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."

Pep Guardiola will consider his future at Manchester City after the club were hit with a two-season Champions League ban.

City were handed the sanction – and a €30million fine – by UEFA on Friday for "serious breaches" of Financial Fair Play regulations.

The Premier League club have denied wrongdoing and intend to appeal the verdict, but they could face personnel problems if unsuccessful.

 

TOP STORY – GUARDIOLA TO CONSIDER MAN CITY FUTURE AFTER EUROPEAN BAN

Guardiola will consider his future as City manager at season's end unless the verdict is overturned, according to The Telegraph.

The Catalan – who has been linked with Juventus – is contracted until 2021 and had suggested previously he intended to honour his deal.

ESPN reports Guardiola is worried about how the ban will impact his players but does claim the former Barcelona coach would be willing to remain as long as he, personally, is happy.

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- With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer still under some pressure at Old Trafford, Manchester United are favourites to land Massimiliano Allegri as manager, according to Sport Mediaset. Paris Saint-Germain, Milan and Roma are also reportedly interested in the former Juventus coach.

- Staying at Manchester United, the Manchester Evening News reports Leicester City star James Maddison wants a move to the Premier League giants. Maddison has been reported to be close to signing a contract extension at the King Power Stadium.

- With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang coming out of contract at the end of next season, Arsenal may opt to sell the forward during the next transfer window. The Mirror reports Inter are hoping to sign Aubameyang, who has also been linked to Barcelona.

- Olivier Giroud is prepared to wait to make a decision on his future despite coming out of contract at season's end. The Telegraph reports the Chelsea striker has been offered a pre-contract by Lazio but is in no rush to make a decision after attracting interest from Tottenham in January.

- Inter and Napoli are set for a transfer battle. CalcioMercato reports Hellas Verona and Albania defender Marash Kumbulla is a target for both clubs, who will need to pay at least €20m for the 20-year-old.

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

ROUND-UP

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

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

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

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

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

Arsenal's love affair with the FA Cup continued with a 2-1 fourth-round victory over Bournemouth on Monday.

The competition's most successful club, with 13 wins, secured a last-16 trip to 2008 winners Portsmouth courtesy of a deserved triumph at the Vitality Stadium. 

Bukayo Saka opened the scoring inside five minutes to cap a fine team move involving all 10 outfield players, with Eddie Nketiah doubling the visitors' lead before the break.

Mikel Arteta's side conceded a late goal to Sam Surridge after he came off the bench for the Cherries, whose focus will switch back to the task of Premier League survival.

Arsenal made an early statement of intent with an excellent display of passing and movement that led to Saka thrashing home the opener from the corner of the six-yard box, Joe Willock and Gabriel Martinelli proving particularly influential in the build-up. 

The industrious Willock was in the thick of the action again midway through the half, eluding Dan Gosling before calling goalkeeper Mark Travers into action.

Saka turned provider for Nketiah, the former Leeds United loanee rolling in from close range at the end of the opening goalscorer's low cross in the 26th minute. 

Bournemouth, who ended a six-match winless run in the league with a 3-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion last time out, looked bereft of ideas and spent much of the first half on the defensive, with Harry Wilson's strike providing the only meaningful work for Emiliano Martinez.

Arsenal lost Shkodran Mustafi to a serious-looking injury just past the hour mark and suffered a brief scare when Martinez flapped at a corner, the ball spinning wide off the head of the seemingly oblivious Jack Simpson.

Arteta's side appeared to be cruising until Surridge halved the deficit in stoppage time from fellow substitute Simon Francis' probing ball, but it was too little too late and the Spaniard will be hopeful of adding to the two FA Cups he won as a player with the Gunners.

 

What does it mean? Arteta eyes season's silver lining

While a top-four finish in the Premier League may not be beyond Arsenal's reach, it is a significant stretch for a side whose top-flight win tally of six matches Bournemouth's exploits this season. That leaves the FA Cup as a sizeable consolation prize for a club with a proud history in this competition.

Lively Saka catches the eye

Saka's impact on the game is evident from his goal and assist, but the 18-year-old's all-round display was just as noteworthy, with an 87.5 per cent passing accuracy, five recoveries and two chances created.

Howe bad was that?

Cherries boss Howe made six changes from the victory against Brighton and, with top-flight safety his primary objective, you can understand why. But the side he put out looked lost, producing a disjointed and tactically inept display that saw the tie put beyond their reach before the half-hour mark, with Surridge's late strike failing to paper over the cracks.

What's next?

Arsenal head to Turf Moor on Sunday to take on a Burnley side who sit level with them on 30 points, while Bournemouth welcome Aston Villa for a crunch six-pointer on Saturday. 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang continues to be linked with a move from Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain are the latest European heavyweight reportedly interested in the forward.

Aubameyang, 30, is reportedly a target for Barcelona after scoring 16 goals in 26 games for struggling Arsenal this season.

However, with Edinson Cavani potentially leaving, PSG are also eyeing the Gabon international.

 

TOP STORY – PSG INTERESTED IN AUBAMEYANG AMID BARCELONA LINKS

PSG are considering a move for Aubameyang, according to Foot Mercato.

Cavani may leave the Ligue 1 giants for Atletico Madrid during this transfer window and Aubameyang could be his replacement, the report says.

PSG are reportedly discussing a loan with an option to buy Aubameyang.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Emirates Stadium, Arsenal are close to a deal for Flamengo defender Pablo Mari, according to ESPN and other reports. The Premier League club will reportedly pay £8.4million (€10m) for the Spaniard.

- Marcos Rojo could be on his way out of Manchester United. After just three Premier League appearances this season, the defender is heading back to Estudiantes – where he started his career – on loan, according to the Mirror.

- Carles Perez is set to join Roma. Sky Sport Italia reports the Barcelona forward will join the Serie A club on loan until the end of the season, with a mandatory purchase option for €13m to be part of the deal.

- Inter are already preparing for a period of dominance, including next season. Sport Italia reports Napoli star Lorenzo Insigne has been offered to Inter, who may land the forward ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.

- Inter and Napoli seem to have a decent relationship. CalcioMercato reports Matteo Politano will swap Milan for Naples, where he will sign a deal until 2024 with a medical set for Monday.

- Mauricio Pochettino remains without a job after being sacked by Tottenham in November. The Mirror reports Spurs will be entitled to £10m in compensation if the Argentinian finds another job before the end of the season.

Mikel Arteta described his confidence in Arsenal signing new players this month as "50-50", but he appears confident Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is not about to leave the club.

Calum Chambers has suffered a serious injury, while Arsenal will now also be without David Luiz through suspension after a red card at Chelsea, leaving Arteta short on defenders.

The Gunners have been linked with Shakhtar Donetsk's Mykola Matvienko and Paris Saint-Germain's Layvin Kurzawa, although Arteta would not comment on specific names ahead of the FA Cup fourth-round tie at Bournemouth.

The head coach acknowledged Arsenal have been looking at defenders, but he was unsure if there would be any January arrivals.

"I'm not going to be discussing any transfer links publicly," he told a news conference. "It's something that we are trying to do internally and, when we have news, we will communicate with you guys.

"We've been looking at different positions. Obviously, since I joined, we lost Calum and we had other circumstances and injuries in those positions, so it's true that, at the back, we've been short.

"But there are other positions as well, depending on what happens in the market, that we might need to assess.

"At the moment, I am 50-50, because this transfer window is very, very complicated. I only want to bring somebody in if I'm really convinced that he can really improve the level that we have."

One move Arteta is keen not to see go through, though, both this month and beyond, is Aubameyang to Barcelona, amid reported interest from the LaLiga giants.

Suggestions in the Spanish media this week said Aubameyang was open to the transfer, but that is not Arteta's understanding.

"As far as I know, a week ago, after a game at home, we were discussing that he said he was so happy," Arteta said.

"He didn't agree with the things that were written in the media and [said] he has his future here. That's what I understand at the moment."

Dani Ceballos' future appears less clear, the on-loan Real Madrid midfielder having been linked with a return to LaLiga after struggling to establish himself at Emirates Stadium and contending with injury.

"I had a conversation with Dani," Arteta said. "When I joined the club, he wasn't here, he was in Madrid because he was doing his rehab - for over a month - in Madrid with the team that owns him.

"And then, when I came here, he was doing his rehab and, by the first two or three weeks, he was getting back to fitness and I haven't seen much of him because he's only trained with us for a week or 10 days.

"So it's very early to assess what I can or cannot do with him. I heard about all those things but I have nothing to comment.

"He needs to get back to fitness and fight for his place. After that, we will make the selection that I think is fair with what I see on the pitch."

The Christian Eriksen saga could reach an end point as soon as Monday.

Reports in Italy indicate the midfielder's move to Inter is all but complete and a medical has been scheduled.

Eriksen's uncertain future has troubled Tottenham since well before Mauricio Pochettino's departure, with the Denmark international due to become a free agent at the end of the season.

 

TOP STORY – ERIKSEN DEAL AGREED

Eriksen, 27, will undergo a medical in Milan at the beginning of next week, according to various reports in Italy.

CalcioMercato claims Tottenham owner Daniel Levy has accepted an offer from Inter worth €15million (£12.6m), plus €5m (£4.2m) in add-ons.

Eriksen's new contract will reportedly run through to 2024 as the playmaker looks for a fresh start after growing stale in the Premier League.

If the move goes ahead, he will become Antonio Conte's third signing of the January transfer window after wing-backs Ashley Young and Victor Moses.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United could face frustration in their long-running negotiations for Bruno Fernandes, which The Sun says have "collapsed" due to Sporting CP's valuation.

- United, meanwhile, are considering a shock move to bring Boca Juniors striker Carlos Tevez, 35, back to Old Trafford, claims Tuttosport. The Red Devils are in need of attacking reinforcements after losing Marcus Rashford to injury.

- Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has given LaLiga giants Barcelona the green light to begin transfer talks, according to Mundo Deportivo.

- Bayern Munich have commenced "concrete discussions" with Lyon over 19-year-old winger Yaya Soumare, reports L'Equipe. Salzburg and Bayern's Bundesliga rivals RB Leipzig are also said to be interested.

- Brazilian attacking midfielder Lucas Paqueta asked Stefano Pioli to be left out of Milan's match against against Brescia because he is keen to leave the club, claims CalcioMercato. Paris Saint-Germain are said to be interested.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mohamed Salah will face off in the second round of qualifying for World Cup 2022, with Gabon and Egypt drawn in the same group.

Salah's Egypt and Aubameyang's Gabon will join Libya and Angola in Group F in the second phase of African qualifying for the finals in Qatar.

Group D pits Cameroon and Ivory Coast together along with Mozambique and Malawi, while Nigeria will face Cape Verde Islands, Central African Republic and Liberia in Group C.

Africa Cup of Nations holders Algeria will meet Burkina Faso, Niger and Djibouti in Group A, while 2019's beaten finalists Senegal were drawn with Congo, Namibia and Togo in Group H.

Group G sees Ghana and South Africa pitted against Zimbabwe and Ethiopia.

The group phase runs from March 2020 until October next year, with the 10 group winners drawn into five two-legged knockout ties to be played next November.

 

Groups in full:

Group A: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Niger, Djibouti
Group B: Tunisia, Zambia, Mauritania, Equatorial Guinea
Group C: Nigeria, Cape Verde Islands, Central African Republic, Liberia
Group D: Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Malawi
Group E: Mali, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda
Group F: Egypt, Gabon, Libya, Angola
Group G: Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia
Group H: Senegal, Congo, Namibia, Togo
Group I: Morocco, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Sudan
Group J: Congo DR, Benin, Madagascar, Tanzania.

 

Inter are reportedly "confident" of finally sealing a deal for Christian Eriksen.

The Serie A title hopefuls are said to be preparing an improved offer as they seek to tempt Tottenham into selling the midfielder this month.

On Monday, Inter sporting director Piero Ausilio confirmed an official bid had been lodged with the London club.

 

TOP STORY – INTER BACK IN FOR ERIKSEN

The chase for wantaway midfielder Eriksen could come to an end when Inter increase their proposal to €15million (£12.8m) plus add-ons.

The Guardian suggests Tottenham will soon have another offer to contemplate after rejecting the Nerazzurri's previous approach, which involved an initial €10m (£8.5m) sum.

Eriksen, also linked with Manchester United, is due to become a free agent at the end of the season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Ashley Young has arrived, Eriksen could be close and Inter's raid on English football is not finished there. Victor Moses has been pictured in Milan and Sky Sport Italia claims the Chelsea wide man will undergo a medical on Tuesday.

- Eriksen's future is not Tottenham's only cause for concern. According to the Daily Mail, Danny Rose and manager Jose Mourinho were involved in a "heated exchange" on Sunday after the left-back took issue with his omission from the squad that draw 0-0 at Watford.

- Chelsea have made enquiries about Edinson Cavani and are ready to rival Atletico Madrid for the Paris Saint-Germain striker's signature, reports the Telegraph.

- LaLiga champions Barcelona admire Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang more than the other centre-forwards on their shortlist of potential signings, says Mundo Deportivo.

- Bayern Munich are hunting a new right-back and have identified Real Madrid defender Alvaro Odriozola as a strong candidate to fill the problem position, reports Sky Sport Germany.

Borussia Dortmund enjoyed a hefty instant return on their €20million investment in Erling Haaland as the 19-year-old wonderkid produced a debut to savour on Saturday.

Introduced as a second-half substitute with Lucien Favre's side 3-1 down at Augsburg, Haaland promptly scored a hat-trick to inspire a 5-3 victory.

The Norway international's first moments in Dortmund colours are sure to live long in the memory and he is in good company when it comes to elite strikers announcing their arrival with a bang.

Here, we look back at some other standout debuts.

Wayne Rooney

The 18-year-old Rooney arrived at Manchester United from Everton amid huge fanfare after starring for England at Euro 2004, but he also suffered a metatarsal injury early in the Three Lions' quarter-final defeat to Portugal. Fenerbahce's September visit to Old Trafford was his first match back and it proved an unforgettable Champions League debut, with Rooney tucking away two terrific finishes before completing a hat-trick with a delicious free-kick. United won 6-2, the Stretford End had a new hero, and the rest is record-breaking club history.

Sergio Aguero

Aguero's club record-breaking run on the other side of Manchester began on a balmy August evening in 2011. A Premier League campaign that would end with City's then club-record signing snatching the title in career-defining style began with him on the bench and his new team-mates labouring, 1-0 to the good against newly promoted Swansea City. He slid in Micah Richards' cross within 10 minutes of his second-half introduction and, after a clever overhead assist for David Silva, Aguero brought the house down by sealing a 4-0 triumph with a 30-yard piledriver.

Romario

A hat-trick with all three assists coming from home favourite Pep Guardiola ensured Romario was an instant hit at Barcelona. The pick of the bunch saw him spring the offside trap and control a Guardiola pass on his chest before looping a volley over Alberto Lopez from 20 yards to seal a 3-0 home victory over Real Sociedad in Barca's 1993-94 LaLiga opener. The Blaugrana went on to win the title and Romario took the Pichichi with a tally of 30 goals.

Ronaldo

After a memorable but injury-plagued spell at Inter, Ronaldo returned to Spain in 2002 and joined former club Barcelona's arch-rivals Real Madrid. Following concerns about his weight and fitness, he made his highly anticipated debut against Deportivo Alaves over a month after signing. Ronaldo replaced Javier Portillo and took just 61 seconds to make his mark before slotting home a second to complete a 5-2 triumph at a jubilant Santiago Bernabeu. He finished the season with 23 goals and silverware in LaLiga and the Intercontinental Cup.

Fabrizio Ravanelli

The Riverside Stadium was treated to a thriller in August 1996 when £7m signing Fabrizio Ravanelli scored a hat-trick on his Middlesbrough bow in a 3-3 draw with Liverpool. Having joined from European champions Juventus, the 'White Feather' brought Boro back on terms three times, first lashing home a penalty and celebrating in trademark shirt-over-head style, and then sliding home a second from close range to make it 2-2. Robbie Fowler's second-half strike looked to have won it for the Reds until Ravanelli guided in his third of the game 10 minutes from time.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Dortmund and Augsburg fans could be forgiven for feeling a strong sense of deja vu on Saturday after Aubameyang's exploits when the sides met in 2013. After joining from Saint-Etienne his first attempt on goal in the Bundesliga resulted in a goal as he converted a diving header. Aubameyang followed that up after the break with a lovely turn of pace and strike into the far corner. He made it a hat-trick by coolly rounding the goalkeeper as Dortmund thumped Augsburg 4-0.

Christian Vieri

The term "much-travelled" is one that very much fits for Vieri, who joined Inter for a then world-record sum of £32million after helping Lazio win the Cup Winners' Cup in 1999. They were his ninth different club in as many professional seasons. Reuniting with Marcello Lippi, who he played for at Juventus, the man affectionately known as 'Bobo' started a prolific spell at San Siro with a treble against Hellas Verona and went on to score 123 goals in 190 Nerazzurri appearances.

Arsenal will be without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for three matches after Mikel Arteta confirmed their appeal to have the striker's red card overturned was unsuccessful.

Aubameyang was sent off midway through the second half of Arsenal's 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace on Saturday after lunging in on Max Meyer.

The Arsenal captain was initially booked for his challenge, but VAR directed referee Paul Tierney to change his decision to a straight red.

Arsenal appealed the red card, but – in his news conference to preview Saturday's clash with Sheffield United – Arteta revealed Aubameyang will have to serve his suspension.

"That has been confirmed that he will be suspended for three games, so we are not going to have him for three fixtures," Arteta told reporters.

"It is a big shame, it is a big loss for us because as well, we know it was not his intention. But he mistimed the tackle, made the decision and we have to accept it.

"He was very sad after the game, disappointed he left the team with 10 men. It was an action which was completely accidental in my opinion.

"For me he has been superb, working so hard, scoring goals and probably has been the most important player of the team so to lose him is really bad news for us."

Aubameyang, who will miss Saturday's match with the Blades, a derby clash with Chelsea and an FA Cup tie against Bournemouth, scored the opener at Selhurst Park before Jordan Ayew drew Palace level.

The former Borussia Dortmund striker – who shared the Premier League Golden Boot along with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah last season – has scored 14 times in the top flight so far this term.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang stressed he did not intend to hurt Max Meyer in a challenge that earned the Arsenal captain a red card in the 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace.

The Gunners skipper had a mixed day at Selhurst Park, opening the scoring with his 14th Premier League goal of the season before being dismissed for the first time in his Arsenal career after Jordan Ayew had levelled for the hosts.

Aubameyang was initially only cautioned for his rash tackle on Meyer, but that was later changed to a red card by referee Paul Tierney after a lengthy VAR review, with replays showing the Arsenal striker had sunk his studs into the Palace midfielder's ankle.

Palace boss Roy Hodgson called the tackle "very, very bad" while Gunners head coach Mikel Arteta described it as "nasty", though Aubameyang was at pains to point out it was ill-judged rather than ill-mannered.

"Hopefully Max Meyer get well soon," Aubameyang wrote on Instagram.

"I really didn't want to challenge him so hard and I appreciate that the boys fought hard to take that win but unfortunately we come back with a draw we keep going."

Mikel Arteta concedes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's challenge on Max Meyer in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace "looked nasty" but says there was no intention to cause injury.

The Gabon international received his marching orders in the 67th minute after a VAR review upgraded his initial yellow card to a straight red following his ugly lunge on the Palace midfielder.

Aubameyang had earlier given the Gunners a 12th-minute lead with his 14th Premier League goal of the campaign before Jordan Ayew ensured a share of the spoils with a deflected effort nine minutes into the second half.

Meyer was substituted immediately after the incident, but Arteta insists his player did not intend to injure the German.

"I just watched it and it looked nasty, to be fair," he told a media conference. "Knowing Auba, there's no intention to make such a tackle.

"Hopefully he hasn't been injured and we are sorry for that. The decision was made and we have to accept it."

Despite their numerical disadvantage, Arsenal came close to snatching all three points in the closing stages when Nicolas Pepe fired against the post.

While Arteta was happy with how his side responded to going down to 10 men, he expressed his frustration that Palace were allowed to find their way back into the game.

"I was pleased with how we started the game, with the way we dominated the first half," he added.

"But obviously after the break we knew they were going to push; they had more bodies forward and they put us under pressure more.

"We started to give bad free-kicks away and that's something that we have to avoid. Then we switched off for the goal. We completely switched off and allowed them to put the cross in. We turned and conceded the deflection, and I was very disappointed with that.

"After that, I must say that we reacted really well again after conceding the goal. After Auba's red card, we reacted even better in my opinion."

Palace manager Roy Hodgson agreed with Arteta's assessment that there was no malice in Aubameyang's challenge, but he did question why it took the officials so long to reach their decision.

"I knew it was a bad challenge," he said. "I'm not accusing Aubameyang of trying to injure him but when I saw it, it's no doubt that it's a red card. I was surprised it took so long to make the decision.

“He [Meyer] was upbeat after the game but we will have to wait until Monday to see if he can play in the next game."

Sokratis Papastathopoulos feels Arsenal have been "unlucky" with VAR decisions this season following Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's red card in the 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace.

Gunners striker Aubameyang netted for the 14th time in the Premier League this season before being sent off in the second half, after Palace had equalised through a deflected effort from Jordan Ayew.

Referee Paul Tienery initially cautioned Aubameyang for his challenge on Max Meyer but, following a VAR review of over two minutes, the decision was changed to a dismissal as the Gabon international sunk his studs into the German midfielder’s ankle.

In the reverse fixture, Sokratis had a would-be winner overturned for a foul in the build-up, while Arsenal were also denied a penalty in the 1-0 loss to Sheffield United in October.

"VAR is there to help the referees," Sokratis told BT Sport after the London derby clash at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

"I didn't see the action but we are disappointed this year because we are a little bit unlucky from the VAR, we lost many points.

"It's not against VAR or the referee, just we are unlucky."

Aubameyang's tackle on Meyer was in front of the two benches, with Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta adamant there was no malice from Arsenal's top scorer, who will now miss three top-flight matches.

"It went really quick. I saw that he caught the player," Arteta told BBC Sport.

"Obviously knowing Auba there is no such intention to make such a foul or injure the player but VAR made a decision and we have to accept it."

Palace boss Roy Hodgson was left in no doubt over the eventual outcome.

"It was close to me and I knew it was a bad challenge, there's no question about that," Hodgson said.

"I couldn't really totally judge the severity of it until I came in afterwards and they showed me on the video.

"When you see it on the video, the only thing that is surprising is that it took so long to decide it was a red card. It was one of the most obvious ones you could ever wish to see.

"I don't think Aubameyang went in with the intention of committing that foul. I think it was his enthusiasm, trying to be aggressive, but unfortunately he committed a very, very bad challenge and deserved to be sent off."

Mikel Arteta must prepare for life without the man who has scored 48.2 per cent of Arsenal's Premier League goals following Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's red card on Saturday.

The Gabon international, who netted for the 14th time on Saturday, will miss the Gunners' next three top-flight fixtures having been dismissed following a VAR review for a late challenge on Crystal Palace midfielder Max Meyer.

Only Southampton's Danny Ings has been more pivotal to his team in 2019-20, but how reliant are the rest of the Premier League clubs on their top scorer?

We crunched the numbers after Arsenal's 1-1 draw with Palace to find out.

All stats are prior to the 1500 kick-offs on Saturday:

 

Southampton:  Danny Ings – 13 of 25 goals (52 per cent)

Arsenal: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 14 of 29 goals (48.2 per cent)

Norwich: Teemu Pukki – 9 of 22 goals  (40.9 per cent)

Manchester United: Marcus Rashford – 12 of 32 goals (37.5 per cent)

Leicester: Jamie Vardy – 17 of 46 goals (36.9 per cent)

Chelsea: Tammy Abraham – 12 of 36 goals (33.3 per cent) ; Everton: Dominic Calvert-Lewin – 8 of 24 goals  (33.3 per cent) ; Burnley: Chris Wood – 8 of 24 goals (33.3 per cent)

Tottenham: Harry Kane – 11 of 36 goals (30.5 per cent)

Crystal Palace: Jordan Ayew : 6 of 20 goals (30 per cent) ; Bournemouth:  Harry Wilson – 6 of 20 goals (30 per cent)

Brighton and Hove Albion: Neal Maupay – 7 of 25 goals (28 per cent)

Wolves: Raul Jimenez – 8 of 30 goals (26.6 per cent)

Newcastle United: Jonjo Shelvey – 5 of 20 goals (25 per cent)

West Ham: Sebastien Haller – 6 of 25 goals (24 per cent)

Watford: Gerard Deulofeu – 4 of 17 goals  (23. 5 per cent)

Liverpool: Sadio Mane - 11 of 49 goals (22.4 per cent)

Aston Villa: Jack Grealish – 6 of 27 goals (22.2 per cent)

Sheffield United: Lys Mousset – 5 of 24 goals (20.8 per cent)

Manchester City: Raheem Sterling – 11 of 56 goals (19.6 per cent)

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