If a statement win was what Manchester City were after against Arsenal on Wednesday, then they got it.

City thrashed the Premier League leaders 4-1 at the Etihad Stadium to close the gap to the Gunners to two points, and Pep Guardiola's side still have two games in hand.

The reigning champions play again on Sunday, with a trip to Fulham on the cards. Arsenal, meanwhile, are next in action on Tuesday, when they host struggling Chelsea, who have lost every game under interim boss Frank Lampard.

At the other end of the table, Leicester City face Everton in a relegation six-pointer. In the race for Europe, Tottenham travel to Liverpool.

Fulham v Manchester City

City have won their last 13 meetings with Fulham in all competitions, only winning more consecutively against Watford (15 – 2013-2022) and West Brom (14 – 2012-2018) in their history.

Erling Haaland has scored 33 Premier League goals for Manchester City this season, a record in a 38-game season. He is one away from equalling the overall record for a single season, set by Andrew Cole in 1993-94 and matched by Alan Shearer in 1994-95 (34 goals) in 42-game campaigns. This will be his 30th appearance in the competition, with his 33 goals already more than 21 teams managed in total in their first 30 Premier League games.

Pep Guardiola has won 25 of his 38 Premier League away games against London sides, the highest win rate of any visiting manager to take charge of at least 10 such games (66 per cent). All eight of his defeats in the capital have come against either Tottenham (five) or Chelsea (three).

Best bet – City to avoid defeat: Fulham are winless in their last 15 Premier League meetings with City (D3 L12) since a 3-1 away win in April 2009. They have lost the last 10 in a row by an aggregate score of 28-4.

Long shot – Fulham to keep a clean sheet: Fulham have kept just one clean sheet in their 29 Premier League games against City, a goalless draw in March 2004. 

Opta prediction: City, as expected, are made big favourites (64.8 per cent). The draw is rated at 21.9 per cent, while Fulham are given a 13.3 per cent chance of victory.

 

Liverpool v Tottenham

Liverpool have lost just one of their last 20 Premier League games against Spurs (W13 D6) and are unbeaten in 10 since a 4-1 loss at Wembley Stadium in October 2017.

Tottenham are winless in five Premier League away games, losing as many games in this run (three) as they had in their previous 16 on the road beforehand (W8 D5). It is their longest run without an away league win since a run of 12 between February and November 2019.

Liverpool have won their last three Premier League matches, despite conceding in each match. The last time they won four games in a row was in November and December earlier this season, also conceding in all four victories.

Best bet – Mohamed Salah to score or assist: Salah has been involved in 11 goals in his last eight home games in all competitions (eight goals, three assists), scoring at least once in each of his last six. Since he joined Liverpool in 2017, no player has scored more Premier League goals against Tottenham than the Egyptian (seven).

Long shot – Liverpool under 1.5 goals: Tottenham have conceded 31 away goals in the Premier League this season, already their most in a single campaign since 2008-09 (35). They have only kept two league clean sheets outside of London this season, doing so in victories at Nottingham Forest (2-0) and Brighton and Hove Albion (1-0).

Opta prediction: The supercomputer hands Liverpool a 55.2 per cent probability of winning this one, while Spurs are given just a 20.0 per cent shot. The draw has a 24.8 per cent likelihood.

Leicester City v Everton

Following their 2-0 win at Goodison Park in November, Leicester are looking to complete a Premier League double over Everton for just the second time, previously doing so in their 2015-16 title winning campaign.

Everton have won their last two Premier League away games against Leicester – they have never won on three consecutive visits to the Foxes in their league history.

Dean Smith has won four and lost none of his six Premier League meetings with Everton, winning three of his four at home against the Toffees. Only Antonio Conte (seven) has faced Everton more without ever losing to them as a manager in the competition.

Best bet – Leicester to concede: Despite Everton's woeful form in front of goal this season, they should be confident of getting on the scoresheet, given Leicester have conceded in each of their last 18 Premier League games, their joint-longest run without a clean sheet in the competition. 

Long shot – Everton to win: Everton are winless in their last 12 Premier League away games (D5 L7). Since beating Brighton 2-0 in August 2021, they have won just two of their last 33 away league games (D10 L21).

Opta prediction: Everton won this fixture last season, but Opta does not give them much chance of repeating that feat on Monday. Their chances of victory are rated at only 21.8 per cent, while the draw is 26.3 per cent, making Leicester (51.9 per cent) the clear favourites.

 

Arsenal v Chelsea

Arsenal have won four of their last five Premier League games against Chelsea (L1), as many as they had in their previous 23 against the Blues (D6 L13).

The Gunners are looking to win three consecutive Premier League games against Chelsea for the first time since February 2004. Indeed, they could achieve their second league double in three seasons against the Blues, having done so just once in the previous 20 campaigns beforehand (2003-04).

Chelsea have lost all five matches in all competitions since Lampard's return to the club, their worst losing run since a six-game run in October and November 1993. The Blues have lost 19 games in total this season, last losing 20 in a single campaign in 1987-88.

Best bet – Bukayo Saka 2+ shots on target: Saka has been directly involved in 16 goals in his 16 Premier League home games this season (nine goals, seven assists). He has both scored and assisted a goal in three different games at Emirates Stadium in the competition this term.

Long shot – Arsenal to fail to score: Only Southampton have kept fewer home clean sheets than Arsenal (three) in the Premier League this season. However, the Gunners have only failed to score in one of their 16 at the Emirates so far this term (0-0 vs Newcastle United in January).

Opta prediction: Arsenal have had a wobble that might prove costly in the title race but will be determined to bounce back. Opta makes them the favourites (43.5 per cent), with Chelsea at 28.2 per cent. The draw is rated at 28.3 per cent.

Pep Guardiola has warned Arsenal will not give up on their bid to deny Manchester City a third successive Premier League title.

After a Kevin De Bruyne-inspired City thrashed Arsenal 4-1 on Wednesday, Guardiola's men sit two points behind the faltering leaders with two games in hand.

Arsenal are not in action again until they host Chelsea on Tuesday, meaning City have the opportunity to go top of the table when they visit Fulham on Sunday.

With Arsenal only taking three points from their last four league games and City winning their last seven, some have declared the title race to be over, despite the Gunners leading the way.

Guardiola, however, is adamant City still have work to do.

Asked about the importance of going top at Friday's pre-match press conference, Guardiola said: "Psychologically, it's important, but its more the fact it depends on us, we don't have to look at anything except performing as well as possible to win games.

"People start saying they have a feeling that it's over. It's not over. It will be over when it's over. In every single game, our opponents play for special things.

"I know what happened when we played at the Emirates, we won and everybody was happy, people saying we had already caught them. Then we went to Nottingham Forest and drew – it was a fantastic game, but we drew.

"If we do our job, we will be close. But we'll take nothing for granted. We're happy, of course, for the last few games, but that's all.

"I know it's not 20 games left, it's seven games. But seven games is seven games, it's a lot, considering we have the Champions League around the corner."

Arsenal's chastening defeat at the Etihad Stadium was the Gunners' 12th in succession against City in the top flight, with Guardiola's men winning those matches by an aggregate score of 33-5.

While that result has the potential to be a knockout blow after Mikel Arteta's team were held by Liverpool, West Ham and Southampton, Guardiola believes Arsenal could yet fight back.

"I know Mikel perfectly, I think our players know it – they will not give up," he said. "One of their real prizes – to be in the Champions League next season – is done. They will not give up.

"When you are 10 points in front you can say it's over, but the reality today is we are two points behind. 

"You say we have two games in hand, but we have to be respectful to the teams we have to play, West Ham and Brighton. We have to beat them. If we beat them, I will agree with you, but we still have to play.

"If the championship finished today, they are champions. It's normal, this tendency, because of what we have done in the past, and Arsenal have not been there for a long time. 

"What happened to Arsenal in the last four games can happen to us. People say it's impossible, no. It's possible."

Newcastle United are reportedly planning a £150million injection of talent in the upcoming transfer window, with Arsenal left-back Kieran Tierney and Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby high on their list.

Tierney, 25, is a Scotland international with 37 senior caps to his name, but despite making 22 Premier League appearances this season, he has only been handed five starts.

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe is keen to shift Dan Burn back into a central defensive spot where he is most comfortable, and views Tierney as capable of assuming a more integral role than he currently possesses at Arsenal.

Meanwhile, Leverkusen's 23-year-old winger Diaby is the priority in the front third, having contributed 14 goals and 10 assists during his 41 matches in all competitions.

 

TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE PLAN OFFSEASON SPENDING SPREE

According to The Sun, Howe has been told he will have £150m to spend, and he believes £30m is a fair price for Tierney as his potential new starting left-back.

Diaby has a number of fans, including Newcastle's Premier League competitors Arsenal, and is expected to cost in the neighbourhood of £62m (€70m).

Newcastle are also reported to have interest in Diaby's Leverkusen team-mate Mitchel Bakker, a 23-year-old left-back who could be an alternative to Tierney.

 

ROUND-UP

Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United are all planning bids for 27-year-old Fulham defensive midfielder Joao Palhinha, per Football Insider.

– The Daily Star is reporting Liverpool and 27-year-old Manchester City midfielder Kalvin Phillips have mutual interest in a transfer, and he is believed to be available for £35m.

– According to The Telegraph, 29-year-old Chelsea loanee Romelu Lukaku will be given the opportunity to revive his career at Stamford Bridge under expected new boss Mauricio Pochettino.

– Sport is reporting Barcelona are hoping to land 30-year-old Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha on a free transfer, while his current club have offered a new £200,000 per week contract in an effort to make him stay.

A day after a dramatic night before following Arsenal and Southampton's nail-biting 3-3 draw, there were five more games primed to excite the masses in the Premier League.

After Fulham handed Leeds United another damaging defeat, Nottingham Forest were denied any points as well despite an impressive effort at Liverpool.

Roy Hodgson's winning return to Crystal Palace came to an end after a determined Everton took a point from Selhurst Park, though it was not enough to stop them from slipping into the relegation zone after Leicester City beat Wolves, with Timothy Castagne hitting the winner at the King Power Stadium.

Douglas Luiz won a late point for Aston Villa at Brentford to maintain Unai Emery's impressive record since arriving at the club.

Stats Perform has taken a look at some of the more interesting Opta facts from Saturday's Premier League action.

Fulham 2-1 Leeds United: Cottagers add to Whites woes

It has been quite a return to the Premier League for Fulham, who have won 13 games this season, their joint-second highest tally in a single campaign (14 wins in four different seasons). In fact, it is one more victory than they managed in their previous two top-flight campaigns combined (seven in 2018-19 and five in 2020-21).

Leeds came into this having conceded 11 goals in their last two games, both at home, but have now also kept just one clean sheet in their last 18 Premier League away games.

Harry Wilson scored in consecutive Premier League games for the first time since his first ever two appearances in the competition in August 2019.

With two more at Craven Cottage on Saturday, Andreas Pereira has had more shots on target from outside the box than any other player in England's top-flight this season (17). However, all four of his goals this season have been from inside the box, including his goal here.

Only Liverpool and Brighton (four) have benefitted from more own goals in the Premier League than Leeds this season (three), with Joao Palhinha turning into his own net. Only in 1997-98 (four) have the Whites ever benefitted from more own goals in a single Premier League campaign.

Brentford 1-1 Aston Villa: Bees stung by late Villa leveller

An 87th-minute equaliser for Aston Villa meant they have scored in all 19 of their Premier League games under Unai Emery, the longest consecutive scoring run any team has had from the start of a manager/head coach's tenure in the competition's history.

Brentford are now winless in six Premier League games (D3 L3), only between January and February 2022 have they been on a longer run without victory in the competition (eight games).

Ivan Toney registered his 40th goal involvement in the Premier League (31 goals, nine assists), on his 65th appearance, with only Harry Kane (40), Mohamed Salah (39) and Erling Haaland (32) netting more than Toney since the start of last season.

Seven of Douglas Luiz' nine goal involvements in the Premier League this season have come under Emery (three goals, four assists), with only Ollie Watkins involved in more goals (20) for Villa this season.

 

Crystal Palace 0-0 Everton: Holgate sees red but Toffees stick to it

The Eagles failed to score in a Premier League game for the first time since Hodgson returned to the club, having averaged three per game across his previous three matches in charge.

Palace are unbeaten in four Premier League games in that time though (W3 D1) and have kept clean sheets in each of their last two, having kept just two clean sheets in their previous 14 league matches.

Everton slipped into the bottom three despite a well-earned point, and are now winless in their last 12 Premier League away matches (D4 L8) and have failed to score a goal in nine of those matches. However, they kept their first clean sheet away from home since October.

Mason Holgate saw red late on after two yellow cards. Everton have now received two red cards in their last four league matches having previously not received one in the league since May 2022, when both Jarrad Branthwaite and Salomon Rondon were given their marching orders against Brentford.

Leicester City 2-1 Wolves: Foxes outwit Wolves

A massive win for Dean Smith's side in the fight against relegation saw them end their nine-game winless run in the Premier League (D1 L8), with this their first victory since February against Tottenham.

Wolves have won just one of their last 26 away league games against Leicester (D9 L16) and remain winless in their last seven at the King Power Stadium, last succeeding in a 4-1 victory in the Championship in May 2007.

No side has conceded more goals from outside the box in the Premier League this season than Leicester's 14 after Matheus Cunha's opener for Wolves (level with Nottingham Forest). The Foxes last conceded more goals from distance in a single top-flight campaign back in 1994-95 (18).

Only Raheem Sterling (23) has won more penalties in Premier League history than Leicester's Jamie Vardy (22), who gave Kelechi Iheanacho the chance to level things from the spot.

Iheanacho (30 goals and 20 assists) became the seventh player to reach 50 Premier League goal involvements for Leicester and the third non-Englishman to do so after Muzzy Izzet (59) and Riyad Mahrez (66).

 

Liverpool 3-2 Nottingham Forest: Forest beaten despite finally finding scoring touch on the road

It was a nervy afternoon at Anfield for Liverpool, who have now lost only one of their previous 36 Premier League games against newly promoted sides at home (W29 D6), winning each of their last five, and scoring 20 goals during that run.

However, they needed to score three here after Forest scored twice in a Premier League game for the first time since May 1999 against Blackburn (2-1 win), and the first time they have done so and not won since December 1998 against Sheffield Wednesday (also a 3-2 defeat).

Forest have lost each of their last six away league games for the first time in the Premier League, and for the first time in the top-flight since December 1979 under Brian Clough.

After a run of 20 league games without a goal, Diogo Jota has scored four in his last two appearances for Liverpool, and is the first Reds player to net at least two goals in successive games in the competition since Salah in November 2017.

Salah has now scored in three successive Premier League games for the first time since October 2021 (a run of seven), while in 2023, only Watkins (14) and Haaland (13) have more goal involvements in the competition than his 12 (nine goals, three assists).

 

Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic and head coach Marco Silva will not be punished further after the Football Association's appeal to lengthen their bans was rejected.

Mitrovic was banned for eight games for pushing referee Chris Kavanagh during Fulham's 3-1 FA Cup quarter-final loss at Manchester United last month.

Silva was given a two-match ban after being sent off in the same game for improper conduct and using "abusive and insulting" language.

The FA argued the punishments, imposed by an independent regulatory commission, were "clearly insufficient" and deserved to be extended.

But the governing body confirmed on Friday its appeal had been rejected, meaning Silva is free to return to the touchline, while Mitrovic will be back for Fulham's final three games.

Mitrovic and Silva both apologised last month for their actions.

Among Fulham's final three Premier League games is a trip to Old Trafford on May 28.

Premier League leaders Arsenal will aim to get back on track when they host lowly Southampton on Friday.

The Gunners' lead at the top has been cut to just four points after successive 2-2 draws against Liverpool and West Ham, throwing away two-goal leads in each of those matches.

But with Manchester City in FA Cup action, Arsenal have a great chance to move seven points clear of Pep Guardiola's side ahead of next week's huge clash between the title rivals at the Etihad Stadium.

Leicester City, Everton and Leeds United will all be hoping Arsenal do the business, with Southampton's relegation rivals all in action on Saturday.

 

Arsenal v Southampton

Southampton are one of three sides Arsenal have failed to beat in the Premier League this season, along with Newcastle United and City, following their 1-1 draw at St Mary's Stadium in October. The last time Saints avoided defeat in both Premier League meetings with the Gunners was in the 2015-16 season.

This is the first Premier League meeting between Arsenal and Southampton on a Friday, with the Gunners defeating Southampton on each of the other six days of the week in the competition. They have never won a Premier League match against an opponent on all seven days of the week.

James Ward-Prowse has scored nine goals in all competitions for Southampton this season and could reach double figures for the second time in his career following his 11 last term. Six of his nine goals this season have come away from home, with four of those strikes coming in London.

Best bet – Arsenal to win: Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 27 home league games against Southampton (W19 D8) – in their league history, only against Fulham (current run of 30) have they had a longer unbeaten home run. They have never lost in 23 Premier League home games against Southampton (W16 D7), the most one side has hosted another without ever losing in the competition.

Long shot – Southampton to keep a clean sheet: The side bottom of the table has won just four of their 38 Premier League meetings with the league leaders (D6 L28), losing 14 of their 15 such games away from home (D1). Southampton kept a clean sheet in three of their first four under Ruben Selles but have kept none in their last five, while conceding 12 goals.

Opta prediction: The supercomputer has Arsenal winning this one, with their chances of victory rated at 67.3 per cent. The draw is at 20.7 per cent, while Southampton's hopes of a win are slim at 12 per cent.

Fulham v Leeds United

Given they have conceded 11 goals across their last two home games, Leeds will surely be thrilled to be back on the road. That being said, they have lost all five of their Premier League games in London this season, conceding 16 goals in the process. 

Fulham have already beaten Leeds twice this season, winning 3-2 in the league and 2-0 in the FA Cup. As a top-flight side, the Cottagers have beaten a team three times in one season on three previous occasions.

Leeds striker Patrick Bamford has been directly involved in six goals in his past four league starts against Fulham, scoring four and assisting two. He has both scored and assisted a goal in both of his Premier League starts against the Cottagers.

Best bet – Both teams to score: Leeds have conceded 16 goals in four Premier League games this month, letting in at least four goals in three of those matches. Fulham, meanwhile, have not kept a clean sheet since beating Leeds 2-0 in the FA Cup on February 28.

Long shot – Harry Wilson to score: In Fulham's 3-1 win against Everton last time out, Wilson scored his first league goal since March 2022, and first Premier League goal since January 2020 while at Bournemouth. He last scored in consecutive league games in September 2021, and last did so in the Premier League in August 2019.

Opta prediction: Only three teams have conceded more away goals than Leeds (30) in the Premier League this season, with no side keeping fewer clean sheets on the road than the Whites (one). Combined with their dismal record in London, it is no surprise to see Leeds have just a 28.5 per cent chance of success. Fulham are the favourites (42.8 per cent).

 

Crystal Palace v Everton

Palace have won just one of their past 16 Premier League games against Everton (D7 L8), though it did come in this fixture last season (3-1). The Toffees, though, won the reverse match 3-0 in October.

Dwight McNeil has scored two goals in his past five Premier League games, as many as he had in his previous 71 appearances. He is one of just two players to score more than once for Everton under Sean Dyche, along with Abdoulaye Doucoure.

Palace have won all three of their Premier League games since Roy Hodgson's return to the club, as many as they had in their previous 18 (D5 L10). They last won four in a row in June 2020, in Hodgson's previous stint at the club.

Best bet – Palace to have 10+ shots: Everton have allowed 50 shots across their last two matches, while Palace are averaging 19 shots, 2.2 xG and 6.3 shots on target per game under Hodgson, compared to 9.9 shots, 0.9 xG and 3.2 shots on target per game before his return.

Long shot – Everton to win and score over one goal: Having won two of their first three Premier League games under Dyche (L1), Everton have won just one of their subsequent eight (D3 L4). All three of their league wins under Dyche have been at home, by a 1-0 scoreline, with the Toffees currently winless in 11 Premier League away games (D4 L7).

Opta prediction: Everton are looking to complete their first league double over Palace since 2004-05, though the Eagles have won their last two home games against Everton in all competitions, as many as they had in their previous 15 (D6 L7). Hodgson's team are ranked as 40.6 per cent favourites, with the draw at 29.9 per cent, while the Toffees' likelihood of a win is 29.5 per cent.

 

Leicester City v Wolves

Dean Smith could hardly have had a tougher game to start his interim spell in charge of Leicester, who are 19th after losing 3-1 to Manchester City last week. The new Foxes boss will be hoping to rekindle the magic Brendan Rodgers managed at Molineux in October, when Leicester beat Wolves 4-0.

Wolves have never scored in five Premier League away games against Leicester – only Birmingham City have visited a side more without ever finding the net in the competition.

Leicester are the only side without a clean sheet since the resumption of the Premier League following the World Cup, having kept a shutout in five of their six matches before the break. It is their longest run of conceding a goal in consecutive league games since a run of 21 between April and December 1994, which included their first 18 Premier League matches.

Best bet – Leicester to avoid defeat: Wolves have won just one of their past 25 away league games against Leicester (D9 L15), failing to score in five of their past six visits (including the last four) since a 4-1 Championship win in May 2007.

Long shot – Jamie Vardy to score and Leicester to win: Vardy has scored three goals in his last four Premier League games against Wolves, with Leicester winning all three matches. His only league goal so far this season was in the Foxes' 4-0 win in the reverse fixture.

Opta prediction: Despite their place in the bottom three, Leicester are the favourites, at 47.3 per cent. Wolves have won their last two games to drag themselves out of trouble, but Opta give them just a 24.3 per cent chance of victory. The draw is rated at 28.4 per cent.

Aleksandar Mitrovic has been handed an eight-match ban after pushing referee Chris Kavanagh during Fulham's FA Cup defeat at Manchester United last month.

Mitrovic was sent off for pushing Kavanagh after the official dismissed his Fulham team-mate Willian for handball during the second half of their 3-1 quarter-final defeat at Old Trafford. 

The Serbia international subsequently apologised for his actions, though he always appeared likely to receive an extended ban after the Football Association (FA) said a three-match suspension was "clearly insufficient".

Mitrovic was subsequently charged with violent conduct, as well as with using "improper, abusive, insulting and threatening" language towards Kavanagh. 

Following a hearing by an independent regulatory commission, it was revealed Mitrovic would be banned for a total of eight matches on Tuesday, with the striker also receiving a £75,000 fine.

Mitrovic missed Saturday's Premier League defeat at Bournemouth through suspension, meaning he must sit out seven further games and will next be available when the Cottagers face Southampton on May 13.

Fulham's head coach Marco Silva was also shown a red card during the defeat to United, and he will serve a two-game touchline ban after being charged with improper conduct and using "abusive and insulting" language.

Silva, who subsequently said he regretted the incident, has also been fined a total of £40,000 after the FA said his post-match comments questioned the integrity of the match officials.

In the aftermath of the loss, Silva said it was "difficult to understand" why Kavanagh had been appointed to the fixture, accusing the referee of making mistakes during a prior defeat at West Ham.

There could be more bad news to come for Fulham, however, with the FA outlining an intention to appeal the sanctions in a bid to increase their severity.

In a statement, the governing body said: "Our current intention is to appeal both sanctions, however, we will await the written reasons before confirming our final position."

Aleksandar Mitrovic and Marco Silva have issued apologies over their dismissals during Fulham's FA Cup loss to Manchester United earlier this month.

The pair were both shown red cards by referee Chris Kavanagh during a seismic passage of play in the Cottagers' 3-1 quarter-final exit at Old Trafford.

Having been called over to the pitchside monitor to check for a handball offence by Willian, who was subsequently sent off, the match official also dismissed Silva for dissent before showing red to Mitrovic after the forward pushed him, reducing them to nine men.

Bruno Fernandes then scored the resulting penalty as Fulham swiftly collapsed from holding a 1-0 lead going into the closing stages.

On Wednesday, both player and manager revealed they had spoken to Kavanagh to apologise, and stressed they will accept the punishments handed down against them.

"I have been away with my national team and have had some time to reflect on the Manchester United match," Mitrovic told the club's website.

"As everyone knows, it was a very emotional one, in which the team gave absolutely everything on the pitch to try to reach the semi-final of the FA Cup.

"On a personal level, I regret my actions that led to me being sent off. I allowed my frustration to get the better of me, and how I reacted was wrong.

"I have accepted the three-match ban for my red card, I have spoken to Chris Kavanagh to apologise, and I have volunteered to accept a club fine.

"I now want to do what I can to put this incident behind me and get back to helping my teammates on the pitch as soon as possible."

Silva echoed his player's sentiments, adding: "Emotions were high at Old Trafford and, as I said in my press conference after the game, I should have controlled my own emotions better.

"It was a very difficult moment, in a match that we had dominated, but I could have handled the situation better. 

"I regret what happened, and I have spoken to Chris Kavanagh to apologise.

"He knows that I respect him and the job he has to do. I am sorry that I was not on the pitch to try to lead the team to Wembley, but I am thankful for all the support I have received from Fulham fans over the last few days."

The FA will review issuing a longer ban than the traditional three games for Mitrovic's actions, while Silva is likely to face a touchline suspension too.

Fulham return to action with a trip to Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday.

Manchester United have been charged by the Football Association (FA) for their players' behaviour towards the referee during Sunday's 3-1 FA Cup quarter-final win over Fulham.

Wolves have also been charged for a similar incident in their 4-2 home defeat to Leeds United in the Premier League on Saturday.

United's game against Fulham at Old Trafford took a spectacular turn in the second half when Willian was sent off for the visitors for blocking Jadon Sancho's goalbound shot with his arm, which led to furious reactions from Aleksandar Mitrovic and head coach Marco Silva, who also received red cards.

Mitrovic put his hands on referee Chris Kavanagh, and the FA confirmed that both had been charged, but added that "that standard punishment which would otherwise apply to Aleksandar Mitrovic for the sending off offence of violent conduct that he committed towards the match referee is clearly insufficient."

United's players also surrounded the referee during the incident and the club have been charged with failing to ensure their players "conducted themselves in an orderly fashion and/or do not behave in a way which is improper."

Meanwhile, Wolves' players and staff were incensed by the decision to award Leeds' fourth goal at Molineux after they felt Adama Traore had been fouled in the build-up.

The fallout led to substitute Matheus Nunes being shown a red card for his reaction, though that was later overturned on appeal.

Wolves have been charged with failing to ensure their players "and/or technical area occupants do not behave in a way which is improper towards an assistant referee and the fourth official."

Both clubs have until Monday to respond.

Aleksandar Mitrovic looks set for a lengthy ban after the Football Association (FA) claimed a "standard punishment" would be "clearly insufficient" after pushing the referee during Fulham's 3-1 FA Cup defeat to Manchester United.

Mitrovic reacted aggressively after referee Chris Kavanagh awarded United a penalty for Willian preventing a likely Jadon Sancho goal with his hand when Fulham were 1-0 up.

Kavanagh was in the process of showing Willian a red card when Mitrovic approached him, with the Serbian shoving the official and getting in his face.

A straight red would ordinarily lead to a three-match ban, but it would appear the FA will attempt to suspend him for longer.

Fulham head coach Marco Silva was also sent off while play was paused following Willian's handball, and he could be in line for a significant ban as well.

An FA statement read: "Fulham, Marco Silva and Aleksandar Mitrovic have been charged following the incidents that took place in or around the 72nd minute of their tie against Manchester United in the FA Cup on Sunday, March 19.

"It's alleged that Marco Silva used abusive and/or insulting words and/or gestures and/or behaviour towards the match referee; that he used abusive and/or insulting words towards the fourth official prior to his dismissal; and that he also used abusive and/or insulting words and/or gestures and/or behaviour towards the fourth official after being sent off.

"It's further alleged that in throwing a water bottle in the direction of the assistant referee his behaviour was improper.

"The FA has claimed that the standard punishment which would otherwise apply to Aleksandar Mitrovic for the sending off offence of violent conduct that he committed towards the match referee is clearly insufficient.

"In addition, Aleksandar Mitrovic's behaviour and/or language was allegedly improper and/or abusive and/or insulting and/or threatening following his dismissal.

"It's also alleged that Fulham failed to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion."

Marco Silva fumed at referee Chris Kavanagh and his VAR colleagues after Fulham's spectacular FA Cup implosion at Manchester United, claiming his team were hard done by before seeing red.

The Cottagers bowed out with nine men at Old Trafford as they surrendered a 1-0 lead and eventually went down 3-1 after head coach Silva, striker Aleksandar Mitrovic and midfielder Willian were all red-carded in quick succession.

Fulham were on course for their first appearance in the last four of the competition since 2002, but their hopes were extinguished as the tie descended into chaos when referee Kavanagh awarded United a penalty 18 minutes from time.

After consulting VAR, and red-carding Silva for his protests, Kavanagh sent off Willian for handling Jadon Sancho's shot on the line, while Mitrovic followed for getting physical with the official.

Silva called for consistency on VAR decisions after feeling his side should have been awarded two penalties in the first half, claiming Kavanagh had already angered him with several decisions going against his side this season.

"Until the penalty moment and the red cards, we were clearly the best team on the pitch," Silva told the BBC. "The players stuck to the plan, we were brave to control the game against Manchester United and I believe we clearly showed our quality.

"It is a shame the ref wasn't shown VAR for the first-half moments. It is difficult to be Fulham at Old Trafford, the VAR feels the pressure too. For us, it is difficult to understand why they didn't do the same."

Silva added, speaking to ITV: "For me, it [the penalty] was a decision that VAR can take, but what is difficult for us to understand is why the two moments in their box in the first half – and one of them is a clear penalty on Mitrovic – no one checks or wants to see.

"Chris was in a game we played away at West Ham where we lost with two clear handballs, we received the apology because of the mistakes.

"The last game at Leeds in the FA Cup, it was him again. And for a game that is in the quarter-finals, it's him again, it's difficult to understand.

"Of course, we respect that he's a top referee in this country, I accept that. But unfortunately for us, with us, he's been really unhappy this season."

Nevertheless, Silva acknowledged he and Mitrovic were deserving of their dismissals, and knows he and his players must demonstrate greater levels of discipline going forward.

"Even if I haven’t done something special, I have to control myself," Silva added. "I didn't say anything special to the ref, he didn't listen and showed me the red card. As I left my area, I have to accept it.

"You have to keep the emotional balance, of course. Sometimes, it is not easy, but it is our obligation to do it.

"It's been a tough season in some moments for us. We know that we are Fulham, we don't have the same importance in football as some others, but it's difficult for us to deal with some situations."

Erik ten Hag saluted Manchester United's "personality and determination" after they came from behind to beat nine-man Fulham 3-1 in a fiery FA Cup quarter-final.

The Red Devils reached their record-breaking 31st semi-final, with Bruno Fernandes' brace and a Marcel Sabitzer strike cancelling out Aleksandar Mitrovic's opener at Old Trafford.

The pendulum swung firmly in United's favour as the tie descended into chaos following Chris Kavanagh's decision to award the hosts a penalty 18 minutes from time.

After consulting VAR, and red-carding Fulham boss Marco Silva for his protests, Kavanagh sent off Willian for handling Jadon Sancho's shot on the line, while Mitrovic followed for getting too physical with the official.

United fully capitalised on their numerical advantage to book a semi-final date with Brighton and Hove Albion at Wembley, where they landed the EFL Cup crown with victory over Newcastle United last month.

"We are happy with the win. We showed great character," Ten Hag said. "Every time this team comes out, they show the personality and the determination needed. Fulham are a good team, and you have to be good to overcome them.

"In possession, we could have been better. Out of possession, we were excellent. We came under pressure, gave away some set-pieces and then conceded the goal. David de Gea kept us in the game after we conceded."

Sabitzer added: "We wanted to go back to Wembley, we did it. [At] 1-0 down, it was hard and tough, but we came back and won it. We were concentrated, focused until the end. I think it was a deserved win.

"We have a great mentality. We have great players on the ball, but a great mentality and team spirit. I think you can see it on the pitch."

Meanwhile, Luke Shaw believes Kavanagh was spot on with his decisions to award the penalty, and subsequently dismiss Willian and Mitrovic.

"Obviously, I saw that moment and that action and to me straight away, I knew it was handball," he told MUTV. "I think the way he blocked it, the ball was going in, and it doesn't matter where his hands are.

"It has hit his arms, and he's stopped it. The referee made a good decision with that one. I think maybe a bit of frustration [showed for Mitrovic's red card] after they'd been so good, maybe a bit of anger that can only take a second.

"I think that happened and when they had two men sent off, it's a big mountain to climb, and thankfully we saw the game out."

Bruno Fernandes scored twice as Manchester United secured an FA Cup semi-final place with a 3-1 win over nine-man Fulham, who spectacularly fell apart at Old Trafford.

The Cottagers appeared well on course for a first last-four appearance since 2002 when Aleksandar Mitrovic put them in front five minutes after the break.

But their hopes collapsed as the tie descended into chaos when Chris Kavanagh's decision to award the hosts a penalty 18 minutes from time resulted in Willian and Mitrovic being sent off.

United capitalised on their numerical advantage as they completed a turnaround with Fernandes netting twice and Marcel Sabitzer also on target.

Manchester City will play Sheffield United in the FA Cup semi-finals, while Manchester United are set to face Brighton and Hove Albion should they beat Fulham.

Sunday's draw means the possibility of a Manchester derby in the final is firmly on the cards, though United will have to overcome two strong Premier League rivals in order to set that up.

City will not be taking anything for granted either, though Pep Guardiola's side head into the contest against the Blades as big favourites.

Erling Haaland scored his sixth hat-trick of the season as City routed Burnley 6-0 on Saturday to reach the semi-finals for the fifth straight season.

Sheffield United, meanwhile, scored twice late on to beat fellow Championship side Blackburn Rovers 3-2 on Sunday at Bramall Lane. 

City loanee Tommy Doyle netted the Blades' winner in stoppage time but will be unable to feature against his parent club in the last four. James McAtee is another regular who is on loan from the Premier League champions.

Evan Ferguson became the top-scoring teenager for a Premier League club across all competitions this season (seven) as he netted twice in Brighton's 5-0 thrashing of Grimsby Town, while EFL Cup winners United were in action against Fulham in Sunday's late kick-off at Old Trafford.

The semi-final ties will be played at Wembley Stadium across the weekend of April 22 and 23.

FA Cup semi-final draw:

Brighton and Hove Albion v Manchester United or Fulham

Manchester City v Sheffield United

England's top clubs are reportedly investigating what it would take to pry Joao Palhinha away from Fulham at the end of the season.

Palhinha, 27, is in his first Premier League campaign after arriving in a £17million move from Sporting CP in July, and he immediately forced his way into Marco Silva's first team.

All 24 of his league appearances this season have come as a starter, and his three goals for the surprisingly competent Cottagers match his best return for a league season.

But the area he shines is on the defensive side, tallying the most tackles of any midfielder in Europe's big five leagues this season, and he has been a driving force behind his side's rise from Championship winners to a top-half Premier League outfit.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL, MANCHESTER UNITED AND ARSENAL CIRCLE PALHINHA

According to The Sun, Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Newcastle United and Tottenham are all showing interest in Portugal international Joao Palhinha.

The report states that it is believed Palhinha's terrific debut season in England – as well as the four years remaining on his contract – has more than doubled his transfer value to over £40m.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail adds that Liverpool are considered "the most serious suitor", and estimates that his value could reach £60m.

 

ROUND-UP

– The Athletic is reporting Manchester City will be at the front of the queue to sign 26-year-old left-back Ben Chilwell if he is part of an expected mass exodus from Chelsea at the end of the season.

– According to journalist Nicolo Schira, Paris Saint-Germain have joined Chelsea and Manchester United as clubs keen on breakout 24-year-old striker Victor Osimhen at Napoli.

Inter are considered the favourites to land Borussia Monchengladbach striker Marcus Thuram when he leaves the club on a free transfer at the end of the season, per Calciomercato.

– Sport is reporting in-demand 18-year-old Athletico Paranaense forward Vitor Roque would favour a move to Barcelona after rejecting an approach from Arsenal.

– According to Marca, Real Madrid are stepping back from their long-term pursuit of Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe.

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