Friday, 28 October 2016

Manchester City and United to do battle for Luis Suarez

RUMOURS: Manchester City and United to do battle for Luis Suarez
Both Manchester clubs are reportedly keen on landing the Barcelona forward, who has scored 10 goals in 13 games so far this season
Manchester City and United are prepared to lock horns as both clubs look to try and lure Luis Suarez back to the Premier League, according to Spanish source Don Balon.
City are reportedly hoping to land Suarez, who has excelled since moving to Barcelona from Liverpool in 2014, as a potential replacement for Sergio Aguero.
However, the report also claims United are keen on the Uruguay international and are willing to break the world record fee again by spending up to £135 million to secure his signature.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has stopped scoring of late and therefore Mourinho has apparently earmarked Suarez as an alternative to the Swede.

Chelsea youngsters showing up Oscar and co

Nathaniel Chalobah: Midfielder impressing fans
Readers discuss the benefits of Chelsea’s youngsters finally getting a chance, plus this weekend’s fixtures and more players they would love to re-sign.
Anything to get off your chest? Have Your Say.

Chelsea youngster repaying faith

Overall the scoreline flattered West ham. Chelsea had plenty of chances and West Ham score a wonder header and a long range effort, though West Ham to their credit did create better chances than the ones they did scored. This game should have been a draw in normal time Chelsea wasted a lot.
I thought Chalobah, Aina had decent games. It’s annoying that all the creative players are on the pitch to give Costa chances but these creative players are not on the field when Batshuayi is on, feel sorry for the lad.
What disappointed me was it was the older established players that haven’t been getting much time in the last few games who sucked.
– OSCAR: was god awful. Writing anymore would mean i have exerted more energy than him last night.
– WILLIAN: for all his excellent speedy direct running at the West Ham back four could not pass the ball to save his life. He must of had a 20% pass completion at the end of the game. This is Willian has been lacking recently no end product ever no wonder the Brazil team sucks right now with players like Oscar and Willian as their best talent.
– TERRY: looked well behind the pace after his injury. The whole sequence of play for their first goal was mostly down to his miss judgement or fear of being exposed by Michail Antonio’s pace because he had a moment where he could have easily walked away with the ball from a heavy touch from Antonio but Terry went flying in uncharacteristically and missed which meant Cahill had to deal with it and ended up fouling Antonio.

Scared of Southampton

Very difficult game this weekend and a far sterner test than Man U in my opinion
Have no idea how many changes they made midweek but they just about scrapped through due to a wonder goal but have to admit that they looked organised and fairly comfortable against City last weekend. They are pacey, can score goals and defensively they do not give much away
So why are they not top of the table..?
They can be got at and man for man we have the better players. We will need to be on top of our game and assuming that they are all fit I would prefer to go with the 11 that beat ManU. That looked a very well balanced side who looked capable at the back, solid in the middle and creative up front
If we could come away with 3 points then I think it would be seen as a good turning point for the season and you could even consider us as contenders. Soton will take plenty of points of good teams so we will have to have the right attitude and be fully focussed throughout the game but in that respect it seems to me that Conte is on the money and is capable of getting the players in the correct frame of mind. Must admit that I quietly fancy our chances…? KTBFFH

Don’t sell Clyne, Nathaniel Clyne, I just don’t think you’ll understand

I see the Clyne to Barcelona story is doing the rounds again. I’ll repeat what I said a few months ago: I can’t see any way in which the club would sanction a sale,unless Clyne actually says he’s unhappy and wants to leave,which in my opinion is not very likely,given he plays every game that he’s fit and available for. Why can’t Barcelona and Real Madrid leave our players alone?
I’d be seriously worried if the club sanctioned a sale of Clyne

Pep talk

this is peps biggest test. Look how tight is at the top at the moment? Barca had only real and atheltico to deal with and munich only had dortmund. City are up againest 4/5 clubs now. We really will find out how good a manager he is over the next few years. I like watching city play. He makes some bizarre decisions with formations and players etc but he has balls. He takes risks and tries new things. Thats great to see
Cm, i agree a few players are not pep players but i really didnt think nolitio was a pep player yet he bought him? At the moment none of cities signings have stood out. Gundogan has looked very tidy. They play such a risky game that the defence is left wide open at times. They need a fully fit kompany. Its still very early days. 3 weeks ago people were writing chelsea off. During the week it was utd. It can all chnage so quickly.
Sean the sailor

Players you would love your club to re-sign

Ronaldo, Pique, Hernandez in that order.
If Tevez wasn’t such a t**t I’d add him to the list too.
Taking it a step further, here’s a select XI of ex-United players still playing:
Ron-Robert Zieler – Shawcross, Pique, Michael Keane, Johnny Evans – Kagawa, Gibson, Ronaldo, Di Maria – Tevez, Hernandez
Subs: Heaton, Bardsley, Simpson, Zaha, Welbeck, Evra, Nani
It could actually be better than our team. It’s unreal to think so much talent has been allowed to leave OT, and most for near to nothing.
Sympathy for the devils

Tevez.Barry & Boateng for me.

Peter Cech, Lukaku, Debyrune,Mata and ( Mourinho….NOT!!)

Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham monitoring Aguero

Sergio Aguero: Not wanted by Spurs
Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham are monitoring Sergio Aguero’s situation at Manchester City, according to reports.
Aguero was recently dropped by City boss Pep Guardiola for the Premier League clash with Everton and the Champions League trip to Barcelona, amid suggestions the Argentina international does not fit the Spaniard’s style.
Reports have suggested Aguero’s future is now in doubt at the Etihad, and according to Spanish outlet Don Balon, the three London clubs are all keeping a close eye on the situation, with Chelsea understood to be the keenest.
The 28-year-old, who has struggled with a host of injuries over the last few seasons, returned to City’s starting XI against Southampton at the weekend, but underwhelmed in a performance which underlined why he is no longer guaranteed of a place in Guardiola’s side, as analysed here.
Guardiola himself has played down speculation the Aguero could leave the club, but has often spoke of wanting “more” from the striker, despite his impressive goal return.

Mourinho: Mkhitaryan is not injured but needs time to adjust

Mourinho: Mkhitaryan is not injured but needs time to adjust
The Portuguese has confirmed his big-money summer signing is fit and training with the team but has hinted he is struggling to get used to the intensity of English football
Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Henrikh Mkhitaryan is not injured but still needs time to adjust to the Premier League following his summer move from Borussia Dortmund.
The beginning of the end for Zlatan
Mkhitaryan has made just four appearances for the Red Devils, his last coming in the 2-1 Premier League defeat to Manchester City in September when he was substituted at half-time.
The Armenian international was left out of the squad again for the midweek EFL Cup clash with City at Old Trafford and Mourinho admits he is not injured.
“Mkhitaryan is not injured, he is training with the team 100%," he told reporters.
“Some players have the profile of adapting easily but some other players need more time to feel the intensity. Some players need time to feel the competitiveness and the level of work without the ball.
“Mkhi needs time to become the top player we know he can be."
Mourinho also compared Mkhitaryan's situation with that of other top stars who he feels took time to adjust when they moved to new clubs.
“I don’t like to speak about players from other clubs but Willian when he arrived at Chelsea had problems, he went through a process," he added.
“When Di Maria arrived in Madrid from Portugal he had to adapt his game to a new reality but he did it.
“Of course we believe in Miki and sooner or later there will be no problem.”

Guardiola: I wouldn't be a good fit at Real Madrid

Guardiola: I wouldn't be a good fit at Real Madrid
It has been claimed that Florentino Perez approached the Catalan to replace Rafa Benitez at the Santiago Bernabeu, but the Manchester City boss is clearly not keen on the idea
Pep Guardiola says he would not be a good fit as Real Madrid manager.
Messi & Ronaldo in most valuable top 10
It has been claimed by Guardiola’s biographer, Marti Perarnau, that Madrid president Florentino Perez approached the Catalan to take over at the Santiago Bernabeu before sacking Rafa Benitez in January.
Perarnau insisted the idea was “out of the question” from the start and, on Friday, Guardiola made it clear that he would not be interested in moving to the rivals of his boyhood club Barcelona.
“I am a Barcelona fan, I don’t think Real Madrid needs a manager like me and I wouldn’t fit there either,” he said.
How Sevilla have transformed Nasri
Guardiola is preparing his Manchester City side for their game at West Brom on Saturday as they look to end a winless streak that now spans six matches.
City face Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday but he rejected the suggestion that he would rest certain players at the Hawthorns.
“No, no, game by game, tomorrow we have to try again as soon as possible,” he added. “We have to turn as quickly as possible the situation.”
WATCH: Ronaldo nutmegged by Pepe
Guardiola was also unable to shed any light on the injury situations of Kevin De Bruyne, Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna.
“They are getting better, right now I cannot answer, sorry. I don’t know if they are able to play in tomorrow’s game against West Brom.”

Two hundred fans facing bans after West Ham skirmishes

Disturbances: Ugly scenes at London Stadium
West Ham’s rough transition to the London Stadium has continued with the confirmation that two hundred fans face banning orders following skirmishes on Wednesday night.
Police made six arrests after skirmishes broke out towards the end of the stadium’s first London derby, when West Ham beat Chelsea 2-1 in the EFL Cup fourth round.
Police and stewards battled to maintain segregation behind the goal being defended by West Ham as coins, seats and other objects appeared to be thrown between rival supporters.
The Hammers and Chelsea condemned the unsavoury scenes which are now under investigation by the Football Association – and swift and decisive action is being taken after the CCTV footage was pored over on Thursday.
“West Ham United and London Stadium are finalising the identification of 200 individuals who will receive stadium bans having been involved in incidents of disorder during West Ham’s EFL cup victory over Chelsea,” a joint statement read.
“Rapid progress has been made in the investigation with extensive CCTV footage being shared with West Ham United, London Stadium partners, the Metropolitan Police and Chelsea Football Club.
“Banning notifications will be issued for offences ranging from the use of abusive and offensive language to missile throwing. In line with our zero tolerance policy, all those involved will receive a seasonal or lifetime ban depending on the severity of the offence.”
The Metropolitan Police announced three of the six arrested have been charged.
A spokesperson for stadium partners West Ham, E20 Stadium LLP and London Stadium 185 emphasised that the vast majority of supporters behaved “impeccably” and praised the response of the stewards to the disorder.
“A small number of individuals were intent on becoming involved in disorder and are being investigated, identified and banned from London Stadium as a matter of priority,” the spokesperson said.
“The response of our safety and security teams was measured, fast and effective and we commend our stewarding and response personnel who were called to deal with several incidents of challenging behaviour.”
West Ham are tenants of the stadium, managed by London Stadium 185 and owned by E20 Stadium LLP, a joint venture between the London Legacy Development Corporation and Newham Council specifically set up to transform and manage the stadium.
Sports Minister Tracey Crouch earlier called for prompt action against the troublemakers.
She said: “No-one wants to see a return to the dark days of the late ’70s and ’80s.
“It is completely right that strong action is taken and that anyone involved in last night’s trouble is banned for life.”
Mark Field, vice-chairman of the all-party parliamentary football group and Cities of London and Westminster Conservative MP, earlier said West Ham should play behind closed doors at the former Olympic Stadium if the violent scenes are repeated.
Field says preventing future disorder must be addressed as a matter of urgency.
He said in the London Evening Standard: “Within the next 14 days, the board of West Ham United FC should present a detailed plan to the FA and Premier League outlining what they are going to do about security.
“None of these problems were unforeseeable given the nature of the stadium and difficulties with policing large footballing crowds.
“There have been some clear failings and they now need to move with urgency to deliver a plan about segregation and broader public order issues.
“If there is a repeat of the violence, the next two or three home games for West Ham should be played behind closed doors.”
West Ham and Chelsea were swift to condemn the violence, while the FA announced its investigation on Thursday morning and League Cup organisers the English Football League joined the condemnation.
Representatives from the Football Supporters’ Federation, which represents fans in England and Wales, attended Wednesday night’s match after monitoring events at the stadium this season.
The FSF hopes to work with the clubs and authorities in any post-match debrief.
The Hammers have been occupants of the London Stadium for just nine competitive games after leaving Upton Park in May – and 23 fans had already been banned this season.
There had already been disturbances in the stands and outside the ground at some of West Ham’s previous home matches, and a series of measures were put in place ahead of a first London derby.
The capacity is capped at 57,000 and 45,957 were in attendance, along with a heavy police presence. Chelsea sold out their allocation of 5,182 tickets.
The clubs appealed to supporters for the tie to pass peacefully, but the entertaining match was overshadowed.
Chelsea beat West Ham at Stamford Bridge in the opening Premier League match of the season, with the return scheduled for early March.

Conte insists it is too early for title talk

Conte insists it is too early for title talk
The Italian says he is not looking at the Premier League table yet and has confirmed he will be without the injured Cesc Fabregas for the clash with Southampton
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte insists it is too early to talk about a potential Premier League title challenge.
Mou: Mkhitaryan is not injured
The 2014-15 champions moved to within a point of leaders Manchester City with a 4-0 thrashing of Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Former United boss Alex Ferguson did not name Chelsea among the title contenders when asked for his view this week, despite having witnessed the emphatic defeat of his old side last weekend.
Yet with just a single point separating the top five after only nine matches, Conte believes it is pointless to discuss who will be challenging for the trophy in May.
"A win or a defeat does not change my ideas or the confidence of the players. This system is a good fit," Conte, whose side were knocked out of the EFL Cup by West Ham on Wednesday, told a news conference.
Cech: Title race will go to the wire
"We shouldn't look at the table but just concentrate on training and the next match - that will lead to improvement. This league is very difficult and anything can happen.
"It is important to get consistency and trust in the work. There are five teams that are very close but we shouldn't look at the table. It is too early to talk about the table and the title."
Chelsea, who have won their last three league matches without conceding a goal, travel to in-form Southampton on Sunday looking to extend a run of just one defeat in eight away league meetings against Claude Puel's side.
Conte confirmed that midfielder Cesc Fabregas will not be involved, but the Italian could include both Branislav Ivanovic and John Terry in his side.
"The situation is the same as before [West Ham]. Fabregas is not available, but Ivanovic is fully recovered," he said.
"John came back from an injury and it's not easy to find the right shape, but I'm satisfied with him and the team.
"John is an important player for us - if he plays or he doesn't - for the changing room and the club."

Man Utd trio face axe; Barca want Reds defender

Unwanted: Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo & Daley Blind
Three Manchester United defenders face uncertain futures after failing to impress Jose Mourinho, while Barcelona could raid Liverpool once more.


Jose Mourinho is plotting a January overhaul of Manchester United’s defence which could see Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind all leave Old Trafford.
United have the second-worst defensive record in the top 10 of the Premier League this season, having conceded 12 goals, with four of those coming in the 4-0 thrashing at Chelsea.
And according to the Daily Mail, a number of sloppy displays have convinced Mourinho that only new recruits can solve the Red Devils’ problems at the back.
England international Smalling, one of the few players to impress under Mourinho’s predecessor Louis van Gaal, was particular poor at Stamford Bridge and is understood to have been “berated” by the Portuguese after the match.
Blind, meanwhile, started the season impressively at centre-back, but his form has curtailed in recent weeks and the Holland international has also struggled at left-back, while Rojo has failed to nail down a regular starting spot in his two years at United amid questions whether he is up to scratch.
The report suggests Mourinho wants to sign a right-back and centre-half in January, with Roma’s Germany international Antonio Rudiger among the targets. The 23-year-old can operate at both positions but would cost £35million.
Mourinho would still want a natural right-back to compete with Antonio Valencia, as Matteo Darmian is likely to be sold with a return to Serie A on the cards.
Eric Bailly is currently the only defender at the club to fully convince the former Chelsea boss, with Luke Shaw also struggling to earn Mourinho’s trust.


Liverpool right-back Nathaniel Clyne has emerged as a transfer target for Barcelona.
Barca are desperate to sign a new right-back after failing to replace Dani Alves, who left for Juventus in the summer.
Aleix Vidal has failed to establish himself at the Camp Nou and is expected to leave in January, while Sergi Roberto and Javier Mascherano have both been used in the position this season.
Reports this week suggested Glen Johnson was a shock name on a list of targets for the Spanish giants, but according to The Sun, Barca want to sign Johnson’s replacement at Liverpool.
Barca are willing to pay £20million to land England international Clyne, who would be eligible to play in the Champions League.


– LA Galaxy are hopeful of luring Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney to the MLS, with the 31-year-old lined up to replace Steven Gerrard (The Sun)
– Henrikh Mkhitaryan is determined to stay and fight for his place at Manchester United, despite being surprised at his lack of involvement with the first team this term (The Guardian)
– Stoke winger Xherdan Shaqiri is a January target for Serie A outfit Roma (Daily Mirror)
– Sunderland remain convinced that David Moyes is the right man for the manager’s job, despite the Black Cats’ abysmal start to the season (Daily Express)
– Liverpool have beaten Stoke to the signing of 15-year-old Bury prodigy Emeka Obi, who has already appeared in the League One side’s first team (Daily Mail)
– Wolves hopes of appointing former Sporting Lisbon and Olympiakos manager Marco Silva could be dashed by Inter Milan, should the Italian giants sacked Frank De Boer (Daily Mirror)
– Hull will offer Ravel Morrison an escape from his Lazio exile in January (Daily Star)
– Bournemouth are willing to listen to offers for former Leeds winger Max Gradel in January (Daily Mirror)
– Manchester United reserve team manager Warren Joyce is the latest name to be linked with the Wigan job (Daily Mail)
– Norwich and Fulham will battle to sign Eibar’s £4million-rated midfielder Sergi Enrich (Daily Star/Daily Mirror)

Rooney wanted back at Everton by Koeman

Rooney wanted back at Everton by Koeman
Out-of-favour Manchester United striker would be welcomed back at Goodison Park by his boyhood club after being linked with a move
Everton boss Ronald Koeman has described Wayne Rooney as a "great player" and would welcome the chance to bring him back to Goodison Park.
The beginning of the end of Zlatan
Rooney is currently out of favour at Manchester United with reports suggesting he has been told by Jose Mourinho that he can leave Old Trafford.
The England captain has been linked with a move to Los Angeles Galaxy to join up with fellow Merseysider Steven Gerrard but Koeman would relish the opportunity to bring him back to his boyhood club.
Speaking ahead of Sunday's clash with West Ham, the Dutchman told reporters at his news conference: "First of all, he's a great player - he's still not finished his career.
Pogba misses Juve & Juve miss Pogba
"I don't know what his situation is, I need to respect his situation. That's not my problem.
"Even if one time there is a possibility that Rooney is an option for Everton, I'd say 'yes, please'."

On his struggles at United, Koeman added: "That's football.
Messi & Ronaldo in most valuable top 10
"He is enough of an experienced player and person that he knows what can happen.
"Everyone gets periods of criticism. It's part of the business and you need to stay calm and that's the best thing you can do."
Koeman's willingness to discuss Rooney appears to be part of a charm offensive initiated by Everton midfielder Leon Osman, who earlier on Friday told Sky Sports: "[A return] would not surprise me.
WATCH: Ronaldo nutmegged by Pepe
"I think he has been mending bridges for a couple of seasons now and you know he is an Evertonian at heart.
"I am pretty sure he would love to come back and I hope it happens."
Rooney started his career at Everton, scoring a wonder goal against Arsenal aged just 16. He joined United in August 2004 and has been a regular for club and country ever since until this season, when he has struggled for playing time under Mourinho.

Crisis? What crisis? Man Utd are looking ominous

Juan Mata: Midfielder scored winner v Man City
Is Manchester United’s form actually that bad? Can Pep Guardiola wake Manchester City from their slumber? Will Arsenal prove the moon is made of cheese?

Biggest certs of the season?

Theo Walcott
Football’s a funny old game and all that but is there anyone in the world who thinks Sunderland will beat Arsenal on Saturday? It looks one of the biggest mis-matches in Premier League history whether you go with current form or historical head-to-heads. Let’s start in the present. Sunderland are hopeless. They’ve yet to win in the Premier League this season and have just two points from nine games. By contrast, Arsenal have won 10, drawn two and lost none of their last 12 games in all competitions. They’ve also kept seven clean sheets in the last eight matches. As for history, Sunderland have won just one of their last 25 matches against the Gunners while Arsene Wenger’s men have 15 wins in that run. If Arsenal don’t head south with all three points, the moon is made of cheese.

Pep talk needed

Pep Guardiola: Manager struggling to understand form
Manchester City’s players must be a confused bunch. Pep Guardiola spent the first 10 matches of the season spraying magic, turning City from the underachievers of last season to a winning machine. But when Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic somehow found the off switch, City haven’t been able to turn it back on. Their run of six matches without a win is the longest spell Guardiola has endured in his managerial career. But it might not be over yet. Next up is a trip to Tony Pulis’ West Brom and you can guarantee he won’t be giving anything away for free. And if City fail to win and endure a not-very magnificent seven games without a win, there’s the little matter of a visit from Barcelona in the Champions League next week. Could Guardiola really go eight games without a win and, if so, does a side who suffers that sort of drought really deserve to be favourites to win the Premier League?

Too much Mourinho fuss?

Jose Mourinho
How rival fans laughed this week when, following his side’s 4-0 thrashing at Chelsea, Jose Mourinho revealed he was living an Alan Partridge-existence in a Manchester hotel, describing it as a “bit of a disaster”. It left an image of him dismantling a Corby Trouser press and getting the odd knock on the door from a Geordie called Michael, although in this case Carrick. But presuming United beat Burnley at Old Trafford on Saturday, they will have six wins, two draws and a single defeat from their last nine matches. Is that really a club in crisis, especially when neighbours City can’t buy a victory at the moment? Something still doesn’t quite seem right with United but is it not a good sign that they’re still winning a good chunk of matches while Mourinho works everything out (alone in his hotel room)?

Crystal clear for strike duo

Sadio Mane Christian Benteke
Sadio Mane and Christian Benteke were both the subject of £30m+ transfers this summer, one arriving at Liverpool, the other departing Anfield for pastures new. For Jurgen Klopp, the deal made perfect sense. Mane was a perfect fit for his system whereas Benteke was a square peg in a round hole. And, so far, it’s working out just swimmingly for all parties. Mane has netted in four of his eight Premier League starts and been a key man for the Reds while Benteke has finally given Palace a much-needed goal threat, netting three in seven. Interestingly, Mane has scored in three of his four Premier League games against Palace while Benteke had a habit of scoring against Liverpool (four in five top-flight matches) before joining the Reds. With history and confidence behind them, how about both men finding the net at Selhurst Park on Saturday and further justifying their big-money moves?

Would you Adama and Eve it?

adama traore
While everyone scratches their head at how bad Paul Pogba is for all that ludicrous money, a man who made a summer move from relegated Aston Villa to low-key Middlesbrough is making headlines all over the place for a stunning man-of-the-match display at Arsenal. Adama Traore played just 11 times for Villa in their woeful 2015/16 campaign and was eventually booted off the team for indiscipline. To be honest it seemed a bit odd what he was doing there in the first place. This is a player who was on Barcelona’s books at the age of 8 and clearly has oodles of potential. Pace, power, touch, he showed it all against Arsenal and looked a star in the making. Still just 20, Traore has plenty still to learn but do Middlesbrough have a gem on their hands, a player who could be the difference between them staying up or going down?

From forgotten man to star midfielder: How Sevilla have transformed Nasri

From forgotten man to star midfielder: How Sevilla have transformed Nasri
The Frenchman arrived in Spain with plenty of doubters following a few poor years at Manchester City but he has since managed to sparkle under Jorge Sampaoli's tutelage

Few clubs can rival Sevilla in recent years in terms of how successfully they manage to recruit stars on the wane and rejuvenate them to high levels.
'Ronaldo deserves to win Ballon d'Or'
Ever Banega and Adil Rami are just two examples of players Sevilla have taken under their wing and given the tools to get back to the top following a few years of stagnation.
And the latest name who can be added to the list is Samir Nasri, a man who arrived at Sevilla with plenty of doubters following a few underwhelming seasons at Manchester City.
Once the subject of a big-money move from Arsenal, Nasri faded into the background at City but Sevilla have rescued him and morphed him back into the genius he once was.
'Without Messi, there'd be no Neymar'
On loan from City, Nasri has excelled in his early days at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, scoring three goals in nine games in all competitions.

With a number of compatriots around him such as Rami, Steven N'Zonzi, Benoit Tremoulinas and Timothee Kolodziejczak, Nasri has been able to adapt to his surroundings rapidly.
Pep Guardiola was reportedly keen to keep hold of Nasri but Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli and transfer guru Monchi were able to convince Nasri that he could follow Banega's path and return to stardom with them.
Chelsea fans beg Fabregas to stay
Sampaoli has played a massive role in bringing the best out of Nasri in Spain, deploying him as a central midfielder rather than a winger and giving him license to play important passes.
Losing Banega to Inter last summer was a blow but Nasri has softened it convincingly, quickly becoming a fan favourite through his impressive performances.
While Sevilla have enjoyed excellent success in the Europa League of late, improving in the Champions League remains the next step and Nasri recently scored the only goal in the victory over Dinamo Zagreb.
The beginning of the end of Zlatan
So key to Sampaoli's attacking system, Nasri is on course to surpass Banega in terms of goals and help Sevilla reach the knockout phase of Europe's elite club competition.
But, in a big surprise, Sevilla are also making waves domestically having managed to climb to second in La Liga in what is a wide-open title race at the moment.
While Sevilla have had many success stories, they have also had a few bad ones as well when trying to bring in forgotten talents and trying to revitalise them, such as Marko Marin.
But from what we have seen in the infancy of the 2016-17 season, Nasri is destined to be one of Sevilla's biggest hits in what could prove to be a remarkable campaign for Sampaoli's in-form charges.

Walcott’s threat underlined; Liverpool must be wary of Benteke

Theo Walcott: Forward has been much improved this term
Stats suggest Theo Walcott is the most threatening player in the Premier League, while Liverpool could be haunted by a former player.

Opta stats: Premier League matchday 10

Sunderland v Arsenal
Stadium of Light, 12:30pm
Olivier Giroud, Arsenal celeb
– Sunderland have won just one of their last 25 Premier League matches against Arsenal, a 1-0 win for Steve Bruce’s side in November 2009 (D9 L15).
– Arsenal have conceded just eight times in 15 visits to Sunderland in the Premier League (incl. one game at Roker Park). The Gunners have kept a clean sheet in three of their last four at the Stadium of Light.
– The Black Cats have never managed to score more than twice in a Premier League game against Arsenal, and in the two games they have scored twice they’ve failed to win either match.
– David Moyes has lost 14 Premier League games against Arsene Wenger – the only manager he’s lost to as often is Sir Alex Ferguson.
– Olivier Giroud has scored five times and assisted two goals in his last six Premier games against Sunderland in all competitions.
– Jermain Defoe has faced Arsenal 21 times in the Premier League but has only scored twice – once at Highbury for West Ham in January 2003 and again for Spurs in their 5-4 loss to the Gunners in November 2004.
– Sunderland have made the worst start to a Premier League season (two points after nine games) since Sheffield Wednesday had one point after nine games in 1999/2000.
– Theo Walcott has had more shots on target this season than any other Premier League player (17). A goal in this game means he would surpass five goals in a Premier League season for the first time since 2012/13 (14).
– Jack Rodwell hasn’t won any of his last 34 Premier League games he’s started, the longest run ever by a Premier League player.
– Arsenal are one of two unbeaten Premier League sides away from home this season – the other being North London rivals Tottenham.

Manchester United v Burnley
Old Trafford, 3pm
Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Striker underwhelmed recently
– Manchester United are unbeaten in their last 12 home league fixtures against Burnley, last losing to them at Old Trafford in September 1962 (W8 D4).
– Burnley beat Manchester United 1-0 in their first Premier League meeting in August 2009 thanks to Robbie Blake’s winning goal, but are winless in the three games since (D1 L2).
– Chris Smalling scored his only brace for Manchester United so far in their last clash with Burnley in February 2015, a game the Red Devils won 3-1.
– This could be Manchester United’s 100th Premier League victory over a newly promoted side. Their record currently stands at P143 W99 D30 L14.
– At Old Trafford, United have lost just one of their last 12 (W9 D2), scoring in each of those games (23 goals) and shipping just eight in that period.
– Jose Mourinho has lost 13 of his last 27 Premier League games (W9 D5), having lost only 13 of the 119 games prior to this run.
– Burnley have won three of their opening nine games this season, having won none of their first 10 in their last appearance in the top-flight in 2014/15.
– Zlatan Ibrahimovic has gone five league games without scoring for the first time since September 2010. He last went longer without a goal with Inter Milan in December 2007 (6 games).
– The Clarets are averaging just two shots on target per Premier League game this season, the lowest in the division. Away from home, they’ve had just three shots on target in three games.
– Burnley have lost each of their three away games this season, shipping three goals in each match.

READ MORE: Weekend Watch – Crisis? What crisis? Man Utd look ominous

Middlesbrough v Bournemouth
Riverside Stadium, 3pm

Jack Wilshere: On loan at Bournemouth
– This will be the first top-flight clash between Middlesbrough and Bournemouth.
– Middlesbrough are winless in their last five league fixtures against Bournemouth, although four of those games have ended in draws.
– The Cherries have never won away at Middlesbrough in any competition (D3 L5).
– Eddie Howe’s side have lost just one of their five Premier League meetings with newly promoted sides (W2 D2), losing their first v Norwich 1-3 last season and, in their most recent, enjoying their biggest ever Premier League win v Hull (6-1).
– On home soil, ‘Boro are without a victory in six league games, with three draws followed by three losses.
– Five Bournemouth players (Artur Boruc, Steve Cook, Charlie Daniels, Simon Francis and Adam Smith) have all played the full 810 minutes in the Premier League this season, more than any other Premier League side. By contrast, Middlesbrough have only had one (Ben Gibson).
– No Premier League player has hit the woodwork more often that Boro’s Gaston Ramirez and the Cherries’ Jack Wilshere this season (3, level with Kevin De Bruyne). Neither player has registered a goal this campaign.
– Bournemouth’s Adam Smith has won more fouls than any other Premier League player this season (28).
– Middlesbrough have scored fewer second half goals than any other Premier League side this season (2).
– These sides have conceded just twice from set-pieces this season, a joint-league low figure (also Everton, Manchester City and Manchester United).

Tottenham v Leicester
White Hart Lane, 3pm
Claudio Ranieri Mauricio Pochettino
– Tottenham and Leicester have met seven times in all competitions in the last two seasons, with Spurs enjoying three wins to Leicester’s two (D2).
– Leicester’s 1-0 win in January away to Spurs was their first league victory at White Hart Lane since October 1999 (D1 L3).
– Spurs have gone nine Premier League games against the Foxes without keeping a clean sheet – only against Arsenal are they on a longer run without a shutout among current top-flight sides (14 games).
– The nine goals scored in the four clashes between Spurs and Leicester last season were all scored by different players.
– Claudio Ranieri has never lost a Premier League game against Tottenham Hotspur (W7 D3).
– Spurs are yet to concede a single goal from open play in the Premier League this season, with all four of the goals they’ve conceded coming from set piece situations.
– Leicester have lost all four of their away league games so far this season – the only reigning champion in the history of the top-flight to lose their opening five were Everton in 1932/33, whose losing run was halted by a 2-2 draw at Filbert Street with Leicester in the next game.
– Tottenham are looking to avoid defeat in their first 10 league games for the first time in the league since 1990/91 (W6 D4 that season).
– This fixture pits the two sides that have collected the most points in the Premier League in 2016 going into the weekend against each other (Tottenham 54 and Leicester 53). o Shinji Okazaki ended a run of 13 Premier League games without scoring by finding the net against Palace.

Watford v Hull City
Vicarage Road, 3pm
Troy Deeney: New deal
– This will be the first time this fixture has been played in the top-flight of English football.
– Watford’s 1-0 win over Hull City in April 2013 ended a run of eight games in all competitions without beating the Tigers (D2 L6).
– Hull last lost successive league games against the Hornets in April 1989 (a run of three defeats).
– Hull have lost their last five Premier League games – only once have they lost six in a row in the Premier League (January 2009).
– The Hornets have won just one of their last five Premier League games at Vicarage Road and just two of their last 11.
– The Tigers have shipped 11 goals in total in their last two top-flight away games (1-5 v Liverpool and 1-6 vs Bournemouth).They last lost three consecutive away Premier League games in January 2014.
– No side in Premier League history has ever conceded five or more goals in three consecutive away games. The last top-flight side to do so were Blackburn Rovers in August 1965, conceding five goals exactly in three consecutive games.
– Watford have received more bookings than any other Premier League side this season (25) and have also conceded the most fouls (137).
– Hull have had fewer touches in the opposition box this season than any other Premier League team (99).
– The Hornets could keep three successive clean sheets for the first time since last December in the Premier League.
– Troy Deeney has scored in each of his last three appearances for Watford against Hull City.
– Deeney has currently scored 99 goals for Watford in all competitions – only Luther Blissett, Tommy Barnett, Ross Jenkins and Cliff Holton have previously reached the century for the club.

West Brom v Manchester City
The Hawthorns, 3pm
Sergio Aguero: In danger of missing Man Utd clash
– West Bromwich Albion have lost their last nine Premier League games against Manchester City. The only Premier League side they’ve ever lost more in a row against is Chelsea (11, 2002-2011).
– Manchester City are unbeaten in 13 Premier League games against the Baggies (W12 D1), last losing to them in December 2008 when Roman Bednar scored a 90th minute winner for West Brom.
– Sergio Aguero has scored five times in eight games against West Brom in the Premier League, but only one of those goals has come at the Hawthorns.
– Only against Manchester United (11) has Tony Pulis lost more Premier League games as a manager than against City (10, level with Chelsea).
– David Silva has been directly involved in seven goals in his eight top-flight appearances against West Brom, (scoring four and assisting three).
– Pep Guardiola has failed to win any of his last three Premier League games (D2 L1) – he last went four league games without a win as manager in May 2009 (with Barcelona).
– Tony Pulis has won one of his 15 Premier League games against Man City (D4 L10), doing so with Stoke in January 2009. His sides have scored only six goals in those 15 games and never more than once in a game against the Citizens, conceding 29.
– Manchester City have had more touches in the opposition box than any other Premier League side this campaign (369).
– Only Tom Heaton (78%) has a better save percentage than Ben Foster among goalkeepers to make to make at least 20 saves so far this season (75.6%).
– No midfielder has been involved in more Premier League goals this season than Nacer Chadli (four goals and two assists).

Crystal Palace v Liverpool
Selhurst Park, 5:30pm
Sadio Mane Christian Benteke
– Liverpool ended a run of three successive defeats against Crystal Palace with a 2-1 victory in March. However, Christian Benteke, who scored the 90th minute winner that day, now plays for the Eagles.
– Crystal Palace last failed to score in a Premier League match against Liverpool in December 1997 (in a 3-0 defeat), netting in each of their last nine clashes with the Reds.
– Christian Benteke scored nine times in 29 Premier League games for Liverpool last season. Before joining the Reds, he had scored four times in five Premier League appearances against them.
– Since his Premier League debut in September 2012, no player has scored more headed goals than Christian Benteke (19) – level with Olivier Giroud.
– Sadio Mane has scored in three of his four Premier League games against Crystal Palace.
– Liverpool are without a clean sheet in their last 10 away Premier League games; only once before have they endured a longer run without a shut-out on the road, in September 1998 (12 games).
– The Eagles haven’t conceded more than once in any of their last eight home league games, conceding exactly one goal in each of their last five (W2 D1 L2).
– Jordan Henderson has attempted 765 passes in the Premier League this season, 131 more than any other player. He has also run further than anybody else (106.5km).
– Crystal Palace haven’t kept a clean sheet in their last 14 Premier League games, last stopping Everton in April.
– Liverpool have exactly the same record after nine games this season as they had in 2013/14 (W6 D2 L1)

READ MORE: Red Letter – Klopp turning Coutinho into a Liverpool ‘superstar’

Everton v West Ham
Goodison Park, 1:30pm
Romelu Lukaku: Scores emphatic hat-trick
– Everton’s defeat to West Ham in March ended a run of 15 Premier League games without defeat against West Ham (W10 D5).
– West Ham haven’t won back-to-back league games against Everton since March 1973.
– Romelu Lukaku has found the net eight times in 10 games against West Ham in all competitions, his favourite opponent since moving to the Premier League.
– Lukaku has scored in his last six Premier League games against West Ham. Only two players have scored in seven successive PL games v the same opponent (Hasselbaink v West Ham 7 and Robin van Persie v Stoke 8).
– West Ham have conceded two or more goals in six of their last seven visits to Goodison Park in the Premier League.
– Ronald Koeman’s first Premier League win came against West Ham in August 2014, while manager of Southampton.
– Koeman would be only the third Everton manager in the Premier League to remain unbeaten in his opening five home games (Mike Walker and Roberto Martinez also achieved this) should he avoid defeat in this game.
– Dimitri Payet has created more chances in the Premier League this season than any other player (30), while no one has provided more assists than the Frenchman (4).
– West Ham United last won three Premier League games in a row in March, the third of which came against the Toffees.
– The Hammers’ last Premier League clean sheet against Everton came in April 2007, a run of 16 games without one against them.

Southampton v Chelsea
St Mary’s, 4pm
Eden Hazard: Forward celebrates second-half strike
– Southampton have won just two of their last 14 Premier League games against Chelsea, though did beat the Blues in October 2015 (D5 L7).
– Chelsea have lost just one of their last eight visits to Southampton in the Premier League (W5 D2).
– The West Londoners have scored in each of their last 11 Premier League away games at Southampton, last failing to find the net in December 1997.
– Since a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea in February last season, the Saints are unbeaten in nine home Premier League games (W6 D3). It is their longest home unbeaten top-flight run since March 2005, when they went 12 games without defeat.
– The Blues have won their last three Premier League games, last winning four in a row in April 2015 when they were on their way to winning the title.
– Only Liverpool (59) have had more shots on target this season than Southampton (55), with Chelsea in third (54, level with Spurs).
– Chelsea have taken eight more points from their first nine games than they did last season (11). This is the biggest improvement from all Premier League sides who were present in 2015/16.
– Nathan Redmond has scored in back-to-back league games for Southampton – he’s never scored in three successive Premier League matches.
– Eden Hazard has already equalled his goal tally from last season (4 in 31 games) from just nine appearances this season.
– Sofiane Boufal, who made his Premier League debut last weekend, scored 11 times in Ligue 1 last season. The only midfielder with more was Hatem Ben Arfa (17).

Stoke City v Swansea City
bet365 Stadium, 8pm
Wilfried Bony: Striker yet to score for Stoke
– Stoke City have never lost at home to Swansea City in the Premier League (W3 D2).
– Indeed, Swansea’s only top-flight victory at Stoke was in October 1981, their first clash in the top division.
– Wilfried Bony scored 25 times in 54 Premier League games for Swansea. He also scored twice in two Premier League games against them for Manchester City.
– Stoke have won their last two Premier League games, as many as they’d won in their 17 previous matches (D6 L9).
– Swansea are winless in their last eight Premier League games (D2 L6), their worst run in the top-flight since January 2014 (also eight without a win). They have never gone longer than eight games without a win their top-flight history, last enduring a longer league winless run in December 2008 as a Championship side (nine games).
– Swansea’s haul of five points from their opening nine league games is their worst start to a Premier League season and their lowest tally since picking up four points from nine games in 1983/84, a season they were relegated from the second tier.
– Mark Hughes’ men could keep three successive clean sheets having failed to keep any in their previous 17 Premier League games.
– This game will be Swansea’s 200th in the Premier League and since their first season in the division in 2011-12 only nine teams have won more games than the Swans in the competition (63).
– Xherdan Shaqiri has already matched his tally of goals from last season, scoring three times in five games in 2016/17. He scored three goals in 27 Premier League games for Stoke last season.
– The Swans have lost their last three league games away from home. The only time they have lost four in succession in the Premier League was their first four games after promotion in 2011

Gallows expect Chelsea to slip up; Liverpool doubted

Antonio Conte: Manager faces tough weekend
Lee from Gallows is the latest musician to take on TEAMtalk in our Premier League predictions, with Chelsea tipped to struggle at Southampton.
Just like last season, our writers will take on a different band or artist by making their Premier League predictions each week, while you can join in the fun using the story comment facility (below) or Your Say forum.
Before last weekend, Passenger predicted three correct results, beating Sportmasta’s Destiny Royal, who only predicted two correct results, courtesy of Stoke’s win at Hull.
Tottenham fan Lee Barratt from Gallows is this week’s challenger. Royal praise is representing Sportmasta.
Premier League matchday 10
Sunderland v Arsenal
Lee: 0-2
TT: 0-1
Man Utd v Burnley
Lee: 3-1
TT: 2-0
Middlesbrough v Bournemouth
Lee: 1-1
TT: 1-2
Tottenham v Leicester
Lee: 2-1
TT: 1-1
Watford v Hull
Lee: 1-0
TT: 3-1
West Brom v Man City
Lee: 1-2
TT: 0-1
Crystal Palace v Liverpool
Lee: 1-2
TT: 1-1
Everton v West Ham
Lee: 1-1
TT: 2-2
Southampton v Chelsea
Lee: 0-0
TT: 1-1
Stoke v Swansea
Lee: 2-2
Rob: 3-2

Five from Gallows’ Lee Barratt:

Lee Barratt
How did you come to support Tottenham and what are your favourite memories from your time as a fan?
Both my parents have always supported Spurs so it was a no brainer, I’d have been disowned if I tried to support another team! My dad took me to my first game when I was 3 years old, Charlton at WHL and I think I spent most of the game asleep… Some of my favourite memories have been the 5-1 drubbings of Chelsea & Arsenal in league cup semi finals, Woodgate’s winning goal in the league cup final, Inter at home in the Champions League when Bale lit the place up, Ginola’s winner up at Barnsley on a freezing cold January night and the whole of last season was memorable too.
Who have been your biggest heroes during your time supporting the club?
Klinsmann, Sheringham, Berbatov, Ginola, Bale and currently Toby Alderweireld, who I firmly believe is the best centre half in Europe. We’ve had some brilliant individual players in the past but not always had a great team to build around them.
What do you make of the current team? What are your hopes for the (rest of the) season?
We definitely have the best squad I’ve seen in my 20 years of having a season ticket. We look solid and play some lovely football but seem to be lacking a bit of a cutting edge without Harry Kane. That will come though, every player just needs to be a bit more ruthless or clinical in front of goal. Before the season started I predicted we’d find it difficult to finish top 4 again but from what I’ve seen so far, there’s no reason why we can’t improve on our 3rd place finish from last season. We can beat anyone on our day and I don’t think the team fears playing anyone like they used to in the past. They never give up and fold like Spurs teams of old – apart from the last day of last season!
Everyone has a soft spot for another team. Who’s yours and why?
Mine would be Hitchin Town from the Southern League Premier division. My uncle is their chairman and a lot like Spurs, they have a really talented young team who play good football and work hard for the manager.
What’s going on with the band/for you as an artist at the moment?
Gallows has been on the back burner for a little while now. We released a great record last year (“Desolation Sounds”) but after 10 years of being a band and relentless touring I think everybody needed to take a little break. I’ve been working on an album with a new band called Funeral Shakes that will be released in 2017 and I’m excited to see where that goes.

Zidane: Ballon d'Or? Clearly Ronaldo should win it

Zidane: Ballon d'Or? Clearly Ronaldo should win it
The Portugal captain is the big favourite to claim the Golden Ball after winning the Champions League and Euro 2016 and his coach says he is the obvious choice
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane says it is clear that Cristiano Ronaldo should win the Ballon d'Or after his achievements for club and country this year.
Messi & Ronaldo in most valuable athletes
Ronaldo helped Real claim the Champions League in May before going on to win Euro 2016 with Portugal in France over the summer.
The 31-year-old is the favourite to win the award and Zidane says he thinks Ronaldo is the obvious choice.
"If you look back over the course of the year, and you look at what Cristiano has achieved, it's impressive," he told reporters.
"What he's achieved in 2016, not just on an individual basis, but for his team and his country has been magnificent.
"There's been hard work from him but he knows there's always hard work from his team-mates [as well].
"I was asked about this the other day and I said he deserves to win the Ballon d'Or, clearly."
Next up for Ronaldo and Madrid is a trip to 13th-placed Alaves, but Zidane urged caution ahead of the clash.
He added: "We know that if we want to win something come the end of the season, we need to be fully focused and maintain concentration in each and every game.
"It's what we've been doing and it will help us achieve great things.
"We can't just turn up thinking it will be an easy game, we have to work. I think we've had a good week, we've trained well but no two games are the same."

Arsenal triple worry; key West Ham return?

Nacho Monreal & Santi Cazorla: Duo injury doubts
Check out all the team news ahead of this weekend’s Premier League fixtures, as Arsenal have three worries, while West Ham’s record signing could make his full comeback.

Sunderland v Arsenal
Stadium of Light, 12:30pm
Sunderland: TBC
Lucas Perez: Struggled on Arsenal debut
Arsenal are set to be without Lucas Perez for Saturday’s Premier League trip to Sunderland after he was ruled out for up to two months with an ankle injury.
The Spaniard was forced off in the EFL Cup win over Reading and faces a spell on the sidelines along with long-term absentees Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck (both knee).
Granit Xhaka is still banned and Theo Walcott (hamstring), Nacho Monreal (muscular) and Santi Cazorla (Achilles) all face late fitness tests to be in contention at the Stadium of Light, although Aaron Ramsey could be back after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Manchester United v Burnley
Old Trafford, 3pm
Manchester United: TBC
Andre Gray
Burnley welcome striker Andre Gray back into the squad for Saturday’s trip to Manchester United.
Gray served a four-game ban after historic offensive social media posts came to light, but he is now vying for a recall.
There will be a late decision on Steven Defour (hamstring) but George Boyd and Stephen Ward are expected to be fit.

Middlesbrough v Bournemouth
Riverside Stadium, 3pm

Defender Calum Chambers will return to the Middlesbrough squad for Saturday’s Premier League clash with Bournemouth at the Riverside Stadium.
Chambers was ineligible for last weekend’s 0-0 draw at parent club Arsenal under the terms of his loan agreement, but is in contention once again as head coach Aitor Karanka reaches 150 games in charge on Teesside.
Only midfielder Grant Leadbitter remains on the casualty list as he works his way back from hernia surgery, but he has been pencilled in for a return to action with the club’s under-23s after making good progress.
Calum Chambers
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe will check on the fitness of Junior Stanislas before his squad travel to Middlesbrough.
Stanislas, so impressive against Hull earlier this month, missed last weekend’s goalless home draw with Tottenham due to a calf injury but Howe hopes the forward will be back in contention and available at the Riverside.
Midfielder Andrew Surman was another absentee against Spurs but he has recovered from a bout of illness and rejoins the group.

Tottenham v Leicester
White Hart Lane, 3pm
Tottenham: TBC
Nampalys Mendy Leicester
Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri should have an unchanged group of players to choose from for the trip to Tottenham.
The champions head to White Hart Lane on Saturday without both Nampalys Mendy and Ben Chilwell. Midfielder Mendy has not featured since injuring his ankle on his Premier League debut against Arsenal in August, while Chilwell picked up a muscle strain on international duty with the England Under-21 side earlier this month.
Fellow defender Yohan Benalouane is nearing full fitness after getting some valuable minutes under his belt for the development squad in recent weeks.

Watford v Hull City
Vicarage Road, 3pm
Daryl Janmaat is likely to return to the Watford side when they host Hull in the Premier League on Saturday.
The defender has been missing with a shoulder problem but manager Walter Mazzarri expects the Holland international to at least make the bench for the clash with the struggling Tigers.
Record signing Isaac Success is absent once again as he struggles for match fitness and Craig Cathcart (groin) also misses out.
Isaac Success: Grabs Watford equaliser
Hull could be without striker Adama Diomande through suspension for their Premier League game at Watford.
Diomande was charged with violent conduct for allegedly striking Bristol City midfielder Marlon Pack in the closing stages of Tuesday night’s EFL Cup win at Bristol City and Hull must decide whether to appeal against a possible three-game ban.
The Tigers are already without winger Robert Snodgrass (ankle), striker Dieumerci Mbokani (hamstring) and defender Andrew Robertson (calf), while defenders Moses Odubajo (fractured patella) and Alex Bruce (Achilles), plus goalkeeper Allan McGregor (back) are still out.

West Brom v Manchester City
The Hawthorns, 3pm
Jonny Evans will return from suspension for West Brom against Manchester City.
The defender missed last week’s 2-1 defeat at Liverpool but Claudio Yacob is banned after collecting five yellow cards this season.
Boss Tony Pulis agreed a one-year contract extension at the club on Friday and still will not select Saido Berahino as the striker continues to regain fitness after being ruled overweight by the club.
Saido Berahino: Deemed overweight
Manchester City: TBC

Crystal Palace v Liverpool
Selhurst Park, 5:30pm
Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew has a doubt over Jason Puncheon ahead of the Premier League game against Liverpool on Saturday.
The 30-year-old midfielder missed the Eagles’ 3-1 defeat to Leicester last weekend due to a calf strain but trained with the squad on Friday.
Captain Scott Dann is expected to regain his place in the starting XI after overcoming a hamstring injury, but Loic Remy (thigh strain), Pape Souare (broken leg) and Jonathan Benteke (knee) remain long-term injury absentees.
Sadio Mane Christian Benteke
James Milner is a doubt for Liverpool’s Premier League trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The left-back missed Tuesday’s EFL Cup game through illness and manager Jurgen Klopp is waiting to see whether he will have recovered in time.
Captain Jordan Henderson returns from suspension while Klopp is hoping to arrange a match for defender Joe Gomez after the international break as he steps up his return from a long-term knee injury.

Everton v West Ham
Goodison Park, 1:30pm
Everton: TBC
Andre Ayew
West Ham boss Slaven Bilic must decide whether Andre Ayew is fit enough to start against Everton on Sunday.
The £20.5million summer signing from Swansea made his comeback as a substitute against Chelsea in midweek after recovering from the thigh injury he sustained on the opening day of the season.
Arthur Masuaku, Sam Byram, Gokhan Tore, Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho are still out through injury.

Southampton v Chelsea
St Mary’s, 4pm
Southampton defender Ryan Bertrand could return from a hamstring injury for the visit of his former club Chelsea.
But Jay Rodriguez is a doubt after going off following a clash of heads during Wednesday’s EFL Cup win over Sunderland and fellow striker Shane Long is still out with a hamstring problem.
Fraser Forster, Virgil van Dijk, Steven Davis and Charlie Austin will be among the players who return after being rested against the Black Cats.
Captain John Terry could return to the substitutes’ bench when Chelsea play in the Premier League at Southampton on Sunday.
Terry made his first start in more than six weeks following an ankle injury as the Blues made seven changes for Wednesday’s EFL Cup loss at West Ham, but Antonio Conte is likely to recall many of the players involved in last Sunday’s comprehensive win over Manchester United.
Defender Branislav is available, but Kurt Zouma is nearing a return from his long-term knee injury, while playmaker Cesc Fabregas (thigh) remains out.

Stoke City v Swansea City
bet365 Stadium, 8pm
Stoke are waiting on the fitness of Geoff Cameron ahead of Monday’s Premier League clash with Swansea.
The American hyperextended his knee during the victory over Hull, while full-back Phil Bardsley is also a doubt following the death of his grandfather on Tuesday.
Glen Johnson (thigh) and Jack Butland (ankle) remain sidelined but there was some good news for the Potters this week with Ibrahim Afellay (knee) back at the club and on course to return before Christmas.
Jefferson Montero has an outside chance of making Swansea’s Premier League trip to Stoke on Monday.
The Ecuador winger is back in training after six weeks out with a calf problem and could be included among the Swansea substitutes in the Potteries.
Fernando Llorente is fit to start after making his return from rib and knee injuries from the bench in last weekend’s goalless home draw with Watford.

The beginning of the end is nigh for Zlatan Ibrahimovic

The beginning of the end is nigh for Zlatan Ibrahimovic
The Swedish front man still has plenty to offer, but the days of him bullying opposition defenders three times a week appear to be over

“Jose’s a winner, I am a winner and we both know what we want. Wherever we go we win and we will win.”
Ibrahimovic ‘NOTHING’ like Cantona
If anybody was ever in any doubt as to the belief Zlatan Ibrahimovic would have in himself ahead of his first Premier League adventure in the summer, he immediately made it clear that he had every faith that he and Jose Mourinho would succeed at Manchester United.
Four games into his competitive career with United, Ibrahimovic had scored four goals. A debut goal in the Community Shield had been followed by a strike on his league bow and a double on his Old Trafford debut. It seemed he was set to live up to every word of his promise.
But two months on, things are not looking quite so rosy. Zlatan has netted just once in nine games, against Zorya Luhansk in the Europa League, and has looked increasingly detached for long phases of play. The Swede has never been one for covering every blade of grass but his presence even on the periphery of proceedings has become more and more negligible over recent weeks.
Mourinho set to axe Zlatan
His display in the first half of Wednesday’s EFL Cup derby with Manchester City was perhaps the worst he has delivered in a number of years. He rarely got into the game, and when he dropped deeper to try to get more involved in build-up play, his touch was regularly lacking. The fact that he had the worst passing accuracy of any United player in that first 45 minutes will come as a surprise to nobody who witnessed the game.
A better shift in the second half made the difference in the end, with his clever turn fooling Nicolas Otamendi and neat footwork forcing Pablo Maffeo to stand off in the build-up to Juan Mata’s winning goal. He still had time to take a complete air-shot at a low cross from the left though, marking a third straight game in which he had missed a gilt-edged chance.

At Chelsea on Sunday he headed tamely over the bar from an excellent Antonio Valencia cross just as United were seemingly gaining a first-half foot-hold in a game they would eventually lose 4-0, while the visit to Liverpool six days earlier will be remembered almost as much for his miscue from Paul Pogba’s cross as it will for Mourinho’s questionable tactics.
It is rare that someone of Ibrahimovic’s uber-confident manner should suffer a crisis of faith, but one would be forgiven for believing that he might be doubting his ability to deliver. Now 35, he is reaching a period where even his highly-dedicated approach to staying in shape can only take him so far. An extra yard of pace is lost in later years, and most who have played in the Premier League will tell you that the velocity of the division requires something more out of you in that regard.
Pogba misses Juve & Juve miss Pogba
If anyone can overcome the physical demands, then surely Zlatan can, yet at the moment he rightly has people questioning his recent performances. Many are even wondering whether he has the capacity to turn his fortunes around. The palpable effect he has on players like Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial will only mean so much to people if he continues to misfire in front of goal.
Mourinho said in the lead-up to October’s international break that Ibrahimovic was not in need of a rest since his retirement from Sweden duty allowed him time off other players would not have. But as Burnley come to town on Saturday, and with two 90-minute showings under his belt already this week, now might be the right time to consider giving the big man a breather.

He has yet to play three games in a week since moving from Paris Saint-Germain and it would be foolish to risk his fitness against Sean Dyche’s men, however much he needs a positive performance after a difficult run.
Schweinsteiger left out of Man Utd team photo
When Mourinho worked with Zlatan at Inter in 2008-09 he saw enough from the striker to know that he wanted to work with him again. But he is no longer the ultra-durable 27-year-old of that time, and as such he needs greater support. He needs more energy around him than Wayne Rooney has provided. He needs a better delivery of cross than he has generally got from the left side of the pitch. If you are going to get the best out of a 35-year-old Zlatan you are going to have to do more than just throw him out there and wish him luck.
This will not be the end of Zlatan, but maybe it is the beginning of the end. He can still contribute a couple of times a week but the phase of his career in which he was an automatic starter every week wherever he went is over. United fans will just hope that the run which has seen him lift a league championship in 12 of his last 13 seasons is not about to end too.

Chelsea prepare Griezmann bid; Depay interest

Antoine Griezmann: Reportedly a target for Chelsea and United
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is working on a huge deal to beat Man United to Antoine Griezmann, while Roma are considering a loan move for Red Devils winger Memphis Depay, according to Friday’s rumours.
Manchester United will go to battle with Arsenal over the signing of Benfica prodigy Nelson Semedo (O Jogo)
Bournemouth are willing to listen to offers for former Leeds winger Max Gradel in January (Daily Mirror)
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich working on a huge deal to beat Manchester United in the race for Atletico Madrid superstar Antoine Griezmann (Mercato 365)
Andreas Christensen Borussia Moenchengladbach
Borussia Monchengladbach hope Chelsea will allow them to extend 20-year-old defender Andreas Christensen’s loan spell in the Bundesliga beyond the end of the season (Evening Standard)
Nathaniel Chalobah says he is refusing to “give up” on the club despite struggling for opportunities at Stamford Bridge (The Sun)
Hull will offer Ravel Morrison an escape from his Lazio exile in January (Daily Star)
Liverpool right-back Nathaniel Clyne has emerged as a transfer target for Barcelona (Daily Mirror)
Liverpool have beaten Stoke to the signing of 15-year-old Bury prodigy Emeka Obi, who has already appeared in the League One side’s first team (Daily Mail)
Manchester City
Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany is yet to convince manager Pep Guardiola that he can fit into his plans at the Etihad Stadium (Telegraph)
Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham are reportedly eyeing Manchester City hitman Sergio Aguero if he leaves the Etihad Stadium (Don Balon)
Manchester United
Memphis Depay Manchester United
Roma are considering a loan move for Manchester United winger Memphis Depay and the Red Devils are open to a temporary switch (Corriere Dello Sport)
Manchester United will go to battle with Arsenal over the signing of Benfica prodigy Nelson Semedo (O Jogo)
Jose Mourinho is plotting a January overhaul of Manchester United’s defence which could see Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind all leave Old Trafford (Daily Mail)
LA Galaxy are hopeful of luring Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney to the MLS, with the 31-year-old lined up to replace Steven Gerrard (The Sun)
Henrikh Mkhitaryan is determined to stay and fight for his place at Manchester United, despite being surprised at his lack of involvement with the first team this term (The Guardian)
Manchester United reserve team manager Warren Joyce is the latest name to be linked with the Wigan job (Daily Mail)
Manchester United have their eyes on Antonio Rudiger, Roma’s Germany international defender (Express)
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich working on a huge deal to beat Manchester United in the race for Atletico Madrid superstar Antoine Griezmann (Mercato 365)
Stoke City
Xherdan Shaqiri Stoke City
Stoke winger Xherdan Shaqiri is a January target for Serie A outfit Roma (Daily Mirror)
Liverpool have beaten Stoke to the signing of 15-year-old Bury prodigy Emeka Obi, who has already appeared in the League One side’s first team (Daily Mail)
Sunderland remain convinced that David Moyes is the right man for the manager’s job, despite the Black Cats’ abysmal start to the season (Daily Express)
Tottenham forward Clinton N’Jie, who is currently on loan at Marseille, says his future will be decided at the end of the season (Ligue 1)
Erik Lamela wants to be the next Tottenham player to sign fresh terms at White Hart Lane (Daily Mirror)