Unai Emery attempting to lead Arsenal to first league win at Old Trafford in 13 years

Press Association Sport 09:28 29/09/2019
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United and Arsenal drew at Old Trafford last season - it was Jose Mourinho's penultimate home game in charge.

Unai Emery is well aware of the special rivalry between Arsenal and Manchester United as he attempts to lead the Gunners to a first Premier League win at Old Trafford in 13 years.

Not since Emmanuel Adebayor scored the only goal of the game in September 2006 have Arsenal left United with three points.

Since then, United have had the better of their battles but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are out of form and have a lengthy injury list heading into Monday’s meeting.

The two sides battled for Premier League titles for a decade before the emergence of the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool.

Now they have been left behind and are both scrapping to earn a return to the top four come the end of the season, but Emery knows the fixture still means plenty to all involved.

“It’s an amazing moment, an amazing match between these two teams in the past, the present and the future,” he said.

“Each match when I watched in Spain, Arsenal v Manchester United, Manchester United v Arsenal, was a special moment.

“I think Monday at eight o’clock, all around the world, if someone wants to watch a football match, it’s this one.

“We really want to play matches where we can do something important. We are preparing well. The players are wishing to play the next match – we know it’s a very big opportunity for us to get three points.”

This fixture is not quite what it once was.

This fixture is not quite what it once was.

The sides drew 2-2 at Old Trafford in the corresponding fixture last December as the hosts twice came from behind to snatch a share of the spoils in what proved to be Jose Mourinho’s penultimate home game in charge of United.

Solskjaer has since taken charge but his side are enduring a poor run, with injuries also mounting for the former United striker.

Both he and Emery have been tasked with earning a return to the top four, and Champions League football, with the Arsenal head coach believing Solskjaer’s knowledge of the Premier League as a player can only help him achieve his goals.

“Solskjaer has experience, he was a player at Manchester United, he knows the club perfectly,” he added.

“He knows the high competition, the high level and he has now very good players. His challenge is also to achieve the consistency and performances that will get them in the top four.

“We are going to fight on Monday the first time of this season and it’s how we can respond, us and them.”

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Raheem Sterling comes to the defence of Manchester City team-mate Bernardo Silva

Press Association Sport 09:17 29/09/2019
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Raheem Sterling has come to the defence of Manchester City team-mate Bernardo Silva after the Portuguese faced accusations of racism this week.

Midfielder Silva came under fire over a controversial tweet to City colleague Benjamin Mendy in which he posted pictures comparing the Frenchman, with whom he also played at Monaco, to the character on a packet of Conguitos chocolates.

Anti-discrimination body Kick It Out called on the Football Association to take action, referring to the contents of the post as a racist stereotype, while the governing body has been in contact with City requesting their observations.

Silva has since written to the FA expressing regret at any unintentional offence his tweet caused and, in the wake of City’s 3-1 win over Everton on Saturday night, Sterling showed his support for the Portugal international.

“It’s a situation that no one needs at this moment in time. It’s a situation between two friends, Bernardo and Mendy as everyone knows,” the England forward told Sky Sports.

“I can see exactly the point where some people can get touchy-feely on it, but I feel in that situation Bernardo made a joke to his friend.

“He’s not referred to his skin colour, he’s not referred to his lips in both pictures, they’ve both got small heads and the most important thing for me is that he didn’t refer to a colour.”

Silva could face a ban if found guilty of discriminatory behaviour, but Sterling does not believe that is the case.

He said: “We all know, Benjamin knows, everyone can see that Mendy is a black lad. We’ve got to be proud to be black as well. If someone refers to our skin colour with an image, I’d be upset about that – we know what skin colour we are.

“But he hasn’t referred to his skin colour, that’s the most important thing I feel about the situation. It’s really sad to see someone like Bernardo, the whole week, be kind of down about it because he’s not that way inclined.

“They’re two really good friends, it’s sad to see. I can understand where the criticism has come, but I don’t feel it was intentional of trying to be racist and that’s not because they’re my team-mates, it’s just how I view them.

“Bernardo’s deeply sorry about it. He’s not in the wrong for me, but at the same time I can see why people think it’s wrong and we’ve got to be smarter on social media. In this day and age anything you say can be judged and it’s a really sad situation.

“I haven’t really been looking into the newspapers. I’ve seen the situation but the club, as I always would believe, would handle the situation right and I feel the sooner the better the FA can understand there was no intent to be discriminatory, there’s not one moment he uses a negative term to talk about his skin colour.

“He tried to make a joke, it wasn’t the best one but we’ve got to move on and understand that it wasn’t intentional.”

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Frank Lampard relieved to break Stamford Bridge duck as Chelsea beat Brighton

Press Association Sport 22:09 28/09/2019
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Frank Lampard was relieved to get a first Premier League home win as Chelsea boss under his belt after second-half goals from Jorginho and Willian sank Brighton 2-0.

The Blues had peppered the Brighton goal throughout the first half but only made the breakthrough when Jorginho tucked in a penalty five minutes after half-time.

Willian’s well-taken second secured a maiden three points at home for Lampard, while Brighton never really threatened to deny the hosts a first clean sheet of the season.

“We’ve been waiting for that,” said Lampard. “The home games have been frustrating. You could almost feel the frustration at half-time because we hadn’t scored.

“What pleased me was the performance. The message at half-time was to not get despondent and keep playing at pace.

“When you’re not winning at home you fear the worst, but it felt different today.

“I felt it was coming and it was important to say that to the players. They deserved something to drop and it came with the penalty.”

Chelsea had 17 shots – three of them sitters – in a one-sided first half.

They were inches away from taking the lead when Tammy Abraham glanced a header which bounced against a post.

Ross Barkley should have put the Blues ahead in the 36th minute when he met Marcos Alonso’s cross at the far post but his cushioned volley gave Mat Ryan the chance to save.

Worse was to come in front of the Brighton goal, Pedro shooting straight at Ryan when clean through before Alonso arrived at the far post only to blaze over from three yards out.

Brighton somehow survived the first half, but five minutes into the second Adam Webster hit the self-destruct button.

The defender’s poor touch in the area allowed Mason Mount to poke the ball away from him and as Webster tried to win it back he tripped the youngster.

Jorginho assumed penalty-taking duties despite Pedro notching one against Grimsby in midweek and the Italian coolly rolled it home.

Brighton briefly threatened an equaliser, Steven Alzate seeing a shot deflected wide before Dan Burn headed the resulting corner into the ground and up off the crossbar.

But their rally was short lived, Callum Hudson-Odoi feeding Willian who charged into the box and finished at the near post.

For the Seagulls, the Graham Potter revolution has yet to take off and they have now not won since the opening weekend of the season.

“We were stubborn and put up a fight but we were lucky to go in at 0-0 to be honest,” said Potter.

“There was nothing wrong with the effort, the boys gave everything and you have to give credit to the opposition. Chelsea were good.

“Adam’s got tremendous quality with the ball at his feet but mistakes happen.

“We grew into the game a bit, hit the bar and had a chance to get a foothold but then the second goal killed us off a bit.

“Overall Chelsea deserved to win. We have to improve. That’s our challenge.”

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