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Mauricio Pochettino, ahead of Chelsea’s trip to Manchester City: “It is a team that can dominate you and we need to attack, everyone needs to run to make the effort to go there together. Of course, the most important thing is to go there and challenge them. For sure, one of the best – they have made history in England. We are a team which have had ups-and-downs, we need to find maturity and consistency and we need to try to win.”

The old Poch pulled off at least one heist from Pep’s City. But was that then, and is this now? Chelsea were not exactly fantastic against Crystal Palace on Monday.

There’s bad news for West Ham in the absence of Lucas Paqueta. More Moyes:

“Lucas Paqueta is not fit and available for tomorrow. He’s been on the grass for a couple of days, but he’s not ready yet. We’ve missed Lucas loads. We’ve had a few players out recently, but I can see other teams who have had similar issues and that’s part of the game.”

David Moyes, whose West Ham team have conceded nine goals in their last two matches, has been speaking to the assembled media. Last week, the Hammers were gubbed 6-0 by Arsenal, with fans streaming for Stratford Westfield (yes, they were that bad.)

“We didn’t play well and we didn’t perform anywhere close to the level. We were up against a formidable team and we were punished for it. We’re all in it together, we’re going to act as though it’s a blip and try to bounce back tomorrow. I’m looking forward to seeing the attitude of the players and the commitment they show. What I’ve seen in training has been good.”

John Brewin

I’ve never been called “venerable” before. Can you be venerable at 47? First time for everything. Right, off we go on the afternoon shift.

Right, Unai Emery and Marco Silva are among those in hot press conference action this afternoon and the venerable John Brewin is the man to see you through to pub o’clock.

Some nice words here from Postecoglou on Roy Hodgson’s predicament. On the brink of losing his job and having spent time unwell in hospital, it’s been a pretty unpleasant couple of days for the Crystal Palace manager.

“It is a weird sort of occupation we have,” said Postecoglou. “There are not many [jobs] where people pretty much dictate or try a create a narrative where you are pretty much finished and also putting up your replacement.

“Roy is still in the position, but that is the way of the world nowadays. I guess we sign up for it, so everyone kind of expects it.

“But I don’t think it diminishes Roy’s standing in the game in any way and above all hopefully he bounces back quickly.”

There’s good news and bad news regarding Wolves’ two most potent forwards, as Gary O’Neil ruled Matheus Cunha out of tomorrow’s trip to Tottenham, but declared Hwang Hee-Chan available.

“Channy should be fine,” he said on the South Korean international. “Just an awareness in his calf, so we would have thought he would train part way through [this] week and be available for the weekend.”

O’Neil said Cunha “felt something in his hamstring” but “seems to think he doesn’t feel too bad at this moment”. He added: “Let’s wait until the medical team comes back with some real accurate pictures on it. Hopefully, we can get them back as soon as possible.”

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This is worth a few minutes of your time. Donald McRae sits down with the legendary commentator Martin Tyler.

Tottenham injury news on Udogie and Porro

Ange confirms that Destiny Udogie and Pedro Porro have joined Fraser Forster in the Spurs treatment room, although neither full-back’s injury is thought to be too serious. Forster has a fracture in his foot and will miss “a couple of months”.

Gio Lo Celso could return for Tottenham’s game against Wolves tomorrow, while Manor Solomon and Ryan Sessegnon are out longer-term.

Ange Postecoglou and Spurs have a few new injuries to contend with. Photograph: Lucy North/PA

Ange time now: Postecoglou has been talking about Tottenham’s January signing Radu Dragusin, who has been restricted to three short substitute appearances since his arrival. The Romanian may have to stay patient.

That’s why I wanted him here because he knew the challenge of coming here and playing was not a given. We’ve used him in games and he’s done well when we’ve used him.

He’s been outstanding in training, great amongst the players and the players can see his qualities.

Bournemouth head coach Andoni Iraola has confirmed that Romain Faivre will miss their trip to Newcastle tomorrow afternoon. The French midfielder is unwell.

Max Aarons, James Hill, Ryan Fredericks and Tyler Adams are the other absentees for the Cherries at the moment.

Two fixtures apiece for Liverpool and Manchester City this week, Erling Haaland, Kevin de Bruyne and Mo Salah all back from injuries and available. Is anyone else having an FPL dilemma right now … or is it just me?

Palmer on Chelsea move and “strange” City reunion

Back to Manchester City v Chelsea and all eyes will be on Cole Palmer on Saturday teatime as he makes his return to the Etihad, wearing a different shade of blue.

Palmer has been speaking about his move down the M6 to Chelsea’s official website and admitted it was difficult to leave City, with whom he’d been associated since the age of eight.

When I made the decision to come down here with my family it was a really tough decision to leave. But I felt like I was ready to play week in, week out and showcase my ability. So thank you to the club and everyone who has supported me.

It’s down to the manager [Pochettino] giving me the freedom, the club giving me the opportunity and the lads, who have been great with me since I came in. I’ve settled fast and I am enjoying it here.

Obviously I played against them at Stamford Bridge, but I think going back to the Etihad will be even stranger.

Neil Warnock has signed Junior Hoilett (again)!

In a move that should surprise absolutely nobody, the new Aberdeen boss has called upon an old familiar face – Hoilett played under him at QPR and Cardiff – with the Canadian joining after a spell in his homeland with Vancouver Whitecaps.

“Junior is a player I know well – he’s played for me three times so I know him inside out,” said Warnock. “He’s an international player and I think he’ll benefit the squad between now and the end of the season.”

“I’ve worked with the gaffer before so it was a no-brainer to come up here and join him,” said Hoilett, who played in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and has scored 16 goals in 62 internationals. “It’s a great opportunity and I’m just happy at the prospect of getting back out there playing football again under a manager who knows how to get the best out of the squad. I’ve no doubt he’ll get everyone working together so I’m delighted to be here.”

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Guardiola adds that Mateo Kovacic and Bernardo Silva are both doubts for tomorrow’s clash with Chelsea.

Meanwhile this beauty has been named the Premier League’s goal of the month for January. Outstanding assist and a canny finish.

Cheers Barry. More Pep and some Andoni Iraola to come this afternoon …

Dominic Booth is here to bring you all the news that’s fit to print (and plenty that isn’t) from today’s remaining press conferences.

Manchester City: Pep Guardiola begins his presser by revealing Jack Grealish is unavailable for City’s home match against Chelsea before talking up tomorrow’s visitors to the Etihad Stadium. You know, in that way he does ahead of any match he expects his team to win doing handstands.

“They are an exceptional team, exceptional in all departments,” he says. “One of the toughest games we have until the end of the season. They have it all.”

On Manchester City alumni Cole Palmer, who returns to the Etihad tomorrow following his summer move to Chelsea.

“Could he play regularly like he has? Yes. We didn’t have any doubts about his quality. He’s playing as a star player, aside from his stats. He’s moved on to get the minutes he has and it was just a question of time before he showed his immense quality. He’s a lovely lad, he helped us to achieve what we achieved.”

Cole Palmer will return to the Etihad Stadium for the first time tomorrow since his summer move from Manchester City to Chelsea. Photograph: John Walton/PA

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Klopp: “We have to be on top of our game”

Liverpoool: “It is super tricky there, the way they play and set it up,” said the Liverpool manager of the threrat posed by Brentford. “With or without [Ivan] Toney it makes no difference. All the guys back from Afcon makes a difference. Maupay’s form makes a difference. They are well organised, at set-pieces, cheeky, rhythm breaks. That’s how it is.

“How can you play Brentford for 90 minutes without conceding a set-piece? That’s not possible in football. But they are more than just set-pieces. They are compact They are well coached and the atmosphere the stadium creates is really good.

“But saying all that, where we want to be this season, we have to be on top of our game. We have to be the team where they think in a similar way about us. That’s exactly the way we have to approach it. I am fine with the resilience we have showed recently. Arsenal was a dip, yes, but we showed determination against Burnley, dealing with a difficult situation within the squad. I really liked it a lot. We have to be at our best to win at Brentford. They’re a smartly coached team.”

Salah returns as Klopp refutes rushing Alexander-Arnold back

Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp has stepped up to the plate and kicked off his press conference with some clarification regarding the recurrance of Trent Alexander-Arnold’s knee injury. He rubbishes speculation that the right-back had to be taken off at half-time during his side’s match against Burnley because he had been “forced back” from a previous injury to the same knee.

“A thing we have to clairfy a bit,” he says. “I was not really aware of it, but I got the news that there was a discussion we might have ‘forced’ Trent back because of two setbacks. Nobody wants that and nobody is doing that. Different cases, different scenarios and as long as I am here we will not force anybody back and never do.

“But we work in a high-performance area. We always try to catch the earliest moment. Unfortunately when we catch that early moment nobody speaks about that. The last decision is always with the player, but if you always listen to the player they would play after two weeks and it’s a real problem.

“The boys were in the moment when they played. They were fit. But the situation told us differently because it happened again. Very unlucky and unfortunate, but it can happen. We have to bring the boys back as soon possible but never before they are ready.”

Klopp has also confirmed that Mo Salah is ready to return having suffered a muscle injury while on international duty with Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations. “Mo is back in full training, that brings him automatically into contention, of course,” said Klopp. Salah hasn’t featured for Liverpool since the first week of January.

In other Liverpool team news, goalkeeper Alisson has recovered from illness and is available for selection, while Joe Gomez, Ibrahima Konate and Conor Bradley are also available after missing the win over Burnley for various reasons.

Trent Alexander-Arnold will miss Liverpool’s match against Brentford this weekend. Photograph: Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC/Getty Images

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Luton Town: While he may, by some considerable distance, be the Premier League’s most devastatingly handsome manager, Rob Edwards is not just a pretty face.

Ed Aarons charts the journey that has taken the 41-year-old from managing in the Conference North to mixing it with the big boys in the Premier League, and discovers how ambition, hard graft and a winning personality have helped the Luton manager get where he is today.

A big weekend in the Women’s Super League

WSL: League leaders Chelsea host Manchester City, their closest challengers in a top-of-the-table clash at Kingsmeadow tonight and a win for the visitors would draw Gareth Taylor’s side level on points with Chelsea after 14 games of the season.

Third take on fourth tomorrow, when Arsenal host Manchester United in the lunchtime kick-off at the Emirates. Brighton host Liverpool on Sunday afternoon, Everton take on West Ham, Tottenham welcome Aston Villa, and bottom side Bristol City go to Leicester hoping to close the five-point gap between themselves and fellow strugglers Brighton.

Arsenal: While the majority of Premier League managers are a comparatively tardy bunch who don’t conduct their press conferences until after morning training, Messrs Arteta and Howe like to get their media duties out of the way early doors and can be replied upon to drag local reporters out of their beds at an ungodly hour and deliver plenty of morning content. And for that, we salute them.

“It is the most important part of the season and we know every fixture will play a significant role in what we want to achieve,” said Arsenal’s manager, upon being asked if this is the most important part of the season and if he and his players know know every fixture will play a significant role in what they want to achieve.

“Burnley are extremely well coached and are very competitive, so we know we have a tough match on Saturday – we will play with the same energy and enthusiasm. We have done a lot of things right in the season, we have shown a lot of level of consistency and now we want to go another step forward and want to play the way we are playing – we will see where we get.

“We are working as a team on our strengths and on the things we can improve, trying to have more belief and embracing the players’ qualities.”

Arteta was also asked about the progress being made among the lame and halt of his squad – Thomas Partey, Fabio Vieira, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Takehiro Tomiyasu, among others.

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“Some of them have been progressing more than others,” he said. “We have got a training session today and I am positive we will get a few players back tomorrow.

“We have to go game-by-game and in the last few weeks we have had to play other players and we have not had players to do so. Certain players we have tried to manage that in the best way.” He went on to say that Partey is “progressing very well” and his situation is “lookiong good”.

Thomas Partey has not played for Arsenal since their 1-0 win over Manchester City at the beginnning of October. Photograph: Jacques Feeney/Offside/Getty Images

Newcastle United: Eddie Howe’s squad continues to be plagued by injuries and Callum Wilson, arguably the most injury prone of them all, is facing three months out and is undergoing surgery on his pectoral muscle (that one that connects your chest wall to your upper arm) this morning.

It is an injury that could jeapordise the striker’s chances of making the England squad for Euro 2024 but as ever, one footballer’s misfortune is another one’s opportunity and news of Wilson’s injury could spell good news for Brentford’s Ivan Toney.

“It was a strange injury, it’s a muscle in his pectoral,” said Howe. “I thought he hurt his shoulder but it was his pectoral muscle – we had it scanned and he felt good but needed it operated on. He’s having the operation as we speak.

“It’s a big blow for him. His first priority is Newcastle and it’s been stop-start. He takes the burden very seriously of scoring goals. He’s very disappointed. And England on the horizon too. We hope he’ll be back before the end of the season.”

SIdelined since the end of January with a hip or groin injury, Alexander Isak will also be unavailable for Newcastle’s game against Bournemouth tomorrow but Howe says the Swedish striker is “very close” to a return. Newcastle currently have nine first team squad players unavailable through injuries or suspension.

Callum Wilson is undergoing surgery on a pectoral muscle injury this morning. Photograph: Paul Bonser/Action Plus/REX/Shutterstock

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Newcastle: the latest on Dan Ashworth

Newcastle United: With the club’s head of recruitment, Dan Ashworth, being courted by Manchester United, it’s no surprise the subject was high on the agenda at Eddie Howe’s press conference ahead of his side’s game against Bournemouth at St James’ Park tomorrow.

“It’s been in the news a lot and usually that means something is going to happen but we’ve had no contact,” said Howe. “It’s an unusual situation, usually there is transfer speculation on players. This is different. Whatever happens, we want a quick resolution.

“It’s a difficult one, you need longevity in that role to see the fruits of your labour. It’s a long-term position. The people that have done it best in the Premier League have always had a period of stability. Change takes a long time at a football club to get the processes how you want them to be. Dan’s had a short time here. But let’s see what happens.

“Football always moves on quickly. I’d say that regarding the manager position so Newcastle are a huge football club and will continue to work in an efficient way regardless of who is here. We’ve got some very capable people here in all departments. We’d carry on smoothly.

“There has to be a succession plan, players and managers, there is a strategy from above. They have run the football club very well.”

Newcastle United head of recruitment Dan Ashwroth is reported to be loyal to Newcastle but also intrigued by the prospect of helping to transform Manchester United’s fortunes. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA

Arteta on Mbappe Arsenal links

Arsenal: With Kylian Mbappe set to leave Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season (stop us if you’ve heard that one before), Arteta was asked about speculation linking the Real Madrid-bound striker, who is almost certainly off to Real Madrid, with Arsenal. ““When there is a player of that calibre, we always have to be in that conversation,” he says. “But it looks in a different way, that’s what I would say.”

Arteta’s assistant coach Carlos Cuesta is currently being linked with a move to Norwich City during the summer, with other Championship clubs also reported to be interested in recruiting the 28-year-old Spaniard, who speaks six languages, as their manager. “That’s great,” said Arteta. “Not just with coaching staff but other staff with other clubs coming to get them. It shows they are doing a good job.”

Arsenal: Following their 6-0 thrashing of West Ham last Sunday, the Gunners head to Turf Moor hoping to inflict similar pain on struggling Burnley. Ahead of his game, Mikel Arteta has been discussing his relationship with his opposite number Vincent Kompany.

“We know each other really well,” he says of the Belgian. “I have huge respect for him, we had a good relationship when we played together. I have huge admiration for him. He has a special aura around him, he’s well-articulated and has great ideas on how to play the game. He has the courage that I love in a coach and a player. No matter what it is, he gets his sleeves up and keeps going.”

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Klinsmann sacked by South Korea

Jürgen Klinsmann has been sacked as South Korea’s head coach after the team’s semi-final exit at the Asian Cup and amid criticism of his leadership.

The 59-year-old German leaves the job after just a year in charge, despite his contract running until the end of the 2026 World Cup. South Korea were beaten by Jordan in the semi-finals at the Asian Cup last week, meaning their 64-year wait for the title goes on.

Flanked by seven fellow blazers, South Korea Football Associaction chief Chung Mong-gyu announces that Jurgen Klinsmann has been relieved of his duties as the national team’s head coach. Photograph: YONHAP/EPA

Roy Hodgson is expected to step down

On the verge of being handed his P45 before taking ill at Crystal Palace training yesterday morning, Roy Hodgson is now expected to step down from his role as Crystal Palace manager in order to make way for former Eintracht Frankfurt manager Oliver Glasner.

Hodgson, 76, was accompanied to hospital by Palace chairman Steve Parish yesterday and is reported to be in a stable condition after undergoing tests, but has been ruled out of taking charge of his side’s game at Everton on Monday night. Guardian reported Ed Aarons reports that his assistants Ray Lewington and Paddy McCarthy are likely to prepare the players and take charge of the game, even if Glasner is appointed in the meantime. All at Guardian Towers wish Roy a speedy recovery.

The weekend starts here …

Another Premier League weekend is upon us and as is customary, we’ll bring you the latest as assorted top flight managers attend to their favourite part of the job – the pre-match press conference.

From questions as mundane but critical as “any knocks?” to queries about the Tory by-election defeats in Wellingborough and Kingswood, no subject will be off limits as assorted men in monogrammed training tops and puffer-jackets sit in front of rectangles festooned with gambling adverts to air their thoughts on the issues – footballing and otherwise – of the day. Read on …





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