Lampard added that Christian Pulisic is in line to return from a groin problem next month.

Mikel Arteta will cancel Arsenal's mid-season trip to Dubai if the club deem it unsafe to travel to the Middle East.

With the introduction of a break in the Premier League schedule in 2019-20, Arsenal had been set for a four-day training camp ahead of the February 16 Premier League match against Newcastle United.

But top-flight rivals Manchester United have scrapped plans for their own possible Qatar break due to political tensions in the region.

Arsenal will assess the safety of a potential trip before deciding whether to follow suit, head coach Arteta told reporters.

"The security decision will be the priority," Arteta said. "If we are advised by the club and the people making those decisions that it's not safe, we won't be going anywhere.

"We talked about different options in this break to go away and live together in a different environment with better weather conditions and a little bit away from here.

"We still have a few things to look after from a club perspective, and when we know all that, we will confirm what we are doing. At the moment, we have two or three different options."

The Gunners play Burnley on February 2, two weeks before Newcastle's visit, although any need for a replay against Bournemouth in the FA Cup fourth round would cut into that lay-off.

Roberto Firmino scored the only goal of the game as relentless Liverpool won at Tottenham to go 16 points clear at the top of the Premier League following Leicester City's defeat to Southampton.

Firmino's first-half strike on Saturday took the runaway leaders to 61 points, a European record among the continent's big-five leagues after 21 games played.

Liverpool look unstoppable in their quest to be crowned champions of England for the first time in 30 years, with second-placed Leicester – who have played a game more than the Merseyside club – slumping to a 2-1 loss at home to Southampton.

The Foxes consigned the Saints to a record-equalling 9-0 drubbing in October, but had three goals ruled out for offside at the King Power Stadium and Danny Ings' 10th goal in his last 10 top-flight starts gave the south-coast club sweet revenge.

Manchester United replaced Sheffield United in fifth spot with a 4-0 drubbing of Norwich City at Old Trafford, Marcus Rashford claiming a brace, after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored and was sent off in Arsenal's 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace.

Chelsea are five points better off than the Red Devils in fourth, having avoided a third successive Premier League home defeat with a 3-0 victory over Burnley.

Richarlison scored the only goal in Everton's win over Brighton and Hove Albion at Goodison Park, while Newcastle United and Wolves had to settle for a 1-1 draw at Molineux.

 

FIRMINO GIVES REDS CAPITAL GAINS

Jurgen Klopp's all-conquering side took another stride towards an elusive title by making it 20 wins out of 21 in the Premier League.

A clinical finish from Firmino eight minutes before half-time was enough to seal maximum points in north London.

Son Hueng-min and Giovani Lo Celso squandered great chances to level for Spurs and they proved to be costly as Jose Mourinho's side suffered back-to-back Premier League defeats to sit in eighth spot.

INGS KEEPS SAINTS MARCHING

Southampton pulled off a magnificent victory to leave high-flying Leicester stunned.

Jamie Vardy, Kelechi Iheanacho and Jonny Evans had goals disallowed for offside and Southampton had a penalty decision overturned by VAR in an action-packed encounter.

Ralph Hasenhuttl's upwardly mobile side were not to be denied maximum points, though, courtesy of a deflected first-half strike from Stuart Armstrong and a 14th of the season in the league from Ings – who hit the crossbar twice – either side of Dennis Praet's first Leicester goal.

 

RUTHLESS UNITED HAMMER CANARIES

Manchester United responded to their 3-1 EFL Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City with a ruthless demolition of bottom side Norwich.

Rashford took his tally of league goals this season to 14 with one in each half and Anthony Martial scored United's third two minutes after the England striker helped himself to a double from the penalty spot.

Mason Greenwood was given far too much time to add a fourth soon after coming off the bench as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side ran riot, leaving Norwich still seven points adrift of fourth-bottom Aston Villa.

AUBA AND OUT

Aubameyang's 15th top-flight goal of the campaign gave the Gunners a first-half advantage at Selhurst Park, but things turned sour for the striker after the break.

The Gabon international was initially booked by referee Paul Tierney for a challenge on Max Meyer, but a red card was brandished after a VAR review which took over two minutes. 

Jordan Ayew's deflected strike had brought injury-hit Palace level before Aubameyang was ordered off and neither side could force a derby winner.

Danny Ings gave in-form Southampton sweet revenge over Leicester City and Manchester United hammered bottom side Norwich City in the Premier League on Saturday.

Leicester consigned the Saints to a record-equalling 9-0 defeat in October, but the second-placed Foxes – who had three goals ruled out – were beaten 2-1 at the King Power Stadium less than three months later.

Ings' 10th goal in his last 10 top-flight starts sealed all three points for a Southampton side who have now won three and drawn one of their last four Premier League matches.

Manchester United replaced Sheffield United in fifth spot with a 4-0 drubbing of Norwich at Old Trafford, Marcus Rashford scoring twice, after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored and was sent off in Arsenal's 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace.

Chelsea are five points better off than the Red Devils in fourth, having avoided a third successive Premier League home defeat with a 3-0 victory over Burnley.

Richarlison scored the only goal in Everton's win over Brighton and Hove Albion at Goodison Park, while Newcastle United and Wolves had to settle for a 1-1 draw at Molineux.

 

INGS KEEPS SAINTS MARCHING

Southampton pulled off a magnificent victory to leave high-flying Leicester stunned.

Jamie Vardy, Kelechi Iheanacho and Jonny Evans had goals disallowed for offside and Southampton had a penalty decision overturned by VAR in an action-packed encounter.

Ralph Hasenhuttl's upwardly mobile side were not to be denied maximum points, though, courtesy of a deflected first-half strike from Stuart Armstrong and a 14th of the season in the league from Ings – who hit the crossbar twice – either side of Dennis Praet's first Leicester goal.

 

RUTHLESS UNITED HAMMER CANARIES

Manchester United responded to their 3-1 EFL Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City with a ruthless demolition of bottom side Norwich.

Rashford took his tally of league goals this season to 14 with one in each half and Anthony Martial scored United's third two minutes after the England striker helped himself to a double from the penalty spot.

Mason Greenwood was given far too much time to add a fourth soon after coming off the bench as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side ran riot, leaving Norwich still seven points adrift of fourth-bottom Aston Villa.

AUBA AND OUT

Aubameyang's 15th top-flight goal of the campaign gave the Gunners a first-half advantage at Selhurst Park, but things turned sour for the striker after the break.

The Gabon international was initially booked by referee Paul Tierney for a challenge on Max Meyer, but a red card was brandished after a VAR review which took over two minutes. 

Jordan Ayew's deflected strike had brought injury-hit Palace level before Aubameyang was ordered off and neither side could force a derby winner.

One story is dominating the sporting agenda in Spain on Saturday: Xavi's potential return to Barcelona.

The Catalan giants have reportedly earmarked the club great to take over from the under-pressure Ernesto Valverde at the end of the season, and held informal discussions with him on Friday in Doha.

Xavi, 39, is currently coach at Al Sadd but would likely relish a return to Camp Nou, where he won eight LaLiga titles and four Champions League trophies during a glittering playing career.

A strong affinity with a club is not a guarantee of success, however, and we have taken a look at eight other examples of players returning to manage teams they starred for.

 

HITS

Pep Guardiola

After leaving Barcelona as a player in 2001, Guardiola returned as the Barca B boss in 2007 before being promoted to head coach of the first team a year later. Over four years in charge at Camp Nou he led the Blaugrana to 14 trophies, including three LaLiga titles and two Champions League crowns. Success has continued to come Guardiola's way with Bayern Munich and Manchester City.

Zinedine Zidane

World Cup winner Zidane was part of Real Madrid's 'Galacticos' in the early 2000s and he finished his playing career at the Santiago Bernabeu. Like Guardiola, he returned to oversee the second team before stepping up to the top job after the departure of Rafael Benitez in January 2016. Zidane went on to win an unprecedented three successive Champions League titles with Madrid before stepping away in May 2018, only to return 10 months later.

Antonio Conte

In 13 seasons as a player for Juventus, Conte won almost everything there is to win – five league titles, the Coppa Italia, the Champions League and the UEFA Cup. He moved into management two years after retiring and worked his way back to Juve after spells with Arezzo, Bari, Atalanta and Siena. Juve won three straight Scudetti under Conte – the start of their ongoing dominance – before he accepted the Italy job. He is now back in Serie A and thriving with the Old Lady's bitter rivals Inter.

Roberto Di Matteo

Like Lampard, Di Matteo accepted the top job at Chelsea in 2012, having previously been assistant to Andre Villas-Boas. Di Matteo – who won the FA Cup twice with the Blues as a player – went on to lift two trophies as Chelsea boss, including their first Champions League title with a penalty shoot-out win over Bayern Munich, but he was discarded early in the following season.

MISSES

Alan Shearer

Record Premier League goalscorer, Newcastle United legend and lethal England striker – Shearer's playing career was full of success. When he retired in 2006, Shearer moved into television as a pundit, but when the Magpies came calling in 2009 he stepped in to try and save them from relegation. Sadly for Shearer he was unsuccessful, his eight-game reign ending in Newcastle slipping out of the top flight after a 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa on the final day.

Filippo Inzaghi

Employing former players as head coaches had previously worked well for AC Milan – Fabio Capello and Carlo Ancelotti proving particularly successful. When the Rossoneri turned to Inzaghi in 2014 after Clarence Seedorf's brief tenure, the move was therefore no surprise. However, the former striker – who won eight major trophies at the club in his playing days – flopped, winning 14 of his 40 matches in charge as Milan finished 10th, their worst league finish in 17 years.

Thierry Henry

Henry made his name at Monaco after breaking into the first team in 1994, the forward going on to become a world champion and a Premier League icon with Arsenal. After a period as youth coach with the Gunners, Henry was named as Belgium boss Roberto Martinez's assistant. Permanent roles with Bordeaux and Aston Villa were mooted, but in October 2018 Henry chose Monaco. He lasted just three months, losing 11 of his 20 matches in charge across all competitions before being replaced by Leonardo Jardim, the man he had succeeded.

Juan Jose Lopez

One of the most decorated players in River Plate history, having won seven league titles in an 11-year spell, Lopez was a popular appointment after making a strong impact in his second period as caretaker manager in 2010. However, he subsequently presided over a poor 2011 Clausura campaign, forcing River into a play-off against Belgrano, who won 3-1 on aggregate. It was the first time River dropped out of the top tier, sparking riots which left many people injured.

Steve Bruce has confirmed Newcastle United are "working away" to sign a striker during the January transfer window.

United have scored 20 goals in 21 Premier League games this season, while their profligacy in the final third forced them to settle for a 1-1 draw away at Rochdale in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday.

Club-record signing Joelinton has certainly found the transition tough since arriving from Hoffenheim in July, finding the net only once.

Bruce revealed he has already had a "couple of knock-backs" in his attempts to add attacking reinforcements, though he will not be making any panic buys before the end of the month.

"We've had a couple of knock-backs already, so we'll keep working away," the Newcastle boss said after the game with Rochdale.

"It's very difficult, especially at that end of the pitch, to get something that's going to make you better. I won't just be bringing in players for the sake of it, but we'll see what the next two or three weeks bring."

Bruce added: "Our frailties are pretty obvious - we don't score enough goals and with the chances we've created today we've got to be taking them and the tie should have been put to bed."

Joelinton's struggles continued against Rochdale, the Brazilian hitting the target with just one of his six shots against League One opponents.

However, Bruce used the example of Miguel Almiron – who scored Newcastle's goal at Spotland on Saturday after finally breaking his duck for the club against Crystal Palace last month – to portray how quickly things can turn around.

"He [Joelinton] has had a difficult time but he's got to stick at it," Bruce said. "Until two weeks ago Almiron hadn't scored but now he's scored two in fairly quick succession, so he's just got to stick at it."

Real Madrid are said to be close to signing yet another rising Brazilian star.

Zinedine Zidane's side have reportedly agreed a fee for Flamengo's Reinier, who could move to Spain this month.

Chelsea, meanwhile, may have to wait until after the season has finished until their top targets become available.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID TO SIGN REINIER FOR €30M

According to widespread reports, Real Madrid are close to finalising a deal to sign Flamengo's Reinier.

The 17-year-old could move to the Spanish capital in January and spend the rest of the season with Raul's Castilla team.

Reinier, who turns 18 on January 19 and will therefore become an easier deal to complete, will apparently cost €30m plus potential add-ons.

ROUND-UP

 - Chelsea want to sign Jadon Sancho and Timo Werner, but the Premier League club know they are likely to have to wait until the end of the season to complete the deals, according to Goal.

- Elsewhere in London, Sky Sports say West Ham have held talks with Benfica midfielder Gedson Fernandes, a reported target for Manchester United. David Moyes said of the club's interest: "He is a name mentioned alongside many."

Inter are the latest team to be interested in Christian Eriksen, say Tuttomercatoweb. Directors Giuseppe Marotta and Piero Ausilio want to close the deal quickly but Tottenham's £30m asking price is a problem.

Nikola Kalinic has been offered to Newcastle United as he has struggled for football since joining Roma on loan from Atletico Madrid, say Marca.

- Still with Marca, Real Madrid have apparently earmarked three Lille players as potential signings for 2020: Boubakary Soumare, Victor Osimhen and Gabriel.

- Sky Sports claim Jan Vertonghen is now more likely to join Napoli from Tottenham this month, as Ajax have apparently cooled their interest in their former defender.

- David Beckham's Inter Miami are set to appoint a new coach in the form of Anthony Pulis, the son of ex-Stoke City boss Tony. Pulis will work as assistant to Diego Alonso, say The Telegraph.

Everton's 100 per cent record under Carlo Ancelotti came unstuck in a 2-1 defeat at Manchester City, but Mikel Arteta and David Moyes got their first victories in charge of West Ham and Arsenal, respectively. 

Arteta, whose Arsenal side put in a much-improved performance, claimed a 2-0 victory over Manchester United, while West Ham crushed Bournemouth 4-0 on the Scot's return to the club.

Danny Ings scored the only goal of the game as Tottenham suffered a surprise 1-0 loss to Southampton, while top-four rivals Chelsea were held 1-1 by Brighton and Hove Albion.

There were also wins for Aston Villa, Leicester City and Watford, along with a draw between Norwich City and Crystal Palace, as 2020 got off to an eventful start, with VAR once again proving to be a big talking point.

Jesus at the double while Noble inspires Hammers

Ancelotti delivered back-to-back wins in his opening two games as Everton boss and his Toffees side frustrated City for 51 minutes in a tight game at the Etihad.

The deadlock was broken by Gabriel Jesus, who scored with a scintillating right-footed shot into the top corner from the edge of the box, and he connected with a Riyad Mahrez pass to score with a low shot seven minutes later.

Richarlison turned Theo Walcott's deflected cross into the net at the far post with 19 minutes left to give Everton hope, but they failed to find an equaliser and suffered a first defeat in six league games.

At London Stadium, Moyes produced a markedly improved performance from West Ham as they strolled to a 4-0 victory over Bournemouth, with captain Mark Noble scoring a brace.

Noble scored with a deflected shot with 17 minutes played and Sebastien Haller found the net via a bicycle kick before the Hammers' skipper converted a first-half penalty.

Felipe Anderson netted with a neat finish when Declan Rice found him with a measured pass, West Ham's fourth wrapping up their biggest margin of victory in the Premier League for over a decade.

 

Arteta off the mark at jubilant Emirates

Arsenal's home faithful were treated to a dominant display and a 2-0 victory over Manchester United that harked back to the days when Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp tormented the Red Devils in north London.

Nicolas Pepe opened the scoring in the eighth minute, firing home from 12 yards after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sead Kolasinac combined to great effect down the Arsenal left.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos doubled the hosts' lead shortly before half-time, lashing high into the net from close range after United failed to clear their lines at a corner, but Arsenal had capitulated from a winning position on this ground against Chelsea three days earlier.

There was to be no turnaround this time, however. The win moves Arsenal up to 10th in the Premier League table, while United remain fifth, but the balance of play suggested the two sides could end the season much closer together.

 

Chelsea held by Jahanbakhsh stunner

Cesar Azpilicueta scored the first Premier League goal of the decade with a close-range finish after Tammy Abraham's shot was blocked by Aaron Mooy, but Chelsea could not get the job done against Brighton.

Jahanbakhsh celebrated with tears of joy after scoring his first goal for Brighton in the 2-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday and he did not have to wait long for his second goal.

The Iran winger sent an acrobatic attempt past Kepa Arrizabalaga with six minutes of normal time remaining to deny Frank Lampard's side a third away league win on the spin.

So delighted to be able to help the team again today! Happy new year to everyone  #BHAFC pic.twitter.com/nW7p7E8zMY

— Alireza Jahanbakhsh (@Alirezajb7) January 1, 2020

Foxes march on with win at 10-man Newcastle

Despite being without the Premier League's leading scorer Jamie Vardy for a second game, firstly due to the birth of his child and this time due to a minor injury, Leicester were comfortable 3-0 winners at Newcastle.

The Foxes' incredible campaign continued thanks to goals from former Newcastle attacker Ayoze Perez, James Maddison and substitute Hamza Choudhury.

While Leicester's outside title hopes just about remain intact, moving back to within 10 points of Liverpool after playing two games more than the runaway leaders, a third defeat in a row for Newcastle leaves them five points above the relegation zone.

 

Villa pick up much-needed win while Wickham pegs bag Norwich

Villa boss Dean Smith insisted he still had the support of the dressing room in the build-up to the trip to Burnley, and that showed as Villa returned to winning ways with a 2-1 triumph at Turf Moor that saw them climb out of the relegation zone.

Wesley got the first goal after 27 minutes and the Villans added a second on the stroke of half-time when Jack Grealish scored his sixth Premier League goal in his 19th appearance this season.

Chris Wood pulled one back from Burnley's first shot on target in the 80th minute, though it was not enough to prevent a third successive loss for Sean Dyche's out-of-form side.

Meanwhile, Todd Cantwell put Norwich City ahead after just four minutes of their clash with Palace, who battled bravely to stay in the game before substitute Connor Wickham turned Wilfried Zaha's cross into the net five minutes from time to earn his side a share of the points.

Kane limps off for stuttering Spurs, Watford's revival continues

Danny Ings scored the 16th goal Tottenham have conceded in their last 11 matches when he lifted the ball over Toby Alderweireld and fired past Paulo Gazzaniga for what proved to be the only goal of the game after 17 minutes at St. Mary's.

Tottenham have taken only four points from the 12 on offer over the festive period and their misery was compounded by Harry Kane limping off after hurting his hamstring, and Jose Mourinho was shown a yellow card by referee Mike Dean late on after being involved in touchline confrontation.

Watford maintained their impressive form with a 2-1 win at home to Wolves after Gerard Deulofeu opened the scoring half an hour in with a curled finish into the bottom corner.

Abdoulaye Doucoure fired in on his 27th birthday to double the home side's tally, but Pedro Neto reduced the deficit with a deflected shot on the hour and Christian Kabasele was sent off with 19 minutes to play.

Wolves could not find a way past Ben Foster again, though, meaning just a third loss in 16 league outings for Nuno Espirito Santo's men.

Danny Ings scored the only goal of the game as Tottenham suffered a surprise 1-0 loss to Southampton, while top-four rivals Chelsea were held 1-1 by Brighton and Hove Albion.

In-form striker Ings fired home in the first half to make it 13 Premier League goals for the season against a below-par Tottenham, who also lost Harry Kane to a hamstring injury.

Jose Mourinho's side are now six points adrift of Chelsea in the final Champions League qualifying spot following the Blues' draw with Brighton in Wednesday's early kick-off.

Chelsea were heading for back-to-back away wins after Cesar Azpilicueta put them ahead, but Alireza Jahanbakhsh's overhead-kick earned Brighton a share of the spoils.

There were also wins for Aston Villa, Leicester City and Watford as 2020 got off to an eventful start, with VAR once again proving to be a big talking point.

Kane limps off for stuttering Spurs

Tottenham have struggled defensively in the early stages of Mourinho's tenure, conceding for the 16th time in 11 matches in all competitions through Ings' impressive strike.

The England international hopeful lifted the ball over Toby Alderweireld and fired past Paulo Gazzaniga for what proved to be the only goal of the game after 17 minutes.

Tottenham have taken only four points from the 12 on offer over the festive period and their misery was compounded by Kane limping off after hurting his hamstring in the process of scoring a disallowed equaliser.

Mourinho, who had never previously lost in six away league meetings with Southampton, was shown a yellow card by referee Mike Dean late on after being involved in touchline confrontation as his side remained sixth in the table.

 

Chelsea held by Jahanbakhsh stunner

Azpilicueta scored the first Premier League goal of the decade with a close-range finish after Tammy Abraham's shot was blocked by Aaron Mooy, but Chelsea could not get the job done against Brighton.

Jahanbakhsh celebrated with tears of joy after scoring his first goal for Brighton in the 2-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday and he did not have to wait long for his second goal.

The Iran winger sent an acrobatic attempt past Kepa Arrizabalaga with six minutes of normal time remaining to deny Frank Lampard's side a third away league win on the spin.

Chelsea had looked comfortable until Jahanbakhsh's moment of magic but had to survive a late scare as they opened the door for other members of the chasing pack to close the gap - something Tottenham were unable to achieve.


So delighted to be able to help the team again today! Happy new year to everyone #BHAFC pic.twitter.com/nW7p7E8zMY

— Alireza Jahanbakhsh (@Alirezajb7) January 1, 2020 Foxes march on with win at 10-man Newcastle

Despite being without the Premier League's leading scorer Jamie Vardy for a second game in a row due to the birth of his child, Leicester were comfortable 3-0 winners at Newcastle.

The Foxes' incredible campaign continued thanks to goals from former Newcastle attacker Ayoze Perez, James Maddison and substitute Hamza Choudhury.

Leicester, back to within 10 points of Liverpool after playing two games more than the runaway leaders, played almost all of the second half against 10 men.

That was due to the hosts suffering a string of injuries, Jetro Willems and Javier Manquillo being forced off in the first half and Jonjo Shelvey following them at half-time, with all three subs already made when Fabian Schar pulled up.

While Leicester's outside title hopes just about remain intact, a third defeat in a row for Newcastle leaves them five points above the relegation zone.


Villa pick up much-needed win at Turf Moor

The pressure had been building on Villa boss Dean Smith following a run of five league defeats in six matches, including a 3-0 thrashing at the hands of fellow strugglers Watford last time out.

Smith insisted he still had the support of the dressing room in the build-up to the trip to Burnley, however, and that showed as Villa returned to winning ways with a 2-1 triumph at Turf Moor that saw them climb out of the relegation zone.

Jack Grealish had a header contentiously ruled out by VAR, with Wesley adjudged to be offside in the build-up, but the two players linked up for the latter's opener 16 minutes later.

The Villans added a second on the stroke of half-time through Grealish, who scored his sixth Premier League goal in his 19th appearance this season - as many as he netted in 31 matches in the Championship last season.

Chris Wood pulled one back from Burnley's first shot on target in the 80th minute, though it was not enough to prevent a third successive loss for Sean Dyche's out-of-form side.

 

Watford's remarkable revival continues

Watford have now taken 10 points from four matches since Nigel Pearson was appointed as Quique Sanchez Flores' successor earlier this month, the Hornets maintaining their impressive form with a 2-1 win at home to Wolves.

Gerard Deulofeu, the hero when Watford edged out Wolves in a dramatic FA Cup semi-final last season, opened the scoring after half an hour with a curled finish into the bottom corner.

Abdoulaye Doucoure fired in on his 27th birthday to double the home side's tally, but Pedro Neto reduced the deficit with a deflected shot on the hour and Christian Kabasele was sent off with 19 minutes to play.

Wolves could not find a way past Ben Foster, though, meaning just a third loss in 16 league outings for Nuno Espirito Santo's men.

Real Madrid are already eyeing a move for Liverpool star Sadio Mane at the end of the season.

Mane has developed into one of the world's best attackers, starring for the Premier League leaders and finishing fourth in the 2019 Ballon d'Or.

Now, another one of Europe's biggest clubs are making initial moves for the 27-year-old.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID MAKE CONTACT OVER MANE MOVE

Real Madrid have spoken to Mane's representatives about a possible move, according to Le 10 Sport.

Mane is contracted at Liverpool until 2023, but appears to be attracting interest from the LaLiga giants.

The Senegal international has scored 14 goals and provided eight assists in 27 games in all competitions this season.

ROUND-UP

- The January transfer window will see Chelsea and Manchester City enter a bidding war for Leicester City defender Ben Chilwell, according to The I.

- Similarities between Moussa Dembele and Didier Drogba have made the Lyon striker a target for Chelsea boss Frank Lampard, according to Sky Sports News, with the 23-year-old having scored 10 goals in 25 appearances for the Ligue 1 side this season.

- Mikel Arteta is keen to assess all of his options as he aims to lift Arsenal back into the top half of the Premier League table, and he is considering a recall for £27million centre-back William Saliba from his season-long loan at Saint-Etienne according to The Mirror.

- Also on Arsenal's to-do list is a bid for promising RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano, who is also a target for Tottenham and Manchester United, according to the Daily Mail.

- Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce wants to bolster his midfield with the addition of Burnley pair Danny Drinkwater and Dwight McNeil, and reports in The Telegraph say Genk striker Mbwana Samatta is also on his radar.

- Carlo Ancelotti said he will wait until January 5 before discussing potential transfer targets with the Everton board and when he does El Desmarque has suggested Real Madrid midfielder James Rodriguez could be one of the names on his list.

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