Chelsea failed to make the most of their numerical advantage as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Arsenal at Stamford Bridge in a thrilling London derby that included a late goal from either side.

Much of the pre-match focus was on the two managers, with Frank Lampard beginning to come in for a bit of criticism after a difficult run, while Mikel Arteta has been accused of doing little to improve Arsenal's fortunes since coming in.

And there were plenty of hints as to why the sides are out of form, with the two sets of defences failing to inspire a great deal of confidence. 

Manchester City avoided dropping points, however, with a substitute sparing their blushes in a 1-0 win at Sheffield United, while there was plenty of drama at the bottom of the table.

DAVID LUIZ SEES RED BUT ARSENAL CLING ON

It was an unhappy return to Stamford Bridge for former Chelsea defender David Luiz, who was given a frosty reception and then sent off for a cynical foul that led to a penalty.

From that spot-kick, Jorginho opened the scoring in the 28th minute, suggesting Chelsea were set to cruise.

But a wonderful solo effort from Gabriel Martinelli restored parity just after the hour, leaving Lampard looking a little nervous.

Chelsea retook the lead with what they thought was a winner from Cesar Azpilicueta, the captain turning in a left-wing cross.

But Hector Bellerin's well-placed left-footed effort from the edge of the box found the bottom-left corner and secured the Gunners a share of the spoils, a commendable achievement given their disadvantage. The draw moves Arsenal up to 10th, while Chelsea go six points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United.

AGUERO THE DIFFERENCE FOR CITY

City handed Aymeric Laporte his first appearance since August at Bramall Lane, the Frenchman having recovered from a serious knee injury.

But he was given some rough treatment by the Blades – with Muhamed Besic catching him with a heavy challenge early on.

City did enough in the first half to take the lead, but Dean Henderson was in excellent form between the United posts, making several impressive saves and keeping out Gabriel Jesus' penalty.

But the visitors' persistence paid off. Sergio Aguero came off the bench to get the winner 17 minutes from time, finishing clinically after a glorious pass from Kevin De Bruyne.

That moves them six clear of Leicester City in third, though the 13-point gap behind leaders Liverpool remains daunting.

CHERRIES STOP THE ROT

After six matches – five of which ended in defeat – without a victory, Bournemouth finally got back to winning ways against Brighton and Hove Albion on Tuesday.

Harry Wilson got the ball rolling with a driven effort from the edge of the box after Dominic Solanke teed him up in the 36th minute.

Pascal Gross then put past his own goalkeeper just before the break, diverting in after a Bournemouth corner caused havoc in the visitors' box.

Callum Wilson then wrapped up a comfortable win 16 minutes from time, rounding Mat Ryan and slotting in unchallenged, with Aaron Mooy's late effort a mere consolation in a 3-1 defeat for the Seagulls.

It was not enough to move Bournemouth out of the bottom three, though – Aston Villa's last-gasp 2-1 win over fellow strugglers Watford decisive in that sense, as Tyrone Mings got the all-important clincher.

NEWCASTLE STUN EVERTON WITH COMEBACK

Everton looked to be easing to a 2-0 win over Newcastle United – but it all went wrong in stoppage time.

Moise Kean initially put Everton in front in the 30th minute with his first Premier League goal, though he required a little luck, as he capitalised on Newcastle's inability to clear the ball and then shot under Martin Dubravka, who probably should have done better.

The in-form Dominic Calvert-Lewin got his 10th top-flight goal of the season early in the second half, but that two-goal cushion was insufficient.

Florian Lejeune was Newcastle's hero, first scoring with an acrobatic attempt after a Jordan Pickford error, then restoring parity with a volley that just about found its way over the line amid a scramble in the penalty box, both goals coming in stoppage time.

There was no such drama at Selhurst Park, however, as Southampton managed to hang on to their 2-0 lead in an ill-tempered affair, moving them into the top half of the table.

Palace's Wilfried Zaha might find himself in danger of retrospective action as well, after television cameras caught him poking James Ward-Prowse in the face during a half-time altercation.

Kevin De Bruyne made Premier League history on Tuesday as he became the first player to provide 15 or more assists in three separate seasons.

The brilliant Belgian laid on the winning goal for Sergio Aguero as Manchester City beat Sheffield United 1-0 at Bramall Lane.

In doing so, De Bruyne racked up his 15th assist of a typically creative campaign, adding to his playmaking exploits of 2016-17 (18 assists) and 2017-18 (16).

The 28-year-old is also on course to enjoy his most prolific goalscoring season in the English top flight, having netted seven times to move within one of the total of eight he achieved two seasons ago.

Pep Guardiola admits Manchester City's repeated spot-kick failures will force him into a rethink over how penalty takers are picked.

Gabriel Jesus saw his first-half effort repelled by Dean Henderson in City's hard-earned 1-0 Premier League win at Sheffield United on Tuesday.

It was the Brazilian's third miss from five top-flight efforts from 12 yards, but he is not the only guilty party in the City ranks, with Raheem Sterling and even talisman Sergio Aguero - who scored the winner at Bramall Lane - also fluffing their lines.

Asked if it was a cause for concern, Guardiola replied: "Definitely.

"I have to reflect on it. I always have the confidence in the players to take it, but I have to reflect on maybe how they take the decision on who will take it.

"Not [just] for Gabriel today, because Sergio missed two and Raheem missed one and a half against Wolves [a twice-taken, twice-saved penalty, with Sterling netting the rebound from the second].

"We are not safe. In that level it's so important, it makes the difference most of the time.

"I have to take a decision with the guys over who is going to take the penalty."

Asked if he had someone in mind, Guardiola said he did but would not reveal a name, except to jokingly add: "Ederson is the best. Believe me, Eddie is the best taker we have on the penalties.

"He has no blood in his brains, he's so calm, so he could do it."

Pep Guardiola was delighted to see Manchester City overcome a resilient Sheffield United after Sergio Aguero came off the bench to score the only goal of the game.

It had looked set to be an evening of frustration for the Premier League champions at Bramall Lane on Tuesday, with Blades goalkeeper Dean Henderson in inspired form.

Gabriel Jesus saw a first-half penalty saved and Raheem Sterling also missed an excellent chance before Aguero sealed the points, converting Kevin De Bruyne's pinpoint cross in the 73rd minute. 

"It's a difficult place to come, they are so physical," Guardiola told BT Sport. "It was a solid performance, we only conceded two chances. In the first half the keeper made two incredible saves.

"I am so happy with the team. I know what it's like to play here, it is a tough, tough place.

"We controlled it well and in the end we created chances to win."

Guardiola was able to hand Aymeric Laporte his first start since August following a knee injury, the Frenchman managing 78 minutes in a system designed partly for his benefit.

"We knew that Aymeric couldn't play for 90 minutes, that's why we played five at the back to to protect him a little bit," said Guardiola. "He's a crucial player for us, we've missed him, it's good for us to have him back."

The winning goal came from the most obvious source, with Aguero quickly to the fore after replacing Jesus, who fluffed his lines after Riyad Mahrez had earned a spot-kick.

Aguero surpassed 250 goals for City in the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace last Saturday and now has eight in his past five outings in all competitions, leading to warm praise from his manager.

"Sergio is on fire right now," said Guardiola. "Strikers need momentum. It's good for us to have strikers in this form."

Sergio Aguero stepped off the bench to secure a 1-0 win for Manchester City after Dean Henderson had threatened to frustrate the Premier League champions at Bramall Lane. 

Goalkeeper Henderson's stellar showing was highlighted by a superb stop from Gabriel Jesus' first-half penalty, with Raheem Sterling also finding the former Manchester United man in inspired form.

It needed the introduction of Aguero, who surpassed 250 goals for City in the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace last time out, to get the job done for Pep Guardiola's side, with Kevin De Bruyne once again supplying the ammunition.

Further comfort for the visitors came in seeing the return of Aymeric Laporte to the starting line-up for the first time since August following a knee injury, his presence contributing to a clean sheet that represents somewhat of a rarity for City these days.

The result puts City 13 points behind champions-elect Liverpool, who have two games in hand.

United carved their visitors open early on but Billy Sharp failed to pick out a team-mate after being set free by Oli McBurnie's pass.

There was a moment of concern for Laporte when he went down under a strong challenge from Muhamed Besic, who was booked, although the Frenchman was soon back to his feet. 

He might have been jumping for joy had Henderson not produced a stunning stop to deny a disbelieving Sterling, who really ought to have converted from Riyad Mahrez's pass.

The Blades goalkeeper was alert again to thwart Nicolas Otmanedi, who executed an eye-catching bicycle kick as City stepped up the pressure. 

And after Mahrez had been felled by Chris Basham in the box, Henderson continued his one-man resistance as he leapt to his right to push away Jesus' spot-kick, albeit he had clearly come off his line.

The hosts continued to hold firm in the second half, surviving a scare when Rodri's flicked header from De Bruyne's corner dropped wide of the far post.

It was not all one-way traffic and Lys Mousset's clever back-heel attempt after Ederson had tipped Basham's cross into his path tested the Brazilian's reflexes.

Guardiola hauled off Jesus and threw on Aguero in the 67th minute to show his fellow striker how it is done, with the City legend responding by tapping in De Bruyne's pinpoint delivery six minutes later to seal the points. 

 

What does it mean? Hard work but job done for City

The Premier League title has long since been prized from City's grasp, but Guardiola's high expectations remain and a strong finish to the season will help to alleviate some of the pain of missing out this time around. It was hard work, but Chris Wilder's warriors have proven a tough task for many opponents.

Henderson the hero

Such was the brilliance of Henderson's performance that there was almost an air of inevitability about him saving Jesus' penalty. Then again, the striker has now missed three of his five attempts in the top flight. 

Jesus fluffs his lines

That supposed air of inevitability would surely not have been present had Aguero been the man standing over the penalty. And that may be Jesus' biggest problem – it's not that he isn't good, because he clearly is; it's that he is not Sergio Aguero. When he fails to score, misses a penalty and then comes off and watches on as Aguero promptly finds the net, that fact only becomes more apparent.

What's next?

Knockout competitions take centre stage for City, who continue the defence of their FA Cup and League Cup titles against Fulham and Manchester United respectively, not returning to Premier League action until next month's trip to Tottenham. For the Blades, it is back-to-back trips to south London to face Millwall in the FA Cup and then Palace in the top flight. 

Aymeric Laporte was named in the starting line-up for Manchester City's Premier League trip to Sheffield United on Tuesday, completing his return from a knee injury.

City have been short at centre-back since Laporte sustained cartilage and meniscus damage in a 4-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion on August 31, having failed to replace Vincent Kompany.

However, the 25-year-old was handed his first appearance in almost five months as one of seven changes made by Pep Guardiola for the game at Bramall Lane on Tuesday.

Laporte was set to partner Nicolas Otamendi at centre-back, with Oleksandr Zinchenko and Kyle Walker taking the full-back positions.

Fernandinho, who has been used in defence for much of the campaign, had an opportunity to return to midfield alongside Rodrigo.

Sergio Aguero started on the bench, with Gabriel Jesus leading the line and flanked by Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling.

Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva dropped to the bench, while David Silva was not included in the matchday squad.

John Stones and Benjamin Mendy sustained muscle injuries in Saturday's 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace on Saturday and were not involved on Tuesday.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola believes a 400 or 500-day year would be required for Champions League expansion because Premier League clubs already play too many games.

The European Club Association (ECA) and UEFA are said to be in talks about adding another four matchdays to the Champions League schedule, which would result in finalists playing 17 games.

However, with City's trip to Sheffield United on Tuesday their eighth game in the past three and a half weeks, Guardiola is an advocate of taking a scythe to the gruelling schedule in England.

"I think the solution is you have to make a year of 400 days, that is a solution, 400 or 500, more or less. After that we can book another competition. Maybe UEFA or FIFA can talk about it. We have few days a year, that's the problem," said Guardiola.

Champions League expansion would likely have negative ramifications for the EFL Cup.

After stating the EFL Cup "wouldn't be interesting" if Premier League sides withdrew in order to lighten their loads, the former Bayern Munich and Barcelona offered a more ruthless alternative.

"Eliminate competitions. Take them out completely - so less games," he said.

"Less games, less competitions, less teams, more quality, less quantity. The people are going enjoy it. The people are going to go to the theatre, to the cinema, restaurants, to watch the fireworks. That is what they would do."

At the crux of Guardiola's argument is a desire to reduce the physical workload on players.

He said: "There are less games [in Germany in Spain], much less than here. In the Bundesliga there are 18 teams not 20, one cup not two. They have a break, in Spain they have a break.Tthe cup is run with one game, not two. So it's a big difference.

"It's just to protect the players … For them they'd enjoy it more, the people too. People say they can't live without football, they can live without football for a while. It's too much, honestly."

The City boss suggested serious injuries sustained by Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford since the turn of the year were a result of the excessive demands.

Kane's hamstring problem and Rashford's back issue were a blow to Gareth Southgate ahead of Euro 2020, but Guardiola feels those in charge of the game in England cannot be surprised.

"It's a big blow for Gareth, for the national team. Kane and Rashford are incredibly important players for them. Hopefully there isn't another one who does that and they can recover," he said.

"It's an incredible amount of games. Now we're talking about it because they are [injured], but looking back at the injuries Newcastle have had, we have had, all the teams. That is normal. With that number of games, sooner or later the players break down.

"I'm not really surprised. I’m so sorry for them, but with this amount of games it happens. The big administration people cannot complain because it's normal this happens.

"Of course it is [too much to expect]. They arrive in the Euros, playing with the national teams trying their best, then [back here] after no more than 20 days because the business, the show, must go on. It's unsustainable.

"Sooner or later the players fall down. It's too much. I'm so sorry for Kane and Rashford because they are incredible and good for the league, but we demand a lot from the players, it's too much.

"They should reflect [on] it but all the managers complained about it and they don't care. Now Boxing Day is over, another season, and prepare for the next one. A distance of two or three days again and again.

"The players in the end suffer. They want to do well and the clubs have a lot of pressure to win titles or qualify for the Champions League, the players want to do well. We push them and we are being pushed.

"At some moment the body says stop, it's enough."

Pep Guardiola is not surprised by Sheffield United's success in the Premier League this season as the Manchester City manager revealed he learns from watching Chris Wilder's side.

The Blades are seventh in the Premier League - just six points off a Champions League place - in their first campaign back in the top flight.

An expansive brand of football has brought Wilder many admirers, and Guardiola concedes he is among them.

City visit Sheffield United on Tuesday, having been made to work for a 2-0 home win last month.

"I'm incredibly impressed," Guardiola told a pre-match news conference. "When people say you can improve watching other games, other teams, other managers, this is the one.

"I never saw some movements they are doing. That's the reason why they are in the position they are.

"We saw it here [at the Etihad Stadium], we suffered here a few weeks ago. I'm really impressed. I admire them, honestly. I admire how they play and what they are doing.

"It's the same manager and a high percentage of the same players from League One, the Championship, now the Premier League, being near the top of the league up there.

"I like it. As a manager, you see some teams so you can improve - this is the one."

Pep Guardiola concedes Liverpool are "extraordinary", but he is more focused on improving Manchester City than worrying about how they stack up against the runaway Premier League leaders.

City have won the title in the past two seasons under Guardiola yet now trail Liverpool, who have a game in hand, by 16 points.

The Reds have dropped just two points in the top flight, but City manager Guardiola would prefer to focus on how the defending champions can raise their game.

"In terms of what we are as a team, we are open, we accept," he told a news conference before facing Sheffield United on Tuesday.

"We cannot deny it - the Liverpool team is extraordinary in terms of football, in terms of results.

"But every day I live almost 24 hours thinking about my team and what we are, what we are doing, what we can do better. I'm not too much distracted by other teams in other leagues or, in this case, Liverpool."

City have scored more league goals than any other team in the division this season, yet they have also conceded more than Sheffield United and last Saturday's opponents Crystal Palace, who claimed a 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium.

"We concede few, but the opponents score goals from a few chances," Guardiola said. "That is difficult to solve. We have to improve in this area.

"We have scored I don't know how many more goals than Liverpool [12], so our way is good. I don't have the statistics here, but I don't think we concede more chances in one game. From the few, we concede goals that we shouldn't and drop points.

"You start from Tottenham in the first game, they shoot twice in the half on target and score two goals. Norwich shoot three times and score three goals.

"When this happens, it's difficult to fight against this Liverpool. We have to improve in this area."

Guardiola revealed John Stones and Benjamin Mendy had knocks following the weekend draw, although he was not yet sure if the issues would keep them out against the Blades.

The Spaniard felt criticism of Stones after the Palace game, in which he appeared to struggle against Wilfried Zaha, was harsh.

"It was unfair, yeah," he said. "We are there, I am there. Ups and downs in the career, the football manager always has to be strong. We know his quality."

Aymeric Laporte should not be expected to single-handedly shore up Manchester City's leaky defence, Pep Guardiola has warned.

Sergio Aguero's late brace looked to have sealed a dramatic 2-1 comeback win over Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday, but Wilfried Zaha provided a sting in the tail at the Etihad Stadium by tearing past John Stones and forcing an own-goal from Fernandinho.

The reigning Premier League champions, who now appear virtually certain to cede their crown to runaway leaders Liverpool, have only kept two clean sheets in their past 20 matches across all competitions.

Career midfielder Fernandinho has converted admirably to centre-back since Laporte suffered meniscus damage against Brighton and Hove Albion, while teenager Eric Garcia impressed at the heart of defence during recent home wins over Sheffield Untied and Everton.

But Stones laboured once more against Palace and Argentina international Nicolas Otamendi has produced similarly uneven form this term.

Former Athletic Bilbao favourite Laporte is back in light training with his team-mates but Guardiola, whose men face a mouth-watering Champions League last-16 showdown with Real Madrid next month, sought to temper expectations.

"We cannot expect that Aymeric is going to solve all of the problems," he said.

"We have to [have that] as a principle for everyone. He is getting better and the doctor is going to evaluate him in the [next] training session tomorrow and I am going to talk to him.

"When it will be possible and step by step to come in [he will] but after four or five months he will need time, so he will not be ready immediately to do it."

Asked whether Laporte could feature in next weekend's FA Cup tie at home to Fulham, Guardiola replied: "I don't know."

Laporte's countryman Benjamin Mendy has struggled at times after undergoing two knee surgeries in as many seasons.

But the ex-Monaco left-back showed signs of his best form against Palace, offering a varied attacking threat down the left flank and supplying a sumptuous cross for Aguero's headed second.

"He played really good and the final decisions in the final third were really good - passes, inside, outside and how many times to go up and down," Guardiola said.

"He did a good game and good crosses. He plays after two seasons injured, so his physical condition is getting better."

Dreams of Premier League glory began to feel like an inevitability at Anfield as Liverpool beat Manchester United on a weekend that saw Leicester City, Chelsea and Manchester City drop points.

Jurgen Klopp's side dispatched their old rivals with goals from Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah, leaving Reds supporters full of confidence after Burnley came from behind to beat third-placed Leicester 2-1 at Turf Moor.

There was a surprise result at St. James' Park on Saturday, Frank Lampard's Chelsea dominating for long periods against Newcastle United but succumbing to a late Isaac Hayden goal in a 1-0 defeat.

There were late goals at the Etihad Stadium, where Sergio Aguero thought he had won it with a brace, only for Fernandinho to put through his own net in a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

The weekend's Opta data offers detailed insights into the stories behind those results, as well as Wolves' dramatic 3-2 comeback victory over Southampton at St. Mary's.

 

ANFIELD FULL OF HOPE AFTER BACK-TO-BACK HOME WINS OVER UNITED

They are no longer saying it quietly: Liverpool fans firmly believe the title is theirs after watching their side beat United on Sunday.

The victory marked the first time Liverpool have claimed consecutive home Premier League wins over the Red Devils since winning three in a row between September 2008 and March 2011 and there was an air of invulnerability around Anfield at the final whistle.

Liverpool have taken 91 points from a possible 93 in their last 31 Premier League matches, winning 30 and drawing just one, while United have now lost nine of their last 16 top-flight away games (W3 D4 L9).

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men have failed to score in eight of those games and they gave Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson little to do despite creating a number of goalscoring opportunities.

Alisson kept himself busy by becoming the first Reds keeper to assist a Premier League goal since March 2010, when Pepe Reina laid on a goal against Sunderland.

 

 


LATE HAYDEN WINNER LEAVES LAMPARD'S BLUES REELING

Chelsea have lost as many Premier League games this season as they did in the entirety of 2018-19 after Hayden scored in the 94th minute to snatch victory for Newcastle over Lampard's inconsistent Blues.

Four of Chelsea's eight league defeats this season have come in their last eight matches and supporters making the trip to Tyneside had reason to be fearful of their side coming unstuck.

Chelsea have now lost five of their last seven top-flight trips to St. James' Park but defeats to teams managed by Steve Bruce have been a rare occurrence - this was only the second time he has beaten the Blues in 23 games against them as a manager (D5 L16).

Prior to Hayden's strike, Newcastle had not scored a last-minute winner since Ayoze Perez struck against Tottenham in December 2015.

It was Hayden's third Premier League goal and came in his 70th appearance in the competition, his last coming in February 2019 against Wolves.

 

POROUS CITY PAY FOR ERRORS AT THE BACK

City came from behind to lead with three minutes left in their clash with Palace but conceded at home in the Premier League for the 12th time this season as the Eagles secured a point at the death.

Pep Guardiola's men have now conceded as many goals at home in the league as they did in the whole of last season and this was their third draw of the 2019-20 season - in their title-winning campaign last term they only drew twice.

Aguero's double inside five minutes marked the Argentina international's 250th and 251st goals in all competitions for the club in his 360th appearance, but Fernandinho became the first City player to score a Premier League own-goal since Nicolas Otamendi against Huddersfield Town in November 2017.

The scoring was opened by new signing Cenk Tosun, who netted in the 39th minute to become the fourth Turkish player to reach 10 Premier League goals after Muzzy Izzet, Tuncay Sanli and Tugay.

Palace are ninth in the table after four consecutive draws - the last time they drew as many Premier League games in a row was in 1992-93 when they started the season with the same sequence.

 

WOLVES EMERGING AS COMEBACK SPECIALISTS

When Raul Jimenez scored from the penalty spot at St. Mary's he pulled Wolves level after they had been two goals down, but there was even better to follow for Nuno Espirito Santo's men.

Jimenez scored again in the 76th minute, taking his tally to 19 goals in all competitions this season and clinching three points for Wolves that means they have now picked up 18 from losing positions in the Premier League this season - seven more than any other side.

Falling behind after 15 minutes to a Jan Bednarek goal was nothing new for the visitors, who have conceded first in 16 league games this season including each of their last seven in a row.

But Jimenez has been directly involved in 28 goals this season and after Shane Long netted his 54th Premier League goal to make it 2-0 to the Saints, Pedro Neto scored for the second time in his last three league appearances to tee up the Mexico international for a memorable brace.

Jimenez now has 19 goals and nine assists to his name in all competitions this season, giving him more direct goal involvements than any other top-flight player in 2019-20.

Benjamin Mendy urged Manchester City to avoid dwelling on predictions of doom for their title defence following Saturday's dispiriting draw against Crystal Palace.

City squandered two precious points at the Etihad Stadium after Fernandinho's 90th-minute own goal forced a 2-2 draw.

Pep Guardiola's men had come from behind to take a late lead but ultimately missed a chance to reduce Liverpool's advantage at the top, which could be extended to 16 points on Sunday.

Mendy admitted his team-mates felt "sad" at full-time, but the left-back backed the Premier League champions to block out criticism.

"When another team is doing well you can't be upset or angry," Mendy said, insisting City would "deal well" with the latest setback in their bid to catch the Reds.

"We know when you start the season, after winning the league, you have to win most of the games. This is the truth, no-one can complain. [Liverpool] are a good team, strong team who win, win and win.

"So, in our dressing room, we try to focus on us.

"All the people say Man City are finished, they're finished. They can say what they want – we will just keep focusing on us, play our football, win the games, and fight until the league is finished."

Beginning with Tuesday's trip to Sheffield United, City have at least six domestic games - and a seventh if they progress to round five of the FA Cup - to address their deficiencies before facing Real Madrid in the first leg of a much-anticipated Champions League last-16 tie.

Mendy said the countdown to that Santiago Bernabeu blockbuster would elevate the team's motivation levels.

"That will be another kind of game – Champions League, big game," he said.

"Every game is big, but everyone knows that this game will be watched by everyone so mentally you have a feeling, the atmosphere, how you come to the game puts you on fire, [gets you] excited.

"We will be focused on Sheffield now."

Manchester City without Pep Guardiola?

Speculation over Guardiola's future is not going away, with Premier League champions City set to be dethroned by Liverpool this season.

And a move to Paris Saint-Germain could be on the cards…

 

TOP STORY – PSG PREPARE MAMMOTH GUARDIOLA OFFER

French champions Paris Saint-Germain are trying to lure Pep Guardiola from Manchester City, according to the Express.

Amid uncertainty over Guardiola's future, the Ligue 1 holders are ready to make a huge offer to tempt the City manager to Paris.

Guardiola, whose side appear set to finish some distance behind Liverpool in the Premier League, has also been linked with a return to Barcelona, despite their appointment of Quique Setien this week.

 

 

ROUND-UP

- According to The Mirror, Premier League leaders Liverpool and rivals Chelsea will battle it out for RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner.

- Juventus midfielder and former Liverpool star Emre Can is wanted by Everton, reports The Mirror. Can is out of favour in Turin and has been previously linked to Manchester United.

- Il Corriere dello Sport claims Sevilla want to sign Inter midfielder Matias Vecino, who appears destined to leave Milan ahead of Christian Eriksen's reported arrival from Tottenham.

- Speculation over Bruno Fernandes' future is set to drag on. Although he has been tipped to join United, Sporting CP and the Red Devils are reportedly miles apart in their valuations of the captain. While United want to bring in Fernandes this month, the Standard says they are threatening to abandon their pursuit over fears it could damage Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's transfer plans at the end of the season. Over-paying for Fernandes has prompted concerns it could impact United's interest in Leicester City star James Maddison and Borussia Dortmund teenager Jadon Sancho.

Real Madrid are unwilling to loan out James Rodriguez, with Marca reporting the LaLiga giants are only interested in selling the Colombia international.

Fernandinho's stoppage-time own goal gave Crystal Palace a 2-2 draw at Manchester City, while Wolves fought back from two down to beat Southampton and Norwich City claimed a huge Premier League win on Saturday.

Cenk Tosun's first Palace goal put the London club in front, but Aguero equalised with his 250th for City eight minutes from time before putting the second-placed champions in front at the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola's side were unable to see it out, though, as Fernandinho turned the ball into his own net to leave City 13 points behind leaders Liverpool, who play Manchester United in one of their two games in hand on Sunday.

Resurgent Saints looked set to move into the top half when they were two up at St Mary's Stadium, but Raul Jimenez's double after a Pedro Neto strike moved Wolves up to sixth.

Norwich striker Teemu Pukki scored the only goal against second-bottom Bournemouth, who had defender Steve Cook sent off for a spectacular save, while fellow strugglers Aston Villa drew 1-1 at Brighton and Hove Albion.

John Fleck rescued a 1-1 draw for Sheffield United at Arsenal, while it was the same scoreline in the clash between David Moyes' West Ham and his former club Everton.

 

CITY SLIP UP DESPITE AGUERO BRACE 

Palace claimed a stunning 3-2 win at City last season and looked like picking up another three points until Aguero intervened with a late brace.

New boy Tosun headed the Eagles into a first-half lead with his first goal for the club, but the leading overseas scorer in Premier League history levelled to take his City tally to 250 and struck again with time running out.

VAR overturned a penalty decision after Jairo Riedewald was penalised for handball before Aguero equalised and there was more drama when Wilfried Zaha squared the ball, with Fernandinho turning it into his own net.

 

WOLVES BRING SAINTS BACK DOWN TO EARTH

Saints, on a high after five wins and a draw from their last six games, appeared to be making further strides up the table after Jan Bednarek and Shane Long put them in command at half-time.

But Wolves were transformed after the break, Neto giving them hope and the clinical making Jimenez no mistake from the penalty spot following a VAR intervention for Jack Stephens' challenge on Jonny.

Jimenez was on target again to win in 13 minutes from time, Adama Traore setting the striker up with his second assist, to give Wolves a first win in five in all competitions.

 

CHERRIES PAY THE PENALTY FOR IMPULSIVE COOK STOP

Norwich claimed their first top-flight win since November courtesy of a Pukki penalty as Bournemouth endured another miserable afternoon at Carrow Road.

Pukki converted from 12 yards 33 minutes in after Cherries defender Steve Cook made an acrobatic one-handed stop to keep out Kenny McLean's goal-bound shot.

Cook was given his matching orders and there was no way back for Bournemouth, who have picked up only four points from their last 12 games, as Norwich held on despite Ben Godfrey's dismissal 13 minutes from time.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola lamented the poor defending that allowed Crystal Palace to escape with 2-2 draw after a thrilling finish at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

The hosts were behind for the bulk of the contest after Cenk Tosun's 39th minute opener but Sergio Aguero punctuated the frustration with his 250th goal in City colours eight minutes from time.

Aguero duly headed home Benjamin Mendy's cross to put Guardiola's men ahead but there was a sting in the tail and Wilfried Zaha tore past the timid efforts of John Stones and forced Fernandinho to put through his own goal.

"We have to avoid the mistake we have made on the second goal," Guardiola told a post-match news conference.

"Just do not allow Zaha to run, it’s that simple. And we allowed it.

"No [it was not a loss of concentration], it was a decision. Concentration was always there. We are going to solve it and improve it.

"In those positions we need to have the back four there and not let them run on this counter-attack."

Although he did not name the England international specifically, this felt like a damning indictment of Stones' efforts in what has been a difficult campaign for a centre-back frequently short of form and fitness.

At the end of his forlorn pursuit of Zaha, Stones appeared to jar a knee but Guardiola could not offer a fitness update.

"I didn't see the doctors. Now we are going to see," he said.

Champions City are 13 points behind leaders Liverpool having played two games more and Guardiola gave a weary response to a question over whether the title race was still alive – suggesting he might be better served preparing for his team's Tuesday assignment at Sheffield United as opposed to watching Manchester United's trip to Anfield on Sunday.

"I answered the question millions of times in the past few weeks," he added.

"Maybe I will watch it, maybe I will see Sheffield United. I don't know."

City thought they had a penalty at 1-0 down, only for referee Graham Scott to overturn his decision after a VAR review of the incident when Jairo Riedewald deflected Raheem Sterling's cross on to his own arm.

Guardiola said of the incident. "I don’t know the rule of the hands, honestly. It looks like hands, but…"

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