The pause in the football calendar (except in Belarus, of course) gives players across Europe plenty of time to reflect on their efforts so far this season.

While some have a few things to work on when matches return, there are others for whom 2019-20 has been a showcase of the very best they have to offer.

In the latest piece in our series, we look at the best-performing forwards in the Bundesliga, LaLiga, Ligue 1, Premier League and Serie A.

Goals might be the most obvious (and fundamentally important) of metrics for these players, but the number of times the ball crosses that white line is not the only measure of their quality.

To that end, we have also examined seven other parameters: minutes-per-goal rate, shots on target, shooting accuracy, shot conversion rate, big chance conversion rate, dribbles completed and dribble success rate. And these are for those players to make at least 10 league appearances this season, to avoid any unfair imbalance in the results (we're looking at you, Florin Andone).

Without further ado, we present the most ruthless forwards elite-level football in Europe has to offer...

THE MOST RUTHLESS FORWARDS IN EUROPE'S TOP-FIVE LEAGUES 2019-20:

 

BUNDESLIGA:

Most goals scored: Robert Lewandowski (25)
Best minutes-per-goal rate (Min. five goals scored): Robert Lewandowski (81.7)
Most shots on target: Robert Lewandowski (55)
Best shooting accuracy (Min. 30 shots): Marcus Thuram (76.3 per cent)
Best shot conversion rate (Min. five goals scored): Paco Alcacer (35.7 per cent)
Best big chance conversion rate (Min. five big chances): Rouwen Hennings (71.4 per cent)
Most dribbles completed: Marcus Thuram (57)
Best dribbles success rate (Min. 10 completed): Lucas Alario (83.3 per cent)

LALIGA:

Most goals scored: Lionel Messi (19)
Best minutes-per-goal rate (Min. five goals scored): Lionel Messi (99.5)
Most shots on target: Lionel Messi (55)
Best shooting accuracy (Min. 30 shots): Lionel Messi (68.9 per cent)
Best shot conversion rate (Min. five goals scored): Lucas Perez (40.7 per cent)
Best big chance conversion rate (Min. five big chances): Charles (83.3 per cent)
Most dribbles completed: Lionel Messi (118)
Best dribbles success rate (Min. 10 completed): Pione Sisto (76.9 per cent)

LIGUE 1:

Most goals scored: Kylian Mbappe and Wissam Ben Yedder (18)
Best minutes-per-goal rate (Min. five goals scored): Kylian Mbappe (84.1)
Most shots on target: Kylian Mbappe (49)
Best shooting accuracy (Min. 30 shots): Kasper Dolberg (78.1 per cent)
Best shot conversion rate (Min. five goals scored): Mauro Icardi (37.5 per cent)
Best big chance conversion rate (Min. five big chances): Moussa Dembele (72.2 per cent)
Most dribbles completed: Neymar (90)
Best dribbles success rate (Min. 10 completed): Zaydou Youssouf (85.7 per cent)

PREMIER LEAGUE:

Most goals scored: Jamie Vardy (19)
Best minutes-per-goal rate (Min. five goals scored): Sergio Aguero (87.6)
Most shots on target: Mohamed Salah (43)
Best shooting accuracy (Min. 30 shots): Anthony Martial (68.2 per cent)
Best shot conversion rate (Min. five goals scored): Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (36.2 per cent)
Best big chance conversion rate (Min. five big chances): Harry Kane (70 per cent)
Most dribbles completed: Adama Traore (144)
Best dribbles success rate (Min. 10 completed): Billy Sharp (86.7 per cent)

SERIE A:

Most goals scored: Ciro Immobile (27)
Best minutes-per-goal rate (Min. five goals scored): Luis Muriel (70.2)
Most shots on target: Cristiano Ronaldo (53)
Best shooting accuracy (Min. 30 shots): Romelu Lukaku (65.5 per cent)
Best shot conversion rate (Min. five goals scored): Ante Rebic (42.9 per cent)
Best big chance conversion rate (Min. five big chances): Felipe Caicedo (85.7 per cent)
Most dribbles completed: Jeremie Boga (106)
Best dribbles success rate (Min. 10 completed): Sergio Floccari (72.2 per cent)

AND THE TOP EIGHT:

Most goals scored: Ciro Immobile (27)
Best minutes-per-goal rate (Min. five goals scored): Luis Muriel (70.2)
Most shots on target: Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski (55)
Best shooting accuracy (Min. 30 shots): Kasper Dolberg (78.1 per cent)
Best shot conversion rate (Min. five goals scored): Ante Rebic (42.9 per cent)
Best big chance conversion rate (Min. five big chances): Felipe Caicedo (85.7 per cent)
Most dribbles completed: Adama Traore (144)
Best dribbles success rate (Min. 10 completed): Billy Sharp (86.7 per cent)

As the world continues to battle against the coronavirus pandemic, football fans across the globe face another weekend scratching around for something to fill the void.

The domestic calendar in England has been halted in a bid to reduce social gatherings and the Premier League has confirmed its fixtures will not resume at the start of May.

While we cannot say for sure how this weekend's Premier League fixtures would have gone, our friends at Opta have come up with a system to predict the outcomes.

What chance would your team have had? Take a look below.

Predictor explainer:

The Opta Predictor estimates the probability of each match outcome (win, draw or loss) given each team's attacking and defensive quality. The team's attacking and defensive qualities are based on four years of historic results, with more weighting given to their most recent results. The model will take into account the quality of the opposition that a team scores or concedes against and reward them accordingly.

ASTON VILLA v WOLVES

Home win: 27 per cent
Draw: 28 per cent
Away win: 45 per cent

Struggling Aston Villa were rated as unlikely to get a key victory in their battle against relegation in their scheduled fixture at home to Wolves. A home win is the least likely of the three results, with Villa having lost five straight matches across all competitions. Top-four chasing Wolves have only won five of 14 top-flight away games this season, but are backed to pick up a sixth here.

BOURNEMOUTH v NEWCASTLE UNITED

Home win: 39 per cent
Draw: 29 per cent
Away win: 32 per cent

The predictor percentages for this match are all in a very close range across the three results, indicating how hard it would have been to call. Home advantage sees Bournemouth, who sit in the bottom three, rated as narrow favourites, as they were bidding to end a four-match winless run against a Newcastle side sitting five places and eight points above them.

ARSENAL v NORWICH CITY

Home win: 67 per cent
Draw: 21 per cent
Away win: 12 per cent

The predictor rated Arsenal versus Norwich City as the most one-sided match of the week, with the Gunners given a massive 67% chance of victory. No other team got over the 50% mark. Three straight wins boosted Mikel Arteta's men prior to the disruptions caused by COVID-19. Meanwhile, bottom-of-the-table Norwich only have one win in 15 away attempts in this season's Premier League.

BRIGHTON v MANCHESTER UNITED

Home win: 25 per cent win
Draw: 29 per cent
Away win: 46 per cent

Of the 10 away teams in action, Manchester United were rated as the second-most likely to earn victory in their contest at Brighton and Hove Albion. Prior to the halt in football, United had closed within three points of Chelsea in the race for fourth place, while struggling Brighton are still yet to win a match in 2020.

CRYSTAL PALACE v BURNLEY

Home win: 41 per cent
Draw: 30 per cent
Away win: 29 per cent

No game in this match week was rated as more likely to end in a draw than the mid-table battle between Crystal Palace and Burnley at Selhurst Park. Sitting 10th and 11th, Palace and Burnley are level on points and also have the same goal difference, with Sean Dyche's side only ahead in the table due to goals scored. It is Roy Hodgson's hosts who would have gone into the clash with a narrow advantage in win probability.

WATFORD v SOUTHAMPTON

Home win: 39 per cent
Draw: 29 per cent
Away win: 32 per cent

Another tight match would have seen Watford host Southampton as Nigel Pearson's side continue their battle against relegation. Playing at home and with a win over Liverpool in their last contest at Vicarage Road, they would have gone in as very slight favourites, but Saints sit seven points better off and this is another that goes down as too close to call. 

SHEFFIELD UNITED v TOTTENHAM

Home win: 32 per cent
Draw: 30 per cent
Away win: 38 per cent

A game between two teams chasing a European place, Sheffield United and Tottenham, was the one the predictor had significant trouble calling a winner for. At 30%, it is tied with the Palace v Burnley contest as the most likely draw of the weekend. Interestingly, Spurs – who have not won for six games - do go in with a better chance of victory despite the contest being held at Bramall Lane and Sheffield United, by contrast, being on a six-match unbeaten run.

WEST HAM v CHELSEA

Home win: 25 per cent
Draw: 27 per cent
Away win: 48 per cent

Of the 10 away teams, Chelsea are given the best chance of victory in their match on the road against West Ham. Frank Lampard's men thumped Everton 4-0 before the break in action and are given a 48% chance of following that up with a win over their London rivals West Ham, who are on a poor run of one win in 10 games.

MANCHESTER CITY v LIVERPOOL

Home win: 46 per cent
Draw: 27 per cent
Away win: 27 per cent

Unquestionably the biggest match of this week was due to be second-placed Manchester City's clash with runaway league leaders Liverpool. After an almost perfect season, Jurgen Klopp's men had finally started to show some vulnerability prior to the suspension of action. They had lost three of their last four games in all competitions and the predictor believes they were most likely to go down to another defeat here, although surely it would not have been enough to derail their title bid.

EVERTON v LEICESTER CITY

Home win: 36 per cent
Draw: 29 per cent
Away win: 35 per cent

The closest match of the week is the game that was going to be the Monday night contest between Everton and Leicester City. The predictor can hardly split the two teams, with Everton given a 36% chance of winning, compared to 35% for the Foxes. Of the teams who are favourites, Carlo Ancelotti's men have the lowest percentage. They would have come into the game having collected only one point from three games, but those were against Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea. Leicester are third but without a win in three top-flight away fixtures.

Real Madrid have seemingly set their sights on Eduardo Camavinga, and it may be one of several changes at the LaLiga club.

Camavinga, 17, has been linked to several European giants after impressing for Rennes.

The teenage midfielder is a target for Madrid, who could be set for sweeping changes in the close season.

 

TOP STORY – CAMAVINGA THE PREFERENCE FOR REAL MADRID

Camavinga is the preference for Real Madrid as it is likely to prove tough to land Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, according to Marca.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is also keen to avoid becoming too reliant on Casemiro, the report says.

Camavinga has made 25 Ligue 1 appearances for Rennes this season, including 24 starts.

ROUND-UP

- It may be just one of several changes at Real Madrid. AS reports there must be exits if players are to come in, with James Rodriguez, Gareth Bale, Lucas Vazquez and Mariano Diaz potentially leaving. The futures of Nacho Fernandez, Marcelo, Luka Modric and Brahim Diaz are also uncertain.

- Staying at Real Madrid and AS reports the coronavirus pandemic may impact what the club do with Martin Odegaard. The Norway international was expected to spend another season on loan at Real Sociedad but could return ahead of the next campaign as clubs become stricter with their finances.

- Diego Costa has scored just twice in 19 games for Atletico Madrid this season and could be set for a move. Sport reports Roma are interested in the 31-year-old forward.

- Achraf Hakimi appears likely to return to Real Madrid from his loan at Borussia Dortmund. However, the Mirror reports Chelsea have enquired about the defender.

- After impressing with Wolves in the Premier League, Raul Jimenez is attracting interest. Sport reports the Mexico forward could return to LaLiga, with Real Madrid and former club Atletico Madrid interested.

- Out of contract at the end of the season, Pedro is poised to leave Chelsea. La Gazzetta dello Sport reports Lazio are interested in the attacker.

Rumours linking Neymar to Barcelona refuse to subside.

Neymar left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record €222million transfer in 2017, but the Brazilian star wants to move back to Camp Nou.

Barca are desperate to make it happen by any means necessary.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA TO INVOKE CLAUSE IN NEYMAR PURSUIT

Barcelona are plotting an audacious plan to re-sign Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain, according to ESPN.

The report says LaLiga champions could invoke a little-known FIFA clause – Article 17 – in order to lure Neymar back to Camp Nou.

Article 17 states that players can leave their contracts "without just cause" once the three-year protection period ends.

 

ROUND-UP

Marc-Andre ter Stegen to leave Barca? The Germany international has been in contract negotiations with the Spanish giants, however, Sport says he is being tempted by Bayern Munich.

- Sport also claims that Barca have put Antoine Griezmann on the transfer market. It comes as Barca look to sign Inter's Lautaro Martinez at the end of the season, while keeping costs down amid the coronavirus pandemic. Manchester United, PSG, Chelsea and Arsenal are possible suitors for Griezmann. The same publication reports Barca's stars have agreed to take a pay cut to help the club deal with the COVID-19 crisis.

Real Madrid are interested in signing Wolves striker Raul Jimenez, AS reports. Madrid are eyeing a striker with Karim Benzema ageing and big-money recruit Luka Jovic so far failing to convince Zinedine Zidane. Mexico international Jimenez previously spent a year at Atletico Madrid in 2014-15.

- Gazzetta dello Sport says Arsenal and Tottenham are set to rival Serie A side Lazio for Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren.

- With Lovren set to leave, AS suggests Liverpool have lined up three possible replacements – RB Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano, Atletico Madrid defender Jose Maria Gimenez and Inter's Alessandro Bastoni.

- Calciomercato says Mauro Icardi – on loan at PSG from Inter – wants to return to Italy at the end of the season amid strong links to Juventus. The Argentina striker is also open to joining Madrid.

Inter are working on a renewal to tie down star midfielder Marcelo Brozovic, reports Tuttosport. The Croatia international is contracted until 2022.

Juve, United and Barca are all tracking PSG's highly rated 17-year-old Edouard Michut, according to Calciomercato.

As the world continues to battle against the coronavirus pandemic, football fans across the globe face another weekend scratching around for something to fill the void.

The domestic calendar in England was halted last week in a bid to reduce social gatherings and the Football Association confirmed its leagues would not return until at least the end of April.

While we cannot say for sure how this weekend's Premier League fixtures would have gone, our friends at Opta have come up with a system to predict the outcomes.

What chance would your team have had? Take a look below.

 

Predictor explainer:

The Opta Predictor estimates the probability of each match outcome (win, draw or loss) given each team's attacking and defensive quality. The team's attacking and defensive qualities are based on four years of historic results, with more weighting given to their most recent results. The model will take into account the quality of the opposition that a team scores or concedes against and reward them accordingly.


 

BURNLEY v WATFORD

Home win: 49 per cent
Draw: 26 per cent
Away win: 25 per cent

Watford may have handed Liverpool their first defeat of the Premier League season, but with just one victory in their past three visits to Turf Moor it is Burnley who are expected to win by the predictor. Sean Dyche's side have gone unbeaten in seven top-flight matches to move into a more comfortable position in the middle of the table.

CHELSEA v MANCHESTER CITY

Home win: 30 per cent
Draw: 24 per cent
Away win: 46 per cent

Manchester City are the pick to prevail at Stamford Bridge, a ground where Pep Guardiola has lost on two of his three Premier League visits. Kevin De Bruyne's winner in September 2017 fired City's charge to a 100-point title romp but goals from N'Golo Kante and David Luiz saw the Blues hand Guardiola's men the first league defeat of their triumphant 2018-19 campaign. Kante and De Bruyne were both on target when the sides met at the Etihad Stadium back in November, before Riyad Mahrez sealed a 2-1 comeback win for the hosts.

LEICESTER CITY v BRIGHTON

Home win: 62 per cent
Draw: 22 per cent
Away win: 16 per cent

Brighton won at Arsenal back in December, but that was just one of two away victories for the Seagulls so far in the Premier League this season, so their prospects at Leicester were inevitably looking bleak. After a worrying slump, Leicester looked to have rediscovered their mojo by the time the league ground to a halt, with Jamie Vardy back on the goal trail following a drought. Leicester’s nine wins at the King Power Stadium this term looked highly likely to become 10.

LIVERPOOL v CRYSTAL PALACE

Home win: 76 per cent win
Draw: 16 per cent
Away win: 8 per cent

A predicted triumph for Liverpool at Anfield is by no means a surprise given they are on a top-flight record of 22 straight home wins. With just an eight per cent chance of winning, Palace had the lowest chance of victory in this round of fixtures. However, with City predicted to come out on top against Chelsea, the Reds' wait to clinch the Premier League title would have continued.

MANCHESTER UNITED v SHEFFIELD UNITED

Home win: 48 per cent
Draw: 30 per cent
Away win: 22 per cent

The halt in football action came at a bad time for Manchester United, who were on a magnificent roll - 11 matches unbeaten with eight victories. The Opta predictor backed the hosts to continue that run, but at 48 per cent, a home win was seen as far from a certainty. Amid an amazing season, Sheffield United are just two points behind Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men and at 30 per cent, it is the most likely contest on the matchday to end in a draw. That was also the outcome in a thrilling 3-3 draw at Bramall Lane in November.

NEWCASTLE UNITED v ASTON VILLA

Home win: 54 per cent
Draw: 24 per cent
Away win: 22 per cent

The predicted win for Newcastle is something Aston Villa – second from bottom and 10 points shy of Steve Bruce's men – could ill afford in reality. Newcastle are unbeaten in five matches at St James' Park, although that run includes three consecutive 0-0 draws. Villa have lost four in succession in the Premier League and only won three times in the top flight since beating the Magpies 2-0 in the corresponding fixture on November 25.

NORWICH CITY v EVERTON

Home win: 28 per cent
Draw: 26 per cent
Away win: 46 per cent

Norwich prop up the Premier League table and the predictor reflects as such, with Everton having a greater chance of victory on the road. The Toffees' last win at Carrow Road came in 2004, though, and Everton were beaten 2-0 at home by Daniel Farke's side back in November, Todd Cantwell and Dennis Srbeny with the goals at Goodison Park.

SOUTHAMPTON v ARSENAL

Home win: 28 per cent
Draw: 24 per cent
Away win: 48 per cent

Southampton’s resurgence during December and January had given way to a worrying patch of form over February and early March. Ralph Hasenhuttl's men did beat Aston Villa at home, but this Arsenal side under Mikel Arteta’s leadership are a different prospect to the team Saints held 2-2 in north London back in November. The Gunners are unbeaten in the Premier League in 2020, and they would have fancied claiming all three points on offer at St Mary's.

TOTTENHAM v WEST HAM

Home win: 70 per cent
Draw: 17 per cent
Away win: 13 per cent

The Hammers were not predicted to fare particularly well at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but they did defy the odds with a 1-0 win at the same venue in April 2019, Michail Antonio scoring the winner. Tottenham were the victors in the reverse fixture this season, a 3-2 triumph in Jose Mourinho's first match in charge.

WOLVES V BOURNEMOUTH

Home win: 58 per cent
Draw: 23 per cent
Away win: 19 per cent

Wolves are unbeaten in all three of their Premier League matches against Bournemouth, including a 2-1 win in the reverse fixture, and the predictor has them as the more likely winners on this matchday. That would come as a welcome relief to Wolves, who have won just one of their last five home top-flight matches, while Eddie Howe's men would be primed for a seventh consecutive away loss.

The Premier League has been suspended until at least April 30 due to the coronavirus pandemic, so what does that mean for the rest of the season?

Decisions made by UEFA and CONMEBOL to push back Euro 2020 and the Copa America until 2021 opened the door for domestic competition to continue longer than initially planned.

Upon announcing a four-week extension to the initially planned hiatus on Thursday, the Football Association (FA) revealed it would allow its leagues to continue beyond the June 1 deadline set out in its regulations.

The eventual run-in could prove to be heavily congested. Some Premier League teams are still competing on three fronts, others possess a game in hand, while UEFA is still hoping for a round of international matches in June.

If no games are cut out, we look at how the calendar for English teams could hypothetically shape up if competitions across Europe were able to resume following April 30.

 

May 2/3 - Matchday 30

May 7 - Postponed Europa League last-16 first legs and unplayed matchday 29 games

May 9/10 - Matchday 31

May 12/13/14 - FA Cup quarter-finals

May 16/17 - Matchday 32

May 19/20/21 - Champions League and Europa League last-16 second legs

May 23/24 - Matchday 33

May 26/27/28 - Champions League and Europa League quarter-final first legs

May 30/31 - Matchday 34

June 2/3/4 - Champions League and Europa League quarter-final second legs

June 6/7 - Matchday 35

June 13/14 - International week

June 20/21 - Matchday 36

June 23/24/25 - Champions League and Europa League semi-final first legs

June 27/28 - Matchday 37

June 30/July 1/2 - FA Cup semi-finals

July 4 - Matchday 38

July 7/8/9 - Champions League and Europa League semi-final second legs

July 11 - FA Cup final

July 15 - Europa League final

July 18 - Champions League final

Fiorentina players Patrick Cutrone and German Pezzella are among three new confirmed cases of coronavirus at the club.

Physio Stefano Dainelli has also tested positive for COVID-19, the Serie A side announced on Saturday.

All three "are in good health at their homes in Florence", Fiorentina said via their official Twitter account.

On Friday, striker Dusan Vlahovic became the Viola's first confirmed case, although the club said he was at home and did not have any symptoms.

"The club is in the process of undertaking all the necessary isolation procedures in accordance with the regulations, starting with identifying all the people who have had contact with the player," Fiorentina said.

Juventus defender Daniele Rugani was the first Serie A player to test positive for the virus, which has spread alarmingly quickly in the country.

Sampdoria striker Manolo Gabbiadini was the second confirmed case in Serie A and the club announced a further five positive tests on Friday.

First-team players Omar Colley, Albin Ekdal, Antonino La Gumina and Morten Thorsby, as well as club doctor Amedeo Baldari, have all contracted the virus.

As of March 14, Italy has seen 17,660 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 1,266 deaths.

The Italian government has suspended all sport until April 3 due to the outbreak and placed the country in lockdown, with all shops except food stores and pharmacies closing.

On Friday, the Premier League, Ligue 1 and Bundesliga followed suit, postponing all matches until the start of April, while LaLiga did so earlier in the week.

Pedro Neto's deflected equaliser earned Wolves a 1-1 draw away to 10-man Olympiacos in the first leg of their last-16 Europa League tie.

After Ruben Semedo's first-half red card, Youssef El-Arabi put the hosts ahead in front at Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium, with Thursday's game being played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus outbreak, Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis having tested positive.

In a pre-match interview with BT Sport, Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo said the decision to play the game was "absurd", and his side delivered a flat performance, though Neto's fortuitous strike earned a potentially decisive away goal.

UEFA is set to rule on whether the Europa League will be postponed amid the crisis, but the second leg is set for next week as it stands.

Giorgos Masouras clipped the crossbar with a poor early effort, but the offside flag was raised regardless, and Olympiacos were then reduced to 10 men in the 28th minute.

Wolves broke at pace down the left, and Semedo clumsily brought down Diogo Jota on the edge of the box, prompting referee Clement Turpin to show the red card.

Neto replaced Matt Doherty in an attacking half-time change for Wolves, but the 10 men took the lead in the 54th minute.

Guilherme jinked into the right side of the box and squared for El-Arabi to tap in his 19th goal of the season from close range.

Wolves levelled 13 minutes later, though, Neto's free-kick taking a huge deflection off Andreas Bouchalakis to beat Jose Sa, who earlier blocked a ferocious Raul Jimenez drive with his face.

Nuno sent on ex-Olympiacos star Daniel Podence in search of a late winner, but the tie remains finely poised.

Wolves asked for UEFA to postpone Thursday's Europa League last-16 match at Olympiacos, only for European football's governing body to reject their request.

The opening leg will take place behind closed doors in line with Greek government policy aimed at containing the spread of coronavirus.

Earlier on Tuesday, Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis announced he had tested positive for COVID-19 in Greece, placing the fixture in doubt.

Wolves issued a statement to express disappointment over the decision to proceed with the match.

The statement read: "Our position is that the trip poses unnecessary risks to our players, staff, supporters and the families of all who travel, at such critical and uncertain times.

"Our concern is also for our opponents, whose players and staff have today been tested, and will now be expected to play their part in an important fixture, under the difficult and challenging circumstances of their owner suffering with the virus.

"There is also disappointment that the match will be played without home and away supporters, as that is part of what makes European competition so special, as well as the fact our fans have already contended with similar obstacles on our Europa League journey already this season.

"We believe that there are some things that are more important than football, and that the good health of our pack and the general public is one of them. However, we respect the decision of UEFA and the integrity of the competition, and we will travel tomorrow to Greece to play the fixture.

"We hope that our request to UEFA, and our acceptance of their decision, can act as the catalyst for them to consider alternative options moving forwards, as this will not be the last fixture to be affected by coronavirus."

Earlier this month, Wolves sought to take a pro-active measure against coronavirus by banning players from taking selfies with fans.

Liverpool came from behind to beat Bournemouth 2-1 and set a record for the most consecutive home wins in England's top-flight history.

Jurgen Klopp's side edged closer to a first Premier League title thanks to goals from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, after Callum Wilson had put the Cherries ahead at Anfield.

Arsenal were given a tough time by West Ham before Alexandre Lacazette came off the bench to drag them closer to the Champions League places, but Wolves slipped up against Brighton and Hove Albion.

At the foot of the table, Norwich City are beginning to look a lost cause, but Newcastle United gave their own survival hopes a real boost.

LACAZETTE KEEPS CHAMPIONS LEAGUE HOPES ALIVE

Arsenal are now five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and three adrift of Wolves in fifth after battling to a 1-0 win over West Ham.

David Moyes' side managed 14 shots to the Gunners' nine, hit the post through Jarrod Bowen and were thwarted more than once by Bernd Leno, but they were undone by substitute Lacazette with 12 minutes to play.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's shot deflected to Mesut Ozil, who headed the ball to Lacazette to allow the striker to lash home the winner, the goal awarded after a VAR check overturned the initial offside call.

Wolves are only three ahead of Mikel Arteta's side, having missed out on the chance to move into the top four after failing to break down Brighton in a 0-0 draw at Molineux.

 

CENTURION SALAH GETS REDS BACK ON TRACK

Having lost three of their past four games across all competitions, Liverpool's Anfield home was not exactly in good spirits when Wilson tapped in Jefferson Lerma's cross to give Bournemouth a ninth-minute lead.

Bournemouth, though, are a team who had lost their previous five league games against Liverpool by an aggregate score of 17-0, so banking on them keeping the leaders at bay was always a long shot.

Unfortunately for Eddie Howe, Bournemouth rather gifted Liverpool their goals. Salah scored his 70th Liverpool goal in his 100th league appearance after Jack Simpson carelessly lost the ball to Mane, and it was 2-1 before the break when the visitors gave up possession in midfield and Virgil van Dijk played Mane in to score.

It was not a vintage display, but it did give Liverpool a record 22nd top-flight home victory in a row and put them 25 points clear at the top. Bournemouth remain 18th, behind Watford on goal difference, the Hornets having lost 1-0 at Crystal Palace.

MAGPIES ON THE UP BUT CANARIES ARE IN TROUBLE

Newcastle's run of five league games without a win - and four without a goal - came to an end with a 1-0 defeat of Southampton on the south coast.

Matt Ritchie, who signed a new contract at Newcastle this week, saw a penalty saved in the first half, not long after Moussa Djenepo had been sent off in a separate incident for a reckless challenge on Isaac Hayden, but Allan Saint-Maximin struck 79 minutes in to lift the Magpies eight points above the bottom three.

Norwich, though, are still six points from safety after a Billy Sharp goal and another fine performance from Dean Henderson saw them lose 1-0 at Sheffield United, who sit sixth.

Wolves players have been given a temporary ban on taking selfies with fans as part of efforts to limit the chance of spreading the coronavirus.

The Premier League club have implemented measures to "reduce the risk of its community's health" after the UK government raised the level of public risk from low to moderate.

The steps include Wolves players and staff being told to avoid "any unnecessary meetings, lunches or public engagements, and temporarily avoid casual fan interaction such as selfies or autographs".

In a statement, the club explained: "Whilst we acknowledge that this will be disappointing for some supporters, we stress that this a temporary measure to protect the ongoing wellbeing of the Wolves squad and is a decision which has not been taken lightly.

"In addition, Wolves players and staff are also being instructed to avoid shaking hands where a warm smile and personal greeting will suffice."

Newcastle United announced last week that they were banning players from shaking hands in order to limit the potential spread of the virus.

Hand sanitisers are to be added to all entrances to Molineux and Wolves' Compton training ground, as well as dining tables and bathrooms.

The club also say they will take guidance from the Premier League, the government and the World Health Organisation (WHO) over the prospect of any fixtures being disrupted.

No matches have yet been postponed in England due to the threat of the coronavirus, but fixtures in Italy have been disrupted and all games in Switzerland's top two divisions have been cancelled until further notice.

Speaking on Tuesday, FIFA president Gianni Infantino urged associations "not to panic" and to take care when implementing control measures.

"Some of you have had to take important decisions in this respect. Every competition organiser has to study it of course and has to take decisions," he said at the UEFA Congress in Amsterdam.

"It is important to consider all the information from the authorities, but it's also important not to panic.

"Those who have to take decisions, like happened in Switzerland, will take decisions and then be able to move forward.

"Someone said to me football can be an antidote to coronavirus. I wouldn't go that far, but sometimes football is an antidote to many other illnesses like discrimination and racism, and this is a fight we need to fight all together."

Jose Mourinho would not blame Dele Alli for Tottenham's latest defeat despite accepting the makeshift striker's missed chance against Wolves was a critical moment.

Alli played as a central forward in the 3-2 home loss to Wolves on Sunday with Harry Kane and Son Heung-min out injured, Spurs suffering a third consecutive reverse across all competitions.

With Tottenham 2-1 up in the second half and on top, the England international sent a free header from Ben Davies' deep cross narrowly off target.

Two minutes later, Diogo Jota levelled the match and Raul Jimenez went on to score a late winner, but Mourinho felt Alli had been unfortunate.

"The match was close and will always be close," Mourinho, who also said the result was unfair on his players, told reporters.

"If you look at it in that perspective then yes, we missed a big chance to score a beautiful goal and to make the score 3-1. That's football though, and nobody's to blame.

"Ben arrived in a great position, the cross is great and Dele makes the run that he has to make.

"He's pretty good in the air for a player who is not a striker. He's a good header of the ball. He was unlucky.

"Obviously without the strikers we tried different solutions. I think it worked in the sense that we managed to score goals. We managed to have some opportunities.

"We managed to arrive in dangerous positions. I believe we had more possession than them. We had more control than them."

Highly rated youngster Troy Parrott came off the bench in stoppage time but Mourinho insisted the 18-year-old is still not ready for regular first-team action despite the club's lack of attacking options.

"He is not ready, he is not ready," Mourinho said of the Irish striker. "He's a good kid, a good talent, he's a kid we want to help. He's a kid who needs help, not just on the pitch but outside the pitch.

"He's a kid we are going to take care of like we have since the beginning and he's a kid who is obviously going to have a real opportunity in the right moment when we feel it is the moment.

"Why was he on the bench? He was on the bench because Erik Lamela told me before the game he was not even ready to go on the bench.

"So, in that moment, without Lamela, we brought Troy in and in the last five minutes we put on a striker who at least knows the position so he could try to fix Conor Coady, giving Dele some more space and freedom.

"That is the way it is. We have to try to keep close [to the top four] until the moment we have our power back."

Jose Mourinho felt Tottenham were hard done by as they suffered their third consecutive defeat, calling a 3-2 victory for Wolves "totally unfair".

Spurs followed up losses to Chelsea and RB Leipzig with another setback at home on Sunday, denting their hopes of securing a Champions League spot.

They twice led through Steven Bergwijn and Serge Aurier, but Matt Doherty, Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez all struck for Wolves, who moved above Spurs into sixth place in the Premier League.

Tottenham did not manage a shot on target in the second half but Mourinho felt the outcome was not an accurate reflection of the match.

"I don't think it was a fair result," he told reporters. "Both teams were looking to win with different styles. They are so powerful on the counter-attack. 

"We tried different solutions. It worked in a way because we scored two goals. I think it's unfair, the result, totally unfair."

He added to BBC Sport: "The players didn't deserve the defeat. We were punished by, I would say, mentality mistakes. You have to be ruthless against teams like Wolves that play fantastically well on the counter-attack.

"We deserve much more than these results. The front three combined well, they did what they can. They did the plan that we worked on in the week. 

"It was a great game. My team didn't deserve to lose at all. It is difficult to find a reason to lose the game, apart from a couple of individual mistakes. The team was good, they were in control.

"In the beginning of the game we were superb, Wolves were really in trouble I would say. 

"In the last period of the game they know what we cannot do, and then they just compact with everybody in the box and that is obviously the most difficult thing for us in this moment.

"It's really, really frustrating and I'm sad obviously, but I am more sad for the players."

Mourinho, though, did acknowledge an area where Spurs could improve.

"We don't have that aggression," he said. "We are too good, too nice. That was maybe the only difference between the teams."

Opposite number Nuno Espirito Santo insisted the victory took on no extra significance because it came against Mourinho, who managed him at Porto.

Asked about beating Mourinho, he told BBC Sport: "It's nothing special. I have huge admiration for Jose Mourinho, for me he is a reference.

"It was a very, very tough game against an amazing team. It's amazing the energy levels that we put in. 

"We didn't start the game so well. The second half was much better, more organised, better pressing and the movements for the goal were good."

Raul Jimenez scored the winner as Wolves twice came from behind to record a superb 3-2 victory at Tottenham that boosted their challenge to finish in the Premier League top four.

After a stirring performance on Sunday, Wolves moved above Tottenham into sixth and now sit just three points behind Chelsea in fourth spot. 

Spurs were leading at the break after Serge Aurier scored his first league goal for three years in the last minute of the half, Matt Doherty having cancelled out Steven Bergwijn's opener.

But Diogo Jota scored his sixth goal in three games to get Wolves level before he impressively set up Jimenez to decide the contest with 17 minutes remaining.

Spurs made a fast start and they were in front after 13 minutes, Bergwijn converting a first-time finish on the rebound after makeshift striker Dele Alli had his shot saved by Rui Patricio after Aurier's cut-back created the opportunity.

A defensive error allowed Wolves to level the match with their first shot on target after 27 minutes, Doherty presented with a straightforward finish from six yards after Japhet Tanganga had poorly dealt with Ruben Vinagre's cross from the left.

But Aurier gave Spurs a deserved half-time lead, cutting inside after taking a pass from Alli and rifling a left-footed shot beyond Patricio into the far corner.

Alli was inches off target with a free header from Ben Davies' deep cross and Wolves made the hosts pay at the other end in the 57th minute.

Adama Traore - who later went off with a shoulder injury - combined with Jimenez and Doherty in a swift counter-attack that fed in-form Jota, who scored a simple tap-in.

And Wolves got the winner when superb work from Jota down the left created a chance for Jimenez, with the striker showing impressive composure to jink past Tanganga and finish past Paulo Gazzaniga.

 

What does it mean? Wolves are in the top-four chase

After Chelsea and Manchester United failed to win this weekend, victory over top-four rivals Spurs meant Wolves are the big winners and have made major ground in their surprise top-four bid.

Nuno Espirito Santo's men are now unbeaten in nine London matches since their promotion in 2018 and are well placed in the table ahead of a home match with Brighton and Hove Albion next week after another memorable performance in the capital.

Jota inspires again

Jota has had a magnificent 10 days, with his hat-trick against Espanyol, double against Norwich City and now a crucial goal and assist in the second half of this game. If Wolves are to stun the heavyweights and reach the Champions League, a continuation of the 23-year-old's form will be crucial.

A day to forget for Tanganga

Tanganga made a hash of his attempt to clear Vinagre's cross and was later beaten too easily by Jimenez for the winner in a day to forget for the young defender, while Lucas Moura has now gone 11 league games – 10 of which were starts - without a goal, not what Spurs need with Harry Kane and Son Heung-min out.

What's next?

Tottenham host Norwich City in the FA Cup on Wednesday before they return to league action at Burnley on March 7, the same day as Wolves host Brighton in the top flight.

While all eyes are on El Clasico, Real Madrid and Barcelona are considering their number nine options ahead of next season.

The LaLiga giants, who meet at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday, appear set to strengthen their options up front ahead of 2020-21.

And both Madrid and Barca are linked with similar names as they look to add forwards.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID, BARCELONA CONSIDER WERNER, MARTINEZ AND HAALAND

With Luka Jovic so far unable to make an impact at Real Madrid, they are considering Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland, Inter striker Lautaro Martinez and RB Leipzig's Timo Werner, according to Marca.

Haaland is top of Madrid's wish list, the report says, having scored 12 goals in nine games since arriving at Dortmund in January.

For Barcelona, meanwhile, Mundo Deportivo says their focus is on Martinez or Werner, who has been linked with Liverpool.

While Martinez may be their preference, Werner would cost just €60million compared to the €111m likely to be needed for the Argentina international.

 

ROUND-UP

- Another club likely to be busy during the close season are Manchester United. The Sun reports United are ready to offer Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish £150,000 per week – triple his current pay.

- Jonathan David's prolific season with Gent is leading to increasing interest. The Daily Express reports Chelsea are the latest club to join the race for David, who has 23 goals in 38 games this season. Liverpool, United, Tottenham and Leicester City are also reportedly interested in the 20-year-old Canada international.

- Nuno Espirito Santo's work at Wolves is catching the eye. The Sun reports Nuno is top of Atletico Madrid's list to replace Diego Simeone if the Argentinian takes over at Paris Saint-Germain.

- Heavily linked with a move to Milan last close season, Atletico Madrid attacker Angel Correa remains a target for the Serie A club, according to CalcioMercato.

- Having impressed in Serie A, Chris Smalling could be set for a return to the Premier League. The Daily Express reports the defender, who is on loan at Roma from Manchester United, is a target for Tottenham, although the Serie A club are in advanced talks with the centre-back.

- With his contract expiring in 2021, Arkadiusz Milik's future at Napoli is uncertain. CalcioMercato reports the striker, who has 12 goals in 22 games this season, and the club are distant over a new deal.

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