Mikel Arteta has been delighted with the attitude shown by his Arsenal players despite a tough start to the new season.

Arsenal are without a point or even a goal in the Premier League, the first time they have lost their first two league matches without scoring in their history.

But a trip to West Brom in the EFL Cup on Wednesday boosted confidence as Arsenal ran out 6-0 winners, led by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's hat-trick.

Aubameyang also created a goal for Nicolas Pepe, who in turn assisted Alexandre Lacazette, while Bukayo Saka was also on target.

It was the biggest win of Arteta's coaching career, with Arsenal not previously scoring six in a game since 2017.

Asked by Sky Sports what pleased him most, Arteta – whose side host AFC Wimbledon in round three – replied: "The attitude that the team had, right from the beginning, right from the warm-up, the way that they've been working, the togetherness that there is around the team.

"We're all disappointed that we haven't won any of the two games in the Premier League, but [I am happy with] the attitude of the players and how together they are.

"When you lose, the most important thing is to win the next match.

"As quick as possible, win, get some confidence, get a clean sheet, score some good goals – players that needed goals, as well, players that needed minutes. In general, it was a very positive night."

Aubameyang was perhaps one of those who needed goals, netting his third hat-trick for the Gunners having had his start to the season disrupted by coronavirus.

Back in the XI and back on form, Aubameyang also praised Arsenal's attitude, saying: "It's a great feeling. I'm just happy that today we won this game.

"This is good to build the confidence of the team. We know we had a tough start to the season, but the only thing I can say is the commitment of the players is always there 100 per cent.

"We will try to give our best, to give the fans what they want, winning games and that's it."

Aaron Ramsdale debuted for Arsenal, making four saves, while there was a second bow for Martin Odegaard, who assisted Saka's strike.

The idea of further signings was put to Arteta, who said: "I don't know what will happen. There's still a few days to go – we have some exits, as well, planned – so we will see."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's hat-trick led Arsenal to their first win of the new season as West Brom were thrashed 6-0 in the EFL Cup on Wednesday.

The Gunners have endured a difficult start to the Premier League campaign, losing to Brentford and Chelsea in succession and increasing pressure on Mikel Arteta.

But the Arsenal manager was rewarded for naming a strong XI at the Hawthorns, where West Brom changed their entire line-up.

Aubameyang scored twice and created a third for Nicolas Pepe in the first half, then completed his treble in style either side of strikes from Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette after the restart.

West Brom enjoyed flurries early in either half but were largely on the back foot and trailed when Saka's shot was spilled at the feet of Aubameyang.

Martin Odegaard then hit the post from a tight angle, but Aubameyang was on hand again when Arsenal next hit the woodwork, profiting on the rebound from Pepe's attempt.

Aubameyang turned provider for Pepe when Alex Palmer blocked his route to goal, before Saka added a popular fourth from Odegaard's flick.

A glorious curling effort from Aubameyang found the top-right corner to cap a fine individual outing, and Arteta introduced Lacazette to get in on the act, arrowing in a cutback from Pepe, who had moments earlier chipped against the crossbar.

 

What does it mean? Some Arsenal respite at last

For the first time in their history, Arsenal have started a league season with back-to-back defeats without scoring. With Manchester City up next, they badly needed a positive result and a positive performance.

Arteta got both, with the Gunners certainly not lacking a goal threat, scoring six in a match for the first time since 2017 against BATE Borisov.

Captain proves his class

Aubameyang endured his most difficult season in an Arsenal shirt last time out, scoring 15 goals across 39 games – just shy of half his tally from the previous campaign.

But there is no doubt the striker has been missed in the early stages of this season after contracting coronavirus, the Gunners having had 22 attempts without scoring against Brentford.

There were no such issues on Wednesday as Aubameyang scored with three of his four shots and provided an assist following the fourth.

Ramsdale still worked

Debutant Aaron Ramsdale would have enjoyed his first Arsenal outing, keeping a clean sheet while still making four saves.

He required treatment for an apparent shoulder injury in the second half but was passed fit to see out a triumphant bow.

What's next?

Arsenal will face a far tougher test when they go to Manchester City on Saturday, while West Brom head to Peterborough United later the same day.

Arsenal face a trip to Championship side West Brom in the second round of the EFL Cup.

Mikel Arteta's side failed to qualify for Europe last season – the first time the Gunners have missed out on continental competition since 1996.

It means they will feature in the EFL Cup second round, with the Premier League's top seven sides given a bye to the third round.

West Brom, who are under the charge of new boss Valerien Ismael, will be their opponents in the week commencing August 23.

The last time the sides met, a 3-1 victory for Arsenal at Emirates Stadium in May condemned the Baggies to a return to the second tier.

League Two side Barrow will host Aston Villa, while Southampton and Brentford will also face a fourth-tier team in the form of Newport County and Forest Green Rovers.

Two all-Premier League ties see Burnley travel to Newcastle United and Watford welcome Crystal Palace to Vicarage Road.

EFL Cup second-round draw in full:

Northern Section

Oldham Athletic v Accrington Stanley
Newcastle United v Burnley
Wigan Athletic v Bolton Wanderers
Huddersfield Town v Everton
Sheffield United v Derby County
Stoke City v Doncaster Rovers
Shrewsbury Town v Rochdale
Nottingham Forest v Wolves
Morecambe v Preston North End
Blackpool v Sunderland
Leeds United v Crewe Alexandra
Barrow v Aston Villa

Southern Section

Brentford v Forest Green Rovers
Millwall v Cambridge United
West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal
Norwich City v Bournemouth
Cardiff City v Brighton and Hove Albion
Birmingham City v Fulham
Gillingham v Cheltenham Town
Queens Park Rangers v Oxford United
Swansea City v Plymouth Argyle
Stevenage v Wycombe Wanderers
Newport County v Southampton
Northampton Town v AFC Wimbledon
Watford v Crystal Palace

Manchester City's pursuit of a new striker is well known.

Sergio Aguero's exit has left a void for the Premier League champions.

City have been linked with a host of big names including Erling Haaland and Harry Kane.

 

TOP STORY - MAN CITY MONITORING LEWANDOWSKI

Manchester City are monitoring the status of Bundesliga top scorer Robert Lewandowski, according to the Daily Mail.

Lewandowski has two years remaining on his Bayern Munich deal but has previously indicated he may be open to a move elsewhere.

The report claims City are worried they may not succeed in their pursuit of Kane and see 32-year-old Lewandowski as an option given his quality and potentially lower asking price.

 

ROUND-UP

- Liverpool is readying a £60million (€70m) bid for Inter and Italy midfielder Nicolo Barella according to La Repubblica. However, Fabrizio Romano claims Inter will not sell him.

- Everton have submitted a £30m (€35m) bid for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, but the Italian club have told the Toffees to double the offer, claims Calciomercato.

- The Telegraph reports that England full-back Kieran Trippier is desperate to return to the Premier League as he waits on a move from Atletico Madrid to Manchester United.

- The Telegraph also claims that Joe Willock will spend time on loan again at Newcastle from Arsenal. He will join the Magpies on a season-long deal.

- SPORT claims that Chelsea are tracking Sevilla's Jules Kounde after he recently rejected interest from Tottenham.

- Chelsea are looking to utilise Tammy Abraham as a sweetener in any deal to land Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund, reports The Mirror.

- West Bromwich have turned down West Ham's offer for goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, claims The Athletic.

Donny van de Beek has been underwhelming since his £35million (€40m) move to Manchester United from Ajax.

The Netherlands international only scored once in 19 league appearances in 2020-21.

He only managed four Premier League starts and, if reports are to be believed, could be used as a pawn in United's transfer activity.

 

TOP STORY – REAL WANTS DONNY IN VARANE DEAL

Real Madrid want  United flop Donny van de Beek as part of a deal for Raphael Varane, claim The Sun.

The Red Devils have chased the French defender this off-season and Los Blancos are open to a switch which could include midfielder Van de Beek joining Madrid on a season-long loan.

Madrid have reportedly asked for €50m ($42.9m) for Varane, after the two clubs held initial talks. The 28-year-old has 12 months left on his current deal.

 

ROUND-UP

- Liverpool are interested in Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez according to La Razon. The 26-year-old Spain international is understood to be keen on a Premier League move.

- The Reds have also looked into signing Lille's Renato Sanches, reports Onze Mondial. The midfielder is said to have admirers at Arsenal, too.

- The Star reports Arsenal are considering a move for West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, if they fail to land Sheffield United's Aaron Ramsdale .

- Corriere dello Sport claim Milan are keen on Chelsea midfielder Hakim Ziyech, who they believe is more attainable than reported target James Rodriguez.

- After scoring four goals at Euro 2020, Leverkusen striker Patrik Schick has drawn interest from Milan, according to Tuttomercatoweb.

Donny van de Beek has been underwhelming since his £35million (€40m) move to Manchester United from Ajax.

The Netherlands international only scored once in 19 league appearances in 2020-21.

He only managed four Premier League starts and, if reports are to be believed, could be used as a pawn in United's transfer activity.

 

TOP STORY – REAL WANTS DONNY IN VARANE DEAL

Real Madrid want  United flop Donny van de Beek as part of a deal for Raphael Varane, claim The Sun.

The Red Devils have chased the French defender this off-season and Los Blancos are open to a switch which could include midfielder Van de Beek joining Madrid on a season-long loan.

Madrid have reportedly asked for €50m ($42.9m) for Varane, after the two clubs held initial talks. The 28-year-old has 12 months left on his current deal.

 

ROUND-UP

- Liverpool are interested in Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez according to La Razon. The 26-year-old Spain international is understood to be keen on a Premier League move.

- The Reds have also looked into signing Lille's Renato Sanches, reports Onze Mondial. The midfielder is said to have admirers at Arsenal, too.

- The Star reports Arsenal are considering a move for West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, if they fail to land Sheffield United's Aaron Ramsdale .

- Corriere dello Sport claim Milan are keen on Chelsea midfielder Hakim Ziyech, who they believe is more attainable than reported target James Rodriguez.

- After scoring four goals at Euro 2020, Leverkusen striker Patrik Schick has drawn interest from Milan, according to Tuttomercatoweb.

Champions League qualification is all that is left to be settled in the Premier League, and there was another huge twist on Sunday.

With Liverpool heading for what could have been a costly draw at relegated West Brom, an unlikely hero cropped up in the form of goalkeeper Alisson.

Before Alisson's heroics at the Hawthorns, Crystal Palace overcame Aston Villa, Tottenham kept on their push for a European finish by beating Wolves, while Everton's dismal home form continued with what Carlo Ancelotti labelled an "embarrassing" defeat to lowly Sheffield United in the late game.

Using Opta data, we take a look at the best facts from across Sunday's games.

Crystal Palace 3-2 Aston Villa: Mitchell completes Eagles comeback

Sunday kicked-off with what turned out to be a five-goal thriller – Palace coming from behind twice to win 3-2. Villa have lost four of their last seven Premier League matches when scoring first (W1 D2). Prior to this, they had won 12 of their first 13 league matches this season after netting the game's opening goal.

Palace scored three goals in a Premier League match for the first time since their 5-1 win over West Brom in December, while they did so at Selhurst Park for the first time since beating Leeds United 4-1 in November.

There were 42 attempts at goal in this match (23 for Palace, 19 for Villa), with only Manchester United's 6-2 defeat of Leeds seeing more in a Premier League game this season (43).

Tyrick Mitchell became Palace's youngest top-flight scorer (21y 257d) since Clinton Morrison in May 1998 against Sheffield Wednesday (18y 361d), while he is the youngest to score and assist in a Premier League game for the club since George Ndah in January 1995 against Leicester (20y 22d).

Mitchell scored the winner after teeing up Christian Benteke – only Olivier Giroud (32) has scored more headed Premier League goals than the Belgian (31) since the start of 2012-13.

John McGinn and Anwar El Ghazi netted for Villa, but Wilfried Zaha's 11th goal of the season, his most in a single top-flight campaign, levelled the scores before Mitchell's winner.

Tottenham 2-0 Wolves: Kane keeps on golden boot charge as Spurs aim for Europe

Harry Kane struck as Tottenham moved into the top six with a 2-0 win over Wolves. Kane has now scored 22 goals and provided 13 assists in the league this season – the only players who can better his 35 goal involvements in Europe's top five leagues are Robert Lewandowski and Lionel Messi.

Kane has also hit the woodwork nine times in the Premier League this season, the most since Kevin De Bruyne in 2016-17 (also nine). Since full shot data is available for the Premier League (2003-04), the only player to hit the woodwork more in a season is Robin van Persie in 2011-12 (10).

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg set up Kane's opener and then got Spurs' second just after the hour, scoring and assisting in a Premier League game for the first time in his 145th appearance.

Tottenham have now won each of their first three home league matches under Ryan Mason, making him the first Spurs boss to do so since Harry Redknapp in November 2008.

Meanwhile, since winning three of their first five away games in the Premier League in 2020-21, Wolves have only won two of 13 on the road in the competition (D5 L6).

West Brom 1-2 Liverpool: Alisson makes Reds history

Liverpool's Champions League chances were hanging by a thread as they won a late corner at the Hawthorns, but the most unlikely hero rescued three points.

In Liverpool's entire history since they were founded in 1892, Alisson is the first goalkeeper to ever score a competitive goal for the club, after he headed in Trent Alexander-Arnold's delivery.

His goal was Liverpool's latest Premier League away winner (94:18) since Benteke vs Crystal Palace in March 2016 (95:10), while the Brazilian scored the very first headed goal by a goalkeeper since the formation of the competition in 1992.

Hal Robson-Kanu put West Brom ahead with his first Premier League goal since November 2017, the Welshman having last started a top-flight game in December of that year.

Mohamed Salah equalised with an excellent first-time finish, his 125th goal for Liverpool in all competitions, and he is still level with Spurs' Kane in the race for the golden boot.

Liverpool have now won six of their last eight Premier League games (D2), the same number as they registered in their 19 top-flight games beforehand (W6 D5 L8), and with Chelsea and Leicester City meeting this week, the Reds are in a strong position to snatch a Champions League spot.

Everton 0-1 Sheffield United: Toffees' European hopes fall flat

European qualification may be finally beyond Everton now after they suffered their ninth home defeat of the campaign – their joint-worst total in a league season, alongside 1912-13, 1947-48, 1950-51 and 1993-94.

Bottom club Sheffield United picked up only a second win from their past 24 away league outings (D3 L19), and ended a run of seven straight Premier League defeats on the road since beating Manchester United 2-1 in January.

Only Fulham (four) have earned fewer home points in the Premier League in 2021 so far than Everton's tally of six (P11 W1 D3 L7), with the Toffees' one win the joint-fewest on home soil in the competition this calendar year (level with Burnley and Fulham).

Daniel Jebbison (17y 309d) marked his full Premier League debut with the winner, the teenager becoming the youngest player to ever score on his first start in the competition, breaking Danny Cadamarteri's (17y 343d) record set for Everton against Barnsley in September 1997, which was also scored at Goodison Park.

Jebbison is also the youngest player to score a match-winning goal in a Premier League game since Federico Macheda (17y 232d) in April 2009.

The uncertain future of Kylian Mbappe means Paris Saint-Germain's off-season plans remain unclear.

The big-spending French powerhouse could enter the market to make a splash if the superstar 22-year-old forward exits.

PSG are currently in a Ligue 1 title fight and fell in the Champions League semi-finals.

 

TOP STORY - PSG TO TURN TO BAYERN'S LEWANDOWSKI

L'Equipe claims that PSG have put Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski firmly on their radar, should Kylian Mbappe leave.

Mbappe has been heavily linked with Real Madrid along with Liverpool and Manchester United.

L'Equipe reports that PSG will want to be proactive and land a major signing if Mbappe exits and the Bundesliga top scorer is top of their list, even if Bayern are determined to keep him.

Lewandowski is contracted with Bayern until 2023 although there have been some rumblings about entertaining a move elsewhere.

 

ROUND-UP

- Goal are reporting that Zinedine Zidane has informed his Real Madrid players that he will leave at the end of this season. The Sunday Mirror claims the club are already considering Everton's Carlo Ancelotti and ex-Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri as his replacement.

- Arsenal have joined Manchester City in the race to sign departing Southampton defender Ryan Bertrand reports the Mail on Sunday.

- West Ham are reportedly front of the queue to sign West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone according to Football Insider.

- Bayern Munich are targeting Inter defender Achraf Hakimi according to Mundo Deportivo.

- Marca claims Real Madrid are interested in Rennes teenage midfielder Eduardo Camavinga.

Time is running out to secure precious fantasy football points as the Premier League season nears an end.

Manchester City have the title in the bag, but it may still be all to play for in fantasy leagues heading into the penultimate weekend of the campaign.

With some teams still having three games to play in a hectic schedule, it will be vital to make the right picks and ensure points could potentially mean prizes.

Here are a few tips to help you out, powered by Opta, as always...

 

EDERSON

City travel to Newcastle United on Friday for their first match since being crowned champions.

They have won 11 consecutive Premier League away matches and a 12th victory at St. James' Park would see them break the all-time record in the top four tiers of English football.

City have kept 16 clean sheets on their travels in all competitions this season and are one away from equalling the record by a top-flight team in a season.

Newcastle have managed just 41 shots in seven Premier League games against Pep Guardiola's side, so another clean sheet could be on the cards for Ederson, who has more than any other goalkeeper in the division this season (18).

 

TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD

Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold was outstanding in the 4-2 victory at Manchester United on Thursday.

With England boss Gareth Southgate watching on, Alexander-Arnold caught the eye with an influential display as Jurgen Klopp's side claimed three precious points in the battle for a Champions League spot.

The Reds travel to relegated West Brom on Sunday knowing a win would leave them just a point behind fourth-placed Chelsea with two games to play.

Since he was omitted from the last England squad in March, Alexander-Arnold has created more chances than any other top-flight player with 21, making him a necessity for your XI.

 

LUCAS DIGNE

Everton full-back Lucas Digne has enjoyed another impressive season for Carlo Ancelotti's side.

The Toffees entertain bottom club Sheffield United at Goodison Park on Sunday as they hunt a place in Europe next season.

France international Digne can make an impact at both ends of the pitch, with his seven assists the joint-highest by a defender in the Premier League this season, along with Aaron Cresswell of West Ham.

Everton have kept four clean sheets in their previous six matches with Digne in the side too, so will be aiming to blunt the Blades on Merseyside.

 

MATHEUS PEREIRA

Brazilian forward Matheus Pereira has been a shining light in a poor season for West Brom.

The Baggies were unable to avoid an immediate return to the Championship, a defeat to Arsenal last weekend consigning Sam Allardyce to a first relegation from the Premier League.

Albion will be desperate to keep hold of Pereira, who has scored five goals in six matches ahead of the encounter with Liverpool.

He has been directly involved in 15 goals this season, with only Peter Odemwingie (22 in 2010-11) and Romelu Lukaku (21 in 2012-13) managing more involvements for the Baggies in a Premier League campaign.

 

SON HEUNG-MIN

Tottenham face Wolves at home on Sunday smarting from a 3-1 defeat at Leeds United last time out.

Son Heung-min scored Spurs' only goal at Elland Road, where the London club's slim hopes of securing a Champions League spot were all-but ended.

The South Korea forward has been directly involved in four goals in three games under caretaker boss Ryan Mason, scoring three and setting one up.

Son has found the back of the net in three consecutive Premier League games and will be a major threat to Wolves. He had managed just one goal in his previous seven outings in the competition during the final stages of Jose Mourinho's reign.

 

SERGIO AGUERO

City's all-time leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero issued an apology after his embarrassing Panenka penalty gave Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy the simplest of saves last weekend.

Aguero will be determined to make amends as he nears the end of his time with City and could take his frustration out on Newcastle.

The Argentina striker has scored 15 goals in 14 Premier League games against the Magpies, averaging one every 61 minutes, and it would be no surprise to see him add to that tally.

 

MICHAIL ANTONIO

West Ham head south to face Brighton and Hove Albion on the back of a 1-0 home defeat to Everton that left their chances of qualifying for the Champions League hanging by a thread.

They will need to respond on the south coast against a Brighton side who are safe now.

Antonio has been directly involved in 14 goals in his past 13 away Premier League starts, netting 11 times and providing three assists.

He can trouble the Seagulls and improve those numbers. Indeed, the forward has scored 24 times for the Hammers on the road in the competition, five more than any other player for the club.

Mikel Arteta praised "unique" teenager Bukayo Saka after Arsenal ended a miserable week by relegating West Brom with a 3-1 Premier League victory on Sunday.

The Gunners are facing the prospect of missing out on European football for the first time in 25 years next season after they were knocked out of the Europa League at the semi-final stage by Villarreal on Thursday.

A drab goalless draw against the Spanish side – coached by former Gunners boss Unai Emery – was a new low for Arsenal and piled more pressure on Arteta, but they responded with a first home win in seven games.

Emile Smith Rowe scored his maiden Premier League goal before Nicolas Pepe added a second with a sublime finish to put Arsenal in command.

Matheus Pereira pulled a goal back midway through the second half, but Willian finally opened his Arsenal account with a brilliant late free-kick as Baggies boss Sam Allardyce suffered the agony of relegation from the top tier for the first time.

Saka laid on the opening goal for Smith Rowe and has provided 19 assists in all competitions, the most of any player for the club since making his debut in November 2018.

The 19-year-old was a constant threat, delivering five crosses and producing two key passes in a performance that Arteta was more than happy with.

He told BT Sport: "Going forward we know Saka is a threat, he gives you something unique. He adapted. We believed we were going to attack against them and he gave us a lot of joy."

Arsenal are ninth in the table with surely only pride to play for and Arteta is determined to avoid finishing such a disappointing season with a whimper.

He said: "We will try to win every match and see where we finish. The only thing we can do is win our games." 

The Spaniard added: "We needed that win. It has been a while since we won at home. We scored three fantastic goals and we had some great spells in the game. When we conceded the goal we did look nervy.

"We knew the necessity to win the game. They scored out of nothing and then throw everything at you, they know the situation they are in and we struggled to play that kind of game.

"We scored three fantastic goals but we missed some big chances too."

Three years ago, Harry Kane said he wanted to win trophies at Tottenham otherwise he may have to leave.

Spurs have not won any silverware since, however, prompting speculation the England striker may have move on to fulfil his ambition elsewhere.

Kane is contracted to the Premier League club until 2024 but they are set to miss out on Champions League football again.


TOP STORY - RED DEVILS PLOT STUNNING KANE BID

The Sun reports that Manchester United are set to table a £90million bid for Kane after approval from the Glazers to appease their recent fan fury.

The move would be a stunning development, but Kane is understood to be interested in joining the Red Devils.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy does not want to sell Kane to a rival, although he may be backed into a corner financially in order to re-build the squad.


ROUND-UP

- With West Brom doomed for relegation, goalkeeper Sam Johnstone is hot property with Manchester United joining the race for his signature, alongside Tottenham and West Ham, according to ESPN. The Telegraph claims West Brom have slapped a £20m price tag on him.

- Chelsea have entered the pursuit for Jadon Sancho, joining Manchester United and Liverpool after Borussia Dortmund lowered their asking price, says Bild.

- Real Madrid are monitoring the status of out-of-favour Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling, according to Football Insider.

- Everton head coach Carlo Ancelotti is keen to lure on-loan Tottenham forward Gareth Bale to the club as the Welshman's future at Real Madrid remains uncertain, claims El Chiringuito.

- Dutch winger Noa Lang is being tracked by Leeds United, reports The Telegraph.

Sam Allardyce wants to see greater protection put in place to guard the Premier League from further attempts to form a European Super League.

England's top flight came under threat this week after its 'big six' announced plans to launch the controversial new continental competition.

The Super League would have replaced the Champions League for those involved, rather than the Premier League, but the clubs would be guaranteed participation, impacting the domestic structure which currently provides a path into Europe.

The remaining 14 Premier League outfits voted "unanimously and vigorously" against the proposal, however.

And by the close of play on Tuesday, all six English sides had backtracked, announcing plans to pull out of the Super League, which prompted European rivals to follow.

Former England manager Allardyce – now in charge at West Brom – does not feel the danger has passed.

"In that format, it's dead," he said. "But in other formats, it's on hold."

The Baggies boss took aim at the American owners of Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal as he outlined the need to protect "the best league in the world" against future breakaway bids.

Allardyce compared the Super League, which would not have featured demotion for founding clubs, to competitions in the United States like the NFL, NBA or MLB.

"The lessons to be learned are now down to the governing bodies, who run our game," he said.

"Unless we learn those lessons very quickly, unless we put better protection into the structure of our game, we are still ready to be seeing something like this yet again and again.

"This is not a new idea, by any stretch of the imagination. It may have been a new format, but this has been talked about for many years, believe you me.

"The bigger boys have been trying to get the bigger share of the pot for many years. Luckily, because of the 14 votes required in the Premier League, that has been resisted and rightly so.

"Now, they've chosen to go behind people's backs and try to find a better solution just for them and only them and not for football in general.

"It's a great shame that when we have the best league in the world that raises the most money in the world that six of our clubs in the Premier League chose to desert that format.

"Why would you want to desert the best league in the world, the most-watched league in the world, the most entertaining league in the world? The best players, the best managers and coaches – why would you want to destroy that?

"I find that [is] because individuals have come together, and in particular this stinks of the American system trying to be put in place, for me.

"Obviously three of the six are American-based, and when you see the format in America – no relegation, no promotion – that's exactly what this alludes to and you can see where it's probably come from."

Allardyce called for "better rules and regulations" to "avoid this situation again", while he was also asked about possible sanctions for the 'big six'.

When Super League plans were still in place, the idea of expelling the sides was mooted. Potential points deductions continue to be discussed.

"If we all break the rules, we all get sanctioned," Allardyce said. "If I breach any rules, I get sanctioned for it; if clubs break any rules, they get sanctioned for it.

"Obviously, in this case, they've broken the rules so they need to be looked at. What form of punishment? I don't know.

"But certainly, if you've broken the rules, you have to pay for that."

What does the future hold for Kylian Mbappe and Cristiano Ronaldo?

Mbappe has been heavily linked with Real Madrid, while Ronaldo's future at Juventus is far from certain.

A possible switch to the Spanish capital could reportedly impact Ronaldo.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE OUT, RONALDO IN AT PSG?

Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo could join Paris Saint-Germain if Kylian Mbappe leaves for Real Madrid, according to Tuttosport.

Mbappe has long been tipped to swap Ligue 1 holders PSG for LaLiga champions Madrid, who have been linked with Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and Inter forward Romelu Lukaku.

If Mbappe makes the move to the Santiago Bernabeu, it could send Ronald to Paris as Juve look to reduce their wage bill in Turin.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Athletic reports Harry Kane will ask to leave Tottenham if they do not qualify for next season's Champions League. The Spurs star has been linked with Manchester United, Manchester City and Madrid.

Barcelona are eyeing Tottenham defender Davinson Sanchez, claims Mundo Deportivo. The LaLiga giants are not rumoured to be interested in Bayern Munich's Jerome Boateng, who is set to depart Bavaria at season's end.

- The Mirror says Liverpool are interested in signing Barca star Pedri, who reportedly has a release clause around £70million (€81m).

United have been warned West Ham will not accept an offer to include Jesse Lingard as part of a deal to prise Declan Rice to Old Trafford, claims The Sun. United are also keen to bring back Sam Johnstone from West Brom if David de Gea or Dean Henderson leave.

- Bild says Liverpool are entering the final stages of a deal for RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate. Premier League rivals United have also been linked.

Manchester United's goalkeeper situation remains unclear beyond this season.

David de Gea has been linked with the Old Trafford exit door while Dean Henderson is yet to fully convince some observers he is a worthy number one.

Thus speculation is mounting about a Red Devils move for a new shot-stopper.

 

TOP STORY - UNITED CIRCLE FOR OBLAK

Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak is reportedly wanted by Manchester United who are said to have a long-standing interest in the Slovenian.

Oblak has spent almost seven years in the Spanish capital but is ready to move to England, according to 90min.

The report claims United have doubts about Henderson as number one and subsequently are exploring their options with 28-year-old Oblak.

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- Juventus and Paulo Dybala will enter negotiations on a new deal in May, reports Tuttosport.

- 90min reports that Liverpool want to utilise their option to sign Ozan Kabak permanently, having acquired the defender on loan from Schalke in February.

- Calciomercato claims that Barcelona are plotting a move for Juventus defender Cristian Romero who is currently on loan at Atalanta.

- Galatasaray have offered Crystal Palace defender Patrick van Aanholt a three-year deal, according to Sky Sports.

- Tottenham are top in the race to sign West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, claims ESPN.

Real Madrid are reportedly planning a €90million move for Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland ahead of next season.

Haaland, 20, is being targeted by Europe's biggest clubs after starring for the Bundesliga outfit.

Madrid are ready to make a move for Haaland ahead of 2021-22.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID PLAN €90M HAALAND MOVE

Real Madrid are plotting a €90m move for Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland, according to ABC.

The report says the LaLiga giants will attempt to get Luka Jovic, who is on loan at Eintracht Frankfurt, or Mariano Diaz to be part of the deal.

Haaland has scored 23 goals in as many games for Dortmund this season.

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- After landing Dayot Upamecano, Bayern Munich have other targets in mind. Bild reports the Bundesliga giants are also interested in Norwich City full-back Max Aarons, Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Florian Neuhaus, Rennes' Eduardo Camavinga and Lucien Agoume, who is on loan at Spezia from Inter. The Daily Mail also says Bayern are stepping up their pursuit of Aarons.

- David Luiz looks set to extend his Arsenal stay. The Independent claims the Premier League side are set to offer the defender another extension, with his deal expiring at season's end.

- Staying at Arsenal and Alexandre Lacazette's future at the club seems uncertain. The Daily Express reports Arsenal have been told they can sign Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard for just £15m.

- Without a club since leaving Trabzonspor in March last year, Daniel Sturridge has been offered to Newcastle United, according to 90min. West Brom and Sheffield United are also reportedly interested in Sturridge.

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