Arteta talks up Citizens potential

Manchester City assistant manager Mikel Arteta believes his side are better prepared than ever before to try and go all the way in the Champions League.

The Citizens have fallen at the quarter-final stage of the competition in each of the last two seasons, having reached the last four in the 2015/16 campaign.

And Arteta, who will be in charge of things for the visit of Lyon on Wednesday evening as head coach Pep Guardiola serves a touchline ban, is confident that the City squad has the potential to be crowned champions of Europe for the first time in their history.

He told reporters at his pre-match press conference: "We have a very young squad. They gained a lot of experience in the last two years and we feel we are better prepared.

"But in the Champions League winning or losing is more detailed. We believe we can do better and tomorrow everything starts – we know how hard it is to play against the teams in Europe."

Meanwhile, Arteta also backed the Citizens players as as talented a set as exists in club football, having won the Premier League title by a massive 19-point margin last season.

The Spaniard added: "For me we have the best players in the world and I look at our players as if they are the best.

"I wouldn't change my players for any others, they are absolutely fantastic. The hunger is this group is incredible."

City, who have never faced Lyon in a competitive fixture before, are 1/6 to win their meeting on Wednesday evening, with a 2-0 home win priced at 15/2 and a Citizens clean sheet available at 1/1.

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Hammers lose Wilshere to injury

West Ham will be without Jack Wilshere for up to six weeks after the midfielder underwent surgery on his ankle.

The 26-year-old has made a slow start to life at the London Stadium following his summer move from Arsenal, struggling to impress in the Hammers first four games of the season.

Without Wilshere in the squad, the Londoners picked up their first win in the Premier League on Sunday, getting the better of Everton 3-1 on Merseyside.

Boss Manuel Pellegrini will hope his team continue to cope well without the English midfielder after it was revealed he had undergone an operation on Monday to correct an issue with his ankle.

Wilshere, who has missed significant periods with ankle injuries in the past, will be unavailable for some key fixtures with games against Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham to come during his period of absence.

West Ham head of medical Richard Collinge says all went well with the operation and hopes Wilshere will be back in action before too long.

"Jack underwent successful surgery in London on Monday morning for a minor ongoing ankle issue," he said in a statement on the club's official website.

"The surgeon was happy with the procedure and all went as planned.

"We envisage he will only need a relatively short period of rest and will then start his rehabilitation. Jack is focused and determined to get back training and playing as soon as possible."

Wilshere joins Andy Carroll and Winston Reid on the sidelines for West Ham, with the veteran duo expected back at some point in October.

Meanwhile, Marko Arnautovic revealed after Sunday's win at Everton that he has a knee injury which is troubling him.

The Hammers will hope the Austrian is available when Chelsea visit the London Stadium on Sunday. The home side are 11/2 for the win, with their London rivals 9/20 and the draw 7/2.

West Ham's first win of the season last weekend saw them move out of the bottom three and they are now 5/1 to be relegated.

Southampton taught harsh lesson – Hughes

Southampton boss Mark Hughes says his players must learn to manage games better after letting a two goal lead slip in Monday's 2-2 draw with Brighton.

The Saints had looked on course for back-to-back Premier League wins after surging clear of the Seagulls at St Mary's, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's 35-yard hit putting them ahead at the break.

A Danny Ings penalty saw Hughes' men tighten their grip on the game against a Brighton side who have struggled to pick up points away from home in the top flight since the start of last season.

However, a Shane Duffy header on 67 minutes set up an exciting finale and the visitors were able to snatch a point when Duffy was adjudged to have been pushed over in the penalty area in stoppage time, Glenn Murray tucking away the resulting spot kick.

The result maintains Southampton's dismal home record of one home win in the league since November 2017, while they have thrown away 26 points from winning positions since the start of last season.

Hughes was left upset by the decision to award a penalty against his team late on, calling it "soft", but admits they should not have found themselves in that position to begin with.

"We've got to find a way to manage the game better than we are doing at the minute," he told Sky Sports.

"We've had a number of winning positions where we needed to manage the game to a conclusion and at the moment that's a little bit difficult for us.

"It's understandable up to a point. Our record at home isn't good and for long periods today, the performance was fine. We created some good opportunities and we should have been 2-0 or 3-0 to the good before they got back into the game.

"You've got to take your chances and see the game out to a conclusion. We weren't able to do that.

"It's a lesson – and a harsh lesson, if we are honest."

Southampton face a tricky game away at league leaders Liverpool next and are 12/1 to spring a surprise against the Reds, who are 1/5 with the draw 11/2.

Having narrowly avoided relegation last season, the Saints are 4/1 to go down this term after taking five points from their first five games.

Sarri sets Blues target

Maurizio Sarri has stated he wants to turn Chelsea into the "best team in England" within the next 18 months.

The former Napoli boss has made a perfect start to life at Stamford Bridge, with five wins in five Premier League games this season.

Sarri succeeded Antonio Conte in the summer, his fellow Italian having led Chelsea to the title two years ago.

Chelsea are top of the table on goal difference from Liverpool. They will face the Reds in two weeks at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea have established an early two-point lead on Pep Guardiola's Manchester City team but, according to Sarri, both the champions and Liverpool are "better" than his team at this point.

"We have to improve step by step," said the Italian. "My target is to become the best team in England in one year, 18 months. That's the target.

"I think my opinion in this moment, two teams, Liverpool and Manchester City are better than us."

Chelsea are 9/1 to win the title this season. With their perfect record intact, Liverpool are 9/4 while Man City are 4/6 to defend their crown successfully.

Sarri also believes that Eden Hazard is capable of matching the scoring feats of Mohamed Salah from last season and winning the Premier League's Golden Boot.

His best total came in 2014/15 when he scored 19 goals, and he scored 17 times in each of the past two seasons. Sarri has told the Belgian he can score a record tally this term.

"We have spoken and I told him he can score 40 goals," Sarri said. "He has to improve some things, but he can do it."

Hazard is 10/1 to win the Premier League Golden Boot this season.

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Misfiring Clarets concern Dyche

Sean Dyche admits there is "a bit of a fog around us at the moment" after watching his winless Burnley side lose 1-0 at Wolves.

Raul Jimenez scored the only goal of the game as the Clarets slumped to their fourth defeat in five Premier League matches so far this season.

They are now at the foot of the Premier League table and, after finishing seventh last season and qualifying for the Europa League, are 11/10 to be relegated this term.

"We've got a bit of a fog around us at the moment, brought on by many different things," Dyche said after the Molineux setback.

"We've been through it before though and we've got to come through it again.

"I thought they [Wolves] were the better side overall, definitely on the creative side of the game.

"The positive for us was we looked much more like us defensively, in the sense of blocks – the keeper played great, but in front of that, blocks, energy to block, willingness and desire.

"But that's the only thing I can pick out. Offensively we gave the ball away so many times in so many cheap positions and you can't do that."

Burnley can be backed at 9/5 to record their first victory of the campaign when they play Bournemouth on Saturday and at 9/1 to beat the Cherries 1-0 at Turf Moor.

Knee injury worries Arnautovic

Marko Arnautovic admits the knee injury he picked up during West Ham United's 3-1 win against Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday is concerning him.

The Austria international had been in sparkling form as the Hammers clinched their first three-point haul of the campaign following four consecutive defeats.

Arnautovic set up Andriy Yarmolenko to open the scoring before grabbing West Ham's third goal. However, he had to be substituted shortly after netting with an injury to his left knee.

He said afterwards: "I don't know, we need to check now. It's not my calf, it's my knee. It hurts a lot. We will need to check this week."

However, the former Stoke City star was delighted to emerge victorious on Merseyside, adding: "It was important for us to come back and put in a performance, because we didn't win any of the first four games.

"It wasn't just the forwards. It starts from the goalkeeper and I think everybody did an unbelievable job. The midfield were everywhere and then it's down to us [as forwards] to score the goals to win games."

West Ham, 9/4 to finish in the top half of the Premier League this season, are 6/1 to win their next match on Sunday against Chelsea, while they are available at 7/1 to keep a clean sheet in the encounter.

Hughes seeks end to poor run

Southampton manager Mark Hughes sees no reason why his players should be apprehensive about playing at St Mary's.

Saints have been poor at home for over a year, winning just four Premier League matches on their own patch in the last 26 attempts.

This season they have drawn with rock-bottom Burnley and lost to Leicester City on home soil, with their only top-flight victory coming a fortnight ago at Selhurst Park.

Saints host Brighton on Monday and are 21/20 to record a rare home triumph and 11/2 to edge to a 1-0 victory.

Hughes said: "I think it has been (a mental block) but I sense there is a bit more freedom about our play at home.

"There is a good energy in the stadium now in terms of fans seeing a real difference in our play in terms of our attitude to the game and what we're trying to do.

"Certainly it seemed when I first came into the building that there was a bit of a straitjacket in terms of apprehension before home games. I think that's gone.

"Our home form needs to be addressed and that's what we've been talking about."

Southampton have not won back-to-back league games since April 2017 but they are 9/4 to finish in the top half of the Premier League table this term and 6/1 to score a penalty against the Seagulls.

Jimenez banks Wolves win

Raul Jimenez scored the only goal as Wolves claimed a deserved victory over Burnley at Molineux to continue their strong start to the campaign.

The home side dominated possession and controlled the game against a well-organised Clarets side, but they had to wait the hour-mark for Jimenez to make the crucial breakthrough.

Burnley rarely threatened, with the only real chances they created falling to Johann Berg Gudmundsson late on.

The Clarets have now lost four successive Premier League game for the first time. Wolves meanwhile climbed into the top half of the table with their win.

The key moment was orchestrated down the Wolves right, with Matt Doherty toe-poking a cross into the path of Jimenez, who was able to divert the ball beyond Joe Hart's dive.

Nuno Espirito Santo has demanded his players "maintain the standards" set in their 1-0 victory over West Ham prior to the international break, and he was not disappointed.

"I am very, very satisfied. We played good football and stayed organised and created chances. Burnley are a good side and stayed in it until the end," said the Molineux boss.

"If there is a 'but', we could be more clinical. But if we can continue to make these many chances, it makes me very proud."

Wolves are 11/2 to win their next game, away at Manchester United. The Red Devils are 8/15 while the draw is 3/1 at Old Trafford.

For Burnley boss Dyche, his side didn't reach the required standard.

"We knew they were a good side. They invested well in the summer. We knew we'd have to defend resolute. We got some nice blocks in and looked more like ourselves defensively," he said.

"Attacking-wise there was nowhere near enough."

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Belief remains in Rafa’s mind

Rafa Benitez has urged fans of Newcastle United not to lose faith that the current side can improve and move away from the wrong end of the Premier League table.

The Magpies have picked up just one point from five games so far this season, with their latest outing ending in a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Arsenal.

However, the vastly-experienced Benitez refuses to be too downbeat about the situation, having guided his side to a tenth-placed last term in their first season back in the top-flight.

The Spaniard told Sky Sports: "Obviously we are disappointed because in the first half we did really well and deserved more. We were very close so the team is doing well in terms of organisation and in terms of work-rate.

"We were much better on the ball, especially in the first half, but still we have to improve that and keep the spirit. That is the key because we had this situation last year where we are losing games in a row and we finished tenth.

"That message has to be very clear for everyone. I have confidence in this group of players and hopefully we can start winning games soon."

Next up for the Tynesiders is a visit to Crystal Palace next Saturday, with the two sides having shared the spoils from a 1-1 draw in this fixture at Selhurst Park last season.

Newcastle are currently available at 10/3 to be relegated this season, with West Ham priced at 5/2 and Burnley 7/4.

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Howe happy with healthy start

Bournemouth head coach Eddie Howe is excited by the fact that his side still have plenty of things to improve on after making a strong start to the new season.

The Cherries moved up to fifth place in the Premier League table by earning a 4-2 win at home to Leicester City on Saturday, with the hosts leading by four goals before conceding twice in the final couple of minutes of the game.

And it was those concessions which left Howe feeling that his team can grow stronger in the coming weeks and months, even though he was largely pleased with overall performance against the Foxes.

He told his club's official website: "It's a good day for us. We go away with a very good result, but also knowing that we still have got work to do and things to improve. That's a very healthy position to be in.

"We knew it was a really important game. It's very easy to have a good start and then not back that up.

"We now go to Burnley and we know how tough that is going to be, so we're in good shape and very positive.

"While we weren't at our absolute best, we had to show spells of that and I thought we were disciplined and very ruthless in front of goal.

"We've created lots of chances and haven't been taking them, so it's good to see that change in our performance.

"The majority of our defending throughout the game was good too, but we can learn a lot from the last period of play."

Bournemouth are 13/8 to finish in the top half of the premier League table this season, with Wolves priced at 8/11 and Leicester 4/5.

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