Freddie Ljungberg identified belief as the key to a turnaround that ended a seven-game Premier League winless run for Arsenal after they beat West Ham 3-1.

With Ljungberg having overseen a draw with Norwich City and a home defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion in his first two games since replacing Unai Emery on an interim basis, it looked as if he was set for further disappointment when Angelo Ogbonna put West Ham ahead in the 38th minute.

Arsenal lost Hector Bellerin in the warm-up on Monday and Kieran Tierney suffered a shoulder injury in the first half, but the Gunners bounced back from those setbacks and a lifeless first-half display to get back to winning ways against their London rivals.

Gabriel Martinelli's first Premier League goal levelled matters and Nicolas Pepe bent home a stunning effort before teeing up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as Arsenal scored three in the space of nine minutes.

The win moves Arsenal up to ninth in the table, seven points off the top four, and afterwards Ljungberg told Sky Sports: "It means so much for the players. They have been living under enormous pressure and you see it in their performances.

"I could feel West Ham getting tired and our passing getting crisper. The boys did amazing.

"The boys stepped up in the second half. They worked so hard and that's something we talked about.

"This is down to the players. I'm just there to guide them.

"You can see the players have been a bit low and you see in the dressing room the relief and how happy they are. We enjoy tonight and we continue working tomorrow. We have to work on our belief - that was the difference."

Mesut Ozil and Aubameyang echoed the sentiments of Ljungberg post-game.

"Especially in the second half, we showed what we can do on the pitch if we believe in ourselves," Ozil said to Sky Sports. "We deserved to win and we are now happy, especially for our supporters."

Aubameyang added: "At half-time, Freddie told us to play with a higher tempo. It was tough but we have the quality in the squad, and if we believe in ourselves, we can go forward and win games.

"We will take this second half as an example for the rest of the season."

Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann has been voted 18th in the final list for the 2019 Ballon d'Or, a fall of 15 places from last year.

Griezmann finished behind only Luka Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo 12 months ago after winning the World Cup with France and impressing for Atletico Madrid at club level.

However, an underwhelming end to his Atletico career and a tough start to life at Barcelona - who he joined in a €120million deal in July - has seen him drop down the list.

It marks the second time the 28-year-old has slipped from third to 18th, having done likewise in 2017.

Griezmann's Barcelona team-mate Marc-Andre ter Stegen finished 24th and Frenkie de Jong, who spent the first half of the year with Champions League semi-finalists Ajax, was voted 11th in the standings.

Three Liverpool players missed out on the top 10, with Georginio Wijnaldum, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino in 26th, 19th and 17th, respectively.

Fellow Premier League side Manchester City were also heavily represented in the 30-11 rankings, as were Dutch champions Ajax following their run to the final four of last season's Champions League.

Lionel Messi and Virgil van Dijk are the frontrunners to win the most prestigious individual accolade in world football during Monday's ceremony.

Ballon d'Or 30-11 list in full:

=28. Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain)

=28. Donny van de Beek (Ajax)

=28. Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid)

=26. Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool)

=26. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)

=24. Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli)

=24. Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona)

23. Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)

22. Son Heung-min (Tottenham)

=20. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)

=20. Dusan Tadic (Ajax)

19. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

18. Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona)

17. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)

16. Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)

15. Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax)

14. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

13. Eden Hazard (Real Madrid)

12. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)

11. Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona)

Freddie Ljungberg can provide Arsenal with "something special" during his stint as interim head coach, according to captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The former Gunners winger has been placed in temporary charge following the sacking of Unai Emery and drew his first match 2-2 at Norwich City on Sunday.

Aubameyang scored twice to rescue Arsenal at Carrow Road, but the Gunners' winless run now spans eight matches in all competitions.

However, Aubameyang is confident Ljungberg - who won five major honours with Arsenal during his playing days - can lift the club while they search for a new head coach. 

"He can give us something special," the Gabon international said. "If I'm not wrong he was part of the Invincibles.

"His career speaks for itself. We will try to follow him and give the best for him. Everybody is respectful of Freddie. He played for Arsenal, he knows as a player how we feel.

"It's interesting to have him. We had only one session with him, maybe two for those guys who didn't play on Thursday. We will see this week what is going to happen.

"For me personally I think it's good for us. He played for Arsenal and he has this in his heart."

Norwich wasted several chances to inflict further misery on Arsenal, who are eighth in the Premier League and seven points adrift of a Champions League qualification spot.

While acknowledging that improvements must be made following his side's latest disappointing result, Aubameyang insisted there is not an issue with team spirit.

"We have positive things to take," he said. "We didn't play bad, we played good.

"We have to maybe be cleverer in the transition, maybe make some fouls. That's part of the game to not concede goals.

"I think the mood is always good. We try to find more confidence in winning games. We try our best.

"We know it was something special because Unai Emery was sacked. Now we have Freddie and we're all focused on one thing, to get back to winning ways.

"We did not play a perfect game but we did a good job and we'll try to win the next one."

Arsenal interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg claimed his players produced the right style of play in their 2-2 draw with Norwich City on Sunday.

Ljungberg was promoted from a coaching role to take temporary charge of the Gunners for the trip to Carrow Road after Unai Emery was sacked on Friday.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted a brace as Arsenal twice fought back to earn a point following goals from Teemu Pukki and Todd Cantwell.

The Gunners were more adventurous with some of their attacking play, which pleased former Sweden international Ljungberg, who played for Arsenal between 1998 and 2007.

"We started the game really well, that’s how I want to play football," Ljungberg told Sky Sports.

"We dominated away from home at the start on the game. But we need to work on the transitions, we dominated and they break on us too easily.

"In the beginning I saw a lot of things we worked on in training, but we need to score goals and take the lead. Twice they went behind and showed a great mentality to come back. 

"I want this club to do well, it is only winning that counts. I wanted to win the game so I am disappointed but I have also seen some positive things."

Aubameyang's first goal from the penalty spot came after a handball from Christoph Zimmermann.

Norwich goalkeeper Tim Krul initially unsettled Aubameyang and his spot-kick was saved by the Dutchman – who pointed in the direction he wanted the striker to shoot.

However, VAR determined there was encroachment in the penalty box before the rebound was cleared and Aubameyang regained his composure to emphatically dispatch the retake.

On the penalty incident, Ljungberg added: "I think I had a heart-attack twice! But from what I heard it was quite obvious, that’s what the results are for.

"The most important thing was for Aubameyang to have the mental strength to score the second penalty after missing the first one."

Krul was annoyed the spot-kick had to be taken again after his histrionics on the line appeared to unnerve Aubameyang.

"For me the job is to get in the striker’s head and doubt themselves," said the Norwich goalkeeper.

"Especially at home with the crowd behind me, I took a bit longer than the referee liked and he gave me a yellow card, rightly so because I came off my line again. 

"At the end of the day I saved it and it was frustrating it had to be retaken because one of our lads was a bit too quick.

"I just said to Mesut Ozil as they were celebrating that they were lucky because the referee helped them a lot there."

At times, Sunday's contest at Norwich City must have felt like Groundhog Day if you're an Arsenal fan.

At times, Sunday's contest at Norwich City must have felt like Groundhog Day if you're an Arsenal fan.

Always start with a joke, they say.

Only, the laughs have been few and far between for the Gunners faithful this season - save for ones of rueful derision.

There was as much inevitability about Arsenal's decision to end Unai Emery's 18-month tenure this week as death or taxes.

But the failings that cost the amiable Spaniard so dearly were laid bare in 90 microcosmic minutes of a 2-2 draw at Carrow Road.

Arsenal are a little bit like a warm chocolate fudge cake. On the surface, great to look at, a delicious treat but soft at their core and too easy to crumble.

There were signs in the opening 20 minutes that maybe this post-Emery Arsenal led by interim boss Freddie Ljungberg, a legend of the 'Invincibles', was a different animal as Norwich were penned in, dragged from pillar to post. Had Alexandre Lacazette not been so wasteful with a gilt-edged fourth-minute opportunity, such a feeling would have increased tenfold.

And then just like that, to quote the legendary magician-comedian Tommy Cooper – whose vanishing acts were as comical as the ones displayed by Arsenal's midfield – the visitors were behind.

Sliced open in the centre of the park, Kenny McLean was given the freedom of the Carrow Road pitch as Shkodran Mustafi and David Luiz inexplicably backed off and Teemu Pukki ended an eight-game goal drought, albeit with a deflection that deceived Bernd Leno.

Arsenal soon mustered a response. Christmas may have been 24 days away, but Christoph Zimmermann gave Ljungberg and Arsenal an early gift with an explicable handball in the area.

The joy was at first short-lived as Tim Krul, canny mind games in full swing, showed why he has a reputation as a penalty-saving expert to deny Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, only for the VAR to spot an encroachment and give the Gabon striker an undeserved reprieve.

There was no mistake on act two, Aubameyang firing into the bottom-left corner and giving Krul the shush sign with an act of fire in the belly that has for so long been missing from Arsenal.

No sooner had the touchpaper been lit than Norwich extinguished it, though. It was an all-too-familiar failing. Onel Hernandez was allowed to stroll forward with reckless abandon to play in Todd Cantwell, who was given enough time to finish a crossword puzzle by Mustafi before clinically beating Bernd Leno.

The half-time whistle allowed for a regroup and Arsenal, as in the first half, looked well oiled going forward. There was a hint of fortune about the way the ball fell to Aubameyang from a 57th-minute corner but there was no luck about the way he hammered past a helpless Krul.

Was this then the moment to spark Arsenal into life? Well, not quite.

Had it not been for the brilliance of Leno, McLean would have restored Norwich's lead after shambolic midfield work from Granit Xhaka and Matteo Guendouzi.

Leno was also the scourge of Pukki who had Mustafi on toast and not the first time in 90 troubled minutes for the German defender.

Ljungberg's big smile at full-time - the whistle signalling Arsenal had failed to win for an eighth match in a row - only masks the concern that the issues that plagued Emery's tenure are as pronounced as ever. A midfield that is too easy to bypass, a defence devoid of organisation, leadership and grit, and a team in general that for all its attacking brilliance lacks the steel to truly mix it with the big boys.

These are problems in the short term for Ljungberg to address and a new full-time boss to get a hold on in the long term.

Otherwise, it might just feel like Groundhog Day all over again for Arsenal fans.

Freddie Ljungberg's first game in temporary charge of Arsenal ended in a 2-2 draw against Norwich City at Carrow Road on Sunday thanks to a brace from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Teemu Pukki put Norwich ahead via a deflected effort before Aubameyang equalised with a retaken penalty kick, having seen his initial effort from the spot saved.

Todd Cantwell restored Norwich's advantage with a smart finish before Aubameyang levelled for a second time from a corner.

Ljungberg, who played for Arsenal between 1998 and 2007, was promoted from a coaching role to interim boss after Unai Emery was sacked on Friday.

Under-achieving football clubs tend not to hang on to good players.

Such analysis might be as rudimentary as most of Shkodran Mustafi's defensive efforts over recent seasons, but this is the simple reason why Unai Emery's time at Arsenal was up.

The head coach appointed on the back of major honours won at Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain was one of many problems at Emirates Stadium. His increasingly rudderless stewardship of the first team was simply the easiest to fix.

Of course, his squad was not perfect. Death, taxes and Arsenal needing a reliable central defender are the three certainties of our times.

That inevitably porous backline compromised all areas of the team, but the lack of anything resembling a plan or penetration in attack was damning, given what Emery had at his disposal.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored in the tenure-ending defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday and has 10 goals in 16 appearances this season, with 51 in 81 Arsenal games overall.

Aubameyang's great friend Alexandre Lacazette boasts a Gunners record of 40 in 98 games. Emery was unable to effectively harness two of the most clinical number nines in Europe.

Players of this calibre will not continue to arrive for a staple diet of Europa League football. The same can be said of club-record signing Nicolas Pepe or Real Madrid loanee Dani Ceballos – two men who added weight to the argument Arsenal had "won" the close-season transfer window and two coveted performers Emery has failed to get a tune from.

This is before we get to the curious disfunction of the alliance between Emery and star playmaker Mesut Ozil.

From the public recriminations that accompanied the end of his Germany career last year to being the target of an attempted carjacking at the start of this season, the former Real Madrid playmaker has experienced a punishingly turbulent period.

That may or may not adequately explain Ozil often being on the margins of Emery's reign. Sure, he wore the captain's armband. But it felt like everyone barring Gunnersaurus had a go at some point.

The commitment to a hard-running style during a successful first half of last season - those salad days of "We've got our Arsenal back" - was an understandable reason for Ozil's diminished status, but his absence from this term's confused mess until recent weeks was harder to fathom.

Granit Xhaka has drawn considerable supporter ire but rarely looks so hapless when starring for Switzerland, while young Frenchman Matteo Guendouzi has bustled his way into arguably the most gifted squad in international football.

Interim boss Freddie Ljungberg, and whoever replaces Emery in the long term, will have the raw materials to affect a swift upturn in fortunes following a sapping winless run of seven matches. They will also be wary the clock is ticking on the days when Arsenal can expect to have such a collection of talent.

That other dynasty of the previous decade, Manchester United, now have an under-qualified manager and a remarkably thin squad given their outlay. Arsene Wenger did not bow out in a blaze of glory like Alex Ferguson, but the warnings from Old Trafford over how a post-imperial period can play out are clear.

Whether it's an exciting young pretender like Mikel Arteta or an experienced elite operator like Max Allegri, Emery's successor must quickly demonstrate a clear path to improvement after a supposed safe pair of hands lost his grip on what is likely to be a last chance with a European heavyweight.

The lack of a common thread through the styles and credentials of the supposed frontrunners does not suggest a club that knows what it wants. After frequently appearing at cross purposes with Emery, the Gunners hierarchy must decide on their vision and commit to someone who fits it.

If Arsenal, their new coach, an unpopular board and frothingly angry fanbase cannot pull together and get this squad heading in the right direction, it will only become harder to turn the ship around from this point.

Daichi Kamada's second-half brace secured a 2-1 Europa League win for Eintracht Frankfurt and piled further pressure on Arsenal head coach Unai Emery.

The Gunners are now without a win for seven matches across all competitions, with two rasping strikes from Japan forward Kamada adding to the impression Emery was on borrowed time at a sparsely populated Emirates Stadium.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave Arsenal a deserved lead at the end of a first half they dominated, with Granit Xhaka slotting back into the midfield for the first time since being stripped of the captaincy.

But the brittle nature of their collapse spoke of a club in turmoil and a positive result at Standard Liege in a fortnight's time may be needed to be absolutely sure of progress to the knockout stages.

Who might be in their dugout at that stage feels less clear.

Arsenal were on top early on. Bukayo Saka raided down the Frankfurt right in the 11th minute but Joe Willock and Aubameyang appeared to get in each other's way and the latter headed wide.

Gabriel Martinelli passed up chances to add to his haul of three Europa League goals this season when he shot too close to Eintracht goalkeeper Frederik Ronnow from a Xhaka corner and saw Gelson Fernandes clear his header from the subsequent set-piece off the line.

Ronnow dashed out to deny Saka when the winger darted in behind David Abraham, also saving from the teenage winger in the 41st minute.

David Luiz departed with a chest injury in between those two chances and Aubameyang blasted in via Ronnow's leg and the crossbar during the resulting period of stoppage time.

Martinelli played in Willock shortly after half-time but the midfielder misjudged his dinked finish and Ronnow was able to save.

It meant Kamada's spin infield and shot into the top corner from the edge of the box in the 55th minute was against the run of play.

The same could not be said when, after Emiliano Martinez saved sharply from Filip Kostic, Kamada was afforded ample room from similar range to dispatch a partially cleared  64th-minute corner.

To compound matters, Shkodran Mustafi hobbled off and Arsenal never recovered their poise. It remains to be seen whether Emery will be given the chance to recover his own poise.

What does it mean? Emery crisis at breaking point

If Emery could not get Arsenal back on track here, the obvious question was 'when on earth might he do so?'. A Frankfurt side they beat 3-0 in September were on a run of three straight defeats before this rematch and they lie 10th in the Bundesliga. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, a lot, as it happened, as the hosts missed chances to put the game to bed and suffered injuries before collapsing. Frankfurt coach Adi Hutter changed the match with the half-time introduction of Mijat Gacinovic and Dominik Kohr. In the circumstances, Emery's failure to adequately respond feels grimly significant for his own job prospects.

Kamada's double delight

If the space Arsenal afforded Kamada for his first goal was foolish, the room he enjoyed for his second bordered on gross negligence. Nevertheless, both finishes from the 23-year-old forward were of the highest order and the Gunners never recovered from his initial sucker punch.

Willock wastefulness proves costly

Arsenal's promising youngster have generally proved immune to their club's wider disfunction on these midweek occasions, but the richly-gifted Willock found himself sucked in here. He either needed to finish or get out of Aubameyang's way early on and did neither, while his team-mates surely would not have unravelled to such an extent had he made it 2-0 after half-time.

What's next

Arsenal and their embattled boss will try and claim a first win since the start of October when they travel to Norwich City on Sunday, while Frankfurt can recuperate until Monday when Mainz welcome them in the Bundesliga.

Arsenal have set their sights on Nuno Espirito Santo.

Incumbent head coach Unai Emery is running out of time and the Gunners are reportedly plotting to replace him.

Succession planning could result in a raid on Premier League rivals Wolves.

 

TOP STORY – NUNO THE NUMERO UNO FOR ARSENAL

Impressed with his work in the Midlands, Arsenal chiefs have identified 45-year-old Nuno as their preferred replacement for the under-fire Emery.

The Daily Mail reports Raul Sanllehi, the club's head of football, has a "long-standing relationship" with Nuno's agent Jorge Mendes and claims the former Porto boss is now the leading contender for the job.

Nuno guided Wolves to promotion from the Championship two seasons ago and achieved a top-seven finish last term.

ROUND-UP

- LaLiga rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid are monitoring Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's situation as the striker stalls on an Arsenal contract extension, says The Daily Star.

- Jorge Jesus has emerged as a candidate to replace Marco Silva at Everton. The former Sporting CP coach guided Flamengo to Copa Libertadores glory over the weekend and his name has been put forward at Goodison Park, reports The Telegraph.

- Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich have held fresh talks with Leroy Sane's agent but are unlikely to lodge a transfer bid for the Manchester City winger until the end of the season, according to Goal.

- On-loan Roma defender Chris Smalling's impressive adjustment to Serie A has inspired Juventus to make enquiries to Manchester United, reports Italian broadcaster Radio Radio.

- Zlatan Ibrahimovic's latest transfer hint might not be what it seems. ESPN suggests the Swedish free agent is considering investing in Hammarby, rather than playing for the Allsvenskan side. On Tuesday, Ibrahimovic tweeted an image of a Hammarby shirt sporting his name on the back, sparking rampant speculation.

Keeping faith with the under-fire Unai Emery could have serious ramifications for Arsenal.

According to reports, club chiefs fear key players will question their long-term futures if Emery remains in charge.

Two star attackers are already said to be stalling on new deals with Arsenal sliding down the Premier League.

 

TOP STORY – GUNNERS FEAR EXODUS

Arsenal are at risk of losing Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, according to the Daily Mail.

The newspaper reports the pair have shown little interest in signing contract extensions as a direct consequence of poor results and concerns over Emery's "conservative" methods.

Arsenal have failed to win any of their past six games in all competitions and are facing the prospect of another season outside the Champions League, a problem for the likes of Lacazette and Aubameyang.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marco Silva's position at Everton is in peril but he could remain in charge until after the Merseyside derby on December 4, according to the Daily Mail. The Toffees lie 16th in the Premier League following a 2-0 home loss to Norwich City.

- Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores is likewise feeling the pinch. The Telegraph reports the Spaniard is "on the brink" of becoming the club's second managerial casualty of the season.

- Manchester United are set to trigger a 12-month extension to Timothy Fosu-Mensah's contract, claims The Sun. The Dutch defender is due to become a free agent at the end of the season.

- New MLS franchise Inter Miami are discussing the possibility of making Patrick Vieira their inaugural head coach, says CBS Sports reporter Roger Gonzalez. Vieira is currently in charge of Ligue 1 club Nice.

- Serie A side Roma are tracking Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham, according to Tuttomercatoweb. The French midfielder scored a vital Europa League goal against Lazio earlier this month and could be the subject of a January transfer bid from their Serie A rivals.

Mohamed Salah is targeting a third consecutive African Player of the Year trophy after being named on the preliminary list of nominees for the 2019 award.

Salah defended his crown last year after scoring 44 goals for Liverpool and Egypt in 2018 and finishing as the 2017-18 Premier League Golden Boot winner with 32 goals.

The 27-year-old faces competition for this year's honour from Reds team-mate Sadio Mane. The Senegal international was joint top scorer in the Premier League last season with 22 goals alongside Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has also been named on the 30-strong list.

Manchester City and Algeria forward Riyad Mahrez, who won the award in 2016, is also included on the list announced by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

Aubameyang's Arsenal colleague Nicolas Pepe of the Ivory Coast is another on the list, along with Leicester City's Nigerian midfielder Wilfred Ndidi and Paris Saint-Germain's Idrissa Gueye, who represents Senegal.

Other prominent Europe-based players nominated are Ajax duo Andre Onana and Hakim Ziyech, Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, Atletico Madrid's Thomas Partey and Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang said Arsenal must ask questions of themselves after a 2-2 draw with Southampton left them without a win in five Premier League matches.

Alexandre Lacazette twice dragged his side back on terms against a team beaten 9-0 by Leicester City at the end of October, levelling after Danny Ings and James Ward-Prowse put the visitors ahead.

The second of Lacazette's goals - his fourth of the season in the Premier League - came deep in second-half stoppage-time and was met with muted celebrations around a disgruntled Emirates Stadium.

Indeed the Gunners left the field to boos and when Aubameyang was asked whether they were deserved, the Gunners' captain told the club's official website: "I don't know.

"When we are playing, we are the first to be disappointed when it doesn't work. We will try to keep fighting. I think we have the quality to come back and we have to fight.

"I think everybody has to try to ask themselves what they can change, what they can give more of. Everybody has to do this, me first. I will try to work hard and to get back to winning ways."

Aubameyang captained Arsenal for the first time against Southampton but his performance was very much overshadowed by that of Lacazette on a day when few Gunners players were anywhere near their best.

With a Europa League clash against Eintracht Frankfurt next up for Unai Emery's side, Aubameyang promised graft from the squad as they aim to pick up a first win in seven attempts.

Asked what has gone wrong at Arsenal, Aubameyang replied: "I don't know exactly. The only thing I can say is that we as a team, as players, will try to continue our work.

"We have to find a solution together. I think we have to stay strong. We are men and we have to carry on our hard work.

"We have a game on Thursday and we will start from this game to try to turn things around. In this case, it's really not easy for everybody but we are men and we have to carry on to try to sort it out. We are a group and we can find a solution internally. That's what we are going to do.

"Everybody is disappointed today, the fans and the players. It didn't work today. It's not a good result for us. Obviously we're playing at home and we have to win games at home. We have to keep fighting and keep trying to sort it out."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is honoured to have been named Arsenal's captain, having been so desperate to lead teams when he was younger he bought armbands for himself.

Aubameyang was confirmed as Arsenal's new skipper earlier this month, when Granit Xhaka was stripped of the responsibility following his angry confrontation with fans in October's 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

Speaking in the club's matchday programme ahead of Saturday's game against Southampton, his first home match since being confirmed as club captain, Aubameyang said: "Arsenal has a great history of wonderful captains like Patrick Vieira and Tony Adams. It is a privilege to follow in their footsteps and I will honour the armband by doing my very best on and off the pitch.

"When I was younger, I remember always wanting to be captain in my youth teams. I was talking about it with my mum just the other day actually. We were laughing because we recalled how I used to buy armbands myself so I could wear them.

"At the start of my career, I was not too focused on being captain or not. Now, it feels right. It comes with a lot of responsibilities but I feel I can do a great job. I have been Gabon captain since 2015 and that was also a great honour.

"My dad was also the national team captain when he was playing. So to take over from him in a way was again very special. Now, I am doing the double with Arsenal and Gabon and it is a wonderful privilege."

Arsenal head into the Southampton fixture winless in four Premier League matches, with head coach Unai Emery under increasing pressure as a result.

Barcelona are preparing for next season and they have several players on their wish list.

The LaLiga leaders are enjoying a decent campaign in 2019-20, but they already have one eye on 2020-2021.

Inter's Lautaro Martinez, Bayern Munich's Joshua Kimmich and Fiorentina's Nikola Milenkovic are reportedly their main targets.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA TARGET MARTINEZ, KIMMICH AND MILENKOVIC

Martinez, Kimmich and Milenkovic are Barcelona's main targets ahead of 2020-21, according to AS.

If they miss out on Kimmich, they will look to RB Leipzig's Lukas Klostermann, the report says.

Meanwhile, Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen is another option, while Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a target if they cannot land Martinez.

ROUND-UP

- Mauricio Pochettino could be set for a quick return to management. Bayern Munich want to hold talks with the former Tottenham manager, according to The Telegraph.

- Could the impact of Jose Mourinho be felt at Tottenham already? Toby Alderweireld, who is out of contract at the end of the season, could stay at Spurs after Mourinho's arrival, The Telegraph also reports.

- Roma could extend Lorenzo Pellegrini's contract, but several clubs are interested in the midfielder. Manchester United, Tottenham, Juventus, AC Milan and Inter have shown some interest in Pellegrini, according to CalcioMercato.

- Marko Pjaca has failed to have an impact since his arrival at Juventus in 2016. CalcioMercato reports the Croatian attacker, who has already been on loan at Schalke and Fiorentina since his arrival in Turin, could be set for another spell away from Juve in January.

- Chelsea have a target in January if their transfer ban is overturned. The Premier League giants have been monitoring CSKA Moscow striker Fedor Chalov, according to Sky Sports. The 21-year-old scored 15 Russian Premier League goals last season and has five in 16 games in 2019-20.

Jose Mourinho seemingly has Gareth Bale in his Tottenham plans, but he will have to wait until before the start of next season.

Mourinho was named Spurs head coach on Wednesday, a day after the Premier League club sacked Mauricio Pochettino.

Unsurprisingly, there is plenty of talk around his potential movements in the transfer market – including a Tottenham return for Bale.

 

TOP STORY – MOURINHO EYES BALE, BUT CAN'T SPEND IN JANUARY

Mourinho's arrival at Tottenham offers Bale the perfect escape route from Real Madrid, according to AS.

The star attacker left Spurs for Madrid in 2013, but is set to leave the LaLiga giants at season's end, the report says.

Marca reports Madrid have ruled out a January exit for Bale. That would suit Mourinho, who has been told there is no money to spend in the January window, according to The Guardian.

ROUND-UP

- Mourinho has more pressing matters at Spurs. The Mirror reports Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, who are out of contract at season's end, are intrigued by the prospect of working under Mourinho and are open minded about their futures.

- It could have been different for Spurs. According to the Daily Mail, Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers was Tottenham's first choice before they turned to Mourinho.

- Meanwhile, the sacked Pochettino may not be out of management for too long. Barcelona and Bayern Munich are ready to pounce for the former Spurs manager, according to The Sun. Ernesto Valverde is under pressure at Camp Nou, while interim boss Hansi Flick will coach Bayern until at least the end of the year.

- Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be getting closer to sorting out his future. Sky Sport reports AC Milan spoke to the departing LA Galaxy striker's agent Mino Raiola on Wednesday about the possibility of a return to San Siro.

- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is in no rush to renew his Arsenal contract and with good reason. Sport reports the forward is waiting to find out how serious Barcelona's interest in him is before extending a deal that runs until 2021.

- Needing a striker, Manchester United are considering a January move for Roma's Edin Dzeko, according to ESPN FC. Dzeko has scored five goals in 12 Serie A games this season, and United are looking to finally bolster their attack after losing Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez in the close season.

- Olivier Giroud has made just one Premier League start for Chelsea this season and the striker could be set for a January exit. La Gazzetta dello Sport says Inter are considering a move for Giroud in January as they look for a back-up for Lukaku.

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