Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backed Jesse Lingard to be an important player for Manchester United, amid rumours of the midfielder being set for an exit from Old Trafford.

England international Lingard endured a frustrating 2019 for his club, finishing the year without a goal or an assist in the Premier League.

The 27-year-old has made 26 appearances in all competitions this season, with a report by the Daily Mail claiming he is now represented by Mino Raiola, who counts Paul Pogba among his clients.

With Pogba's future uncertain, reports have also surfaced suggesting Lingard could be set to leave United, amid links of a swap plus cash deal for Leicester City playmaker James Maddison.

"Jesse has had his ups and downs as I've spoken about before but against Manchester City and Tottenham, [there were] examples of how important he can be for us in difficult games," Solskjaer told a news conference ahead of Tuesday's EFL Cup semi-final first leg at home to holders and local rivals City. "We want him back scoring and making assists.

"There's no one who runs as much, he's a great trigger in the pressing, a lively bubbly character. I don't think you see as much social media from Jesse as you used to.

"He's a player I've known for a long time. He's got his head down and is working hard, getting back to the Jesse I knew."

United's hectic fixture list has been compounded by an FA Cup third-round replay, with the Red Devils drawing 0-0 at Wolves on Saturday - failing to muster a single shot on target throughout the match.

However, United impressed in the first Manchester derby of the season, winning 2-1 on December 7 thanks to goals from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.

And though Solskjaer is waiting on the fitness of Martial, Scott McTominay and Harry Maguire ahead of the semi-final derby, he is confident his side can replicate the level of performance they display at the Etihad Stadium.

"We're going to aim for performances like that," Solskjaer, whose side beat Jose Mourinho's Tottenham in the match before the derby, added.

"There were two good days against Tottenham and City in a short spell but every game lives its own life. When you get highs like that I'm sure they will look back on it and that's the Man United we want to see, but we can improve on that one.

"City had Port Vale at home [in the FA Cup], could rest a few. No matter what team [Pep Guardiola] plays it's going to be a good team and we'll put a strong team out.

"I can't give you the team at the moment, because I don't think the boys know who's fit and available yet either.

"City are back winning games but form goes out of the window when we play each other. We know they're a top team. I admire Pep's team, they've raised the bar so much since he came. The standards set are something to aim for."

Wolves star Adama Traore is reportedly attracting interest from Liverpool, Barcelona and Manchester City.

Traore, formerly of Barcelona, has continued to impress this season, helping Wolves sit seventh in the Premier League.

Now, the former Spain youth international is reportedly being targeted by three of Europe's biggest clubs.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL, BARCELONA & MAN CITY EYE TRAORE

Liverpool, Barcelona and Manchester City are interested in signing Traore, according to 90min.

Traore has scored four goals and provided four assists in the Premier League this season.

The report says Wolves want at least £70million for Traore.

 

ROUND-UP

- Dani Olmo is expected to leave Dinamo Zagreb and is being eyed by several European giants. Goal reports Barcelona lead Chelsea and Manchester United in the race for the 21-year-old Spain international.

- Arturo Vidal is linked with a move to Inter, but he may be going nowhere. The cover of Sport reads 'You stay', with the report saying Barcelona have told the midfielder he will remain with the LaLiga giants due to his importance to the club.

- Chelsea have identified their top January transfer target. The Daily Express reports the Premier League side want Inter forward Gabriel 'Gabigol' Barbosa this month to ease the pressure on Tammy Abraham.

- Inter are considering reinforcements on the left-hand side. CalcioMercato says Chelsea's Marcos Alonso and Parma's Matteo Darmian are both being considered by the Serie A high-flyers.

- It seems Edinson Cavani's time at Paris Saint-Germain is just about over. Gianluca Di Marzio reports Atletico Madrid and Cavani have an agreement in place and the LaLiga club want the forward to arrive in January.

- Wojciech Szczesny is set to extend his stay at Juventus. The goalkeeper will re-sign with the Serie A giants until 2024, according to CalcioMercato.

Another day, another Paul Pogba story.

The Manchester United star continues to be linked with a move away from Old Trafford.

Inter have reportedly emerged as a possible destination for Pogba, though United want a player in return…

 

TOP STORY – UNITED WANT MARTINEZ IN POGBA DEAL

Manchester United want to swap midfielder Paul Pogba for Inter star Lautaro Martinez, according to The Mirror.

Pogba has been linked with a return to Serie A champions Juventus and LaLiga giants Real Madrid as his future dominates headlines.

But a reunion with former Juve boss Antonio Conte at Inter could be in the pipeline. However, the Italian club might have to part with Barcelona target Martinez to prise Pogba to Milan.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Old Trafford and The Mirror also claims United have set their sights on Wolves forward Raul Jimenez after missing out on Erling Haaland, who opted to swap Salzburg for Borussia Dortmund.

- It comes as the Mirror says United are set to offer cash plus Jesse Lingard for Leicester City star James Maddison. The Sun, meanwhile, claims United want Toni Kroos in return if Pogba heads to Madrid.

- According to Sky Sport Italia, Barcelona defender Jean-Clair Todibo is on his way to join Milan, with the LaLiga champions keen to agree a loan deal with a counter-option should they wish to recall him. Meanwhile, the Gazzetta dello Sport says Atalanta want to re-sign Milan centre-back Mattia Caldara.

- The Daily Express reports West Ham have emerged as shock contenders to sign Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly. The star defender has been linked to United and Manchester City.

- Gabriel 'Gabigol' Barbosa has said goodbye to Flamengo supporters via social media, prompting speculation in The Sun that the Inter-owned striker is on his way to either Chelsea or West Ham.

Chris Smalling is keen to secure a permanent deal at Roma and is ready to snub United should Ole Gunnar Solskjaer attempt to persuade him to return to Old Trafford, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

- The Mirror says Carlo Ancelotti's Everton are eyeing a loan move for Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez.

Going up against John Stones in person seemingly changed Port Vale striker Tom Pope's perception of the Manchester City defender's ability, but not for the better.

Having previously stated he would score 40 goals a season if he faced Stones on a weekly basis, Pope cheekily revised the figure to 50 after a goalscoring display in Vale's 4-1 FA Cup third-round loss to City on Saturday.

The League Two forward's initial comments were made after Stones made a pair of costly errors in England's 3-1 loss to Netherlands at the Nations League Finals in June.

Pope called the centre-back "soft" on Twitter and declared he would have a field day up against him.

The 34-year-old made his mark against Stones' side by heading in David Amoo's cross to cancel out Oleksandr Zinchenko's opener at the Etihad Stadium.

Although Sergio Aguero, Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Phil Foden ensured there was no upset in Vale's favour, Pope did not seem too downcast when he took to social media after the game.

"Sorry I can't reply to everyone it's gone mental! I'd just like to say I was completely wrong and bang out of order to say I'd score 40 a season….. it's more like 50," Pope posted on Twitter.

Pep Guardiola says he is not in the business of giving "presents" to Manchester City's academy stars and believes Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Phil Foden can have an impact at first-team level.

Harwood-Bellis, 17, and Foden, 19, started and scored in a 4-1 FA Cup win against Port Vale on Saturday, while 18-year-old Tommy Doyle appeared as a substitute.

Foden is a more established name than his teenage team-mates, having started in the Premier League, but manager Guardiola urged his young players to keep working hard for their chances.

"Of course, it is important [to have local young players] with Taylor and Phil - and Tommy," Guardiola said. "[Doyle] played a month ago in the Carabao Cup and played a few minutes today.

"It's not because they are English - we believe they can do it because they are good players. We don't give presents. They have to earn [it] for themselves.

"In these games, we have space for everyone. But from what we have seen so far, they have the quality to help.

"Young players have to not talk too much, to train, to work and to listen and learn and learn and learn. They have to learn.

"The minutes are good for their development, and then the future is in their hands. The privilege for them has to be in this club and playing minutes with this team."

City invited Vale into their dressing room post-match, and Guardiola added: "It was a pleasure. I saw the manager and the sporting director.

"It's nice for us to host these clubs and for their players to realise we are the same. We play at a different level but dreams are dreams."

Port Vale's Tom Pope had the FA Cup impact he promised before holders Manchester City ran out 4-1 winners at the Etihad Stadium.

Pope, whose disparaging Twitter post about City defender John Stones came to light following the third-round draw, nodded in a superb 35th-minute equaliser after Oleksandr Zinchenko's deflected opener.

However, Sergio Aguero ensured the hosts went in ahead at half-time before youngsters Taylor Harwood-Bellis – inadvertently scoring his first senior goal after Stones thought he had City's third – and Phil Foden sealed the Premier League champions' progress.

Nathan Smith scrambled an eighth-minute effort from Foden out of the goalmouth but fellow Vale centre-back Leon Legge was not so effective with his own last-ditch attempt – turning Zinchenko's speculative 20th-minute strike past Scott Brown.

David Silva inexplicably scuffed Ilkay Gundogan's low cross into the turf and against the crossbar with the goal at his mercy and City would rue that miss.

On a rare Vale attack, David Amoo raided down the right and Pope found space off the back of Harwood-Bellis to dispatch a fine header.

Another player who would certainly fall under Pope's self-applied label of "bagsman" is Aguero, and City's all-time record goalscorer restored his team's lead after Foden stayed just onside to steer Gundogan's chipped pass across goal.

Brown made superb early second-half saves to deny Bernardo Silva and Foden, yet City had the breathing space they desired before the hour.

Stones looked to have levelled the personal duel with Pope – insofar as there was one – but a VAR check showed his close-range shot clipped Harwood-Bellis on the line.

A wretched clearance from Stones, half-blocked by Pope, meant Vale substitute Tom Conlon almost reduced the deficit with a diving header, while David Silva's frustrating outing in front of goal continued as he dragged wide.

But Foden got the goal his efforts deserved from a drilled Angelino cross, allowing attentions to turn towards a blockbuster midweek derby.

What does it mean? Guardiola's Cup kings march on

Pep Guardiola selected a team with one eye on the forthcoming first leg of the EFL Cup semi-final against Manchester United and City were far from their fluent best. Still, City have now prevailed in 22 of their past 23 domestic cup ties, with a 2018 FA Cup fifth-round defeat to Wigan Athletic the only blot in the past three seasons.

Pope walks the walk

Vale's veteran striker arguably set himself up for a fall seven months before this tie with a tweet claiming he would "get 40 a season" playing against Stones. Pope's bravado was duly unearthed after the draw and, although the visitors' goal had nothing to do with any short-comings on Stones' part, he relished backing up his bold words.

City understudies come up short

Angelino and Claudio Bravo should probably thank Pope for targeting Stones on social media, because their parts in the goal might be overlooked. The left-back's lacklustre efforts when it came to stopping Amoo's cross left City in trouble. It was a fine finish but, not for the first time in his City career, Bravo appeared awfully flat footed, meaning his chances of pulling off the save were limited to begin with.

What's next

City resume their other domestic cup defence with the first of a Manchester derby double-header at Old Trafford on Tuesday, while there is a Manchester United-flavour to Vale's midweek assignment as they travel to Salford City in the EFL Trophy on the same day.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is puzzled by John Stones' fitness problems and says the defender will not fulfil his potential unless he finds a solution.

Stones has missed 19 of City's 31 matches in all competitions this term because of separate muscle injuries, last playing in the 2-1 defeat to Manchester United on December 7.

The England international, a reported £47.5million signing from Everton in August 2016, is in line to make his latest return in Saturday's FA Cup third-round tie against Port Vale.

And Guardiola has challenged Stones to put his injury issues behind him in order to get his career back on track.

"He has the conditions to do it, but to be the best central defender you have to play one entire season, being there every three days," Guardiola said.

"He has to be at the level to play regularly. The last three seasons he could not do it. It's difficult to know the reason why.

"Sometimes when you have a tough injury it's unlucky. But in the case of John I don't know. I don't know why he is not able, we are not able, to be a regular for a long, long period because he's a young player.

"As a player he has his future in front of him, it depends on him. It's in his hands and in his head to become one of the best."

Stones' absence, combined with Vincent Kompany's departure and Aymeric Laporte's long-term lay-off, has left Guardiola short of options at centre-back.

Teenage defender Eric Garcia has featured in City's last three matches, starting the last two, and Guardiola was pleased with the youngster's displays over the festive period.

"Eric is so clever," Guardiola said. "'Everything you say to him, he understands, he doesn't need more time to understand.

"Life is about opportunities. We are delighted with how he has taken his. He's helped us in tough moments."

Giovanni van Bronckhorst has been appointed head coach of Guangzhou R&F, quelling speculation he could succeed Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.

The former Netherlands captain heads to the Chinese Super League after ending an informal association with the City Football Group (CFG) that enabled him to spend time at City's training ground.

Van Bronckhorst's presence in Manchester gave rise to suggestions he was being lined up as a replacement for Guardiola amid rumours the Catalan could leave the Etihad Stadium at the end of the season.

CFG executives were said to have been impressed with the ex-Feyenoord boss and reportedly tried to lure him to MLS side New York City before his move to Guangzhou.

"After coming here, I see everyone is motivated and everyone wants to contribute to the development of the club," Van Bronckhorst told his new club's website.

"Not only the daily work, but also the facilities of the club are improving. Coming here is a new challenge. I also hope to contribute my strength and work for the development of the club."

Van Bronckhorst, 44, replaces Dragan Stojkovic, who left Guangzhou this week after more than four years in charge.

The club finished the 2019 CSL season in 12th place.

Pep Guardiola is confident Fernandinho will sign a new deal at Manchester City – hailing him as one of the greatest players in the club's history.

The Brazil international, who joined the Premier League champions from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013, is out of contract at the end of this season.

There has been speculation this could be Fernandinho's final campaign at the Etihad Stadium – something fuelled in part by Riyad Mahrez inadvertently suggesting the 34-year-old would follow David Silva in seeking pastures new when the winger took part in a Sky Sports Christmas quiz last month.

Silva's exit will continue a procession of club greats, after Vincent Kompany bade an emotional farewell last May, 12 and 24 months respectively after Yaya Toure and Pablo Zabaleta did likewise.

But Guardiola has no doubt he wants to see Fernandinho, who has impressed as an emergency centre-back this term, stick around.

"It’s a Txiki [Begiristain, City's director of football] issue, it’s not my issue," he told a news conference ahead of Saturday's FA Cup third-round tie against League Two Port Vale.

"Of course I want him to stay. I am so confident [he'll stay] and I am so delighted about our three-and-a-half years together.

"He does not have to convince me to stay longer. He convinced me on day one, three-and-a-half years ago when we started to work together.

"He doesn't need to do anything special to convince me. It is just [a matter of] his age, his desire and how he is going to finish the season. Many, many things.

"He knows exactly the opinion we have about him in this club over many, many years. He is one of the greatest players this club has had in its whole history."

Fernandinho being pressed into repeated service at centre-back is primarily down to Aymeric Laporte suffering a meniscus injury.

The former Athletic Bilbao defender has now resumed light training, having last played against Brighton and Hove Albion at the end of August.

"Yesterday, for the first time he trained with the team for 10 or 15 minutes. The rest individually and he's getting better," Guardiola said.

"He feels good and in the next weeks I think he will complete all the training sessions with us.

"I don't know when he will be ready. He will dictate, it depends on how he feels. He was more than four months out.

"The day after he trains he cannot [play] 90 minutes. The important thing is he didn't make a step back in these four or five months, the same cast as with Leroy [Sane].  That's really good and we are incredibly grateful for the physios and the guys who worked with him during this time."

Recent injuries to Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones have given academy centre-back Eric Garcia a chance in City's previous two league games against Sheffield United and Everton, with Guardiola hailing the 18-year-old's performances.

"He is a guy who doesn’t make mistakes. He is so clever and he is intelligent in his movement," he added.

"It is not easy for him to play on the left side [of the back three against Everton] because he is right-footed. I am not a nice guy, not giving him the opportunity to play on his right foot, but he played so well.

"He helped us with the problems that we have."

Ederson has recovered from illness but understudy Claudio Bravo customarily starts in goal for City's domestic cup games.

Manchester City have cut short Lukas Nmecha's season-long loan to Wolfsburg, instead sending the striker to Middlesbrough after he failed to score in Germany.

The 21-year-old, who has played for both England and Germany at youth level, joined Wolfsburg at the start of the season but struggled to make an impact.

Nmecha made 12 appearances for his loan club in all competitions but started only once and did not find the net.

City recalled the striker on Friday and loaned him back out to Championship side Boro, where he joins Patrick Roberts - a team-mate in Manchester who endured a similarly tough stretch at Norwich City.

Nmecha spent the 2018-19 season on loan at Preston North End, having appeared three times for City in the previous campaign.

"We're delighted to bring Lukas to the club," said Boro head coach Jonathan Woodgate. "He is a terrific young player who has the benefit of a year's experience of Championship football.

"He is another young, hungry player of real quality, and it's great that we've been able to get him.

"In Lukas and Patrick, we have signed two very good players, and we've been able to bring them in early in the transfer window, which is a real bonus."

Mikel Arteta claimed his first win as Arsenal head coach against Manchester United on New Year's Day.

The end of a hectic spell of Premier League fixtures brought some belated joy for Arteta and Arsenal in a 2-0 home victory.

A fine day for the Gunners also saw rivals Tottenham beaten, but Manchester City and Liverpool made no mistake at the top.

We review the key midweek top-flight matches with the help of Opta data.


INGS AND SAINTS PREY ON LEAKY SPURS

Danny Ings is a man in top form and his goal on Wednesday - a ninth in his past nine Premier League starts - saw Southampton to a 1-0 win over Tottenham at St Mary's Stadium.

Only Jamie Vardy (17) can better Ings' tally of 13 league goals this term, while the former Liverpool man has scored eight times against 'top-six' sides since the start of last season - second only to Sergio Aguero (nine).

His goal meant Spurs have still only kept one clean sheet under Jose Mourinho in all competitions 11 games into his reign.

Tottenham lost their first league game of a calendar year for the first time since 2009, while Southampton are on the up, having won three of their past five home matches in the competition.

JESUS DOWNS FAVOURED FOES EVERTON

Manchester City maintained their recent dominance of Everton with a 2-1 win at Etihad Stadium, winning five consecutive league matches against the Toffees for the first time.

The champions also got the better of Carlo Ancelotti for a fourth time in the Premier League. He has lost to City more times than any other team in the competition.

Gabriel Jesus grabbed both City goals and now has seven against Everton - all of them coming in his past five league games - while he has been directly involved in 69 goals in his 75 starts for the club in all competitions.

With Richarlison responding for Everton to set up a tense finish, this became just the fourth match in Premier League history to see a Brazilian score for either side (excluding own goals).

ARTETA'S ARSENAL END WINLESS HOME RUN

After seven home games without a win in all competitions since beating Vitoria SC in October, Arsenal belatedly got the better of United.

In a further sign of the Gunners' struggles this term, this was their first win against a team currently in the top half in the Premier League in 2019-20, drawing four and losing five of their previous nine.

Nicolas Pepe and Sokratis Papastathopoulos got the goals, making Arteta the seventh Premier League boss to claim their first victory in the competition against United.

Defeat perhaps came as little surprise to the Red Devils, as they have a miserable recent record at Emirates Stadium, losing on four of their past five league visits.

RELENTLESS REDS RECORD ANOTHER WIN

There looks to be no stopping Liverpool, who moved on to 58 points after just 20 Premier League games this season with a 2-0 home victory over Sheffield United. Adjusting to three points for a win, the only team in top-flight history to match that outstanding tally were Manchester City in 2017-18 (also 58).

The Reds scored in a 29th consecutive Premier League game - the third-longest run in competition history - as Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane found the net, the latter registering his 100th goal involvement for the club in all competitions (74 goals, 26 assists in 151 appearances).

Mane has 25 league goals at Anfield since the start of last season, with only Lionel Messi (29 at Camp Nou) and Kylian Mbappe (27 at the Parc des Princes) netting more at a specific stadium in that time.

Liverpool condemned the Blades to back-to-back league defeats for the first time since they lost their first two Championship matches in 2018-19.

Manchester City winger Patrick Roberts has joined Championship side Middlesbrough on loan after having his Norwich City stay cut short.

Roberts, 22, joined the promoted Canaries ahead of the 2019-20 season after signing a new Man City contract and was expected to see plenty of first-team football given Daniel Farke's faith in young players.

However, the former England youth international has made just three substitute appearances in the Premier League, amounting to 23 minutes.

Boro will be Roberts' fourth loan destination following his spells with Norwich, Girona and Celtic.

The winger had been highly rated as a teenager, bursting on to the scene as a 16-year-old with Fulham and earning a move to City in 2015.

However, since then he has generally struggled to live up to his early billing, bar the first 18 months of his two-and-a-half-year period with Celtic.

He joins Boro until the end of the season, with Jonathan Woodgate's side – who are 16th in the Championship – hoping to eventually challenge for a play-off place having strung together four successive wins following a difficult start to the season.

Roberts has two-and-a-half years left on his City contract.

Pep Guardiola praised Manchester City's attitude in their win over Everton, saying other teams would "finish seventh or eighth" if they were so far behind the leaders.

Gabriel Jesus' second-half brace helped City to a 2-1 home victory on Wednesday as Guardiola's third-placed side moved within 11 points of pacesetters Liverpool, who have played two fewer games.

The City manager was pleased with his team's approach as they continue to fight in the Premier League despite Liverpool's big lead at the top.

"We played top. I am so delighted with the performance, the behaviour as always, as always that we are," Guardiola told a news conference.

"Being so far away from first after being champions for two seasons, a team in normal situations, in this situation, give up. And finish seventh or eighth in the table.

"Maybe we will finish seventh or eighth in the table, but not because we don't try. So, the game was always there, we played so good, and a good victory for us."

Guardiola opted for a 3-4-3 formation against Everton, starting Eric Garcia, Fernandinho and Rodri in defence, with Benjamin Mendy and Joao Cancelo as wing-backs.

The former Barcelona boss was pleased with City's execution of the new system, saying it could be a more regular option moving forward.

"Maybe we will do it again," Guardiola said. "In the first half against Sheffield United, we played with three at the back, too.

"Not just second half. We changed position, but the structure was that.

"We can do it in the future. We played it really well. The five guys are so good with the ball. Riyad [Mahrez] receives the ball in better positions and that helps, too."

City are back in action on Saturday when they host Port Vale in the FA Cup third round.

Everton's 100 per cent record under Carlo Ancelotti came unstuck in a 2-1 defeat at Manchester City, but Mikel Arteta and David Moyes got their first victories in charge of West Ham and Arsenal, respectively. 

Arteta, whose Arsenal side put in a much-improved performance, claimed a 2-0 victory over Manchester United, while West Ham crushed Bournemouth 4-0 on the Scot's return to the club.

Danny Ings scored the only goal of the game as Tottenham suffered a surprise 1-0 loss to Southampton, while top-four rivals Chelsea were held 1-1 by Brighton and Hove Albion.

There were also wins for Aston Villa, Leicester City and Watford, along with a draw between Norwich City and Crystal Palace, as 2020 got off to an eventful start, with VAR once again proving to be a big talking point.

Jesus at the double while Noble inspires Hammers

Ancelotti delivered back-to-back wins in his opening two games as Everton boss and his Toffees side frustrated City for 51 minutes in a tight game at the Etihad.

The deadlock was broken by Gabriel Jesus, who scored with a scintillating right-footed shot into the top corner from the edge of the box, and he connected with a Riyad Mahrez pass to score with a low shot seven minutes later.

Richarlison turned Theo Walcott's deflected cross into the net at the far post with 19 minutes left to give Everton hope, but they failed to find an equaliser and suffered a first defeat in six league games.

At London Stadium, Moyes produced a markedly improved performance from West Ham as they strolled to a 4-0 victory over Bournemouth, with captain Mark Noble scoring a brace.

Noble scored with a deflected shot with 17 minutes played and Sebastien Haller found the net via a bicycle kick before the Hammers' skipper converted a first-half penalty.

Felipe Anderson netted with a neat finish when Declan Rice found him with a measured pass, West Ham's fourth wrapping up their biggest margin of victory in the Premier League for over a decade.

 

Arteta off the mark at jubilant Emirates

Arsenal's home faithful were treated to a dominant display and a 2-0 victory over Manchester United that harked back to the days when Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp tormented the Red Devils in north London.

Nicolas Pepe opened the scoring in the eighth minute, firing home from 12 yards after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sead Kolasinac combined to great effect down the Arsenal left.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos doubled the hosts' lead shortly before half-time, lashing high into the net from close range after United failed to clear their lines at a corner, but Arsenal had capitulated from a winning position on this ground against Chelsea three days earlier.

There was to be no turnaround this time, however. The win moves Arsenal up to 10th in the Premier League table, while United remain fifth, but the balance of play suggested the two sides could end the season much closer together.

 

Chelsea held by Jahanbakhsh stunner

Cesar Azpilicueta scored the first Premier League goal of the decade with a close-range finish after Tammy Abraham's shot was blocked by Aaron Mooy, but Chelsea could not get the job done against Brighton.

Jahanbakhsh celebrated with tears of joy after scoring his first goal for Brighton in the 2-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday and he did not have to wait long for his second goal.

The Iran winger sent an acrobatic attempt past Kepa Arrizabalaga with six minutes of normal time remaining to deny Frank Lampard's side a third away league win on the spin.

So delighted to be able to help the team again today! Happy new year to everyone  #BHAFC pic.twitter.com/nW7p7E8zMY

— Alireza Jahanbakhsh (@Alirezajb7) January 1, 2020

Foxes march on with win at 10-man Newcastle

Despite being without the Premier League's leading scorer Jamie Vardy for a second game, firstly due to the birth of his child and this time due to a minor injury, Leicester were comfortable 3-0 winners at Newcastle.

The Foxes' incredible campaign continued thanks to goals from former Newcastle attacker Ayoze Perez, James Maddison and substitute Hamza Choudhury.

While Leicester's outside title hopes just about remain intact, moving back to within 10 points of Liverpool after playing two games more than the runaway leaders, a third defeat in a row for Newcastle leaves them five points above the relegation zone.

 

Villa pick up much-needed win while Wickham pegs bag Norwich

Villa boss Dean Smith insisted he still had the support of the dressing room in the build-up to the trip to Burnley, and that showed as Villa returned to winning ways with a 2-1 triumph at Turf Moor that saw them climb out of the relegation zone.

Wesley got the first goal after 27 minutes and the Villans added a second on the stroke of half-time when Jack Grealish scored his sixth Premier League goal in his 19th appearance this season.

Chris Wood pulled one back from Burnley's first shot on target in the 80th minute, though it was not enough to prevent a third successive loss for Sean Dyche's out-of-form side.

Meanwhile, Todd Cantwell put Norwich City ahead after just four minutes of their clash with Palace, who battled bravely to stay in the game before substitute Connor Wickham turned Wilfried Zaha's cross into the net five minutes from time to earn his side a share of the points.

Kane limps off for stuttering Spurs, Watford's revival continues

Danny Ings scored the 16th goal Tottenham have conceded in their last 11 matches when he lifted the ball over Toby Alderweireld and fired past Paulo Gazzaniga for what proved to be the only goal of the game after 17 minutes at St. Mary's.

Tottenham have taken only four points from the 12 on offer over the festive period and their misery was compounded by Harry Kane limping off after hurting his hamstring, and Jose Mourinho was shown a yellow card by referee Mike Dean late on after being involved in touchline confrontation.

Watford maintained their impressive form with a 2-1 win at home to Wolves after Gerard Deulofeu opened the scoring half an hour in with a curled finish into the bottom corner.

Abdoulaye Doucoure fired in on his 27th birthday to double the home side's tally, but Pedro Neto reduced the deficit with a deflected shot on the hour and Christian Kabasele was sent off with 19 minutes to play.

Wolves could not find a way past Ben Foster again, though, meaning just a third loss in 16 league outings for Nuno Espirito Santo's men.

Pep Guardiola hailed Gabriel Jesus after his double against Everton but also labelled Sergio Aguero "irreplaceable" at Manchester City.

Jesus' quickfire goals early in the second half ultimately proved enough to claim the points against the Toffees, who pulled one back through Richarlison following Claudio Bravo's mistake.

Meanwhile, Aguero, who marked his return from injury with a crisp finish in City's 2-0 win over Sheffield United on Sunday, remained on the bench as an unused substitute.

Brazil international Jesus now has 13 goals to his name in all competitions this season, but Guardiola insists Aguero is still number one.

"Gabriel has been excellent, but Sergio is irreplaceable," Guardiola said in quotes reported by City's official Twitter account.

"What he means for our fans, what he's done, the goal against QPR [in 2012], we need a good back-up for all the players and Sergio has a great complimentary player in Gabriel.

"They have a great relationship."

Jesus, in a post-match interview with BT Sport, said he is still attempting to learn as much as possible from Aguero.

"Of course, it's always good to start [the year] with the victory," the 22-year-old said. "The team played well, very well. I'm happy with the goals, the guys played so well today.

"I'm a striker, I have to score and try every time. We have Sergio, who scores every game. I have to learn from him. When I go on the pitch, I have to score."

City's win kept them within a point of second-placed Leicester City, though they are still 11 adrift of runaway leaders Liverpool, who play on Thursday.

Over the festive period, City beat Leicester, the Blades and Everton, though slumped to a 3-2 defeat at Wolves on December 27.

"We played great, so I am delighted for the guys. This period is so tough. We did really well. Three more points and closer to Leicester," Guardiola added.

"When you are far away from the first position sometimes people give up, but we never give up. We have to keep going. We have FA Cup then the EFL Cup. Other teams dropped points for the top four, so it was an important win."

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