Arsenal appear to have strengthened their interest in Nuno Espirito Santo.

Just over two weeks after dismissing Unai Emery, the Gunners are reportedly ready to hold talks with one of the top contenders to take over at Emirates Stadium.

But the Portuguese is not alone when it comes to candidates with Premier League experience.

 

TOP STORY – GUNNERS STEP UP NUNO CHASE

Arsenal will ask Wolves for permission to conduct formal discussions with Nuno next week, according to the Daily Mail.

The north Londoners are reportedly ready to "set to accelerate their interest" in the 45-year-old former Valencia and Porto head coach.

Belgium boss Robert Martinez is also said to have been approached, while Mauricio Pochettino, Mikel Arteta and Patrick Vieira continue to be linked.

Freddie Ljungberg has overseen two draws, a defeat and a solitary victory since taking charge on an interim basis.

ROUND-UP

- Like his former employers, ex-Arsenal boss Emery will not be rushed into a decision on his next move. Marca says the Spaniard has turned down the chance to speak to two Chinese clubs and managerless Everton since becoming a free agent on November 29.

- Premier League champions Manchester City hope to bring wantaway winger Jadon Sancho back to the Etihad Stadium after losing him to Borussia Dortmund in 2017, reports the Daily Mail.

- On the outer at Chelsea, Olivier Giroud appears to be moving closer to the Stamford Bridge exit door. L'Equipe claims the France striker is close to agreeing personal terms on a January switch to Inter, where he would reunite with Antonio Conte.

- Serie A side Milan will be offered the chance to sign Luka Jovic on loan from Real Madrid in January, according to Tuttomercatoweb.

- Barcelona will listen to offers of €10million for teenage defender Jean-Clair Todibo, reports Mundo Deportivo. The Spanish newspaper claims Bayer Leverkusen, Milan, Monaco, Southampton and Watford have submitted bids.

- Real Betis have sealed a deal to sign former Atletico Madrid winger Yannick Carrasco from Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang, according to Deportes Cuatro.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says Dejan Lovren has a more serious muscle injury than before, adding he cannot put a time frame on the centre-back's recovery.

Lovren went off after 53 minutes of the 2-0 Champions League win away to Salzburg on Tuesday, having managed only 40 minutes of the 3-0 Premier League victory over Bournemouth last weekend.

The defender will miss Saturday's game against Watford at Anfield and Klopp admits he is unsure when the 30-year-old will be able to return.

"He is out, muscle this time – more serious than last time," Klopp told reporters on Friday. "We don't have a time frame."

With Joel Matip also sidelined with a knee injury, Klopp has only Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez as his senior centre-back options amid a gruelling run of fixtures.

After the Watford match, a team largely comprising youth and fringe players will face Aston Villa in the EFL Cup on Tuesday, with the rest of the squad in action in a Club World Cup semi-final 24 hours later.

With league games against second-place Leicester City and Wolves to come before the turn of the year, Klopp accepts his lack of defenders is a worry.

"It's a concern," he said. "It's not the first time we are in a situation like this: last year, one game Fabinho played at centre-half. Unfortunately, he is out as well. It's not too cool.

"At the moment we have two – we should take care of them, pack them in cotton wool and ask them what they want to do in training. Apart from that, we have to be creative; we have the kids, of course, with Ki-Jana [Hoever] and Sepp [van den Berg].

"We have defensive-minded midfielders, there are different systems where you can use different kind of defenders as well. That's how it is.

"At the moment, I have a lot of ideas, but I hope for most of them I never have to use them, to be honest."

Klopp, who signed a new contract that runs until 2024 on Friday, will be hoping for a 16th win from 17 league games this season against Watford, as Liverpool aim to maintain their eight-point lead at the top.

Jurgen Klopp engaged in a comical exchange with a Japanese journalist at Friday's news conference, hinting at Takumi Minamino's imminent arrival at Liverpool.

Salzburg star Minamino has been one of the Austrian club's star players over the past year, impressing in the Europa League last season and in the Champions League this term.

Liverpool had been able to take a particularly close look at the Japan international when the two clubs played one another twice in the Champions League group stage, with Minamino again catching the eye against the Reds in their 2-0 win on Tuesday.

Since then, media speculation has claimed Liverpool have already secured a deal to sign the attacking midfielder in January.

Klopp, who was speaking following confirmation of his new four-and-a-half-year contract, would not be drawn on the rumours but took a mischievous tone when a Japanese journalist raised his hand for a question.

"Why are you here?" Klopp quipped, adding: "I think we'll see you more often now."

But instead of asking Klopp about Minamino, the reporter actually queried the German on Shinji Kagawa, the Japanese player he worked with at Borussia Dortmund.

Klopp replied: "Look, he doesn't speak about Minamino, he speaks about Shinji Kagawa!

"I love that, that's great, and smart. I loved working with Shinji, a great experience because I didn't have much of an idea about Japanese football before I met Shinji. We saw him on video and signed him from watching him on video.

"We were not sure about him, but after first time training, in the dressing room, all of the coaches were just hugging each other, [saying], 'Oh my God, we've got a super player'.

"I had two years with Shinji, and you know better than I do, but the attitude of Japanese players is outstanding, smart, technically really good usually, work-rate outstanding, really dynamic and nice people.

"I still try to follow his career – it was just a great experience."

Earlier, Klopp batted away a question relating to the apparently imminent arrival of Minamino, though he did acknowledge rating the 24-year-old highly.

"There's nothing else to say," Klopp remarked. "We speak about it in the moment like we do about all transfers – or potential transfers – when it's sorted, so [I have] nothing to say about it.

"He's a very good player, I can say that, but I saw many good players in the Salzburg team, more than I wanted to see, but that's it."

Jurgen Klopp is unsure about the prospect of never leaving Liverpool but feels the length of his new four-and-a-half-year contract feels "like forever in football" anyway.

Liverpool confirmed on Friday that Klopp has committed to a new contract – a two-year extension to his previous deal – that will keep him at Anfield until 2024.

It comes as a just reward for the Reds' remarkable 2019-20 to date, with Liverpool eight points clear at the Premier League summit having only failed to win one – a 1-1 draw with Manchester United – of their 16 games this term.

If Klopp manages to see out his new contract, he will have been at the club for almost nine years, having joined in 2015.

And while the German was unwilling to commit to never leaving the club, he acknowledged the significant length of the new deal.

"Forever? I'm not sure, but I think four-and-a-half years from now sounds like forever in football," Klopp told reporters in his pre-match news conference ahead of facing Watford.

"It would be nine years, the longest spell I've been at a club. I'm just looking forward to it. One reason for this extension is so we don't speak about it anymore, because that's very important.

"I understand the questions, but for the next three-and-a-half years, no one has to talk about it. We will see what happens.

"The plan is to make it the best time of our life, which hasn't been too bad until now, but we don't have a feeling that it can't be even better, so let's make the best time of our lives of it, enjoy the ride.

"I never thought about leaving before 2022, but you get constantly confronted with it and you think, 'Okay, it could end', and then I wouldn't see people I have real relationships with.

"The club was asking for a while if we could talk about extending and, at this moment, I thought it makes sense before things maybe get intense.

"Not now obviously, it was calm as it should be, but maybe in the summer [end of the season] we would've started again, talking about things like that, and new players coming in are asking how long the manager is going to be here. We all wanted to avoid that."

Klopp's assistants Peter Krawietz and Pepijn Lijnders also renewed their deals and he stressed their importance to the Reds' development.

"I've worked with Peter 18, 19 years, I think, and still all good," he said. "And Pep, it's four years I think.

"He [Lijnders] gets better and better and better over the years. We really improved a lot and bringing Pep in in a different role refreshed the system.

"I think he's an outstanding coach, plenty of ideas, so it was clear for me that I wanted to have the consolation. I had to ask them first, they were happy.

"It's the same thing, we enjoy the working together, the boys wanted to be part of the project and they want to do it together. I'm really happy, they're incredibly important."

Watford ended a run of three successive Premier League defeats, but Hayden Mullins' brief spell as interim manager concluded without a victory as Crystal Palace held them to a 0-0 draw.

The Hornets confirmed Nigel Pearson as their new manager on Friday, but he watched from the stands as Palace left Vicarage Road with a hard-earned point.

A first half of few chances was only notable for Wilfried Zaha's display, as the Ivory Coast international was involved in a couple of flashpoints, seemingly angering his manager Roy Hodgson.

Watford dominated after the interval, with Gerard Deulofeu going close before substitute Ismaila Sarr enjoyed a lively cameo, failing to convert two decent opportunities.

Palace held on, and Zaha – who continued to get caught up in off-the-ball tussles – somewhat surprisingly managed to avoid earning a second yellow card, as Watford remain bottom and the visitors move above Manchester United into seventh for at least a few hours.

Nigel Pearson will lead Watford's survival mission after returning to the Premier League as head coach of the Hornets.

The former Leicester City manager succeeds Quique Sanchez Flores, whose short-lived second spell at Vicarage Road was brought to an end last weekend after a sore defeat to Southampton.

Pearson has signed a contract initially until the end of the season, Watford said on their official website.

The Hornets sit bottom of the Premier League with eight points from 15 matches. Pearson, 56, becomes their third head coach of the campaign, after Javi Gracia and Flores.

Watford chairman and chief executive Scott Duxbury said: "Nigel is an impressive coach and comes with all of the experience and success we believe can have a very positive impact on our season.

"It's been a pleasure spending time listening to the passion with which he talks about the game. His enthusiasm, organisation and motivation will I'm certain prove essential in driving the team forwards and upwards over the coming weeks and months."

Former England Under-21 boss Pearson previously managed Leicester in the top flight, in the second of his two spells with the Foxes, and has also had stints in charge of clubs including Southampton, Derby County and Hull City. His last job was with OH Leuven in Belgium.

Pearson will be presented to Watford's supporters at Saturday's home game against Crystal Palace, but the team will be managed by interim boss Hayden Mullins, Watford said.

Liverpool cruised to a 5-2 victory in the Merseyside derby against Everton as they consolidated their lead at the top of the Premier League, despite a much-changed team.

Meanwhile, Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho endured an unhappy return to Old Trafford as his side lost 2-1 to Manchester United - the Portuguese has not won there as a visiting boss in his past five attempts.

Defending champions Manchester City thrashed Burnley 4-1 as Pep Guardiola made it eight wins in his nine games against the Clarets.

A midweek round of Premier League fixtures brought a range of milestones and telling stats, the best of which are below.

KLOPP ECLIPSES SHANKLY, PAISLEY AND DALGLISH 

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will likely need to deliver the Premier League title to secure his place in the pantheon of Anfield greats.

However, the German has put down a few markers suggesting he is ready to join the Kop's hall of fame by becoming the fastest Liverpool manager to 100 league victories. Klopp completed the feat in 159 games – quicker than Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and Kenny Dalglish.

Liverpool secured the win over Everton thanks to a brace from Divock Origi, and one goal apiece for Sadio Mane, Xherdan Shaqiri and Georginio Wijnaldum.

They are now unbeaten in their past 32 Premier League games which is their longest run without defeat in top-flight history.

Marco Silva's final match at the helm saw him become the first Everton manager to concede five league goals against Liverpool in a single match since Howard Kendall in November 1982.

 

MORE OF THE SAME FOR MOURINHO 

United's 2-1 win over Tottenham, secured courtesy of two goals from Marcus Rashford – taking his tally to nine in 10 games – made Mourinho's return to his old club a miserable one.

Mourinho has won none of his past five away Premier League matches against the Red Devils (D3 L2), failing to beat four different managers in that time – Alex Ferguson, David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and current United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

It was also Tottenham 35th Premier League defeat against United – more than they have suffered against any other team. 

Spurs' defence must also be a concern for Mourinho. They have conceded twice in their four matches in all competitions under the Portuguese – they only had a run of conceding two or more goals in four consecutive games once under Mauricio Pochettino, doing so in February and March 2015.

Midfielder Dele Alli has started to rediscover some of his old form, though, and his equaliser for Spurs was his third goal in as many appearances for the club in all competitions – the first time since March 2017 he has enjoyed such a purple patch.

 

CITY THREE AND EASY UNDER PEP

Gabriel Jesus' brace and one apiece for midfielders Rodri and Riyad Mahrez gave City some much-needed confidence with a 4-1 thrashing of Burnley – although they remain 11 points behind leaders Liverpool.

Jesus is now the third highest-scoring Brazilian player in Premier League history (32 goals), trailing only Philippe Coutinho (41) and Roberto Firmino (52).

It was the 36th time City have won a Premier League game by three or more goals under Guardiola – the most of any team in the competition since the start of the 2016-17 season.

David Silva's creative skills remain key for City and he took his tally to six assists from open play in the league this season – just one fewer than he managed in 33 games last season.

Burnley have now conceded 11 goals in their three home games against 'big six' opposition in the Premier League this season, compared to only two goals in five home games against the rest.

 

LJUNGBERG'S LOSS A DROUGHT-BREAKING BOOST FOR BRIGHTON

Managerless, beaten at home by Brighton and Hove Albion and now nine games without victory in all competitions – Gunners fans have every right to be gloomy.

Arsenal's 2-1 loss to the Seagulls made this their longest winless streak since a run of 10 between February and March of 1977.

Mesut Ozil registered his first assist in the league since February when his corner was met by Alexandre Lacazette, but the French forward's 25th English top-flight goal at Emirates Stadium failed to avert a first defeat for interim boss Freddie Ljungberg.

Adam Webster had opened the scoring before the interval and Brighton were able to celebrate their first Premier League away win over 'big six' opposition following Neal Maupay's 80th-minute header.

Arsenal, booed off at full-time, have faced 52 shots on target in home league games this season, four more than in the entire Invincibles campaign of 2003-04.

Liverpool blew Everton away in the Merseyside derby and Jose Mourinho suffered his first loss as Tottenham head coach on his return to Manchester United.

Jurgen Klopp's Premier League leaders have an eight-point cushion at the top after a 5-2 win at Anfield on Wednesday that increases the pressure on the Toffees' beleaguered boss Marco Silva.

Leicester remain the Reds' nearest challengers after Brendan Rodgers' side saw off his old club Watford 2-0 thanks to second-half goals from Jamie Vardy and James Maddison.

Chelsea, Southampton and Wolves completed a clean sweep of home wins with victories over Aston Villa, Norwich City and West Ham respectively.

 

Divock the derby hero again

Divock Origi and Sadio Mane were the stars for Liverpool as their 5-2 victory in the Merseyside derby left stricken Silva surely on the verge of losing his job.

A remarkable first half saw six goals – Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri helping the Reds race ahead, though Michael Keane pulled Everton back into contention.

Another for Origi – his fifth Merseyside derby strike – restored Liverpool's two-goal advantage with Mane slotting home their fourth before Richarlison reduced the deficit again.

That effort failed to lift Everton and Georginio Wijnaldum delivered a likely final blow to Silva as counterpart Klopp claimed his 100th Premier League win.

Unhappy return for Mourinho

Spurs had won three games out of three under Mourinho but fell to a 2-1 loss away to Manchester United with Marcus Rashford scoring both goals for the Red Devils.

Rashford scored either side of a superb individual effort from Dele Alli to take his Premier League tally to nine for the season, with Spurs well off the pace.

United move into the top six, leapfrogging Mourinho's men, thanks to a much-needed victory that ends their run of three matches without a win in all competitions.

Abraham nets again for Blues

Tammy Abraham returned from injury to help sink former club Aston Villa as Chelsea got back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory on John Terry's return to Stamford Bridge.

Back from a hip problem, Abraham opened the scoring with a first-half header and provided a chested assist that allowed Mason Mount to volley a superb winner after Trezeguet's fortuitous equaliser.

Willian excelled throughout on the right flank and Chelsea, who had lost their past two league games to Manchester City and West Ham, should have won by more against opponents who had Blues legend Terry on the bench as assistant manager.

Penalty drama for Leicester

A 2-0 home win against managerless Watford was routine for Leicester, but striker Vardy was booked for diving when he seemed to be clearly fouled, despite the incident being checked by the VAR.

Vardy later converted from the spot, scoring for the seventh straight league game, and Leicester's winning streak also stretched to seven matches in the league after Maddison netted deep into added time.

Elsewhere, Southampton moved out of the bottom three at Everton's expense with Ralph Hasenhuttl's side sealing successive home wins with first-half strikes by Danny Ings and Ryan Bertrand setting up a 2-1 victory over Norwich at St. Mary's.

Wolves are fifth after goals from Leander Dendoncker and Patrick Cutrone downed West Ham 2-0. Nuno Espirito Santo's side are now unbeaten in 10 Premier League matches.

Liverpool have been drawn at home to Merseyside rivals Everton in the FA Cup third round, while holders Manchester City will start the defence of their title at home to third-tier Port Vale.

The Toffees face Jurgen Klopp's side on Wednesday in the Premier League and will make the short trip to Anfield for a second time this season during the first week of January.

Pep Guardiola's City thumped Watford 6-0 in last season's final and have been given a favourable draw to kick-start their 2019-20 campaign, with John Askey's League Two side pitching up at the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester United face a difficult away tie against Premier League rivals Wolves, who knocked them out of the competition last season's quarter-finals, while Arsenal welcome Championship leaders Leeds United to the Emirates Stadium.

New Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho takes his side to Middlesbrough, managed by former Spurs defender Jonathan Woodgate, and Chelsea host Nottingham Forest.

Ties will take place between January 3 and 6.

Watford have placed Under-23s coach Hayden Mullins in charge for Wednesday's Premier League trip to Leicester City following the sacking of Quique Sanchez Flores.

Flores' second spell at Vicarage Road was brought to an end at the weekend on the back of a 2-1 loss to Southampton that left the club bottom of the division.

Watford hope to bring in a permanent successor "imminently", but Mullins will be in the dugout for the midweek clash with the high-flying Foxes.

The 40-year-old has been a coach at Watford since July 2016 and was brought in to oversee first-team training on Monday, alongside head of academy goalkeeping Graham Stack.

Former Newcastle United and Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton is rumoured to be one of the frontrunners for the Hornets post.

Watford have sacked Quique Sanchez Flores less than three months after bringing him back for a second spell as head coach.

The Premier League club announced the decision on Sunday, the day after a 2-1 loss to fellow strugglers Southampton.

Watford surrendered a first-half lead at St Mary's and remain rooted to the bottom of the table with eight points from 14 games.

In a statement issued on their official website, Watford pledged to move swiftly to install Flores' successor.

"Quique is a man of great integrity and it was clear how much he wanted to have a positive impact, but ultimately results have dictated our decision," said chairman and chief executive Scott Duxbury. 

"The appointment of a new head coach is imminent, and with nearly two-thirds of the season remaining, we will provide all the support necessary to make the coming months successful."

Flores, who presided over a creditable 2015-16 campaign, only returned to Vicarage Road in September after more than three years away.

He replaced Javi Gracia after a slow start to the season but was unable to rectify poor results.

The former Valencia and Atletico Madrid boss took charge of 12 games in all competitions for two wins, four draws and six defeats, including the humiliating 8-0 loss to Manchester City.

Former Newcastle United and Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton is rumoured to be one of the frontrunners for the Watford post.

Watford have sacked Quique Sanchez Flores less than three months after bringing him back for a second spell as head coach.

The Premier League club announced the decision on Sunday, the day after a 2-1 loss to fellow strugglers Southampton.

Watford surrendered a first-half lead at St Mary's and remain rooted to the bottom of the table with eight points from 14 games.

In a statement issued on their official website, Watford pledged to move swiftly to install Flores' successor.

"Quique is a man of great integrity and it was clear how much he wanted to have a positive impact, but ultimately results have dictated our decision," said chairman and chief executive Scott Duxbury. 

"The appointment of a new head coach is imminent, and with nearly two-thirds of the season remaining, we will provide all the support necessary to make the coming months successful."

Flores, who presided over a creditable 2015-16 campaign, only returned to Vicarage Road in September after more than three years away.

He replaced Javi Gracia after a slow start to the season but was unable to rectify poor results.

The former Valencia and Atletico Madrid boss took charge of 12 games in all competitions for two wins, four draws and six defeats, including the humiliating 8-0 loss to Manchester City.

Former Newcastle United and Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton is rumoured to be one of the frontrunners for the Watford post.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has time on his side at Manchester United.

Mauricio Pochettino's name looms large at Old Trafford but it seems the incumbent is going nowhere.

According to reports, Solskjaer will not be sacked regardless of whether United qualify for Europe this season.

 

TOP STORY – SOLSKJAER FREE FROM EUROPEAN ANXIETY

Failure to secure a top-six finish in the Premier League will not cost Solskjaer his job, reports the Daily Star.

United are struggling for consistency and appear destined to miss out on the Champions League places.

But while executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is "long-time admirer" of Pochettino, he will reportedly keep faith with Solskjaer even if middling results end in the Red Devils missing out on Europe.

ROUND-UP

- Quique Sanchez Flores' ill-fated second spell in charge of Watford will result in his dismissal on Sunday, according to The Athletic.

- It could be one Spaniard out and another in at Arsenal. The Mirror claims Manchester City assistant Mikel Arteta is now top of the club's shortlist of potential replacements for Unai Emery.

- Everton want Bournemouth boss and boyhood Toffees fan Eddie Howe to succeed the under-pressure Marco Silva, reports the Mirror.

- Borussia Dortmund have dispatched scouts to watch teenage Sao Paulo winger Antony, says Goal, as the Bundesliga side line up a replacement for Jadon Sancho.

- Fiorentina have lost patience with Vincenzo Montella and are set to replace him with Gennaro Gattuso in a mirror image of the move Milan made two years ago. Calciomercato claims the change is imminent, with the Viola stinging from a 1-0 loss to Lecce.

There appears no sign of Southampton's luck changing after winger Sofiane Boufal suffered a bizarre injury in his own home.

The Saints are embroiled in a relegation battle and were humiliatingly thrashed 9-0 by Leicester City last month, a record Premier League home defeat.

Even improved performances in recent weeks have not been rewarded with victories, as Arsenal snatched a scarcely deserved 2-2 draw last weekend.

Nineteenth-placed Southampton now head into a crucial meeting with basement side Watford with Boufal's involvement in doubt, having run into a kitchen table.

"[Boufal] couldn't train for three days now and [his toe] is still a bit swollen," boss Ralph Hasenhuttl told a news conference. "He hit his toe on the table at home.

"He ran into the kitchen and hit it on the table, something like that. It will be difficult for the weekend."

Boufal has appeared in 10 Premier League matches this season, starting four times, but has failed to find the net.

Keeping faith with the under-fire Unai Emery could have serious ramifications for Arsenal.

According to reports, club chiefs fear key players will question their long-term futures if Emery remains in charge.

Two star attackers are already said to be stalling on new deals with Arsenal sliding down the Premier League.

 

TOP STORY – GUNNERS FEAR EXODUS

Arsenal are at risk of losing Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, according to the Daily Mail.

The newspaper reports the pair have shown little interest in signing contract extensions as a direct consequence of poor results and concerns over Emery's "conservative" methods.

Arsenal have failed to win any of their past six games in all competitions and are facing the prospect of another season outside the Champions League, a problem for the likes of Lacazette and Aubameyang.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marco Silva's position at Everton is in peril but he could remain in charge until after the Merseyside derby on December 4, according to the Daily Mail. The Toffees lie 16th in the Premier League following a 2-0 home loss to Norwich City.

- Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores is likewise feeling the pinch. The Telegraph reports the Spaniard is "on the brink" of becoming the club's second managerial casualty of the season.

- Manchester United are set to trigger a 12-month extension to Timothy Fosu-Mensah's contract, claims The Sun. The Dutch defender is due to become a free agent at the end of the season.

- New MLS franchise Inter Miami are discussing the possibility of making Patrick Vieira their inaugural head coach, says CBS Sports reporter Roger Gonzalez. Vieira is currently in charge of Ligue 1 club Nice.

- Serie A side Roma are tracking Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham, according to Tuttomercatoweb. The French midfielder scored a vital Europa League goal against Lazio earlier this month and could be the subject of a January transfer bid from their Serie A rivals.

Page 1 of 6
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.