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Man United, Arsenal, Spurs on different paths to the top 4 but will West Ham beat them all?

Time will tell which approach works, but it looks like only one of Arsenal, Man United and Spurs could end up in the Premier League's top 4. (Author: Gardener)

West HamForget the race for the Premier League title: In the battle for fourth place, the highest stakes are at stake. Three big clubs - Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur - appear trapped in a race for last season's Champions League spot after plunging into crisis this season, but they are going different paths to theirs Rescuing ambitions that may not have been finalized will be disappointed by the unlikely presence of West Ham United. United are currently entering a strategic gamble on the leadership situation at Old Trafford. Despite consecutive home defeats - some would speak of humiliation - to Liverpool and Manchester City, sources have told ESPN that the Glazer family, who own United, believe that nerving manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the best chance at the team, who has reached the minimum target to qualify for next season's Champions League. Following consecutive defeats to West Ham and Manchester United - two direct rivals for the top four - Spurs chairman Daniel Levy sacked Nuno Espirito Santo and quickly replaced him with former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte. United decided not to fire Solskjaer and turned to Conte after losing 5-0 to Liverpool last month, but the calculation at Spurs was that a change needed to be made and that this is now the team's hopes for that Would keep the Champions League alive. At the time of Nuno's dismissal, Spurs were in eighth place, just two points behind fourth-placed West Ham. And then there is Arsenal. Remember when the Gunners were the Premier League club in crisis and Mikel Arteta was struggling to keep his job as a manager at the Emirates? The days of Arsenal's worst start to a peak season, after three straight defeats to Brentford, Chelsea and Manchester City when they conceded nine goals without conceding a goal, seem like a long way off after a revival that saw Arteta's side move up Memory Fifth place after six wins and two draws in eight games since then. Sources told ESPN that Arteta's position was never seen as threatened by the Arsenal hierarchy. Arsenal's support for Arteta was clear and there was no indication of a change in the manager's office. At United, however, sources have said potential options like Leicester City's Brendan Rodgers will be considered should the situation worsen after a dire streak of four losses in six league games. Arsenal's unwavering belief, Tottenham's ruthlessness or United's policy of keeping options open or hesitating, depending on where you stand. West Ham under David Moyes could prove to be the icing on the cake for all three clubs if they are able to maintain the form in which they moved up to third in November's international break but have United, Spurs and Arsenal all made their own individual decisions based on what most closely enables them to deny the Hammers. Some will argue that Chelsea, City and Liverpool haven't pulled back from the pack yet to secure their top four positions, but look at their respective goal differences - +23, +16 and +20 - compared to the others and You will see that their firepower alone has propelled them around the streets. Arsenal stand at 0, United +2 and Spurs -7, suggesting their inability to easily win games compared to Chelsea, City and Liverpool. Although United have dropped to sixth place, five points behind the top four, the depth and talent of Solskjaer's roster make United the best-armed team to move back to the Champions League spots. The big question at Old Trafford, however, is whether Solskjaer will be able to stop the slump by finding a way to get the most out of underperforming players like Jadon Sancho, Harry Maguire, Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes. The Glazers are betting the 48-year-old to do just that because if you missed the Champions League, United would be missing out on at least £ 80m in prize money next season. Until then, however, Spurs and Arsenal's determination may have given them an edge over United. Arsenal are now reaping the rewards of their decision to hold onto Arteta. After the international break, they travel to Liverpool, play at home against Newcastle United and then visit Old Trafford. It's a crucial sequence for the Arteta team, and its improvement and future prospects will be much clearer to everyone once they emerge from this series of games. If their unbeaten run survives the games at Anfield and Old Trafford, we can talk about Arsenal returning to the Champions League for the first time since 2016-17. Conte is a proven Serie A and Premier League winner having won the title and FA Cup with Chelsea and his first goal will be to get Harry Kane back on goal. With just one goal in 10 league games so far, any improvement will be positive for the Spurs and potentially crucial in converting losses into draws and draws into wins. Tottenham are avoiding the top three in their next five league games, so Conte had the chance to get his team going and possibly get back into the top four until hosts Liverpool on December 19th. Time will tell which approach is most successful - back, sack, or wait - but after just three months of the season it looks like only one of Arsenal, United and Spurs will be rewarded with a top four spot.

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Arteta decides on Arsenal's penalty taker following Aubameyang's apology

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang faced Watford for a penalty kick, but the Arsenal striker's second attempt this season was made by goalkeeper Ben Foster. saved (Author: Gardener)

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a penalty against Watford but for the second time this season the Arsenal striker's shot was saved by goalkeeper Ben Foster Mikel Arteta has confirmed that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will stay on penalties after his miss against Watford. The Gunners received a 0-0 penalty in the first half after Danny Rose fouled Alexandre Lacazette in the penalty area. The Gabon international came out to win it but his efforts were saved by Ben Foster when the Watford keeper rallied the rebound. It is Aubameyang's second consecutive miss from 12 meters when Emiliano Martinez denied it from the point in Arsenal's victory over Aston Villa two days ago - although the striker secretly made the rebound on that occasion. However, Arteta insists he will continue to be Arsenal's penalty taker as he vows to help his player get through this difficult period. Should Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang stay on the penalty spot? The Spaniard said: “He will stay on penalties if he is happy with it. "You will miss if you take punishments, it is part of your career and job and we will try to help it." It was an afternoon to forget for Aubameyang when it seemed like nothing was going right for him, no matter how hard he tried. He wasted a handful of opportunities to extend Arsenal's 1-0 lead and his bad luck was summed up when he ruled out an offside goal in the second half. Frustratingly for Arsenal, Odegaard's shot was goalless, which meant Aubameyang could just have avoided the shot. It was a hard-fought win for Arsenal, but there are another three points and one goal conceded to extend the unbeaten run. Aubameyang may have gotten off cooking, but there were a few bright spots, including Ainsley Maitland-Niles kicking in the side. And Arteta claims he looks like a completely different player this season as he celebrated his influence against Claudio Ranieri's men. "We made a decision that was clear from what I saw because it would be useful." Today we used it to do what he had to do in the game, which was really important.

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Dermot Gallagher disagrees with Jürgen Klopp and Cristiano Ronaldo and Arsenal winner

Was Alisson fouled ahead of West Hams' first goal against Liverpool? Should Aaron Cresswell have seen red for a foul on Jordan Henderson? Should Arsenal's winner have been against Watford? (Author: Gardener)

Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher heads up the weekend's big incidents. INCIDENT: West Ham took the lead with their first attack when Pablo Fornals' corner kick went off Alisson's glove into the net in the fourth minute and went down as an own goal despite a VAR check for a possible foul. There was no foul, but Jürgen Klopp believed Angelo Ogbonna should have been punished. Referee Craig Pawson was not advised to go to the sidelines screen. DERMOT'S JUDGMENT: "I think it's a good goal. I don't think Ogbonna really did anything wrong. INCIDENT: Moments after the goal, Aaron Cresswell escaped punishment despite a high tackle against Jordan Henderson. Cresswell first touched the ball, but the successor caught Henderson by the knee. It was reviewed by VAR, but again, Referee Pawson was not recommended to go to the screen. DERMOT'S JUDGMENT: "I think I'm in the minority but I don't." Think it is a red card. I don't think it's a red card because I think at the time of contact he doesn't catch him the way we saw [Mason] Holgate. I think if the referee gives a free kick and a I don't think there is a yellow card, that it is booted up and thrown to the VAR as it was. In itself, in my opinion, that should have been a yellow card. " INCIDENT: Emile Smith Rowe gave Arsenal a 56th-minute lead in the Emirates in the 56th minute on Sunday, winning a game that was dominated by that single goal. In the run-up, Danny Rose had thrown the ball out of play so that his teammate Ozan Tufan could be treated after a collision with Albert Sambi Lokonga. Arsenal did not throw the ball back to Watford, however, and - after a few passages - scored by Smith Rowe's blow. There was also a VAR check on a challenge from Ainsley Maitland-Niles against Ismaila Sarr that came in front of the gate. DERMOT'S JUDGMENT: "If you throw it out assume you'll go" to get the ball back. It has to be the player's decision to do so; Arsenal chose not to and that is their choice. I thought [Sarr] had met him; I didn't think it was a foul and the VAR checked it out. "INCIDENT: Arsenal were awarded a penalty - which Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang saw saved - when Rose Alexandre Lacazette knocked down that many more WWE social media followers judged as football! DERMOT'S JUDGMENT: "It was definitely a penalty and the icing on the cake would have been a yellow card. It was inconsiderate. "INCIDENT: After a questionable, low-quality affair, the key moment came in the 64th minute when Hugo Lloris raced over to Richarlison and brought down the Everton striker. Referee Chris Kavanagh originally awarded the penalty but the VAR intervened with a repetition suggesting that Lloris has a touch on the ball. DERMOT'S JUDGMENT: "I think he gets a touch and I think he gets a touch because of the angle the ball is going. If Richarlison had played the ball, he would have moved further forward. He gets the ball. He gets the ball. The player himself didn't think it was a foul. Well, I didn't think it was a penalty at the time because I thought the goalkeeper got the ball. Richarlison didn't have the ball at his feet [to wrap up], he has his back to the goal, he has to try to get the ball, the goalkeeper is in that area and a defender is back so I think it would be a huge success so the referee can continue playing in this situation. "INCIDENT: Kavanagh and VAR had a busy afternoon when Mason Holgate was sent off in added time after his dangerous challenge against Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg after an a. from yellow to red DERMOT'S JUDGMENT was upgraded: "I think this is a really bad device. I don't think the referee can make any other decision other than going to the screen and looking at it. I think the right decision was made there. Should the penalty have been more than a yellow card? DERMOT'S JUDGMENT: "I wouldn't say I was lucky, but it wasn't a wise challenge, especially when the whistle was over. I don't think it was a red card. He slipped in and would probably say it was frustration was, but it "was unwise and inconsiderate."

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Dermot Gallagher disagrees with Jürgen Klopp and Cristiano Ronaldo and Arsenal winner

Was Alisson fouled ahead of West Hams' first goal against Liverpool? Should Aaron Cresswell have seen red for a foul on Jordan Henderson? Should Arsenal's winner have been against Watford? (Author: Gardener)

Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher heads up the weekend's big incidents. INCIDENT: West Ham took the lead with their first attack when Pablo Fornals' corner kick went off Alisson's glove into the net in the fourth minute and went down as an own goal despite a VAR check for a possible foul. There was no foul, but Jürgen Klopp believed Angelo Ogbonna should have been punished. Referee Craig Pawson was not advised to go to the sidelines screen. DERMOT'S JUDGMENT: "I think it's a good goal. I don't think Ogbonna really did anything wrong. INCIDENT: Moments after the goal, Aaron Cresswell escaped punishment despite a high tackle against Jordan Henderson. Cresswell first touched the ball, but the successor caught Henderson by the knee. It was reviewed by VAR, but again, Referee Pawson was not recommended to go to the screen. DERMOT'S JUDGMENT: "I think I'm in the minority but I don't." Think it is a red card. I don't think it's a red card because I think at the time of contact he doesn't catch him the way we saw [Mason] Holgate. I think if the referee gives a free kick and a I don't think there is a yellow card, that it is booted up and thrown to the VAR as it was. In itself, in my opinion, that should have been a yellow card. " INCIDENT: Emile Smith Rowe gave Arsenal a 56th-minute lead in the Emirates in the 56th minute on Sunday, winning a game that was dominated by that single goal. In the run-up, Danny Rose had thrown the ball out of play so that his teammate Ozan Tufan could be treated after a collision with Albert Sambi Lokonga. Arsenal did not throw the ball back to Watford, however, and - after a few passages - scored by Smith Rowe's blow. There was also a VAR check on a challenge from Ainsley Maitland-Niles against Ismaila Sarr that came in front of the gate. DERMOT'S JUDGMENT: "If you throw it out assume you'll go" to get the ball back. It has to be the player's decision to do so; Arsenal chose not to and that is their choice. I thought [Sarr] had met him; I didn't think it was a foul and the VAR checked it out. "INCIDENT: Arsenal were awarded a penalty - which Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang saw saved - when Rose Alexandre Lacazette knocked down that many more WWE social media followers judged as football! DERMOT'S JUDGMENT: "It was definitely a penalty and the icing on the cake would have been a yellow card. It was inconsiderate. "INCIDENT: After a questionable, low-quality affair, the key moment came in the 64th minute when Hugo Lloris raced over to Richarlison and brought down the Everton striker. Referee Chris Kavanagh originally awarded the penalty but the VAR intervened with a repetition suggesting that Lloris has a touch on the ball. DERMOT'S JUDGMENT: "I think he gets a touch and I think he gets a touch because of the angle the ball is going. If Richarlison had played the ball, he would have moved further forward. He gets the ball. He gets the ball. The player himself didn't think it was a foul. Well, I didn't think it was a penalty at the time because I thought the goalkeeper got the ball. Richarlison didn't have the ball at his feet [to wrap up], he has his back to the goal, he has to try to get the ball, the goalkeeper is in that area and a defender is back so I think it would be a huge success so the referee can continue playing in this situation. "INCIDENT: Kavanagh and VAR had a busy afternoon when Mason Holgate was sent off in added time after his dangerous challenge against Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg after an a. from yellow to red DERMOT'S JUDGMENT was upgraded: "I think this is a really bad device. I don't think the referee can make any other decision other than going to the screen and looking at it. I think the right decision was made there. Should the penalty have been more than a yellow card? DERMOT'S JUDGMENT: "I wouldn't say I was lucky, but it wasn't a wise challenge, especially when the whistle was over. I don't think it was a red card. He slipped in and would probably say it was frustration was, but it "was unwise and inconsiderate."

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Reviews and reaction to Smith Rowe's goal controversy and Ex-Spurs Man's Hot Day

Emile Smith Rowe's goal in the second half ensures that Mikel Arteta celebrates his 100th game as Arsenal manager with a win (Author: Gardener)

Smith Rowe'sEMIRATES STADIUM - Arsenal took a step back in time with a 1-0 win over Watford on Sunday that reflected the solidity that was once their hallmark. Emile Smith Rowe scored the only home goal early in the second half, a win for functionality over Flair in Mikel Arteta's 100th. Arteta's team missed a penalty and two goals against a team from Watford late with the sacking of Juraj Kucka was reduced to 10 men because of a second yellow card, missed, but at no point did this fight look like it was going to be a landslide. The win even included a return to the mentality the club was once accused of, with Watford unfortunate that after the ball was thrown in, Arsenal failed to get possession of the ball so an injured player could be treated. The incident wasn't obvious until Watford manager Claudio Ranieri approached him with Arteta at the final whistle and afterwards in his press conference (see below). For all the patience Arsenal showed, they lacked either the speed of the pass or the cunning. In fact, there were more yellow cards than shots on goal in the first half hour. It took something extraordinary to overturn a Watford defense that was steadfast and loyal in its organization. That moment came after 34 minutes when Danny Rose misjudged a header and conceded a penalty when his rowing arm went around Alexandre Lacazette's neck. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's shot was only driven into the center just for Watford keeper Ben Foster to skillfully control his jump, blocking the shot with a left hand and knee combination and choking the ball as it fell to the ground. Foster then used his right leg to stop a down Gabriel header on a corner of Arsenal. Watford's dedication and dedication to the clean sheet were unobjectionable, but their resistance was eventually broken 12 minutes into the second half. It came unexpectedly from Ben White jumping out on a challenge before a second from Moussa Sissoko pushed the ball in Smith Rowe's path. He whipped a low shot hard and right into the lower corner. An offside Aubameyang then unnecessarily hit a shot by Martin Odegaard, who had already shot into the goal. Watford could have stolen an unlikely tie four minutes from time when Josh King was only able to find the side net after Aaron Ramsdale raced out of his area and completely missed the ball, but Arsenal held on to all three points. Ranieri demonstrated full-time with his counterpart, with Watford clearly dissatisfied with the circumstances under which the Arsenal winner came about. Rose kicked the ball out of play when his teammate Ozan Tufan went down injured, but instead of throwing the ball back to the goalkeeper, Arsenal continued to attack after the resulting throw-in. The ball then fell to the edge of the box, where Maitland-Niles Sarr made a heavy foul and deflected the ball to White, who set Smith Rowe up to win. “One thing I would like to know is that when a man is down, everyone expects the ball to go back and they [Arsenal] haven't come back. Then we get the ball back with Sarr, there was a counter attack, there was a big foul on Sarr and they score a goal. ”While VAR cleared Maitland-Niles' duel, Watford veteran Foster thought his team would be different should blame Arsenal for getting away with the goal. "The way it happened, we have to look at ourselves a bit because we have to be smarter," Foster told Sky Sports. “I think if Danny Rose kicks the ball out there we have to do a song and dance over it before the game goes on. It's too late after they've taken the throw-in and scored the goal. Aaron Ramsdale: Huge tee shot with five minutes to go when King failed to take advantage of the goalkeeper's rushed advance from his line. Otherwise a quiet afternoon as Watford only had one shot on target. Passes well and solidly in set pieces 6 Takehiro Tomiyasu: Has kept Dennis calm, but held harder against Sarr when the Watford pair changed wings, lost focus due to the clever Watford corner routine and was not polished in possession 6 Nuno Tavares: Good Anticipation of the interception and clean distribution, Femenia ranked well for occasional overlapping runs and offered more forward than the game lasted on 8. Gabriel: Saved by Foster after an excellent header, but otherwise had little to do as Arsenal dominated possession and King remained isolated - Spurs man Rose a hot afternoon 8 Albert Sambi Lokonga: Well tidy and well distributed from the base of midfield, another who took advantage of Watford's lack of ambition 7 Ainsley Maitland-Niles: Two brilliant, threaded balls to start, one of which set up Saka's illegal goal. Quiet second half 7 Emile Smith Rowe: Excellent standard assist and some delightful details in a small space, it seemed to be a frustrating afternoon until an excellent finish in the bottom corner sealed third goal in three games 8 Alexandre Lacazette: Nice lift, for one not to prepare an admitted goal fell low to connect the game but faded as the game progressed and was replaced by Odegaard 7 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: Poor feel for the ball resulted in Saka being offside, then he missed a penalty when finesse might have been better would be as a force to defeat 38 year old Foster. Frustrating afternoon, as he had ruled out another goal for Ben Foster for offside 5: to blame for what could have been the start, but then parried sharply after Aubameyang's penalty, Gabriel header and a late Lokonga shot. Kiko Femenia: Good energy on the flank and benefiting from the lack of an obvious left flank in Arsenal's ranks, with Smith Rowe often cutting inwards.6 Craig Cathcart: Strong in defending set pieces and one on one but struggled at times with the Movement of Aubameyang and Smith Rowe booked out several times 3 Moussa Sissoko: Quieter game than Kucka, the terrier at his side in midfield, and suffered some painful blows. Hidden in the second half 4 Ismaila Sarr: Seems to be announced in the game when he forced a foul on Tomiyasu, but was then switched back to the right flank and then offered little 4 Ozan Tufan: showed good footwork when he came forward, saw but increasingly game over him. Replaced by Joao Pedro when Ranieri changed formation after the start. 4 Juraj Kucka: embodies Watford's portrayal; strong, energetic anger in midfield, but went too far with a few wild lunges and was sent off for two warnings 6 Emmanuel Dennis: Had difficulty getting into the game and switched wings with Sarr, a willing runner who didn't tat seems to benefit from Ranieri's tactics 5 Joshua King: Early yellow card stifled some of his aggression, remained isolated at times, but held the ball up well and couldn't shake his performance 7 “It was a difficult game for us today. Watford is a strong team. Happy we got the three points, ”Smith Rowe told Sky Sports. “We worked really hard, it's really important that we got three points today.

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Arsenal's big test, Newcastle's new hope, special Crystal Palace and Leeds transfer worries

Daniel Storey analyzes all 20 Premier League teams whose firing season is in full swing as we head into the final international break of the year (Author: Gardener)

The score is Daniel Storey's weekly judgment on the performance of all 20 Premier League teams. Sign up here to receive the newsletter every Monday morning

As we go into the last international break of the year, the season of layoffs is just around the corner.

More managers have now lost their jobs in the Premier League than in all of last season. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could be next after City dominated the Manchester derby.

Meanwhile, Chelsea lost points and Norwich City took their first win of the season. But that wasn't enough for Daniel Farke ...

A bold, crunchy victory that feels even more special the way it was achieved. See in the Watford section why Arsenal's winning goal was controversial but they certainly deserved the win given the opportunities created. If Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had scored his penalty, they would have probably wished for a little more comfort.

But that gave Arsenal an opportunity to test themselves in retrospect. Only once before Sunday have Arsenal won a league game without scoring in the first 30 minutes of this season (the 1-0 home win over Norwich). They scored two early goals against Tottenham and Leicester, their two best wins. That allowed them to sit comfortably on a leash, and Aaron Ramsdale got in when needed.

The theory was that if Arsenal didn't score early, they tended to be a little frustrated with a team prepared to defend on a low block and throttle it down. The key to defeating these teams is to quickly move the ball through the lines and exactly what Mikel Arteta insisted on is the blueprint. They were still a little wasteful (and Aubameyang prevented Martin Odegaard from scoring by hitting the ball on the goal line) but they passed the test.

Arsenal are now unbeaten in 10 games in all competitions, taking 20 points out of the last 24 available. They are three points clear of Manchester United, who are seven points behind them after three games. Her young players - Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka, Aaron Ramsdale, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Gabriel, Nuno Tavares, Albert Sambi Lokonga - are at the heart of their improvement. This is all good news for Arteta and Arsenal.

This is the first time since 2016 that Aston Villa have lost five games in a row in the Premier League, the end of a dismal season under Remi Garde and caretaker Eric Black. The idea - with some evidence - was that Villa had left those bad old days behind. The comparison did Dean Smith little favor, and he paid the price on Sunday lunchtime.

At first glance, it is difficult to see where this break-in came from. Smith struggled to bring in new players and the defenders had fallen off a cliff (as described in this article) but the five-game losing streak included a 3-0 home win over Everton and a 1-0 away win at Old Trafford in advance. In these games Villa defended valiantly and created opportunities.

The loss of Douglas Luiz offers a partial explanation: He protects the defense, wins tackles and starts attacking moves. Luiz was on the pitch three of those five defeats, but the details are a little more devastating. He left the pitch 2-0 against the Wolves and missed the last two when Villa was worst. It will be crucial to get him back in shape.

But Smith won't be there to see it. Norwich City had already shown that the final international break, until March, was a convenient time to make a change in leadership and the owners of Aston Villa always seemed a little itchy. They foresaw this as the campaign their club would start from last season and push for European qualification after a significant investment after Jack Grealish. At the moment Villa is as close to the lower half as it is to the upper half.

Last week we tried not to overdo Brentford's losing streak, which ended up in three games. But losing at home to Norwich is a canary in the mine, if you'll excuse the pun. Brentford conceded twice through defensive sloppiness and then dominated the game, but was just too busy.

The defense is apparently a problem - Alvaro Fernandez has now conceded five goals in two games - but the growing issue is the attack. Ivan Toney has only an expected 2.7 goals in 11 games this season. Against Norwich he had only two shots in 90 minutes (none hit goal).

The problem is likely a service. Under Thomas Frank, Brentford likes to work with the ball close to the goal before shooting. Their average goal distance is the lowest in the league, nearly five meters closer to goal than their opponents on Saturday. That makes sense: Frank is a big fan of xG and in general: the closer you are to the goal, the better the chances are. But when Brentford Toney fails to serve effectively and their attacking movements collapse, it can cause them to become a little dull.

Again, we shouldn't panic. Brentford had plenty of chances to take at least one point on Saturday and Frank was quick to say so after the game. But he will be interested in clarifying the issues of creating and converting opportunities during the international break. Four of Brentford's next five games - Newcastle, Everton, Leeds and Watford - will help determine their realistic ambitions for the season. After a wonderful start, you suddenly look over your shoulder.

Brighton's disciplinary record is one of the Premier League's weirdest quirks. No team has received red cards since their promotion. But what's a bit strange about this statistic is that Brighton routinely scored low on yellow cards - 17th in the 2019-20 season and 19th last season.

Perhaps it suggests a lack of focus or playing with full-backs huddling high on the field, forcing the center-backs into uncomfortable positions to immerse themselves in - Lewis Dunk, Shane Duffy and Ben White are in the premier for five of their 14 red cards League responsible. Or maybe it's just a curiosity that gets ironed out over time. The big shame of Saturday is that Robert Sanchez's layoff came so late that we didn't see Dunk having to do a dive rescue.

That doesn't happen every week - the law of the average takes care of that. But occasionally, when you least expect it, it's possible to see an ad of 100 percent, pure, classic burnleying. And at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon, Chelsea supporters saw it in perfect action.

Judging individual games by expected goals is often a misguided endeavor, but when one team registers four and a half times the total of the others, it can be called a robbery. But that's what Burnley does: stay in the game, never give up, and take your chances if they happen to happen. And they'll do so in the Premier League next season too, making predictions of their downfall before the season seem redundant.

Until Saturday, Chelsea hadn't really missed Romelu Lukaku. The goals flowed and were distributed among the squad, and a freer attack without a specific center forward pulled the defense back and forth. Lukaku's return felt more like a lucky bonus than a necessity.

This run ended against Burnley. Chelsea built enough chances to extend the lead beyond the reach of the guests with a goal, but everyone was spurned. Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ross Barkley, and Kai Havertz were particularly guilty; Lukaku wouldn't have been so generous.

When you play Burnley, missed opportunities usually count twice. Not only do they cause despair and doubt among your own fans, players, and managers, but they are Burnley's lifeblood. They get adamant that they are meant to punish such wastefulness and often practice that belief.

Thomas Tuchel always insisted he needed Lukaku back. He bought it for that very reason, a killer instinct, to get matches to bed that gave Chelsea many opportunities. It's hard not to assume that he would have scored two goals on Saturday and that Chelsea would enjoy a healthy lead at the top of the league.

There is something special about building in Selhurst Park, even if the ranking list doesn't quite say the same thing. Crystal Palace had the toughest start to the season of any Premier League club. In their first eleven games they played away against the current top 4 and also played against Tottenham, Arsenal and Leicester. If there are reasonable doubts about any of these three clubs, Palace has not lost to any of them. Only Chelsea and Liverpool have beaten Patrick Vieira's side.

This is remarkable given the new manager and the new system. But it also shows the importance of happiness. Palace tracked Nuno Espirito Santo over the course of the summer, believing they had her husband until he got a whiff of an Everton job. Then that didn't happen, Nuno went to Tottenham and has since left and Palace appointed Vieira. They are suddenly playing their most attractive football of the last decade.

Against the Wolves, Palace dominated possession again, but most importantly, it never stagnated on the ball. Conor Gallagher kept the pace fast and made him the standout candidate for Young Player of the Year. They created chances with more efficiency than in the whole season and also perfectly eliminated the wolves' counterattack. If this is the blueprint, Palace has a very good thing.

This was a bit of a recovery for Rafael Benitez and Everton, not least because they kept quiet a Tottenham team that we expected would have a lot more energy in Antonio Conte's first game. Everton overtook their guests and had the only shots on goal of the game.

But they're still screaming for Dominic Calvert-Lewin's return. The Salomon Rondon experiment failed because it does not provide the movement Everton needs and does not hold the ball well enough to compensate for this problem. Richarlison is a willing worker, but too often he gets a little isolated and prone to frustrations when things don't go according to him.

Everton scored seven goals under Benitez in the three games that Calvert-Lewin started. They still have more shots per game and more chances than last season despite his absence, but they have only scored nine goals in the eight games Calvert-Lewin missed. Everton supporters - and Benitez - will pray that his recovery will bring him back immediately after the international break, as he is a center-forward who fits Benitez's style perfectly.

Much, much better. Leeds have had their best shots in one game this season, against a progressive Leicester team. They were again thanks to Raphinha's brilliance and there will be some regrets that a point wasn't three given the game record, but Marcelo Bielsa must be happy with the response over the past fortnight.

But what would Leeds be without its brilliant Brazilian? And most importantly, why shouldn't the biggest clubs in Europe line up so as not to whisper anything in his ear - or his agent - before the January transfer window?

There is no squad in Europe that is not improved by Raphinha. Leeds would certainly do anything to keep him (and it would take a ridiculous offer to leave him in the winter window) but the Champions League knockout game is a huge draw for the players. Even ardent Leeds supporters would have trouble claiming he didn't deserve it.

Almost exactly a year ago, Leicester City delivered one of their most dominant performances while Brendan Rodgers was at the club. They won 4-1 on Elland Road, attacked Leeds early to force mistakes and take the lead by two goals, and then won the game again late after Stuart Dallas brought one back. Leicester had only 32 percent possession, but were ruthless on the counterattack.

On Sunday, Leicester had more ball but less play. Leeds created the best chances of the game and Rodgers was grateful for a bit of Harvey Barnes magic to level them shortly after falling behind.

Leicester looks like a different team from then to now. They are less daring on the counterattack and often resort to slower possession, but their defense has also weakened. Raphinha's opener has conceded a single goal in 16 games across all competitions since the season's opening day. Caution with the ball can be forgiven if it goes hand in hand with defensive stability. But right now Leicester isn't nailing either.

For most of this season, Liverpool's miraculous top three has dug their defenses out of man-made holes. This run ended on Sunday afternoon in the London stadium. It came.

Liverpool conceded twice against Milan but won anyway. They conceded three times against Brentford and twice against Manchester City and Brighton, but remained undefeated in those games, largely thanks to Mohamed Salah. In the Champions League against Atletico, they again conceded two goals and prevailed again.

In 2019-20, Liverpool only conceded twice or more in a league game once before the end of February; her defensive record brought her to this title. In the league alone they have already achieved this four times this season. Trent Alexander-Arnold is a great attacking right-back, but you can see Gareth Southgate's point of view in defense. In set pieces, Liverpool have been bullied by West Ham and that will annoy Jürgen Klopp.

This is not a crisis. How can it be when Liverpool have just lost their first league game of the season. But the nature of that defeat will send a message to the rest of the Premier League that Liverpool may flutter if you jump in their faces and throw balls in the box. Expect more of it after the international break.

Convincing evidence that the slip-ups against Palace and Southampton were exceptions to the rule and becoming rarer as Manchester City learns to play without number 9, Ferran Torres returns from injury and Kevin de Bruyne regains full fitness.

One thing that Pep Guardiola is particularly good at (and having brilliant players obviously helps) is getting a bad result out of the minds of his players. The process is the whole law; stick to it and you'll be back on track soon.

Only three times since December 2018, Manchester City have made up for lost points in the Premier League with something other than a league win. On two of those occasions, one of the results has been barely a setback (draw with Manchester United at home and draw with Liverpool at home). They are favorites for the title because no one believes they will be out of shape for long. And you can read more about their total domination over Manchester United here.

There are many more words here about the total mess Manchester United is in with a manager who is certainly not up to the task and now with the best short term option out of the market.

But I would like to repeat one point from our game summary about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's strategy on Saturday. He had had no small success against Guardiola by unsettling Manchester City with pace behind. One of Anthony Martial or Marcus Rashford was usually the star and it is very clear that Solskjaer has attacking pace even if he is married to Cristiano Ronaldo as the central striker. In these games, United City attacked early and undermined their own intentions to set the pace of play.

There is nothing inherently wrong with picking a defensive team and instructing them to sit deep. But a) it depends on you defending well what United didn't do, b) it is against what worked before in this game, and c) it drastically reduces the patience and goodwill of the home fans. United fans booed the slow build-up, called their team to attack and groaned as Bruno Fernandes picked up the ball 30 yards from his own goal and had no choice but to pass the ball backwards.

And that's the kick. The stereotype of Manchester United under Solskjaer - and for good reason - is that they are built on individuals rather than the system (and that can work if the individuals are brilliant). But playing a defensive system with seven players behind the ball and trying to attack on the counter-attack relies on a working system rather than individuals.

Stacking attacking players forward can get you caught, but at least you can hope to create some magic (and good odds) in the final third. That's far less likely when Ronaldo is alone in the opposing half and both full-backs don't know whether to attack or defend.

Solskjaer retained a certain loyalty, also because football was entertaining. United was a team of comebacks, bangs and whistles and who-knows-what-happens. But that was grimly predictable. United tried much of the same plan that Southampton, Burnley or Newcastle might have and were no longer successful. That is much worse than the result.

There was an improvement in the second half against Brighton and Newcastle were brought back from bottom of the table. One could also probably argue that Graeme Jones got two league points (including the tie against Palace) that Steve Bruce would not have, although we are dealing with hypotheses here. We are reaching for the positive on all three points.

At least Newcastle apparently has a replacement for Bruce. Eddie Howe was at the Brighton game and although he was obviously second choice and the failure to appoint Unai Emery got very messy, that gives Newcastle some security.

But even there it is difficult to work out the plan. How did they get to the stage where Emery and Howe were the two picks? It's hard to imagine two different coaches: foreign vs. local coach, long-term builder vs. short-term improver, cup specialist vs. the guy who brought Bournemouth into the league. It doesn't scream that Newcastle was a certain type.

But Howe is a very good coach. He is motivated to succeed after it ended in Bournemouth. He previously worked with Newcastle's best center-forward and his position now gives Newcastle a steady run in January recruiting. Improvements may not come right away - that's not really Howe's thing - but the first big decision of the new ownership has finally been made.

Life gives with one hand and takes with the other. Daniel Farke will have been delighted to see his team finally winning the Premier League again, but two hours later Norwich announced that he had been removed from office.

That may sound a little harsh, comes immediately after a win and with Norwich, who hardly slips in the end (five points for safety with 27 games still to be played). But then sackings should never be easily done to respond to the performance or outcome of a game. If the Norwich hierarchy believed it had seen enough to suggest that another manager would have a better chance of keeping it up, they cannot be blamed for not being swayed by a game than the recruitment process is certainly already in Was in progress.

The interesting question is whether Norwich is going for a firefighter who doesn't quite fit the club's identity or whether Stuart Webber is going for a more left-wing option from continental Europe. It is a decision that will determine the next age of Norwich City.

Southampton don't feel like a team that wins many games 1-0. They like to press, but that press can often be countered if not every player is at their best. They often make defensive mistakes and can be prone to dispossession in midfield.

So it's nice when statistics back up your gut feeling. There were 71 1-0 games in the Premier League last season and Southampton only won two of them. On Friday, Southampton recorded a 1-0 straight league win for the first time since February 2016 by defeating Aston Villa. Ralph Hasenhüttl's team has now won three of the last four league games.

Hasenhüttl identified the recruitment of new defenders to give him additional options as the reason for this postponement. But that seems a little strange given that Southampton sold Jannik Vestergaard and Ryan Bertrand this summer. They were both replaced, but with players who offered potential rather than a finished product.

Instead, Hasenhüttl should do himself a little more honor. On Friday night, Southampton ended the game with two new defenders on the pitch, Kyle Walker-Peters (who was on loan last season) and Mohammed Salisu, who only started eight league games last season. Despite this unfamiliarity, having found an additional body of defense is not an easy task.

There was a difference between Conte Spurs and Nuno Spurs in the early stages, as you couldn't work out what the plan was under Conte's predecessor. Against Everton, Tottenham had a plan but could not implement it effectively. They tried to get the ball to Kane whenever possible and played a lot more intensely in possession. Unfortunately for Conte, he admitted after the game that his plan was spoiled by way too many loose passes in the final third that killed their excitement.

There will certainly be some improvement over time (and that wasn't a particularly bad result), but at least the signs were there. Kane touched the ball 46 times at Goodison compared to 33 times against Manchester United in Nuno's last game. But he's still fighting for serve in dangerous areas (two touches in Everton's box) and Spurs are still criminally shy. They have spent 227 minutes in the Premier League since they last shot on goal.

Watford can't complain about losing his game at Arsenal in terms of record, but Claudio Ranieri was furious at the way the winning goal was won full-time. And for a good reason.

There was no foul on the Watford player, but it was a physical challenge. When a player was down, Danny Rose chose to gently pass the ball into touch rather than bring the ball down; it was obvious what his motives were. You can possibly argue that Rose was a waste of time (although there is no proof) and that the Watford player wasn't actually injured, but that's not really the point - or usually never. When the ball is kicked out in this way, the opponent returns the ball.

But not Arsenal. While Watford's players held up their arms in protest, Arsenal held the ball and continued playing, treating the incident like a normal throw-in. Ten seconds later, Emile met Smith-Rowe.

There is no written rule outlawing what Arsenal has done. It is one of those gentlemanly agreements that rely on good sportsmanship and are therefore open to interpretation and a little cheek. I wouldn't expect Arsenal supporters to agree or even give anything since they won the game. But if the same thing happened to them, they would be angry and understandably so.

A truly magical season is brewing. West Ham hasn't achieved anything concrete yet, but they have seized their chances in Europe and dispelled any preseason suspicions that football could have a domino effect dominoes on Thursday night. We're almost a third of the season and West Ham are tied with Manchester City in second place.

"This season reminds me of the Boleyn Ground," said Michail Antonio after the game. “The atmosphere inside, everything that has to do with West Ham, is incredible. The fans are above us to support us. ”He's right. We've all written a lot about the atmosphere at the London Stadium, but the truth is that an emerging club and a team that the fans can be proud of trump anything else.

This is a triumph of David Moyes' coaching. West Ham is not a particularly complicated team. They rely on intense hard work, a great central midfield combination and maximize their chances from set pieces. You defend hard and push from the front, with the indefatigable Antonio leading by example.

Most importantly, they really enjoy their football. Watch the scenes full time and see how much it means to these players and this manager to prove people wrong. Moyes has been around far too long to focus on outperforming his former employers, but he has to smile at how much Manchester United is struggling while flying close to the sun and showing little sign of Shows burns. The mixture of functional, committed manager and enthusiastic, lively team is really a feast for the eyes.

There's nothing wrong with a counter-attack system, and Bruno Lage has done well with the Wolves this season. But it depends on two or three players winning their individual battles. That just didn't happen against Palace.

First, Gallagher could set the pace of the game and his energy was too much for Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves. With Hwang Hee-chan, who acted on the left but came to Raul Jimenez as the central striker, the slightly one-sided lineup of the Wolves Trincao had as the only natural winger. He was responsible for carrying the ball forward and effectively connecting the defense to the counterattack.

And Trincao was the poorest player on the field. He made nine passes in 67 minutes and didn't get a chance, so Hwang and Jimenez starved to death. Adama Traore was recently left on the bench but is sure to face West Ham after the break.

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Arteta's arsenal takes shape in 100 games

After 100 games, Mikel Arteta's arsenal is taking shape and will West Ham fight for the top 4 again? (Author: Gardener)

This week, Arsenal director Josh Kroenke told Sky Sports that he had a multi-year plan to return the club to the top of English football. It will be a big and challenging task given the rivals' resources and Arsenal's decline, but there have been encouraging signs again that Mikel Arteta's young group is on the right track. The 1-0 win did not reflect their dominance and would have looked nicer if Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had not lost control alone when Bukayo Saka scored from an offside position, converted a penalty or decided against attempting to knock off Martin Odegaard's goal. bound shot. Arsenal 1-0 Watford - match report and highlightsRedknapp: Ranieri can rightly be angry with Arsenal They are unbeaten in all competitions up to 10 games and have been promoted to the top 5 of the Premier League, where they do not seem out of place. The last jump to the absolute elite of the league is still a long way off, but after 100 games under Arteta there is optimism again at Arsenal. This was West Ham down to the last detail David Moyes' West Ham studied the textbook from cover to cover. If there were 90 minutes to sum up West Ham's strength, that was it. The goalkeeper, defense and midfield, which played for most of this brilliant showcase win over Liverpool, cost barely £ 60m - a drop in the ocean Stone for a team that is really a challenge for the top 4. Seldom has a team seen so much of the ball in the first half without creating clear chances; Liverpool's goal came from his only shot on goal, a great free kick. West Ham 3-2 Liverpool - Match report and highlights In the second game, West Ham came into its own and everything made sense. They're very resilient in set pieces - they've scored more of five goals than any other team since Moyes joined - but they're more than just a dead ball team. With Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice, they have the two most in-form central midfielders in the Premier League. If they win the ball, the mood changes; It's an all-out attack, but with a tremendous ability to get back to the guy when he collapses. Despite the European distraction - five of those players started in Genk on Thursday and Liverpool had an additional 24 hours to prepare - they arguably a better team than last season. On this tour, West Ham will be close by again. Alisson has a game to be forgotten for Liverpool West Ham are a great side so there's no shame in being knocked out in a five-goal thriller in front of 60,000 fans at the London Stadium. There will also be frustration for Liverpool supporters that Aaron Cresswell was allowed to stay on the pitch after a tough challenge against Jordan Henderson. But this was a game they wouldn't have lost if Alisson hadn't had one of his worst afternoons in a Liverpool shirt. As Jamie Carragher later told Sky Sports, the Brazilian goalkeeper should have done better on all three West Ham goals in that 3-2 defeat. How the teams have set up | Game statistics Jürgen Klopp was of the opinion that the opening goal should have been excluded because of a foul on Alisson. Alisson was the one trying to find a way to get to the ball. The second goal was a one-on-one chance for Pablo Fornals and therefore hardly a mistake. Yet Alisson is usually excellent in situations like this. Here the decision to get off his line allowed him not to get close enough to the shooter, it only shortened his own reaction time. When Kurt Zouma's third goal at the far post got through his claws, the time had finally come. There were of course other problems with Liverpool's performance. But if their goalkeeper was in tip-top shape, maybe he could have helped them navigate successfully. In what is likely to be a tight title race, that might be expensive. Instead, it has expanded and Liverpool has dropped to fourth place. The only consolation for Alisson is that her rivals have yet to go to the London stadium. Those who expected Antonio Conte to wave a wand and instantly turn Tottenham back into a Top 4 Challenge Beast got a little surprise at Everton. For much of the lengthy stalemate, it looked like a side of Nuno Espirito Santo would play in a 3-4-3 formation. Tottenham have not scored in their last three Premier League games, a 347-minute run without a goal, and in the last 225 minutes of league football they haven't had a shot on goal despite Giovani Lo Celso hitting a post late with a fine blow . Everton 0-0 Tottenham match report and highlights Game StatisticsPremier League Matches | Results | Table Spurs were very happy, especially in the first 45 minutes, but Emerson Royal and Sergio Reguilon don't quite have the advantage in front of goal that Conte normally demands of his full-backs. Conte's arm waving on the sideline in the second half was an important indication that his message to his Tottenham players will take time, or maybe a transfer window or two, to get across. We are only 11 games in the season, but after a difficult opening, allegations of “Bielsa burnout” against Leeds have already been thrown. However, the performance of Marcelo Bielsa's side against Leicester should be enough to dispel those doubts. Despite a 1-1 draw at Elland Road, Leeds put in a vigorous display to remember the side everyone loved to see last season. When asked if Leeds had returned to something near their prime, Bielsa said: "It was exactly the same comment I made to the players after the game. Leeds 1-1 Leicester match report and highlightsHow the teams lined up were | Game statistics "That they looked more like a constructive team, good ball recovery, ball possession, creating danger, high proportion of game dominance and double play of the opponent. These are all aspects to appreciate and besides to see a very nice game. "Raphinha, who is in great shape, continued his scoring performances and gave the hosts the lead midway through the first half, but it was an advantage to be Leicester reacted just 73 seconds later. Another day, Harvey Barnes' strike would not have been enough to stop Leeds, who were wasting on goal, and should have regained the lead when Jack Harrison hit the ball high over the ball sent the crossbar from close range and with a good shot on goal after Kalvin Phillips hit the near post It shouldn't be for Leeds but the fans and Bielsa will be delighted to see signs of the Leeds they know and love returning return.

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Ian Wright defends Arsenal after Claudio Ranieri criticism

The Gunners' goal was not well received by Watford boss Ranieri. (Author: Gardener)

Emile Smith Rowe scored the only goal of the game when Arsenal beat Watford. Ian Wright says the manager was just looking for an "excuse". Danny Rose had initially put the ball out of play to have his Watford teammate Ozan Tufan treated, with the goalless score ten minutes after the second half at Emirates. But instead of giving the guests possession, Arsenal continued to play after the resulting throw-in and managed to break the impasse through Emile Smith Rowe, who scored in his third consecutive Premier League game. Juraj Kucka was sent off for a second bookable offense upon death and the Gunners held on to secure all three points, but much of the post-game discussion revolved around the controversial incident leading up to Smith Rowe's decisive goal in the 56th. Minute. "We threw the ball out and everyone expected Arsenal to return the ball," an angry Ranieri told Sky Sports shortly after the final whistle. “There was a cross, Kiko Femenia hit the ball with his head, [Ismaila] Sarr took the ball, in my opinion there is a big foul but nothing happened and then they scored the goal. “Our relationship [with Mikel Arteta] is very good, I told him that there is no respect when we play the ball. I said there is no respect in this action, just that. Of course, Arsenal had more space in the second half after the goal. We had a chance of a tie until the end, my players were on the pitch trying to draw. ”Ranieri hired Arsenal refused to return the ball to Watford (Image: Getty). The ball was out of play and Arsenal legend Wright agreed, accusing the Watford head coach of "nitpicking". "In the end there is nothing wrong with him," the former Arsenal and England striker told Premier League Productions. "I'm sorry and people will say I'm biased because it's Arsenal, but if there's something wrong with you then you stay down and do what you normally do. “I think I saw Ranieri complain and that's just a minor matter because I don't think they should return this ball. “There's nothing wrong with the player. If something is wrong, stay down and go through the logs. ‘But there is nothing wrong with him. With the hard-fought win against the Hornets, Arsenal have extended their unbeaten streak to ten games in all competitions.

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Real Madrid calls Marco Asensio the price of 77 million

Arsenal may have been the biggest backer in the summer transfer window, but Mikel Arteta's side appear to be looking to build and upgrade the squad with some additional additions (Author: Gardener)

Arsenal may have been the biggest backer in the summer transfer window, but Mikel Arteta's side appear to be looking to build and upgrade the squad with some additional additions. Arteta briefs on Nketiah's contract negotiations with Arsenal's summer transfer window but Mikel Arteta and the technical director are unwilling to rest on their laurels. It took the Gunners a while to dip their new recruits into the first team, but they've looked like a fine outfit ever since. But Edu and Arteta are always on the lookout for potential new recruits to upgrade and refresh their squad, and Mirror Sport is tackling the latest rumors surrounding the Emirates Stadium. Who should Arsenal be targeting in the January transfer window? Marco Asensio to play a full 90 minutes in La Liga this season Arsenal have been linked to a possible move from Real Madrid playmaker Marco Asensio. The Spaniard has played maybe ten games this season but has not played a full 90 minutes for Carlo Ancelotti's side in La Liga. And according to reports from El Nacional, the 13-time European champions are ready to part with the 25-year-old for £ 34million. The 25-year-old has plenty of time to improve and regain his momentum and the Emirates Stadium seems like a happy place. With eight goals in 12 Serie A games, Dusan Vlahovic has become one of the hottest houses in Europe. Liverpool and Manchester City are believed to be watching the 21-year-old who recently decided not to renew his contract, which expired in 2023. Sky Sports Italia claimed Arsenal had met with Fiorentina officials to discuss a possible move, also reported that the player and his agent are looking to review their offers and the Gunners are likely to snub. In fact, if the Gunners were to sign the highly rated star, they would have to make an offer of more than £ 77million, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. Should Vlahovic decide not to join Arsenal, he would be the third Serie A star to reject the Gunners' advances after Manuel Locatelli and Joaquin Correa turned down a chance to join Arteta's side. Eddie Nketiah hasn't played since scoring a nice goal against Leeds United in the League Cup. Eddie Nketiah has sparked interest on the continent as Borussia Mönchengladbach reportedly prepare a move for the striker. The 22-year-old has only played two League Cup games this season but scored in both games against AFC Wimbledon and Leeds United. His future has been the subject of intense speculation since Crystal Palace put in a £ 12m offer for the striker, whose contract expires next summer. A change to the revealing team of Patrick Vieira did not take place. However, the Sun has reported that Bundesliga giant Mönchengladbach is considering an application for the dynamic striker in January. Unlike the summer window, Arsenal have little leverage in the negotiations as January would be the last chance to benefit from the youngster unless he signs a new deal.

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Smith Rowe and White send a message to Southgate as Arsenal take over Man United

Arsenal's resurgence under Mikel Arteta continued with a deserved 1-0 win over Watford at the Emirates Stadium. A fine finish by Emile Smith Rowe (Author: Gardener)

Arsenal's rise under Mikel Arteta continued with a deserved 1-0 win over Watford at the Emirates Stadium. A fine finish from Emile Smith Rowe gave the Gunners a grand win over Claudio Ranieri's side as they overtook Manchester United and finished fifth on the standings. For much of the game the Gunners were dominant and in reality the result line should have been a lot nicer than it was. However, the Arteta team could not use any of their chances in the first half. Star striker and captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should really have reflected on the first half when he got a golden chance to convert from 12 meters. Against Ben Foster, the Gabonese striker turned left and, like against Aston Villa, his attempt was thwarted by the keeper. Much to the 38-year-old's relief, the ball didn't bounce off the striker and Arsenal were 0-0 Watford at halftime. Fortunately for Arsenal's number 14, Smith Rowe spared his blush with a fine goal early in the second half. A stormy run from center-back Ben White opened Watford's defense and when the ball broke for the Arsenal youth product, he duly nudged the ball past Foster into the lower right corner from 20 yards. After being removed from the English squad by Gareth Southgate, Smith Rowe and White, who played a major role in that goal, are sure to have put their heads on the 51-year-old before the next few games after the international break in November. Watford was far from happy with the incident that led to the goal after the Gunners refused to return the ball. Danny Rose had thrown the ball out for his teammate for treatment, but the home side opted for possession and led to Smith Rowe's goal.

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