Man City cup win will have little bearing on Arsenal rematch, claims Ilkay Gundogan

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Gundogan believes the Cup win will have no impact on the Arsenal clash.

Ilkay Gundogan claims Manchester City‘s comfortable Carabao Cup final win over Arsenal will have little bearing on Thursday’s Premier League trip to the Emirates Stadium.

City cruised to a 3-0 win against an insipid Gunners side at Wembley on Sunday to collect their first trophy under Pep Guardiola.

City will now hope to re-establish a 16-point lead at the top of the Premier League when the sides meet again later this week but Gundogan is not taking another victory for granted.

The midfielder said: “We know Arsenal are able to play, they have a strong team. It is going to be challenging and we need to be ready. It won’t be easy. It is just maybe a bit weird to play them twice in four days.”

The close proximity of Thursday’s game meant City had little time to celebrate their success at the weekend. The busy schedule then continues with a home game against Chelsea on Sunday and the second leg of their Champions League tie against Basel next week.

Gundogan said: “There are still plenty of huge games to play and the next one is on Thursday against the same opponent. It doesn’t stop.

“There is not really a break to relax or enjoy. Now we try to prepare for the game on Thursday and try to get another win.”

Kompany was among the three goal scorers for City in the finals.

Kompany was among the goal scorers for City at Wembley.

City took a first half lead through Sergio Aguero and then wrapped up victory with goals from captain Vincent Kompany and David Silva soon after the break.

It was an emphatic response to seeing their bid for a quadruple come to an end with a surprise loss to League One Wigan last week.

Germany international Gundogan said: “We were disappointed to lose in the FA Cup. It is was not easy after that game, the feelings of the players.

“But it always continues. We always need to go on. This was the first final and we won it. That is very important, to win the finals.”

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Liverpool's Mohamed Salah on track to have greatest-ever debut season in Premier League

Alex Broun 26/02/2018
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Remember this date – June 22, 2017 – just over eight months ago and Mo Salah’s 25th birthday.

It was also the day the Egyptian phenomenon arrived in Liverpool from Roma for a then club-record fee of £36.9 million.

The signing was not met with that much frenzy at the time.

Salah had been named player of the season for Roma the previous term, as I Giallorossi finished second in Italy and claimed a Champions League place.

He had also finished as the club’s top goalscorer with 15 goals in all competitions (14 in Serie A), and six assists, bringing his tally to 29 goals in 65 appearances over two seasons.

But Serie A is not the Premier League and many Liverpool fans still remembered Salah’s underwhelming time at Chelsea in 2014/15 where he scored just two goals in 13 appearances before being shipped off on loan to Fiorentina then Roma, who made their loan deal permanent in 2016.

It was Jose Mourinho, then Chelsea manager, who shipped him in and shipped him out – one decision he may wish he had again.

Jurgen Klopp said at the time of Salah’s arrival: “His pace is incredible, he gives us more attacking threat and we are already strong in this area.

“Most important, though, for us, is that he is hungry, willing and eager to be even better and improve further.”

26 02 2018 Salah

Even Klopp could not have predicted just how great that improvement would be.

With ten games still left in the season Salah is on track to become the most successful debutant in Premier League history.

Currently he sits in sixth place with 23 goals and eight assists – only one goal involvement behind Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink at Chelsea in 2017-18 and Alan Shearer at Newcastle in 1996-97.

There’s every likelihood that Salah will also pass No3 and No2 on the list – Sunderland’s Kevin Phillips (34) and United’s Robyn van Persie (35) – but he has some way to catch top of the list Andy Cole on 47 (34 goals and 13 assists).

But at this stage everything is possible. He already sits ahead of Shearer and only behind Cole in goals per game – 1.18 to 1.15.

Salah is already breaking records and winning awards weekly – 2017 African Player of the Year, 2017 BBC African Footballer of the Year, PL Player of the Month for November, PFA Player of the Month November and December and four Liverpool Player of the Months awards in his first five months at the club.

The goal against West Ham on the weekend was Salah’s 20th scored with his left foot this season, breaking the previous record of 19 held by – wait for it – the player Liverpool fans know as ‘God’, Robbie Fowler.

No player in the Premier League has ever scored more with his left boot in a single campaign – and fittingly it was also Liverpool’s 100th goal for the season. The century mark is the first time this has been achieved at Liverpool under Klopp.

19 MAR 1995: ROBBIE FOWLER OF LIVERPOOL BEATS STEVE BRUCE OF MANCHESTER UNITED DURING A PREMIERSHIP MATCH AT ANFIELD. Mandatory Credit: Shaun Botterill/ALLSPORT

Robbie Fowler has already lost one record to Salah – now he could lose a second.

Salah’s total of 30 goals this season in all competitions (23 PL, 6 Champions League, 1 FA Cup) is just one behind Luis Suarez’s magical final season (2013-14) when he scored 31.

He’s already gone past Michael Owen’s best (28), and now he has only Fernando Torres (33) and Fowler (36) ahead of him.

Both of those players are already legends of the club and Salah – in just his first season – is already heading that way.

It’s an astonishing performance for a player who was once dismissed as not up to Premier League standard.

Without a doubt he has proven that is not the case.

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Man United striker Romelu Lukaku believes he doesn't get the respect he deserves

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Luk out with big Rom?

Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku believes he deserves “a bit more respect” for his goal-laden track record.

Many had expected the 24-year-old to rejoin Chelsea in the summer, only for Jose Mourinho’s men to swoop in and sign the Everton man for an initial £75million.

Lukaku has produced a solid early return by plundering 22 goals in all competitions at United, with the latest coming against Chelsea on Sunday.

The 24-year-old would go on to set up Jesse Lingard’s winner and be named man of the match for his display in the 2-1 win – the kind of big occasion when his impact has been long been doubted.

“That’s the situation around me,” Lukaku said, having scored his first league goal for United against a side currently in the top eight.

“I just need to keep working hard. I think I have got a nice record.

“I’ve scored a lot this season and I just want to keep going.

“I know that I can improve, and I want to improve and really work hard. I want to win trophies.

“We are still in the fight in two competitions. It’s not going to be easy but it’s a nice challenge.”

Asked if people forget how young he is, Lukaku said: “Yeah, because I’ve been in the game for so long.

“I started playing when I was 16. Year in, year out people expect 20 goals from me.

“I’ve been doing it for 10 years straight, so I think I’ve proved myself.

“You expect a bit more respect but it’s the situation we’re in. I don’t listen to it. I just want to improve and show the people what I can do on the pitch.”

Lukaku is two goals away from becoming just the 28th player to score 100 Premier League goals, yet he knows it will take more than that to win over some.

And with United still fighting on three fronts – albeit more in hope than expectation in the league – the striker is targeting collective glory rather than individual success.

Asked what it would take to get the respect he feels he is due, he said: “If I win – I want to win.

“As long as I win, and I lead my team to winning that’s when I will be really satisfied.

“As a football player, I don’t play for the individual. I think a lot of big players that we recognise today in the game are players who have won something, and I want to be part of them.

“The road is still far ahead, but I’m ambitious and I’ll work every day for my team to win – I’m not thinking about myself.”

Lukaku had notched up United's equaliser against his former employers.

Lukaku had notched up United’s equaliser against his former employers.

Lukaku relishes the pressure that comes with “playing for the biggest club in the world” and does not regret spurning the chance to return to Chelsea in the summer.

“No, no, no,” he said. “When I make a choice it’s with my head and my heart. I made the right choice for me.

“As you can see, I’m in a good situation. I’m with a manager and players who push me every day. The challenge is there to win and it’s something that I wanted.”

Danny Drinkwater was also facing his former club on Sunday, with the Chelsea midfielder left frustrated by defeat to the club whose youth system he came through.

“We definitely should have got something from the game,” he said.

“In the first half we were very dominant. In the second half it was a bit different, it was more even, but we didn’t deserve to lose that game, no chance.”

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