Pep Guardiola is open to remaining at Manchester City beyond the end of his current contract in June 2021.

Guardiola is into his fourth season at City – he has never spent longer at a single club – after winning five of the past six major trophies on offer in England.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss is finding the going tough this time around, with his team nine-points shy of undefeated leaders Liverpool heading into Saturday's trip to Newcastle United.

Last week, Guardiola bristled at suggestions he could walk away from City at the end of this season and chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak told Sky Sports he was looking forward to continuing his commitment to Guardiola "for years to come".

Although the 48-year-old insisted it was not time to hold contract talks just yet, he suggested he would welcome an extended stay.

"When you are here for five years it depends on the results," he said. "We will see what happens this season and next season."

Asked to clarify whether he would be open to remaining in Manchester further into the next decade, Guardiola replied: "I am open, yeah. As I have said, I'm so comfortable working in this club."

Nevertheless, the famously intense and demanding coach maintaining a productive working relationship with his players will hold the key.

"I want to see the reaction of my players, the environment and everything," he explained.

"It’s not that simple that I want to extend. I want to see the club, the players and how we are still working together.

"That is the most important thing after five years together. You have to feel we can still do it together and still I can see my players enjoying working together.

"When I feel that is not [the case] I will talk with the club and see the best way [to proceed]."

Despite a drop off from their phenomenal levels of the past two seasons and mixed returns from new arrivals Rodri and Joao Cancelo, Guardiola insists he could not be happier with the men at his disposal.

"I'm comfortable, especially with the players. They are incredible persons. It's a joy to train with them. How well they react when they don’t win or win and don’t play good," he added.

"They are concerned, they want to do better, they want to improve. When you see that, it is a dream come true as a manager and what we have to continue."

Pep Guardiola will not allow his focus to drift towards the bigger picture of the Premier League title race as Manchester City chase victory at Newcastle United.

The defending champions but find themselves third after 13 matches, already nine points behind leaders Liverpool, who defeated Guardiola's men at Anfield this month.

City kick off the latest weekend of Premier League action against Newcastle on Saturday, giving them a chance to leapfrog second-placed Leicester City - albeit possibly only temporarily.

That will be Guardiola's aim at St James' Park, with the former Spaniard insisting he does not like to think about the season as a whole.

"I'm not thinking about how many games we have to win - I know we cannot lose games," he told a news conference.

"I'm not thinking honestly about winning the Premier League right now. I never thought about it, even in the years we won.

"To win the Premier League, we have to be close to Leicester, first of all, and then to Liverpool.

"The target, when you play games in different competitions every three days, is the next one. You choose the best players possible for this specific game and try to win."

City came unstuck at Newcastle last season, having had to settle for a slightly nervy win during the previous campaign.

Guardiola added: "The last two seasons, we won 1-0 and, last season, we lost 2-1. Newcastle away is always one of the nicest environments and stadiums in England.

"Obviously, it's a tough test, but next Tuesday we have Burnley and then the derby against [Manchester] United, so we know the situation we are in.

"We trained really good today [Friday]. I saw the team were ready. We fly this afternoon and then tomorrow, 12.30, we try to do a good game."

Pep Guardiola confirmed Mikel Arteta will travel with Manchester City to Newcastle United but would not discuss whether his assistant might be a target for Arsenal.

Arteta was linked with former club Arsenal when Arsene Wenger departed in 2018, before Unai Emery was appointed head coach.

But Emery was sacked on Friday following a run of seven matches without a win in all competitions, again prompting talk of Arteta returning to London.

Guardiola would only affirm the Spaniard remains a member of his staff for the trip to Tyneside when he faced the media on Friday.

"He is in the squad, he travels to Newcastle." Guardiola said of his fellow Spaniard.

Asked about the possibility of Arsenal making an approach for the 37-year-old, the City boss said: "It's not a question for me."

Guardiola expressed sympathy for Emery and said his opinion of the former Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain coach had not been altered by a poor run.

"I'm so sorry for him," the City boss said. "Every time a manager is sacked, it's not good news.

"It changes nothing about my opinion on his capacity. He is an incredible professional, who did incredibly well in Spain and in France.

"He made an incredible achievement. I don't think anybody - okay, Zinedine Zidane with Real Madrid [in the Champions League] - could win three Europa Leagues in a row with Sevilla.

"It's one of the most incredible achievements. But that's football. He knows, I know it depends on the results. It's simple. But I'm sure he will find a new job soon."

Pep Guardiola confirmed Mikel Arteta will travel with Manchester City to Newcastle United but would not discuss whether his assistant might be a target for Arsenal.

Arteta was linked with former club Arsenal when Arsene Wenger departed in 2018, before Unai Emery was appointed head coach.

But Emery was sacked on Friday following a run of seven matches without a win in all competitions, again prompting talk of Arteta returning to London.

Guardiola would only affirm the Spaniard remains a member of his staff for the trip to Tyneside when he faced the media on Friday.

"He is in the squad, he travels to Newcastle." Guardiola said of his fellow Spaniard.

Asked about the possibility of Arsenal making an approach for the 37-year-old, the City boss said: "It's not a question for me."

Guardiola expressed sympathy for Emery and said his opinion of the former Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain coach had not been altered by a poor run.

"I'm so sorry for him," the City boss said. "Every time a manager is sacked, it's not good news.

"It changes nothing about my opinion on his capacity. He is an incredible professional, who did incredibly well in Spain and in France.

"He made an incredible achievement. I don't think anybody - okay, Zinedine Zidane with Real Madrid [in the Champions League] - could win three Europa Leagues in a row with Sevilla.

"It's one of the most incredible achievements. But that's football. He knows, I know it depends on the results. It's simple. But I'm sure he will find a new job soon."

Newcastle United winger Matt Ritchie is set to be out until January after undergoing a second ankle operation.

Ritchie, 30, was injured after a challenge by Hamza Choudhury during an EFL Cup game against Leicester City in August.

The Scotland international has not featured for the Magpies since and, having initially had surgery in October, required a further procedure.

A club statement read: "The 30-year-old will continue his rehabilitation on Tyneside and is expected to return to action in January 2020."

Steve Bruce had acknowledged after Monday's loss to Aston Villa that Ritchie was "not near fitness at the moment" after suffering a number of setbacks on the recovery trail.

While news of Ritchie's prolonged absence comes as a blow, the Magpies will at least welcome Sean Longstaff back for Saturday's Premier League game against champions Manchester City following a three-match ban.

Manchester City are facing the prospect of "a few weeks" without Sergio Aguero, according to Pep Guardiola, who must reconfigure his attack for key matches in the talismanic Argentine's absence.

A thigh injury sustained in City's 2-1 win over Chelsea on Saturday is set to deprive Guardiola of the man who has scored nine goals in 12 Premier League appearances this season as the champions take on Newcastle United, Burnley and local rivals Manchester United.

Aguero's injury thrusts Gabriel Jesus into the spotlight, giving the 22-year-old Brazil international an opportunity to build on his record of four league starts and three goals this term.

That City have a player of Jesus' quality in reserve speaks volumes about the strength of Guardiola's squad, but with Liverpool already nine points clear of them in the table there is no room for error in the title race.

City's reliance on Aguero has become almost second nature over the last nine years, but many are predicting a shake-up at Etihad Stadium as he approaches his 32nd birthday in June.

The next few weeks may provide Guardiola with valuable insight into what a post-Aguero future might hold for his side.

GOALS NEVER FAR AWAY WHEN AGUERO IS AROUND

Aguero has scored 51 goals in 70 Premier League appearances since August 2017, giving him an average of a goal every 103.1 minutes.

Contrast that to Jesus' return of 23 goals in 68 appearances - an average of a goal every 137.2 minutes - and you can see why City fans might baulk at the thought of going without Aguero for any length of time.

And it is not just deadly finishing that makes Aguero so indispensable; he is one of City's most creative players in and around the box and has created 86 chances compared to Jesus' 46 since August 2017.

Aguero's selfless play has given him a goal involvement rate of one every 78.5 minutes, whereas Jesus is more of a poacher with a goal involvement rate of one every 105.2 minutes.

Further stats in Aguero's favour include a better duel success rate (44.0 compared to 41.3) and a slightly more accurate passing record (83.5 versus 81.5), making the experienced Argentine a more attractive option when City require more than just goals.

JESUS SHAPING UP TO BE CITY'S NEW SAVIOUR

Ask any City fan about their most potent goal threat and they will most likely wax lyrical about Aguero's prowess, but Opta's data since August 2017 presents a strong case to back the view that Jesus a comparable asset.

When you include blocked shots, Aguero has an intimidating shot conversion rate of 20.1 per cent but Jesus is not far behind, having found the net with 18.3 per cent of his attempts on goal during the same period.

Jesus has also made more tackles (34 compared to Aguero's 31) and has a higher dribble success rate (60.2 per cent compared to 58.3 per cent) than Aguero, and he can even boast more shots on target per 90 minutes than his South American team-mate.

Given that Jesus plays with far less regularity than Aguero, he remains remarkably consistent, hitting the target with 2.0 shots every 90 minutes, while Aguero works the goalkeeper with an average of 1.7 shots per 90.

CITY THRIVE WITH JESUS IN THEIR SIDE

Direct comparisons between Aguero and Jesus are limited in their usefulness, given that the former plays so much more regularly and that they each have distinct styles of play.

Perhaps more telling is City's track record when either player is present or missing, and the good news for supporters is that their effect on the team appears remarkably similar.

City's team stats improve when Jesus starts league games compared to when he does not, with average goals for rising from 2.6 to 2.9, win percentage increasing from 79.3 to 87.1, and points-per-game going up from 2.4 to 2.7.

Likewise when Aguero is in the starting line-up, City do better - although not across as many different metrics.

Average goals for jumps from 2.5 to 2.7 when Pep includes Aguero from the start and win percentage rises from 81.5 to 82.3, but points-per-game stays at a steady 2.5 and average goals against increases from 0.7 to 0.8.

All of which should go some way to soothing the fears of City supporters for whom Aguero is seen as a saviour, and remind them to make room in their hearts for Jesus.

Conor Hourihane and Anwar El Ghazi scored first-half goals to end Aston Villa's three-match losing run in the Premier League, as they beat Newcastle United 2-0 on Steve Bruce's return to Villa Park.

Bruce was sacked by Villa in October 2018, just over four months after losing the Championship play-off final, and he had little to celebrate in Monday's clash.

Martin Dubravka produced a fingertip save to keep out Douglas Luiz's 25-yard drive but was beaten by Hourihane, the midfielder whipping a free-kick around the wall and into the net.

Villa quickly added a second through El Ghazi, who turned in Hourihane's set-piece delivery from close range for his third league goal of the season, though only after a VAR check for offside.

Allan Saint-Maximin, Isaac Hayden and substitute Andy Carroll all tested Tom Heaton in the second half but Newcastle, who had won back-to-back matches ahead of the trip to the Midlands, could not find a way through.

A first home league win in seven attempts against Newcastle lifts Villa up to 15th, just below their opponents.

Newcastle United captain Jamaal Lascelles has been ruled out for the rest of 2019 with a knee injury.

The centre-back was hurt during the 2-1 Premier League win over Bournemouth at St James' Park last Saturday.

Newcastle confirmed on Thursday that Lascelles will not play again until the new year.

The 26-year-old has played in all 12 of Newcastle's league games this season and scored in the 1-1 draw with Wolves on October 27.

He will now miss matches against Aston Villa, Manchester City, Sheffield United, Southampton, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Manchester United and Everton.

Steve Bruce's side begin 2020 at home to Leicester City on January 1 and head to Wolves on January 11, after the third round of FA Cup matches.

Sheffield United were the recipients of a harsh VAR decision but Chris Wilder's side battled back to draw 1-1 with Tottenham after Son Heung-min's opener on Saturday.

After Son - who was initially set to be suspended for this match but had his red card for a tackle that led to Andre Gomes' ankle injury overturned in midweek - put Spurs ahead, the Blades looked to have equalised until VAR disallowed David McGoldrick's goal.

However, George Baldock earned a share of the spoils for the Blades 12 minutes from time.

While Spurs are without a win in five league matches, their London rivals Chelsea are having no such issues under Frank Lampard, as they claimed a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace.

Elsewhere, Everton claimed a vital away win at Southampton, Newcastle United saw off Bournemouth 2-1 and Burnley returned to winning ways in style with a 3-0 triumph over struggling West Ham.

 

SON ON TARGET BUT BLADES OVERCOME VAR CONTROVERSY

Much has been made of Son's devastation after his part in Gomes' injury, but he had reason to celebrate after the forward proved his importance to Spurs in what was another impotent display from Mauricio Pochettino's side.

Tottenham successfully appealed Son's red card, and they benefitted from having the forward available when the South Korea international pounced on Enda Stevens' mistake just before the hour.

The Blades thought they had scored a swift equaliser through McGoldrick, only for VAR to come to Spurs' rescue as - after a lengthy VAR check - it was deemed John Lundstram, who also hit the post, was marginally offside.

But VAR would not deny the visitors again - George Baldock's cross-cum-shot looping in to secure a deserved share of the spoils and lift the Blades, for now, into fifth.

ABRAHAM STRIKES AGAIN AS CHELSEA MAKE IT SIX IN A ROW

Chelsea were frustrated by some stubborn Palace defending in the first half at Stamford Bridge, but Lampard's side made the breakthrough courtesy of Tammy Abraham's 10th league goal of the season.

A sublime team move culminated in Willian flicking it around the corner into Abraham, who took a superb first touch before slotting beyond Vicente Guaita.

Three deserved points were wrapped up 11 minutes from time - Christian Pulisic acrobatically firing home as Chelsea won a sixth successive league match and, temporarily at least, moved above Manchester City into second.

EVERTON CLAIM VITAL VICTORY AS BURNLEY CLATTER WEST HAM

Defeat - or even a failure to win - at St Mary's for Everton could have spelled the end for Marco Silva, but the Toffees came away with the points thanks to Richarlison's 75th-minute effort.

Danny Ings' goal five minutes into the second half had cancelled out Tom Davies' early opener, yet Southampton - who have now lost six out of their last seven league matches - could not keep up the momentum, with Richarlison having the final say as Everton held onto their first away win of the season.

Everton sit in 13th, a point behind Burnley, who ended a three-game losing streak by dismantling West Ham, whose boss Manuel Pellegrini may well be under pressure heading into the international break.

Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood - who has scored in all five of his Premier League games against the Hammers - had Burnley in control by the break, before Roberto Jimenez's calamitous own goal wrapped things up at Turf Moor. 

An incredible day of Premier League drama saw both leaders Liverpool and champions Manchester City rescue all three points with late fightbacks.

Liverpool trailed at Aston Villa while City were behind at home to Southampton, although Pep Guardiola's men looked set to profit when they turned their match around as the Reds continued to flounder.

Andrew Robertson and Sadio Mane clinched a stunning away victory, though, and Liverpool remain six points clear of City at the top after both sides won 2-1.

Elsewhere, Bournemouth, Newcastle United, Sheffield United and Brighton and Hove Albion all won, while Wolves held Arsenal.

 

INCREDIBLE DRAMA AT THE TOP

Villa away and Southampton at home - particularly after the Saints' horror show against Leicester City - looked like straightforward enough fixtures for Liverpool and City respectively.

However, it appeared for long spells on Saturday as though both would come away empty-handed.

At Villa Park, Trezeguet netted after 21 minutes and not until the 87th minute did Robertson level matters. Liverpool still appeared set to see their advantage cut, only for Mane to strike deep into stoppage time.

City were also given a scare as Southampton led through James Ward-Prowse early on.

But Sergio Aguero struck with 20 minutes remaining and then Kyle Walker, like Robertson an unlikely scorer, stole victory with just four minutes left on the clock.

 

BOOS FOR EMERY'S ARSENAL AGAIN

At Emirates Stadium, pressure continues to grow on Unai Emery after a third Premier League game without a win.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - captaining the Gunners in Granit Xhaka's absence - put them in front, the striker scoring his 50th Gunners goal in his 78th appearance.

But again Arsenal dropped points despite leading, Raul Jimenez heading home Joao Moutinho's cross with 14 minutes to go to extend Wolves' unbeaten run to six league games.

Although Emery had restored fan favourite Mesut Ozil to the XI, boos rang out at full-time.

 

UNITED BEATEN BY BOURNEMOUTH

An entertaining day of Premier League action had kicked off with Bournemouth beating Manchester United, ending the Red Devils' brief resurgence.

After three straight away wins looked to have turned United's season around, former Old Trafford youngster Joshua King grabbed the only goal of the game at Vitality Stadium.

King turned away from Aaron Wan-Bissaka late in the first half, before slamming past David De Gea acrobatically for what proved to be the decisive strike.

 

NEWCASTLE HOLD ON, BLADES WIN BIG

Even the games on the slate not involving 'big-six' teams were full of thrills and spills.

Newcastle won 3-2 at West Ham, ending the match clinging on after dominating for an hour. They scored through Ciaran Clark, Federico Fernandez and Jonjo Shelvey, and the Magpies should have netted two or three more before the Hammers mounted something of a fightback, but ultimately fell short.

There was no such response from Burnley, as they went down 3-0 at Sheffield United, with John Lundstram on target twice as all three goals came in the first half.

Brighton ended the day all the way up in eighth after beating Norwich City 2-0.

Juventus are not resting on their laurels.

Despite their domestic dominance, Juve are craving European glory as they eye a first Champions League crown since 1995.

So much so that they have three Premier League stars on their mind.

 

TOP STORY – JUVE WATCH SALAH, SON & ERIKSEN

Juventus scouts watched Mohamed Salah, Son Heung-min and Christian Eriksen during Liverpool's Premier League clash with Tottenham, according to Tuttosport.

Seeking a ninth successive Scudetto, Serie A champions Juve are prepared to spend heavily in pursuit of Champions League glory.

With money no obstacle as they reap the benefits of Cristiano Ronaldo's presence, Liverpool star Salah and Tottenham duo Son and Eriksen are reportedly on Juve's list.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Sun claims Jose Mourinho wants to become the first manager to win major trophies with three English clubs as the former Manchester United boss is linked to Arsenal. Gunners head coach Unai Emery is under pressure at the Emirates Stadium amid growing fan frustration.

Manchester United are hopeful of completing a deal for Lyon striker Moussa Dembele in January, reports Soccerlink. With Dembele's future uncertain, Lyon are lining up Chelsea's Olivier Giroud.

- Staying at Old Trafford and United's name has again been thrown into the mix for Brescia sensation Sandro Tonali. The 19-year-old Italy international is fast becoming one of the most sought-after players in Europe, attracting interest from Juventus, Manchester City and Inter. Now, The Suns says United are weigning up a £40million move for Tonali after sending scouts to watch him once more.

- Calciomercato claims Napoli are considering a January move for Benfica full-back Alejandro Grimaldo. The 24-year-old Spaniard has been linked to Arsenal, Tottenham and Barcelona.

Newcastle United are close to agreeing a deal to sign Strasbourg's Ibrahima Sissoko. The 21-year-old French midfielder is poised to make the switch when the transfer window opens in January.

Wolves extended their unbeaten Premier League run to five matches after Jonny Castro Otto took advantage of a Martin Dubravka error to earn a 1-1 draw with Newcastle United, who ended the game with 10 men.

Newcastle's waves of first-half pressure almost paid off when Miguel Almiron lashed a shot into the side-netting after outpacing Romain Saiss.

Less than three minutes later Jamaal Lascelles broke the deadlock, rising at the near post to meet Federico Fernandez's cross with a crashing downward header that gave Rui Patricio no chance.

Wolves raised their game in the second half and Diogo Jota was denied in a one-on-one with Dubravka when the Slovakian goalkeeper reacted quickly to block his low, close-range shot.

But Dubravka was at fault for the equaliser, parrying Matt Doherty's cross right into the path of Jonny, who slammed a first-time shot back into the net to level the match.

Sean Longstaff was sent off for a clumsy challenge on Ruben Neves with eight minutes remaining, but the 10 men of Newcastle survived an intense late spell of Wolves pressure to emerge with a point.

Martin Dubravka has signed a new six-year deal with Newcastle United, the Premier League side have confirmed.

The 30-year-old joined Newcastle on a permanent deal from Sparta Prague in May 2018 after impressing during an initial loan spell in the second half of the 2017-18 campaign.

Dubravka has been an ever-present in the Premier League since his debut, making 59 top-flight appearances for Newcastle, including nine starts and three clean sheets this term.

European giants Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus had been linked with the Slovakia international, but he subsequently claimed to be "close" to extending his Newcastle contract.

Dubravka has now put pen to paper on a deal that keeps him at St James' Park until 2025 and said: "It is an amazing feeling. 

"I have to say that it feels like time has flown. It's been almost two years and I've found great people here who I can call friends. I've enjoyed my time here and I'm very glad that I can stay here for another six years."

Head coach Steve Bruce added: "I'm really, really pleased that Martin has committed his future to the club.

"He's been absolutely fantastic since the day he arrived and he's a hugely important figure for us both on the pitch and in the dressing room."

Newcastle are 18th in the Premier League after winning just two of their opening nine matches, with Wolves up next at home on Sunday.

Jaap Stam has claimed Newcastle United approached him about replacing Rafael Benitez as manager three months before the Spaniard's contract expired.

Benitez officially left Newcastle at the end of June after failing to agree an extension for the new season.

Steve Bruce stepped into the role the following month but the Magpies were canvassing options for a new boss as early as March, according to former Manchester United defender Stam.

The Dutchman, who managed Reading for close to two seasons, could not enter into talks as he had already committed to Eredivisie side Feyenoord, who announced his appointment on March 6.

"Newcastle United called me a few days after I signed my contract at Feyenoord," Stam told Voetbal International.

"So it wasn't an option straight away. I'm a man of my word.

"It was beautiful and honourable, because people in England apparently know what I stand for as a trainer."

Stam's contract at Feyenoord took effect on June 1.

His team have won three of 10 games in the Eredivisie this term, while Newcastle are 18th in the Premier League after nine matches under Bruce.

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard admits Ross Barkley's injury "looks a bit nasty" but he is waiting for a doctor's assessment on Sunday.

Barkley was forced off after 43 minutes of Saturday's 1-0 Premier League defeat of Newcastle United, hobbling off the pitch with an ankle problem to be replaced by Mateo Kovacic.

The England international, who started in place of the injured N'Golo Kante, is now expected to have tests ahead of Wednesday's Champions League trip to face Ajax.

Cesar Azpilicueta also suffered a knock in the closing stages, but Lampard is hopeful the defender has not sustained any serious damage.

Speaking after the match, which was settled by Marcos Alonso's 73rd-minute strike, Lampard told reporters: "I think Azpi was alright, he didn't say anything when he came off.

"Ross turned his ankle. It looks a bit nasty at first glance, but the doctor wants to have a look at it tomorrow. I have no more on that."

When asked if he could be fit to face Ajax, Lampard replied: "I genuinely don't know. We will assess tomorrow."

Chelsea's win, their fifth in a row in all competitions, means they are fourth in the Premier League after nine matches.

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