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Over in Imola, Lewis Hamilton has been fielding questions about his possible involvement in a Chelsea takeover ahead of the Italian Grand Prix, having been bantered by Max Verstappen about being an Arsenal fan. “I’ve been a football fan since I was a kid,” he said. “I played from the age of four to 17, was in school teams every year through my childhood. When I was young I played with little kids round the corner, where I was the only kid of color there, I knew the kids always supported someone different, so I switched between them and my sister Sam pressed me and said you had to support Arsenal , but my uncle Terry is a big Blues fan so I’ve been to many games with him to watch Chelsea play Arsenal and I’m a sporting fan and chelsea are one of thee biggest clubs in the world and the opportunity came and it’s a chance to do something. ”

Roy Hodgson is ‘enormously wary’ of Watford’s trip to Manchester City but says his Watford side still have some fight in them despite the body-blow of last weekend’s defeat by Brentford, reports PA Media:

Hodgson said: “We are enormously weary of the fixture because we know how easy it is to get heavily beaten up there because of their enormous attacking talent and of course the wealth of Pep (Guardiola) has at his disposal.

“I still think it’s a good game to play and I am hoping the confidence won’t have been totally shattered by the last-minute goal in the last game where in actual fact the second-half performance was probably as good as we have given for a long period of time.

“I am hoping we will think more about the way we played against Brentford in the second half and not just the fact we have once again had to swallow the bitter pill of another defeat.”

Watford have lost their last 14 fixtures to City but Hodgson played down talk this was a match to write off for the 19th-placed side. “I don’t think I’ll see it as a free hit at three o’clock on Saturday, that’s the problem,” the 74-year-old insisted.

“Then I will be so concerned about how they are capable of cutting our defense to ribbons and creating spaces that we could be unable to block, but I think the players have done exceptionally well this week. After the bitter disappointment of the 95th-minute goal, which cost us in my opinion what should have been a well-earned point, we have had to pick ourselves up but in the training sessions. The preparation for the game has been as good as I can expect or want it to be.

“I have not seen any falling off in any way over the level of attention or desire to do the right things. That gives me some hope that we can give some sort of performance, like we did say at Liverpool where despite a defeat you can come away thinking ‘we aren’t that bad’. ”

Some Arsenal women news: England defender Lotte Wubben-Moy has signed a new contract at the club. The 23-year-old re-joined Arsenal in 2020 after a spell in the USA and has since picked up seven senior England caps.

Having come through the ranks at Arsenal, her childhood club, agreeing a new deal was something she was delighted to get over the line. “It feels amazing,” she said. “This contract means so much more to me and my family than just being a football contract. It’s a commitment to the club and it’s a commitment to Arsenal, the community that’s active in and to my life as a whole, because that’s what Arsenal is – it’s my life. ”

Arsenal are currently a point behind leaders Chelsea in the Women’s Super League table and visit Everton on Sunday evening.

Jurgen Klopp speaks, looking ahead to the Merseyside derby and the prospect of there not being one next season: “Of course I would miss it – there’s two clubs in the city and the derby is always big. This week we had another fixture [against Manchester United] but there’s usually a full week of buildup – it’s what all the people are talking about in the city. Maybe there’s more riding on it this week. I love intensity in foootball, I love physicality in football but there’s a rule book and we must all stick to that. I just want to have an intense, physical, legally aggressive football game but not more, because we have other games coming up. This one’s important for both sides but I can’t remember when it wasn’t important for us.

Asked about his squad’s sense of happiness after walloping Manchester United, Kloppp says: “We’re not happy all the time but [chasing four trophies] is a situation they didn’t expect to be in. It’s incredibly tough, you spoke to them after the game but that was at a good time but it’s true we love the situation. We’ve won one competition, which is great, but there are three others to go, The boys are in a good moment but we have to prove it again on Sunday.

Klopp says Roberto Firmino’s condintionn is “getting better and better, but it can still be uncomfortable and painful so we have to make sure he can stay on the pitch. We might have to wait another few days and after that he could be a possible. ”

Asked about Thiago’s influnce in midfield, the manager says: “It’s great but I don’t want to talk about one player because the focus can go the other way if they do something wrong. He also praises Naby Keita’s improvement and importance: “Naby couldn’t get as much rhythm as he wished in the past maybe, but that’s over now because he’s a great player.”


Morning everyone. We’re at the stage of the season where every Saturday (and Sunday, and Friday night) is moving day, and we start checking permutations and testing our mental arithmetic. The form of Manchester City and Liverpool suggest the title race is going to the wire, and both host relegation-haunted teams this weekend. The old adage that form goes out of the window in derbies is rarely true these days, and Liverpool will be clear favorites for another Merseyside derby win, while Watford are signed-up members of the yo-yo club league alongside Norwich and Fulham. Manchester United players go to Arsenal with an incoming manager to impress and – just about – a top-four place still to chase, though their opponents are far better placed.

One title that is a foregone conclusion is the Bundesliga’s, and Bayern go in to a home Klassiker against Dortmund nine points clear at the top with four to play. Jonathan Liew discusses their domestic dominance here. Elsewhere in mainland Europe, the standout big-league game sees second-placed Internazionale host José Mourinho’s resurgent Roma.

And in the EFL, a crucial weekend starts tonight with third-placed Huddersfield taking on almost-relegated Barnsley hoping to close the gap on Bournemouth in the second automatic promotion place in the Championship. The form of Nottingham Forest, who are away at Peterborough tomorrow, and Luton (home to Blackpool) also suggests Scott Parker’s Cherries will be pushed all the way. Elsewhere, Wigan and Forest Green could clinch promotion from League One and League Two respectively, and it’s incredibly tight in those divisions’ play-off shake-ups.

Coming up, we’ll have press conference comment from Aston Villa, Manchester United, Norwich, Newcastle, Arsenal, Chelsea and Watford and plenty more besides, so stick around.

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