It just had to be, did it not? Cristiano Ronaldo, back at Old Trafford, of course he would get on the scoresheet.

Ronaldo netted not once, but twice in United's 4-1 defeat of Newcastle United on Saturday, announcing his return to the Premier League in style.

Meanwhile, a player who has established himself as one of the possible heirs to the Ronaldo (and Lionel Messi) throne at the pinnacle of the game reached a century of goals in the competition.

And after their worst start in generations, Arsenal finally found a way to win.

Here are some of the more curious Opta facts from the latest round of games.


Age is just a number for evergreen Ronaldo

Aged 36 year and 218 days, Ronaldo became the oldest player to score a Premier League double in over a decade.

The last player of more advancing years to do so? Well, another of the league's greats, of course. That being Graham Alexander of Burnley, who scored twice in a match against Hull City in April 2010 at the age of 38 years and 182 days. 

On the same day as Alexander was leading Burnley to a 4-1 win over the Tigers, Ronaldo played his second LaLiga Clasico. Real Madrid lost 2-0, following on from Barcelona's 5-0 victory earlier in the season.

Back to Old Trafford on Saturday, where Newcastle's dismal run continued. They have only managed one win at the Theatre of Dreams in their last 27 league attempts, while Steve Bruce, a former United stalwart, has lost 12 of his 13 games at his old stomping ground as a visiting manager, with his teams scoring just six goals over that run.

Ronaldo's gap of 12 years and 124 days between goals is the second-longest between two strikes by the same player in Premier League history, after Matt Jackson, who went 13 years and 187 days in between netting for Everton and Wigan Athletic respectively.

The Portugal superstar also broke Damien Delaney's record (11y 155d) for the biggest gap between Premier League appearances, with Ronaldo turning out for Manchester United again 12 years and 118 days since his previous game in May 2009.

Paul Pogba stands out on his own at the top of the assist charts with seven to his name already. He is the only player to have recorded as many as 10 assists in the Premier League in 2021, while his tally across the opening four games is the most any player has registered in the first four games of a Premier League season.

Mo moves into the 100 club

Liverpool's 3-0 win over Leeds United was somewhat marred by a horrid injury for Harvey Elliott. But the Reds were nevertheless convincing winners, with Mohamed Salah opening the scoring with his 100th Premier League goal.

Salah has reached his century in 162 games, with only four players getting there quicker. His team also moved onto a century in terms of attempts on goal across their four league games so far this season.

Their tally of 30 shots was quite remarkable, though Jurgen Klopp will want an improvement on the 10 per cent conversion rate. 

Sadio Mane had a game-leading 10 shots, yet only two of those hit the target – the Senegal star finally scoring in second-half stoppage time. It was the most attempts he has ever had in a Premier League game, and more than any other player has managed in any match so far this season (Romelu Lukaku having had eight for Chelsea against Arsenal last month).

Villa left reeling by Rom yet again

There must have been a collective sigh of relief around Villa Park when, as Aston Villa were preparing for life back in the top flight, Lukaku left the Premier League to join Serie A giants Inter.

But now the Belgian has returned to England and, as he has a knack of doing, back to finding the net against the poor old Villans.

He scored twice in Chelsea's 3-0 win on Saturday, his first goals at Stamford Bridge for any team, in what was his 15th appearance at the ground.

Lukaku has now scored in each of his last six Premier League appearances against Villa (eight goals) – only against West Ham has he had a longer run of scoring in consecutive games against a specific opponent in the competition (seven, between 2013 and 2016).

Arteta finally gets off the ground

The pressure might well have been too much had bottom-of-the-pile Arsenal failed to beat Norwich City on Saturday, but fortunately for Mikel Arteta, his Gunners side came up with the goods.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sealed a 1-0 win in a match that saw Arsenal have 30 attempts, the most they have had in a league game since producing 33 against Manchester United in December 2017.

Remarkably, with Liverpool also having 30 shots against Leeds, the record from last season (29, set by Manchester City against Leeds in April) has already been surpassed twice.

This is Norwich's worst ever start to a league campaign after four games (zero points, -10 goal difference) and just the third time they have started a season with four league defeats.

Aaron Ramsdale, meanwhile, became the first English goalkeeper to make a Premier League appearance for Arsenal since David Seaman way back in May 2003.

Mikel Arteta hinted Aaron Ramsdale may retain his place in Arsenal's starting XI over Bernd Leno after keeping a clean sheet on his Premier League debut for the Gunners.

Arsenal shelled out for a deal that could reach a reported £30million to prise goalkeeper Ramsdale from relegated Sheffield United during the last transfer window.

Leno had the jersey for the opening three league matches of the season, which saw Arsenal beaten by Brentford, Chelsea and Manchester City without scoring a goal.

Ramsdale came into the fold for Saturday's 1-0 win over Norwich City and put in an assured display, albeit he was rarely tested by a Canaries side that managed a solitary shot on target.

Since Leno joined Arsenal ahead of the 2018-19 campaign, the German has a slightly better save percentage than Ramsdale (70.87 to 68.59) and, as you would probably expect, has more clean sheets with 24 to 11.

Leno has made more errors leading to goals (eight to three), while per 90 minutes he makes fewer saves (3.17 to 3.64) – although again given Ramsdale was previously representing Bournemouth and the Blades this is perhaps to be expected.

Bigger tests lie in wait for Ramsdale than a shot-shy Norwich but Arsenal boss Arteta appeared to suggest the spot is his to lose.

"He was terrific, not only what he did on the technical side but what he transmits, his chemistry with the back line, his body language. It was top,' said Arteta.

"We have two fantastic keepers, I had to make a decision and it was the right one.

"I want to see how they perform, we need performances. Whoever is more reliable is going to play."

Mikel Arteta believes the last two weeks have been an important learning curve after Arsenal edged past Norwich City 1-0 to collect their first Premier League points of the season.

The Gunners finally scored at the fourth time of asking, avoiding the unwanted club record of going goalless in their opening four league games for the first time in their history.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's tap-in proved the difference – his fifth goal in three top-flight appearances against the Canaries – as the hosts climbed off the foot of the table and up to 16th.

Arteta was pleased with his team's efforts as they extended their top-flight unbeaten run to eight against Norwich, reflecting on what he sees as a successful two-week period.

"We had to suffer but I knew to win the game it would be like this," Arteta told BBC Sport post-match.

"After three defeats things get complicated. I must say it has been the best 10 or 14 days in my professional career. Not the easiest, but the best.

"You learn a lot in difficult moments, who you are with. In difficult moments when you see the people and the level of organisation and the fans we have.

"They were ready to suffer today but they just give, give, give to the team. Today and the last week everything glided together.

"We have to improve in a lot of things but today we made seven changes and already it looked different."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ended Arsenal's long wait for a goal as the Gunners collected their first Premier League points of the season with a 1-0 win over Norwich City on Saturday.

Aubameyang's tap-in just after the hour mark proved the difference as Mikel Arteta's men avoided becoming the first Arsenal team to fail to score in their opening four league games.

Nicolas Pepe and debutant Takehiro Tomiyasu had both threatened but the Gabon forward managed to poke home to secure the hosts' first points of the season at the fourth time of asking.

Norwich, who sat above Saturday's opponents on goals scored, are rooted to the foot of the table and are yet to pick up a point

Kieran Tierney's curling pass created the first chance for Aubameyang but he could only scuff his left-footed effort as Tim Krul scrambled backwards.

Kenny McLean then flicked wide from Max Aarons' delivery before Krul rushed out to deny Aubameyang, who had latched onto Martin Odegaard's long ball.

Tierney injected energy into a slow-pace first half, driving down the left before standing up a cross to the back post where Tomiyasu smashed acrobatically over.

The second half started in attritional fashion as well, with Bukayo Saka spurning the only half-chance as his hesitation caused his right-footed attempt to be blocked.

Saka saw a second effort blocked moments later and the loose ball ricocheted to Pepe, who had at the goal at his mercy at the far post, only for loanee Brandon Williams to produce a magnificent last-ditch intervention.

However, Aubameyang finally ended Arsenal's long wait for a top-flight goal, tapping in from point-blank range after seeing Pepe strike both posts after an initial save from Krul.

Norwich thought the opener should have been ruled out for offside but VAR disagreed before Emile Smith-Rowe failed to double the hosts' lead in the closing stages.

Mikel Arteta says Arsenal must "reset" following their disappointing start to the Premier League season.

The Gunners sit bottom of the table and are yet to register a point ahead of welcoming Norwich City to the Emirates on Saturday.

Arteta's side have lost each of their opening three games against Brentford, Chelsea and reigning champions Manchester City, while shipping nine goals without reply.

Though he will be without the suspended Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny, who has a thigh injury, the manager has Gabriel, Thomas Partey and Eddie Nketiah available for selection again after injury.

Meanwhile, Ben White will also return after previously testing positive for coronavirus.

And Arteta is hopeful his squad can start afresh against the Canaries.

"I am really looking forward to having everybody available and trying to start the season the way we want," he said.

"We don't want to use any excuses, but we know how difficult the start was with injuries and a lot of COVID issues we had, and extremely difficult games to play.

"We have to reset now, we need to start and hopefully get everybody back on track, and start to improve our game, which is what we have to do.

"The pressure is always there to be as high as possible in the league table.

"We need that first win. We're playing in front of our fans after a disappointing start, so it is down to us to provide everything that we have performance-wise, to gain a result at the end."

Arteta also said that former midfielder Jack Wilshere is always welcome to train to the club, where he scored 14 goals in 197 senior appearances between 2008 and 2018.

Wilshere is a free agent following his release from Championship side Bournemouth at the end of last season, while he recently trained with Italian club Como in a bid to boost his fitness.

Once tipped as a future England star, a string of injury problems have prevented the 29-year-old from truly kicking on and fulfilling his potential.

"[Jack is] someone that I know, that I shared a dressing room with and is so loved by everyone here," Arteta added.

"Our doors are always open."

Patrick Bamford scored a late equaliser to salvage a point for Leeds United against his former club Burnley on Sunday, having gone through a proper tussle at Turf Moor.

Burnley – accused of "wrestling" last week by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp – were full-blooded once again as they fell just short of securing a first Premier League win of the season.

"It's always tough coming here because, you don’t want to be disrespectful, but you know what you're going to get when you play against Burnley and they do make it difficult," Bamford, who had an ongoing skirmish with centre-back James Tarkowski, told Sky Sports.

"I was a little bit annoyed at [James] Tarkowski because it was just that tussle on the floor when he tried to do some weird jiu-jitsu thing on me. I don't know what he's doing!"

A Premier League landmark was also reached at Turf Moor, while Arsenal might just have a different kind of fight on their hands after suffering a third successive defeat.

Here are some of the more curious Opta facts from the latest round of games.


Turf Moor tussle sees Premier League milestone

The new initiative for referees to be somewhat more lenient seems to be paying dividends, although Wolves fans will argue otherwise after their late defeat to Manchester United.

Before what unfolded at Molineux, however, Leeds were also on the receiving end of some rather tough treatment at Turf Moor, with the game seeing seven bookings.

There was a Premier League landmark set in the Lancashire sunshine too, as Chris Wood opened the scoring.

Eric Cantona (100), Alan Shearer (4,000), Dennis Bergkamp (7,000) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (25,000) are some of the names to have previously hit the milestone goals in the competition's history, and now New Zealand forward Wood has cemented his name into the record books.

It was not exactly one to remember, Wood just managing to get a toe onto Matthew Lowton's low shot, with the ball rolling off Illan Meslier's shins and trickling over the line for the competition's 30,000th goal. 

Strangely enough, it was just a third assist for Lowton in his last 84 Premier League matches, but all three have set up goals for Wood, who scored for the first time against former club Leeds for Burnley.

Yet Burnley could not hold on, with the Clarets now on a 12-game winless run at Turf Moor in the league, their longest such streak.

Mikel's misery compounded as Arsenal's lack of fight is shown up once more

It has been a humbling start to the season for Arsenal and Mikel Arteta, who is sure to be under plenty of pressure heading into a fixture with Norwich City – one of the other two teams without a point so far – after the international break.

Arsenal ended the weekend at the bottom of the top-flight table having played at least three league matches for the first time since October 25 in 1974, having suffered a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of the champions – Manchester City's third successive 5-0 victory at the Etihad Stadium.

The Gunners are only the second team in Premier League history to lose their first three matches in a season and have a goal difference of -9, after Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2003-04, who went on to finish bottom of the table, while Tottenham's win on Sunday means Spurs top the table and Arsenal sit bottom for the first time in top-flight history.

Arsenal's cause was hardly helped by Granit Xhaka's sending off in the first half on Saturday – the 10th time the Gunners have had a player dismissed in the league under Arteta. In fact, since the Spaniard took over in December 2019, that is four more than any other club.

Xhaka has picked up two of those dismissals, with David Luiz leading the way on three. In those fixtures where they have had a player sent off, Arsenal have failed to win a single one, collecting just five points in total and losing the last three league matches in which they were reduced to 10 men.

Meanwhile, Gabriel Jesus has not lost any of the 43 Premier League games he has scored in, a record bettered only by James Milner (54) and Darius Vassell (46).

A long shot for Son as Lage matches De Boer

Son Heung-min's free-kick handed Spurs a 1-0 win over Watford. It did not look intentional, but the South Korean forward's delivery nevertheless curled into the far corner.

Three of Son's last four goals for Tottenham in all competitions have come from outside the box, as many as his previous 43 for the club, while Sunday's effort was his first Spurs goal from a direct free-kick.

Sunday's headline fixture saw Manchester United – buoyed by the impending return of Cristiano Ronaldo – defeat Wolves thanks to Mason Greenwood's late winner.

Referee Mike Dean chose not to award what looked to be a clear foul from Paul Pogba in the build-up, as Greenwood became only the second teenager in Premier League history to score in each of his side's first three games of a season, after Robbie Fowler for Liverpool in 1994-95.

It was a tight game, with Wolves creating plenty without converting the chances, and new boss Bruno Lage is the first manager to lose his first three Premier League games without his side scoring a goal since Crystal Palace's Frank de Boer in August 2017.

Known for his creativity and goalscoring, United playmaker Bruno Fernandes often cut a frustrated figure, and he was booked for dissent. He has now been cautioned for questioning the referee in each of his last two games – in fact, the Portugal midfielder is responsible for a third of the six yellow cards handed out for dissent so far this season.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has backed former colleague Mikel Arteta to turn things around at Arsenal following the Gunners' worst start to a league campaign.

Ten-man Arsenal fell to a 5-0 defeat to City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday to make it three losses in a row without scoring to begin their Premier League season.

The Gunners are only the second team in Premier League history to have zero points and a goal difference of minus nine from their first three games, after Wolves in 2003-04.

Wolves finished bottom of the table that season, and that is the position Arsenal found themselves in following their latest humiliating league loss at the hands of City.

Arteta is under increasing pressure heading into the first international break of 2021-22, but Guardiola is confident results will improve for Arsenal once their injury list clears up.

Guardiola, who worked alongside Arteta for three years at the Etihad Stadium before his compatriot took on the Arsenal job, told BBC Sport: "Mikel knows I love him.

"In the two or three years he was here he was important to what we built. People want results right away, of course.

"But many of the players they invested in, like Ben White and Thomas Partey, were missing today. Without those players it is difficult.

"I know his awareness as a manager and as a leader. The moment everyone is back he will do an excellent job. I know this because I know him, I know the job he can do.

"I'm not talking as a friend I'm talking as a professional. Working alongside him I learned a lot. He taught me many things. The team we are now is because of what he's done. 

"I don't have any doubts. He can have a good results, bad results, my opinion about Mikel is beyond what people can imagine. I'm pretty sure he'll be back on track."

Not since 1954-55 have Arsenal lost their first three league games of the season, but Arteta is hopeful of still being in charge for the visit of Norwich City on September 11.

"For me it is pride and more willingness to change the situation," he told BBC Sport. "A lot has happened in the last three weeks we are in a difficult position.

"The international break will do us some good to recover some of the big players we are missing at the moment and hopefully we come back we are in a better place."

Ilkay Gundogan and Ferran Torres scored from City's first two shots of the match in the opening 12 minutes of the one-sided contest, before Granit Xhaka was issued his fourth Premier League red card for a reckless lunge on Joao Cancelo.

Gabriel Jesus and Rodri registered either side of half-time and Torres rounded off the scoring with his second goal late on to make it three straight 5-0 home league wins for City.

Arsenal's best spell came in the opening five minutes, but they registered just one shot in total – their lowest tally in a league match since 2003-04 (when Opta started recording shot data).

Both those early goals came as a result of some shambolic defending from Arsenal, but Arteta has questioned VAR's decision to let Torres' tap-in stand due to a foul on Calum Chambers in the build-up.

"The first goal was the most disappointing as we were in control of the game until then," Arteta said. "We took the game exactly where we wanted to.

"The first action they have, we fail to stop the cross and Gundogan has a free header in the middle of goal. These are the basics you have to do right.

"The second goal we concede is a clear foul because Calum is punched in the face. Once we conceded after the red card you know what is going to happen.

"It's a really quick action from Xhaka. He tries to get his feet off the ground and the ref decided it was a red card."

Football fandom's unofficial laws dictate you must feel a sense of optimism however unrealistic they may be.

But surely even Arsenal supporters were just hoping to keep the score down at the Etihad Stadium before kick-off?

After all, history provided very little cause for positivity given they'd lost their previous six games against whichever team were the Premier League's defending champions and been defeated in each of their past eight top-flight meetings with City.

And, true to form, it happened again.

This 5-0 embarrassment made it nine successive losses to City, a new Arsenal record for the most consecutive defeats to the same opposition in league competition.

While Arsenal and Mikel Arteta relieved the pressure slightly in midweek with their 6-0 thrashing of West Brom in the League Cup, in reality that will carry little importance within the wider narrative of the Gunners' hapless start to the campaign.

Of course, they have had a tricky beginning to 2021-22 with injuries and coronavirus cases, plus Chelsea and now City in their first three matches… though they also lost to promoted Brentford on matchday one, so it's not all just down to facing deeper or better squads.

Against City, much that went wrong initially was more to do with Arsenal being quintessentially Arsenal than City being excellent.

The hosts were in front after just seven minutes, Ilkay Gundogan nodding home after Calum Chambers misjudged the flight of Gabriel Jesus' cross, while Bernd Leno seemed to do his best to get out of the way.

Gundogan and Bernardo Silva in particular were causing Arsenal significant issues with their forays between the lines, City's fluidity and flexibility going forward leaving the Gunners' backline panicking on a regular basis.

City's control in those early stages just seemed to startle Arteta's men – whether by design or not is unclear – into a state of hyper-defensiveness and that too backfired as they fell 2-0 down after just 12 minutes.

Arsenal simply refused to press City after a short free-kick. Bernardo had the freedom to play a cross into the box from deep, and although it wasn't even particularly good, Cedric Soares' feeble attempt to clear just nudged the ball through to Ferran Torres for an easy finish.

At that point, the only thing preventing this from being 'peak Arsenal', as the kids would say, was a red card for Granit Xha…

With half-time approaching, the Swiss midfielder went flying in on Joao Cancelo with both feet off the ground. He may have got the ball and the contact on the City man seemed minimal, but it was dangerous, reckless and a blatant red card.

Of course, he's become accustomed to those, with his four red cards since the start of 2016-17 a joint high in the Premier League.

Eight minutes later, City had their third through Jesus after great work by Jack Grealish and there will surely have been a few Arsenal fans fearing the worst on what was the 10th anniversary of their worst Premier League defeat – that's right, the 8-2 loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Ultimately – and this may or may not be a consolation to Arteta – it didn't get quite that bad as City only added two more goals through Rodri and Torres in the second half, but in fairness to Arsene Wenger, at least his team scored two of their own 10 years ago.

At the Etihad on Saturday, just getting a shot away would have been considered an achievement for the Gunners, as they only managed one in the entire match. That sixth-minute Bukayo Saka effort's xG value of 0.11 was higher than their xG-per-shot average of 0.06 going into the weekend, though no team in the division had a poorer record before Saturday.

On top of that, striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang didn't have a single touch in the opposition's box during a game he started for only the fourth time in his Premier League career – three of which have been against City – and the first time since October 2019.

Sure, Arsenal were a man light against a very good City, but it would still be expected to see a little more fight. Instead, they looked resigned to a hammering.

Questions of Arsenal's mentality have been rife throughout Arteta's time in charge, particularly relating to their discipline, and this performance was just another in a long series of no-shows.

Heading into Saturday, so much of the talk surrounding this match wasn't even focused on the fixture, rather City's inability to bring in a new striker – or, more specifically, Cristiano Ronaldo.

But Arsenal's meek performance stole the show. Just as the Premier League table now shows for at least a few hours, this was top versus bottom in every sense, and from Arteta's perspective there's no more damning conclusion to be made than that.

Mikel Arteta has told his Arsenal players to be prepared to suffer against Manchester City if they are to pick up a surprise victory and turn around their slow start to the new campaign.

The Gunners are in the Premier League relegation zone after more than one game for the first time since August 1992 following 2-0 defeats to Brentford and Chelsea in their opening two matches.

It is the first time in their 118-year history in England's top four tiers Arsenal have lost back-to-back matches without scoring to begin a league campaign, though they did get off the mark with a 6-0 win against West Brom in the EFL Cup on Wednesday.

Focus switches back to league matters on Saturday when Arsenal travel to the Etihad Stadium for a showdown with champions City, whom Arsenal have suffered eight successive defeats against in the top flight.

That is the north London outfit's joint-longest losing streak against a specific opponent in their league history, matching the eight defeats in a row against Leeds in the 1970s, but Arteta is hoping to bring an end to that run this weekend.

"Picking up a result there would be great," the under-pressure Spaniard said at a pre-match news conference on Thursday. "It would give us a massive lift to go to Manchester and get the win. It would change the narrative a lot and help us in the table.

"As I said after the West Brom game, after losing you want to win to lift the confidence and the mood. We had a big performance last night in the cup and focus again now on the trip to Manchester to play the champions, where we have to be at our best."

City started their title defence with a 1-0 loss to Tottenham on the opening weekend of the campaign, but they soon got that defeat out of their system with a resounding five-goal victory over Norwich City last time out.

Pep Guardiola's men have now won each of their last two games by a 5-0 scoreline and Arteta accepts that it will take a big performance from his side to return to the capital with their first points of the season.

"It's the level that City raise their game to," he said. "You have to be mentally ready to run for long period of the game and not touch the ball and be prepared to suffer. You must have conviction and take our opportunities when they arise."

Arsenal's win over West Brom may have come at a cost as influential wide player Bukayo Saka picked up a knock at The Hawthorns that leaves him doubtful for the game with City.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a hat-trick against West Brom on his first start of the season, while Alexandre Lacazette marked his first appearance of 2021-22 with a goal and Martin Odegaard also impressed on his second debut.

"Getting some of those big players back certainly helps," Arteta said. "Auba and Laca are the biggest threats in the team. We know how crucial they are for our success. Martin's quality also helps. Hopefully we can now get others back."

City have taken 28 points from a possible 30 against Arsenal under Guardiola, a coach Arteta knows well having worked as the Catalan's assistant across a three-year spell prior to taking on the Arsenal job in December 2019.

Guardiola has won eight major honours in five seasons at the Etihad Stadium, but Arteta says his compatriot still has some way to go to be ranked alongside legendary pair Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.

"The longevity of Sir Alex and Arsene is incredible," Arteta said. "Pep has brought a lot of new things. What he's added to this country is exceptional and he is going to go in the history of the Premier League as well.

"It's the club Pep has been at the longest and he is loving it there, winning trophies and building what he wants. I think he is extremely happy now."

Will Kylian Mbappe join Real Madrid before the transfer window shuts?

It has been confirmed that Mbappe wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain, despite Lionel Messi's arrival.

Madrid must now strike an agreement with PSG or wait to sign the France international on a free transfer.

 

TOP STORY – PSG NAME MBAPPE PRICE

Paris Saint-Germain want €220million for wantaway Real Madrid target Kylian Mbappe, according to the front page of Thursday's Diario AS.

Madrid reportedly offered €160m for Mbappe, who is out of contract at the end of 2021-22, as PSG sporting director Leonardo confirmed the Frenchman's desire to leave Paris on Wednesday.

PSG are said to named their price, with RMC claiming Madrid will make an improved offer for Mbappe.

Premier League giants Liverpool and Manchester United have also been linked.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sky Italia's Gianluca Di Marzio says Manchester City are offering Cristiano Ronaldo a two-year deal, though the Premier League holders are unwilling to pay Juventus a transfer fee. There has been talk of Gabriel Jesus or Bernardo Silva being included in a possible deal to sign Ronaldo. It comes after City failed to prise Harry Kane from Tottenham, while Ronaldo has been linked with former club United as well as PSG and Madrid.

Chelsea have readied their final bid for Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, per Fabrizio Romano. The Champions League holders are also trying to sign Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez – a target for rivals United.

Antonio Conte is one of the top choices to replace Mikel Arteta if Arsenal sack their manager, according to the Independent. Conte is without a club after guiding Inter to the Scudetto in 2020-21.

- Di Marzio claims Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich are interested in Brest midfielder Romain Faivre, who is in talks with Milan.

Lazio are pushing to sign Eintracht Frankfurt star Filip Kostic as Joaquin Correa nears a switch to Inter, reports Calciomercato.

Mikel Arteta has been delighted with the attitude shown by his Arsenal players despite a tough start to the new season.

Arsenal are without a point or even a goal in the Premier League, the first time they have lost their first two league matches without scoring in their history.

But a trip to West Brom in the EFL Cup on Wednesday boosted confidence as Arsenal ran out 6-0 winners, led by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's hat-trick.

Aubameyang also created a goal for Nicolas Pepe, who in turn assisted Alexandre Lacazette, while Bukayo Saka was also on target.

It was the biggest win of Arteta's coaching career, with Arsenal not previously scoring six in a game since 2017.

Asked by Sky Sports what pleased him most, Arteta – whose side host AFC Wimbledon in round three – replied: "The attitude that the team had, right from the beginning, right from the warm-up, the way that they've been working, the togetherness that there is around the team.

"We're all disappointed that we haven't won any of the two games in the Premier League, but [I am happy with] the attitude of the players and how together they are.

"When you lose, the most important thing is to win the next match.

"As quick as possible, win, get some confidence, get a clean sheet, score some good goals – players that needed goals, as well, players that needed minutes. In general, it was a very positive night."

Aubameyang was perhaps one of those who needed goals, netting his third hat-trick for the Gunners having had his start to the season disrupted by coronavirus.

Back in the XI and back on form, Aubameyang also praised Arsenal's attitude, saying: "It's a great feeling. I'm just happy that today we won this game.

"This is good to build the confidence of the team. We know we had a tough start to the season, but the only thing I can say is the commitment of the players is always there 100 per cent.

"We will try to give our best, to give the fans what they want, winning games and that's it."

Aaron Ramsdale debuted for Arsenal, making four saves, while there was a second bow for Martin Odegaard, who assisted Saka's strike.

The idea of further signings was put to Arteta, who said: "I don't know what will happen. There's still a few days to go – we have some exits, as well, planned – so we will see."

Mikel Arteta has conceded it will "take some time" to turn around Arsenal's form following the club's worst ever start to a campaign.

The Gunners lost 2-0 to Brentford and Chelsea respectively in their first two matches and are in the relegation zone after more than one game played for the first time since August 1992.

It is also the first time in Arsenal's 118-year history in England's top four tiers they have opened a campaign with two defeats without scoring.

Arsenal have finished eighth in back-to-back seasons and were booed off the field by their supporters at the interval and full-time in Sunday's defeat to Chelsea at Emirates Stadium.

Under-pressure boss Arteta, who has had to contend with the loss of numerous key players through injury and illness, stressed the importance of fans getting behind their side.

"I have to say thank you because the atmosphere that we saw before the Chelsea game when the team was getting the introduction of every member, it was so special," Arteta said.

"I had goosebumps and I was feeling like nothing before. Then I think they tried to support the team very much and I know they are disappointed when you lose at home.

"There has to be some reaction, but this is a project that is going to take some time. 

"You can see and tell from the recruitment that we've done and the really young squad that we have at the moment and it cannot happen overnight. 

"We all want to make it as quick as possible and we know that the responsibility for us is to fight with the top teams in every competition and that's not going to change.

"I think we really need them and this group of players really needs them and the club needs them now next to us because we need that confidence, that support and that energy."

Arsenal have another chance to pick up their first win of 2021-22 on Wednesday when they travel to Championship side West Brom in the second round of the EFL Cup.

The Gunners are competing at this stage of the competition for the first time since 1995-96 after failing to qualify for European football this season.

With a big game against champions Manchester City to come next weekend, Arteta knows the importance of picking up a morale-boosting victory in midweek.

"It's a competition obviously that we want to fight for. We need a win as well," said Arteta, who has suffered 20 defeats in his first 60 matches as a Premier League manager.

"We want to try to get players back if possible to help us because then we have Manchester City at the weekend, and to try to lift the players. 

"Obviously they are hurt, the feeling is tough at the moment, they need some help as well with players coming back, and keep them together, because the spirit there is good.

"They don't need motivating. Honestly, they are really together, one thing they don't need is motivating. That is really clear, they are really trying what they can do. Give them confidence – that is what they need."

Arteta hopes to have new signing Martin Odegaard available against West Brom, while Alexandre Lacazette is back in training after recently contracting coronavirus.

Aaron Ramsdale is another in contention to make his debut at The Hawthorns after arriving from Sheffield United last week, but Arteta is unsure of his team selection.

"We just got the VISA from Martin yesterday," the Spaniard said. "Aaron has been a while without training, but they both want to play. We will see."

Mikel Arteta's selection options for Arsenal's EFL Cup tie with West Brom have been boosted by the availability of Martin Odegaard, while Alexandre Lacazette has resumed full training.

Lacazette has yet to feature for the Gunners this season after he tested positive for COVID-19 before their Premier League opener against Brentford.

The French striker has now returned to working with the rest of the first-team squad ahead of Wednesday's second-round tie against Championship opponents.

Lacazette scored 17 goals in 43 appearances in all competitions last season to finish as Arsenal's top goalscorer.

Odegaard joined Arsenal from Real Madrid on a permanent basis last Friday following a successful loan spell in the 2020-21 campaign. He scored one goal and provided two assists, while his 20 chances created was the most of any Arsenal player during his temporary spell in north London.

The Norwegian did not receive international clearance in time to feature in Sunday's 2-0 home defeat to London rivals Chelsea.

Arteta will hope for a change of fortunes in the cup competition after back-to-back defeats in their opening two Premier League games.

Meanwhile, reserve goalkeeper Alex Runarsson is available again after overcoming COVID-19 but Arteta may hand a full debut to Aaron Ramsdale, signed from Sheffield United last week.

Defenders Hector Bellerin, Gabriel, Kieran Tierney and forward Gabriel Martinelli have all returned to training ahead of the tie after minor injury concerns.

Arsenal are without striker Eddie Nketiah, who has an ankle injury, amid reported interest from Crystal Palace.

The Gunners are also assessing the fitness of Brazilian forward Willian - recently linked with a move to Corinthians in his homeland - following his recovery from coronavirus.

Centre-back Ben White is absent after testing positive for COVDI-19 before the clash with Chelsea while midfielder Thomas Partey is still unavailable with an ankle injury.

Former Arsenal defender Sol Campbell has called on the Gunners to "just give me the job" as he highlighted the problems under manager Mikel Arteta.

Sunday's 2-0 home defeat to Chelsea meant Arsenal opened a league season with two losses and no goals scored in two matches for the first time in their history.

It also marked the first occasion they have ended the day in the relegation zone after more than one game of a season had been played since back in August 1992.

Arteta has lost 20 of his 60 league games in charge, as many as Arsene Wenger endured in 116 Premier League matches at the helm, and pressure is beginning to mount on the former Manchester City assistant.

The Gunners face West Brom in an EFL Cup match on Wednesday before taking on champions City in the top flight on Saturday prior to the international break, and further poor results will leave Arteta in a worrying position given he has overseen a reported net spend of over £130million in this transfer window.

Campbell, twice a Premier League winner in his time with Arsenal - including the famous 'Invincibles' season of 2003-04 - said the problems laid bare by the Chelsea defeat were alarmingly simple.

"It's hard watching Arsenal at the moment, it's really hard," the former Macclesfield Town and Southend United boss told talkSPORT.

"It's just the effort and the quality. Yes, we've spent a lot of money, the most in England at the moment, but it's the quality, the consistency, the experience.

"We're always looking for the potential, it's always good to have potential, but sometimes you want that instant guaranteed success. This is a very, very young side, you have to remember that, there is a lack of experience – but it's the basics!

"Some of the players need to do the basics. You can lose, but the way we conceded some goals was too easy. The reaction times of some of the defenders not backing each other up, not assessing danger.

"The first goal has slipped across the six-yard box – get back and defend. Don't just wait! That's simple, that's A, B, C defending. Allow Chelsea to score really good goals, not those simple goals. It's too easy.

"The gulf of talent and experience was on show. You couldn't really miss it. Chelsea had so much time and space. They were a cut above."

He added with a laugh: "I tell you what, I'd help them. Just give me the job and I'll help them out!

"I'll tell you how to get out of a two-man press against Brentford! I mean, what's going on here?

"We go back to that game [a 2-0 defeat on August 15], it's a two-man press, it's quite easy to work out! You go flatter and that pressing midfielder has to run another 10 or 15 yards, which then gives you more space in the middle of the park. That's really simple!"

Mikel Arteta says Arsenal cannot afford to feel sorry for themselves after his side made unwanted club history with their defeat to Chelsea on Sunday.

The Gunners went down 2-0 to their London rivals at Emirates Stadium through first-half goals from returning Blues striker Romelu Lukaku and lively wing-back Reece James.

Arsenal lost their opening Premier League game of the season to Brentford by the same scoreline, making it the first time in their 118-year history in England's top four tiers they have opened a campaign with two defeats from two without scoring.

It is also the first time the north London side have ended a day in the relegation zone with more than one game played since August 1992, with the pressure growing on manager Arteta after spending a reported £129million on new recruits.

The Spaniard accepts Arsenal can have no complaints with the defeat to Chelsea and has called for a swift response from his side when they face West Brom in the EFL Cup on Wednesday, three days before travelling to Manchester City.

"Chelsea were the better team. When they play at their best, which I think they did today, they are champions of Europe, have world-class players and to match at that level is difficult," Arteta told Sky Sports.

"You can always do things better. In the first half it took us a long time to regain the ball in wide areas. We conceded two goals but the way the team responded and the crowd never gave up, it gave us hope in the second half.

"I see a lot of positives with the crowd. The way they supported the team from the beginning. I saw a good reaction. It is one of the difficult moments. The circumstances are difficult and unprecedented. 

"Feeling sorry for yourself doesn't help. You have to win football matches, keep it together and show spirit. Starting tomorrow in training with the players who did not play. We need to win the game midweek and that will help against City next weekend."

The defeat for Arteta was his 20th as Arsenal manager in the Premier League in what was his 60th match, compared to 20 defeats in his first 116 matches in the competition for legendary Gunners boss Arsene Wenger.

Arsenal's preparations for Arteta's second full campaign in charge have been hampered by five players testing positive for coronavirus, with big-money signing Ben White the latest to be ruled out of the Chelsea match after testing positive.

And Arteta believes his side can turn things around once they return to full strength, though the Spaniard confirmed he does not expect White to be available for selection at the Etihad Stadium.

"It's really challenging at the moment. We're missing nine players and the majority of them are big senior players," he said at his post-match news conference.

"The players we put out are trying their best but at the moments it's not enough to win football matches. We try to explain when we can what we are facing but the expectation for this club is always that we will win. 

"When the players are back and they will need some time to get back as well, hopefully it can be different. The good thing is the narrative in football changes really quickly."

Arsenal squandered their only big chance against Chelsea when Rob Holding headed wide on the hour mark, but the hosts had a big penalty appeal rejected in the first half when James tangled with Bukayo Saka in the box.

Asked if he felt his side should have been awarded a penalty, Arteta replied: "Yes. Clear."

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