Gary Neville reveals what 'cost' Mauricio Pochettino's job at Manchester United

Gary Neville believes Paris Saint-Germain's recent setbacks under Mauricio Pochettino 'cost' the Argentine's job at Manchester United after the Old Trafford club named Erik ten Hag as their next manager.... (Author: Gardener)

Gary NevilleGary Neville believes Paris Saint-Germain's recent setbacks under Mauricio Pochettino have "cost" the Argentine the job at Manchester United after the Old Trafford club named Erik ten Hag as their next manager. United interviewed both Ten Hag and Pochettino as they searched for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's permanent replacement and eventually sided with Ajax' Ten Hag. Pochettino had long been linked with a move to Manchester United, having previously impressed in the Premier League with Tottenham and Southampton. But Neville believes Pochettino's turbulent tenure as head of PSG has dashed his chances of a Manchester United acquisition this summer given the French giants failed to win the Ligue 1 title last season and won the Champions League sooner than hoped to have left this season. Asked why he thinks United chose Ten Hag over the former Spurs boss, Neville told Sky Sports: "I think Pochettino has ultimately been the standout choice for a number of years. ‘Losing in the Champions League this season, not winning the league in France last year… ‘To be clear, PSG is not an easy club. [Chelsea manager] Thomas Tuchel struggled there. Tuchel was not the statesman figure he was at Chelsea at PSG. "So I think what happened to Mauricio Pochettino at Paris Saint-Germain was the only thing that cost him. 'He has great experience in the Premier League, he's done an excellent job at Southampton and Tottenham. “But the current mood is absolutely crucial and Ten Hag is the man of the moment. Look, United have spoken to both of them and the club have concluded that Erik ten Hag is the right man to take the club forward.” Ten Hag, who has signed a three-year contract with Manchester United, will become the club's fifth starter Coach since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013. The Dutchman joins a club currently sixth in the Premier League and without a title for five years. Neville added: "What we are seeing at this moment is unacceptable. “That needs to be addressed first and Ten Hag has a huge job of getting the club back up to the minimum standards that they need to achieve which is attitude, work ethic, faith, confidence and then hopefully you start thinking about winning trophies. "But honestly I wouldn't put too much pressure on Ten Hag in the first year or two to try and win a trophy at the club. “It will be: get in the top 4, restore Man Utd in the Champions League, attract the players to the club who can play the way he wants to play and then get a belief system. “It took Jürgen Klopp four or five years to win a Premier League title, as magnificently as he did. I wouldn't put pressure on Ten Hag to win a Premier League title in the first two or three years. Ten Hag is allowed to pick up the shards. "So early stages: build the foundations of what he wants to achieve, then in years three, four, five, start watching him win trophies." For more stories like this, head over to our sports page.


He developed positively from his injury and would play the match that could crown the PSG champion

Mauricio Pochettino's side host Lens at Parque des Princes on Saturday and win the Ligue 1 title by at least a point (Author: Gardener)

PSGThis weekend, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) could be crowned Ligue 1 champions when they meet Lens at the Parc des Princes. The French team will be looking to win back the trophy they lost to Lille last season and that's why they want to rely on all their numbers in this momentous clash. The Argentinian star was absent from the last match due to "inflammation of the left Achilles tendon," according to the club's medical report published on Tuesday. After 48 hours, the forward seems to be feeling better, according to website Le Parisien and that's why coach Mauricio Pochettino would call him back for Saturday's game against Lens. Leo has featured in 21 of PSG's 33 Ligue 1 games so far: he has collaborated with 3 goals and 13 assists, making him one of the players to have scored the most goals in the tournament along with Kylian Mbappé. This Wednesday, PSG defeated Angers 3-0 as a guest but were unable to extend their lead at the top of the Ligue 1 table as they were also beaten by closest pursuers Olympique de Marseille led by Jorge Sampaoli: he defeated Nantes at home with 3:2 and kept the gap of 15 points. PSG can become champions this Saturday if they win or draw against Lens. After a season that started with hopes for the arrival of luxury reinforcements such as Lionel Messi, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Sergio Ramos, among others, the French line-up is now looking to conquer the domestic league to please their crowd after the stumbling blocks in the rest of the competitions. That could happen this Saturday when Lens is a guest in a duel televised on ESPN at 4pm (Argentina time, 9pm local time and 7pm GMT). Pochettino plans to play against Lens at the weekend with Mbappé, Messi and Neymar in the lead. The Brazilian, who missed the last game through suspension, is a fixture in Saturday's starting line-up and will look to add his 12th star with the French side. Although both will undergo further studies, they don't appear to be part of Pochettino's payroll, although they will join the team as support for their teammates.


Xhaka warns Arsenal about fighting Tottenham for Champions League spot

Arsenal and Tottenham are separated only by goal difference in their battle for the top four and with six games to go Gunners midfielder Granit Xhaka received a caution for his team-mates (Author: Gardener)

XhakaArsenal and Tottenham are separated only by goal difference in their battle for the top-four spot and with six games to go Gunners midfielder Granit Xhaka received a warning to his team-mates Granit Xhaka has warned Arsenal there are now "six cup finals" ahead of the battle for a place in the Champions League. Arsenal have an identical record to bitter rivals Tottenham, who have played 32 games, won 18, drawn three and lost 11, with only Spurs' superior goal difference keeping them fourth. But there will also be a battle of wills and nerves as Arsenal looked like they'd been blown up after three straight defeats ahead of Wednesday night's win at Chelsea. Now they face four best rivals Manchester United in the Emirates on Saturday if they hope to increase the pressure on Tottenham, who travel to Brentford later in the day. Gunners midfielder Xhaka has been outstanding at Chelsea and praised the players' spirit - but says they need to rise again for the United Test. Xhaka said, "We're back now. We have six finals and the next one is Manchester United on Saturday. It has felt like a hectic schedule for Arsenal, despite being out of domestic cups and out of Europe this season. But defeats to Crystal Palace, Brighton and Southampton were painful and yet players dug deep to find an answer at Chelsea. Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta insisted it shows how much it means to players to finish in the top four, while the pressure is just as great for Tottenham, who slipped against Brighton last weekend. Xhaka said: "The last three games have been very disappointing for us, with zero points after three games. It wasn't what we wanted but what we wanted was a reaction and I think over 90 minutes we deservedly won the game. It was a great team effort, great tactics and it was three important points for us.” Granit Xhaka impressed for Arsenal against Chelsea Arsenal or Tottenham? Arteta got the dice rolling at Chelsea by starting with a chain of five to take on Thomas Tuchel's side and changed his tactics twice in the first half and yet it was spirit rather than formations that gave Arsenal a valuable win brought. Xhaka added: "We knew what we had to do if Chelsea were to play a different formation. They also changed two or three teams in their formation, so we had to adapt and have been training all week. We were good when we had the ball and created good chances to maybe score another goal or two, but in the end we took the three points with us. It was a big game for us, for the fans, for the club, a derby. We are very happy to win like this.”


Lacazette's ideal Arsenal replacement could join the Gunners after a 20-goal season

Eddie Nketiah reminded Mikel Arteta of his skills with two goals in Wednesday night's win over Chelsea, but it's more than likely Arsenal will still be looking for at least one new striker this summer (Author: Gardener)

LacazetteEddie Nketiah reminded Mikel Arteta of his skills with two goals in Wednesday night's win over Chelsea, but it's more than likely Arsenal will still be looking for at least one new striker this summer. Eddie Nketiah was Arsenal's star on Wednesday night after he scored twice in the Gunners' impressive 4-2 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Those strikes were the 22-year-old's first goals in the Premier League in over a year and they could be the key to him securing a new Arsenal contract this summer. It looks like Nketiah will leave at the end of this campaign when his current contract expires. However, his performance on Wednesday could have changed that, as Mikel Arteta has hinted after his side's win. "He gave me every right to do something else and if Eddie doesn't play anymore it's my fault and because I missed something as a manager or I didn't have the guts to play him more. Even if Arsenal decide to give Nketiah a new deal, signing at least one new striker remains a priority as Arteta look to replace Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who left in January, and Alexandre Lacazette, who is almost certain to leave will also be the end of this campaign. Although Lacazette has struggled at goals since the start of the year, hitting the back of the net just once, he remains a key Arsenal player and a difficult profile to replace. He's intelligent with his movement, great at getting between the lines to tie the game and also good at creating spaces for other attackers to take advantage of. That means any replacement will arguably have to offer more than just the ability to score goals. That's why Rennes striker Martin Terrier could and should be on Arsenal's transfer radar. Lacazette will leave Arsenal on a free transfer. Terrier already has the likes of Lille and Lyon on his CV but the truth was he didn't really excel with either. He was allowed to join Rennes from Lyon in the summer of 2020 for just over £10million. In his first full season with Rennes, he scored nine league goals and recorded a further seven assists. This season he has more than doubled the number of goals (20) with three games remaining. Draw level with Karim Benzema and surpass Premier League stars like Mohamed Salah and Son Heung-min. Beyond this impressive torrent yield, what should lure Arsenal to Terrier is his all-round ability, allowing him to play a number of different positions comfortably. It's in the latter on the left that he's had the most success this season. He started wide before drifting inside and picking up clever positions in the attacking third or running late into the box to secure through balls. Terrier may largely drift under the radar for many top teams as he is not yet a blockbuster name on the European scene. However, his ability to play different attacking roles while also bringing a ruthless edge in front of goal would make him a very smart charge should Arsenal decide to make a move.


PSG boss Pochettino urges players to seize the moment for Ligue 1 history

Paris Saint-Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino urged his players to seize their chance to win the title and make Ligue 1 history for the club when they face Angers on Wednesday night. PSG will clinch the national championship for the 10th time and draw level with Saint-Etienne when they beat the result of second-placed Marseille, who host Nantes at the Vélodrome years ago at the Parc des Princes on Saturday night (Author: Gardener)

PochettinoParis Saint-Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino urged his players to seize their chance to win the title and make Ligue 1 history for the club when they face Angers on Wednesday night. PSG will claim the domestic crown for the 10th time and draw level with Saint-Etienne if they improve on the result of second-placed Marseille, who host Nantes at the Vélodrome. Should both teams prevail, PSG can close their eighth top flight in 10 years against Lens on Saturday night at the Parc des Princes. "If we can win the title on Wednesday night, all the better," said Pochettino before the game at Stade Raymond Kopa. "The players and staff are motivated to bring this historic title to the club." However, the Ligue 1 title is viewed through the prism of the Champions League campaign. After the exit, star signings Lionel Messi and Neymar were booed by PSG fans who felt the South Americans had underperformed in the two games against Madrid. After the Champions League debacle, the die-hard fan groups asked club president Nasser al-Khelaifi and sports director Leonardo to resign. Both have refused to leave and the Collectif Ultras Paris have boycotted matches at the Parc des Princes in protest. The hardliners were absent on Sunday night as PSG beat Marseille 2-1 to sit 15 points clear. For the Angers game, PSG are likely to be without Messi and Presnel Kimpembe, who are both injured. "It's an opportunity for players who haven't played too much to come in and try to help us win the game," Pochettino added. "I've always said that one of the main goals is to win the Champions League. If you don't, it will be a big disappointment for the club. Me and my coaching staff want to do better.” Ligue 1 will be the first national championship of Pochettino's 13-year coaching career. "If we can't win it on Wednesday night, it would be very satisfying to do it at the Parc des Princes on Saturday," added Pochettino. Marseille will seek the three points against midfield Nantes to fend off Rennes' challenge for the second automatic qualifier for next season's Champions League. Jorge Sampaoli's side have 59 points from their 32 games while Rennes, who play fifth-placed Strasbourg on Wednesday night, is third on 56 points.


PSG win but title party postponed

Goals from Kylian Mbappe, Sergio Ramos and Marquinhos propelled PSG to victory but Marseille's win over Nantes denied them the title. (Author: Gardener)

Kylian MbappeParis Saint-Germain enjoyed a comfortable 3-0 win at Angers but failed to start their Ligue 1 title party after Marseille beat Nantes. With their title rivals lost and Kylian Mbappe and Sergio Ramos on the scoresheet, it looked like Mauricio Pochettino's men were heading for a 10th championship at half-time. But while they extended their lead in the second period thanks to Marquinhos, they were ultimately denied the title thanks to a comeback from Marseille. Instead, PSG will have to wait to celebrate an eighth win in 10 seasons, even if victory on that front still seems inevitable. Angers looked poised to capitalize as Sofiane Boufal tested Keylor Navas from distance before demonstrating a one-on-one chance at the post. Unfortunately, the former Southampton man lasted just 14 minutes before succumbing to injury and PSG underscored their threat as Thilo Kehrer and Marquinhos both came narrowly from Angel Di Maria's corners. That pressure finally showed when Mbappe broke through before the half-hour, thanks to a quick pass exchange with Achraf Hakimi and a left-footed pile driver. That meant PSG had moved up to 11 goals from outside the box this season and Angers had conceded 10 – Ligue 1's best and worst tally respectively. That they didn't capitalize on that chance, however, became apparent before the break punished when Ramos headed in another delicious Di Maria cross from the left. Unbeaten in their last 23 Ligue 1 games when leading at half-time (22, 1), PSG showed no signs of an unexpected collapse after the restart. Instead, it looked more like they'd extend their lead, with Hakimi denied after sneaking through early doors, while Mbappe shortly afterwards forced a nice save with another powerful left footed foot from inside the box. Hopes of Angers coming back were further dashed when a penalty was overturned after a VAR review found Kehrer cleanly challenged Cho in the box. When Marquinhos headed in a Di Maria cross, even the late loss of Edouard Michu to a perhaps unfortunate red card didn't make for a problematic end to an outright win for PSG. With 15 points separating PSG and Marseille with five games to go, they know they can clinch the title next time. However, their title rivals' comeback win over Nantes pushed the celebrations back another week. It felt like the visitors were scoring from every single cross Di Maria played in his 86 minutes on the pitch. It may not have been the easiest season for Ramos, but he's at least playing a part in a run-in that will seal the title. PSG have a chance to finally secure the title when they host Lens on Saturday.


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang posts ambiguous message after Arsenal beat Chelsea

The former Gunners captain left the club as a free agent to join Barcelona in the January transfer window, but he reacted to Nketiah's celebratory post (Author: Gardener)

Pierre-Emerick AubameyangThe former Gunners captain left the club as a free agent in the January transfer window to join Barcelona but he reacted to Nketiah's celebratory contribution. Former Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang posted an ambiguous Instagram message after Mikel Arteta's side defeated Chelsea on Wednesday. The Gabonese striker, who joined Barcelona this year, sent a message to his former Arsenal team-mate Eddie Nketiah, who scored a brace as the Gunners reacted forcefully to take the three points at Stamford Bridge. Aubameyang is going through a rough patch of form for the Blaugrana but has scored 10 goals for his new club following Mikel Arteta's controversial decision to allow him to leave the Emirates as a free agent. However, he took the time to message Nketiah - with whom he was a teammate in north London. Nketiah scored his team's first goal and also conceded the third, putting them back in front after Chelsea equalized twice. Not surprisingly, the forward took to Instagram after the game to post a celebratory picture from the game alongside the caption "God's Timing" with a phone emoji, a praying emoji and the hashtag #COYG (Come On You Gunners). His teammates Nuno Tavares, Thomas Partey and Bukayo Saka, among others, left comments for the forwards, with Saka saying, "You deserve this bro." Former Gunners youth products Joe Willock and Alex Iwobi sent congratulations under the post. Barry Douglas - who played alongside Nketiah when he was on loan at Leeds - expressed his delight at the youngster's back in goal. The most notable post came from former Gunners captain Aubameyang, who responded to Nketiah's post with a phone emoji and a heart. Did Arsenal make a mistake letting Aubameyang go? Aubameyang joined the throng of players to respond to Nketiah's post. Nketiah admitted he had a "chip on his shoulder" after scoring twice against Chelsea - the team that sacked him as a teenager: "I think it makes that a little more special, I was here up to U14 and became then let go so you always have that chip on your shoulder to come and prove yourself.But today is not about me, it's good that I scored two goals but it's about the team and bouncing back . The win moved Arsenal fifth in the Premier League and alongside Tottenham on 57 points, but Gunners North London rivals remain ahead of them in the race for the top four on goal difference.


Eddie Nketiah delivers for Arsenal, Kevin de Bruyne improves, Mohamed Salah is back at his best

Plus: Newcastles nod to the good old days; Everton keep distance from relegation battle; Leicester lack the edge; the rift between rivals Liverpool and Man Utd, clearly visible at Anfield; Title and top 4 races unpredictable... (Author: Gardener)

Eddie NketiahAll the talk before the game was Arsenal's goal-shy forwards. The Gunners' 1-0 defeat by Southampton on Saturday made it 15 games since one of their Premier League forwards scored from open play, a streak that stretched back to December. As the Gunners' leader at Stamford Bridge, there would have been doubts about Nketiah's inclusion following his performance at Southampton. Arteta stuck by the former England Under-21 striker, however, and it was a decision that paid off as Nketiah put on a superb performance, scoring two opportunistic goals to lead his side to a crucial win in the race for the top four . "He could be a 4/10 next week, if he wasn't he would be with the team every week, this is his second start all season," Paul Merson told Sky Sports. "The consistency isn't there but if he can do it for three or four games Arsenal can be fourth. Lacazette wouldn't have followed up on that first [goal]. He wouldn't have scored those two goals. After such a performance "Nketiah will come at the weekend to play against Man Utd," said Alan Smith, the former Gunners forward, shortly after the striker was substituted he needed and was exactly what his team and club needed." What Arsenal needs is him to keep doing it and who knows his future, which has long been in doubt, may still be with Arsenal. Kevin De Bruyne played his 300th game for Manchester City against Brighton. Normally players approaching such a milestone for a club will slack off to allow the younger guns to come through and push the team forward. In his current form he is playing the best football of his career. One could easily argue that he is currently the best midfielder in the world, maybe even the best player in the world. His performance against the Seagulls was another example of his greatness. He has now been directly involved in six goals in his last five Premier League games. When Manchester City needed inspiration on what was looking like a nervous night, De Bruyne took charge and found a gear change needed to set up the all-important first goal. His direct run through Brighton midfield was unstoppable for most of the game and in the 53rd minute he passed three Brighton defenders before a somewhat fortunate rebound was sent through Riyad Mahrez who used a deflection to finish . The third goal, assisted by De Bruyne with a drool-inducing flick, was nothing accidental to somehow find Bernardo Silva in space, firing impeccably from the edge of the box. No player has ever won the PFA Player of the Year award three years after filming, but his season-ending brilliance could detract from the pick of Mohamed Salah, who has been the clear favorite for the award for many months. In this mood, there aren't many better players in world football than the City star. "When he's mentally ready and fit, he's an incredibly special player, it was an incredible achievement." Newcastle have not recorded six straight Premier League wins since the era of Sir Bobby Robson - and it is this kind of football that the club's new Saudi owners have been trying to work towards after years of stagnation. Not much would be uncovered tonight – as both sides had all but assured survival of the Premier League ahead of the game – but now the Magpies have their sights set on the top half. Should Newcastle end the season in the top ten in the top flight then it will be a really positive start to six months at St James' Park for the new owner. It justifies the patient process of hiring Eddie Howe, as well as the club's early investment in the likes of Bruno Guimaraes, who has settled in quickly in midfield alongside Jonjo Shelvey and Joelinton. In the meantime, excellent home form will help unite the team, its owners and the fans as they take the first steps on this new journey together. Away form is less impressive with three straight defeats – and with Liverpool and Arsenal yet to visit St James' Park, improvement on the road will be next on Howe's checklist. For Crystal Palace, Patrick Vieira demanded ahead of the game that his players don't just fade into May after their FA Cup semi-final defeat - so he won't be at all happy with that performance. The likes of Connor Gallagher and Michael Olise didn't seem up for the challenge tonight - which may have explained their premature withdrawal either side at half-time. For 91 agonizing minutes, Everton seemed poised to wrap a gift and send it to Turf Moor ahead of what could be a pivotal stage in this season's relegation run. An eighth home defeat in the league was on the cards as Harvey Barnes' opener was followed by a string of missed Everton chances and a disjointed performance by Frank Lampard's side against Leicester. Such an eventuality would have given Burnley a boost without a manager in time for their hard-hitting Premier League game against Southampton on Thursday. Indeed, a win would have lifted the Clarets above Everton and out of the bottom three if things had gone as they threatened. But to their credit, Everton made sure they didn't, channeling the energy of Goodison Park deep into injury time, where Richarlison atoned for his two previous glaring errors to salvage a dramatic late point. That means that instead of needing to win just one of their next two games to put Everton in the bottom three ahead of Sunday's Merseyside derby at Anfield, Burnley will need to catch up with another win over the Saints against Wolves on Sunday. Everton may have secured just one point against Leicester, but with the Clarets recording just one straight Premier League win all season it was the kind of relegation battle win that might just help them win the war. Leicester experienced a frustrating sense of déjà vu as they trudged off the field at Goodison Park. Just like three days earlier at St James' Park, where Bruno Guimaraes clinched all three points for Newcastle in the dying seconds, two more points went past Brendan Rodgers. Perhaps most frustratingly, Everton should have been buried long before Richarlison's dramatic stoppage-time equalizer. Leicester's start was bold despite Rodgers' seven changes before the game. The attacking flair and skillful development were there, with Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and James Maddison setting the rhythm of the game from the first whistle, but the presence at the top of the field to convert their dominance into goals was critically lacking. Rodgers announced after the draw at Goodison that Jamie Vardy would return to training on Thursday after a month on the sidelines. His return can't come soon enough, only Newcastle (24) and Southampton (23) have lost more points from winning positions than Leicester (19) this season in the Premier League. Things haven't been bad for Liverpool in the past few weeks. They are now unbeaten in nine games in all competitions and 13 times unbeaten in the league as they still seek an unprecedented quadruple win. However, many conversations have focused on Mohamed Salah's form. The Egyptian had not scored in eight games prior to his double against Man Utd and questions have been asked of Jurgen Klopp, who rested him against Benfica recently in the Champions League. All those doubts about Salah were finally dispelled against United when he returned to the goalscoring charts and looked a lot more like his old self, which had Sky Sports' Jamie Carragher upset about the season opener. He said: "What makes me think this could be a really special season is the performances in the last two games. Liverpool have done the job in the last eight to ten games, great quality, but tonight I felt the energy had returned. The momentum in the passing game, the pressing and it was there against Manchester City at the weekend. "With Mo Salah coming back, it's not just his goals, it's the sharpness, the energy." He struggled with that, it wasn't just the goals, he hadn't looked after himself in games. If Liverpool can keep that up until the end of the season, I'm adamant it could be a very special season He's also only the second player to play at home in a single season in the Premier League, after Mesut Özil in 2015/16 - and away games against United both goals scored and assists Anfield have taken their tally for the league season to 22 and extended their lead at the top of the Premier League's goalscoring charts to five goals ahead of Heung-Min Son of the goal for Salah it could Liverpool to make a historian. Klopp had hailed it as a meeting between England's two greatest teams and it had that great feel right up to kick-off when the reality hit home. Liverpool played at a pace that United couldn't understand, let alone handle. Their trajectory feels so different as they chase an unprecedented quadruple that would not only eclipse their rivals but eclipse the outstanding performance in Manchester United history. Thiago Alcantara was a notch above on that pitch but no one in a United shirt came close. Moments later, David de Gea hesitated as the Brazilian would certainly have come out for clarification. That led to the opening goal and Ralf Rangnick's containment and frustration plan lay in tatters. Has a supposed top team ever played with that little faith? While it may still seem amazing that two teams with similar salaries can end up producing such contrasting performances, there should be absolutely no mystery as to why. This is the result of perfect planning at Liverpool, while United have yet to implement one. Judgment about the here and now fell on the pitch at Anfield Road. This was a wasted season. Where do you start at Manchester United? Is it the owners, the board, the manager or the players? One thing is for sure, it's not the fans. The United away support supported their team at Anfield in the only way they know how, despite observing a team - a club - that has become a shell of its former self and has been humbled by its great rivals. A penny for the thoughts of one of their biggest supporters, Sir Alex Ferguson, who watched the recent disaster stone-faced from high up in the stands. The ex-United legend and Sky Sports' Roy Keane called it "sad", while Gary Neville called the club "broken" as Liverpool showed their class and exposed the grim reality for United since second place in the last season have fallen behind. Not a single Man Utd fan came here with any hopes. This team has nothing. "I can't explain how it's gone from a somewhat promising second place at the end of last season - I know they lost in the Europa League final which was a bad one - to where we are today stand, which is an all-time win low in my 42 years of watching United. This is a club that spent over £100m last summer, re-signed the legendary Cristiano Ronaldo and harbored hopes of challenging Liverpool and Manchester City in earnest. Now it's one with him. An interim manager, a tedious coaching job and a string of players who are disinterested, unmotivated and uninspiring. With five games left in the season, things could get worse.


Expect more twists and turns as Arsenal's win at Chelsea puts their clash with Tottenham back in the spotlight

Expect more twists and turns as Arsenal's win at Chelsea puts the Tottenham clash back in the spotlight - (Author: Gardener)

TottenhamAll eyes are on the north London derby after Arsenal reignited their top-four bid by scoring four times behind the disastrous Chelsea. That encounter at Tottenham's home ground on May 12 will be in the diaries of Mikel Arteta and Antonio Conte as a potential deciding factor in the race for the final Champions League qualifying spot. But the truth is, no one can predict where either side will be when that date comes. How typical of Arsenal to lose to Crystal Palace, Brighton and Southampton before crushing Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. And yet, who would dare bet they will pick up three points against troubled Manchester United on Saturday – even after Ralf Rangnick's side were humiliated by Liverpool this week? Spurs, meanwhile, are still licking their wounds after the shock defeat by Brighton at the weekend. When the Premier League race is airtight due to the perfection of Manchester City and Liverpool, the battle for fourth feels like a case of failure on the upside. Three points separate Spurs, Arsenal and United – and expect fourth place to be passed around this trio of hopefuls a number of times in the final month of the season. Last night's 4-2 win at least indicated Arsenal will remain part of the conversation after ending such a wounded run that put them at risk of moving from pole position to the back of the grid. It helped that Chelsea were so woefully poor, giving their visitors three goals and three points. But Arteta also needs credit for taking their chances when they came and avoiding a capitulation when they were pulled back twice by Chelsea in the first half. In between, Emile Smith Rowe put in a clever finish and Bukayo Saka scored from the penalty spot in added time after scoring his first penalty since his Euro 2020 penalty shootout miss. Chelsea had equalized twice in the first half through Timo Werner and Cesar Azpilicueta – who exchanged heated blows with a fan after the final whistle – but they got what they deserved for such a pathetic defensive display. It's now 11 clean sheets in three straight home defeats, leaving an enraged Thomas Tuchel at a loss to explain his ragged performance. "You have to face the reality that when you make so many mistakes of this caliber, it's impossible to win games," he said. While Tuchel conducts his own examination of his side's form, Arteta must hope the win will see Arsenal rediscover the consistency that at one point made them fourth-place favourites. The bar feels low this season, which is why three teams who have proven so fallible are still in contention for Champions League qualification. But Arsenal would be the least likely to take that spot, not least because of a start to the campaign that saw them lose their first three Premier League games. Defeats have come in claws. After that dismal start, there were three out of four between mid-November and early December, and their recent four-to-five losing streak has eroded their top-four pursuit. They've put together streaks of four or more straight wins on four separate occasions this season. If they repeat that now, it would take them all the way to the derby and that fateful date with Spurs. That's a big question at the best of times, let alone when the next two games are against teams directly below them at United and West Ham. But that was the kind of result to breathe new life into an inexperienced squad who didn't look like they knew how to stop the bleeding. "I told them if you want to play Champions League football, you have to go to these stadiums and beat top teams," Arteta said. Whether it can be the start of a run that takes them into the top four remains to be seen. From a daily news briefing to insights into homes and real estate, plus lifestyle, going out, deals and more.


Thomas Tuchel understands fans' frustration after Chelsea were beaten by Arsenal

The German said his side must stop making "impossible" mistakes. (Author: Gardener)

Thomas TuchelThomas Tuchel admitted he empathized with the Chelsea supporter who confronted captain Cesar Azpilicueta following the Blues' 4-2 Premier League defeat to Arsenal. A Blues fan got into a heated exchange with Azpilicueta after the humiliation of Chelsea's Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night, with the home skipper appearing to be giving as best he could. Chelsea have now conceded 11 goals in their last three games at Stamford Bridge, leaving an unimpressed Tuchel refusing to defend his players. When asked about Azpilicueta's exchange with the supporter, Tuchel replied: "I wasn't there, I saw it, but to be honest I can understand the fan too. "It was a totally wild and open game in the first half, already at 2-2 after we came back twice. “We had a good start but again gave away the first goal, which is impossible in consecutive games. “We came back twice and scored two more goals in the second half unfortunately for the wrong side. "It's a level of error, the number of errors in consecutive games here at home, at that level it's impossible. "It's just impossible, but we're doing it at the moment and you can't win football games like this. "It's not about individual players. “You have to have the tactics right, which is doubtful I had that right and you need the right team selection, again it's doubtful I had that right. "Then it's a game for the players. "And they have to face the reality that when you make so many mistakes of this caliber, it's impossible to win games. It's just impossible. I don't see it in any other game, but I'm seeing it in back-to-back plays of our games now and it needs to stop. England striker Saka fired the late penalty and sealed just Arsenal's second win in six Premier League games. Saka banished the demons from his last Euro 2020 penalty shootout by converting his first penalty for the Gunners. Arteta revealed Gabriel Martinelli was expected to take the penalty but he applauded Saka for keeping his nerve. "I thought Gaby was going to take it, seeing Bukayo taking it was my first, honestly that he was back in the summer and what happened," Arteta said. "But for him to have the courage to say, 'I'll take it again,' it must have been in the back of his mind. It was strong for him to say, "I'll do it." “I have said to the players that if you want to play Champions League football you have to go to these stadiums and beat the top teams.