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Sports
The Gunners were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by a clinical Spurs side who learnt their lessons from the recent league defeat
 

A clinical Tottenham side exposed Arsenal’s defensive frailties on Wednesday night as the Gunners were defeated 2-0 at Emirates Stadium, though in the long run there will be plenty of lessons learnt from the comprehensive loss to their cross-town rivals, who scored from two of their three shots on target.

Unai Emery’s side simply weren’t clinical enough in front of goal and should had taken the lead when Henrikh Mkhitaryan shot straight at Paulo Gazzaniga, while Aaron Ramsey hit the post and Sokratis Papastathopoulos headed wide from a corner.

Spurs meanwhile scored from a simple Gazzaniga drop-kick which Son Heung-min latched onto, while a slick second-half strike from Dele Alli put the game to bed and secured a place in the Carabao Cup semi-finals for Mauricio Pochettino’s men. Harry Kane, who started on the bench, had only been on the pitch for 66 seconds before assisting Alli’s goal. Alexandre Lacazette’s second half cameo couldn’t replicate the England striker’s impact.

Going into the clash, Arsenal had only won one of the previous five games they’ve trailed in at half-time this season, though that comeback victory did come against Spurs earlier this month. Pochettino’s men, however, clearly learnt their lessons from that crushing defeat in the Premier League by scoring two crucial goals when it mattered and held onto their lead.

The defeat does come with its positives though, giving Arsenal an extra breather in a packed January month of fixtures, where the squad is already suffering from a plethora of injuries in defence.

That said, there can be no hiding that Emery wanted to progress in the competition as he fielded the strongest possible line-up – albeit with the omitted Mesut Ozil, who wasn’t even named in the matchday squad for ‘tactical reasons’.

Emery’s tactical changes have raised eyebrows in recent games, mostly due to the fact that he’s seen his defence depleted by injury. Granit Xhaka’s new-found role at centre-back continued on a chilly night in north London and the Swiss international struggled, as did Arsenal, without his bounce in the deep lying role that he usually plays in.

The ease with which Tottenham pierced through Arsenal for both goals will be particularly worrying for the Emery, who saw Southampton put three past a makeshift back four on Sunday.

Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal have both recently returned from long-term injuries but they haven’t looked nearly convincing enough in either game, which will surely prompt head of recruitment Sven Mislintat to bolster a paper-thin defence when the transfer window opens next month.

As for Arsenal’s silverware hopes, another one bites the dust.

Their chances of progressing in the Europa League are high while the chase for a top four spot is on the right track, although they will need to cut out the naïve defensive mistakes if they are to secure a place among Europe’s elite next season.

Emery meanwhile was left to answer to the biggest question of the day – why was the highest paid, most creative player in the squad left out for a huge derby match in place of youngsters on the bench?

It was a decision which only weakened Arsenal against Spurs and could have been the difference between getting something from the game or going out.

“Tactical decision” was repeated again in his post-match press conference, before stating: “Today I’m happy with our performance but not happy with our result.

“We are doing our process and [Tottenham] are ahead of us in this process. We need to continue creating our identity and to be more consistent in games.”

Additionally, Emery was unwilling to give a clear answer as to whether he wants Ozil, who watched the match from the stands with Sead Kolasinac and Shkodran Mustafi at the Emirates, to stay at the club.

Whatever’s going on behind the scenes at Arsenal, it’s Tottenham who will get their day out at Wembley.

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Sports
Harry Redknapp believes the Spaniard is doing a fine job in north London and would be advised to steer well clear of succeeding Jose Mourinho
 

Mauricio Pochettino has been warned off succeeding Jose Mourinho at Manchester United by Harry Redknapp, with the Argentine told “he’s got a better team at Tottenham, by far”.

With the Red Devils having taken the decision to part with their Portuguese coach, there is now a high-profile vacancy at Old Trafford.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken the reins on an interim basis , with the former United striker returning to England on a short-term agreement.

Various candidates have been mooted as a more permanent replacement for Mourinho, with Pochettino among them .

He has enjoyed a productive spell in the Premier League with Southampton and Spurs, which has helped to raise his profile, but Redknapp feels he would be making a mistake in taking on a “difficult” job in Manchester.

“I love him. I like his character and his personality and he gets the best out of his players.

“Would he leave Spurs to go to Manchester United at the moment? He’s got a better team at Tottenham, by far.

“I think Daniel Levy is looking after him very well, he’s got to be up there with the top wage earners and he maybe sees Tottenham as a team he can win trophies with.

“Man United is a massive club, but I think in his situation when he’s building such a good team at Tottenham – there’s a lot of work to be done at Man United to build a good team. Where do you find the players, it’s getting more and more difficult.

“They are way short of being anywhere near the top couple of teams at the moment.”

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Sports

Franck Ribery scored an 83rd-minute winner as Bayern Munich cut the gap between themselves and Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund to six points by beating RB Leipzig.

Bayern capitalised after Dortmund suffered a first defeat of the season at Fortuna Dusseldorf on Tuesday.

It was a frustrating evening for the champions until Ribery sidestepped two defenders and slotted home.

Ex-Swansea loanee Renato Sanches was one of two players sent off late on.

The Portuguese midfielder was dismissed in the final minute after picking up a second yellow card for reacting angrily to Stefan Ilsanker’s tackle, with the Leipzig player receiving a straight red for lunging in on Thiago Alcantara.

Bayern stay third in the table behind second-placed Borussia Monchengladbach, who defeated Nuremberg 2-0.

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Sports
Gareth Bale scored a hat-trick as Real Madrid beat Kashima Antlers to set up a Club World Cup final against Al Ain, of the United Arab Emirates, on Saturday.

Wales forward Bale scored the semi-final’s opening goal in Abu Dhabi via the post after a one-two with Marcelo.

He tapped his second into an empty net after a defensive error and two minutes later blasted a third from a tight angle from another Marcelo pass.

Shoma Doi pulled one back for the Asian champions.

Bale, who has now scored six goals in five Club World Cup games, had been a doubt with an ankle injury, and was substituted by boss Santiago Solari just before the hour mark.

Real Madrid are aiming to win the tournament for a third year in a row.

They face Abu Dhabi side Al Ain at the Zayed Sports City Stadium on Saturday (16:30 GMT) – with live text commentary on the BBC Sport website.

Al Ain, who qualified as champions of the host country, shocked Copa Libertadores winners River Plate by winning on penalties in their semi-final.
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