Man City boss Pep Guardiola praises Vincent Kompany after latest return from injury

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Vincent Kompany made his latest return on Sunday after a month out.

Pep Guardiola has stressed Vincent Kompany’s importance to Manchester City after welcoming his skipper back into the first-team fold.

Kompany returned for City’s 2-0 FA Cup win at Cardiff on Sunday – the first time the Belgian defender has featured since limping off at Newcastle on December 27 with a muscular injury.

He completed 90 minutes for only the second time in two months, and Guardiola was delighted that Kompany had got through his latest comeback.

“He did 90 minutes and it is a long time that he played in this kind of game,” said Guardiola, who could add to his defensive options by signing Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte before the transfer deadline on Wednesday night.

“It was a lot of long balls, a lot with the physicality.

“Vincent is so important and he did a good performance.”

Manchester City were left counting the cost of a bruising fourth-round tie when Leroy Sane was the victim of a late Joe Bennett tackle right on half-time.

Sane did not reappear for the second half and the German international is expected to have a scan on Monday to determine the extent of the injury.

But first-half goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling kept City on the trophy trail in four competitions.

De Bruyne claimed a candidate for cheekiest goal of the season when he rolled his free-kick under the Cardiff wall, which had jumped en bloc.

“We showed them,” Guardiola said, revealing Cardiff’s practice of jumping in the wall had been noted when City scouted them in their third-round cup replay victory at Mansfield.

“My assistant coach saw the wall jump and after that he decided.

“You always give the information, but I’m sorry – the talent is the talent and the credit goes to Kevin.

“But we did a good performance, we saw them play man to man and we wanted one more man in the middle to play an extra pass.

“If you go to the right they follow to the right, if you go to the left they follow to the left, if you go the locker room they follow you to the locker room!

“So we went to look for one player in the middle and we found that extra pass quite well.”

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Man United's Alexis Sanchez set to make his Premier League debut and other talking points ahead of this week's action

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Alexis Sanchez will make his Premier League bow for Man United on Wednesday.

There is a full midweek Premier League schedule, with three matches on Tuesday and seven on Wednesday.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at five talking points.

TRANSFER MERRY-GO-ROUND

Wednesday’s winter transfer deadline of 11pm will be prominent in the minds of many players and managers, despite the midweek fixture list. The team selections could be indicative of potential moves being close to being finalised, particularly on Wednesday, when 14 teams are in action. Chelsea are among the clubs who could be active in the closing days and hours of the window.

Chelsea are still looking for a striker, despite Michy Batshuayi's brace on Sunday.

SANCHEZ’S PREMIER LEAGUE DEBUT

Surely the most high-profile deal of the January transfer window has already been completed, with Alexis Sanchez swapping Arsenal for Manchester United. The Chile forward made his debut in a 4-0 FA Cup win at Yeovil and is now poised for his Premier League bow against familiar opponents: Tottenham, at Wembley. Sanchez scored just his second goal in eight appearances against Spurs when Arsenal won 2-0 at Emirates Stadium in November.

How will Alexis Sanchez fare on his Premier League debut for United?

ARSENAL’S WEEKEND OFF

Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who swapped Old Trafford for Arsenal in the Sanchez deal, could make his Gunners debut at Swansea on Tuesday night. The FA Cup holders were eliminated in the third round by Nottingham Forest, so had a rare weekend off after reaching the Carabao Cup final at the expense of Chelsea last Wednesday. They will be expected to return refreshed and ready to crush any hopes Swansea have of building on the victory over Liverpool.

COMEBACK FROM THE CUP

Many sides will be seeking responses from disappointing FA Cup results. Jurgen Klopp will certainly demand it of Liverpool. The Reds lost to West Brom and go to Huddersfield seeking to recover from successive losses. The Terriers, who beat Manchester United at home earlier this season, were held by Birmingham in a disappointing result of their own. West Ham were beaten by League One Wigan and play Crystal Palace at home, with David Moyes wanting more from his side. Spurs drew at Newport and face Sanchez’s United.

Liverpool have followed up a win over Man City with losses to Swansea and West Brom.

IT IS TIGHT AT THE BOTTOM

Manchester City may have a 12-point lead, and any race at the top of the standings may be for a top-four finish. But the lower half of the table is an altogether different story as 11 clubs – from 10th-placed Watford to Swansea in 20th – are separated by six points. Include ninth-placed Everton and the gap to the Swans at the bottom is eight points. The relegation race will run and run.

Bottom-of-the-table Swansea are only six points away from the top half.

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Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund ‘agree deal’ for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Dan Owen 29/01/2018
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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund have come to an agreement over Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, according to leading German newspaper Kicker.

Reports coming out of Germany suggest a deal worth 36 million Euros is in place to take the sought-after striker to the Emirates – with a stipulation sending Olivier Giroud in the opposite direction on loan until the end of the season.

This could prove something of a sticking point with Giroud’s reluctance to leave London – although it is thought a deal can be made regardless.

The Gabonese hotshot was a surprise selection in Dortmund’s 2-2 draw with Freiburg in the Bundesliga on Saturday, a match in which he was booed by his own fans.

But according to the Daily Mirror, Arsenal believe that his appearance was just a scare tactic – and that Dortmund director Michael Zorc fully intends to part ways with the wantaway striker before the transfer window slams shut on January 31.

The Gunners are confident Zorc will eventually blink and lower his asking price as the presence of Emerick-Aubameyang continues to be an unwanted distraction at the Westfalenstadion.

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