Piers Morgan is hoping Arsenal can benefit from Manchester City’s two-year ban from European competitions. The Premier League champions were found to have broken Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules by UEFA.
If City finish in the top four but fail with an appeal against the ban, the team that finishes fifth in the Premier League will earn a spot in next season’s Champions League.
Arsenal have endured a wretched campaign but celebrity Gooner Morgan believes they now have a 25 per cent chance of securing a spot in the competition.
Morgan wrote: “BREAKING: Manchester City banned from Champions League (and Europa) for next 2 seasons for ‘serious breaches’ of UEFA’s financial fair play regulations – and fined 30m euros.
“Arsenal’s chances of qualifying for Champions League just got 25% better…”
“Arsenal’s chances increased from 0% to 0.01%” trolled another.
A fifth Twitter user wrote: “Don’t get carried away there Piers.”
While another said: “Lol, you having a laugh?”
City have also been slapped with a £25million (€30m) fine by UEFA but the club are plotting an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
A statement from the Sky Blues read: “Manchester City is disappointed but not surprised by today’s announcement by the UEFA Adjudicatory Chamber.
“The Club has always anticipated the ultimate need to seek out an independent body and process to impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence in support of its position.
“In December 2018, the UEFA Chief Investigator publicly previewed the outcome and sanction he intended to be delivered to Manchester City, before any investigation had even begun.
“The subsequent flawed and consistently leaked UEFA process he oversaw has meant that there was little doubt in the result that he would deliver.
“The Club has formally complained to the UEFA Disciplinary body, a complaint which was validated by a CAS ruling.
“Simply put, this is a case initiated by UEFA, prosecuted by UEFA and judged by UEFA. With this prejudicial process now over, the Club will pursue an impartial judgment as quickly as possible and will therefore, in the first instance, commence proceedings with the Court of Arbitration for Sport at the earliest opportunity.”
Tottenham and Arsenal among host of European clubs interested in Marc Cucurella
Tottenham and Arsenal among host of European clubs interested in Barcelona full-back Marc Cucurella
Tottenham and Arsenal are among a host of European clubs keeping tabs on Marc Cucurella.
The 21-year-old is currently on loan at Getafe from Barcelona and has impressed for La Liga’s fifth-place side.
Tottenham and Arsenal are among a host of clubs interested in signing Marc Cucurella
Where does Manchester United new boy Bruno Fernandes come? – Premier League POWER RANKINGS
Bruno Fernandes makes the grade while Olivier Giroud’s heroics against Spurs earn him a spot… but is Mo Salah’s luck in after fluky goal in our Premier League POWER RANKINGS?
- There is plenty of movement in Sportsmail’s latest Power Rankings this week
- Sadio Mane has gone up after his crucial goal in Liverpool’s win over West Ham
- Find out here who Sportsmail placed at the top of the latest Power Rankings
Each week throughout the 2019-20 season, Sportsmail will bring you a Power Rankings table, listing the top 10 hottest players in the Premier League.
As the stories of the season unravel, the rankings will provide a form guide with players moving in and out of the top 10 depending on both their performances in the previous fixtures and also in recent weeks.
So, who wins a place in the latest edition of our Power Rankings?
10. Diogo Jota (new entry)
When your team has Raul Jimenez, Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho in, it is easy to slip slightly under the radar.
But Diogo Jota has, on the sly, been very important to a decent run of form for Wolves.
At the weekend he struck twice as they downed Norwich. That result means that Nuno’s side are still just two points behind fifth place, which could end up being a Champions League spot this season.
Jota has contributed massively. He has hit 10 goals in his last 12 games for Wolves.
He has also, ludicrously, struck them across just four games in that spell, netting at least two goals in each — with two braces and two hat-tricks to his name.
Keep it up and it will ease some of the burden on the other big guns in the Wolves side.
Diogo Jota hit two for Wolves as they overcame Norwich in a 3-0 victory at Molineux
9. Dani Ceballos (down one)
Given the level of discipline and the demands Mikel Arteta has put on his players at Arsenal, the fact Dani Ceballos has been restored to the side and played two in a row says a lot about him.
He seemed like a complete outcast under his compatriot just a month ago but is now becoming a regular pick for the Arsenal manager.
Ceballos was not the most impressive player on the pitch against Everton but did have a decent game before being substituted off.
The 23-year-old has also been crucial to helping Mesut Ozil return to form. As Peter Crouch highlighted, he did the dirty work alongside Granit Xhaka to let the German prosper.
He now needs to keep making those appearances and establish himself in Arteta’s preferred line-up.
Dani Ceballos is becoming a fixture in Mikel Arteta’s midfield after a period on the sidelines
8. Olivier Giroud (new entry)
It has been an exceptionally tough season for Olivier Giroud, who has found himself behind both Tammy Abraham and Michy Batshuayi in the pecking order at Chelsea.
That seemed overly harsh when it came to Batshuayi, who has struggled to do much whenever he has played, and Giroud had a right to be frustrated.
He got the nod on Saturday as Spurs visited Stamford Bridge and proved a point to manager Frank Lampard in the process.
His hold-up play was excellent and helped those deeper then himself come into the game in attacking positions.
Giroud also got the opening goal for himself, a fine finish that sent Chelsea on their way to an important win. He has shown enough to deserve a place in the side while Abraham is out injured.
Olivier Giroud took advantage of being named in Chelsea’s starting line-up by impressing
7. Jordan Henderson (down six)
Jordan Henderson did not play for Liverpool against West Ham on Monday evening and only remains in the rankings because he was first in the last edition.
But it is worth saying that in his absence he managed to prove how important he is to the league leaders.
Jurgen Klopp’s side struggled to assert themselves in the usual way against struggling West Ham at Anfield.
Naby Keita, who filled in for him, did not look as useful in the same role and it tells you a lot about how Henderson has improved in recent years. He is now crucial to the team that is going to win the league.
Jordan Henderson did not play as Liverpool beat West Ham and was notable by his absence
6. Bruno Fernandes (new entry)
It has not taken long for the comparisons to be made when it comes to Bruno Fernandes. Paul Scholes is one name that has been bandied about, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has also been hugely complimentary.
There is a reason why it has happened so quickly. Fernandes has made a huge impression at Manchester United since his January arrival, looking classy on the ball and able to create chances for his team-mates.
He also sent United on their way to victory on Sunday. They had looked poor before they won a penalty.
With the pressure on, Fernandes slotted the ball past Ben Foster in the Watford net and from that stage on they never looked back.
The Portuguese midfielder also provided an assist, which capped off an excellent day for him.
Bruno Fernandes managed a goal and an assist as he helped Manchester United beat Watford
5. Roberto Firmino (down one)
It might have just been the way that West Ham played, but Roberto Firmino did not have the best of days against the Hammers on Monday night.
That is not to say that he was bad, just that he was less effective than usual in knitting together the dynamic front three.
Still, there’s a reason why he lasted the full 90 minutes. He is crucial to Liverpool’s system and kept going throughout.
He drops down just one place compared to last week’s ranking.
Roberto Firmino was not bad against West Ham but did not shine compared to recent displays
4. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (new entry)
It is not often that a new entry storms up the charts like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has here, but then very few players are as crucial to a single win as he was to Arsenal’s victory over Everton.
While Eddie Nketiah got the opener, the rest was pure Aubameyang as he drove them to victory.
The first was a particular highlight and earned deserved comparisons to Thierry Henry. He came in from the left before latching onto a pass and slotting it past Jordan Pickford.
His second was also impressive, a lovely header past Pickford that sealed the win.
Arteta seems to be getting more out of him since moving him to the left side, so expect him to keep turning up in these rankings going forward.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s first goal for Arsenal on Sunday was compared to Thierry Henry
3. Kevin De Bruyne (down one)
Kevin De Bruyne drops down in the rankings not because he had a bad weekend or anything of the sort.
Instead, it is just the fact he did not have an exceptional one as Manchester City managed to overcome Leicester with a single goal.
De Bruyne and City struggled to pick apart Leicester, who have been having a great season, although they did manage seven shots on target.
The eventual goal had nothing to do with De Bruyne, with City winning a penalty and Gabriel Jesus converting.
It might just be that he was saving his best for the game against Real Madrid on Wednesday.
Kevin De Bruyne was on the pitch as Manchester City beat Leicester 1-0 on Saturday night
2. Sadio Mane (up five)
There has been plenty of debate over who Liverpool’s main man is these days, with Sadio Mane consistently staking a claim for that spot this season.
The truth is that both Mane and Mohamed Salah are crucial for how Liverpool play, which is reflected by how they perform when they are absent.
Mane had the crowning moment against West Ham on Monday night, though. They looked as though they might drop points for only the second time this campaign.
Then Mane intervened. He latched onto Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross to strike in the 81st minute.
He might also have had a second if it were not for moving into an offside position as the cross came in. It was a good day out for the forward.
Sadio Mane hit the winning goal for Liverpool as they recovered against West Ham
1. Mohamed Salah (up two)
There was a touch of luck to Mohamed Salah’s goal against West Ham, to say the least. On an average day, Lukasz Fabianski saves that tame effort easily.
But Salah’s run for the goal was excellent, perfectly placing him for Andy Robertson’s drag back. His strike, while soft, was on target.
It was a crucial effort too. Liverpool are now eyeing up an unbeaten league season and it felt, at the stage just before they equalised, as if West Ham might have had their number.
Sure, it was fortunate, but Salah made his own luck. Sometimes, when you do the right thing often enough, it seems like a fluke.
There’s nothing fluky about Salah rising to the top of the charts this week, though.
Mohamed Salah scored the equalising goal for Liverpool against West Ham on Monday
Gilberto Silva admits Arsenal's efforts to replace him have been 'painful'
‘I’m not too proud that they never replaced me’: Gilberto Silva admits Arsenal’s efforts to replace him and Patrick Vieira in midfield have been ‘painful’
- Gilberto Silva was instrumental alongside Patrick Vieira in their Invincibles team
- Since their departures, Arsenal have struggled to replace the central midfielders
- The Brazilian said the Gunners are ‘paying a high price’ for their poor midfield
Gilberto Silva has revealed Arsenal‘s efforts to try to replace him in midfield have been ‘painful’.
The ‘Invincibles’ hero formed a formidable partnership alongside Patrick Vieira in what was one of the meanest midfields in world football.
They were the bedrock of Arsenal’s 2003-04 unbeaten campaign, the likes of which has not been repeated although Liverpool are threatening to match them this season.
Gilberto Silva and Patrick Vieira formed a solid midfield partnership during Arsenal’s success
Vieira left Arsenal in 2005 while Silva remained until 2008, and the Gunners midfield has never fully recovered from their loss.
Silva told Planet Football: ‘It’s nice when people talk about me and remember me.
‘Of course, I’m not too proud in terms of the idea that they never replaced me, but I feel proud that people think about me positively, despite the fact that it’s a long time since I left the club. This is a good feeling.
Silva was instrumental during Arsenal’s as of yet unmatched unbeaten Premier League season
‘But, you know, from what I have seen over the last few years, it’s quite true, because me and Patrick Vieira especially had a great partnership and I haven’t seen Arsenal replace this.
‘I think it’s been quite painful for the team not to have stability in this position. They are paying a high price, but I hope at some point they find somebody who can fill the gap.’
The current custodians of Arsenal’s midfield are Granit Xhaka, Dani Ceballos, Joe Willock, Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira.
Granit Xhaka is one of a number of players who Arsenal hoped would fill the void in midfield
While the group have shown talent, they remain a far cry from the solidity of the Invincibles era.
Despite Wenger struggling in his later years at the helm, Silva remains full of praise for his former boss.
The World Cup winner said: ‘It was great to play under him. He was very simple in the way he would tell us what to do but in a very effective way.’
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