The rivalry between Arsenal and Manchester United is rich with tales of title tussles and iconic Premier League players but both clubs have much to prove in Monday's meeting at Old Trafford.

Unai Emery and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are in the spotlight following unconvincing starts to the season that have left their teams cut completely loose from conversations about which side might lift the title at the end of the season.

But while performances have been inconsistent, both bosses have received backing in the transfer market and from powerful figures at their respesctive clubs.

Patience has been requested and it could well be awarded if three important points are obtained.

 

UNITED ATTACK V ARSENAL DEFENCE

Solskjaer might have left the London Stadium intent on remaining "very positive" but there was no masking the weaknesses which were on display in his team's 2-0 defeat to West Ham last weekend.

United mustered a single shot in the first half, threatened sparingly thereafter and, to compound the concern, lost Marcus Rashford to a groin injury.

Anthony Martial's fitness now becomes a matter of extreme interest with the Red Devils in desperate need of a cutting edge in attack. 

Could they rediscover a sense of adventure against the Gunners, though?

Newly promoted Aston Villa managed to put two past Arsenal, as did both Watford and Tottenham before them.

Emery's men also shipped three against Liverpool at Anfield and are now on the cusp of conceding two or more goals in five successive top-flight games for the first time since 1985.

Chelsea are the only team above the bottom five to have conceded more Premier League goals this term, the kind of generosity a shot-shy United must look to exploit. 

HEAD TO HEAD: NEMANJA MATIC V GRANIT XHAKA

United have appeared toothless in attack, Arsenal vulnerable at the back and neither side can claim to have much strength in between.

Nemanja Matic and Granit Xhaka could occupy a similar portion of the Old Trafford pitch and might take a moment to exchange sympathies after coming in for continued criticism.

Solskjaer only granted a starting place to Matic, a signing during the Jose Mourinho era, after losing Paul Pogba to injury and the Serbia international has struggled to grasp the opportunity.

His inability to create a chance in 160 minutes of action has added to United's creative limitations, likewise a passing accuracy of 80 per cent.

Xhaka's numbers are stronger in both departments but the Arsenal captain offers decidedly less when out of possession.

He averages 1.7 fewer tackles per match, concedes 2.1 more fouls and wins possession less often than Matic, doing so 8.1 times every 90 minutes compared to the United man's average of 9.

FORM GUIDE

Coming from behind with 10 men to beat Aston Villa 3-2 crucially ended Arsenal's three-match winless run in the Premier League.

A heavily rotated team trounced Nottingham Forest 5-0 in the EFL Cup but United found the going far tougher at home to Rochdale, needing penalties to progress. Still, neither of Monday's combatants will be taking much from their midweek exertions, considering the line-ups selected.

More pertinent is that Arsenal managed a 2-2 draw away to a Watford side that lost 8-0 to Manchester City in their following fixture.

United, meanwhile, may be carrying some scars from last month's deflating 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.

They edged out Leicester City upon returning from the international break but the club's past six Premier League home matches still contain three defeats, as many they suffered in their previous 52 fixtures in front of their own fans.

HISTORY SAYS…

Jesse Lingard could be the saviour for United. No, really.

The England international, introduced as a makeshift striker against West Ham, boasts four goals in all competitions against Arsenal, more than he has scored against any other opponent.

He was absent when United lost 2-0 to Arsenal in March but could be elevated into the starting XI at Old Trafford, where the visitors from north London are winless in 12 Premier League trips.

Solskjaer will hope the away side's 13-year drought helps him avoid becoming the fourth United manager in the club's history to lose each of his first two league games against the Gunners.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer urged Manchester United to become more ruthless, admitting they were "better in penalty shoot-outs than in proper games".

United needed spot-kicks to overcome League One outfit Rochdale after a disappointing 1-1 draw in their EFL Cup clash at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, Fred, Mason Greenwood and Daniel James converted penalties in a 5-3 shoot-out win.

Solskjaer called on his team, who also beat AC Milan on penalties at the International Champions Cup in pre-season, to be more aggressive.

"We go 1-0 up in many games and again we go 1-0 up and you think 'go on then'," the United manager said.

"It's the key now and it's a learning curve for these boys. We need to go for the second.

"At this club you don't just sit back and hope that's enough. If you settle for good enough that's not what we want.

"We handled it really well. I'm very pleased with the confidence. You know we're better in penalty shoot-outs than in proper games."

Greenwood had given United a 68th-minute lead with his second goal in as many games, but Solskjaer's men were forced to penalties after 16-year-old Luke Matheson's strike.

Solskjaer praised Greenwood, the 17-year-old one of the few positives for United.

"He's got two great feet. It must be a nightmare for defenders with him one-on-one in the box. He can go both ways which for me is fantastic," he said.

"You can just see that he's got quality. He will get his share of games. He's young and we have to allow him to grow."

United host Arsenal in the Premier League on Monday, while they have been drawn to face Chelsea in the EFL Cup round of 16 next month.

Chelsea's youngsters deserved the chance to shine in Wednesday's EFL Cup tie with Grimsby Town and the onus is now on them to become first-team regulars, according to Frank Lampard.

Marc Guehi, Reece James and Billy Gilmour all made their first starts for the club, while Faustino Anjorin and Ian Maatsen were introduced as second-half substitutes as Chelsea cruised into round four with a crushing 7-1 win at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues raced two goals ahead inside the opening seven minutes thanks to strikes from Ross Barkley and Michy Batshuayi, but their League Two opponents pulled one back through Matt Green.

Pedro restored his side's two-goal lead from the penalty spot, however, and further goals from Kurt Zouma, James, Batshuayi and the returning Callum Hudson-Odoi followed in the second half.

Lampard insisted it was not the perfect performance but was pleased to give the academy graduates further recognition for their hard work.

"It was pleasing on lots of levels," he said at his post-match news conference.

"They've deserved to this point to make it into the team. Billy Gilmour had a fantastic debut, running the game from midfield. 

"Marc Guehi was solid and they deserved their starts since I've been at the club - and I've known them before when they played for the Under-23s. I think they've been outstanding this year. 

"The young boys that come on as subs, who are still young boys, to show their comfort on the ball and who they are. The opportunities are there but now the hard work really begins to get in there regularly and show they're worthy of the squad." 

James, in particular, caught the eye, the 19-year-old right-back scoring his side's fifth goal and playing a part in two more.

Lampard is keen for the youngster to push on and has also challenged Hudson-Odoi to improve after he marked his return from a long-term injury with a late strike.

"Reece's performance last year at Wigan show the talent he has got. I think he is going to be a big player for this club. He showed his real qualities on the ball today," he said.

"Callum's performance, first half I wasn't so sure. I thought him and Christian [Pulisic] as wingers, the message was to hurt the line and run behind and get into the box to take people on. 

"It wasn't happening and that message didn't get across. It was reinforced pretty strongly and in the second half he [Callum] managed to get into better positions. Callum's talent means that he absolutely works hard to run behind people, to get at people, to be inside, be outside and work off the ball, all those things.

"That's where he needs to learn, because if he wants to play week in and week out, that is what he is going to have to do."

Chelsea have been paired with Manchester United in the next round and Lampard is expecting Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to bring a strong squad to Stamford Bridge.

"It is a big draw obviously," he said. "It is two big teams. I am pleased we are at home and we will see. 

"We have to respect that they have good players. They beat us 4-0 [on opening weekend in the Premier League], albeit it wasn't a 4-0 [on performance]. I am not going to sit here and talk down Man United because it will be a tough game no matter what way you look at it."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer called for patience with Manchester United's latest hero Mason Greenwood after he helped them get past Rochdale in the EFL Cup.

Greenwood opened the scoring at Old Trafford on Wednesday, the 17-year-old having previously hit his first senior goal to down Astana in the Europa League last week.

Luke Matheson, a right-back even younger than Greenwood at just 16, hit back for the League One side to take the game to a penalty shoot-out, with Greenwood among United's players to convert in a 5-3 win.

With Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial both sidelined, Greenwood could be handed a start when United host Arsenal in the Premier League on Monday.

Solskjaer, though, does not want the hype around Greenwood to grow too quickly, despite the excitement around the talented teenager.

"We always want some quality in the last third and we lacked that at times," Solskjaer said. 

"They defended well but we should have scored quite a few goals. We should have taken our chances, but we've got Mason.

"It's a good finish, he's right footed, left footed, takes the penalty with his right and scores with his left, so he's a confident finisher.

"You've got to remember he's 18 next week so give him time, he'll be a very good player."

Solskjaer's team face a trip to Chelsea next in the competition, with the fourth-round clash set for October.

"We're through so we're happy with that," he added.

"That's the first plus, then the fans are a plus, and then the penalties, the players enjoyed taking them."

Sergio Romero saved Manchester United from an embarrassing exit in the EFL Cup as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side needed penalties to knock out third-tier Rochdale after a 1-1 draw.

Mason Greenwood put United in front in the second half on Wednesday, the teenager scoring for the second week in a row after netting the winner against Astana in the Europa League.

But the League One side stunned Old Trafford with an equaliser scored by 16-year-old Luke Matheson, who was set up by United academy product Ollie Rathbone.

That sent the game to penalties and when Romero kept out Jimmy Keohane's effort, Daniel James was able to convert United's last kick and complete a 5-3 shoot-out victory.

 

Paul Pogba will make his return from an ankle injury in the EFL Cup after Manchester United included him in their team to take on Rochdale.

Pogba has not featured since August, missing international duty for France, but is back in the XI ahead of Monday's Premier League clash with Arsenal.

"It's good that he's had a couple of days in training," Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said to MUTV. "He needs a game to further his recovery and hopefully he'll be ready for Arsenal, so let's see how he goes today."

Solskjaer has made nine changes from the side that lost 2-0 at West Ham at the weekend, with 21-year-old defender Axel Tuanzebe named captain, rather than the more experienced Pogba.

Mason Greenwood, who scored his first senior goal to down Astana 1-0 in the Europa League last week, starts up front after missing the trip to London Stadium with tonsillitis.

Tahith Chong also starts for United along with Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira and Fred, while Sergio Romero deputises for David de Gea in goal.

Teenage full-back Brandon Williams is named in a United matchday squad for the first time in his career.

Rochdale, meanwhile, have included 16-year-old Luke Matheson in their side, along with United youth product Ollie Rathbone, while 15-year-old Peter Thomas is on the bench.

Liverpool are "back on our perch" after winning the Champions League, according to the club's chief executive Peter Moore.

The Reds beat Tottenham in Madrid in June to lift the famous trophy and make amends for their loss in the 2018 final.

Manchester United's legendary boss Alex Ferguson famously said on his arrival at Old Trafford that he wanted to "knock Liverpool right off their perch" with the Anfield club then the dominant force in English football.

While Liverpool are still yet to win the title in the Premier League era, Moore feels Liverpool have now usurped their old rivals, who have struggled since Ferguson's 2013 retirement, thanks to their steady growth and the work of their manager, Jurgen Klopp.

"We lived through some dark times of a difficult ownership period," Moore said at the World Football Summit in Madrid. "The fans stood up against those owners and said this not what we want for the way Liverpool Football Club should be run.

"Fenway Sports Group now, it was New England Sports Ventures, came in and acquired the club and have sat back and invested patiently and built a long-term strategy for success. They've rebuilt a major part of the stadium so that we can drive revenues.

"[They] Have eventually got Jurgen Klopp, have invested in the squad, in the backbone of the squad with Alisson in goal, with Virgil van Dijk. I would argue we have the most exciting forward line in football. All of that has come over a period of seasons.

"To the credit of those stewards, of Fenway Sports Group, they've gone through some difficult times up and down, yet have stayed the course, have never taken a penny out of the football club, but rather have invested.

"Invested in new main stand in the stadium, just finishing up the finishing touches, Melwood will be closed and we'll all move to Kirby so finally all of the football teams for Liverpool are on one facility.

"But we need to be, we're back on our perch as we famously say and we need to have capital investment throughout the club, the squad and making sure we have a world-class training centre and that's what we will have in Kirby, starting next season."

Klopp was crowned The Best FIFA Men's Coach this week, beating Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino to collect the trophy.

"Jurgen is one of the more holistic human beings you will ever meet," Moore said of the German. "Is he the best coach in the world right now? FIFA think so and that was the award he picked up in Milan the other night.

"He will sit down and he will say at times, 'it's only football', because he is a man of the world, he's cosmopolitan in his views, he's liberal in his outlook, he loves the players.

"But he has this mentality, the old Liverpool saying - don't love us when we win if you're going to hate us when we lose. So you've got the broader picture and in his mind he was already thinking about, 'right we're going to get back next year', and we did and we won it.

"Jurgen's view is that you've got to raise the players. You can't leave the players in the doldrums. It was a bad night in Kiev [when Liverpool lost to Real Madrid in the Champions League final], it was an awful night in Kiev. Not just that we lost, but the nature of how we lost.

"Fast forward 12 months later, what a wonderful night in Madrid. However, what most Liverpool fans will say is we actually won that game at Anfield three weeks prior. That was the night when you thought we can get this done. No disrespect to Tottenham, but that was the icing on the cake.

"The cake was baked against Barcelona in one of the greatest nights, if not the greatest night in Anfield football history, in the semi-final second leg.

"You look to Tottenham's credit what they did against Ajax in that second leg - arguably two of the greatest second legs in Champions League history - but what Jurgen's able to do is keep that ship going straight. To motivate people, not just the guys on the pitch but his staff, his coaching staff, his sport science staff, the people that travel with the team, the backbone of the backroom staff, and he keeps everybody in an even keel."

After requesting a move away from Paris Saint-Germain, who would have thought Neymar could be in line to sign a contract extension?

Neymar was determined to return to LaLiga champions Barcelona but a deal did not materialise prior to the transfer window closing.

Now, Neymar's long-term future could be in Paris…

 

TOP STORY – PSG HOPEFUL OF EXTENDING NEYMAR CONTRACT

Paris Saint-Germain are hopeful of signing superstar Neymar to a new contract, reports Le10Sport.

LaLiga champions Barcelona were in talks to re-sign Neymar from PSG after the Brazilian's world-record €222million transfer in 2017, however, an agreement could not be reached.

Neymar, though, has reportedly held talks with PSG over extending his contract in the French capital.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Sun says Manchester United will target Juventus veteran Mario Mandzukic in January. The 33-year-old Croatian was linked with a move to Old Trafford before the window shut. But with United facing a crisis following injuries to Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial after Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez's exits, the Red Devils are believed to be weighing up Mandzukic.

AC Milan turned down the chance to sign Chelsea sensation Tammy Abraham, according to Tuttomercatoweb. The 21-year-old has already scored seven Premier League goals this season. However, Milan reportedly pulled the plug on the deal due to his apparent inexperience at the top level.

United and Juventus are reportedly scouting Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali. According to Gazzetta dello Sport, a United scout was in attendance for Tuesday's Serie A clash between Brescia and Juve. Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund are also reportedly eyeing the 19-year-old.

Napoli are in talks with centre-back Nikola Maksimovic over a new long-term contract, reports Corriere dello Sport.

- Sky Sports claims Atletico Madrid are tracking Boca Juniors sensation Agustin Almendra. LaLiga rivals Sevilla and Valencia have also reportedly inquired about the 19-year-old.

Unai Emery does not believe Hector Bellerin will be able to start for Arsenal against Manchester United in the Premier league despite his successful return to action on Tuesday.

Bellerin, sidelined since January with a knee injury, ended his prolonged absence by coming off the bench in Arsenal's 5-0 EFL Cup win over Nottingham Forest.

The 24-year-old Spaniard replaced debutant Kieran Tierney in the 77th minute and made an instant impact, teeing up Joe Willock for Arsenal's third goal.

Bellerin was a key figure in the starting XI for Arsenal prior to his injury, but head coach Emery is not anticipating the full-back being fast-tracked into the team for Monday's trip to Old Trafford.

Asked about Bellerin at a media conference, Emery told reporters: "He wanted to play 90. He said I'm ready and wanted to play.

"I think no [he won't be ready to start against Manchester United]. Maybe in his mind yes. We need to listen to the doctor.

"The first minutes were amazing for him... The most important for him is his attitude. He wants to help us."

Rob Holding marked his comeback from a knee problem that kept him out nearly 10 months with a thumping header to put Arsenal 2-0 up.

"It is perfect to have more options at centre back. His spirit, his positive minutes. Every day in training he helps us to have more performances like a team," Emery said of Holding.

"He needed to take minutes and confidence. It was a perfect match. He was a little tired at the end, he's happy."

Gabriel Martinelli opened the scoring on his first start for the club and the 18-year-old rounded off a rout with a deflected stoppage-time strike.

"We were waiting and watching him [Martinelli], how he could improve with us," added Emery. "He played very well in pre-season, he was working each training with a big spirit and performance.

"I spoke with him and told him to have some patience for his opportunity to do like he was doing. Tonight he did that. He deserved it.

"He is very humble, he fights, he's hungry to have that opportunity to help us."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been backed by Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward - although he is expected to deliver trophies.

United have won only five of their past 19 matches in all competitions, the early optimism of Solskjaer's arrival last December having mostly evaporated since he signed a three-year contract in March.

A dismal 2-0 loss to West Ham on Sunday means Solskjaer has taken 48 points from 27 Premier League games in charge, the same tally Jose Mourinho managed in his final 27 matches in the job before he was sacked.

With pressure from outside Old Trafford starting to build on the manager, Woodward has pledged to show patience and not become "influenced by the short-term".

However, while he considers Solskjaer's recruitment policy and commitment to attacking football to be laudable, Woodward accepts there is a pressure to win silverware.

Speaking to investors after United announced record revenues of £627.1million for June 2018 to June 2019, Woodward said: "We and our growing global fan base demand success. Success means winning trophies. That target has never changed for Manchester United.

"The success on the business side underpins the success on the football side.

"Much of the progress made around that investment - the academy, the recruitment department and the training ground facilities - is behind the scenes and therefore isn't immediately apparent to those on the outside looking in.

"We've materially expanded our recruitment department to improve efficiency and productivity. Recruitment decisions are worked on day to day by this department and the manager and his team.

"Along with the commitments we made to Ole and his staff in March, this has given us the building blocks for success.

"Whilst we're confident this investment will deliver results, it's important that we're patient, while Ole and his team build for the future. We will continue to focus on the long-term strategy and won't be influenced by short-term distractions."

United have long been tipped to appoint a director of football to streamline their recruitment process, but talk on the creation of such a role has gone quiet in recent months.

Woodward says plans remain in place to "evolve the structure on the football side" but was nonetheless pleased with the more streamlined way in which United approached the most recent transfer market.

United signed Daniel James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire for a combined reported fee of £143million, while selling Romelu Lukaku and loaning Alexis Sanchez to Inter, sending Chris Smalling to Roma on a season-long deal and allowing Matteo Darmian to join Parma.

"The club was linked with hundreds of players, almost all without foundation," Woodward said. "We approached the window in a focused and disciplined way. Our new signings joined a strong squad that included [players with] new contracts.

"We're optimistic for the future. The sale and loaning of players has allowed the manager to involve more young players and lay the foundations and a culture.

"Regarding the speculation around the head of football, we are continually reviewing and looking at the potential to evolve our structure on the football side. Much of the speculation around this type of role revolves around recruitment - an area that we've evolved in recent years.

"As we've already mentioned, we feel the players we've signed in the summer demonstrate this approach is the right one.

"The ethos on attacking football is the right way forward."

Manchester United have announced record revenues of £627.1million and an operating profit of £50m for 2019.

A run to the Champions League quarter-finals and an increase in broadcasting revenue helped the Red Devils achieve record figures for the fiscal year.

Revenues were within the estimated range of £615m to £630m, as noted in their Q3 results, but are expected to fall to £580m or below in 2020 due to a lack of Champions League football.

United are second only to Real Madrid in terms of global revenue in football, the LaLiga giants having generated £662.5m in 2018, according to this year's Deloitte Football Money League.

The positive financial figures come despite a difficult run of results for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side since March, the Red Devils winning just five of their past 19 matches in all competitions.

Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said in a statement: "We remain focused on our plan of rebuilding the team and continuing to strengthen our youth system, in line with the philosophy of the club and the manager.

"This is reflected in the recent addition of three exciting first-team players, key player contract extensions and the talent we have coming through our Academy. Everyone at Manchester United is committed to delivering on our primary objective of winning trophies."

United signed Daniel James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire in the most recent transfer window for a combined reported fee of close to £143m.

They sold Romelu Lukaku to Inter for approximately £74m and also sent Alexis Sanchez on loan to San Siro, helping to reduce their costs.

New contracts for Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Scott McTominay, David de Gea, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw have also contributed to a £36.3m increase in employee benefit expenses compared to last year.

In February, the club announced that sacking Jose Mourinho led to an "exceptional" cost of £19.6m.

The club's net debt has fallen by £50.1m to £203.6m, primarily due to an increase in cash flow based partly on commercial contracts.

In 2019, United agreed either renewed or new terms on 10 global sponsorship deals and struck a partnership with Harves China, a real estate development firm, "to open multiple club 'Experience Centres'".

Paul Pogba is expected to return from injury in Manchester United's EFL Cup clash with Rochdale at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

The midfielder has been unavailable since withdrawing from the France squad at the start of September with an ankle injury.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hopes Pogba will play at least some part of the Rochdale game with a view to building up fitness ahead of next Monday's Premier League meeting with Arsenal.

"He'll probably get some minutes against Rochdale," Solskjaer said on United's official website. "But we definitely think he's ready for Arsenal."

Pogba's return is a welcome boost for United in the wake of a deeply disappointing 2-0 league defeat at West Ham on Sunday.

The former Juventus star has not played for United since the 1-1 draw at Southampton on August 31.

Marcus Rashford suffered a groin injury at London Stadium and will be unavailable for the Rochdale match, with United still unclear over how long he will need to recover.

Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw are also still sidelined, while Eric Bailly continues his recovery from a serious knee injury.

Mason Greenwood, who missed the loss to West Ham due to tonsillitis, is hoping to be available.

The 17-year-old, who scored his first senior goal for the club to earn a 1-0 win over Astana in the Europa League last week, is United's only central attacking option in the absence of Rashford and Martial.

Fit-again Jesse Lingard was used as a makeshift striker against the Hammers following Rashford's injury.

Uncertainty around David de Gea's future could have come to hurt Manchester United, according to former goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, who is relieved the player has extended his contract.

Last week, the Spain international signed a new four-year deal, with the option of a fifth year, to bring an end to speculation over his commitment to the club.

United had been faced with the prospect of losing De Gea on a free transfer in 2020 if they had not agreed to fresh terms, with Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Real Madrid all linked with the 28-year-old.

Former United star Schmeichel thinks the extension is a major boost to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who is now able to concentrate on other concerns within the squad.

"Finally he signed the contract because it's been one of those situations that if it drags on too long it will actually hurt the football club," said Schmeichel. "It gets to a point where you say, 'Either you sign the contract or you leave but you tell us because we need to move on'.

"The situation at Manchester United is that we know quite a few of the players in the squad have to leave for the club to progress and we need to bring more players in, different kinds of players.

"I think the manager needs to know, 'Is David staying or is he going? Because I have to move on as a manager and we have to move on', but he signed and that's great.

"He's been, I think, in the last six years unquestionably the best player we've had, so it's nice. That box is now ticked and Ole can start looking at other areas he needs to improve in."

De Gea has played in all six of United's Premier League matches in an inconsistent start to the 2019-20 season.

He kept clean sheets in home wins against Chelsea and Leicester City but was at fault for Crystal Palace's second goal in a shock 2-1 win at Old Trafford last month, while he could do nothing to prevent a 2-0 loss to West Ham last Sunday.

De Gea is likely to be rested for Wednesday's EFL Cup match at home to Rochdale but is expected to face Arsenal next Monday.

Real Madrid have set their sights on Mauricio Pochettino to be their next coach and they are also interested in a Premier League star, according to reports.

Pochettino has regularly been linked with a move away from Tottenham, where he has impressed since taking charge in 2014.

And the LaLiga giants are said to be eyeing the Argentinian amid pressure on Zinedine Zidane.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID EYEING POCHETTINO, STERLING

Real Madrid are ready to make an approach for Pochettino, according to The Mirror.

The Tottenham manager will be Madrid's top target if they decide to replace Zidane, the report says.

Madrid eased the pressure on Zidane with a 1-0 win at Sevilla on Sunday, moving them level on points with LaLiga leaders Athletic Bilbao.

Meanwhile, The Athletic reports Madrid met with Manchester City star Raheem Sterling's representatives during the off-season and the attacker is keen to play for the LaLiga giants one day, while the Premier League champions are confident the England international will stay.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United have made a poor start to the season, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is set to get backing in January. The Daily Mail reports United will back Solskjaer if he wants to strengthen his team, who are eighth in the table.

- Needing to bolster their defence, Juventus could make a move for Paris Saint-Germain full-back Thomas Meunier in January, according to Tuttosport. A deal could include midfielder Emre Can heading to Paris.

- Previously linked with Manchester United, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is set to renew his contract at Lazio, according to Il Messaggero. The deal, to be worth €3m per season, will reportedly be done by December.

- Mario Mandzukic is still unsure about his future. Tuttosport reports clubs in Qatar are still trying to sign the Juventus striker, but the Croatian may instead wait for a move to the Premier League in January.

- Italy youth international Sandro Tonali is catching the eye at Brescia. AC Milan and Manchester United are monitoring the 19-year-old midfielder, according to Calciomercato.

- Staying at Milan, Calciomercato says the Serie A giants are still looking at PSV forward Donyell Malen. The 20-year-old Netherlands international has scored seven goals in six Eredivisie games this season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Jose Mourinho has a right to voice his opinion on Manchester United after the former Red Devils boss strongly criticised their performance in a 2-0 Premier League loss at West Ham.

Andriy Yarmolenko and Aaron Cresswell scored to consign United to defeat at London Stadium, with Solskjaer's men without a win away from home in nine matches in all competitions.

Mourinho, appearing as a pundit for Sky Sports, said he could find no positives to take from United's display, adding: "We were bad last season, but I don't see any improvement this season."

Solskjaer, though, noted United were beaten on their previous visit to London Stadium, sliding to a 3-1 loss under Mourinho's leadership in September 2018.

"I think he's got a right to his opinion," Solskjaer told a news conference when asked about Mourinho's comments.

"We lost here last year, it's always a difficult ground to go to and we hoped to do better than we did. We hope for better.

"But the key moments they grasped and we didn't. I have to say, two fantastic finishes from two left feet. We just didn't take the chances when we had them.

"Of course, when you lose a game you're disappointed. It's a game that can go both ways, as you expect away from home in the Premier League.

"It's a good group to work with, they're determined. Sometimes along the road you hit some bumps, some highs and lows, this group is determined and they have desire. It's a good atmosphere in the dressing room and they've got their focus right."

Solskjaer confirmed Marcus Rashford - who has only scored once since a brace in the 4-0 win over Chelsea on opening weekend - needs a scan after he was taken off with a groin injury but could be out for "a little while".

That left United having to field Jesse Lingard as a striker as teenager Mason Greenwood was unavailable due to tonsillitis and Anthony Martial was sidelined by injury.

United allowed Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to join Inter without signing any replacements in attack, but Solskjaer continues to stand by that decision.

"It's one of these moments, we've had historically lots of centre-backs struggling with injuries," he added. "We've come down here and Michael Carrick's played centre-back, Darren Fletcher has, now it's strikers. 

"It's just how it's gone. Hopefully Mason and Anthony will be back for Arsenal [on September 30], definitely, hopefully one of them for Rochdale [on Wednesday in the EFL Cup]."

Pressed on why Sanchez was permitted to depart on loan, leaving United short of options, Solskjaer said: "We made a decision on that and I still think it was the best one for us, and for Alexis, and we agreed on that one.

"We didn't create enough chances but we created big chances, some big moments that we didn't take, and they scored although they didn't create too many either. It's a game that could have gone both ways. When you've got Rashford and Dan James I don't think pace is the problem.

"There's a few in the first half we turned down a key pass, we had two chances in the second half we could have again and I'm sure we'd score more than we miss.

"This group, they want to do what we want to do, they work in training. Like I said, there's key moments in games that can tip them in our favour compared to theirs. You can make a bad decision on a pass, left, right or centre, but the attitude is there.

"That's not the problem. It's the quality in our decision-making and sometimes in their execution."

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