We learnt in the Pre­mier League

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS - BY JACK DE MENEZES

AL­LOW­ING Barcelona and Manch­ester City tar­get Hec­tor Bel­lerin to leave Ar­se­nal would be a big mis­take, says the 21-year-old Spain full-back’s Gun­ners team­mate Santi Ca­zorla.

BORUS­SIA DORT­MUND chief ex­ec­u­tive Hans-Joachim Watzke has de­scribed Hen­rikh Mkhi­taryan’s sum­mer move to Manch­ester United as “strange” and ruled out a fu­ture re­turn to the Ger­man club for the 27-year-old Ar­me­nia mid­fielder.

IN­TER MI­LAN could seek to re­place cap­tain Mauro Icardi - la­belled a “clown” by his own sup­port­ers at the weekend - with Chelsea and Bel­gium striker Michy Bat­shuayi, 23, who only moved to Stam­ford Bridge in the sum­mer.

SUN­DER­LAND owner El­lis Short has spo­ken to Chi­nese con­sor­tiums over a po­ten­tial £150m takeover of the Pre­mier League club.

CHELSEA striker Diego Costa’s clash with man­ager An­to­nio Conte dur­ing the win over Le­ices­ter on Satur­day started be­cause the 28-year-old Spain international was fed up of be­ing screamed at.

WEST BROM striker Saido Ber­ahino, 23, was eight pounds over­weight be­fore the international break, prompt­ing the club to leave him out of the squad at Tot­ten­ham.

AC MI­LAN are look­ing to step up their in­ter­est in Chelsea mid­fielder Cesc Fabre­gas, 29, and sent scouts to watch the Blues’ 3-0 win over Le­ices­ter on Satur­day.

FA CHAIR­MAN Greg Clarke thinks it may be too early in Bournemouth man­ager Ed­die Howe’s ca­reer to give him the Eng­land job.

FORMER Manch­ester United striker Dwight Yorke, 44, says his fail­ure to get a break in coach­ing is down to both racism and his lack of ex­pe­ri­ence.

FORMER Eng­land de­fender Sol Camp­bell says he could land his first man­age­rial job within the next three weeks, but ex­pects it to be on the con­ti­nent rather than in the Pre­mier League.

TOT­TEN­HAM for­ward Son He­ung-min, 24, says former Manch­ester United striker Ruud van Nis­tel­rooy in­spired him dur­ing their time at Hamburg to­gether.

LE­ICES­TER keeper Kasper Sch­me­ichel says the club’s play­ers have held clear-the-air talks over their poor start to their Pre­mier League ti­tle de­fence.

AR­SE­NAL man­ager Arsene Wenger has had a spe­cial pitch in­stalled at the club’s train­ing ground in an ef­fort to re­duce their in­jury prob­lems.

£1=RM5.13 Guardi­ola is no ma­gi­cian It all seemed to be go­ing so well for Pep Guardi­ola. Ten wins on the trot, a four-point lead at the top of the Pre­mier League ta­ble and the trio of Ser­gio Aguero, Ra­heem Ster­ling and Kevin De Bruyne all play­ing on the same wave­length. But oh how the ta­bles have turned.

Draws with Celtic and Ever­ton sand­wich a com­pre­hen­sive 2-0 loss to Tot­ten­ham, and sud­denly City face the daunt­ing trip to Barcelona early to­mor­row morn­ing with the very real risk of go­ing four matches with­out a win.

Things don’t get much eas­ier af­ter­wards, with in-form Southamp­ton – more of them later – set to visit the Eti­had Sta­dium be­fore the Manch­ester derby in the EFL Cup (or sim­ply the League Cup) at Old Traf­ford.

It’s not com­pletely in­con­ceiv­able that City could reach the end of Oc­to­ber hav­ing not won a match since 24 Septem­ber, yet ev­ery­one was ready to hand out the league tro­phy to Guardi­ola less than a month ago.

Conte’s Chelsea be­gin to click Af­ter a dif­fi­cult run of games that brought de­feats by Liver­pool and Ar­se­nal, Chelsea fi­nally looked like the tal­ented team they should be in Satur­day’s 3-0 win over strug­gling Le­ices­ter City. The Blues, again de­ployed in a 3-43 for­ma­tion, ben­e­fit­ted greatly from hav­ing Mar­cos Alonso let loose on the left, and he in turn al­lowed both Eden Haz­ard and Diego Costa to roam to great ef­fect. It was also the best per­for­mance we’ve seen from N’Golo Kante since he moved south to Stam­ford Bridge, and – per­haps fired up against his former side – he proved why Conte was right to wax lyri­cal about the France mid­fielder be­fore the match. It looked like the first time we’ve seen Conte’s style reap re­wards for Chelsea, and could be a sign of things to come.

Kane ab­sence is cost­ing Spurs Tot­ten­ham put in as close to a per­fect per­for­mance as is pos­si­ble with­out man­ag­ing to win at the weekend, as the 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Al­bion meant that they missed out on the chance to go top of the Pre­mier League.

Spurs man­ager Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino has been keen to stress that his team have been ham­pered by in­juries, and none more so than the one to Harry Kane.

It took a late equaliser from Dele Alli to can­cel out former Tot­ten­ham mid­fielder Nacer Chadli’s opener, but with­out Kane in the side, Spurs have strug­gled to dis­play that cut­ting edge that the Eng­land striker brings.

His re­place­ment, Vin­cent Janssen, sim­ply can’t match Kane’s eye for goal, and while the likes of Son He­ung-min and Alli are mak­ing up for it, Spurs des­per­ately need Kane to re­turn to lead their ti­tle chal­lenge.

Xhaka must learn if he is to avoid be­com­ing a li­a­bil­ity Granit Xhaka plays on the edge of the law. His dis­ci­plinary record proves that too of­ten he falls foul of it, with eight red cards since April 2014 one of the worst ratios in Euro­pean foot­ball.

His dis­missal on Satur­day in the 3-2 vic­tory over Swansea was noth­ing more than stupid, but if he is to avoid the wrath of the Ar­se­nal faith­ful – and more im­por­tantly man­ager Arsene Wenger – then he needs to cut out the rash tack­les from his game.

Other than his mo­ment of mad­ness and an er­ror that led to Gylfi Sig­urds­son’s goal, Xhaka was im­pres­sive against the Swans. His pass­ing was quick and pre­cise, he in­ter­cepted the ball on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions and his tack­ling set the tone for an Ar­se­nal side that no longer al­lows it­self to be bul­lied.

Phe­lan un­cer­tainty has not helped The start of the sea­son brought plenty of op­ti­mism af­ter what was a sum­mer of doom and gloom, fol­low­ing Steve Bruce’s exit and a rather poor trans­fer win­dow.

Three wins on the spin sud­denly trig­gered talk of Hull be­ing ‘the next Le­ices­ter’, but the fall back to earth has been fast and hard.

One point from six matches has seen Hull plum­met down the league ta­ble and they now sit pre­car­i­ously above the rel­e­ga­tion zone with just a point be­tween them and 18th-placed Stoke.

Hull were the favourites for rel­e­ga­tion at the start of the cam­paign, and ever since the un­cer­tainty sur­round­ing Phe­lan’s po­si­tion emerged, their form dropped off.

Hull have con­ceded 18 goals in their last five matches in all com­pe­ti­tions, and any hopes that end­ing the doubts over Phe­lan’s fu­ture by ap­point­ing him per­ma­nently would lift their form proved to be short lived as Bournemouth put six past them at the weekend.

It’s look­ing in­creas­ingly more des­per­ate at the KCOM Sta­dium.

Stoke come good but writ­ing is on the wall for Sun­der­land In what was billed as an early rel­e­ga­tion en­counter, Stoke pre­vailed to add more mis­ery to David Moyes’s bad start at Sun­der­land.

The Pot­ters recorded their first win of the sea­son and af­ter draws with Manch­ester United and West Brom, things don’t seem so bleak at the Bri­tan­nia. Mark Hughes has of­ten made slow starts dur­ing his man­age­rial ca­reer, but time and time again he comes good to fin­ish the sea­son strongly, and it looks like the same may hap­pen this year.

The same can­not be said for Sun­der­land. Win­less in the league and rooted to the bot­tom of the league ta­ble with just two points to their name, it looks like there is no es­cap­ing the drop this time around.

Moyes is good enough that he can give them a life­line, but he needs to do so be­fore the Jan­uary trans­fer win­dow opens and he can strengthen.

Fail to do that, and the Cham­pi­onship beck­ons for the Black Cats.

There’s some­thing spe­cial about Southamp­ton What is it about Southamp­ton that means they can sell their best play­ers year-on-year and still main­tain their pursuit of Euro­pean foot­ball? For any club look­ing to build a suc­cess­ful model, then look no fur­ther than the Saints.

What they’ve done since drop­ping down to League One has been re­mark­able, and the com­fort­able 3-1 vic­tory over Burn­ley on Sun­day dis­played once again why they will be in the mix for Europe come the end of the sea­son.

Hav­ing sold both Graziano Pelle and Sa­dio Mane in the sum­mer and let man­ager Ron­ald Koe­man join Ever­ton, many be­lieved the Southamp­ton bub­ble may fi­nally have burst.

But in Claude Puel’s side, Southamp­ton have plenty of match win­ners, the most likely of which has proven to be striker Char­lie Austin, who finds him­self be­ing touted for an Eng­land call-up.

In re­cent years Saints have lost the likes of Mor­gan Sch­nei­der­lin, Luke Shaw, Cal­lum Cham­bers and also an­other man­ager in Po­chet­tino, yet they con­tinue to strive for­wards with smart pur­chases in the trans­fer mar­ket and a renowned academy that pro­duces a con­stant stream of tal­ent. For that, they need to be com­mended.

– THE IN­DE­PEN­DENT

AFPPIX

Southamp­ton’s Char­lie Austin cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing the open­ing goal against Burn­ley at St Mary’s Sta­dium in Southamp­ton on Sun­day. –

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