Paris Saint-Germain secured a record-equalling 10th Ligue 1 title with a 1-1 draw at home to Lens on Saturday, but that may not be enough to keep Mauricio Pochettino in a job.

The Argentine may not be heading for Old Trafford after Manchester United confirmed the appointment of Erik ten Hag last week, but he could still be going out the exit door after a demoralising campaign.

With PSG crashing out of the Champions League in calamitous fashion to Real Madrid in March, reports have suggested Pochettino could be replaced by the boss of his former club Tottenham, Antonio Conte.

With Conte overseeing an improvement in Spurs' fortunes since taking the job and possessing experience of managing big egos at former clubs Juventus, Chelsea, and Inter, could the Italian be the man to get the best out of the star-studded Parisians?

Here, Stats Perform uses Opta-powered data to compare the managerial duo.

Pochettino in Paris: Domestic dominance remains, but so does European fragility 

Many saw the decision to appoint Pochettino as prudent after he made 70 appearances in a two-year playing spell in Paris, before his relationship with compatriot Lionel Messi aided the legendary forward's arrival.

It has not, however, been plain sailing for the former Tottenham boss. PSG beat Monaco to lift the Coupe de France last May but missed out on the league title to surprise package Lille last season.

Lille led PSG by a point when Pochettino arrived and pipped the Parisians to the title by that margin as Pochettino became just the second PSG boss (after Unai Emery) to fail to win the Ligue 1 title since 2012.

While PSG rebounded to win the league in dominant fashion this term, moving level with Saint-Etienne as the most successful club in Ligue 1 history, their 34 matches required to secure the title is the most they have needed since 2014-15, when they wrapped up top spot on matchday 37.

The team's reliance on Kylian Mbappe, who has contributed to 36 of the team's 76 league goals this term (22 goals, 14 assists), could also prove a huge issue next term with the 22-year-old heavily linked with a move to Madrid at the end of his contract in June.

Although the star trio of Messi, Neymar, and Mbappe have recorded 37 goals and 32 assists in the league between them this term, they could not inspire Champions League success.

If Pochettino is to depart, March's humiliating 3-2 aggregate loss to a Karim Benzema-inspired Madrid will be remembered as the decisive moment of his time in Paris.

Having beaten the Spanish giants 1-0 at home, PSG have now been eliminated in four of their nine Champions League knockout ties when winning the first leg.

Fixing their fragility on the big occasions will be their foremost aim ahead of next season, which is why the appointment of a manager with one of Europe's most impressive track records has been speculated.

The case for Conte: Title wins and handling big names

Having won five league titles (four in Serie A, one in the Premier League), Conte is always mentioned when a vacancy at an elite European club comes around.

With current club Tottenham battling to ensure Champions League qualification for next season, however, could Conte be tempted to follow in Pochettino's footsteps if he departs PSG?

Conte has overseen a dramatic improvement since taking the Spurs job; before falling to a 1-0 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion and drawing 0-0 with Brentford, Spurs had plundered 25 goals in their previous seven league games, having scored just nine in 10 league matches under predecessor Nuno Espirito Santo earlier this season.

Star duo Harry Kane and Son Heung-min have also been rejuvenated by Conte's arrival, breaking Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba's record of 36 direct Premier League goal combinations in February.

Conte's previous role at Italian giants Inter, however, might prove more relevant to what he could expect at PSG: the Italian excelled under huge expectations to deliver their first Scudetto in over a decade last season, ending a nine-year period of Juventus dominance he began by leading the Bianconeri to an unbeaten season in 2011-12.

Like Kane and Son, Romelu Lukaku – who recorded 24 goals and 11 assists in Serie A last season – profited from a direct style that saw Inter net a remarkable 89 league goals in their title-winning campaign, and has struggled to replicate that form since following Conte out of San Siro.

As well as his title wins, Conte's work with Lukaku, Kane, Son, and other big names certainly suggests he could have what it takes to manage the sizeable egos of PSG's attacking stars if he makes the move.

However, with Conte failing to progress beyond the Champions League last-eight in his career, the Italian would need to improve his European record in order to satisfy the ambitions of continental glory.

Harry Kane insists Tottenham must win their five remaining Premier League games to qualify for the Champions League.

Antonio Conte's Spurs are embroiled in a fight for fourth with rivals Arsenal, who are two points ahead after defeating Manchester United 3-1 before Tottenham were held by Brentford later on Saturday.

That capped a damaging two-game spell for Conte's side, after losing to Brighton and Hove Albion at home last week.

Spurs also failed to register a single shot on target across the games against Brighton and Brentford, having previously scored in 14 consecutive halves of Premier League football.

The north London pair meet in a rearranged fixture in the penultimate week of the season, which could decide who finishes fourth, and Kane urged Tottenham to collect maximum points from their final five games.

Spurs face Leicester City and Liverpool before concluding their campaign against Burnley and Norwich City after the meeting with Mikel Arteta's Gunners on May 12.

"To only get one point from those two games [Brighton and Brentford] is disappointing," Kane told Standard Sport. "We're running out of games in terms of dropping points.

"There are five games left and we feel like we are pretty much going to have to win all of them to get that spot. We are more than capable of doing that, we believe in that and that is what we'll try and do.

"Is it still in our hands? Yeah. If we win the last five games we will be in the Champions League, so that is how we've got to look at it."

Kane – who is set to lead England at the World Cup later this year – also acknowledged the difficult task of facing quadruple-chasing Liverpool at Anfield, while Burnley are fighting relegation, although Norwich will likely be consigned to the Championship by the final day.

"We know those five games will be difficult, we go to Liverpool away as well which will be very tough," he added.

"As we've seen this season, we have dropped points against teams where we were probably expected to win and so have the others around us. It is by all means not done yet.

"We have to stay focused and keep working hard. We have a little gap now to prepare and work and hopefully, we can put in a good performance against Leicester [on Sunday].

"It has been a long season and we've definitely had ups and downs this season. I think we've done great to put ourselves in this position we're in now but it is about who can finish it off.

"That is the most important thing in football. Hopefully, it is us, we will work as hard as we can to make sure it is us and get that Champions League spot."

Tottenham stuttered to a 0-0 draw at Brentford on Saturday, handing bitter rivals Arsenal the advantage in the race for fourth in the Premier League.

Arsenal defeated Manchester United 3-1 earlier in the day to open a three-point lead over Antonio Conte's men, and Spurs' inability to follow suit prevented them going ahead of the Gunners on goal difference.

Spurs offered little attacking threat during a first half that Brentford enjoyed the better of, with their set-piece prowess causing the visitors problems and bringing about a great chance as Ivan Toney hit the woodwork.

The contest was more open in general after the interval but still the best opportunities fell the way of Brentford, who again hit the frame of the goal through Toney and only failed to clinch a deserved victory due to lacking the finishing touch.

Thomas Frank's side looked fired up from the off and nearly took an early lead when Vitaly Janelt robbed Ryan Sessegnon before teeing up Bryan Mbeumo, whose shot was deflected agonisingly wide.

It was from corners where Brentford posed a more consistent threat, however, with Toney's runs to the back post a regular nuisance.

But their best opportunity arrived when Toney waited centrally for a corner delivery, rising highest and heading against the crossbar.

A brief Spurs improvement after half-time did not amount to much as Brentford were soon in the ascendancy again, Christian Eriksen seeing a 20-yard effort deflect just wide.

From the resulting corner, Pontus Jansson had a header cleared off the line and Eriksen – facing his former club for the first time since returning to the Premier League – was denied by Hugo Lloris.

Spurs had another fortunate escape right at the end, as Toney crashed a header against the upright.

Christian Eriksen says he is "enjoying the moment" at Brentford, but refused to commit to his next steps ahead of a reunion with former club Tottenham on Saturday.

The Denmark international will face his old club for the first time since he linked up with the Bees in January, a move which came seven months after his cardiac arrest at Euro 2020.

The playmaker has defied expectations to make a full return to football after his collapse in Copenhagen last summer, and has been at the heart of Brentford's revival since arriving. 

He will reunite with Spurs for the first time since he left for Inter in 2020 this weekend, as well as with former Nerazzurri boss Antonio Conte.

Those close links have fuelled speculation he could return to his former North London home at the conclusion of the season, but for now, Eriksen is focused on enjoying his time with the Bees.

"When I signed here in January, it was actually [about] coming back and showing I was a football player and could play football," he told Sky Sports ahead of the Bees' clash with Spurs.

"There was also the six months of a test trial. By now, it feels good. But for the future, I don't know.

"I'm just enjoying the moment, every game is really fun to play in. What happens in the summer will be a decision for me as a footballer and as a family man.

"Everything is open. I've been taken good care of at Brentford, they've really shown me a lot of love and [I'm] trying to repay them for what they've showed me.

"Every option is open, either at Brentford or anywhere else."

Spurs captain Hugo Lloris, meanwhile, says his side are looking forward to seeing their old team-mate, who helped them to the 2019 Champions League Final during his time with the club.

"After what happened to him, it's always nice to see an ex-team-mate but even more, a player who was special for the club," he told Tottenham's official website.

"He spent more than six years at the club and he had a great time, we had a great time as team-mates.

"Then after what happened last summer… for most of us, it's going to be the first time that we’ve seen him.

"Obviously the most important thing for us right now is the game and the three points. We will have time after the game to enjoy the moment with him."

Christian Eriksen joining another club at the end of season would be "what it is" according to Brentford boss Thomas Frank, amid reports the Denmark star may re-sign with Tottenham.

Attacking midfielder Eriksen penned a short-term contract with the Bees in January, just seven months after suffering a cardiac arrest representing his country at Euro 2020.

Eriksen was available as a free agent after his Inter contract was cancelled because rules in Serie A prevent players fitted with a heart-starting device playing in the competition.

The 30-year-old has impressed under Frank, leading to rumours he may reunite with Antonio Conte – his coach at Inter – and re-join Spurs, who he departed to move to Italy in January 2020.

Eriksen will come up against his former boss when the teams meet in the Premier League this weekend, and Conte admitted in an interview with Sky Sports he would enjoy working with him again.

"For sure, to work again with Christian is a fantastic opportunity," Conte said.

"I enjoyed the time we spent together in Inter Milan, despite the first time he didn't play regularly with me.

"But then when I understood what I wanted about him then he played. We won together a title, the league in Italy.

"When you have this type of player, a great player, a good man, I think every manager, every coach, likes to work with them."

Frank understands Conte's desire to be reunited with Eriksen, though retains hope he may opt to remain with Brentford.

"Obviously he would enjoy to work with him and Christian is a fantastic player, but I know that I will answer this question from now until the end of the season and hopefully we end up signing him," Frank told a pre-match news conference.

"But if he ends up at another club, it is what it is. I want to focus on now and trying to prepare the team and Christian for the game and hopefully we can make him flourish tomorrow and perform well and beat Tottenham.

"I think we went into this with open eyes and this is the outcome we hoped for, that he performs fantastic and that we perform well and the other hope is that he performs after the summer."

Frank also acknowledged Eriksen is excited to face a team whom he helped reach the Champions League final in the 2018-19 season.

"I think he just literally looks forward to playing Tottenham. He has a lot of old team-mates, a lot of staff members he worked closely together with for seven years of his life," Frank added.

"This is where he went from being a very talented footballer at Ajax to be a world-class midfielder, and one of the best midfielders in the Premier League.

"I know one thing, he is looking forward to it but he will do his best to try and beat them, of course he wants to compete."

Manchester United are preparing for a complete overhaul of the playing group in the upcoming transfer window as incoming manager Erik ten Hag begins to build things his way.

Ten Hag, who is arriving from Ajax, has reportedly already seen enough of a number of regular contributors at United, and they will make way for players he believes can get the club back to their former glory.

Forward, midfielders and defenders are all on the chopping block, with very few positions expected to be safe heading into 2022-23.

 

TOP STORY – TEN HAG TO SWING THE AXE AT UNITED

The Sun is reporting United "could sell" Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones and Alex Telles at the next opportunity.

Meanwhile, Sky Sports claims United's needs include a new centre-back, two central midfielders, a winger and a striker in what could shape up as a complete rebuild.

One player who will reportedly get a chance to prove his worth at Old Trafford once he returns from loan is Donny van de Beek, who played for Ten Hag at Ajax.

West Ham's Declan Rice is also high on the Dutchman's wishlist, per The Guardian, while the Telegraph claims Benfica striker Darwin Nunez is a key target.

 

ROUND-UP

– Sky Sports Germany is reporting RB Leipzig have no interest in parting ways with Christopher Nkunku next season, despite interest from United and Arsenal.

– According to Goal, Milan are keen to sign Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku, who spent two seasons at Inter before rejoining Chelsea this season.

Real Madrid are monitoring Newcastle United midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, per AS.

Manchester City and Newcastle United are both interested in 18-year-old Rangers academy midfielder Alex Lowry, according to Football Insider.

– Todofichajes reports that Christian Eriksen has agreed to return to Tottenham when his contract with Brentford expires at the end of this season.

Tic tac, tic tac, as it goes in the Spanish media. Real Madrid's courting of Kylian Mbappe has long avoided subtlety and discretion, but he remains their primary target.

The Paris Saint-Germain attacker has just about become the world's best footballer in the meantime, contributing an extraordinary 33 goals and 18 assists in 41 appearances across all competitions this term.

A move to the Spanish capital at the end of the season remains a possibility, and reports suggest Real Madrid will go all out to make it happen.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE REMAINS MADRID'S PRIMARY TARGET

Real Madrid are confident they will sign Kylian Mbappe amid the increasing likelihood of Erling Haaland joining Manchester City, according to the Daily Mail.

With the end of the season and the subsequent expiration of the 23-year-old's contract nearing, Madrid and Mbappe have yet to sign a pre-contractual agreement as a means of not disrespecting PSG.

While the club are playing the waiting game, they remain confident for the sole fact a new deal with PSG has not yet been signed and confirmed.

Mbappe has reportedly remained the club's first preference despite interest in Haaland, who appears set to join Manchester City.

ROUND-UP

 Anthony Martial appears set to return to Manchester United with Sevilla not interested in making his loan deal permanent, claims Fabrizio Romano.

Dejan Kulusevski will join Tottenham from Juventus on a permanent basis despite another season left on his 18-month loan, reports the Evening Standard.

– According to Tuttosport, Spurs director of football Fabio Paratici has also identified Torino defensive pair Gleison Bremer and Wilfried Singo as potential targets.

Real Madrid are also keen on signing Jude Bellingham but Borussia Dortmund are intent on keeping the 18-year-old and are prepared to increase his standing at the club, Bild is reporting.

Tottenham midfielder Oliver Skipp has signed a new contract to run until 2027, the club have announced.

The 21-year-old has enjoyed a breakthrough season, making 24 appearances in all competitions, 18 of them starts, as Antonio Conte's men challenge for a top-four finish in the Premier League.

The midfielder is currently recovering from injury, however, with his last league appearance coming in a 2-0 defeat at Chelsea on January 23.

Skipp, who made his first-team debut in 2018 after coming through the club's youth system, has now committed his future to the club for the next five years.

"We are delighted to announce that Oliver Skipp has signed a new contract with the club that will run until 2027," read a statement on the club's website.

"Making his competitive first team debut in a Carabao Cup win over West Ham in October, 2018, the academy graduate has gone on to make 52 appearances for us, whilst enjoying a successful loan spell at Norwich City last season, where he featured in 45 of their 46 league games and was named in the PFA Championship Team of the Season."

Skipp said he was delighted to have extended his stay at his boyhood club, and was anxious to return from his injury as soon as possible.

"I'm delighted to sign this new deal, it's something that I'm very grateful for. It means a lot when you've grown up at the club, my whole family supports this club," he told the club's official media channels.

"It means a lot when you step out in front of that crowd. I've missed that feeling, obviously, in the last few months, and I'm pushing to feel that again.

"It's been a really frustrating one for me, it's just about being patient, it's something that happens in a footballing career, and I just want to make sure that when I'm back, I'm right."

Skipp's team-mates are looking to strengthen their hopes of Champions League qualification when they face Brentford on Saturday, having seen a run of four consecutive league wins halted by a 1-0 loss to Brighton and Hove Albion last time out.

New investment at Milan could see the Italian powerhouse target the best players across Europe's top clubs.

Milan have entered into exclusive talks with Bahrain-based asset manager Investcorp over a takeover.

The Rossoneri have been linked with Real Madrid's Marco Asensio and Isco and Liverpool's Divock Origi already.

TOP STORY – STERLING ON MILAN WISH LIST

Milan are monitoring Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

The England international is among a list of players that Milan would like to sign amid a reported lucrative takeover by a Bahrain-based organisation.

Sterling's current contract with City expires in 2023, but the Daily Mail claims he would turn down the Italian move.

 

ROUND-UP

 Christian Eriksen is gaining interest from former employers Tottenham after a good run of form, although his agent is set to meet with Brentford at the end of this season to formalise his future, claims Fabrizio Romano.

– Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel and goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga will hold talks at the end of this season to discuss his future having struggled for opportunities, reports Football.London.

– Jose Mourinho's Roma will open talks with Nemanja Matic's representatives as the Serbian midfielder prepares to leave Manchester United, reports Nicolo Schira.

– Manchester Evening News claims Manchester United have revived their interest in Villarreal defender Pau Torres.

Emma Raducanu has revealed the responsibility for her new-found affinity for Tottenham lies predominantly with her Spurs-obsessed support team.

Social media has been abuzz on Monday with photos and videos of the 19-year-old US Open champion training in a Tottenham jersey ahead of the Stuttgart Open.

The shirt even had her name and the number 10 emblazoned across the back, suggesting a particularly strong connection with the north London club. But it is not quite as it seems.

Raducanu, who was born in Toronto but raised in south-east London, said she has been heavily influenced by those close to her – although the presence of star duo Harry Kane and Son Heung-min was also a consideration.

"My whole team basically are big Spurs fans and I feel like they're egging me on," Raducanu told reporters.

"They're desperately trying to get me behind them! I don't necessarily follow football much, but I feel like now, because of them, I'm feeling some sort of connection.

"I loved following the Euros last year and watching Harry Kane, who's obviously the England captain, and Son, I'm a big fan of him as well. So yeah, I like to dabble."

Raducanu is seeded eighth for her first-ever tournament on clay this week and will begin her campaign against Storm Sanders on Wednesday.

While Raducanu's immediate aim is undoubtedly building momentum, she sees this tournament as a chance to make a statement on a surface she believes will be her strongest in the long term.

"It's going to be an exciting clay season," she added. "I'm not sure how it is going to go. I keep telling everyone around me that one day clay is going to be my surface and I still believe that.

"I think game-wise on clay, especially when you're playing outside, you definitely need to be a lot more patient and build the point.

"You can't just hit a big shot, whereas on a hard court, you might be able to get a weak shot straight away. You really need to build the point a lot more, which takes a lot more energy and physical demand.

"You just have to be more crafty, I think, and I think it's a good lesson, especially for someone younger like me, to develop more skills. 

"I'm looking forward to spending more time on the clay as the years go by because I do like sliding and moving on it, and it's just about again being able to repeat over and over."

There were two first-round matches played in Stuttgart on Monday, with Liudmila Samsonova claiming a double bagel when beating Chloe Paquet 6-0 6-0, while Ekaterina Alexandrova defeated Shuai Zhang 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (8-6).

The joined actions of some of the most powerful figures in modern football unwittingly created an ever mightier alliance on April 18, 2021.

The announcement of a new European Super League united Manchester, with fans and players of United and City joining those invested in the fortunes of Liverpool and the three London giants of Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham in opposition.

Although the reaction in Italy and Spain may not have been quite as damning, the protests that followed over the course of an extraordinary few days were enough to derail the plans.

A year on, Stats Perform looks back on one of the most controversial proposals in the sport's history and where it stands now.

What is/was the European Super League?

The past week has shown exactly what makes the Champions League great, whether Villarreal's upset of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid withstanding Chelsea's fightback, a thriller between Liverpool and Benfica in a tie widely considered over or the blood and thunder of Manchester City's defeat of Atletico Madrid.

But Arsenal and Tottenham did not qualify for the Champions League this season, while Barcelona and Milan failed to make it beyond the group stage.

In another season, another superpower – the clubs whose names and riches have made the Champions League what it is – might miss out on these great games.

That was the fear of a dozen leading sides, anyway. Barca had a prominent role, along with Real Madrid and Juventus, as the European Super League was launched.

The competition was to be backed by United States-based investment bank JP Morgan and managed by the owners of the founding clubs, who would be guaranteed entry to the competition.

Three clubs were hoped to join the initial 12, followed by five others qualifying each year to form a 20-team tournament, which would be split into two 10-team leagues prior to a knockout stage.

The idea was for the Super League to replace the lucrative Champions League, rather than domestic leagues – hence its inception on the eve of Champions League reforms. The interested parties even claimed the money raised would benefit "the wider football pyramid".

But the reception was widely critical, while there were notable absentees in the form of Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich, the previous campaign's Champions League finalists.

PSG had spent too much time – and, of course, money – establishing themselves among European football's elite to risk it all in the breakaway.

Meanwhile, Bayern, like most German clubs, are partly fan-owned. And it would soon become clear football fans in general were not enthused by the prospect of seeing Europe's best teams slog it out in a closed-shop tournament.

Then what?

The 12 clubs must have imagined some sort of response, but what followed appeared to stun those involved.

Their own players and coaches announced opposition, with many frustrated these plans had provided such a distraction at a key stage in the season. Notably, Jurgen Klopp fumed when Leeds United, Liverpool's next opponents, told the six-time European champions to "earn it" if they wanted to play in the Champions League.

The rest of football appeared united against those who had sought to cut loose, as former Manchester United captain Gary Neville called for the Old Trafford club to be relegated along with Liverpool and Arsenal.

Unsurprisingly, UEFA, FIFA and even the UK government railed against the Super League, too.

But most importantly, the fans – particularly in England – made clear they would not stand for this apparent betrayal of the sport and its roots.

Chelsea were the first team to back out of the European Super League while Petr Cech attempted to negotiate with furious supporters blocking the team's entrance to Stamford Bridge prior to a drab goalless draw against Brighton and Hove Albion.

With protests following at stadiums up and down the country, the Premier League clubs soon quit the breakaway competition, and they were joined by Inter, Milan and Atletico Madrid, as the Super League was declared dead mere hours after its birth.

Football had won, it was widely acknowledged.

And they all lived happily ever after?

Well, not quite. Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus have continued to pursue the European Super League, their owners refusing to relent.

The huge debts racked up during the coronavirus pandemic contributed to their desperation to land this lucrative deal, with Barca since forced to let club legend Lionel Messi leave on a free transfer due to their inability to afford a new contract for the 34-year-old.

Those who backed out of the controversial plans have at least returned to the European Club Association, in which PSG were huge beneficiaries of their reluctance to follow their elite rivals. Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the PSG president, now leads the ECA in a role that previously belonged to Juve chief Andrea Agnelli.

But even Barca, Madrid and Juve have been able to continue playing in UEFA competitions – those they have qualified for, anyway. Madrid have made the Champions League semi-finals as they bid for a record-extending 14th European crown.

And sceptics could be forgiven for wondering if the new Champions League format sounds a little 'European Super Leaguey'.

As of 2024-25, the group stages will be no more, replaced by – yes – a league. And although the competition is increasing in size to 36 teams, two of the additional four slots are reserved for clubs who have the highest UEFA coefficients but have qualified only for one of the organisation's lesser competitions.

Barca, who toiled in the early stages of this season, or Juve, facing a fight for a top-four finish in Serie A, would have to slump significantly not to be assured of a seat at the time.

The Super League is dead... but long live the Super League?

Christopher Nkunku has long been on the various of Europe's big clubs, but this season has been a breakout.

The 24-year-old France attacker has contributed an extraordinary 17 goals and 15 assists in 30 league appearances for RB Leipzig this term.

Investcorp's reported takeover of Milan from Elliott Management, and the consequent injection of funds, has reportedly put Nkunku in Milan's sights.

 

TOP STORY – NKUNKU ON MILAN RADAR

A change in ownership is allowing Milan to go after RB Leipzig's Cristopher Nkunku, the Gazzetta dello Sport is reporting.

Milan's Scudetto charges in recent years have fallen short up front despite the quality of their midfield, but the change of ownership can dictate a change in transfer strategy.

Meetings with Sassuolo for Gianluca Scamacca and Hamed Traore could be scuppered because the likes of Nkunku would become available.

Any such moves would reportedly not rule out a transfer for Liverpool striker Divock Origi that is already in the works, however.

 

ROUND-UP

– Liverpool have identified Barcelona's 17-year-old talent Gavi as a potential target in an attempt to bolster their midfield at the end of the season, Sport is reporting.

– The Reds are also prepared to offer a new contract to Sadio Mane, whose current deal expires at the end of next season, per Football Insider.

Arsenal are interested in signing Lille's Kosovo attacker Edon Zhegrova, according to Sky Sports.

– Newcastle United have shown renewed interest in Torino defender Gleison Bremer, who is also on Arsenal and Tottenham's radar, Tuttomercato reports.

With Manchester City and Liverpool facing off in the FA Cup on Saturday, the Premier League's attention turned to the race for a top-four spot.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick as Manchester United beat Norwich City 3-2, with the Red Devils taking full advantage of 1-0 defeats for Tottenham and Arsenal against Brighton and Hove Albion and Southampton respectively.

Elsewhere, Watford's slim survival hopes were dealt a blow as they suffered a 2-1 defeat to Brentford.  

Stats Perform takes a look at some key Opta facts from the day's games.

Manchester United 3-2 Norwich City: Ronaldo racks up yet another treble

Ralf Rangnick's side delivered another disjointed performance at Old Trafford, yet they did enough to secure a 13th win in their past 16 Premier League games against the Canaries.

Ronaldo was the star of the show, the Portuguese superstar plundering the 60th hat-trick of his professional career for club and country.

The 37-year-old has now scored 20 or more goals across all competitions in each of his past 16 seasons at club level – a run that started in the 2006-07 campaign during his first spell at United.

His first goal was teed up by Anthony Elanga, who is 17 years and 81 days younger than Ronaldo. It is the greatest age gap between a United goalscorer and the player who assisted him in Premier League history.

Teemu Pukki had given Norwich hope of a memorable result when he pulled the visitors level at 2-2 from 2-0 down, the Finland international becoming the first Canaries player to score 10 or more goals in two different Premier League campaigns (11 in 2019-20 and 10 in 2021-22).

As is so often the way, though, Ronaldo had the last word.

Tottenham 0-1 Brighton and Hove Albion: Seagulls leave it late to edge out blunt hosts

Spurs missed the chance to strengthen their grip on fourth position as they suffered a third home defeat in their past six home Premier League games – as many as in their previous 14 on home soil.

Despite starting with the in-from trio of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Dejan Kulusevski in attack, Spurs did not manage a single shot on target. It was the first time they had failed to do so in 21 Premier League games, since November last year against Everton.

Brighton's winner came in the 90th minute through Leandro Trossard, who has now scored six goals in the top flight this season – his best-ever season return in the competition.

Graham Potter's side have now won consecutive away league games for the first time since September 2021 and are unbeaten in three Premier League games, winning the last two, after losing each of the six before that.

Southampton 1-0 Arsenal: Wasteful Gunners punished by Saints

Arsenal missed the chance to pull level on points with Tottenham after a third consecutive Premier League defeat, having lost just two of their previous 13.

The Gunners dominated at St Mary's, taking 23 shots and enjoying 76 per cent possession. There have been 11 instances of a team failing to score having taken 20 or more shots in a Premier League match this season, with Arsenal responsible for three of those.

They were undone by Jan Bednarek's goal on the stroke of half-time, the first they have conceded from a corner situation in the top flight this season.

Bednarek has now scored four goals in 27 Premier League games this season, which is one more than he scored in his previous four campaigns combined (three in 100 appearances).

Watford 1-2 Brentford: Hornets' miserable home run continues

Pontus Jansson's 95th-minute winner for Brentford meant Watford became only the third team to lose 10 consecutive top-flight home games in a row, after Birmingham City in February 1986 and Sunderland in August 2005.

Alongside Birmingham, they are only the second to do so within a single season.

That run means Hornets boss Roy Hodgson is the first manager to lose his first five home Premier League games in charge of a club since Chris Ramsey with QPR in 2015.

Brentford, meanwhile, have won five of their last six Premier League games (L1) and have won three top-flight games in a row for the first time since September 1946.

Tottenham coach Antonio Conte was left baffled by his team's performance in Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion, as he struggled to surmise what went wrong.

Spurs came into the weekend on a run of four successive Premier League wins, a run that had seen them score 14 times and concede just twice.

Their display on Saturday was a significant contrast, as Spurs failed to get a single shot on target for the first time in 21 league games, and it dealt them a major blow in the top-four race.

They remain three points clear of fifth-placed Arsenal, with the Gunners in action against Southampton later on Saturday.

Tottenham's underwhelming expected goals (xG) haul of 0.5 reflected their lack of invention and threat in attack, while Conte focused on Spurs' ponderous nature in possession.

He told BT Sport: "We started very slowly and in this type of game you have to move the ball more quickly. Maybe the weather? I want to find an excuse, but it was not a good game for us."

Leandro Trossard got the decisive goal late on with a tidy finish, and Spurs' inability to at least hold on to a point was another source of irritation for Conte.

Speaking in his post-match news conference, Conte added: "For sure not a good result for us. A lesson that we can learn is that there are games that if you are not able to win you have to not lose.

"It was very clear that it wasn't our day. It was important to get three points before our rivals in the race for the Champions League but the game was very difficult.

"It was a tactical game for both sides and Brighton were very good at closing the space. I think that we are able to do much better than his.

"Perhaps a draw was more fair but Brighton played a good game. If you win against Arsenal and Tottenham away, you know it's a good game."

Yet Conte was also philosophical about the situation, adamant Spurs must get used to the expectation that surrounds tussles like the one they are in for Champions League qualification.

"Once you reach a good position in the table, then you have to try to keep this position. It's a good experience for us to try to cope with pressure."

Tottenham were dealt a huge blow in the fight for fourth place in the Premier League as Leandro Trossard's late goal gave Brighton and Hove Albion a stunning 1-0 away win.

Spurs had the chance to stretch their advantage over Arsenal to six points ahead of the Gunners' trip to Southampton later on Saturday.

But they never showed any signs of doing that, Tottenham second-best throughout a largely uninspiring encounter that Brighton dominated.

The Seagulls got their reward in the 90th minute as Trossard's fine finish with the outside of the boot sealed a deserved three points and handed the initiative back to Arsenal – themselves beaten at home by Brighton last week.

 

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