Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City's form over the past four months is one of the "greatest achievements" since he joined the club in 2016. 

City claimed a 2-0 win over Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday to reach the FA Cup semi-finals for the third season in succession – the first time they have achieved the feat since between 1931-32 and 1933-34.

The result marked a new club record of 17 consecutive away matches unbeaten, breaking the record previously set between January and September in 1999. 

Since City's defeat to Tottenham on November 21, they have won 29 of their 33 matches across all competitions, losing just once – to neighbours Manchester United in the Premier League earlier this month. 

And Guardiola attributed his side's stunning form to their ability to adjust to different challenges. 

"We have to adapt; every game is different," he told a media conference after the win at Goodison Park. "Managers know what they have to do.

"But when you win a lot of games like we have in the last four months, it's because you can adapt. That pleases me the most. It's not just tactics, it's mental; being ready every game.

"What we have done is more than remarkable. It's incredible. One of the greatest achievements we have done together.

"We haven't won anything yet, so we will be focused and we will see how far we arrive in the competitions.

"In this period, playing every three days, with incredible commitment in every competition, I don't have any words to express that."

While City dominated proceedings against the Toffees – restricting the hosts to their lowest possession figure (26 per cent) in all competitions since March 2018 – they had to wait until the 84th minute to make the breakthrough. 

It came courtesy of Ilkay Gundogan's 12th goal in all competitions since the turn of the year, which is more than any other Premier League player. 

Kevin De Bruye added a second six minutes later, and Guardiola was pleased with his side's patience against dogged opponents.

"We knew how tough it would be; the FA Cup, away, against Everton," he added. "They defend incredibly well and have pace with Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

"Every throw is like a corner and they have big players, like [Yerry] Mina. These games need patience. We knew the team who scored would win the game.

"All the players were fantastic and Riyad [Mahrez] and Kevin in the last minutes could change the rhythm. We found the goal and we are in the semi-final.

"We knew it would be one of the toughest games we would face."

Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has warned his team-mates that opponents will try to derail their quadruple bid with negative tactics.

City claimed a 2-0 win over Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday to reach the FA Cup semi-finals for the third season in succession – the first time they have achieved the feat since 1931-32 and 1933-34.

The victory, courtesy of goals from Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne, was hard fought as a defensive-minded Everton side packed men behind the ball, happy to surrender the majority of the ball to City. 

Indeed, Everton's total possession of 25.9 per cent was their lowest since a fixture against Pep Guardiola's side in March 2018 (18 per cent).

Midfielder Gundogan praised City's patience against the Toffees and predicted matches of this ilk will become common as they chase an unprecedented clean sweep of trophies.

"There will be a few more games like this I think," Gundogan told BT Sport.

"But we have to be ready for them. If you want to win trophies and fight for everything, you have to find a way to win.

"We don't always make the best kind of football but it's about staying in the game and finding the right moments, being patient.

"Everton did really well, they defended well and they are a great team, so it's not easy. We knew that we could struggle before the game but we overcame it and we did really well."

Gundogan has scored 12 goals in 2021, more than any other Premier League player in all competitions, as he bagged his first headed goal for City since December 2018 against Crystal Palace..

The Germany international, who has also netted in three consecutive matches for City for the first time, is relishing his current goalscoring form.

He added: "I just tried to be there waiting for the rebound. I think the timing was perfect - it was a great win. 

"I'm enjoying it at the moment, everyone put in the hard work. This is not a given, it's not granted, so we need to make the right decisions.

"I think we struggled a little bit to find spaces in the first half. We weren't all together in the right positions. We tried to stay in the game and thankfully it turned out well for us.

"The next target now is to come back healthier and in the best shape from the international break - and then having a big game at Leicester."

Late goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne clinched Manchester City's place in the FA Cup semi-finals after a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday.

The Toffees packed men behind the ball in an attempt to nullify City's attacking threat and chances were rare for both sides.

The deadlock was eventually broken six minutes from time when Aymeric Laporte's shot rebounded off the crossbar and Gundogan reacted quickest to nod the ball home.

De Bruyne added a second in the 90th minute when he fired into the roof of the net after he was put through by Rodri.

Pep Guardiola proclaimed Erling Haaland to be one of the best strikers in the world, though he refused to be drawn on transfer speculation linking Manchester City to the Borussia Dortmund star after the two teams were drawn together in the Champions League. 

Haaland appears to be the main threat as Guardiola seeks to avoid a fourth consecutive quarter-final exit in Europe's top competition, while there will also be a reunion with ex-City youngster and England winger Jadon Sancho. 

As Sergio Aguero's contract runs down and City's all-time leading goalscorer struggles for minutes, rumours linking the Premier League leaders and Haaland – whose father Alf-Inge captained City at the start of the century – have mounted. 

Speaking after Friday's Champions League draw, which also mapped out a route to the final that will see the winner of City v Dortmund face either holders Bayern Munich or Paris Saint-Germain in the semis, Guardiola conceded this season's hectic schedule had not granted him too much time to watch BVB. 

However, he is well aware of their main man. 

"The numbers speak for themselves, of course he is one of the best strikers in the world right now at his age," he said at a news conference to preview Saturday's FA Cup quarter-final trip to Everton. 

"I saw few games, honestly, I didn't have much time. But I saw the highlights and the numbers in the Champions League and the Bundesliga are impressive. 

"Dortmund, I know [Mats] Hummels, [Raphael] Guerreiro, Emre Can with good experience, [Axel] Witsel, the quality of their players, Jadon Sancho and [Giovanni] Reyna. 

"There are many, many young players with quality. In the last years they to invested in young players, paying good wages and good salaries for the agents and they have a lot of quality there. 

"They were able to go through against Sevilla. Sevilla, in knockout competitions, is one of the strongest teams ever. They won three Europa Leagues in a row and last season won it again. Always they are so strong, and Dortmund were able to beat them." 

Only Bayern Munich superstar Robert Lewandowski (39) has more goals across all competitions in Europe's top five leagues than Haaland's tally of 31 in 2020-21. 

Among players to have netted 15 or more times, the Norway international has the best shot conversion rate (32.3 per cent) and averages a goal every 82.3 minutes. 

They are the sort of returns to ignite a bidding war, although not one that Guardiola was keen to fuel. 

"He's a player from Borussia Dortmund. I don't like it when people talk about our players," he replied when asked whether he would like Haaland at City from next season. 

"He's a player for Borussia Dortmund. You understand I cannot answer this question."  

Before tackling potentially Europe's strongest force of the coming decade in Haaland, Guardiola must first deal with one of the continent's most revered coaches in the form of Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti. 

The City manager paid a warm tribute to his opposite number, reflecting upon when Ancelotti offered guidance to him at the start of his coaching career. 

"I don’t know how many years he has been a manager but at some of the best clubs in Europe – Madrid, PSG, Chelsea, Milan, Juventus, Napoli and now Everton," he said. 

"He has been abroad and everywhere and all the places he had success. 

"I know when people talk about him as manager and as a person… especially how he took care of me when I started. 

"I visited him when he was in Milan in my first years. He was so kind, we spoke a little bit about life and football. 

"You feel when people take care of you, they are good people, and he's one of them, for sure."

What does the future hold for Sergio Aguero?

With his Manchester City contract expiring at the end of the season, Aguero is no closer to re-signing.

Premier League rivals Chelsea could be ready to pounce…

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA KEEPING TABS ON AGUERO

Chelsea are tracking Manchester City star and soon-to-be free agent Sergio Aguero, according to the Daily Mail.

Aguero is out of contract at the end of the season and the City forward has been tipped to join LaLiga giants Barcelona.

But Premier League rivals Chelsea are reportedly eyeing a move for City's all-time leading goalscorer.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Daily Mail reports City and Chelsea are both interested in Borussia Dortmund midfielder Mahmoud Dahoud. Tottenham and Everton have also been linked with the Germany international.

Juventus are eyeing a move for star Atalanta wing-back Robin Gosens, claims Calciomercato. Gosens has starred for Atalanta, who value him between €35-€40million.

- FootMercato says Paris Saint-Germain want Tottenham full-back Serge Aurier as former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino seeks a reunion.

- Fabrizio Romano reports Manchester United have not made a bid for Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic. United have also been linked with RB Leipzig centre-back Ibrahima Konate, Sevilla's Jules Kounde, Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly, Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos and team-mate Raphael Varane, as well as Brighton and Hove Albion defender Ben White.

- In-demand Dortmund star Erling Haaland has a "crush" on Madrid but El Chiringuito insists no club is close to signing the Norwegian. Haaland has been linked with Madrid, Barca, United, City, Chelsea, Liverpool, PSG and Juventus.

Jordan Pickford has been ruled out of England's World Cup qualifiers this month due to an abdominal injury.

Pickford was forced off shortly before half-time during Everton's 2-1 Premier League defeat to Burnley last weekend.

Everton confirmed the 27-year-old had undergone a scan that revealed damage to his oblique abdominal muscle.

Pickford will also miss Everton's FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester City at Goodison Park ion Saturday.

England face San Marino, Albania and Poland as their campaign to reach Qatar 2022 gets underway.

Manager Gareth Southgate has kept faith with Pickford as his first-choice goalkeeper, the former Sunderland man having impressed during the Three Lions' run to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals in Russia.

Burnley's Nick Pope and Manchester United's Dean Henderson are the most likely replacements for Pickford.

In all competitions this season, Pope has made 105 saves compared to Pickford's 73 and boasts a better save percentage of 75.9 to 69.5

Pickford has made four errors leading to goals this season, compared to two from Pope, while only Aaron Ramsdale (11) has conceded more than his 10 goals from outside the box among all Premier League goalkeepers.

Pope and Henderson have each been beaten twice from beyond their 18-yard box.

Henderson has enjoyed a recent run in the United first team but is usually back-up to David de Gea and has made a total of 17 appearances this season.

However, the former Sheffield United loanee's save percentage of 81.13 is the highest of any goalkeeper from the English top flight to have played 10 or more games this season.

Sam Johnstone, like Henderson a product of the Manchester United youth set-up, could now push for a place in Southgate's squad.

Johnstone has made more saves than any Premier League keeper (115) but also conceded the most goals (55) for relegation-threatened West Brom.

Paris Saint-Germain is homing in on Manchester United's French midfielder Paul Pogba.

Pogba has been linked with a move away from United since his agent Mino Raiola said he had no future at the club in December.

The 27-year-old has been at United since 2016 but struggled for impact over the past two seasons.

 

TOP STORY - POGBA'S PARISIAN PLAY

PSG have made contact with Pogba's agent and placed him on their list of transfer targets, according to Foot Mercato.

The report claims PSG sporting director Leonardo has recently been in touch with Raiola.

The 27-year-old World Cup winner has never played in Ligue 1 in his native France.

ROUND-UP

Manchester United goalkeeper uncertainty persists with the Daily Star claiming the Premier League giants have added Burnley's Nick Pope to their transfer list, although Tottenham are interested too.

- The Sunday Mirror is reporting United are set to offer manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a new deal.

Tottenham are lining up Southampton's Jannik Vestergaard, according to the Sunday Mirror too.

- Football Insider claims that a deal for Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum to go to Barcelona this close season is "95 per cent done".

- Milan midfielder Ismael Bennacer is hot property right now and Algerian publication Competition claims Paris Saint-Germain are leading the race for his signature, ahead of Manchester City.

- TeamTalk has reported Arsenal and Everton are interested in Fulham centre-back Ibane Bowat.

Arsenal and Tottenham are both keen on Sheffield United's Sander Berge, according to Jeunes Footeux.

All eyes will be on Emirates Stadium on Sunday when Tottenham chase a first league double over Arsenal in the north London derby since 1992-93.

Premier League leaders Manchester City are also in the capital, giving struggling Fulham a tough task at Craven Cottage in Saturday's late kick-off.

The most intriguing tactical battle of the weekend could come at Elland Road, where Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds United host Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea, while West Ham are likely to face a thorough examination of their top-four ambitions at Manchester United.

Here, we give a few pointers on which players could come up trumps in fantasy football terms.

DEAN HENDERSON

England goalkeeper Henderson has not played too frequently since opting to make a go of things with parent club Manchester United.

But when he has featured for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side, the 24-year-old has generally impressed, even if his midweek outing against Milan in the Europa League contained an unwanted sting in the tail.

If David de Gea is absent once more against West Ham, Henderson's 19 saves from 22 shots faced in the Premier League this season suggests the United goal is in safe hands. His save percentage of 86.4 is the best of any goalkeeper to have played more than one game this season.

AARON CRESSWELL

Given the dearth of natural left-back options available to England manager Gareth Southgate, a strong season at West Ham for Cresswell could turn out to have been perfectly timed.

The full-back is also a threat in opposition territory, with his seven assists more than any other defender in the division. It is a left-back dominated list, with Lucas Digne up next on six from Andy Robertson, Luke Shaw (both five) and Southgate's first choice Ben Chilwell (four).

Seven assists also matches the most productive season of Cresswell's career in that regard, having provided the same number in 2017-18.

CESAR AZPILICUETA

Tuchel has overseen a defensive transformation since taking over from Frank Lampard, tightening up an unhelpfully leaky backline.

Club captain Azpilicueta has been a pillar of this turnaround. His eight clean sheets are the most for any Premier League defender in 2021.

Azpilicueta is one ahead of rejuvenated club-mate Antonio Rudiger, while Manchester City centre-backs John Stones and Ruben Dias and Manchester United duo Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka similarly have seven apiece.

WILFRIED ZAHA

Relegation-haunted West Brom would be forgiven for dreading the sight of Crystal Palace winger Zaha.

In his past four outings against the Baggies, the Ivory Coast international has scored four times.

That run includes a second-half brace from when Palace hammered the Baggies 5-1 at The Hawthorns in December – a result that would prove influential in Slaven Bilic's sacking later that month.

RAHEEM STERLING

England forward Sterling sat out City's 5-2 win over Southampton in midweek after his latest disappointment in the derby against United.

His native London is a far happier hunting ground, with the 26-year-old amassing 16 goal involvements (10 goals and six assists) in his previous 16 Premier League starts in the English capital.

Sterling continued that streak last time out at Emirates Stadium, heading the only goal early on in a 1-0 win over Arsenal.

GARETH BALE

This weekend, another wide forward on a hot streak will be foremost in Arsenal's thoughts.

A revitalised Bale scored twice in a 4-1 win over Palace last weekend, meaning he has had a hand in six goals in his past four top-flight appearances (four goals and two assists).

And, if you believe the form book stays on this side of the window on derby day, the Wales star has five Premier League goals against Arsenal – more than against any other side in his career.

DOMINIC CALVERT-LEWIN

As the battle for a top-four finish hots up, sides in the chasing pack will need players to weigh in with 'heavy' goals.

Thankfully for Everton, no player's goals in the Premier League this season have been worth more in terms of points gained than Calvert-Lewin's.

The centre-forward, who was rewarded with an England breakthrough following a sensational start to the campaign, has netted 13 times in the league this season – strikes that have won a total of 14 points.

Burnley, this weekend's visitors to Goodison Park, could be the next team to add to his tally.

James Rodriguez will miss Everton's matches with Burnley and Manchester City while Abdoulaye Doucoure has been ruled out for up to 10 weeks.

Everton host Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday before hosting City in a crucial FA Cup quarter-final ahead of the international break.

And James will not play in either match. The Colombia international has not featured since the Merseyside derby win over Liverpool on February 20 and was already playing short of full fitness because of a calf injury.

"There are a lot of rumours about James - he played well, really well, against Man United and against Liverpool but he was not 100 per cent fit," said manager Carlo Ancelotti.

"We decided to give him a proper recovery and not let him play at 70 or 80 per cent. We have taken this decision together. The player agrees.

"No problem with the player. He wants to play, but he played against Liverpool and after 60 minutes I took him out.

"It's better for him to solve his problem and be ready for the end of the season. That can be, I think, after the international break, as it is not a big problem.

"Doucoure had a small fracture on his foot. I don't know how long, maybe eight weeks or 10 weeks. I hope he can recover before the end of the season. 

"We are not happy for this but we are not the only club that has to manage injuries. In this period there are a lot of injuries and we have to manage this."

Everton are sixth in the table, four points behind Chelsea in fourth with a game in hand. Burnley sit 15th, four points clear of the bottom three.

The Toffees have won five of their six Premier League home games against Burnley, but Ancelotti heaped praise on opposite number Sean Dyche, comparing his team's style to that of iconic Milan coach Arrigo Sacchi.

He added: "I can say that I like a lot the style of play of Burnley. Why? Because they are a clear 4-4-2. 

"I was born in 4-4-2 as a player with Sacchi. Burnley explains really well how you have to play 4-4-2. He is a good guy, I respect him for the style of play that I like a lot. 

"They are not inventing a new football, but play a really good 4-4-2. Football was invented a long time ago, and I think that managers who think to reinvent football are wrong.

"Football is evolving. I had the luck to train with Sacchi in Italy, where it was only defence, and Sacchi was able to bring a new philosophy to Italian football with more pressing, intensity and different methods of training. 

"It's still changing. Now you can play from the goalkeeper where you couldn't in the past. But to invent is really complicated."

In an unusual sequence of results, five of Burnley's past seven Premier League games have ended level (W1 L1), though their most recent six away matches have not produced a draw (W2 L4).

Thomas Tuchel was full of praise for Kai Havertz after the Germany international's star turn in Monday's 2-0 win over Everton. 

Havertz was a big-money signing by the Premier League club prior to the start of the season, having impressed in the Bundesliga for Bayer Leverkusen in recent years. 

However, after a solid beginning to his career at Stamford Bridge, the 21-year-old has found it tough going in recent months, not aided by contracting coronavirus in November. 

Prior to the win over Everton at Stamford Bridge, Havertz had scored just once and created only two assists in 20 top-flight appearances. 

But he was instrumental as Chelsea consolidated their place in the top four.

It was Havertz's neat first-time effort from a low cross forced Ben Godfrey into a first-half own goal, before he drew a foul from Jordan Pickford after the break, giving Jorginho the opportunity to stroke home his sixth successful spot-kick of the Premier League season.

The display gave Chelsea fans a tantalising glimpse of what Havertz can offer and Tuchel is looking forward to more as his adaptation to English football continues. 

"I am very happy with his performance," the former Paris Saint-Germain boss told a media conference. 

"There is no doubt about his quality, talent and character. He needs to adapt to the Premier League and to the club where we play to win every game and have the highest standards.

"I think he did it today excellently, he got in good positions and used his potential to accelerate our game and to increase the touches in the box responsible for assists, to take responsibility to finish himself.

"This is what we want from him."

The result extended Tuchel's unbeaten run as Chelsea boss to 11 matches after he took over from Frank Lampard on January 26. 

Only Maurizio Sarri (12 with Chelsea in 2018-19) and Frank Clark (11 with Nottingham Forest in 1994-95) have begun their Premier League managerial careers with a longer unbeaten run than the German. 

It also meant he became the first manager in Premier League history to oversee clean sheets in his first five home games in charge.

Indeed, the Blues have now kept five consecutive home clean sheets in the league for the first time since January 2015. 

The win cemented their position inside the Premier League's top four – two points ahead of fifth-placed West Ham – and Tuchel said his side's superb form is down to a "positive energy" around the club.

"If you play maybe as a hobby or with friends, if you share special moments, good results, a hard fight, this is what brings you together, lifts you up to a special place and gives you energy," he explained.

"I truly believe that this sport is about team effort. I can feel the strong bond between the players; they are not talking about it but they live it in training and this is what you see on the pitch.

"I can feel it all the time. I can feel the support and I feel the positive energy from everybody around the team towards my staff.

"Everybody is doing everything in a really positive atmosphere and we need this to continue."

Thomas Tuchel's impressive start to life as Chelsea head coach continued with a 2-0 win over Everton at Stamford Bridge on Monday. 

The German has now overseen an unbeaten stretch of 11 games since taking over from Frank Lampard on January 26, with this result the Blues' eighth win in that period. 

Ben Godfrey's first-half own goal put the hosts ahead before Jorginho's penalty after the break ensured Everton's winless run at Chelsea would stretch to 26 Premier League games.

Chelsea remain in fourth but move back to within three points of third-placed Leicester City - winners against Brighton and Hove Albion this weekend - while the Toffees are now four points further back in fifth.

The closest either side came in the opening half-hour was a Jorginho effort from outside the penalty area that flashed past Jordan Pickford's right-hand post. 

The hosts did open the scoring after 31 minutes, though, when Kai Havertz's volley from Marcos Alonso's cross was diverted past Pickford by the unfortunate Godfrey.

Pickford was called into action shortly before the interval, saving from Alonso, who went close with a free-kick following the restart.

Havertz had a strike ruled out after he handled the ball before firing past Pickford, but Richarlison squandered a golden opportunity to pull Everton level when he skewed wide after being released by Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Chelsea wrapped up maximum points after 65 minutes, Jorginho stroking home from the spot after Pickford had brought down Havertz inside the area.

Superb goalkeeping from Pickford in the closing stages at least prevented Chelsea adding further gloss to the scoreline, the England number one twice keeping out Timo Werner as well as denying N'Golo Kante and Mason Mount.

 

Matthijs de Ligt was linked with Manchester United before his move to Juventus in 2019.

United have reportedly renewed their interest in the 21-year-old Dutch defender.

Could he end up in Manchester?

 

TOP STORY – UNITED WANT DE LIGT

Manchester United are set to target Juventus centre-back Matthijs de Ligt, according to TodoFichajes.

United were heavily linked with De Ligt before the Netherlands international swapped Ajax for Serie A champions Juve in 2019.

With United reportedly not advancing in their pursuit of Real Madrid pair Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, the Red Devils are eyeing De Ligt.

United have also been linked with RB Leipzig's Ibrahima Konate, Sevilla defender Jules Kounde and Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato reports Paris Saint-Germain are poised to offer David Alaba a €25million-per year deal in an attempt to prise the Bayern Munich star to the French capital. Out of contract at season's end, Alaba has been tipped to join Madrid. Chelsea, Barcelona and Manchester City have also been linked.

United have been left alone in the fight to sign Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish, claims TodoFichajes. Unwilling to match Villa's valuation, City have reportedly exited the race for Grealish. The report also says United could sell Marcus Rashford to fund the move.

- Madrid stars Lucas Vazquez and Isco are wanted by Everton, according to Calciomercato. After prising James Rodriguez from the LaLiga champions, Everton are targeting another two players from the Spanish capital, though Milan and Juve are also keen.

- Diario AS reports Madrid are prioritising a move for in-demand Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland. Chelsea, United, City, Juve, PSG, Barca and Bayern have all been linked but Madrid are reportedly shifting their attention from Kylian Mbappe to Haaland.

Gianluigi Donnarumma is attracting interest from across Europe.

Donnarumma's Milan contract expires at season's end and the star goalkeeper is yet to commit.

Premier League giants Chelsea are reportedly ready to prise the Italy international to London.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA LAUNCH DONNARUMMA BID

Chelsea are ready to make a move for Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, according to Libero Quotidiano.

Donnarumma's contract expires at the end of the season and Premier League giants Chelsea are set to submit an offer worth £9million (€10.5m) per season, despite already boasting the world's most expensive goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and Edouard Mendy.

The Italy international has also been linked with the likes of Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sky reports teenage sensation Jamal Musiala has signed a long-term contract extension with Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich. The new deal is reportedly worth €5m per year and will tie him to Bayern until 2026.

Manchester City have joined the race for Atalanta star Robin Gosens, according to Virgilio. Gosens has had interest from Serie A rivals Inter and Juventus but Atalanta are understood to want €40m (£34m) for his services.

- The Daily Mail says Leicester City are planning for Jamie Vardy's long-term replacement by targeting a £15m move for Celtic forward Odsonne Edouard.

- Santiago Arias is being circled by EvertonRoma and PSG this off-season, according to Kicker. Arias is currently on loan at Bayer Leverkusen from Atletico Madrid.

- InterLive claims Inter are keen on Juve goalkeeper Mattia Perin, who is currently on loan at Genoa, and may use Matias Vecino in exchange. The Nerazzurri are looking for goalkeeper cover for Samir Handanovic.

David Alaba has appeared set to swap Bayern Munich for Real Madrid.

Alaba is keen for a new challenge following a successful partnership with Bundesliga and Champions League holders Bayern.

But three of Europe's elite are still reportedly eyeing Alaba.

 

TOP STORY – TRIO NOT GIVING UP ON ALABA

Liverpool, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain are still trying to sign wantaway Bayern Munich star David Alaba, according to Fabrizio Romano's Benchwarmers column.

Alaba will leave Bundesliga champions Bayern on a free transfer at the end of the season and he has been tipped to join LaLiga holders Real Madrid.

However, Liverpool, Chelsea and PSG are still pursuing the Austria international.

 

ROUND-UP

- RAC1 suggests Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is one of Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta's targets if Ronald Koeman does not remain at Camp Nou beyond 2020-21.

Madrid are interested in Manchester United target and Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, reports the Daily Star. Sancho was wanted by United at the start of the season but a big-money move did not materialise.

- Mundo Deportivo claims Atletico Madrid are tracking Lyon midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, who is valued at around €25million.

Manchester United and Premier League rivals Leeds United are eyeing Torino defender Nicolas Nkoulou, according to Tuttosport. The 30-year-old is set to become a free agent at season's end.

- L'Equipe says Mauro Icardi is free to leave PSG if a suitable offer arrives amid links to Juventus. Icardi is contracted to the Ligue 1 champions until 2024, but PSG are focused on re-signing Kylian Mbappe and making Moise Kean's loan deal from Everton permanent. If Mbappe departs for Madrid, PSG will look to raise funds by selling Icardi as they dream of Tottenham's Harry Kane and Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland.

Manchester City will be looking to stretch their record winning run to 20 matches when they welcome fellow in-form side West Ham to the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League this weekend.

Pep Guardiola's men are 10 points clear at the summit and two of their players feature among our Opta-fuelled fantasy picks, along with a couple of Everton men on the back of last week's long-awaited derby win at Liverpool.

Manchester United, Tottenham and Leicester City players are also selected ahead of games against Chelsea, Burnley and Arsenal respectively.

 

EDERSON

There are many factors behind the leaders' winning run - not least an incredible defensive record, with goalkeeper Ederson more than playing his part.

The Brazil international has kept 15 clean sheets from 24 Premier League games this term, averaging one every 1.6 matches.

Only two keepers to have played at least 10 times have averaged fewer games per clean sheet across an entire season - Chelsea's Petr Cech (24 in 35 apps in 2004-05) and former Manchester United stopper Edwin van der Sar (21 in 33 apps in 2008-09).

JOAO CANCELO

Simply keeping out the opposition is not enough in the life of a modern day full-back, best epitomised by Cancelo at Man City.

On top of helping City to that formidable defensive record, he has also created the most chances (34) from open play among fellow Premier League defenders this season.

Cancelo may only have set up two goals in the top flight this season, but he has the highest number of expected assists (4.28) among defenders, just ahead of Manchester United's Luke Shaw (4.04).

 

LUCAS DIGNE

Carlo Ancelotti was delighted with the news Digne had signed a new long-term deal with Everton this week and little wonder given the full-back's impact on the side.

No Premier League defender has more assists than the 27-year-old's six this season - level with West Ham's Aaron Cresswell and one more than Andy Robertson and Shaw.

Since Digne's debut for Everton in August 2018, only Liverpool pair Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold (28) have assisted more goals than the Frenchman (17).

GYLFI SIGURDSSON

There was a point when Sigurdsson's time at Everton appeared to be up not so long ago, but the creative midfielder has more than proved his worth to the side of late.

He was been involved in six Premier League goals in 23 appearances this term - four goals and two assists - which is one more than he managed in 35 games last season.

That is a tally he will be confident of building on this gameweek, as the Iceland international has only scored more Premier League goals against Chelsea (six) than he has versus opponents Southampton (five).

 

MARCUS RASHFORD

In the week he celebrates the five-year anniversary since scoring twice on his United debut, Rashford takes on his favourite opponents in Chelsea.

The United academy product has scored five times against the Blues in all competitions and registered a couple of assists.

Only against Leicester City has he found the net as many times, while only against Newcastle United and West Ham (both seven) has he been directly involved in more goals.

HARRY KANE

If Rashford enjoys playing against Chelsea, the same is true of Kane against Tottenham's next opponents Burnley.

The England skipper has been directly involved in 10 goals in nine Premier League appearances against the Clarets, finding the net seven times and laying on three assists.

Burnley's defenders will not look forward to coming up against Kane, with Riyad Mahrez the only player to score against them more often (eight times) in their Premier League history.

 

JAMIE VARDY

Vardy's scoring record against the division's traditional top four is well known by now, particularly when it comes to facing Arsenal.

The Leicester striker has scored 11 goals in 12 previous Premier League appearances against the Gunners, including a late winner in the reverse fixture.

Those 11 strikes place Vardy behind only Wayne Rooney for goals scored against Arsenal in the competition, the United legend netting 12 times against the London club in his career.

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