David Beckham's Inter Miami are trying to woo Cristiano Ronaldo to MLS.

Ronaldo, 36, is contracted at Juventus until 2022, but his next move is seemingly already a discussion point.

And MLS could suit nicely if Beckham has his way.

 

TOP STORY – BECKHAM'S INTER MIAMI EYE CRISTIANO

Beckham is speaking to Ronaldo's representatives about a move to Inter Miami, according to todofichajes.com.

The Portugal international is understood to be interested by the challenge of joining the club in the United States.

The financial contract would be massive for Ronaldo but he may potentially make the move next January, lowering the transfer fee, given the MLS runs from March to December.

Lionel Messi was reportedly previously sounded out about a possible US switch.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Express are reporting that Gareth Bale's recent form upturn means Tottenham are now keen to sign him permanently, with the Welshman having joined on loan from Real Madrid. Subsequently, the funds availed from a permanent transfer could enable Madrid to enter the fray for Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe.

West Ham, Leicester City, Southampton, Brighton and Hove Albion and Aston Villa are among the list of clubs interested in Tammy Abraham if Chelsea deem him surplus to requirements, according to The Telegraph.

- The Star claims the Hammers are also keen on two other young English strikers; Arsenal's Eddie Nketiah and Brentford's Ivan Toney.

- Deportivo Alaves goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco is being pursued by Premier League pair Leeds United and Southampton, according to todofichajes.com.

David Alaba has appeared set to swap Bayern Munich for Real Madrid.

Alaba is keen for a new challenge following a successful partnership with Bundesliga and Champions League holders Bayern.

But three of Europe's elite are still reportedly eyeing Alaba.

 

TOP STORY – TRIO NOT GIVING UP ON ALABA

Liverpool, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain are still trying to sign wantaway Bayern Munich star David Alaba, according to Fabrizio Romano's Benchwarmers column.

Alaba will leave Bundesliga champions Bayern on a free transfer at the end of the season and he has been tipped to join LaLiga holders Real Madrid.

However, Liverpool, Chelsea and PSG are still pursuing the Austria international.

 

ROUND-UP

- RAC1 suggests Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is one of Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta's targets if Ronald Koeman does not remain at Camp Nou beyond 2020-21.

Madrid are interested in Manchester United target and Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, reports the Daily Star. Sancho was wanted by United at the start of the season but a big-money move did not materialise.

- Mundo Deportivo claims Atletico Madrid are tracking Lyon midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, who is valued at around €25million.

Manchester United and Premier League rivals Leeds United are eyeing Torino defender Nicolas Nkoulou, according to Tuttosport. The 30-year-old is set to become a free agent at season's end.

- L'Equipe says Mauro Icardi is free to leave PSG if a suitable offer arrives amid links to Juventus. Icardi is contracted to the Ligue 1 champions until 2024, but PSG are focused on re-signing Kylian Mbappe and making Moise Kean's loan deal from Everton permanent. If Mbappe departs for Madrid, PSG will look to raise funds by selling Icardi as they dream of Tottenham's Harry Kane and Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland.

Mikel Arteta affirmed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's importance to Arsenal, insisting having the striker at his best is vital to the future of the club.

Aubameyang marked his first Premier League start since January 18 with his first hat-trick in the competition, surpassing 200 goals in Europe's top five leagues in the process as Arsenal beat Leeds United 4-2 on Sunday.

Having opened the scoring 13 minutes in, Aubameyang doubled his tally from the spot – the goal which saw him become the ninth player to score 200 times across Europe's elite divisions since his Ligue 1 debut in 2009.

Hector Bellerin added a well-crafted third before Aubameyang completed his hat-trick two minutes into the second half, though Pascal Struijk and Helder Costa hit back to give Arsenal a fright.

It was the first time Arteta's team have scored four times in a league game at Emirates Stadium since July last season, and after what has been a stop-start season for Aubameyang – due to injury issues and personal reasons – the Gunners' boss reiterated the 31-year-old's importance.

"I thought he was superb today, he has been training really good the last week or so, he looked back to normal," Arteta told a news conference.

"He looked really committed in training, really hungry and today he had a great performance, not only for the goals but the way he worked without the ball and the way he worked every Leeds defender, he set the tone.

"We know that a big part of our future success is related to Auba being at his best and scoring as many goals as possible.

"If he is in that type of form we are going to be closer to winning football matches, that is for sure – we cannot just rely on him but he is a big piece of our puzzle and you saw today that when he is firing he is a difficult player to play against."

With Alexandre Lacazette on the bench, Aubameyang started in his preferred central role on Sunday and duly delivered the goods.

The former Borussia Dortmund star had a game-high five attempts, with three of them on target, and another one hitting the crossbar late on.

He also created two chances, behind only Leeds' Raphinha (three), and Arteta was delighted that his decision to play Aubameyang through the middle proved fruitful.

"We have the options depending on the game and the options and the area we want to explore," he added. "I thought it could be a good option today and it worked well."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hit a personal milestone as his first Premier League hat-trick saw Arsenal past Leeds United on Sunday.

Aubameyang and Hector Bellerin put Arsenal 4-0 up by the 47th minute at Emirates Stadium, though Leeds did strike back twice to make things a little more uncomfortable for Mikel Arteta's side.

That match followed on from Wolves beating Southampton in the day's early kick-off, and West Brom holding Manchester United to a 1-1 draw – Bruno Fernandes' stunner earning the Red Devils a point.

In the late game, lowly Fulham picked up a much-needed win by seeing off a lacklustre Everton 2-0 at Goodison Park.

ARSENAL 4-2 LEEDS UNITED: DOUBLE CENTURY UP FOR AUBA

On his first league start since January 18, Aubameyang was in sparkling form against Leeds.

Having opened the scoring after 13 minutes, Aubameyang netted from the penalty spot shortly before half-time, bringing up his 200th goal across Europe's "top five" leagues.

It was the 31-year-old's 369th appearance across spells at Lille (two goals), Monaco (two), Saint-Etienne (37), Borussia Dortmund (98) and Arsenal (62).

Since his Ligue 1 debut in 2009, he is one of just nine players to score 200 or more goals across the continent's five leading divisions.

Arsenal scored four (or more) goals at the Emirates for the first time in the Premier League this season, having last done so in a 4-0 win over Norwich City in July of last year.

Leeds, meanwhile, have won just one of their last 24 away league games in London (D6 L17), losing all four such matches this season by an aggregate 14-4 score, and the Whites remain without a win in nine meetings with Arsenal in all competitions (D2 L7).

Aubameyang was also the third player in Premier League history to score a hat-trick on Valentine's Day, after Matt Le Tissier vs Liverpool in 1994 and Michael Owen vs Sheffield Wednesday in 1998.

WEST BROM 1-1 MANCHESTER UNITED: MORE BRUNO BRILLIANCE SAVES LACKLUSTRE RED DEVILS

The Red Devils' only win from their previous five top-flight matches was the 9-0 hammering of Southampton at Old Trafford (D3 L1), while the Baggies have just one win in 11 under Sam Allardyce and have conceded nine more goals than any other team since his first game at the helm.

The ever-reliable Fernandes scored United's leveller just before half-time at the Hawthorns, with the Red Devils now recovering 22 points from losing positions this term – 10 more than any other team.

The Portuguese playmaker has 38 goal involvements in as many games for United – the only player with more in their opening 38 in Premier League history is Andrew Cole (46 in 1993-94 for Newcastle United).

West Brom's goal was scored after just 83 seconds by Mbaye Diagne – the earliest conceded by United in a Premier League game since Christian Eriksen's 11-second strike for Spurs in January 2018. He is the 12th different Senegalese player to score under Allardyce.

United full-back Luke Shaw has five league assists for the season, the most he has managed in a single campaign – he only had seven in total prior to the start of this season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side are unbeaten in all 12 away Premier League matches this season (W8 D4), only the fourth time a team has avoided defeat in their first 12 away Premier League games of a season: Arsenal in 2001-02 and 2003-04, and Liverpool in 2019-20, all of whom went on to win the title.

SOUTHAMPTON 1-2 WOLVES: SAINTS MARCH INTO CLUB-RECORD WORST RUN

It has been a miserable time for Southampton recently with Sunday's defeat to Wolves at St Mary's settled by second-half goals from Ruben Neves and Pedro Neto, which cancelled out Danny Ings' 25th-minute opener.

The Saints have now lost six consecutive league matches for the first time in their history, while they have led in each of their last four top-flight matches against Wolves without winning any of them (D2 L2), resulting in 10 points lost – the most points one side have dropped against another since the start of last season.

Only Liverpool (14) and Manchester United (12) have won more Premier League matches after going behind than Wolves' 10 since the start of 2018-19.

Meanwhile, winger Neto has been directly involved in nine Premier League goals this season (five goals and four assists), which represents the most of any under-21 player in the competition this campaign.

On the opposition side, Ings is one of only four players to score 30 Premier League goals since the start of last season, along with Mohamed Salah (36), Jamie Vardy (35) and Harry Kane (31).

EVERTON 0-2 FULHAM: MAJA MAGIC BOOSTS COTTAGERS

It was a first Premier League start to remember for Josh Maja, who is the second-youngest player to score on his full debut for Fulham in the competition, after Collins John versus Blackburn Rovers in April 2004 (18y 178d).

Maja is also the first Nigerian to mark his first Premier League start with a brace since Efan Ekoku for Norwich City back in May 1993 (v Middlesbrough).

It helped Fulham pick up their first-ever away win at Everton in league competition, on what was their 28th attempt. Coming into the game, they had lost each of their last 22 away league games against the Toffees.

The Cottagers consequently have a first Premier League victory since November, ending a run of 12 games without a win in the competition.

Everton have now lost three of their last four Premier League games at Goodison Park (D1), as many defeats as they suffered in Carlo Ancelotti's first 17 home games in charge in the competition (W8 D6).

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang revelled in his stunning return to Arsenal's starting line-up after his hat-trick propelled the Gunners to a 4-2 win over Leeds United.

Aubameyang put Arsenal 2-0 up by the 41st minute of Sunday's clash, opening the scoring early on before doubling his tally with a penalty.

The spot-kick marked his 200th goal across Europe's top five leagues, with the 31-year-old then completing his first Premier League hat-trick two minutes after the restart.

That goal, which came after Hector Bellerin had rounded off a neat team move, put Arsenal 4-0 up, though Pascal Struijk and Helder Costa made life uncomfortable in the second half.

Aubameyang had not started a league match since January 18, with the Gabon striker having been handed a leave of absence to help care for his ill mother.

He was quick to hail the support he received from Arsenal, both internally and from the fanbase.

"Happy, really happy, and my kids are going to be happy because they're going to get it [the match ball]," Aubameyang told Sky Sports.

"Really happy with the performance from the team today, we knew that it was going to be a hard game, they never gave up, they fought a lot, in the end I think we had good game management.

"Maybe a bit nervy [at 4-2] but we managed it well in the end, we won the game. It was important to show that this is our home, this is where we have to win games.

"It means a lot to me. I'm a guy who always works hard, tries to give the best, for first my family and then the team as well. It's been a tough time for me but now it's time to get the smile back, score goals and win games.

"From everybody around the club, everyone was giving a lot of love to me, my mum and my family – I'm really proud to be part of this family, I have to say thank you to everyone at the club and the fans as well because I received a lot of messages.

"Today's win and the goals are for them."

Mikel Arteta was delighted with the all-round discipline and intensity shown by his side – factors he believes are the only way to match up to Marcelo Bielsa's free-flowing team, who have now conceded 42 goals but also scored 40 in the league.

"Very pleased with the result, very happy with the performance, especially in the first half against a fantastic team that make life so difficult for you and really put high demands into every action, with or without the ball," Arteta told Sky Sports.

"We read the situations really well and created big problems for them. I said to the players at half-time that Leeds will never give up, they throw everything at you and that's what they've done. We scored the fourth goal, could have scored more but they made it hard.

"Every action, you have to be full gas. If you don't take the game like that you are in big trouble. You have to be very precise to find the next pass, the next movement.

"It was great, the amount of chances we created and the types of goals we scored, I am really pleased with that."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang showed Leeds United little love on Valentine's Day as his first Premier League hat-trick led Arsenal to a 4-2 triumph.

Making his first league start since January 18, Aubameyang put Arsenal 2-0 up by the 41st minute on Sunday and then rounded off his hat-trick early in the second half.

Aubameyang's second goal marked his 200th across 369 appearances in Europe's "top five" leagues, with Hector Bellerin making it 3-0 four minutes later.

Arsenal went some way to undoing their hard work as goals from Pascal Struijk and Helder Costa gave Leeds hope, but Mikel Arteta's side ultimately held firm.

Patrick Bamford had the game's first meaningful attempt when he headed straight at Bernd Leno, but where the Leeds forward failed, Aubameyang showed no such profligacy.

Having been given space and time to square up Luke Ayling, Aubameyang dispatched a drilled finish into the bottom-left corner, though Illan Meslier could have done better.

Arsenal looked set to have the chance to double their lead when Liam Cooper bundled into Bukayo Saka in the box, only for referee Stuart Attwell to overturn his decision to award a penalty after checking the pitchside monitor.

Yet Leeds did not capitalise on their luck, Meslier getting himself into a tangle when he dallied on the ball and felled Saka, with Aubameyang slamming home from 12 yards.

It soon got worse for the visitors – Saka toying with their defence before Dani Ceballos slotted through for Bellerin to arrow in at Meslier's near post.

The contest appeared over two minutes after the restart when Aubameyang turned in Emile Smith Rowe's cross-shot to complete his hat-trick.

Struijk's fine header ruined Arsenal's clean sheet and when Costa thumped in Leeds had hope of an unlikely comeback.

Bamford had a penalty appeal turned down as Leeds rallied further but Marcelo Bielsa's team could not forge a memorable turnaround, with Aubameyang denied a fourth by the crossbar.

Martin Odegaard was named in Arsenal's starting line-up for the first time in their Premier League meeting with Leeds United on Sunday, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returned to the first XI.

After joining on loan from Real Madrid for the rest of the season in January, Odegaard made his first two appearances as a substitute.

The 22-year-old playmaker was handed his first start in place of Nicolas Pepe as one of five changes from Mikel Arteta compared to the team that started in a 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa last weekend.

Having only been used off the bench at Villa Park after returning from a leave of absence last month, Aubameyang was picked to lead the line ahead of Alexandre Lacazette.

David Luiz and Bernd Leno returned from suspension and were brought in for Rob Holding and Mat Ryan respectively, while Dani Ceballos joined Granit Xhaka in midfield with Thomas Partey out injured.

Arsenal are unbeaten in their last eight games against Leeds, a run that dates back to a 3-2 Premier League loss in May 2003.

Since a goalless draw with the Gunners in November, none of Leeds' 13 top-flight away games have ended in a draw.

The Whites have won seven of those fixtures and were looking to record three straight Premier League wins on their travels for the first time since August 2002.

However, Marcelo Bielsa was without influential midfielder Kalvin Phillips, who is injured.

Roses are red, violets are blue, have we got the perfect Valentine's Day content for you!

Questionable rhymes aside (okay, very questionable), love is in the air as long-standing couples and newly formed relationships celebrate the day of romance on Sunday.

The world of football is certainly no stranger to the language of love, so before you crack open a bottle of red and exchange cheap knock-off gifts with your significant other why not get some inspiration for love with our Valentine's Day facts with some help from Cupid!

(Well not Cupid, Opta – but the team at Opta are full of love!)

MATT LE KISS-IER LOVES TO SCORE ON VALENTINE'S DAY

Valentine's Day is of course a day for love (and overpaying for those last-minute flowers and cards you forgot to buy…).

Two players have been particularly good at spreading the joy on February 14th with Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier and ex-Liverpool striker Michael Owen each scoring three times in the Premier League on this date – the most of all players.

Here's something even more interesting about that stat, though – each man's tally is a result of scoring a Valentine's Day hat-trick.

Le Tissier registered three against the Reds back in 1994, while Owen took home the match ball with a treble versus Sheffield Wednesday four years later.

Owen's three goals are part of 12 Liverpool have tallied on the day of love – comfortably the most by a team. Arsenal follow on seven, with Aston Villa and Southampton on four.

A ROSE FOR THE LADY?

Flowers are synonymous with Valentine's Day but none more so than the rose.

Two players named Rose have plied their trade in the Premier League – Danny (194 appearances) and Matthew (five appearances). The former, of course, is an England international who with his marauding runs from full-back has often been a, ahem, thorn in the side of opponents…

There are other love-themed names to have featured in the top flight. Valentino Lazaro played 13 times in the Premier League for Newcastle United on loan last term, while Valentin Roberge made 10 appearances for north east rivals Sunderland.

The Black Cats also had Donald Love on their books, the defender having previously represented Manchester United once in the top flight.

FOXES RACK UP THE CARDS

Whether from a partner or a secret admirer, it's always nice to receive a card or two on Valentine's Day.

Unless of course you're playing in the Premier League, in which case you want to see the referee keep their cards in their pockets.

In this regard, Leicester City have not been overly successful – the seven yellow cards representing the most received by a team on Valentine's Day. Arsenal follow closely behind with six, with Manchester City on four.

The Foxes also fare badly when it comes to red cards, having picked up two on February 14th – Danny Simpson and Hamza Choudhury account for those dismissals. The only other player to have been sent off on Valentine's Day is Everton hero Duncan Ferguson ... no, we weren't shocked either.

THE BEST BROMANCES

It goes without saying that we don't need to confine our love sharing to one manufactured day of the year…

No, we should be spreading the joy in our hearts all year round and these strike partnerships certainly succeed in that category.

Going back to the start of the 2015-16 season, no two players have combined for more goals than Spurs duo Harry Kane and Son Heung-min (33).

In fact, Kane features three times in the top-five – also ranking third with Christian Eriksen (19), and sharing 18 with Dele Alli.

Manchester City pairing Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne are second with 20, while Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez (18), who fired Leicester to shock title glory in 2015-16, also feature.

Thomas Partey's injury problems since joining Arsenal have taken a toll on the midfielder, according to manager Mikel Arteta.

Partey joined the Gunners for £45million from Atletico Madrid in October and appeared a perfect answer to a problem position in the midfield engine room.

However, a hip issue meant he was restricted to four Premier League starts before the turn of the year and was forced off at half-time during the latter of those.

He returned to start in five consecutive league matches from mid-January onwards but the 27-year-old Ghana international sustained a hamstring injury during last weekend's 1-0 loss at Aston Villa.

Speaking ahead of Sunday's match against Leeds United at Emirates Stadium, Arteta conceded Partey's latest setback is more serious than first anticipated.

"It is a difficult one, he felt something during the game and we didn't think it was too bad but after the scan looked a little bit worse," he said.

"He won't be available to play against Leeds and we will see how it evolves in the next two days, but it is a muscular issue.

"He was devastated, we were all devastated because we know the importance of Thomas and we haven't had him since we signed him.

"I think he has only played 90 minutes once since he has come back from injury, so it is a big blow for us.

"But he is adapting to the league, he has been very unlucky as well and he is very frustrated because he is a very competitive guy who wants to feel important and be important for the team.

"At the moment the injuries are restricting a lot of game time for him."

Kieran Tierney is also out of the Leeds match, but the Scotland defender at least has light at the end of the tunnel following a knee sprain and is expected back in training next week.

"We have to see how the knee reacts when he starts to get a bit more load," Arteta explained.

"He hasn't had much left but he is very positive at the moment, he is in good spirits and he is desperate to get back in the team and we will see in the next few days.

"The moment he starts to train with the team [we will] see how he is feeling and how he reacts."

Nicolas Pepe was sent off when the sides drew 0-0 at Elland Road earlier in the season but the club-record signing has had a better time of things lately, scoring in each of the recent trips to Southampton and Wolves.

"Again, he can maintain that level now for months, not weeks," Arteta said, although he feels the improvement by the former Lille winger is clear to see.

"I think there has been a click with him, even in his mentality, how he's approaching every training session, the importance of every action in the game and how he can sustain his focus and his determination during games.

"I really like his attitude. What he's done in the last few weeks I think it's been much better.

"He still has a lot of room to improve and grow and he's willing to do that so I'm expecting him to go to the next level very soon."

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has revealed he received threats to his family on social media and called for more to be done to protect those in football from abuse.

Footballers being subjected to vile messages online has become an increasingly prominent issue over recent weeks, with Manchester United's Marcus Rashford and Chelsea's Reece James among those to have been racially abused.

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce explained he had received death threats via social media and referee Mike Dean has been stood down from Premier League action this weekend after his family were abused.

Speaking ahead of Arsenal's match against Leeds United at Emirates Stadium, Arteta stated he had been placed in a similarly grim position.

"I prefer not to read it, but we're all exposed to it in this industry," he said, in a week when the Premier League launched its No Room for Racism Action Plan.

"That's why I prefer not to read because it would affect me personally much more [but] in the moment someone wants to touch my family. Because it happened, the club was aware of it and tried to do something about it.

"That's it, we have to live with it. It's not going to stop tomorrow, we know that. But medium, long-term can we do something about it? That's what I'm pushing for.

"It's part of the job. I'm not the only one who is suffering these kind of things. When you're winning, everything is beautiful and you are incredible, you are the best coach.

"When you lose it's completely the opposite. It's not pleasant. When it goes personal against me, I can take it. When the family is involved it's a different story. We are lucky that the club was very supportive when those things happened."

Arsenal have spoken to their players to offer support given the realities of the current climate and Arteta also offered his backing to Dean.

"Of course, we've spoken internally about the players and given them advice to try and protect them as much as possible," he said.

"The incident that occurred a few days ago with Mike Dean was completely unacceptable and we should stand with Mike and the referee community.

"They have an incredibly difficult role at the moment in the league, with a lot of key decisions that affect teams one way or another.

"They try to do their best, they prepare in the best possible way and we all make mistakes. We have to support them."

Asked whether he still went on his own social media platforms, Arteta replied: "No. If we were reading everything written about us probably we'd have to stay in bed a lot of days.

"It's part of it. I think it's great that people have so many platforms and ways to communicate and give their opinions.

"The only thing I'm asking is to be respectful. You don't have to battle anybody or try to hurt anybody, just give your opinion with the best intentions.

"When it's constructive everybody can take criticism. It's part of our job to look at it and think and reflect on it.

"When people do it with the intention of hurting, that's when it becomes a little bit silly in my opinion.

"It's just about finding that balance. I think there are things we can do to protect the industry a little bit better."

UEFA has announced the second leg of Arsenal's Europa League round-of-32 tie against Benfica will be played at Olympiacos' Stadio Georgios Karaiskakis.

The first leg has already been moved to the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, also in response to coronavirus restrictions.

Manchester City are five points clear at the top of the Premier League after their demolition of defending champions Liverpool last time out.

With Guardiola getting the better of one managerial rival already this term in Jurgen Klopp, City's focus now switches to a clash with Jose Mourinho's Tottenham.

Key to City's superb form has been Ilkay Gundogan, who has scored nine goals this season in the league, three more than his previous best of six from 2018-19.

Given he scored twice at Anfield – while also missing a penalty – it would seem a smart decision for fantasy football managers to back Gundogan again this weekend, though which other players should make the cut?

ROBERT SANCHEZ

Another team in fine form as of late have been Brighton and Hove Albion, who have conceded just one goal in their last five top-flight matches, with goalkeeper Robert Sanchez certainly playing his part.

Sanchez ousted Mat Ryan – now on loan at Arsenal – as first choice earlier in the season, and of all goalkeepers to have played at least 10 Premier League games this season, only Ederson (one every 145 minutes) and Edouard Mendy (114 minutes) have a better minutes-per-goal conceded rate than Sanchez (one every 98 minutes). He has played 12 times, conceding 11 goals.

MATT TARGETT

Going up against Brighton this weekend are Aston Villa, and one defender to look out for could be Matt Targett.

Brighton have not scored more than once in a league match since a 3-3 draw with Wolves on January 2, and Villa left-back Targett has been involved in 11 clean sheets this season – more than any other Premier League defender apart from Ruben Dias.

AARON CRESSWELL

If you are looking for a more attacking option, however, then that player may well be West Ham's Aaron Cresswell.

The full-back has registered five league assists this season, second to only Everton's Lucas Digne (six) in terms of defenders, while only Liverpool's Andrew Robertson (38) and Manchester United's Luke Shaw (36) can better his tally of 34 chances created by a defender.

ILKAY GUNDOGAN

In Kevin De Bruyne's absence, Gundogan has come to the fore for Guardiola's team, and the former Borussia Dortmund man is the highest scorer in the Premier League so far in 2021 with seven goals in eight games.

The German's previous seven goals in the competition came over a period of 62 games, dating back to 2018.

JACK GREALISH

With Brighton's Sanchez in such fine form for Brighton, it could be a tough decision for fantasy managers, especially with Jack Grealish being so prominent in Villa's attack.

Grealish, arguably the league's player of the season so far, has been directly involved in five goals in his last five appearances against Brighton in all competitions (four goals, one assist), scoring in his last two games at the Amex.

PATRICK BAMFORD

Leeds United returned to winning ways as they saw off Crystal Palace 2-0 on Monday, with a trip to Arsenal up next on Sunday.

Patrick Bamford scored Leeds' second at Elland Road against Palace, and he has been involved in five goals in his last three Premier League games, netting twice and providing three assists. Eight of his 12 Premier League goals this season have been away from home (67 per cent).

MARCUS RASHFORD

Another forward who has thrived on the road in 2020-21 is Manchester United star Marcus Rashford.

He has netted eight times in the Premier League this season, with six of those goals – 75 per cent – having come away from Old Trafford. The England international has never scored more in a single campaign on the road.

The race for Premier League glory may have tipped in Manchester City's favour but Liverpool are hoping to beat their title rivals in the race for a new star midfielder.

Germany international Florian Neuhaus is the player in demand and his club Borussia Monchengladbach may not be able to hold on to one of Europe's brightest talents.

The 23-year-old is being closely monitored by five major Champions League clubs and there is set to be a battle for his signature in the off-season.


TOP STORY – GERMANY ACE NEUHAUS WANTED BY CITY AND LIVERPOOL

It is understood that Neuhaus has a €40million (£35m) release clause in his contract with Gladbach, according to German media outlet Kicker.

That means Neuhaus will have the pick of his suitors, believed to be City, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Italian champions Juventus.

He has already clocked up 81 appearances in the Bundesliga and the Reds see him as a potential replacement for the outgoing Georginio Wijnaldum.

Manchester United are considering putting together a blockbuster deal to sign Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos.

Ramos is in his 16th season with LaLiga champions Madrid but the upcoming free agent has reportedly rejected a two-year contract extension to stay in the Spanish capital.

The 13-time European champions are not expected to go back to the 34-year-old with an improved offer, leaving the door open for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side to swoop.


TOP STORY – UNITED TO DECIDE ON RAMOS

Manchester United will decide in the coming months whether or not to lure the 178-cap Spain international to Old Trafford, according to Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano.

Ramos' contract expires in June 2021 and the Red Devils are yet to make an approach, although Champions League rivals Paris Saint-Germain are said to be interested.

Mauricio Pochettino's PSG will only pursue Ramos if he is available on a free transfer. That will remain the case unless Madrid make a late move to keep the club icon at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Will he leave Paris Saint-Germain or not?

That is the question regarding French star Kylian Mbappe.

Real Madrid are keen, but they are reportedly prepared to wait.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID WAITING FOR MBAPPE

Real Madrid have decided to wait to sign Kylian Mbappe until Paris Saint-Germain put the French star up for sale, according to Marca.

LaLiga champions Madrid have been tipped to sign Mbappe, who has also been linked with Premier League holders Liverpool.

PSG are trying to re-sign Mbappe as his contract runs out in 2022, and if they are unsuccessful amid their pursuit of Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, Madrid are ready to pounce.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca says Sergio Ramos' knee injury could spell the end of his illustrious career with Madrid. Ramos is out of contract at season's end and the star captain has been linked to the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, PSG, Chelsea and Juventus.

Liverpool are interested in Leeds United winger Raphinha, reports Football Insider. The Brazilian only moved to Elland Road at the start of the season.

- Gazzetta dello Sport claims Juventus are hoping to sign Roma sensation Nicolo Zaniolo.

Liverpool were stunned by Brighton and Hove Albion at Anfield as they lost for the second home Premier League game in a row, while Manchester City stretched their winning streak at Burnley.

Having seen their 68-game unbeaten home league run ended by Burnley two weeks ago, the champions again came unstuck against an improving Brighton side.

Liverpool's next opponents are leaders City, who had less trouble seeing off Burnley as they made it 13 victories in a row in all competitions - the longest such run by a Premier League side since Arsenal between March and August 2002 (also 13).

There were also victories for Leicester City, Everton and West Ham on Wednesday, overcoming Fulham, Leeds United and Aston Villa respectively.

Here is the pick of the Opta facts on a day in which history was made as all five away sides triumphed.

Burnley 0-2 Manchester City: Jesus and Sterling keep winning run going

Twenty-four hours on from Manchester United's record-equalling 9-0 win against Southampton, City regained a three-point lead at the summit with a game in hand thanks to a routine victory at Turf Moor.

Gabriel Jesus scored for the third game in a row that he has started to give City an early lead and Raheem Sterling marked his recall to the starting line-up with his 99th goal under Pep Guardiola in all competitions.

Burnley offered little in response as they failed to register a single shot on target for the second game running, making them the first Premier League side to do so since Everton in January 2018.

It meant for a quiet day for City's defenders as they kept a sixth straight shutout in the competition - their joint-longest run without conceding - in what was a 12th successive victory in games played on a Wednesday, which is a Premier League record.

Burnley will be glad to see the back of City for another season having now lost to them by an aggregate 10-0 scoreline across their three meetings in all competitions this season, the other defeat coming in the EFL Cup.

Fulham 0-2 Leicester City: Maddison inspires Foxes to another away win

Kelechi Iheanacho's first Premier League goal in 15 appearances and a second strike of the season for James Justin earned Leicester all three points at Fulham.

James Maddison set up Iheanacho and Justin to take his goal involvement to 12 - six goals and as many assists - in his last 12 outings in all competitions, with this the first occasion he has laid on more than one goal in a Premier League match.

Leicester have now collected 26 points on their travels this season, which is already their second-highest tally in a campaign after their 2015-16 title success (39 points).

As for Fulham, they have now gone 11 games without a win in the Premier League and have lost their opening four home games of a calendar year in all competitions for the first time in their English Football League history.

Leeds United 1-2 Everton: Toffees earn rare Elland Road triumph

Everton made it four consecutive away league victories for the first time since December 1985 through first-half goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

This may just be the sweetest victory of the lot during that run, given it is only their second at Elland Road in the top flight in 38 attempts - the most recent before today coming in 2002.

It is the fifth home league match Leeds have lost in 10 games this term - the last time a Marcelo Bielsa side lost more at home in the league in a single season was Athletic Bilbao in the 2012-13 LaLiga campaign.

Sigurdsson put Everton on their way with another goal assisted by Lucas Digne - the sixth he has set up in the Premier League this season, which is the most by any defender. 

Only Liverpool pair Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson (both 28) have registered more than Digne's 17 assists since the start of the 2018-19 season.

Calvert-Lewin doubled his side's tally with his ninth headed goal in the Premier League since the start of last season - only Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski (12) has scored more in Europe's top five leagues over that period.

Aston Villa 1-3 West Ham: Lingard at the double on Hammers bow

Jesse Lingard marked his first appearance for West Ham since joining on loan from Manchester United with a couple of goals against Aston Villa.

The England international is only the second player for the club to achieve that two-goal debut feat after Trevor Sinclair against Everton in January 1998.

Lingard's double came after Tomas Soucek had given West Ham the lead with his eighth league goal of the season - the most of any midfielder when excluding penalties.

Ollie Watkins gave Villa temporary hope at 2-0 but the home side could not avoid a fourth defeat in their last six league matches, compared to only four losses in their opening 14.

David Moyes has plenty of reasons to be cheerful, having overseen three successive away wins in the competition for the first time since April 2014 when at Man United, with this latest victory taking West Ham to 38 points - their highest top-flight tally after 22 games since 1985-86.

Liverpool 0-1 Brighton and Hove Albion: Alzate stuns stuns toothless champions

Liverpool's home struggles continued with defeat to Brighton, who picked up a victory in this fixture for the first time in 13 meetings in all competitions - and a first at Anfield since 1982.

The Merseyside club having now lost consecutive games at Anfield in the top flight for the first time since September 2012, having gone 68 without a home loss in the Premier League.

It is four Premier League games at Anfield without a win, meanwhile, the last three of those without scoring - the first time that has happened since October 1984 - in a goalless run spanning 348 minutes and counting.

Steven Alzate was the match-winning hero for Brighton with his first Premier League goal in his 28th appearance, coming from the first shot on target of the contest. 

Toothless Liverpool offered little in reply, testing opposition keeper Robert Sanchez just once as Brighton made it four top-flight clean sheets on the bounce for the first time in their history.

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