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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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The striker has made a big impact since joining Arsenal in January
The Gabon striker has shone for the Gunners since his club-record £60m move from Borussia Dortmund in January, continuing the goalscoring form that made him one of the world’s most feared strikers during his time in Germany.
Aubameyang made an instant impact at the Emirates Stadium, scoring on his debut against Everton, and now sits joint-top of this season’s Premier League scoring charts with Mohamed Salah.

What do the stats say?
Aubameyang’s 20 Premier League goals have been split evenly across the two seasons. He hit 10 in 13 appearances in the first half of the year, and since the start of the 2018/19 campaign he has scored 10 in 17. His total is all the more impressive considering he has spent many games stationed on Arsenal’s left flank.

Aubameyang has contributed seven assists, demonstrating that he is also a team player, but it’s his clinical finishing which has helped Arsenal most.

He is averaging a goal every 118.2 minutes, the third-best strike rate among Premier League players in 2018 behind only Sergio Aguero and Salah.

While he ranks below Aguero and Salah in terms of his strike rate, however, he is ahead of them in terms of shot conversion. His 20 goals have come from just 71 shots, giving him a conversion rate of 28.2 per cent – the highest of any player to reach double figures in 2018. By comparison, Aguero and Salah’s conversion rates are 19.5 per cent and 20.5 per cent respectively.

The 29-year-old has been particularly clinical this season. At the start of December, he became the first Premier League player to score with 10 consecutive shots on target since Benni McCarthy managed it for Blackburn in 2007.

Aubameyang started his Arsenal career in style, scoring a fine debut goal in that 5-1 thrashing of Everton in February. He hit his first doubles for the club in victories over Stoke and Burnley last season, and he also had the honour of scoring the last goal of the Arsene Wenger era – his strike sealing Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Huddersfield on the final day.

There have been more memorable moments this season. Aubameyang came off the bench to score twice in consecutive games against Fulham and Leicester, and earlier this month his goals helped Arsenal to a thrilling 4-2 win over Tottenham in the north London derby.
Aubameyang’s first goal came from the penalty spot at the Emirates Stadium, and he scored his second with a brilliant curling finish from the edge of the box in the second half. Arsenal fans will hope for more of the same in 2019.

“I think he is one of the favourites to be top scorer this season,” says Charlie Nicholas. “I think he will really push the likes of Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero and Mohamed Salah and I wouldn’t be surprised if he comes out on top.

“Having said that I still don’t think he’s a proper number nine. He can play there but I think he’s kind of a 10-and-a-half. He doesn’t play as a wideman but he’s best starting there and coming inside.

“I actually think he has played better when he has been with Alexandre Lacazette because he doesn’t particularly like the physical side of things or linking play. He likes it in behind because of his pace that he’s got.

“His record is really good though. I like him a great deal. He’s a big improvement for Arsenal. I just much prefer him when he’s linking up with Lacazette rather than being a solo number nine.”

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Sports
The Norwegian coach has been installed as the club’s new temporary boss following Jose Mourinho’s sacking

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been appointed as Manchester United’s interim manager for the rest of the season.

The former Red Devils striker, who played at Old Trafford for over a decade between 1996 and 2007, takes over on a temporary basis in the wake of Jose Mourinho’s exit on Tuesday.

A United statement read: “Manchester United announced today that former striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been appointed as caretaker manager until the end of the 2018-19 season.

“Solskjaer will take charge of the first team with immediate effect and will remain in place while the club conducts a thorough recruitment process for a new full-time manager.”

He arrives from Norwegian side Molde, having returned to the club for a second stint back in 2015. Mike Phelan has also returned to United in the role of first-team coach and will work alongside the club’s former midfielder Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna.

United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward added: “Ole is a club legend with huge experience, both on the pitch and in coaching roles. His history at Manchester United means he lives and breathes the culture here and everyone at the club is delighted to have him and Mike Phelan back. We are confident they will unite the players and the fans as we head into the second half of the season.”

A forward perhaps best known as a “super sub” for United, Solskjaer famously came off the bench against Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final to score an injury-time winner and hand Sir Alex Ferguson’s side their first European honour for over 30 years.

He also picked up six Premier League titles and two FA Cups, among other honours, during his time as a player at the club.

At international level, he won 67 caps for Norway and was a member of their 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championship squads, reaching the last 16 in the former.

Following his retirement, Solskjaer transitioned from the United playing squad to the managerial set-up, where he took charge of the reserves at Carrington under Ferguson between 2008 and 2011.

He left the club to take the reins at Molde, where he had played before switching to United, and won the Tippeligaen league title in his first season in charge, in 2011.

He was coaxed back to the United Kingdom in early 2014 to replace Malky Mackay as manager of relegation-threatened Cardiff City but was unable to prevent the club from making the drop back into the Championship.

A subsequent dismissal followed after a run of poor results to open the 2014-15 campaign and Solskjaer was reappointed Molde boss the following October on a three-and-a-half year deal.

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Sports
Real Madrid and Wales forward Gareth Bale is among the nominees for this year’s men’s Ballon d’Or award.

Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero, Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson, Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema and Paris St-Germain attacker Edinson Cavani are also contenders.

The 30-man list of nominees will be revealed throughout the day.

The Ballon d’Or, a prestigious award presented since 1956, is given to the best player of the year.

The ceremony to announce the winner will take place in Paris on 3 December, when a women’s award will be presented for the first time.

Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who joined Juventus from Real Madrid in the summer, won last year’s Ballon d’Or.
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Sports
France World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe scored four goals as Paris St-Germain maintained their 100% winning start in Ligue 1 by thrashing Lyon.

Mbappe’s goals came in a 13-minute second-half spell, netting his first with a low strike off the post.

He slid in his second, converted a cool finish for his hat-trick and stroked home his fourth from close range.

Neymar’s penalty put PSG ahead, with home defender Presnel Kimpembe and Lyon midfielder Lucas Tousart both sent off.

France international Kimpembe was given a straight red card by the referee after consultation with the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), who advised a dismissal as the defender had caught Tanguy Ndombele in the shin with his studs.

Tousart was sent off for a second bookable offence on the stroke of half-time after hauling down Mbappe.

Thomas Tuchel’s side, champions in five of the last six seasons, have won all nine league games so far and are eight points clear of second-placed Lille.

Meanwhile, former PSG and Newcastle midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa scored the winner as Rennes beat Monaco 2-1. Monaco had Radamel Falcao on the scoresheet, but the 2016-17 champions have won just once in the league all season and are struggling in 18th place.

Another former Magpies player, Florian Thauvin, and ex-Fulham striker Kostas Mitroglou both netted as Marseille beat Caen 2-0.
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Sports
The Reds were second best to second-tier opposition as they were dumped out of the Carabao Cup by Frank Lampard’s Rams
If every Manchester United win from hereon in is to be seen as power to Jose Mourinho’s elbow and every setback considered proof that Paul Pogba’s concerns are well-placed, then it was first blood to the Frenchman on Tuesday night as United went crashing out of the Carabao Cup at home to Championship Derby County.

The 8-7 penalty reverse after a 2-2 draw in bizarre circumstances after Sergio Romero was sent off midway through the second half seemed entirely fitting on a day when the deteriorating relationship between the manager and his most expensive signing hit a new low.

Before the match it felt almost as though the game itself was secondary given the pre-game revelation that Mourinho had told Pogba he will never captain the club again following the midfielder’s claim that United ought to be a far more attacking outfit in home games than they were in Saturday’s Premier League draw with Wolves.

“I think teams are scared when they see Man United attacking and attacking,” said the midfielder. “When we play like this it’s easier for us.”

And so it was that United should end the regulation time of their cup clash against Frank Lampard’s impressive side with the Stretford End appealing for their team to “Attack, attack, attack” in much the same way that Pogba had wanted to see more.

United started like a team determined to put the off-field issues behind them, with Anthony Martial excelling on the left and Juan Mata putting them into a third-minute lead after one of the wide man’s dangerous runs.

But it didn’t take too long for things to unravel, and as soon as the Rams began to put their foot on the ball United didn’t seem to know how to deal with the threat posed by the likes of Mason Mount and Harry Wilson.

It was Mount’s ball that opened United up soon after the opener and forced Romero into a smart save from Mason Bennett, but Derby would have to wait until the hour mark before getting the equaliser they deserved.

After Ashley Young’s foul on David Nugent, Wilson stepped up to deliver a wonderful left-foot free-kick which caught Romero completely flat-footed. It would get worse for the Argentine shortly after too, as Wilson chased onto the ball and attempted to flick it beyond the goalkeeper, prompting an instinctive save a full yard or two outside his area.

The red card which inevitably followed brought Lee Grant into action for the first time as a United player and with five minutes to play he was picking the ball out of his net as Jack Marriott smartly followed in Mount’s initial shot to turn home what appeared likely to be a winner.

But Mourinho was bailed out by Marouane Fellaini’s 95th-minute equaliser from Diogo Dalot’s exemplary right-wing cross and United were given the lifeline of penalty kicks.

There was to be no ultimate reprieve though, with 15 penalties being taken and scored before Phil Jones stepped up and side-footed a tame effort which Scott Carson was able to get down to and end a turbulent day in the life of Manchester United with a humiliating cup exit.

Ed Woodward had taken the opportunity to back Mourinho during the end-of-year earnings call with shareholders earlier in the day. But while the latest twist in the manager’s relationship with Pogba was one thing, another dreadful performance at Old Trafford and a cup giant-killing is only going to heap more pressure on the Portuguese’s shoulders.
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Sports
The German defender confirmed reports that he drew interest over the summer while offering insight into why he turned down a pair of potential moves.

Jerome Boateng has confirmed reports that both Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain were interested in him this summer while revealing that Jose Mourinho was unable to convince him to leave Bayern Munich.

The German defender was the topic of transfer rumours throughout the summer window, but opted to remain with Bayern for his eighth season with the club.

Boateng had previously played in the Premier League for Manchester City, but the 30-year-old defender could not be tempted to leave Bayern, even if the thought of a new club intrigued him.

“I did not want just to get away from Bayern, but I was thrilled to try a new challenge.

“I feel well at Bayern. It’s one of the biggest clubs in the world.”

Boateng went onto reveal that he personally spoke to Mourinho regarding Manchester United’s interest.

Mourinho was adamant on bringing another centre-back to Old Trafford, with Harry Maguire also viewed as a target.

However, Maguire said he never had concrete thoughts of leaving Leicester City and Boateng also revealed he wasn’t fully convinced of a move.

“I called Jose Mourinho, I told him that his interest was an honor for me and thanked him for trying so hard for me,” Boateng said.

“I explained to Jose that it’s difficult to leave Bayern, and if I do, everything has to be in place to top this club.”
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