The Premier League title race is as you were after Arsenal and Manchester City both won on Saturday

It’s cup final day for the first time this season!

Manchester United face Newcastle for the Carabao Cup, with thousands of fans already in London and partying. Erik ten Hag and Eddie Howe won’t have been so carefree last night, though, with United sweating over an injury to Marcus Rashford and Newcastle hoping that Loris Karius proves a worthy No.1 for the afternoon.

Back in the Premier League, Manchester City responded to Arsenal’s hard-fought 1-0 win away to Leicester City by beating Bournemouth 4-1 and restoring the gap at the top of the table to two points. Elsewhere, Liverpool and Crystal Palace snoozed to a dour 0-0 draw, while West Ham won big against Nottingham Forest in what was tipped to be David Moyes’ final game in charge.

We’ve also got Tottenham Hotspur taking on Chelsea at 1:30pm, so don’t go anywhere.

Tottenham XI: Forster, Romero, Dier, Lenglet, Emerson, Hojbjerg, Skipp, Davies, Kulusevski, Kane, Richarlison

Chelsea XI: Kepa, James, Thiago Silva, Koulibaly, Chilwell, Enzo, Loftus-Cheek, Sterling, Joao Felix, Ziyech, Havertz

Chelsea have reached a verbal agreement to sign Ecuadorian wonderkid Kendry Paez from Independiente del Valle, it’s been claimed.

The 15-year-old midfielder, who was born in May 2007, is said to have been on Manchester United, Manchester City and Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen’s radar, while Real Madrid were also linked with interest. Chelsea, however, appear to have won the hotly-contested race for Paez, who’s regarded as one of the most promising talents in South America.

Reports from Italy say that a deal has been stuck with Independiente, increasing Blues chief Todd Boehly’s £600million spending spree. Unfortunately for Blues fans, they won’t be able to see him action for their club until he turns 18 on May 4, 2025. Earlier this month, The Sun claimed that Chelsea had seen a £14.8m bid rejected, meaning that Paez will likely cost the Blues more than £15m.

Erik ten Hag has revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson doesn’t need to do any talking to his Manchester United players ahead of their trip to Wembley.

The Red Devils have travelled to London in search of their first trophy in six years, having last got their hands on silverware under Jose Mourinho in 2017. Ten Hag has transformed United in a matter of months at the helm and a trophy would render his first season at Old Trafford a success.

Having sat down with Ferguson for a meal last Tuesday in Wilmslow, Cheshire, the Dutchman has opened up on what kind of message the legendary former Red Devils boss is sending the current United squad. “He is by doing (not words),” Ten Hag explained to Sky Sports.

Arsenal defender Gabriel Magalhaes was willing to do anything it took in order to secure three points at Leicester on Saturday – even if it meant clashing with two team-mates.

The Brazilian centre-back, 25, was rock solid as the Gunners earned a 1-0 win at the King Power Stadium thanks to compatriot and namesake Martinelli’s second-half strike. Gabriel helped Arsenal limit Leicester to a mere 0.2 expected goals in a dominant defensive display, but he also had to battle with his own team-mates as Mikel Arteta’s side held on to top spot in the Premier League.

While left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko was touchingly handed the captain’s armband by Arteta to mark the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of his homeland, Ukraine, Gabriel still showed great leadership. The 25-year-old, who’s enjoying his third season with the Gunners and signed a long-term contract extension in October, made sure to keep the much more experienced Jorginho in check when he made an error during Saturday’s hard-fought victory.

Harry Maguire will NOT lift the Carabao Cup alone today if Manchester United beat Newcastle at Wembley.

Although Maguire is officially United captain, he has lost his starting place, with Bruno Fernandes wearing the armband when the England defender is not playing. Fernandes is set to captain United in today’s final, with Maguire among the substitutes as boss Erik ten Hag bids to win his first trophy in his debut season in charge.

But Maguire is understood to have planned to lift the trophy jointly with Fernandes if United win – to honour the fact the Portuguese star has captained the team more than him this season and featured more in the run to the final.

Graham Potter is cut from a very different cloth to Antonio Conte – and there have been times of late when a lot of Chelsea fans have wished the current incumbent of the Stamford Bridge hot-seat was a lot more like the man who sat in it between 2016 and 2018.

Potter has had it from all angles that his personality — respectful as he is — doesn’t suit such a big job and that he needs to be more confrontational and spiky, just as predecessors such as Conte, Jose Mourinho and Thomas Tuchel all are. But despite their very different personalities, there is a huge mutual respect between Potter and Conte, whose Tottenham side host the Blues today.

And while Conte won’t be in the dugout as he continues his recovery from a gallbladder operation, a piece of advice the Italian once gave Potter is resonating greatly with him as he battles through the very difficult moment he finds himself in.

Paris Saint-Germain’s Qatari owners have told the club to ‘aggressively’ slash their wage budget amid speculation that they’re interested in buying Manchester United.

Although’s PSG state-backed hierarchy insist that Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani’s attempts to purchase United have nothing to do with the French club, critics claim that it’s simply a matter of semantics. Sheikh Jassim, chair of the Qatari Islamic Bank (QIB), has lodged an official bid to the Glazer family which United’s owners are currently mulling over alongside Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s takeover offer.

The English club are up for sale but recent reports suggest that United’s executive co-chairmen, brothers Joel and Avram Glazer, are both reluctant to selling their family’s entire majority stake in the club which they’ve possessed since 2005. Avram is also preparing to be at Wembley on Sunday to watch the Red Devils face Newcastle in the Carabao Cup final, which would be a rare appearance at one of United’s games.

Newcastle United are plotting a summer move for Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney who has become increasingly frustrated at the Emirates.

Scottish international Tierney who was signed from Celtic in August 2019 for £25 million has lost his regular starting spot to former Manchester City defender Oleksandr Zinchenko. Fit again following a knee problem Tierney has been forced into a back up role, often named on the substitutes bench in the Gunners push for the Premier League title.

That has alerted Carabao Cup finalists Newcastle who are determined to make their own title challenge next season through big-name reinforcements in the summer.

Trent Alexander-Arnold was substituted against Crystal Palace to manage his workload and is not suffering from a lack of confidence, according to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

Liverpool were held to a 0-0 draw by Palace on Saturday night as their hopes of climbing the table towards the top four took a hit. The Reds had won their previous two Premier League games, but were short of quality in attack against Palace as Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah both struck the woodwork.

Alexander-Arnold endured a difficult night, with his error fortunate not to be punished when Jean-Philippe Mateta rattled the crossbar after he was dispossessed by Jeffrey Schlupp. The Liverpool right-back gave the ball away a staggering 20 times in the first half alone and was substituted in the 70th minute, with Klopp bringing on James Milner.

Erik ten Hag has challenged his Manchester United players to make their own history.

United will look to win their first trophy for six years when they face Newcastle in the Carabao Cup Final. And Ten Hag, who will be going to Wembley for the first time in his life, has told stars like Marcus Rashford, Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes that the only way to handle United’s glorious past is to be part of a successful future.

Ten Hag said: “When you are a player for Manchester United you have to create your own legacy – and therefore you have to win trophies. We are going in a good direction. On Sunday we have an opportunity to win a trophy.”

Arsenal were denied a penalty during their win over Leicester with Ian Wright bemoaning the “phenomenal mistake”.

Bukayo Saka was bundled over in the box by Foxes star Harry Souttar, but Craig Pawson refused to point to the spot in what was a frustrating afternoon of officiating decisions for the Premier League leaders. VAR chalked off a goal scored by Leandro Trossard, but Ian Wright was particularly angered by the failure to award his former side a penalty.

Once upon a time he was the finest centre-half in the world.

The Dutchman has now had to deal with several injuries and doesn’t quite have the aura he once did.

Liverpool’s defence has remained shaky in recent weeks, so what is the state of affairs with Van Dijk?

The takeover bids for Manchester United are not high enough for the Glazers to sell, according to reports.

Last Friday the club set a deadline for potential buyers to express their interest with Britain’s richest man Jim Ratcliffe among them. Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, the chairman of Qatari bank QIB, announced his intention to bid for 100 per cent of the club.

The sale of United is likely to break the record for a sport clubs – with the Denver Broncos currently holding that record after the NFL franchise sold for $4.6bn. The Financial Times understands that the current offers are below their expectations however, which could scupper any deal.

James Milner is known for driving standards at Liverpool, even though he is very much a veteran member of the squad.

Cody Gakpo has been on the receiving end in a poor first-half.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta can be quite the disciplinarian and is a big fan of leadership within his Gunners squad.

Before a ball had been kicked this season, he named Martin Odegaard as the new captain of the club at just 23 years of age. Weeks later, it emerged that Arteta had actually implemented a new leadership ground that included Granit Xhaka and Gabriel Jesus as vice-captains.

With that in mind, it came as quite the shock when Oleksandr Zinchenko donned the armband for Arsenal’s 1-0 win away at Leicester on Saturday afternoon. However, the reason behind why Arteta went against his usual hierarchy is a touching one, with the club releasing a statement explaining the decision shortly before kick-off at the King Power.

Newcastle fans are living it up in London ahead of their team’s Carabao Cup final against Manchester United, taking over Trafalgar Square on Saturday afternoon for a true Geordie party.

The Toon Army have descended on the capital this weekend as they prepare to back Eddie Howe’s side at Wembley in Sunday’s mouth-watering final. Newcastle supporters are dreaming of their first major trophy win since 1969, as they triumphed in what’s now considered to be the Europa League.

Beloved boss Howe knows that his Magpies will be backed by tens of thousands of fans come kick-off, but well over 24 hours prior, Newcastle’s supporters got the party started. Adorning London’s iconic square with black and white flags, scarves and memorabilia, the Toon Army followed in the footsteps of many other fan bases before them, such as when bitter north-east rivals Sunderland have visited Wembley on multiple occasions in recent years.

Crystal Palace XI: Guaita, Clyne, Guehi, Mitchell, Andersen, Schlupp, Olise, Doucoure, Ayew, Lokonga, Mateta

Liverpool XI: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Milner, Keita, Jota, Gakpo, Salah

That means no Darwin Nunez in the squad for Jurgen Klopp.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has admitted that “tremendous” Fabio Vieira is starting to cause him “headaches” as he attempts to give him more game time in north London.

The Portuguese playmaker signed for the Gunners last summer in a £34m move from Porto as Arteta attempted to bolster his midfield options. The 22-year-old has seen his game time limited since then though.

Of the 23 appearances he has made for the current Premier League leaders, just 10 have been starts, whilst Vieira was last named in the starting XI for a league match back in November in a 2-0 victory over Wolves.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his second hat-trick in three games for Al-Nassr to reiterate his point after leaving Manchester United in acrimonious circumstances.

The 38-year-old megastar continued his excellent goalscoring form when Al-Nassr dispatched rivals Damac 3-0 away from home to go top of the Saudi Pro League. Ronaldo scored all three of his goals inside 26 first-half minutes, proving that he can still produce the goods – albeit at a weaker level in the much-frowned-up Saudi Arabian division – just as he insisted before departing Old Trafford in November.

Getting off the mark early with a goal from the penalty spot, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner then rifled in a left-footed scorcher from outside of the 18-yard box five minutes later. Just as half-time was dawning, Ronaldo – who also registered two assists in his last appearance – ran nearly the length of the pitch to latch onto a pass from team-mate Ayman Yahya and completed his hat-trick.

Arsenal star Leandro Trossard was given a slightly different role as the Gunners edged past Leicester to go five points clear at the top of the Premier League ahead of Manchester City’s trip to Bournemouth.

With Eddie Nketiah on the bench, the former Brighton man was selected to lead the line in the East Midlands. Whilst it was an unconventional move from Mikel Arteta, it was a demand that Trossard believed he could live up to.

Speaking shortly after arriving at the Emirates Stadium, he said: “I like to be in the pocket behind the striker. On the wings, I can explore myself as well.”

Arsenal were resilient in the face of late Leicester pressure to secure a huge three points with a 1-0 win.

While Manchester City failed to hold on to their own 1-0 lead just up the road against Nottingham Forest last week, Arsenal managed it.

The Gunners made the trip to the King Power knowing a win would drastically help their title charge given it would extend the gap between Manchester City and themselves to five points, albeit briefly.

Dutch legend Ruud Gullit has mocked Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk as being more suited to ice-skating than football.

In an astonishing assessment of the £75million centre-back on TV, the 1987 Ballon d’Or winner reckons Van Dijk’s current style is more suited to the rink than Anfield.

Gullit was scathing of the 31-year-old Kop star after Liverpool were humbled 5-2 by Real Madrid in the Champions League.

Gullit said: “Van Dijk puts his hands behind his back like a speed-skater and he bends his knees like speed-skaters do.”

Manchester United loanee Amad scored a cracking consolation goal for Sunderland on Saturday to continue his tremendous form.

The Ivorian wonderkid, 20, is enjoying this season on Wearside and has come of age under Tony Mowbray. Amad, who joined United from Atalanta in a £37m transfer deal two-and-a-half years ago, boasts eight goals and two assists across 27 appearances in the Championship, with his latest contribution coming in a 2-1 defeat away to fellow promotion contenders Coventry City.

With Sunderland trailing by two goals in the 94th minute, the United starlet provided some short-lived hope by firing in a spectacular strike past Coventry goalkeeper Ben Wilson. Cutting inside on his favoured left foot around 16 yards out on the right-hand side of the penalty area, Amad curled an effort beyond static ‘keeper Wilson to stun the 21,000-plus crowd.

Arsenal were left ballistic after seeing Leandro Trossard’s stunning strike ruled out against Leicester at the King Power Stadium.

The Belgian had lashed home from the edge of the area after the hosts had failed to clear a corner. Even having two Danny Wards in the Leicester net wouldn’t have stopped Trossard’s booming effort.

The goalkeeper did play a role though but only after referee Craig Pawson had gone over to the VAR monitor. Further inspection revealed that Ben White was holding onto the keeper’s arm during the corner itself, leaving the Welshman sprawled on the floor.

The decision did not take particularly long to arrive with only a brief check of the monitor needed – a call that left Arteta and his charges furious.

Arsenal however did receive their own reprieve only minutes later after Kelechi Iheanacho chipped Aaron Ramsdale but this time the linesman’s flag chalked off the strike.

Disgraced former Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli has admitted that his European Super League plan is being driven by a desire to bring down the Premier League.

Agnelli, 47, who is being investigated by Italian police over a financial scandal that saw him banned from football for two years, was one of the powerbrokers of the original ESL initiative.

Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham all signed up for the new competition in 2021 before pulling out after a furious backlash from fans. Juventus, Real Madrid and Barcelona continue to support the initiative. And Agnelli has admitted: “Only the Premier League is growing and growing – and is already a glorified Super League.

Read what else Agnelli had to say including about the “death knell” of the Champions League.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has conceded that the Reds need the added financial boost that comes with Champions League qualification to plan for future transfers.

It is by now well-known that the Reds are in desperate need of reinforcements amid what has been a miserable season by the club’s high standards. Klopp’s troops currently languish as low as eighth in the Premier League table, level on points with ninth-placed Brentford having played a game more.

Klopp was recently pressed for comment on whether missing out on European club football’s most prestigious competition would mean the Reds are hamstrung in the summer transfer window.

Read what Klopp had to say on transfers ahead of a big summer for Liverpool.

Arsenal have confirmed that Oleksandr Zinchenko will captain the Gunners for their trip to Leicester on Saturday afternoon “as a mark of respect” on the first anniversary of Russian’s invasion of Ukraine.

A statement released by the club shortly before kick-off reads: “Alex Zinchenko is our captain today, as a mark of respect and love on the first anniversary of the conflict in Ukraine.” The left-back has represented Ukraine on more than 50 occasions and has been very vocal in his opposition to the war in his home country over the last 12 months.

Despite only joining the Gunners this summer, Zinchenko will don the armband for Arsenal so soon into his time with the club as part of the touching gesture.

Rio Ferdinand has hailed the mindset of Manchester United Europa League hero Antony.

The Brazilian came off the bench to score their second-half winner against Barcelona, securing a 2-1 win on the night and a 4-3 success on aggregate. Antony, who followed Erik ten Hag from Ajax last summer, has struggled to live up expectations at Old Trafford.

But Ferdinand cited his positive attitude as a major plus, which is a far cry from the low mood around the camp last season. United’s lavishly assembled squad continued to underdeliver whilst their behaviour, often led by Cristiano Ronaldo, was widely criticised.

Now, with the Portuguese star gone, there appears to have been a change in the mood and atmosphere on the red side of Manchester. Ferdinand’s comments point to a positive change that may have come about since Ronaldo was ushered out.

Read more on how Ronaldo’s legacy has been forever tainted at Old Trafford.

Graham Potter has received death threats aimed towards his children following a poor run of form at Chelsea.

The Blues have won just two of their past 15 games in all competitions. They sit 10th in the Premier League table, 11 points adrift of the top four, ahead of their crucial clash with Tottenham on Sunday afternoon.

Potter has been under mounting pressure, with his side booed off the pitch by their own fans following a dire 1-0 defeat by bottom side Southampton last weekend. The former Brighton boss retains the support of the Chelsea hierarchy, but he says the past few weeks have been particularly tough.

Jamie Carragher did nothing to stop fans from tearing into Sky Sports colleague Gary Neville after he was subjected to a number of X-rated chants at Craven Cottage.

The pair were on duty on Friday evening for Fulham ’s home draw with struggling Wolves – Pablo Sarabia and Manor Solomon exchanging strikes to ensure a share of the points. There was also plenty of entertainment off the pitch, too, as the travelling supporters took aim at Manchester United icon Neville.

With the pre-match build-up all concluded, Neville headed to the Sky Sports studio, whilst colleague Carragher retreated to the commentary gantry. Amid the game, Neville recorded a video of the away end at Craven Cottage – a vast array of supporters turned in the direction of the Sky Sports studio and chanting: “Gary Neville is a w*!”

Both Arsenal and Manchester United are gearing up to battle it out for the signature of Celta Vigo’s young star Gabri Veiga in the next summer transfer window.

At just 20 years of age, Veiga has enjoyed a breakout second-half of the season and established himself as one of the most exciting talents currently plying their trade in LaLiga. Spanish outlet AS report that the ‘revelation’ can count Mikel Arteta and Erik ten Hag as two of his admirers.

Veiga’s rise has been nothing short of remarkable, considering he did not actually boast a squad number at the beginning of the campaign but at the turn of the year forced his way into the first-team fold.

Jamie Carragher did nothing to stop fans from tearing into Sky Sports colleague Gary Neville after he was subjected to a number of X-rated chants at Craven Cottage.

With the pre-match build-up all concluded, Neville headed to the Sky Sports studio, whilst colleague Carragher retreated to the commentary gantry. Amid the game, Neville recorded a video of the away end at Craven Cottage – a vast array of supporters turned in the direction of the Sky Sports studio and chanting: “Gary Neville is a w*!”

We’ve got a fine bill of fixtures ahead of us this Saturday with both of the leading title contenders involved.

Arsenal make the trip to the King Power Stadium to face Leicester, while Manchester City are down on the south coast meeting Bournemouth.

With little separating the sides in the table, every point is crucial and we could see plenty of drama again before a blockbuster Sunday where Manchester United meet Newcastle in the Carabao Cup final.

Stick with us for all the latest football news updates as they happen.

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