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Was 2023 an all-time low for Harry and Meghan?

So, what does 2024 have in store for Harry and Meghan? Firstly, we can expect to see the duke back on home turf in January. His claim against News Group Newspapers, the publisher of the Sun, for alleged unlawful information gathering, is due to be heard at the High Court. He is also suing Associated Newspapers, the publishers of the Daily Mail, the Mail on Sunday and MailOnline, along with Sir Elton John, Liz Hurley and Sadie Frost.

Estimated read time 2 min read
BBC News BBC Sport News UK UK News

Sunday’s gossip: Phillips, Openda, Johnstone, Buchanan, Brownhill, Cancelo, Felix

Manchester City’s England midfielder Kalvin Phillips, 28, is at the top of Manchester United’s shopping list for next summer. (Sun)external-linkManchester United are keeping an eye on RB Leipzig and Belgium striker Lois Openda, 23, as they look to replace England winger Jadon Sancho, 23, and France forward Anthony Martial, 28, next summer. (Mirror)external-linkNewcastle are considering a move for Crystal Palace’s England goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, 30. (Star)external-linkManchester City are interested in Club Brugge winger Tajon Buchanan in January and will have to pay about £50m for the 24-year-old Canada international. (Star)external-linkNewcastle United are planning to make a number of loan signings from the Saudi Pro League in January. (Football Insider)external-linkWolves are preparing a cut-price £7m move in January for Burnley’s English midfielder Josh Brownhill, 27. (Mirror)external-linkBarcelona president Joan Laporta plans to hold talks over the futures of Portugal duo Joao Felix, 24, on loan from Atletico Madrid, and Joao Cancelo, 29, on loan from Manchester City. (Sport – in Spanish)external-linkManchester United are leading Tottenham in the race to sign Nice’s 23-year-old France defender Jean-Clair Todibo. (Football Insider)external-link’I’m banning the T-word’Are Aston Villa title contenders after win over Arsenal?Everton have turned down an offer from Tottenham to alter the terms of a £10m deal agreed as part of the transfer of former England midfielder Dele Alli, 27, to Goodison Park in January 2022. (Times – subscription required)external-linkReading’s 18-year-old forward Caylan Vickers is set for a dream move to Spanish giants Real Madrid. (Sun)external-linkManchester United have enquired about 27-year-old Guinea and Stuttgart striker Serhou Guirassy, who could be available for less than 20m euros (£17m). (Sky Sports Germany)external-linkBayern Munich have made Barcelona’s Ronald Araujo, 24, their top transfer target and could pay a “massive” fee for the Uruguay defender. (Sky Sports Germany)external-linkFormer Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who retired at the end of last season, says he is “talking” to AC Milan about returning to the club in some capacity. (Sky Sports Italia, via Football Italia)external-linkJuventus are monitoring the situation of 30-year-old Brazilian attacking midfielder Felipe Anderson, whose contract at Lazio runs out in the summer. (Calciomercato – in Italian)external-link

Estimated read time 4 min read
BBC News BBC Sport News UK UK News

Manchester City being judged by higher standards than rivals, says boss Pep Guardiola

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola believes his side is being judged by higher standards than any of their Premier League rivals.City go to Luton looking to avoid a fifth game without a Premier League win for the first time since 2009. Guardiola has never experienced that throughout his illustrious managerial career.Their form is so unusual, it has almost generated a belief of a borderline crisis from onlookers, even though City have only lost one of those four winless games.Also, the teams they have faced in their current run – Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and Aston Villa – are all in the top half of the table and the latter three are in the top five.Coming off the back of five titles in six years, a domestic treble and, last season, becoming only the second English side to win the authentic Treble, Guardiola feels the reaction is over the top.”What they demand of us, they didn’t demand of our friends – at all,” he said.”There is only one team that is going to ‘fail’ to win the Premier League, that is us. For the rest, [winning] it is a big success. Any team. “In the end, if they don’t win – Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, everyone – it is normal because City should win. It is unfair. It is difficult to handle that every week, every three days, for years and years.”This season City have the opportunity to win the Premier League for a fourth straight year. Guardiola is acutely aware no club has ever won four English league titles in a row.In his own words, dropping six points behind Arsenal ahead of the weekend games “is not a disaster” and with the Gunners losing at Villa Park on Saturday, City can close to within three with victory at Kenilworth Road and go four behind new leaders Liverpool.It is less than a month since City led going into injury-time at Chelsea and were about to go three points clear at the top of the table. Compared to some of City’s rivals, Guardiola does not feel the dip in form is extensive.”Man City can have a bad period,” he said. “Human beings change. Private lives can change. Bad moments are there. “In football, in sport, in life, the most difficult thing is to win and win and win. We have done it. For many years, we were the main candidates to win everything, and we were there. When we were out in the semi-final of the Champions League (against Real Madrid in 2022), it was a big disaster. That was our level.”In sport, you have seasons where [a bad period] can happen. Take a look at our rivals. Of course we can lose games and competitions. But please don’t say it is complacency. The team is not [made] in that way.”Analysis – would Guardiola be given the same slack?BBC football reporter, Simon StoneEvidently, Guardiola is under pressure to find answers right now. But there is also a suspicion his critics are revelling in what, by his standards, is relative failure.There is an element of truth in his belief about City being the only team that can fail. However, it also has to be acknowledged their rivals have spent lots of money on players and are all among the world’s biggest – and richest clubs.Arsenal smashed their transfer record to buy England midfielder Declan Rice. With Jurrien Timber and Kai Havertz, their overall summer outlay was more than £200m, then David Raya came in on loan. That spend means they should be challenging at the top of the table. Once the sales of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson are taken into account, Liverpool’s net spend was nearly £100m. Manchester United’s was almost £150m while Chelsea’s was pushing towards £200m.While it could hardly be claimed Erik ten Hag has escaped scrutiny at Old Trafford, Mauricio Pochettino is being given time to try to work out how to get a winning team from the huge number of new arrivals at Chelsea over the past three transfer windows.It is an impossible question to answer but would Guardiola – despite having achieved far more and boasting a far more extensive period of success – be given a similar amount of slack if he delivered five wins from 15 games with a similar squad, leaving the club in 10th? I suspect he thinks not.

Estimated read time 3 min read
BBC News BBC Sport News UK UK News

Are Aston Villa title contenders after win over Arsenal?

Aston Villa manager Unai Emery and captain John McGinn have said it is too early to call them title challengers despite their superb run of form continuing with victory over Arsenal to move within two points of leaders Liverpool.The results mean they have beaten last season’s top two and have made their best start to a top-flight season since 1980-81, the year they last won the title.But boss Emery has dismissed title talk until spring.”I will speak again when we are in game 30 to 32 and if we are in the same position as now then maybe I can speak about it,” Emery told Sky Sports after beating his former employers.”At the start we are not a contender, it is only game 16. We are in [the top four] and must try to keep it.”Villa took an early lead through captain John McGinn and held on, despite some late Video Assistant Referee (VAR) drama, to record a club-record 15th straight home league win in front of a raucous Villa Park.”I’m banning the T-word,” McGinn added. “It’s game week 16 so there’s a long way to go. “We respect everyone round about us who have been in this position for years. We’re newbies – if we can keep it up, we’ll see.”Even if the club is being coy, talk of a title is testament to how far Villa have come in recent times.Thirteen months ago, former Villa boss Steven Gerrard was sacked with the side outside of the relegation zone on goals scored.He was replaced by Emery, who has won 26 of his 41 Premier League games since, one more than he managed in his 51 games managing Arsenal in 2018 and 2019.Moreover, Villa’s total of 24 Premier League victories in 2023 is only bettered by Manchester City’s 26. It is also level with the club record for a calendar year which was last achieved in 1931.”These are exciting times [for Aston Villa fans],” former England midfielder Jamie Redknapp told Sky Sports. “They’ve had to watch some bad teams and some bad experiences. This is a big football club and it’s great to see them doing so well.”Asked if Villa could win the title, ex-Birmingham City and Arsenal midfielder Karen Carney added: “The form that they’re in, [beating] Man City and now beating Arsenal, the fans have every right to think something’s happening.”However, six-time Premier League winner Phil Neville was not so optimistic about Villa’s title chances.”No, I don’t think they’re in for the title,” he told NBC Sports. “But after 16 games they’ve been the most impressive, consistent team.”Today was the performance of the season from any team in the Premier League.”So, what do you think? Are Aston Villa genuine title contenders? Oops you can’t see this activity!To enjoy Newsround at its best you will need to have JavaScript turned on.

Estimated read time 5 min read
BBC News BBC Sport News UK UK News

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal: Villa up to second in Premier League

Aston Villa moved to within two points of the summit of the Premier League with a narrow win over Arsenal, who missed out on a chance to go top.Villa took the lead at Villa Park through skipper John McGinn, who brought Leon Bailey’s cross under control before hammering the ball into the net.Arsenal had a late Kai Havertz effort ruled out for handball by referee Jarred Gillett, with the video assistant referee upholding the call after a lengthy review.Despite Arsenal pressure, Villa held on to back up their statement victory over champions Manchester City on Wednesday and record a club record 15th straight home league victory.Defeat will be a blow for title-chasing Arsenal, whose run of six straight wins in all competitions came to an end.Are Villa title contenders?Only in 1980-81, when they last won the title, have Aston Villa taken more points after 16 games of a top-flight season, and there is a real belief that they can break into the top four.There are even whispers that Unai Emery, once of Arsenal, could manage an outside push for the title.Villa are the only Premier League club not to have dropped a point from a winning position this season, and, although Arsenal had the better chances after falling behind, Villa did create a few more of their own.Ollie Watkins forced two good saves from Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya, one of them when clean through, although the England striker was soon flagged for offside.In the second period Lucas Digne and Watkins both had shots saved following counter-attacks.Villa defended with discipline and intensity, ultimately benefitting from a late VAR call to stay third, one point off Arsenal in second place, and win their opening eight home matches in a top-flight season for the first time since 1932-33.Late VAR drama denies ArsenalArsenal started Saturday top of the table, dropping to second after Liverpool’s win over Crystal Palace at lunchtime.Mikel Arteta’s side’s last defeat had come at Newcastle at the start of November and his team had been enjoying a four-match winning run in the league.They created plenty of chances at a boisterous Villa Park. Bukayo Saka put a shot wide from close range just before McGinn’s opener and Gabriel Martinelli dinked the ball over Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez but saw his effort hacked off the line by Diego Carlos in the first half.Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard had good chances from 12 yards out either side of the break. The first was saved by Martinez, while the second skidded wide.They also had a penalty shout just after half-time when Douglas Luiz caught Gabriel Jesus’ ankle in the area, only for the VAR to uphold referee Gillett’s decision to wave play on.The Gunners came close again midway through the second period when a routine corner was spilled by Martinez and deflected off Watkins on to the post before being cleared away with William Saliba lurking.And Saka had the ball in the net in the second half after dribbling around Martinez but had timed his run a fraction too early.But the real drama was still to come. In stoppage time Havertz brought down a cross and hacked the ball into the Villa net.The goal was immediately ruled out on the field, but it took a VAR review to confirm Havertz had inadvertently controlled the ball with his hand.Arsenal would not create another clear chance, slipping to a second league defeat of the season.Player of the matchMcGinnJohn McGinnwith an average of 8.49Aston VillaSquad number7Player nameMcGinnAverage rating8.49Squad number31Player nameBaileyAverage rating7.52Squad number6Player nameDouglas LuizAverage rating7.47Squad number14Player nameP TorresAverage rating7.46Squad number3Player nameDiego CarlosAverage rating7.45Squad number1Player nameE MartínezAverage rating7.41Squad number11Player nameWatkinsAverage rating7.37Squad number8Player nameTielemansAverage rating7.33Squad number4Player nameKonsaAverage rating7.30Squad number15Player nameÁlex MorenoAverage rating7.28Squad number2Player nameCashAverage rating7.27Squad number12Player nameDigneAverage rating7.27Squad number19Player nameDiabyAverage rating7.21Squad number44Player nameKamaraAverage rating7.20Squad number41Player nameJ RamseyAverage rating7.14Squad number32Player nameDendonckerAverage rating7.08ArsenalSquad number41Player nameRiceAverage rating5.21Squad number2Player nameSalibaAverage rating5.03Squad number8Player nameØdegaardAverage rating4.96Squad number29Player nameHavertzAverage rating4.78Squad number11Player nameGabriel MartinelliAverage rating4.77Squad number7Player nameSakaAverage rating4.76Squad number6Player nameGabriel MagalhãesAverage rating4.74Squad number9Player nameGabriel JesusAverage rating4.62Squad number4Player nameWhiteAverage rating4.60Squad number35Player nameZinchenkoAverage rating4.26Squad number22Player nameRayaAverage rating3.86Squad number24Player nameNelsonAverage rating3.70Squad number19Player nameTrossardAverage rating3.70Squad number14Player nameNketiahAverage rating3.63Line-upsAston VillaFormation 4-4-1-11E Martínez4Konsa3Diego Carlos14P Torres12Digne31Bailey44Kamara6Douglas Luiz7McGinn8Tielemans11Watkins1E Martínez4KonsaSubstituted forCashat 66’minutes3Diego CarlosBooked at 88mins14P Torres12DigneBooked at 53minsSubstituted forMorenoat 78’minutes31BaileySubstituted forDiabyat 45’minutes44KamaraSubstituted forDendonckerat 66’minutes6Douglas LuizBooked at 62mins7McGinnBooked at 73mins8TielemansSubstituted forJ Ramseyat 56’minutes11WatkinsSubstitutes2Cash15Moreno17Lenglet19Diaby22Zaniolo24Durán32Dendoncker41J Ramsey42MarschallArsenalFormation 4-3-322Raya4White2Saliba6Gabriel35Zinchenko8Ødegaard41Rice29Havertz7Saka9Gabriel Jesus11Martinelli22Raya4White2Saliba6Gabriel35ZinchenkoBooked at 28minsSubstituted forNelsonat 90+4’minutes8Ødegaard41RiceBooked at 77mins29Havertz7Saka9Gabriel JesusSubstituted forNketiahat 82’minutes11MartinelliSubstituted forTrossardat 70’minutesSubstitutes1Ramsdale14Nketiah15Kiwior17Cédric Soares19Trossard20Jorginho24Nelson25Elneny76WaltersReferee:Jarred GillettMatch StatsLive TextPost updateMatch ends, Aston Villa 1, Arsenal 0.