Manchester City captain Kompany ruled out for ‘a short time’

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is hopeful Vincent Kompany can make a swift return from his latest injury setback.

City captain Kompany was substituted at half-time during Sunday’s 2-1 derby victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford, a win that stretched their lead at the top of the Premier League table over their rivals to 11 points.

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Kompany has been ravaged by injuries over recent seasons, with calf complaints his downfall more often than not.

Speaking ahead of City’s trip to Swansea City on Wednesday, where they will look to set an all-time Premier League record of 15 consecutive wins, Guardiola confirmed Kompany’s problem was “muscular” but not as bad as first feared.

“He can’t play at Swansea but I think it is less than we expect,” the Catalan said.

“Hopefully it will be a short time but exactly I don’t know. He has a muscular injury.”

It means Eliaquim Mangala is favourite to partner Nicolas Otamendi at centre-back in south Wales, with John Stones still on the sidelines due to a hamstring problem.

Aside from reports of a post-match fracas in the Old Trafford tunnel – a matter that Guardiola insisted he would only offer his version of to the Football Association – everything around in-form City is looking up at present, including a seemingly favourable Champions League last-16 draw against Swiss champions Basel.

However, Guardiola was quick to remind reporters that last season’s draw to face a rampant Monaco side was similarly welcomed before Leonardo Jardim’s Ligue 1 winners snatched an undulating tie, which ended 6-6, on away goals.

“Always, when we have this draw for February and we are in December, I say the same – ask me that question one week or two weeks before that game,” he added.

“I don’t know how our condition will be, our injured players or the Basel players. It is far away.

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“Last season we drew Monaco and everyone was happy and you know what happened with that.

“Until now we have showed we are able to do good things on the big stages but that has passed. It doesn’t give you the guarantee you will do it in the future.

“The Champions League is about how you arrive in that moment. Now, I cannot tell you exactly what is going to happen.”

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‘I’m no actor’ – No regrets for Liverpool boss Klopp over heated interview

Jurgen Klopp has no regrets about a heated interview he took part in after Liverpool’s draw with Everton on Sunday, stating he would not change the way he acted.

Liverpool dominated Everton for most of the 1-1 draw at Anfield, with Wayne Rooney’s late penalty denying them the victory after Dejan Lovren nudged Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the area.

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After the full-time whistle, Klopp was interviewed by Sky Sports and was particularly confrontational as the reporter’s line of questioning relating to the spot-kick irritated him.

The German was criticised for his manner and accused of being disrespectful, but believes the situation was blown out of proportion.

Speaking to reporters ahead of Wednesday’s visit of West Brom, Klopp said: “If I had to give the interview again with the information I had to give, it would be the same.

“Now, of course, I’m relaxed, but that was five minutes after the game and I was not relaxed.

“It’s always the same when you look in eyes of the journalist and he’s not interested in how you feel, that’s why I reacted.

“It was nothing. I didn’t say anything I need to take back. I don’t like it [the situation], but I can’t change. That’s how I felt in the moment. I’m no actor, I can’t act differently.

“[But] I can keep myself that calm that nothing serious happens in situations like this. It’s just an interview.

“I don’t think anyone really remembers it, or would watch back and think that it was ‘hilarious’ or ‘legendary’ – it was just an interview.”

There was also post-match fall-out from the Manchester derby later on Sunday. Manchester City are said to have celebrated a 2-1 victory against Manchester United overexuberantly, leading to a bust-up between individuals from the two clubs in the tunnel.

Klopp says that teams have to find the balance between enjoying themselves and respecting their opponents.

“It doesn’t happen a lot,” Klopp said. “One team celebrates, the other doesn’t like it – it’s obvious.

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“We have had one or two draws at home and I’ve heard loud music from the dressing room of the other side, that’s how it is. I don’t have a problem [with it].

“It’s like everything, it’s allowed as long as there’s respect. Football is a very emotional game and we as managers are not always in dressing room after the game.

“There’s music and sometimes shouts, but that’s how it is. I have no problem, as long as you show the right amount respect.”

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Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton and Hove Albion: Pochettino’s men to struggle at Wembley again

Following four Premier League games without a win, Tottenham Hotspur bounced back in style on Saturday afternoon with a 5-1 thrashing of Stoke City at Wembley.

The result came off the back of a 3-0 home victory against APOEL in the Champions League and Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping that his side’s third home game in seven days will continue to help them build momentum ahead of a busy Christmas period.

The visitors to the capital on Wednesday night are a Brighton side who have tailed off after a bright start, with Chris Hughton’s men winless in their last five games.

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SportPesa offer the Seagulls at 12/1 (13.00) to end that run by claiming three points at Wembley, while Spurs are priced at 1/4 (1.25) and the draw is available at 5/1 (6.00).

While the price for a home win outright may be a little short for most punters’ purposes, backing Spurs to win without conceding is a more appealing option at 4/5 (1.80), as the north Londoners boast a strong defensive record and Brighton have been far from prolific on the road, drawing a blank in five of their eight away matches so far this season.

However, it is also worth pointing out that Brighton have conceded just nine goals away from home, with only five teams conceding fewer, and as they did at Old Trafford a few weeks ago, they will look to maintain a rigid defensive unit to frustrate their opponents.

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That is not to say that it will be enough for a win, but Brighton could well contribute to a low-scoring game and under 2.5 goals appeals at 5/4 (2.25).

Before their weekend thrashing of Stoke, Spurs had netted just nine goals in seven home league matches and their opponents from the south coast will be hoping to restrict them in the final third once more on Wednesday evening.

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Kane would be a star anywhere in Europe – Matthaus

Former Germany and Bayern Munich star Lothar Matthaus believes Tottenham striker Harry Kane would be a success at any club in Europe.

Kane has been in a prolonged rich vein of form and the England striker brought up 50 goals for club and country in 2017 on Saturday with a double in Spurs’ 5-1 demolition of Stoke City at Wembley.

Matthaus believes only Bayern forward Robert Lewandowski is superior to Kane in his position at present, adding that the 24-year-old has youth on his side.

Having already beaten Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid during the group stages, Tottenham drew another heavyweight opponent in the last-16 of the Champions League as they were paired with Juventus, and Matthaus sees it as another chance for Kane to impress on the big stage. 

“Everybody in Europe is talking about Harry Kane,” Matthaus said in a column in the The Sun newspaper.

“And they will certainly be talking about him even more in Italy now Spurs have drawn Juventus in one of the ties everybody will want to see.

“I really like Kane. If I was a manager, and had the money, I would go out and buy him tomorrow.

“The only player in his position I’d prefer in all of Europe is Robert Lewandowski — and Kane is a lot younger and getting better.

“He works so hard, makes so many runs, moves into the right positions and creates things for his team. The other thing, which nobody can deny, is that he knows how to score.

“That is the greatest thing any striker can have and he can find the net from any distance, with either foot and his head.”

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Matthaus added: “He adapts to any situation, instinctively, and always seems to be in the right place, which is a gift of the best strikers.

“There is no doubt Kane could play for any club in Europe. That includes Real Madrid or Barcelona — and he would score goals for any club.”

Kane’s form for Spurs, who host Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Wednesday, meant limited opportunities for Vincent Janssen in north London last season.

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The Netherlands striker failed to impress when given the chance and is now on loan with Fenerbahce, where he would welcome a long-term stay.

“I am at a team where I am very happy right now,” the 23-year-old told Turkish sports newspaper Fanatik. “I opened a page here after falling down last season.

“I would like to continue my career at Fenerbahce. Unfortunately, not everything is [down to] me. My club’s attitude will be decisive.”

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Wenger urges ‘very important’ Giroud to see out the season at Arsenal

Arsene Wenger has called on Olivier Giroud to shelve any transfer plans and see out the 2017-18 campaign at Arsenal.

The France international striker equalled the Premier League record of ex-Manchester United favourite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer during a 1-1 draw with Southampton last time out, with his 17th goal as a substitute the level best for a single club.

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But Giroud, who was linked to Everton before the start of the campaign, has made all 13 of his top-flight appearances this season from the bench following the big-money arrival of Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon.

As a result, and with places at the 2018 World Cup to think about, the 31-year-old has hinted that he could be tempted to leave Emirates Stadium in search of more regular game time during the January window.

Wenger, though, considers Giroud to be an important asset for Arsenal and is reluctant to sanction a move, telling reporters: “He is not a super-sub for me, he is a regular player. I have plenty of good strikers and I cannot play all of them together.

“I speak to all my players but it is very difficult to speak about what we talk about.

Arsene Wenger Olivier Giroud Arsenal stay

“He is a very important player. I have big respect for him and I am an admirer of Olivier Giroud. Look at how many French caps he has got since he joined Arsenal. I do not think he has wasted his time.

“Personally, I want him to stay at the club until the end of the season and then we’ll see.

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“I can give you 10 more cases. Every player who doesn’t play wants to start in the Premier League.”

Giroud has been with Arsenal since 2012, with the current campaign seeing him pass the 100-goal mark for the club.

He has broken into double figures in terms of Premier League efforts in each of his five seasons in north London and needs just one more appearance to reach 250 for the Gunners. 

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