In Brief

Arsenal look to Mikel Arteta as relegation zone threatens

Arteta is top of Arsenal’s wanted list but he could also be in line to replace Pep Guardiola at Man City

A new rival has emerged for Arsenal in their courting of Mikel Arteta, claims the Daily Star, and it’s none other than Manchester City. 

The former Gunners midfielder has been linked to the vacant manager’s position at the Emirates Stadium following the dismissal of Unai Emery last month.

But now there is speculation that City may look to promote their assistant boss in the event of Pep Guardiola departing in the future.

Touch of the blues

The Sky Blues are effectively out of the Premier League title race after losing at home to Manchester United on Saturday, and the body language of Guardiola in recent weeks hints at a man who may be running out of enthusiasm. 

The Star says that City, who now trail leaders Liverpool by 14 points, are “keen” on the idea of promoting Arteta, despite the fact that the Gunners have the Spaniard “at the top of their wanted list”.

On Friday Guardiola was asked if he believed Artera - who was appointed City assistant coach in 2016 - was made of managerial stuff. 

“I’m pretty sure, yes,” he replied. “He will have success, yes… sooner or later it’s going to happen.”

Premier League: Man City boss Guardiola gives up on the title race

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Farewell Freddie?

It could be sooner rather than later, according to the Daily Express, which reports that Arsenal caretaker boss Freddie Ljungberg is “facing the axe as the team’s stars refuse to back him”. 

Ljungberg stepped up to the plate after Emery was shown the door, but he’s had little effect in the last two games and defeat against West Ham on Monday night (8pm, live on Sky Sports) could be fatal for the Swede.

Arsenal are now in the bottom half of the table and with a daunting Christmas fixture list looming there is a growing fear in the Emirates’ boardroom that if things don’t improve quickly the club could slip inexorably into the relegation zone, which is only four points away.

Unimaginable just a few months ago, Arsenal’s record of being the only club never to have been relegated from the top flight since 1918 is now in jeopardy. 

Apprentice-style interview

But according to the Daily Mirror, if Arteta does want the Arsenal job he will have to expose himself to an “Apprentice-style” interview. 

The paper is one of several to claim that Arteta is the “preferred man to take charge at the Emirates” and he himself is attracted by the position. 

But it will be no shoo-in, with the Mirror saying that he will be “subjected to a gruelling interview process with the club’s executives”, among whom will be head of football Raul Sanllehi, technical director Edu and director Josh Kroenke, who will report to his father, Stan, the club’s owner.

London derby 

Monday’s Premier League London derby between West Ham United and Arsenal kicks off at 8pm (GMT) and is live on Sky Sports.

Today’s back pages 

Leicester are in the hunt for the Premier League title

Premier League results and fixtures 

Weekend results
  • Everton 3 Chelsea 1  
  • AFC Bournemouth 0 Liverpool 3 
  • Tottenham Hotspur 5 Burnley 0 
  • Watford 0 Crystal Palace 0 
  • Manchester City 1 Manchester United 2 
  • Aston Villa 1 Leicester City 4 
  • Newcastle United 2 Southampton 1  
  • Norwich City 1 Sheffield United 2  
  • Brighton & Hove Albion 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2
Monday’s fixture
  • West Ham United vs. Arsenal (8pm, live on Sky Sports)

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For analysis of the biggest sport stories - and a concise, balanced take on the week’s news - try The Week magazine. Start your trial today –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

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