David Luiz takes blame for Arsenal’s Man City loss

Speaking after the final whistle, Arteta declared that his opinion of Luiz had not changed despite the 33-year-old’s horrific performance against City.

But the Spanish coach has since admitted he cannot guarantee the £125,000-a-week South American will be handed a new deal because of the financial difficulties the club face after the coronavirus crisis.

Arteta said: “I don’t know [if he has played his last game here].”He is very open, he is a leader and I was sure he was going to speak in front of everybody. You heard what he said, he was very direct with us too.

“That is what I value from him and that is what I like from him. We need to be fair on him. Me personally, I am going to defend him with everything I have because I believe in him.

“He has shown me a lot of things in his time here and his career speaks for itself.”We need to be fair on him. I’m going to defend him with everything I have because I believe in him.”He has shown me a lot of things in my time here. His character speaks for itself.

“We cannot forget the financial situation. The way COVID-19 has hit every club and the economy in general, it is going to have an impact.”What the club is doing at the moment is assessing the situation and trying to clarify a lot of uncertainties that we have in the future.

“I will have to make big decisions but timewise it is difficult to fit them in our needs. We are trying our best and it is difficult sometimes because the player or our sporting necessities in a difficult situation, but again we have to adapt. It is what it is.”That’s why I wanted to protect David on Wednesday and didn’t start him. It’s a funny game and after 20 minutes you need him.

“He is a player with a lot of uncertainty in the last few weeks.”

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Werner willing to miss Leipzig’s Champions League run to join

Manchester City are interested in signing defender Achraf Hakimi this summer, The Sun reports. The right-back is currently impressing on loan from Real Madrid at Borussia Dortmund, and while the German club are keen to make the move permanent, City are also keen on the 21-year-old, with Chelsea and Arsenal also monitoring whether Real may be willing to sell the Moroccan.

Paper Round’s view: If Hakimi is attracting attention then you better believe Real themselves know they have a player on their hands. They will not let go of him lightly, and may yet be willing to offload him on loan for another season before bringing him back to the Bernabeu. A permanent move away seems unlikely.

Maurizio Sarri wants to bring Chelsea duo Jorginho and Marcos Alonso to Juventus, the Express reports. Sarri brought Jorginho to Stamford Bridge when taking charge of Chelsea in 2018, and now the Juve head coach wants the midfielder, as well as Alonso, in Turin. Chelsea reportedly value the duo at €80m, and Juve are pondering what players they could offer in any potential deal.

Leicester and Crystal Palace are set to battle it out for James Tarkowski’s signature, the Mirror reports. Burnley slapped a £50m pricetag on their defender when Leicester came in search of a replacement for Harry Maguire last summer, but the Foxes have renewed their interest in the England international, with Palace set to rival them when the transfer window opens.

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Man City 7-3 Arsenal, Liverpool collapse and more silliness

There is something ironic about this opening paragraph appearing in The Sun:

‘Graham Potter has urged people to educate themselves more on the subject of racism.’

And the nation’s best-selling newspaper continues to display wilful ignorance about the role it has played in embedding a lack of cultural education and understanding deep into society.

And how about this for a start to the third paragraph?

‘Racism has come back under the spotlight…’

How good of you to make legitimate concerns over systemic and extensive discrimination sound like the latest fad that will soon go out of fashion.

How does this all work? Well, “Simulated Reality football matches reflect team form and normal match conditions,” which is a neat trick when Premier League games behind closed doors after a solid three-month break is unprecedented.

But credit to them: they have listed every single predicted result. Like Tottenham drawing 3-3 with Everton, or Aston Villa hammering Wolves 3-0.

The supercomputer also comes up with such entirely believable conclusions as:

1) Villa randomly thrashing Wolves in between eight defeats and a draw with West Ham on the final day.

2) Liverpool earning 14 more points from their final nine games; Norwich get 12.

3) Liverpool losing as many games (three) in their final nine fixtures as they have in their previous 75. They both ‘falter just a little’ and ‘well and truly limp over the line’.

4) It being a ‘disaster’ for Arsenal that they finish level on points with Tottenham, for whom finishing eighth would presumably be a boost.

5) The suggestion that West Ham ‘stay in good form’ by ‘following up their win against Tottenham with a 1-0 defeat of Chelsea’.

6) Manchester City beating Arsenal 7-3. Mind you…

The sight of football at the end of this interminable tunnel means the triumphant return of the supercomputers. Poor Liverpool.

Are you genuinely suggesting someone with all the necessary coaching qualifications and a storied playing career was ignored by Football League clubs until seven years after his retirement because he is a ‘loner’? That is the only reason you can think of as to why he has managed a League Two and League One club while Gerrard and Lampard strolled into much bigger jobs at a younger age?

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Personal fitness plan giving him an edge

Prior to his switch to Brescia, there was talk of a move to Flamengo in Brazil, while more recently fellow Brazilian side Vasco da Gama have been linked as a potential destination, as well as Galatasaray in Turkey or the MLS.

Gabriel Jesus is a natural. He was a Brazilian title winner and an Olympic gold medallist while still a teenager. By the time he arrived at Manchester City the following year he had already scored five goals in his first six appearances for his country and looked an obvious bargain even at £27m. But there is much more to Jesus’ success than mere natural talent.

Seven goals in his first 10 Premier League appearances won over the crowd. His 94th-minute winner against Southampton on the final afternoon of his first full season at City, took the team to 100 points. But throughout that campaign Jesus was demanding more of himself.

The demands of the Premier League were such that Jesus’ diet came under scrutiny. Pep Guardiola had to instruct him to stop drinking coca cola but that wasn’t the only issue.

“Pizza, bread, I loved all that,” he admits. “I loved burgers. That was all so bad for me and my body. But this was my life before Andre came.”

Perhaps there will be another shot in a big league. But whatever his next move, Balotelli’s brief time back in Brescia feels like a frustratingly familiar story for the forward.

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West Ham are planning a London derby double-header

Defender David Luiz has taken to social media to thank a social inclusion officer at Arsenal for all his good work during the coronavirus pandemic.

And the Brazilian also admitted that this is the sort of thing that makes the Gunners so special.

Son Heung-min cannot wait to be back on the field with 10 mates — after spending three weeks of military service with 10 strangers.

The 27-year-old admitted the first few days of his tour of duty took some getting used to – but insists he enjoyed his taste of army life.

He said: “It was a good experience. I couldn’t say everything that I’ve done but I really enjoyed it.

“The first day when we don’t know each other was a bit weird but soon we got to know each other.

“We spent every day together in one room, 10 people very close, working together, we helped each other so the time was fantastic.

“Those guys, the first day and second day they couldn’t even speak to me but by the end they were joking with me and we were enjoying everyone together.

“Those guys were nice. The three weeks were tough but I tried to enjoy it.

“I don’t know how the people felt, but for me the three weeks have been long but it was a good experience, I enjoyed it.”

He wrote: “Ashley is a Social Inclusion Officer @AFCCommunity

“During this crisis he’s been delivering emergency supplies into the community – including here at @NHSHomerton

“People like Ashley are what makes @Arsenal so special


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Coronavirus in Sport LIVE: Premier League Covid testing LATEST

Katie Boulter is using her time in lockdown to comfort vulnerable OAPs.

The big-hearted British star, who has been staying with fellow player Laura Robson, signed up to be an Age UK volunteer.

Dele Alli is still waiting to hear if he will be banned for Project Restart — THREE MONTHS after being charged by the FA.

Spurs star Dele faces a potential three-match suspension for misconduct, having posted a video on Snapchat mocking an Asian man and joking about coronavirus.

Boulter, 23, admits she is desperately missing her Leicester-supporting grandad Brian, 84, who she has not seen since February.

So in an attempt to help others, she has completed her Age UK welfare training.

Boulter said: “The plan is to visit and have a relationship with elderly people. I cannot wait to start.

“I can try and help them during this difficult time. I’ve always had a close relationship with my grandpa.

“What they do is pair you with up to three people. You can go and see them, talk to them over the phone, do their shopping for them.

“Basically just try and help them make their lives a little bit easier. Hopefully they won’t feel so lonely. It’d be great if they’re Leicester fans — I’d have a lot to talk to them about!

“It’s hard for everyone but for those who don’t have people living with them, I’m sure it’s been an extremely tough period. If I can help in any way then it’d make me happy.”

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Emotionally it is a different match, just like it was in the derby against Schalke

“Obviously, you don’t have to be a prophet when you say: If we want to keep competing for the title, we have to win the match. It’s as simple as that.”There are only six more matches to play after that. It’s easy to say, difficult to achieve, since Bayern are an exceptional side.”

The former Red Devils favourite has opened up on who the hardest adversary he faced in his career is, as well as the best teammates he played with

Ryan Giggs has proclaimed Inter stalwart Javier Zanetti as the toughest opponent he has ever faced across his footballing career, with the Manchester United legend citing the defender breaking his nose in the pair’s 1999 Champions League quarter-final encounter as a key reason behind his choice.

Wales boss Giggs and now-Nerazzurri vice-president Zanetti only faced each other four times across their career – a decade apart in a pair of European two-legged knockout encounters – but the latter left a lasting impression on the former Red Devils favourite when they first met during United’s treble-winning campaign, with the pair’s intense tussle living long in the memory.

Speaking to MUTV , Giggs revealed that he considered the Argentina star his stoutest foe across his two decade-plus tenure at the top of the footballing world, stating: “The hardest player I played against was [Javier] Zanetti from Inter.”

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Haaland and Can have helped transform Borussia Dortmund since last

While the phenomenon of home advantage may have been lost since the Bundesliga returned behind closed doors following the coronavirus-enforced suspension, Favre – whose Dortmund side will host Bayern – insists conclusions from their previous meeting are irrelevant this time.

“Obviously we didn’t play well in the first meeting,” Favre told reporters. “It was three days after our home match against Inter.

“Since then we improved and play with another system. It suits our squad more. In the transfer market we signed two players [Haaland and Can] and have more presence on the pitch now. We are simply better than back then, but this match [the 4-0 defeat] definitely was not good from us.”

The Bundesliga top two meet in Tuesday’s Klassiker, with the champions having won 4-0 in their clash earlier this season

Lucien Favre is convinced Borussia Dortmund will be an entirely different beast in Tuesday’s Klassiker to the one Bayern Munich thrashed 4-0 earlier in the season, with Erling Haaland and Emre Can playing a big part in that.

Bayern were comfortable victors in the first clash of the season back in November, with a Robert Lewandowski brace added to by Serge Gnabry’s effort and a Mats Hummels own goal.

Tuesday’s encounter will likely play a vital role in deciding where the Bundesliga title ends up, with Bayern four points clear of Dortmund at the summit.

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Reds trio part ways with team as manager slams QRU handling of dispute

Izack Rodda, Harry Hockings and Isaac Lucas have officially parted ways with the Queensland Reds and the group is adamant the Super Rugby franchise had no legal grounds to stand them down after they refused a short-term pay cut.

On Monday the Queensland Rugby Union issued a statement saying that Rodda, Hockings and Lucas were stood down until further notice for refusing to take a pay cut and not signing the JobKeeper forms like 189 of their peers across the country.

However, it has since emerged Rodda, wanted to move to another Super Rugby side, while the other younger players wanted to get out of their Reds deals to explore possible options in Japan.

A statement issued on behalf of the three to media outlets explained the decision.

“Following the Qld Rugby Union’s repudiatory conduct, Izack Rodda, Harry Hockings and Isaac Lucas have terminated their contracts with QRU and Rugby Australia (RA),” the statement said.

“The QRU had no legal basis to issue the stand down notice. The QRU was given considerable opportunity to withdraw the notice. The QRU failed to do so.”

Anthony Picone, who manages all three players, hit out at the QRU.

The latest news means Rodda, who has played 25 Tests for the Wallabies, has apparently turned his back on the national set-up.

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Clichy was playing that day and he believes the game perfectly

Former Arsenal star Gael Clichy says the Gunners side he played in failed to win a Premier League title under Arsene Wenger because they lacked ‘character’ and were prone to ‘crumbling’. Wenger’s title-winning team of 2004 was broken up in the following years and the club’s move to the Emirates Stadium meant the Frenchman was forced to sell some of his biggest players and recruit bargain replacements.

Nevertheless, Wenger developed a promising side in 2011 with Robin van Persie, Cesc Fabregas, Jack Wilshere and Laurent Koscielny. By the February of the 10/11 season Arsenal trailed leaders Manchester United by just five points and they could have got the gap to two points with a win against Newcastle at St James’ Park.

Arsenal raced into a 4-0 lead at half-time but the Magpies scored four after the break in one of the most memorable comebacks in Premier League history. Clichy was playing that day and he believes the game perfectly summed up the reasons Arsenal couldn’t win the title under Wenger, claiming it was ‘typical Arsenal’. Speaking to Premier League Productions about the game, Clichy said: ‘Yeah but this was typical Arsenal. ‘We could go anywhere and play anyone off the park then all of a sudden we could crumble in just a few minutes.

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