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How Arsenal vs Manchester United has affected the title race

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Meetings between Arsenal and Manchester United in years gone by have been the stuff of legend, iconic battles, simply ‘prime Barclays’.

Well, on Sunday night, we saw a glimpse of those good old days.

A weighted clash that involved two title-chasers, an exhibition of quality with superb goals and, most importantly, a battle fought with grit, bite and determination, Sunday’s clash between the two sides was reminiscent of Arsenal vs Manchester United throughout the noughties – it was almost Fergie vs Wenger.

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Both teams, under Mikel Arteta and Erik ten Hag respectively, have thoroughly impressed throughout the 2022/23 campaign.

The Gunners have been red hot and resolute since the opening day to lead the frontrunners in the Premier League while, after a slow start, the Red Devils have bounced back to form a title challenge of their own.

The importance of Sunday night’s clash could not have been overstated and, with a late, dramatic 3-2 victory to show for their efforts, Arsenal went home having taken a big step in the title race.

A 2-2 draw was on the horizon when Lisandro Martinez’s well-taken, swooping header cancelled out Bukayo Saka’s sublime long-range effort – that was after Marcus Rashofrd’s equally thumping effort had been chalked off by Eddie Nketiah’s first of the game.

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At 2-2, Manchester City might have thought themselves the true victors with their closest competitors destined to drop two points each while they themselves ran out 3-0 winners against Wolves earlier in the day.

Nketiah’s 90th-minute winner, however, saw the Gunners crowd produce fireworks – and with good reason.

The win not only avoids conceding the double to United (who, coincidentally, are the only side to beat Arsenal so far this season) but also extends the gap they have over ten Hag’s men to 11 points – the same points difference between Arteta’s side and Eddie Howe’s Newcastle, who sit third.

Meanwhile, even after Erling Haaland’s hat-trick and a second Premier League win on the trot for City, Arsenal still boast a five-point lead over Pep Guardiola’s men – with a game in hand.

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A draw might not have been the end of the world for either side, but a win only strengthens Arsenal’s title credentials and really tightens their grip on top spot as things stand. Meanwhile, defeat for the Red Devils will taste bitter, will require a whole lot of strength to bounce back from, and is a real dent in their own push.

City are still on the Gunners’ tails, but victory over United was, in conclusion, pretty massive in the title-race picture. Here’s how things stand at the top of the table after Sunday’s action…

1. Arsenal (played 19; 50pts; 29 GD)
2. Manchester City (played 20; 45pts; 33 GD)
3. Newcastle United (played 20; 39pts; 22 GD)
4. Manchester United (played 20; 39pts; 7 GD)



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EPL

Cody Gakpo reflects on first month at Liverpool

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Liverpool forward Cody Gakpo has opened up on his first month on the books at Anfield, admitting he is still getting used to Jurgen Klopp’s tactics.

The Dutchman was wanted by a number of elite sides, with Manchester United expected to win the race for his signature, but it was Liverpool who snuck in and agreed to pay an initial £35m to bring Gakpo to England.

The 23-year-old, who made his name as a left winger but has spent time as a striker at Liverpool, is yet to score after four appearances for his new side, but he told club media that is it just a matter of getting to grips with his new surroundings

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“My feeling, personally, is everyone in the team has so much quality,” he said. “That is what I see in training and in phases in the games.

“It is also a part of football, that sometimes things don’t work out exactly the way you want them to. We just have to keep improving, working hard, and the quality will come out. Then, you’re going to see the real Liverpool.”

He continued: “From a football perspective, it’s a new environment on the pitch, with new players and a new team. I can tell it’s a really great group. Every day I am looking forward to working with them, to train hard and to play the games. I am trying to adapt as quickly as possible, to improve every day and in the end show the best version of myself.

“Off the pitch, to be honest, I haven’t been in the city so many times yet. Most of the time I have been in the hotel. I am moving this week, actually. That’s also something I’m looking forward to.”

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Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

Gakpo also confessed that he is still trying to adapt to his new role in Liverpool’s team.

“It is a little bit different to what I’m used to,” the Dutchman admitted. “Normally, I have played on the left for almost the past three years.

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“It’s something I can improve, playing in the striker role, and I want to show my quality there. It’s a great position and playing there makes me more complete as a technical player.





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Fulham launch bid Fluminense midfielder Andre

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Fulham have made a bid to sign Fluminense midfielder Andre, 90min understands.

The 21-year-old has quickly established himself as one of Fluminense’s top players and a number of sides across Europe have expressed an interest in luring him away from his homeland in 2023.

Sources have confirmed to 90min that Fulham have approached Fluminense to try and thrash out a deal, but the Brazilian side are reluctant to part ways with their star player during the 2023 campaign.

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Andre, who has been linked with the likes of Barcelona and Liverpool, has spoken out about the interest and insisted his focus remains solely on his current employers.

“Obviously, I’m focused and very happy,” Andre said recently. “I just renewed my contract until 2026.

“It’s normal to get offers, but I’m focused here on Fluminense and having an excellent season.”

Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

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If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

Andre’s agent, Carlos Leite, also took to Instagram to confirm that the 21-year-old had agreed to remain with Fluminense until the end of the current campaign, which runs over the entire calendar year.

“Thanks to the great work carried out, Andre entered the radars of some of the biggest European clubs and, with that, he has received several enquiries and some official proposals,” Leite wrote.

“However, the player and Fluminense, through president Mario Bittencourt, sealed an agreement for the midfielder to remain at the club at this time, with all the dedication and commitment, always seeking the best for Fluminense in all competitions.”

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Sporting CP manager makes Pedro Porro admission as Tottenham talks continue

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Sporting CP manager Ruben Amorim has warned Tottenham that he will not take right-back Pedro Porro out of his starting lineup until a transfer has been 100% agreed.

90min understands Tottenham are confident they will get a deal over the line for the 23-year-old eventually, but Sporting’s reluctance to budge from their asking price of Porro’s €45m release clause has led to some lengthy negotiations which are not yet over.

And while Porro is still contracted to Sporting, Amorim will not hesitate to use the right-back and risk an injury which could see the entire move collapse.

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“Porro does not leave before the game,” Amorim said ahead of Saturday’s Allianz Cup final against Porto. “Clubs have to come first, and as far as I know, a player who is able to play and is signed up by a club, he has to go to games.

“I realise that [negotiations] involve a lot of players’ minds, but the indication I have is that Porro is fit, and the most important thing for me, as a manager, is that if he wasn’t there, there would be someone else. The game cannot be played with just one player. Porro is fit. Whatever has to happen will happen, we are prepared for all scenarios.”

Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

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Amorim continued: “Is this Porro’s last game at the club? I don’t know. There are a few days left until February 1, then everyone will know if Porro stays or leaves.

“Porro hasn’t left yet. We are scouting, but not everything is easy, you’re in a real hurry to send Porro away!”

Spurs have repeatedly tried to lower Sporting’s asking price for Porro by including at least one player in the deal, but the Portuguese side have been clear about their determination to hold out for the right-back’s release clause – in full.





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