John Hartson Claims London Clubs Are ‘Playing for Third’ in Bold Claim About Title Race

​Former Arsenal and West Ham striker John Hartson has claimed London clubs Chelsea and Tottenham are ‘playing for third’ behind Premier League title favourites Manchester City and Liverpool.

City currently sit two points ahead of Liverpool at the top, four ahead of Chelsea, with the Blues’ London rivals Tottenham hot on their tails.

Manchester City v Manchester United - Premier League

But despite the relatively narrow gap separating the chasing pack from the top two, Hartson says that ​City and ​Liverpool are some way ahead of everyone else.

He told the ​Daily Star: “Right now Man City and Liverpool are a fair way away from the rest.

“The football they play and the players that they have. Most teams are playing for third. ​Chelsea, Tottenham, United.

“They won’t admit it but deep down they’re wishing they had an Aguero or a De Bruyne.”

Manchester City v Manchester United - Premier League

Hartson’s lack of mention of ​Arsenal in the race for third raised some eyebrows, as the Gunners sit in fifth place, three points behind Spurs and four ahead of United, who are eighth.

When asked for clarity on his former club’s chances, Hartson added: “How far are Arsenal away? I think they’re a few years behind in terms of challenging for the title. 

“Top four would be a great success because they’ve missed out the last two seasons. They don’t want to make it three. They’ll do their upmost to get in there.”

“Without going to far ahead, if they get into the top four, they will have to finish above two great teams.”

Arsenal FC v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

Hartson made 54 appearances for the Gunners between 1995-97, scoring 14 goals. He later went on to forge a successful career with West Ham, Wimbledon and Coventry, before enjoying a lengthy spell with Scottish heavyweights Celtic.

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Arsenal Fans Lose Patience With Granit Xhaka After Costly Error Against Wolves

​​Arsenal fans left the Emirates Stadium fuelled with frustration on Sunday night as they drew with Premier League new boys Wolverhampton Wanderers, losing ground on the top four. 

Granit Xhaka was put in the firing line by Gunners fans for his possession in the draw. the Swiss midfielder got robbed in possession after failing to control a simple pass, and then failed to track his man Ivan Cavaleiro, who scored the opener for ​Wolves. 

Since Xhaka made his debut playing for Arsenal back in August 2016 the midfielder has made five errors leading to goals, no outfield player has made more in the league since then. 

Arsenal FC v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

​Arsenal may have started the game sluggish, taking their time to get in the game. However, the Gunners fans didn’t hold back when talking about Xhaka on Twitter. 

Below are some of the reactions:

Well… 

At least its not all bad I guess. 

Patience appears to be wearing thin. 

What’s Titus Bramble done to get involved?

Some fuel for thought. 

Xhaka is now into his third season in English football after signing from Borussia Monchengladbach for a fee in the region of £30m, but has endured a mixed time in London.

With Unai Emery still looking to put his stamp on this Arsenal side, the January transfer window could be key for the Gunners as they chase a Champions League spot. 

Between now and then Xhaka’s performances may have to improve, if he wants to continue to be a part of his manager’s plans and get the fans back on side.

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Alexandre Lacazette Forced Out of France Squad Just Hours After Replacing Anthony Martial

​A mere couple of hours after being called up by the French national team to replace the injured Anthony Martial, Alexandre Lacazette has also been forced to pull out of the squad on medical grounds. 

The Arsenal man was famously not selected for L’Equipe de France’s World Cup triumph in Russia this summer, and hasn’t represented his country since a 2-2 draw with Germany in November 2017, in which he scored both goals.

Germany v France - International Friendly

The striker has been in great form for the Gunners this season, picking up six goals and four assists in 15 appearances for the north Londoners. 

With Manchester United’s ​Anthony Martial (who had been similarly ignored for Russia 2018) forced to return to England this morning after a medical assessment, Lacazette was deemed the natural replacement. 

However, within a couple of hours, the 27-year-old has suffered the same fate, having been told by Les Bleus’ head doctor, Franck Le Gall, as well as members of the ​Arsenal medical team, that he is not fit enough to accept the invitation. 

In ​Lacazette’s place instead will be Borussia Monchengladbach’s 25-year-old forward Alassane Plea. The Lille-born marksman has been on fire for Die Borussen this season, scoring 11 times in 12 appearances across competitions, as well as providing three assists. 

Plea has played just once for his country’s U21 side in 2014, having starred at various other youth levels, and is now in line for his first ever cap, should he appear in either of France’s fixtures. 

Les Bleus are facing the Netherlands in a UEFA Nations League clash on Friday the 16th, before a friendly against Uruguay on the 20th.

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Unai Emery Confirms Danny Welbeck Has Undergone Surgery After Breaking His Ankle

Arsenal boss Unai Emery has confirmed that Danny Welbeck has suffered a broken ankle in the midweek, following the striker’s untimely exit against Sporting CP in the Europa League on Thursday night.

Welbeck needed to be stretchered off the pitch after landing awkwardly when he contested an aerial ball, and subsequent reports suggested that something was broken.


Following the Gunners’ draw with  Wolverhampton on Sunday, Emery revealed that the player will be gone for a long time but admitted that a doctor would be better prepared to answer questions regarding the seriousness of the injury.

“Yes. He did the operation on Friday,” he told reporters in a press conference after Sunday’s 1-1 draw, via football.london.

“Danny’s injury is a big injury. We spoke with him yesterday and today. We support him with our personal relationship between the player and the staff.

“I think he will not be with us for a long time.

Arsenal FC v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

“I think it is better the doctor says to you. It’s a big injury but the doctor can say better than me.”

Arsenal had previously reported that they would provide an update as it relates to the player’s timeline for a return in a few days. However, that could be delayed due to the fact that he has undergone surgery.

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Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal Keeping Tabs on Out-of-Favour Manchester United Defender

​Manchester United defender, Phil Jones, is on the radar of both Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal following a lack of game time this season. 

The English defender has just 12 months left on his contract and would be available on a free transfer next summer should the Red Devils decide against triggering their 12-month extension option in Jones’ contract. 

It is believed that, despite not being a first-choice centre-back for the Red Devils this season, Manchester United will trigger the extension, according to The Sun.

Manchester United v Derby County - Carabao Cup Third Round

One potential reason for this could be that, should United be willing to let the Englishman leave, the extension would allow them to get some money for Jones rather than allowing Premier League rivals to take him for free. 

However, this could be a cynical way of looking at it and there’s a good chance that United actually want to keep Jones for at least one more season. 

Whilst not being a regular starter, Jones has ample experience of playing in the Premier League, having joined Manchester United from Blackburn Rovers in 2011 for a fee of £15m. He has since made 194 appearances for the club and is still only 26-years-old.

Blackburn Rovers v Bolton Wanderers - Premier League

Jones may have made more appearances for the club had it not been for his dire injury record. The Englishman is currently behind Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof in the Manchester United pecking order, and it is a partnership that has seen the Red Devils improve on their poor start to the season.

Should Jones choose to leave, Arsenal may well be the better option as they have a less settled centre-back pairing. The Gunners currently have to pick between Rob Holding, Shkodran Mustafi, and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, whilst Laurent Koscielny remains out with an injury. 


Manchester United next face Manchester City in the Manchester derby, before facing a struggling Crystal Palace at Old Trafford after the international break.

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