Curtis Jones revealed he had been frustrated by a lack of first-team opportunities at Liverpool before scoring an incredible Merseyside derby winner at Anfield.

Teenage midfielder Jones was playing for the fourth time this season for the European and world champions, who are 13 points clear at the top of the Premier League with a game in hand.

With plenty of competition for places in the Liverpool team, Merseyside-born Jones has found the lack of regular action tough.

He certainly took his opportunity on Sunday, though, scoring the only goal in a 1-0 FA Cup third-round win over Everton, beating England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford from 20 yards in spectacular fashion.

"I just go out there and try to play my game," Jones told BBC Sport. "I've had a bit of a tough time - maybe not tough, but frustrating at times.

"Being on the bench, I got a bit of a taste and then I'm on the bench again. There's times where in my head I'm begging to come on.

"I just tried to go out there and show what I'm capable of doing. Hopefully, I've topped that off with a good performance and, as everyone would say, a great goal."

Adam Lallana, captain after James Milner's withdrawal through injury early on, had sympathy for Jones but reminded his midfield colleague he was "playing for the best team in the world".

Lallana said: "[The youngsters] have been absolutely brilliant this season, their performances in training and games like this.

"It's frustrating at times for them because they obviously want to play.

"It's times like this that they get the opportunity to show what they're capable of. As the manager's said, they're more than ready to play.

"It's frustrating because they're playing for the best team in the world. That's a fact.

"They're training with us day in and day out, and I'm delighted [Jones] took his opportunity - as did everyone else."

Jones added of his emotions: "I can't really [describe it]. For me, it's huge just being around these [players] every day and learning from the experienced ones, the ones that have had a great career.

"There's world-class players in our team, as you can see, and I learn every day. I think it showed out on the pitch."

Curtis Jones netted an outstanding first senior goal to carry a youthful Liverpool side to an impressive 1-0 Merseyside derby victory over Everton in the third round of the FA Cup at Anfield.

Top of the Premier League and through to the last 16 of the Champions League, Liverpool appeared to be prioritising their other commitments until Jones came to the fore.

Jurgen Klopp included new signing Takumi Minamino among a clutch of established names at Anfield but largely put his faith in young stars, who held their own admirably against an experienced Everton outfit.

Adrian was required to make a string of saves in the first half, before the hosts took control of the second period and scored in stunning fashion through 18-year-old Jones with 19 minutes to play, extending Everton's wait for a win at their bitter rivals that stretches back to 1999.

Carlo Ancelotti's side should have led early on but Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Mason Holgate and Richarlison all shot too close to Adrian, who reacted instinctively on each occasion, while stand-in Liverpool captain James Milner was injured in attempting to prevent the first opening.

Although Jordan Pickford dived into a stunning, stretching save from Divock Origi shortly before the break, the striker appeared to be stood in an offside position, meaning the VAR would have intervened.

Liverpool stayed patient in pursuit of an opener following a strong start to the second period and their moment came when Jones traded passes with Origi 20 yards from goal and whipped a sensational, curling effort over the scrambling Pickford.

The England goalkeeper, who had saved from Origi moments earlier, was quickly worked again by substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as Everton struggled to find a response.

Inevitable late pressure followed, but Liverpool held firm for a win that dealt a blow to Ancelotti in the early stages of his Everton tenure.

Takumi Minamino is set to make his Liverpool debut in Sunday's FA Cup clash with Merseyside neighbours Everton after being named in a youthful starting XI.

In the standout third-round tie of the day, Liverpool host their local rivals at Anfield and Jurgen Klopp has made the most of the opportunity to rest key players, as he had previously suggested.

But among those to profit is new signing Minamino, who joined at the start of the month following a reported £7.25million move from Austrian side Salzburg.

The Japan international had impressed in two Champions League matches for Salzburg against the Reds in the first half of the season, scoring in the 4-3 defeat to Klopp's men in October.

He was ineligible to feature in Liverpool's 2-0 win over Sheffield United on January 2, but following confirmation of his registration, the 24-year-old comes straight into a starting XI that does not include Roberto Firmino, Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane.

Nathaniel Phillips, Neco Williams, Pedro Chirivella, Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott and Divock Origi get rare starts for the Reds, while Everton have named a line-up almost at full-strength in Carlo Ancelotti's first Merseyside derby.

Richarlison, Theo Walcott and the in-form Dominic Calvert-Lewin lead the line, while Mason Holgate keeps his place at the back alongside Yerry Mina, with Michael Keane still benched.

Jurgen Klopp feels Carlo Ancelotti's arrival at Everton makes them "more dangerous" opponents for Liverpool despite the latter's strong record in the Merseyside derby.

Sunday's game at Anfield is the tie of the third round, with Ancelotti - who missed out on the Liverpool job to Klopp in 2015 - set for his first experience of the famous fixture.

Klopp and Ancelotti have faced off a number of times during their managerial careers, including in the Champions League group stage in each of the past two seasons.

Liverpool only won one of their four meetings with Ancelotti's Napoli in the competition, losing twice, while Real Madrid knocked out Klopp's Borussia Dortmund under the Italian's leadership en route to Champions League glory in 2013-14.

Ancelotti has led Everton to two wins from three Premier League games since replacing Marco Silva, though Duncan Ferguson helped to stabilise the club during his time in caretaker charge.

And Klopp is looking forward to taking on three-time Champions League winner Ancelotti again.

"Carlo being back in the English game is so cool for the competitions and even cooler for Everton," Klopp wrote in his column for Liverpool's official matchday programme ahead of Sunday's clash. 

"I'm not sure if I'm doing either of us any favours by saying this, but in football terms, I really do consider him a friend. Such an amazing person and just so generous in spirit and personality.

"He's won all there is to win, as a player and coach, and yet remains chilled and humble. He is a benchmark for those of us working in the game today on how to conduct yourself.

"His impact at Everton is already being felt – we can see this from our analysis. He has been clever in picking up on the positivity of approach injected by Duncan Ferguson.

"Everton are always a difficult opponent for us because of the positive emotion they bring into this derby game. Under Carlo, with his experience, I think they have become even more dangerous.

"But to be honest, I love this. I think it adds to the occasion. My players have just as much desire and belief going into this game. We want to win it with all we have.

"We see the game as [an] opportunity. We know what our supporters expect. No Liverpool side can ever have less desire than the opponent – this is not allowed."

Ancelotti faces a difficult task with Everton last enjoying a victory over Liverpool at Anfield in 1999.

Another day, another Paul Pogba story.

The Manchester United star continues to be linked with a move away from Old Trafford.

Inter have reportedly emerged as a possible destination for Pogba, though United want a player in return…

 

TOP STORY – UNITED WANT MARTINEZ IN POGBA DEAL

Manchester United want to swap midfielder Paul Pogba for Inter star Lautaro Martinez, according to The Mirror.

Pogba has been linked with a return to Serie A champions Juventus and LaLiga giants Real Madrid as his future dominates headlines.

But a reunion with former Juve boss Antonio Conte at Inter could be in the pipeline. However, the Italian club might have to part with Barcelona target Martinez to prise Pogba to Milan.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Old Trafford and The Mirror also claims United have set their sights on Wolves forward Raul Jimenez after missing out on Erling Haaland, who opted to swap Salzburg for Borussia Dortmund.

- It comes as the Mirror says United are set to offer cash plus Jesse Lingard for Leicester City star James Maddison. The Sun, meanwhile, claims United want Toni Kroos in return if Pogba heads to Madrid.

- According to Sky Sport Italia, Barcelona defender Jean-Clair Todibo is on his way to join Milan, with the LaLiga champions keen to agree a loan deal with a counter-option should they wish to recall him. Meanwhile, the Gazzetta dello Sport says Atalanta want to re-sign Milan centre-back Mattia Caldara.

- The Daily Express reports West Ham have emerged as shock contenders to sign Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly. The star defender has been linked to United and Manchester City.

- Gabriel 'Gabigol' Barbosa has said goodbye to Flamengo supporters via social media, prompting speculation in The Sun that the Inter-owned striker is on his way to either Chelsea or West Ham.

Chris Smalling is keen to secure a permanent deal at Roma and is ready to snub United should Ole Gunnar Solskjaer attempt to persuade him to return to Old Trafford, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

- The Mirror says Carlo Ancelotti's Everton are eyeing a loan move for Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin said it is "privilege" to work with Carlo Ancelotti in an "unbelievable time" for Everton with the Italian in charge.

Ancelotti took over as manager before Christmas after Marco Silva was sacked early in December following a dismal Merseyside derby defeat which left the club in the Premier League relegation zone.

Everton face another trip to Anfield on Sunday, with runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool their opponents in the third round of the FA Cup.

The Toffees won their first two matches under Ancelotti before going down 2-1 to Manchester City on New Year's Day and Calvert-Lewin is thrilled to play under a manager of Ancelotti's calibre.

"He is one of biggest managers in the world and as a young kid growing up you saw him on TV working at some of biggest clubs," the striker, who scored three goals in Ancelotti's first two games at the helm, told BBC Sport.

"To have him here now, when you first see him you are little taken aback. He has a presence about him. That is just from the man he is and what he has done in football.

"To be working with him on a daily basis is a privilege. He is a man who knows how to win things and knows how to work with great players.

"As a club these are exciting times. To have a manager to have done what he has done in the game, you can't be anything but excited.

"It is an unbelievable time to be an Everton fan and an Everton player. I am looking forward to what the future holds."

Everton last won a Merseyside derby in 2010, and have not beat their local rivals at Anfield since September 1999, but Calvert-Lewin is hoping to change that dismal record this weekend.

"We want to be the first to make it happen and change that," Calvert-Lewin added.

Joe Gomez insists Liverpool's "hungry" players are desperate to play in Sunday's FA Cup third-round tie with Everton, despite their congested fixture list.

Jurgen Klopp's side head into the second Merseyside derby of the season at Anfield on the back of 11 matches in 33 days, 10 of those ending in victory.

The gruelling run has taken its toll, with Naby Keita joining Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip, Fabinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Xherdan Shaqiri on the sidelines.

Klopp may be forced to use either Virgil van Dijk or Gomez at centre-back against Everton, but the latter is more than happy to put his body on the line.

"For me, I love every derby and it is a special game, every time," he told reporters. "Regardless of whether it is a Premier League game or not, we go into it looking to win and I think that is self-explanatory. 

"That is something that we look forward to and whatever will be will be. Everyone wants to play.

"I think if you asked everyone in the dressing room they all have that desire to play every game and I think that is what is important for us in this team. There is a real hunger and you feel it.

"There is no: 'oh I want to play this game and chill that one'. I think that shows and that is why when everyone comes in, the lads are playing well. They are really participating and helping the team.

"There is no telling what the gaffer will do, but we are used to the quick turnaround now and with four days it was one more [day off] so it was nice to get that extra day of recovery.

"At the same time, we want to win things, and it is the Merseyside derby and we never want to lose that so we just take it one game at a time and just keep it going."

Gomez recently returned to the side and has helped Liverpool to five successive clean sheets in the Premier League alongside central-defensive partner Van Dijk.

"I am just taking it a game at a time," he said. "It is obviously nice to get momentum when you play games but I think the main thing is just to keep focus and take it one game at a time.

"We are in a good place and it is a joy to be a part of this team. I think everyone will just keep pushing and plugging away and we just have to keep pushing as a team and as individuals.

"I think in the dressing room as well, there are so many that are leaders and are keeping everyone on the straight and narrow. That is the focus - one game at a time.

"Obviously, I am enjoying playing and getting some momentum. I get on well with Virg and we enjoy playing together.

"I think as a unit, as a team, it is nice to be a part of it and get a run of games, so I am not dwelling on that, I just keep plugging away."

Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti has admitted Liverpool chose wisely when they rejected him in favour of making Jurgen Klopp manager in 2015.

Ancelotti, 60, will experience his first Merseyside derby in an FA Cup third-round tie at Anfield on Sunday.

The experienced Italian could have been on the other side of the divide had Liverpool selected him as Brendan Rodgers' successor just over four years ago.

Ancelotti held talks with the Reds but conceded they were right to appoint Klopp, who has led the club to Champions League glory and a commanding position atop the Premier League.

"It was after [leaving] Real Madrid, I had a chat with the owner," Ancelotti told a news conference.

"They were looking for a new manager but I think they made the right choice with Jurgen. He is doing fantastic work at Liverpool, so well done. He has created a fantastic team and fantastic players.

"They are, in this moment, in a really good shape, really good condition, but we must not think a lot about the opponent."

Everton last visited Liverpool in December and lost 5-2, a result that proved the end for Marco Silva.

The Toffees have not won at Anfield in any competition since 1999, but Ancelotti got the better of Klopp in a Champions League encounter while in charge of Napoli earlier this season and hopes to deliver an upset for his new club's supporters.

"I know how Evertonians would like this and we have the same dream, to beat Liverpool at Anfield," he said.

"It is a dream for us and an opportunity, so we will try. Usually there is a big rivalry when you have two teams in the same city. It was the same in Milan and Rome when I was there and I know how the supporters are excited to beat their rival."

Mikel Arteta claimed his first win as Arsenal head coach against Manchester United on New Year's Day.

The end of a hectic spell of Premier League fixtures brought some belated joy for Arteta and Arsenal in a 2-0 home victory.

A fine day for the Gunners also saw rivals Tottenham beaten, but Manchester City and Liverpool made no mistake at the top.

We review the key midweek top-flight matches with the help of Opta data.


INGS AND SAINTS PREY ON LEAKY SPURS

Danny Ings is a man in top form and his goal on Wednesday - a ninth in his past nine Premier League starts - saw Southampton to a 1-0 win over Tottenham at St Mary's Stadium.

Only Jamie Vardy (17) can better Ings' tally of 13 league goals this term, while the former Liverpool man has scored eight times against 'top-six' sides since the start of last season - second only to Sergio Aguero (nine).

His goal meant Spurs have still only kept one clean sheet under Jose Mourinho in all competitions 11 games into his reign.

Tottenham lost their first league game of a calendar year for the first time since 2009, while Southampton are on the up, having won three of their past five home matches in the competition.

JESUS DOWNS FAVOURED FOES EVERTON

Manchester City maintained their recent dominance of Everton with a 2-1 win at Etihad Stadium, winning five consecutive league matches against the Toffees for the first time.

The champions also got the better of Carlo Ancelotti for a fourth time in the Premier League. He has lost to City more times than any other team in the competition.

Gabriel Jesus grabbed both City goals and now has seven against Everton - all of them coming in his past five league games - while he has been directly involved in 69 goals in his 75 starts for the club in all competitions.

With Richarlison responding for Everton to set up a tense finish, this became just the fourth match in Premier League history to see a Brazilian score for either side (excluding own goals).

ARTETA'S ARSENAL END WINLESS HOME RUN

After seven home games without a win in all competitions since beating Vitoria SC in October, Arsenal belatedly got the better of United.

In a further sign of the Gunners' struggles this term, this was their first win against a team currently in the top half in the Premier League in 2019-20, drawing four and losing five of their previous nine.

Nicolas Pepe and Sokratis Papastathopoulos got the goals, making Arteta the seventh Premier League boss to claim their first victory in the competition against United.

Defeat perhaps came as little surprise to the Red Devils, as they have a miserable recent record at Emirates Stadium, losing on four of their past five league visits.

RELENTLESS REDS RECORD ANOTHER WIN

There looks to be no stopping Liverpool, who moved on to 58 points after just 20 Premier League games this season with a 2-0 home victory over Sheffield United. Adjusting to three points for a win, the only team in top-flight history to match that outstanding tally were Manchester City in 2017-18 (also 58).

The Reds scored in a 29th consecutive Premier League game - the third-longest run in competition history - as Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane found the net, the latter registering his 100th goal involvement for the club in all competitions (74 goals, 26 assists in 151 appearances).

Mane has 25 league goals at Anfield since the start of last season, with only Lionel Messi (29 at Camp Nou) and Kylian Mbappe (27 at the Parc des Princes) netting more at a specific stadium in that time.

Liverpool condemned the Blades to back-to-back league defeats for the first time since they lost their first two Championship matches in 2018-19.

Jurgen Klopp has confirmed Naby Keita will miss Sunday's FA Cup clash with Merseyside rivals Everton due to a groin injury he suffered before Thursday's 2-0 win over Sheffield United.

Keita was initially named in the starting XI to face the Blades in the Premier League, but a problem sustained in the warm-up forced him to miss out, with James Milner taking his place in the midfield.

It is the latest in a long list of niggling fitness problems the Guinea midfielder has had to endure since moving from RB Leipzig, and the 24-year-old has only made five Premier League appearances this term.

He now appears set for another spell on the sidelines, though Klopp was uncertain of the severity of the injury or even how it was sustained.

"I don't know exactly what he has – it was the groin – but I can say already he will not be involved against Everton," Klopp told reporters.

"That makes it 12 adult players we have [available], plus the kids, so that's not cool, but we cannot change it.

"I have no clue how it happened, I think it was the last shot in the warm-up when he felt something. He came in [the dressing room] and was limping.

"Everybody who has played football has had this kind of injury and it's not nice, it's painful. I don't know exactly what it is or how long it will take, but I can say already he will not be ready for Sunday."

After Sunday's Merseyside derby, Liverpool are next in Premier League action on January 11 at Tottenham.

Wayne Rooney inspired Derby County to a 2-1 win over Barnsley on his debut for the Championship club.

The 34-year-old, who is England and Manchester United's record goalscorer, made his long-awaited maiden outing for the Rams having agreed to join as a player-coach back in August.

Phillip Cocu's side were evidently buoyed by Rooney's presence as the five-time Premier League winner pulled the strings at Pride Park.

Rooney laid on the opener for Jack Marriott on the stroke of half-time, delivering a fine free-kick from the left that only needed a helping touch in the right direction.

Substitute Elliot Simoes levelled for struggling Barnsley five minutes into the second half but Rooney was involved again as Derby reclaimed the lead.

His cross-field pass found Andre Wisdom, who then picked out Martyn Waghorn to sweep home the winner.

It was Derby's second win on the bounce, with Cocu's men having overcome a Charlton Athletic side who endured mixed fortunes on Thursday.

Having earlier been taken over by East Street Investments, bringing an end to the controversial reign of Roland Duchatelet, the Addicks fell to a 1-0 loss against Swansea City.

Yan Dhanda's 14th-minute goal settled matters as the Swans climbed to sixth in a fiercely competitive table.

Moise Kean says he is ready to learn under new Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti after a slow start to his Premier League career.

Kean has struggled to make an impact since moving to Goodison Park from Juventus, with the striker yet to score in 16 league appearances, only three of which have been starts.

He also suffered the indignity of being substituted 19 minutes after being sent on from the bench against Manchester United by caretaker boss Duncan Ferguson, who took over after Marco Silva's sacking.

Ferguson steadied the ship and Everton have won two out of three Premier League matches since they lured former Chelsea coach Ancelotti back to the Premier League, climbing to 11th in the table despite losing away to Manchester City on New Year's Day.

Despite a tough first few months at Everton, 19-year-old Kean is hoping to kickstart his development under his fellow Italian.

"He is a very, very good coach," Kean told evertontv of Ancelotti. "I can learn so much with him. We have played well [under Ancelotti], played good football and enjoyed being with the ball.

"[He is asking me] just to enjoy what I am doing and work hard and be professional. For him, that is very important. We speak about the team and where I can play.

"Getting the start [against Newcastle United] was good. I am going to be ready for all the matches to show the coach why I am here."

Everton's next game is away to rivals Liverpool in a Merseyside derby that is the tie of the round in the FA Cup.

"It will be a good match at Liverpool," Kean added. "We are excited about the game and it is always good to play a derby.

"Now we are thinking about Liverpool and we'll be ready for this match. We are all together and will always try to do our best. I have kept my head up and worked hard.

"When I come onto the pitch I try to do my best and be ready. Always."

Pep Guardiola praised Manchester City's attitude in their win over Everton, saying other teams would "finish seventh or eighth" if they were so far behind the leaders.

Gabriel Jesus' second-half brace helped City to a 2-1 home victory on Wednesday as Guardiola's third-placed side moved within 11 points of pacesetters Liverpool, who have played two fewer games.

The City manager was pleased with his team's approach as they continue to fight in the Premier League despite Liverpool's big lead at the top.

"We played top. I am so delighted with the performance, the behaviour as always, as always that we are," Guardiola told a news conference.

"Being so far away from first after being champions for two seasons, a team in normal situations, in this situation, give up. And finish seventh or eighth in the table.

"Maybe we will finish seventh or eighth in the table, but not because we don't try. So, the game was always there, we played so good, and a good victory for us."

Guardiola opted for a 3-4-3 formation against Everton, starting Eric Garcia, Fernandinho and Rodri in defence, with Benjamin Mendy and Joao Cancelo as wing-backs.

The former Barcelona boss was pleased with City's execution of the new system, saying it could be a more regular option moving forward.

"Maybe we will do it again," Guardiola said. "In the first half against Sheffield United, we played with three at the back, too.

"Not just second half. We changed position, but the structure was that.

"We can do it in the future. We played it really well. The five guys are so good with the ball. Riyad [Mahrez] receives the ball in better positions and that helps, too."

City are back in action on Saturday when they host Port Vale in the FA Cup third round.

Everton's 100 per cent record under Carlo Ancelotti came unstuck in a 2-1 defeat at Manchester City, but Mikel Arteta and David Moyes got their first victories in charge of West Ham and Arsenal, respectively. 

Arteta, whose Arsenal side put in a much-improved performance, claimed a 2-0 victory over Manchester United, while West Ham crushed Bournemouth 4-0 on the Scot's return to the club.

Danny Ings scored the only goal of the game as Tottenham suffered a surprise 1-0 loss to Southampton, while top-four rivals Chelsea were held 1-1 by Brighton and Hove Albion.

There were also wins for Aston Villa, Leicester City and Watford, along with a draw between Norwich City and Crystal Palace, as 2020 got off to an eventful start, with VAR once again proving to be a big talking point.

Jesus at the double while Noble inspires Hammers

Ancelotti delivered back-to-back wins in his opening two games as Everton boss and his Toffees side frustrated City for 51 minutes in a tight game at the Etihad.

The deadlock was broken by Gabriel Jesus, who scored with a scintillating right-footed shot into the top corner from the edge of the box, and he connected with a Riyad Mahrez pass to score with a low shot seven minutes later.

Richarlison turned Theo Walcott's deflected cross into the net at the far post with 19 minutes left to give Everton hope, but they failed to find an equaliser and suffered a first defeat in six league games.

At London Stadium, Moyes produced a markedly improved performance from West Ham as they strolled to a 4-0 victory over Bournemouth, with captain Mark Noble scoring a brace.

Noble scored with a deflected shot with 17 minutes played and Sebastien Haller found the net via a bicycle kick before the Hammers' skipper converted a first-half penalty.

Felipe Anderson netted with a neat finish when Declan Rice found him with a measured pass, West Ham's fourth wrapping up their biggest margin of victory in the Premier League for over a decade.

 

Arteta off the mark at jubilant Emirates

Arsenal's home faithful were treated to a dominant display and a 2-0 victory over Manchester United that harked back to the days when Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp tormented the Red Devils in north London.

Nicolas Pepe opened the scoring in the eighth minute, firing home from 12 yards after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sead Kolasinac combined to great effect down the Arsenal left.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos doubled the hosts' lead shortly before half-time, lashing high into the net from close range after United failed to clear their lines at a corner, but Arsenal had capitulated from a winning position on this ground against Chelsea three days earlier.

There was to be no turnaround this time, however. The win moves Arsenal up to 10th in the Premier League table, while United remain fifth, but the balance of play suggested the two sides could end the season much closer together.

 

Chelsea held by Jahanbakhsh stunner

Cesar Azpilicueta scored the first Premier League goal of the decade with a close-range finish after Tammy Abraham's shot was blocked by Aaron Mooy, but Chelsea could not get the job done against Brighton.

Jahanbakhsh celebrated with tears of joy after scoring his first goal for Brighton in the 2-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday and he did not have to wait long for his second goal.

The Iran winger sent an acrobatic attempt past Kepa Arrizabalaga with six minutes of normal time remaining to deny Frank Lampard's side a third away league win on the spin.

So delighted to be able to help the team again today! Happy new year to everyone  #BHAFC pic.twitter.com/nW7p7E8zMY

— Alireza Jahanbakhsh (@Alirezajb7) January 1, 2020

Foxes march on with win at 10-man Newcastle

Despite being without the Premier League's leading scorer Jamie Vardy for a second game, firstly due to the birth of his child and this time due to a minor injury, Leicester were comfortable 3-0 winners at Newcastle.

The Foxes' incredible campaign continued thanks to goals from former Newcastle attacker Ayoze Perez, James Maddison and substitute Hamza Choudhury.

While Leicester's outside title hopes just about remain intact, moving back to within 10 points of Liverpool after playing two games more than the runaway leaders, a third defeat in a row for Newcastle leaves them five points above the relegation zone.

 

Villa pick up much-needed win while Wickham pegs bag Norwich

Villa boss Dean Smith insisted he still had the support of the dressing room in the build-up to the trip to Burnley, and that showed as Villa returned to winning ways with a 2-1 triumph at Turf Moor that saw them climb out of the relegation zone.

Wesley got the first goal after 27 minutes and the Villans added a second on the stroke of half-time when Jack Grealish scored his sixth Premier League goal in his 19th appearance this season.

Chris Wood pulled one back from Burnley's first shot on target in the 80th minute, though it was not enough to prevent a third successive loss for Sean Dyche's out-of-form side.

Meanwhile, Todd Cantwell put Norwich City ahead after just four minutes of their clash with Palace, who battled bravely to stay in the game before substitute Connor Wickham turned Wilfried Zaha's cross into the net five minutes from time to earn his side a share of the points.

Kane limps off for stuttering Spurs, Watford's revival continues

Danny Ings scored the 16th goal Tottenham have conceded in their last 11 matches when he lifted the ball over Toby Alderweireld and fired past Paulo Gazzaniga for what proved to be the only goal of the game after 17 minutes at St. Mary's.

Tottenham have taken only four points from the 12 on offer over the festive period and their misery was compounded by Harry Kane limping off after hurting his hamstring, and Jose Mourinho was shown a yellow card by referee Mike Dean late on after being involved in touchline confrontation.

Watford maintained their impressive form with a 2-1 win at home to Wolves after Gerard Deulofeu opened the scoring half an hour in with a curled finish into the bottom corner.

Abdoulaye Doucoure fired in on his 27th birthday to double the home side's tally, but Pedro Neto reduced the deficit with a deflected shot on the hour and Christian Kabasele was sent off with 19 minutes to play.

Wolves could not find a way past Ben Foster again, though, meaning just a third loss in 16 league outings for Nuno Espirito Santo's men.

As Manchester City continue to toil defensively in the absence of lynchpin Aymeric Laporte, the switch to a back three against Everton may not have represented the most obvious solution.

So largely desperate have Nicolas Otamendi's performances been this season, City's sole fit senior centre-back only made the bench against Sheffield United on Sunday, two days on from a 90-minute shift in the dramatic collapse at Wolves.

Injury meant there would be no recall for the Argentina defender on New Year's Day, so Pep Guardiola was again struggling to find a central pair, let alone a trio.

But faced with the nous of Carlo Ancelotti, a coach he spent much of the week lauding, Guardiola decided to make the bold call.

Teenager Eric Garcia kept his place following his full Premier League debut against the Blades, and he was joined by midfielders Fernandinho and Rodri.

A 2-1 City victory was the result, and the wider positives were clear to see as the champions stretched Everton to breaking point, a change in defence bringing a new dynamic to their forward line.

City are one of the best attacking outfits in world football, so improvements in that respect are always likely to be marginal. But there is no doubt Guardiola has had issues at full-back this season.

Kyle Walker might be playing as "the best Kyle I have faced" - Guardiola's words - but pre-season signing Joao Cancelo has struggled to establish himself.

Bought from Juventus just months ago, the right-back has been linked with former club Valencia and Bayern Munich, and discussion of his future took up a chunk of his manager's pre-match news conference.

"We buy players for many years, not for six months," said Guardiola, before handing Cancelo just his fifth league start against Everton.

On the opposite flank, Benjamin Mendy - brought in at huge cost in 2017 - has endured a tough campaign. Injuries halted his initial fine form upon his arrival in Manchester, and displays in 2019-20 have been extremely ordinary for the most part.

But both Cancelo and Mendy certainly saw benefit in this new system, given the freedom of the flanks as Rodri and Garcia stepped forward and Fernandinho anchored the side, the three covering for their wing-back colleagues.

Cancelo linked well with Riyad Mahrez and played a key role in the Phil Foden goal that was disallowed in the now customary stretch of VAR farce in the first half.

Meanwhile, Mendy, even up against two talented right-backs in Djibril Sidibe and Seamus Coleman, enjoyed himself going forward, moving the ball at greater speed than in previous miserable performances.

The France international created three chances - as many as any team-mate - while Cancelo supplied two.

Beyond the added threat of support from the previously limited pair, the set-up accommodated different roles for the likes of Mahrez and Foden.

The nominal wingers in this formation instead found space inside, Mahrez teeing up Gabriel Jesus' second. The Brazilian's first came from an Ilkay Gundogan pass, the midfielder let off the leash a little with three men behind him.

It was a system that had to sustain a testing finale, hampered by the predictably unpredictable Claudio Bravo, while crosses remained a source of concern for the diminutive defence into the closing stages, but Guardiola's men held on.

Openly already planning for next season but without Laporte to call on, the City boss could head home encouraged by a different, still dominant, display.

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