The weekend's fixtures in the Premier League felt like they could be pivotal for so many teams, especially near the top of the table.

It proved to be a mixed weekend for the title chasers with Manchester City beating Manchester United with ease, Chelsea throwing away two points at home to Burnley, and Liverpool losing their unbeaten start to the season against an in-form West Ham.

Deeper impacts were felt at the other end of the table as both Aston Villa and Norwich City felt the need to sack their bosses, despite the latter actually winning their first game of the season.

Find all that and more as Stats Perform looks at the quirky Opta facts behind the weekend's action.

 

United soft and unstable

The Premier League's favourite Jekyll and Hyde team, Manchester United, were at it again on Saturday as they 'entertained' neighbours Manchester City.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men had dusted themselves down following their last home game against Liverpool where they were dispatched 5-0 to win well at Tottenham, and then rescue a vital late point at Atalanta in the Champions League. But the 2-0 defeat to City was another reminder of how far they are off the title contenders.

To emphasise the need for improvement at Old Trafford, Eric Bailly's own goal to open the scoring on Saturday meant that United are now without a clean sheet in their last 14 home games in all competitions. The only longer run in the club's history without a home clean sheet was a 21-game stretch between April 1958 and March 1959.

In the Premier League era, only under David Moyes (1.18) have United conceded more goals per game than under Solskjaer (1.13). 

Solskjaer may point to the fact that the away team has won nine of the last 12 meetings between United and City in all competitions (D1 L2), including each of the three games in 2021. Perhaps it would all have been fine for the Red Devils had Saturday's game taken place at the Etihad?

Villa hate Fridays

Aston Villa were a team on the rise and Dean Smith was doing a great job at his boyhood club, until they were not, and he was not.

The Villains began the season well enough, with notable victories at home to Everton and away at Manchester United. Then, before you knew it, they had lost five league games in a row, leading to Smith being relieved of his duties on Sunday.

Could it have been the day of the week's fault, though? Heading into the game, Aston Villa had won none of their previous 13 away top-flight matches played on a Friday (D3 L10), with their last win coming in April 1950, a 4-1 victory at Charlton Athletic.

Unlucky for some? It certainly was for Smith and Villa, with the record now at 14 games.

Newcastle cannot buy a win

Excitement continues at Newcastle United right now as the club eagerly anticipates the January transfer window, with an opportunity to finally flex their financial muscle.

However, that remains almost two months away and the Magpies could be in a bit of trouble by then as their 1-1 draw at Brighton on Saturday meant that they are now 11 games into the season and still waiting for their first league win, the only team yet to register a victory.

It is now their longest winless run from the beginning of a league campaign, and most concerning of all to the new owners at St James' Park will be that each of the last four Premier League sides to endure a similar start to a top-flight season have gone on to be relegated. Then again, none of those sides have the wealth Newcastle do now. Then again, is Eddie Howe the right manager to turn their form around? 

Only Norwich City (26) have conceded more goals than Newcastle (24) this season, while the Magpies' opponents have had a league-high 21.6 expected goals. Howe's Bournemouth side conceded at least 61 goals in each of their five seasons in the top flight. 

Norwich's unconventional response to first victory

Unlike Newcastle, the Canaries finally won their first league game of the season on Saturday, and then sacked head coach Daniel Farke immediately after.

The 2-1 success at Brentford was Farke's 49th and final Premier League game in charge at Carrow Road. His 12.2 win percentage is the second-worst of any coach to preside over 40 or more matches in the competition. Only John Gorman at Swindon Town in 1993-94 achieved a worse win percentage (11.9).

It seems the decision was taken before the game, with Norwich bottom of the Premier League table having lost eight of their first ten games since promotion back to the top flight.

One bright spot other than the three points though was the fact that it was the first time they have scored more than one goal in a game in 28 attempts in a Premier League match.

Hope for whoever comes in to replace Farke, at least.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's future is in doubt as Manchester United continue to struggle.

United were outclassed effortlessly by neighbours Manchester City in Saturday's Premier League derby.

Struggling for form, Solskjaer could pay the price at Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – SOLSKJAER SET FOR AXE?

Manchester United are considering the departure of under-fire manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, according to the Daily Mail.

Manchester City eased past United 2-0 in the Premier League derby showdown at Old Trafford, where Solskjaer's side were left sixth and nine points off the pace.

There are reports of a player revolt as Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo grow frustrated with life in Manchester.

Zinedine Zidane and Ajax boss Erik ten Hag have been linked as possible replacements.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato claims Real Madrid and Newcastle United are interested in Liverpool star Mohamed Salah. The Egypt international, who is contracted to Liverpool until 2023, is keen to sign a new deal at Anfield.

City are weighing up a move for Juventus and Netherlands centre-back Matthijs de Ligt, says El Nacional. De Ligt has also been linked with Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United.

Karim Benzema is open to joining Paris Saint-Germain should Madrid sign Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund, per El Nacional. Benzema has reportedly snubbed a move to Newcastle, while Haaland has been linked with City, United, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Liverpool, PSG, Chelsea and Juve.

Gerard PiqueSergio BusquetsSergi Roberto and Jordi Alba will be allowed to leave Barca under new head coach Xavi, according to El Nacional. Fabrizio Romano adds Xavi will look to re-sign Pablo Gavi and Ousmane Dembele.

- Calciomercato claims Atletico Madrid are interested in Udinese's Nahuel Molina, who is also wanted by Inter.

Vinicius Junior has been in dazzling form for Real Madrid.

Previously linked with Paris Saint-Germain as part of a possible deal to bring Kylian Mbappe to the Spanish capital, Vinicius has established himself under Carlo Ancelotti.

Now, a bumper contract is on the cards.

 

TOP STORY – VINICIUS SET FOR NEW DEAL

Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior is set to hold contract talks with the LaLiga giants, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Vinicius is contracted to Madrid until 2025 but Los Blancos are determined to offer the Brazil international fresh terms.

The 21-year-old has been in red-hot form at the Santiago Bernabeu this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- El Nacional reports Barcelona are targeting Beijing Guoan striker Cedric Bakambu as a short-term replacement for sidelined star Sergio Aguero, who is facing at least three months out due to a potential heart condition.

Luka Jovic is eager to leave Madrid in January, says Defensa Central. The Serbia international has been linked with former club Eintracht Frankfurt, Inter, Milan, Arsenal and Liverpool.

Manchester United have rejected the chance to sign struggling Madrid star Eden Hazard, claims the Daily Mail. Hazard has also been reportedly snubbed by Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Newcastle United.

Newcastle United manager-in-waiting Eddie Howe was in the stands to see the Magpies' winless start extended to 11 Premier League matches at Brighton and Hove Albion.

Isaac Hayden rescued a point for Newcastle in a 1-1 draw, enough to lift the visitors off the foot of the table. Norwich City's earlier win over Brentford had seen Newcastle briefly replace them at the bottom of the pile.

Newcastle trailed to a contentious first-half Leandro Trossard penalty but might have taken all three points, as Brighton finished the game with 10 men after goalkeeper Robert Sanchez took down Callum Wilson in front of an open goal.

The failure to make the most of playing against 10 men – with defender Lewis Dunk in goal – made this Newcastle's worst ever start to a league season.

Only twice previously in their history had Newcastle gone 10 without a win at the start of a campaign, winning their 11th matches in both 1898-99 (3-0 versus Liverpool) and 2018-19 (1-0 versus Watford). They avoided relegation on both occasions.

But this club-record sequence of 11 without a win does not bode well for Newcastle, given each of the most recent four Premier League sides to reach that unwanted mark – Norwich (13 games without a win, 2004-05), QPR (16, 2012-13), Watford (11, 2019-20) and Sheffield United (17, 2020-21) – went down.

This is now Newcastle's longest stretch without a league win at any stage in a season since a run of 13 between December 2007 and March 2008. After Norwich's victory, they are the last winless team in this season's top flight.

Former Bournemouth boss Howe, who watched the Brighton game alongside Newcastle director Amanda Staveley, is set to be confirmed as the club's new manager imminently.

His first game, after the international break, will see Newcastle host Brentford at St James' Park on November 20.

This weekend sees Manchester United host Manchester City in a derby that feels like it may play a pivotal part in where each teams' season heads, and there is an outside chance that the match-winner might not even be Cristiano Ronaldo.

Elsewhere, there is a certain Egyptian King who will be worth consideration for the handful of people who for some reason do not already own him in their fantasy team, along with a Newcastle player who could prove a useful differential.

There is also a former fantasy football favourite at Wolves who could be due a run of form.

Below are Stats Perform's weekly suggestions for fantasy football players, powered by Opta data...

 

JOAO CANCELO (Manchester United v Manchester City)

Try to predict the potential difference-maker ahead of the Manchester derby and you will likely say Kevin De Bruyne or Phil Foden, unless you expect United to win in which case you will probably say Cristiano Ronaldo or… Cristiano Ronaldo.

How about another Portugal international, though?

Manchester City's Joao Cancelo has been involved in more shot-ending sequences of play (66) than any other full-back in the Premier League this season, while he also leads all players in his position for the total xG of the sequences that he has been involved in (6.96).

With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer running out of fit defenders, there may be plenty of space for Cancelo to maraud into at Old Trafford on Saturday.

 

AARON RAMSDALE (Arsenal v Watford)

This feels slightly unimaginative as we also tipped Ramsdale last week, but in fairness the former Bournemouth and Sheffield United stopper was sensational in Arsenal's 2-0 win at Leicester City.

Ramsdale made eight saves against the Foxes and deservedly took home the man of the match award, and may well be called upon to shine again this weekend.

Watford showed in their recent 5-2 thrashing of Everton that they can attack well on the road, having 20 shots at Goodison Park and hitting the target eight times.

Only Edouard Mendy (90 per cent) has a better shot save percentage than Ramsdale's 85.7, and given the Gunners continue to allow several shots against, he could put plenty of points on your board as well as his own team's.

 

MATT RITCHIE (Brighton and Hove Albion v Newcastle United)

It will be a tough game for moneybags Newcastle down at Brighton, with Graham Potter's men starting the season superbly, culminating in a well-earned draw against Liverpool at Anfield last time out.

You are never entirely sure what to expect with the Seagulls, though, especially defensively, and the Magpies may fancy troubling their opponents in the battle of the bird nicknames on the south coast.

Only Trent Alexander-Arnold (26) has created more chances among defenders than Newcastle's Matt Ritchie (24) in the Premier League this season. Ritchie, however, does jointly lead all players in the competition this term for chances created from set-plays (13), along with Alexander-Arnold.

With Callum Wilson back and scoring goals, you could look to Ritchie as a potential differential before he is inevitably replaced by a £60million player in January.

 

JAMES WARD-PROWSE (Southampton v Aston Villa)

The Friday night football from St Mary's promises to be an enticing clash between two teams that cannot decide if they are good or not.

Aston Villa have lost four in a row in the league, and the very last thing they will want to see is James Ward-Prowse lining up against them.

Ward-Prowse has been directly involved in more Premier League goals against Villa than he has versus any other side in the competition (5 – 2 goals, 3 assists). These five goal involvements have come in his last five games against them, with three coming in Southampton's 4-3 win at Villa Park last season.

 

RAPHINHA (Leeds United v Leicester City)

Having the fans back at Elland Road this season was supposed to be the not-so-secret weapon for Leeds to push on after an impressive first year back in the Premier League.

That has not quite been the case so far as the Yorkshire side have only won two of their six home games, but with the impressive Raphinha at his disposal, boss Marcelo Bielsa will be hoping to make it three against Leicester.

As well as scoring 40 per cent of Leeds' Premier League goals so far this season (4/10), the Brazilian has created the most chances (18), had the most shots (32) and completed the most dribbles (26) of any player for the Whites so far this term.

 

MOHAMED SALAH (West Ham United v Liverpool)

It may not be the most ambitious shout in the world, but you would need to have a very good excuse to not have Mohamed Salah in your fantasy team right now.

The Egyptian is averaging a goal or assist every 56 minutes in the Premier League this season; the best ratio of any Liverpool player in a campaign in the competition with at least 10 appearances.

He has also scored nine goals in eight games against the Hammers since joining Liverpool, the joint-most he has scored against any Premier League team apart from Watford (also 9).

RAUL JIMENEZ (Crystal Palace v Wolves)

It was a delight to see Jimenez return at the start of this season after nine months out with a fractured skull. Prior to the injury, the Mexican striker was a talisman at Molineux, and he is starting to look like he might be ready to return to form.

Although his strike in the 2-1 win against Everton last week was only his second of the campaign, he is still making a big difference for his team.

His two goals and two assists have been worth seven points to Wolves in the Premier League this season – only Michail Antonio (9) and Son Heung-min (8) have been more valuable to their sides through goals and assists.

Is a move to London on the cards for Kingsley Coman?

Coman and Bayern Munich have so far been unable to reach an agreement over a new deal.

Chelsea are reportedly ready to pounce.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA TARGETING COMAN

Chelsea are monitoring Bayern Munich forward Kingsley Coman, according to Bild.

Coman has been in negotiations with Bundesliga champions Bayern regarding a new contract, but up until now, the Frenchman has been unwilling to re-sign.

Champions League holders Chelsea are keeping tabs on Coman, who has also been linked with Barcelona, Liverpool and Manchester United.

 

ROUND-UP

- It is set to be a busy time at St James' Park. Sky Sports reports Eddie Howe has agreed to become Newcastle United's manager, while El Nacional claims the Magpies have made Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen a transfer priority.

Barcelona are prioritising a January move for RB Leipzig star Dani Olmo, per Diario AS. Should they fail in their pursuit, out-of-favour Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling is the alternative.

- Sport1 claims the agent of Salzburg sensation Karim Adeyemi has met with LaLiga champions Atletico Madrid. The 19-year-old has also been linked with Bayern, Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain.

PSG and Bayern are eyeing Inter midfielder Marcelo Brozovic on a free transfer, says Calciomercato. United and Barca are also reportedly interested.

After their lucrative takeover, Newcastle United are set to make a transfer splash in January.

The Magpies are winless and second last in the Premier League table this season.

Newcastle remain without a manager, following Steve Bruce's dismissal a fortnight ago.

 

TOP STORY – MAGPIES IN FOR COUTINHO LOAN DEAL

Newcastle United look set to make a move for Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho in January, according to Spanish newspaper Sport.

Financially embattled LaLiga giants Barca are said to be keen to offload the former Liverpool forward, who arrived at Camp Nou from the Reds in 2018.

Barcelona are reportedly ready to accept a loan deal that includes a mandatory option to buy with Newcastle.

ROUND-UP

Barcelona are bullish about signing up Ousmane Dembele to a fresh three-year deal with the option for a further season, claims Mundo Deportivo. Dembele has been linked with LiverpoolManchester United and Juventus.

- Barca are also considering a move to sign Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele on loan, reports Sport. Ndombele has made nine appearances this season.

- Brazilian club Palmeiras have entered the race to sign Manchester United's Edinson Cavani, claims the Daily Express. The Uruguayan signed a one-year contract extension in May.

- Former Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho wants to bring Spurs midfielder Harry Winks and Chelsea's Ruben Loftus-Cheek to Roma, reports Corriere dello Sport.

- Sky Sports reports ex-Roma head coach Paulo Fonseca is still interested in the vacant Newcastle managerial role. Fonseca nearly took over at Tottenham in the off-season. Magpies candidate Unai Emery announced he was staying with Villarreal on Wednesday.

- La Nazione says Tottenham are firmly in the race to sign Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic, who has also been linked with Manchester City, Inter, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid and Juve.

Unai Emery has confirmed he will remain at Villarreal despite significant interest from Newcastle United.

Emery was said to have been made the number one target of Newcastle's new owners following last month's takeover, which saw Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) take an 80 per cent share in the club, as they look to replace former head coach Steve Bruce.

Following Villarreal's Champions League win over Young Boys on Tuesday, Emery said he was aware of interest from Newcastle but had received no offer from the struggling Premier League club.

In a subsequent statement released on Wednesday, Emery praised the "transparency and loyalty" from Villarreal's ownership and the players amid the speculation as he revealed his decision to stay put.

Emery said: "Villarreal is my home and I'm 100 per cent committed. Honestly, I'm grateful for the interest of a great club, but still more grateful to be here.

"That's why I communicated to [owner] Fernando Roig my decision that I wanted to continue being a part of this project for the commitment and respect that I perceive from the club and my players, which is mutual and reciprocal.

"I want to thank the fans for the support they have always shown me.

"On Sunday, we have a really important game [against Getafe] and I hope that together we can achieve victory. We'll see you at the Estadio de la Ceramica."

With Emery having rebuffed their advances, former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe is the favourite for the Newcastle job.

Still waiting for their first win of the season, the Magpies are six points adrift of safety in the Premier League and visit Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

Fiorentina forward Dusan Vlahovic is winning plenty of admirers.

The 21-year-old Serbian has netted 10 times in 12 appearances at club level this season.

Vlahovic is currently under contract until June 23, although La Viola want him to sign an extension.

TOP STORY – PSG TO ENTER VLAHOVIC RACE

Paris Saint-Germain will enter the race to sign Fiorentina's Dusan Vlahovic, claims Le10Sports.

The Parisians are lining up the Serbian striker as a potential successor to Kylian Mbappe should he exit the club when his contract expires at the end of this season, with Real Madrid circling.

Hot property Vlahovic is being pursued by JuventusLiverpool and Tottenham.

ROUND-UP

- Unai Emery will not be the first permanent manager in Newcastle United's new era, BBC Sport journalist and Spanish football expert Guillem Balague understands. The Basque coach is set to stay at Villarreal for now, though his job there is under threat amid a poor start to 2021-22.

- The Sun reports Antonio Conte's arrival at Tottenham has seen Harry Kane abandon any plans he had to quit the club. Kane apparently wished to join Manchester City during the most recent transfer window.

- New Spurs boss Conte wants to sign Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, according to Metro. Conte also has Inter defender Stefan de Vrij in his sights, claims Football Insider.

Milan are in the race to sign talented River Plate star Julian Alvarez in the off-season, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. Fiorentina have also shown interest in 21-year-old Alvarez, who has four caps for Argentina.

Norwich City are considering a move to replace embattled manager Daniel Farke with former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe, claims the Daily Mail. The Canaries have only two points from 10 games following their return to the Premier League. Howe has also been linked with the vacant Newcastle job.

Newcastle want to make Inter's Croatian midfielder Marcelo Brozovic their first major signing in January, says The Sun. Brozovic is out of contract at the end of the season.

Lazio are looking to convince Luiz Felipe to ink a new deal with the club amid interest from BarcelonaSevilla and Real Betis, reports CalcioMercato. The Brazilian centre-back's contract expires at the end of this season.

Fiorentina forward Dusan Vlahovic is winning plenty of admirers.

The 21-year-old Serbian has netted 10 times in 12 appearances at club level this season.

Vlahovic is currently under contract until June 23, although La Viola want him to sign an extension.

TOP STORY – PSG TO ENTER VLAHOVIC RACE

Paris Saint-Germain will enter the race to sign Fiorentina's Dusan Vlahovic, claims Le10Sports.

The Parisians are lining up the Serbian striker as a potential successor to Kylian Mbappe should he exit the club when his contract expires at the end of this season, with Real Madrid circling.

Hot property Vlahovic is being pursued by JuventusLiverpool and Tottenham.

ROUND-UP

- Unai Emery will not be the first permanent manager in Newcastle United's new era, BBC Sport journalist and Spanish football expert Guillem Balague understands. The Basque coach is set to stay at Villarreal for now, though his job there is under threat amid a poor start to 2021-22.

- The Sun reports Antonio Conte's arrival at Tottenham has seen Harry Kane abandon any plans he had to quit the club. Kane apparently wished to join Manchester City during the most recent transfer window.

- New Spurs boss Conte wants to sign Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, according to Metro. Conte also has Inter defender Stefan de Vrij in his sights, claims Football Insider.

Milan are in the race to sign talented River Plate star Julian Alvarez in the off-season, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. Fiorentina have also shown interest in 21-year-old Alvarez, who has four caps for Argentina.

Norwich City are considering a move to replace embattled manager Daniel Farke with former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe, claims the Daily Mail. The Canaries have only two points from 10 games following their return to the Premier League. Howe has also been linked with the vacant Newcastle job.

Newcastle want to make Inter's Croatian midfielder Marcelo Brozovic their first major signing in January, says The Sun. Brozovic is out of contract at the end of the season.

Lazio are looking to convince Luiz Felipe to ink a new deal with the club amid interest from BarcelonaSevilla and Real Betis, reports CalcioMercato. The Brazilian centre-back's contract expires at the end of this season.

Villarreal head coach Unai Emery confirmed Newcastle United's interest in bringing him back to the Premier League, but he is yet to receive an offer.

Newcastle have reportedly made former Arsenal boss Emery their number one target to succeed Steve Bruce following the club's takeover by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Premier League outfit Newcastle, who have also been linked with former Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe, are understood to want Emery in place for Saturday's game against Brighton and Hove Albion.

Villarreal president Fernando Roig told Spanish broadcaster A Punt Media on Tuesday that Emery is "very happy" at the LaLiga side and Europa League champions, but conceded it would not be their decision should Newcastle pay his release clause.

Emery had said on Monday that he did not know anything about the potential move, however, added after Tuesday's 2-0 Champions League win over Young Boys that contact had been made.

"The truth is that they have shown an interest in me, but I have no further news," Emery said during his post-game news conference. "There is no offer. There have been no more steps.

"I am focused on Villarreal. It will have to be a contact between clubs. My idea is to be here on Sunday."

It has been reported Newcastle will pay the stipulated €6million release clause on Wednesday, although Emery would not be drawn on the speculation.

"Well, first I would talk to the president. I neither close the door nor open it to Newcastle," said Emery, who won three successive Europa League titles with Sevilla before leaving for Paris Saint-Germain in 2016.

"I have not said no, but I would discuss it with Villarreal. I am very grateful. I cannot say anything more. We have already talked about noise. The first one who is uncomfortable is me, but we have been focused on the game."

Emery led Villarreal to last season's Europa League crown, beating Manchester United in a marathon penalty shoot-out in the final, earning them qualification for this term's Champions League.

Villarreal are currently 13th in LaLiga, having managed one point from their past four league games, while they sit second in their Champions League group with seven points behind Manchester United on head-to-head.

Newcastle United have been warned Unai Emery is enjoying life at Villarreal after he was linked with the newly-wealthy Premier League club.

Former Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain boss Emery is said to be a prime target for Newcastle, whose new Saudi majority owners are seeking a successor to Steve Bruce.

According to reports in England on Tuesday, Emery and former Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe have both been considered for the job at St James' Park. Newcastle are said to want Emery in place before Saturday's game against Brighton and Hove Albion.

Whether Emery is tempted by a return to the Premier League remains to be seen, after he endured a difficult time with Arsenal. He would be inheriting a team who are facing a relegation battle, albeit he would likely have substantial funds for new signings in January.

Villarreal faced a Champions League home game on Tuesday evening against Young Boys, with Emery's future suddenly clouded in doubt.

Yet Emery, who turns 50 on Wednesday, is content with his current position, according to LaLiga club Villarreal's president Fernando Roig.

Roig told Spanish broadcaster A Punt Media: "Emery is very happy in Villarreal and has a contract in force."

The president said it "is not a decision for Villarreal" should Newcastle be willing to pay up his release clause.

Emery was asked about the Newcastle link on Monday, and said: "The truth is that I don't know anything."

Bruce was an early casualty of the new regime, with the club seeking a big-name boss to lead them into a fresh era.

Emery won three successive Europa League titles with Sevilla before leaving in 2016 and spending two years at PSG, where he continued to stack up trophies.

The trophies dried up at Arsenal, where he was the man chosen in 2018 to take over from long-serving Arsene Wenger. Emery was sacked in November 2019, after 18 months with the Gunners, but returned to coaching with Villarreal and helped the Spanish club win last season's Europa League title, beating Manchester United after a marathon penalty shootout.

That secured a Champions League place for this season, with Villarreal sitting second in Group F after three games heading into Tuesday's round of matches.

Their domestic league form in 2021-22 has so far left a little to be desired, however, with Villarreal winning just two of their opening 11 games in LaLiga, drawing six and losing three, to sit 13th.

Nuno Espirito Santo's replacement at Tottenham will be no surprise.

Antonio Conte had been rumoured as the top choice.

The ex-Inter man looks set to make it official on Tuesday, barring any late hitches.

 

TOP STORY – CONTE SET FOR SPURS MOVE

With Nuno Espirito Santo officially out, Antonio Conte is set to step in at Tottenham.

According to widespread reports, Conte has agreed a contract through June 2023 and the move will be finalised on Tuesday.

The 52-year-old left Inter by mutual consent after last season.

The Sun claims Spurs will give Conte £150million to spend on new players.

 

ROUND-UP 

- Paul Pogba prefers Paris Saint-Germain over Real Madrid or Juventus once he makes his expected departure from Manchester United, Fichajes reports.

- PSG are eyeing Karim Adeyemi as a potential replacement should Kylian Mbappe leave, Sky Sport in Germany reports. The 19-year-old Red Bull Salzburg striker also has drawn interest from Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

- Real Madrid's Marco Asensio will be in demand in January, with El Nacional reporting Liverpool, Arsenal, Juventus, Milan and Dortmund all have offers ready.

- Arsenal are eyeing Torino striker Andrea Belotti, says Calciomercato.

- Villarreal's Unai Emery is the new favourite to take over as Newcastle United manager, says the Mirror.

Former England international Kieron Dyer must undergo a liver transplant after being diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis.

The Ipswich Town Under-23s boss revealed he has been managing problems with his liver over the past couple of years.

Ex-Newcastle United and West Ham winger Dyer underwent hospital tests earlier this week having suffered a collapsed lung while competing in the reality television show Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins last month.

And the 42-year-old, who also played for Ipswich, QPR and Middlesbrough, expressed his gratitude for the support he has received.

In a statement on the League One side's official website, he said: "Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with a condition of the liver a couple of years ago that would lead to me one day needing a transplant.

"Over the next week, test results will confirm when I need to go through this procedure.

"I see myself as a very positive person that will overcome this minor setback.

"I'm very grateful to the club, the supporters and the general public for their messages of support over the past week.

"I would like to ask everyone now to respect my privacy, and my family's privacy."

Dyer earned 33 caps for England between 1999 and 2007, representing the Three Lions at the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004.

What does the future hold for Paul Pogba?

Pogba, who re-joined Manchester United from Juventus in 2016, is set to become a free agent at season's end.

Juve are believed to be trying to lure Pogba back to Italy.

 

TOP STORY – JUVE LEAD RACE FOR POGBA

Juventus are in pole position to re-sign Paul Pogba from Manchester United, according to Sportitalia journalist Rudy Galetti.

Pogba is out of contract at the end of the season and is reportedly not prepared to sign a new contract with United.

The World Cup-winning France international left United for Juventus in 2012 before returning to Old Trafford in 2016.

Le10 Sport, meanwhile, claims Paris Saint-Germain are circling amid interest from Real Madrid also.

 

ROUND-UP

- Diario AS reports Xavi wants to sign Bayern Munich star Kingsley Coman if he is appointed head coach of LaLiga giants Barcelona . Barca great and Al-Sadd boss Xavi is favourite to replace Ronald Koeman.

Theo Hernandez is set to snub a move to Premier League champions Manchester City or Ligue 1 powerhouse PSG in favour of re-signing with Milan, per Calciomercato.

- The Mirror says Newcastle United are struggling to prise Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag from Amsterdam. Also linked to Manchester United amid pressure on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer , Ten Hag is reluctant to move to Newcastle due to their position in the table.

Inter have planned talks with Marcelo Brozovic regarding a new contract amid interest from PSG , Manchester United , Barca and Atletico Madrid , according to Corriere dello Sport.

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