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Man Utd knocked Arsenal out of the water in Cristiano Ronaldo's transfer match

In 2003, Arsenal were on the verge of sealing a deal for teenage sensation Cristiano Ronaldo before Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United trumped the Gunners (Author: Gardener)

In 2003, Arsenal were on the verge of sealing a deal for teenage sensation Cristiano Ronaldo before Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United marveled at the Gunners. The Portuguese sensation moved to the Premier League in 2003 after drawing Sir Alex Ferguson's famous attention when ex-Sporting Lisbon faced United in a pre-season friendly. Ferguson was so impressed with the talented youngster that he kept his United players waiting while negotiating a £ 12m transfer fee with the Portuguese club immediately after the game. Ronaldo has since established himself as one of the greatest players in football history, winning the first of his five Ballon d'Or trophies during his first United stint in 2008. After dinner and talking to manager Arsene Wenger back in 2003, it looked like it would before Fergusons United stared spectacularly at the Gunners. "We are now turning back the clock when Cristiano was 17 years old and played in the Portuguese U19 national team," began the former Arsenal boss David Dein when he spoke on Monday evening at an event for the twinning project in the Palladium in London Ronaldo negotiations spoke. Arsene said, 'Look, do you want to go and see him play?' I said, 'Yeah, sure, I'll go over'. “I was out with our chief scout and I remember seeing the Portuguese U19 team and Cristiano playing really well. "Then the agent who was with us at the time said, 'Well, believe it or not, he will meet us for dinner afterwards". Had Cristiano Ronaldo had so much success, would he have gone to Arsene Wenger's Arsenal? Arsene Wenger wanted Ronaldo at Arsenal, but United "blew her out of the water". It's one of several jerseys that I have in my closet at home. He gave me his shirt in which he was playing. "We discussed some money and the agent said, 'Well, let him think about it overnight". Then Cristiano said: 'I have to go now, my bus is leaving'. “He jumped on his bus and drove home. The next day I argued with the agent and about six hours later Manchester United blew us out of the water. “That was the story of Cristiano Ronaldo. I think we were being used a bit as a stalking house because I think he always wanted to go to Manchester United at the time. "Wenger also announced that Arsenal signed up for the Barcelona academy trio about 20 years ago for the Barcelona academy trio Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique and Cesc Fabregas started when they were starting their careers but they only managed to catch the latter. "They [Barcelona] had Fabregas, Messi and [Gerard] Pique in the same generation," Wenger said. Fabregas wanted to leave, Pique too. “He [Pique] landed at Manchester United and Cesc came to us.

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Arsene Wenger names the Arsenal player he has regretted the most

The Frenchman sold over 500 players during his time as head of the Gunners. (Author: Gardener)

Arsene Wenger spent over 20 years at Arsenal and transformed the north London club into a modern day football superpower (Image: Getty). The special farewell stands out as particularly painful. The 72-year-old left the north London club in the summer of 2018 after 22 years at the helm during which he turned Arsenal into a modern day football superpower. While the second half of his tenure, and especially the last part of his reign, saw turmoil among fans as Arsenal struggled to keep up with Chelsea and Manchester City, the past decade has been the most successful the club has ever seen the 1930s. Arsene Wenger and his friend and former Arsenal colleague David Dein (Image: Getty) hosted an event at the Royal Albert Hall (Image: Getty). consisting of imperturbable personalities like Tony Adams and David Seaman, was complemented by exciting and often unannounced foreign imports. There is no better example of Wenger's ingenuity in the transfer market than Nicolas Anelka, who joined Arsenal as an unknown 17-year-old but retired as the most exciting young striker in European football. After Anelka led the Arsenal attack in the second half of the 1997/98 double season in the absence of Ian Wright, Anelka won the PFA Young Player of the Year Award the following season before prevailing by moving to Real Madrid. An evening with Arsene Wenger and David Dein Although Arsenal made an incredible £ 22.5 million profit with a player who had only cost £ 500,000 and bought Thierry Henry with the proceeds, Wenger had always planned to bring the two French international speedsters together . Arsenal won the Premier League and FA Cup double in Arsene Wenger's first season (Image: Getty). including five more in England alone. As Arsenal fell behind its rivals, Wenger had to part ways with Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas, whom he made superstars like Anelka, but selling his compatriot is still his biggest regret. At an event with his friend and former colleague David Dein, Wenger said, “Yes, we used the Arsene Wenger card and the players wanted to go where they would win. My biggest regret and shame is that Anelka left. Wenger also claimed that Arsenal were also "used" when they missed the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United, who notoriously tore the teenage boy from her clutches after a friendly against Sporting Lisbon. United's players, including Gary Neville and Rio Ferdinand, begged Sir Alex Ferguson to act quickly after being tortured by Ronaldo and Ferguson's then-assistant Carlos Queiroz helped close a deal with his Portuguese compatriots.

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Arsene Wenger explains how close Arsenal were to signing Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

Arsene Wenger and David Dein have revealed how close Arsenal were to signing Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Messi came through the academy near Barcelona, ​​from which Arsenal signed Cesc Fabregas, while Ronaldo developed at Sporting Lisbon. (Author: Gardener)

Arsene WengerArsene Wenger and David Dein have revealed how close Arsenal were to signing Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Dein and Wenger wanted to bring the two into the club around 20 years ago when they were just starting their careers. Messi came through the academy near Barcelona, ​​from which Arsenal signed Cesc Fabregas, while Ronaldo developed at Sporting Lisbon. In the end, Messi stayed at Barca and Ronaldo moved to Manchester United after they picked him. "We were interested in Messi, but it was not possible," said Wenger, who spoke at an event for the twinning project at the Palladium in London on Monday evening. “They (Barcelona) had Fabregas, Messi and [Gerard] Pique in the same generation. Messi was not possible, Barcelona extended him (his contract). Fabregas wanted to go, Pique too. “He (Pique) landed at Manchester United and Cesc came to us. Regarding a possible deal for Ronaldo, Dein added: “We are now turning back the clock when Cristiano was 17 years old and played for the Portuguese U19 national team. Arsene said, 'Look, do you want to go and see him play?' I said, 'Yeah, sure, I'll go over'. “I was out with our chief scout and I remember seeing the Portuguese U19 team and Cristiano playing really well. "Then the agent who was with us at the time said, 'Well, believe it or not, he will meet us for dinner afterwards". He gave me his shirt in which he was playing. "We discussed some money and the agent said, 'Well, let him think about it overnight". Then Cristiano said: 'I have to go now, my bus is leaving'. “He jumped on his bus and drove home. The next day I argued with the agent and about six hours later Manchester United blew us out of the water. “That was the story of Cristiano Ronaldo. I think we were being used a bit as a stalking house because I think he always wanted to go to Manchester United back then. "See" An Audience with Arsène Wenger OBE & David Your MBE "on LIVENow. Passports are for £ 5 available and all proceeds will be donated to the twinning project exactly the same after '

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Spurs 'have to pay £ 60m to beat Arsenal against Vlahovic'

Fiorentina will reportedly consider a £ 60m bid from Tottenham Hotspur on Dusan Vlahovic amid speculation that Arsenal have hit an initial (Author: Gardener)

A report last week alleged that the Gunners had reached an initial settlement with the Fiorentina on a fee for Vlahovic, believed to be on the order of £ 68 million. Tottenham have also been given a tip for Vlahovic, with La Nazione claiming a £ 60m bid is being seriously considered. Vlahovic has already scored 10 goals in 13 games in all competitions this season after scoring 21 goals in Serie A last season.

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Former Tottenham sar Jamie O'Hara says Mikel Arteta deserves credit for turning Arsenal over after previously branding them as "Banter FC"

Former Tottenham star Jamie O'Hara has praised Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta for turning the club's fate around this season. Emile Smith Rowes seco (Author: Gardener)

Former Tottenham star Jamie O’Hara has praised Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta for turning the club's fate this season. Emile Smith Rowe's second-half goal extended Arsenal's undefeated streak to ten games in all competitions as they beat Watford 1-0 and moved up to fifth on the Premier League table. The Gunners have reacted superbly since losing their first three league games to Brentford, Chelsea and Manchester City looking to move up to the European seats. Arteta's win came in his 100th game as head of the club and he won 54 percent of that - a better record than that of former coach Arsene Wenger (51 percent) over the same period. And O’Hara is impressed with Arteta, who is getting the most out of their players in a short amount of time, including signings that rivals Spurs have failed to do. He told talkSPORT Breakfast: “I was critical of Arsenal at the beginning of the season by calling them 'Banter FC'. One thing with Arteta - that's one thing that annoyed me at Spurs, that we brought in new players and didn't play. “We did that at Spurs and you think what's the point in signing these players if you don't give them a chance to show what they're all about. “Arteta did that and got a lot of stick at the beginning of the season because the results weren't there. “But he stayed with the group of players that he has. They stayed with the players they brought in and said, “This is the team and this is what we're trying to do. It's a young site, but we'll stick with it. ”“ You play with confidence and faith and get results. “This has to be attributed to Arteta because many managers would sit back and go back to the old guard or go back to experience and say, 'I have to get some results'.

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What better way for Newcastle than Emery and Hazard to "love" him as their boss?

Jack Wilshere helped Eddie Howe thrive as manager of Newcastle United and make it one of the top six clubs in the Premier League, the nouveau riche Magpie (Author: Gardener)

Jack Wilshere helped Eddie Howe succeed as manager of Newcastle United and make them one of the top six clubs in the Premier League. The nouveau riche Magpies have confirmed Howe's appointment to replace Steve Bruce, with the former Bournemouth boss signing a deal until the summer of 2024. Wilshere spent a season on loan from Arsenal at Bournemouth under Howe, believing the 43-year-old would be the ideal date for the Toon Army. "I worked with him at a club that now looks a lot like Newcastle - not in terms of the size of the club, but in terms of the players," he told talkSPORT. “Newcastle has a couple of ex-Bournemouth players and that's what Eddie does, he gets the most out of these types of players, he makes them work and he gets the fans on his side. “When I played under him at Bournemouth we probably had a worse squad and finished ninth so he can definitely do that. Saudi Arabia-backed Newcastle is now one of the richest clubs in the world - its owners are estimated to be worth more than £ 300 billion - and has been linked to some star signings. Eden Hazard is among those who are recommended to move to St. James ’Park and Wilshere insists Howe would have no problem dealing with big figures like the Real Madrid playmaker. “He was great with me because it was difficult for me there because I came from a big club. “They were all great with me, but Eddie made sure they were. “Eden Hazard is a different level, but I think Eden would love to play for a manager like Eddie Howe [in Newcastle]. He's the kind of manager you want to play for. ”Howe apparently wasn't Newcastle's first choice for the job as the club had discussions with Unai Emery before the Spaniard decided to stay at Villarreal. But Wilshere - who played under Emery at Arsenal - thinks Howe is the right man to make an immediate difference and lead the club out of relegation danger. He continued, “Unai Emery made it to top clubs, he made it to Europe. “Newcastle are a big club, don't get me wrong, but they are in a relegation battle and that requires a whole new level and a whole new management style. “He doesn't have time to find the style of play, they need results now. Don't worry about staff gambling, you need to get everyone to try again.

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Change Lacazette eyes and Kroenke in the budget tip

Arsenal star Alexandre Lacazette's future has taken another turn just hours after director Josh Kroenke made a big hint about the club's New Years transfer plans (Author: Gardener)

The future for Arsenal star Alexandre Lacazette has taken another turn just hours after director Josh Kroenke made a big hint about the club's New Years transfer plans. Liverpool's 3-2 loss at West Ham means the Gunners after eight games currently have the longest undefeated streak in the league without defeat. Mikel Arteta should be commended for sticking to his principles and rejuvenating an Arsenal side that looked hopeless after the first few games of the Premier League season. That means more investment is likely to be needed in January, even after spending more in the summer than any other Premier League team. Mirror Football picks up the latest transfer news from north London. Alexandre Lacazette's future remains unclear as Atletico Madrid become the youngest club to show interest in the French striker. And although he topped Arsenal's scorers list last season, little has indicated that his four-and-a-half year stint in London will be extended. Atletico Madrid are on high alert due to the ongoing limbo over Lacazette's future, according to a new report from La Razon. Do you think Arsenal should keep Alexandre Lacazette? However, Atletico is believed to be more interested in a deal for Lacazette that would cost nothing in the summer because it raises a sizable fee on Adeyemi. In a detailed interview with Sky Sports, Gunners director Josh Kroenke addressed various topics on Sunday. But one of the most fascinating aspects of his interview was Kroenke's comment on the work in the transfer window and that despite "great progress" there was still work to be done. I don't think we did or were able to do that, but we have made great strides in certain areas. "Kroenke's message is the clearest indication that Arsenal, despite their huge summer spending, still has a lot to do, and the Premier League was almost at the expense of spending from Arsenal for £ 150million for six signings, and given the formidable looks of Arteta's new recruits this season, Gunners fans should look forward to the prospect of similar deals in January, with an unlikely fall for Real Madrid -Ass Linked to Gareth Bale Though Kroenke's comments opened the door to deals in the New Year, it's unlikely anyone had Gareth Bale's name in the back of their minds. £ 2.4m price for Bale in the New Year. A move for Bale would represent a pretty wild change in Arteta's approach - which would be unusual considering w he current transfer strategy is paying off for the Gunners now. But strange things have happened in football, and last month there was talk in Spain about a deal being discussed between Arsenal and Real Madrid to swap Bale for Lacazette. While it seems unlikely that Bale will end up in the Emirates with his ties to Tottenham, it is not unthinkable that he will fly somewhere in January as he only has a few months left on his Real Madrid deal.

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Arsenal's Ainsley Maitland-Niles wants to leave the summer drama behind

The England international had been linked to a loan deal with Everton in the last few days of the transfer window (Author: Gardener)

Ainsley Maitland-Niles is looking more forward than backward after starring in Arsenal's win over Watford after a summer moving from Emirates Stadium. The England international had been linked to a loan deal with Everton in the last few days of the transfer window. A move to Goodison Park never happened, despite Maitland-Niles reporting on social media about his desire to leave the club. "All I want to do is go where I'm wanted and where I'm going to play," he wrote on Instagram, accompanied by three crying emojis. After loaning out the second half of last season at West Brom, Maitland-Niles' future at Arsenal was in doubt, despite making a Three Lions debut just months earlier. He came on for the 1-0 win over Watford, with Emile Smith Rowe scoring the only goal in a game in which Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed a penalty for the Gunners and Juraj Kuca was sent off late for the visitors. When asked about his happiness compared to summer, Maitland-Niles replied, “That is all in the past now. The narrow win on Sunday meant Arsenal took their international break in fifth in the Premier League after being bottom of the table in September. Mikel Arteta's side are unbeaten in 10 games in all competitions but while Maitland-Niles is happy with the turnaround, he cautioned his teammates against dropping their new found standards. "We have to be realistic and don't want to fall back into our old habits," he said. “So we're pretty focused on not trying to lose games and win more games at the same time - hence the good run of unbeaten games. "We just have to grow in confidence and keep it as the basic standard so we can keep up in every game." Watford have lost three of their four games under Claudio Ranieri. However, former England defender Danny Rose believes the Hornets are moving in the right direction. "We continued until the end, even with 10 men," he said. “It's very disappointing when you defend as well and concede a goal like us, but there's not much we can do now other than dust ourselves off. "We have a foundation, a platform to build on defensively, and if we keep playing like this we'll get the points along the way." Click here to find the stories you want to read and more in your inbox.

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Coutinho, Lacazette and Man United duo

The blockbuster acquisition of Newcastle United has sparked discussions that players around the world will be heading to the St (Author: Gardener)

The blockbuster takeover of Newcastle United has sparked discussions around the world about players moving to St. James ’Park in the near future. The Newcastle acquisition was recently finalized with the Saudi Arabia-led consortium bringing new found wealth to the club. The new owners are unlikely to spend hundreds of millions right away, and some fans may be disappointed that more illustrious transfer coups may have to wait until sometime in the future. But now that we have more opportunities to add great players to their current squad, we could soon be taking Newcastle back to the days of the 90s and early 2000s. Newcastle drew in Brighton at the weekend and are currently in second place in the league with just five points from eleven games. But with Howe now appointed and January fast approaching, there are some top players who could be drafted with little fuss and could improve the Toon ranks significantly in the second half of the campaign. Lacazette will be out of contract next summer and with no likely deal with current club Arsenal it means the 30-year-old will be looking for a new project. The Gunners star has one last major contract in her at this point in his career, so he wants to move to a place where he can be part of an incredibly exciting project. In reality, there are no more attractive challenges than Newcastle United. A deal for Lacazette won't come cheap, but given the staggering wealth of the club's new owners, it seems unlikely that this will be a problem. As a player who knows the league, the 28-year-old might not be the most noticeable addition, but he would certainly have a great reputation to fill this troubled center-back position in the Magpies defense. West Ham have been out of a deal in the past but with Tarkovsky out of the contract in the summer it means Newcastle may have an advantage when it comes to a deal in January. There will be a lot of talk about the Manchester United man as the January transfer window approaches. The Dutch midfielder is obviously frustrated with the lack of opportunity for the first team and is looking for a new opportunity to show his true quality. In connection with Newcastle, this could be the ideal move for all parties. The Magpies lack quality in the middle of the park and Van de Beek could be the ideal man to fit into the team and push them off the bottom of the Premier League table. However, Henderson has struggled to start at United ahead of favorite stopper David de Gea this season. With nearly 50 games in the league, he's a quality goalkeeper who would enjoy the chance to start regularly for another Premier League club. In the 2019/20 season he played 36 games for Sheffield United with 13 goals conceded and helped the promoted team to an impressive ninth place. The 24-year-old would be a good pick for a Newcastle side who have struggled to keep the goals this season. Kessie has generated a lot of interest in the Premier League, with London clubs Tottenham and Chelsea reportedly interested. Interest has never resulted in a deal, but the 24-year-old has continued to impress in Serie A for AC Milan this season. The Ivorian is also prone to a few hits and has scored 35 goals in central midfield in Serie A alone, while proving that he also has tremendous potential to keep improving. The German full-back is another candidate who could help improve the defense and has a great record to back that up. He has a lot of experience from his time at Heracles Almelo in the Eredivisie and since then his club and international career has made further progress with many appearances for Atalanta. Another player who impressed at Euro 2020 was the versatile Danish ace Maehle. Constantly in the starting XI, he even scored a couple of goals against Wales and Russia and contributed to their incredibly successful progression to the semi-finals. He joined Atalanta for £ 10m earlier this year and given his performance over the summer, his fee would likely cost a lot more now. The Danish star is said to be on sale this summer and had ties to a move to England with the likes of Southampton, but a deal fell through as the £ 24m demand was deemed too high. That kind of fee for a reliable and versatile player with Champions League experience could prove to be a bargain if the Magpies set it up. The Brazilian is used to living in the Premier League with an abundance of assists and goals in Liverpool. Coutinho has scored 99 goals and 75 assists in over 400 games during his career. But his six-year stint in the Premier League is a big part of it, which means a return to England could be a very attractive prospect for him.

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

Daniel Storey analyzes all 20 Premier League teams as the layoff season is in full swing as we head into the international break (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. Suddenly they are playing their most beautiful 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 to whisper sweet things to him - 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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