Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham all in the Premier League title race, says Dimitar Berbatov

Former Premier League champion Dimitar Berbatov (Picture: Getty)Two-time Premier League champion Dimitar Berbatov says Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham are all capable of winning the title this season.

Liverpool, who thrashed Bournemouth 4-0 on Saturday, climbed to the top of the table after Manchester City were beaten by Chelsea.

Defending champions City have looked in unstoppable form this term but saw their unbeaten run ended by Maurizio Sarri’s team at Stamford Bridge.

Liverpool are now the only team yet to suffer a defeat in the Premier League this season and Berbatov insists they are a ‘big rival’ to Man City.

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But the former Manchester United striker also sees Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham as genuine title challengers.

Speaking on Sky Sports’ Goals on Sunday, he said: ‘Liverpool are a big rival for Man City. We don’t like that but you need to give credit.

‘They’re playing great football. They enjoy the way they play. It is good for the league. Now you have Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal all in the race.’

Asked specifically about Chelsea’s title credentials, Berbatov added: ‘Sarri said they were not in the race. But then they beat Man City. Was it a trick?

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Maurizio Sarri breaks silence on Christian Pulisic transfer rumours

Christian Pulisic is a target for Chelsea and Liverpool (Picture: Getty)Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri refused to be drawn on reports that the Blues have submitted an official bid for Dortmund star Christian Pulisic.

The American winger has made no secret of his desire to move to the Premier League and has 18 months to run on his deal at Dortmund.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is an admirer of the Dortmund ace but reports on Monday claimed Chelsea had opened the bidding for Pulisic by submitting a £70m bid.

Sarri is keen to add more firepower to his squad and the Italian refused to deny Chelsea had made their move for Pulisic today.

Pulisic has 18 months to run on his Dortmund deal‘I don’t want to talk about a player from another club,’ said Sarri.

Though the amount of Chelsea’s bid was not specified, it’s claimed it was well below Dortmund’s £70million valuation of the winger.

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Dortmund are determined to keep the winger but are resigned to losing him in the summer.

Chelsea would ideally like to agree a fee with the Bundesliga giants now and the deal would allow Pulisic to stay at the club for the remainder of the season.

MORE: Maurizio Sarri demands new deals for Chelsea stars Cesc Fabregas and David Luiz

Maurizio Sarri names the two clubs that will finish above Chelsea this season

Maurizio Sarri has played down Chelsea’s Premier League title chances (Getty Images)Maurizio Sarri has played down Chelsea’s chances of winning the Premier League this season by suggesting that Manchester City and Liverpool will finish in the top two.

Both City and Liverpool are unbeaten in the Premier League this season but so too are Sarri’s Chelsea with the Italian presiding over eight wins and four draws since succeeding Antonio Conte.

A 0-0 draw with Everton before the international break meant that Sarri made Premier League history by enjoying the longest unbeaten run from a new manager in the competition – a record previously held by Frank Clark with Nottingham Forest in 1994.

Chelsea’s form and the manner in which their players have adapted to Sarri’s tactical demands, have heightened expectations, but Sarri insists that the gap between his side and last season’s runaway champions remains a big one.

“I think there is a team above, which is Manchester City, then a very good team in Liverpool. For sure, Liverpool will be in the first positions,” Sarri said.

“Then four or five teams that will have to fight for the Champions League positions – Arsenal, Tottenham, United, someone else. Sometimes, usually there is a surprise.

“For me they [City] are stronger than us at the moment and we have to work, work very hard to try to recover the gap, but at the moment the gap is still there. We have to do it.

“We can recover but I don’t think in the first season we can recover 30 points [the deficit between the sides last season].”

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Chelsea have already played Liverpool this season, drawing 1-1 with them at Stamford Bridge after Daniel Sturridge scored a remarkable late goal for the visitors, while they will host Manchester City on December 8.

Despite Sarri’s pessimism, Chelsea are only four points behind league leaders Manchester City and just two off Liverpool in second place, although they have a testing London derby with Spurs to come at Wembley on Saturday.

Chelsea slipped out of the top four in each of the two subsequent seasons that followed their Premier League title victories in 2014-15 and 2016-17, yet they appear to be heading in the right direction under Sarri once more.

Sarri was handed a boost ahead of this weekend’s showdown against Spurs with N’Golo Kante signing a new five-year deal with the club.

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Alexis Sanchez poses problem for Jose Mourinho as Maurizio Sarri ponders Olivier Giroud recall

All eyes will be on the Etihad this Sunday as champions Manchester City host rivals Manchester United in the pick of this weekend’s Premier League fixtures.

Jose Mourinho’s men trail their city rivals by nine points and can ill-afford that gap to widen in their pursuit of a top four finish.

Chelsea take on Everton at Stamford Bridge and Maurizio Sarri’s side do so as the only remaining unbeaten side in Europe following United’s win against Juventus on Wednesday.

Newcastle’s long wait for a Premier League win this season ended last week against Watford and they face in-form Bournemouth at St James’ Park, while Tottenham face a tricky trip to Selhurst Park to play Crystal Palace.

Here’s four things to look out for in what is sure to be an intriguing weekend of Premier League football…

Jose Mourinho can keep feel-good factor going with Alexis Sanchez up front

Dropping Alexis Sanchez for Romelu Lukaku would represent a backwards step for Jose Mourinho (Picture: Getty)Manchester United forward Romelu Lukaku returned to training on Friday after missing the Red Devils’ wins against Juventus and Bournemouth.

Mourinho’s men have looked undeniably sharper in attack in Lukaku’s absence and Alexis Sanchez has had two of his better games for the club in a central striker role.

The Chilean prefers playing on the left but his runs in behind have created a new energy up front for United, providing more room and options for midfield.

Mourinho is keen to get Lukaku fit for the trip to the Etihad but starting him would be more than just a fitness gamble.

Romelu Lukaku is expected to be fit to face Manchester United (Picture: Getty)United’s strides in recent weeks have owed to Mourinho removing the shackles from his side and letting them play with the handbrake off.

Lukaku represents a more methodical, slower and ultimately inferior option to Sanchez up front and reverting back to the Belgian could undo much of the progress Mourinho has made with United in the last month.

Raheem Sterling can lay demons to rest against Manchester United

Raheem Sterling took his tally for the season to seven against Shakhtar (Picture: Getty)Scarcely has the phrase ‘a game of two halves’ ever been more relevant than Manchester United’s 3-2 win against Manchester City last April.

Pep Guardiola’s men had the opportunity to wrap up the title with a win against their arch rivals at the Etihad and raced into a two-goal lead.

City blew United away during the opening 45 minutes and Raheem Sterling squandered three brilliant opportunities to put the game to bed before the interval.

United pulled off a miraculous comeback in the second half to deny City a famous victory and Sterling will be keen to right some wrongs against the Red Devils.

Sterling squandered three brilliant chances (Picture: Getty)The 23-year-old was criticised in some quarters this week for failing to challenge a penalty decision that he was awarded against Shakhtar Donestsk on Tuesday when replays showed he had tripped himself up.

It overshadowed what was a brilliant performance by Sterling and one in which he scored an astonishing goal to take his tally for the season to seven.

He’s City’s in form man at the moment and few would bet against him getting revenge on United on Sunday.

Maurizio Sarri must choose between Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud

Olivier Giroud was back among the goals on Thursday (Picture: Getty)Five goals in the last month have helped Morata emerge from his slumber at Stamford Bridge.

The Spaniard endured a torturous debut campaign at the club and contemplated leaving in the summer after just one year in west London.

Olivier Giroud’s arrival in January darkened Morata’s mood and Sarri is yet to pick his first choice striker this term.

Morata scored twice against Palace last Sunday (Picture: Getty)Eden Hazard has been Chelsea’s standout player so far this campaign and the Belgian’s made no secret of how much he likes [prefers] to play with Giroud.

The Frenchman returned from injury on Thursday and scored the only goal in Chelsea’s 1-0 win against BATE Borisov but can Sarri afford to drop Morata after his double against Crystal Palace last week?

Removing the Spaniard now will kill his confidence but the Italian must choose between his heart and his head as the Blues aim to keep pace with Manchester City.

Leicester City return to King Power stadium for first time since Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s death

Leicester City take on Burnley at the King Power (Picture: Getty)Claude Puel insists his players will have to deal ‘step by step’ with their emotions as the Foxes prepare for their first home game since owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha tragically lost his life in a helicopter accident.

The Leicester squad unanimously decided to play last week against Cardiff but their fixture at the King Power against Burnley will be emotionally charged given it’s the first since the Thai passed away.

The Foxes are set to wear special commemorative shirts embroidered with their former owner’s name.

The Leicester squad were in Thailand this week for the funeral (Picture: AP)Puel is hopeful that his squad will feel inspired to put in a performance for Srivaddhanaprabha.

‘The players have shown great maturity, it is like a family. It is important to honour our chairman and play a good game,’ said Puel.

‘We will manage the moment step by step but I feel in my players’ focus and soul. They have learned a lot about themselves in all this and I am proud of them all.’

The club will present supporters at the match with scarves, banners, pin badges and a special commemorative matchday programme.

MORE: Marco Silva provides Richarlison injury update ahead of Chelsea vs Everton

Maurizio Sarri reveals what Jurgen Klopp told him before Liverpool’s equaliser against Chelsea

The two managers enjoyed plenty of touchline banter in their recent meeting (Picture: Getty)Maurizio Sarri has revealed that Jurgen Klopp was laughing and joking with him on the sidelines even while Liverpool were losing against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The two managers faced off twice in a matter of days, first in the Carabao Cup at Anfield – which Chelsea won – and then in west London in the Premier League.

Eden Hazard’s first-half goal appeared to be the difference as time was running out, despite both sides creating hordes of chances in an open and entertaining match, before Daniel Sturridge snatched a point with a wonder goal from range.

Klopp was revelling in Liverpool’s play even before Sturridge scored late on (Getty)In fact, it was such an enjoyable contest that Klopp was appreciating it even when his team were 1-0 down.

Sarri told Corriere dello Sport: ‘There are moments when the grand spectacle of it all convinces you to put aside any regrets. Even if you concede at the last minute or five minutes into stoppages.

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‘That was an extraordinary show. Just 10 minutes earlier, I saw Klopp looking at me with the game going on. I asked: “Why are you smiling?” He replied: “Aren’t you having fun?”

Klopp and Sarri knew they’d been involved in a real humdinger (Picture: Getty)‘I said: “So much” and he added “Me too”. He was losing at the time. Even after the equaliser, remembering that moment, we hugged like two old friends.

‘I’m sure he would’ve done the same even if Liverpool hadn’t equalised. The Premier League has this joy of football.’

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Ross Barkley disagrees with Maurizio Sarri over Chelsea’s Premier League title chances

Ross Barkley says Chelsea can challenge for the Premier League title (Picture Getty)Ross Barkley insists Chelsea are ‘serious’ challengers for the Premier League title this season – despite Maurizio Sarri claiming his team are still well behind Manchester City and Liverpool.

Heading into the second international break of the season, Chelsea are joint-top of the Premier League alongside City and Liverpool, who drew 0-0 at Anfield on Sunday.

Chelsea maintained their fine start to the campaign with a 3-0 victory over Southampton, but the result was not enough to convince Sarri that the Blues can challenge for the title.

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Speaking after the routine win, he said: ‘Manchester City and Liverpool are a step forward of us.

‘The gap was 30 points City to Chelsea (last season) and we are trying to close the gap, but it’s very difficult to close such a gap in one season.’

But despite Sarri’s caution, England international Barkley is confident Chelsea can rival Manchester City and Liverpool this term.

Maurizio Sarri has remained cautious about Chelsea’s title hopes (Picture: Getty)Asked if Chelsea are title contenders, he told Sky Sports: ‘We’re serious.

‘A lot of the team have already achieved the success of winning the league and that’s a goal of mine.

‘Our end goal is to win the league but we’re taking each month as it comes to reach our goals and at the moment we’re achieving them.’

Barkley celebrates his first Chelsea goal (Picture: Getty)Barkley played a starring role in Chelsea’s victory over Southampton, scoring his first goal for the club after assisting Eden Hazard for the opener.

He joined Chelsea from Everton last January but struggled to feature under former manager Antonio Conte last season.

‘I’ve had to bide my time,’ Barkley added. ‘I had a difficult time when I first came here with a few little niggles but that was expected after a long-term injury.

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‘I’ve stuck at it, worked hard, believed in myself and I’m showing what I’m capable of. I want to keep improving and scoring goals.

‘I’ve got to back myself and show what I’m capable of and not go into my shell, which I know I do sometimes.

‘I’ve got to show confidence in my ability which I’m showing right now.’

MORE: Full transcript from former England captain John Terry’s retirement announcement

Jurgen Klopp reveals what Maurizio Sarri told him after Liverpool’s draw with Chelsea

The German is expecting another exciting match against Man City (Picture: Getty)Jurgen Klopp says he shared a joke with Maurizio Sarri about the frenetic nature of Liverpool’s last-gasp draw against Chelsea last weekend – and he’s hoping for more of the same against Manchester City.

The Merseysiders were knocked out of the Carabao Cup at the hands of Chelsea at Anfield, but responded with a deserved point at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League just a few days later.

Next up, Klopp’s side host reigning champions City on Sunday afternoon and he is expecting another exciting, attacking match between two adventurous teams – even going as far as to say it is his duty to entertain.

Liverpool thrilled at Stamford Bridge, getting the goal they deserved late on (Picture: Getty)Asked if he enjoys how end-to-end many Liverpool matches are, he replied: ‘If you win at the end, yes. During the game, yes.

‘I had it last week after we drew at Chelsea, when I turned to Maurizio Sarri and he was smiling, and he looked at me and said “you enjoyed that, eh?” and I was like, “Yeah, actually I do”.

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‘I have to say I loved that game, this was a very good game – and the City games were good games. I’ve said it a few times, and I’ll say it again, I really think the most important thing, the most important job, of football is entertaining the people.

‘Because it’s only football, it’s nothing else, we don’t save lives. We don’t plant anything, create anything, we are not good in surgeries, whatever. We are only good in football. If we don’t entertain the people why are we playing then?

Klopp believes his side will need to give everything they have to beat City (Getty)‘It’s not always possible, and it’s always hard work – especially if you’re entertaining people – but it’s a really important thing why we have to try to create constantly, or as often as possible. And Pep’s teams are best in that. And I can admit that because it’s so obvious.

‘We are not bad in a few other things and that’s why we are not the most comfortable opponent for City in the past, but that means nothing for Sunday. We need to be at 100%, if not 110%, to deal with the quality of City.’

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Jamie Carragher rates Chelsea’s chances of beating Manchester City and Liverpool to the Premier League title

Former Liverpool and England defender Jamie Carragher (Picture: Getty)Jamie Carragher has warned Manchester City and Liverpool not to ‘write off’ Chelsea and says Maurizio Sarri’s side can challenge for the Premier League title.

Chelsea finished outside of the top four under Antonio Conte last season but look revitalised under new manager Sarri.

The Blues are yet to lose in the Premier League, winning five of their seven fixtures to climb to third, behind only Man City and Liverpool.

Carragher says reigning champions City and his former club Liverpool are the favourites for the title but says Chelsea should not be discounted.

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‘I wouldn’t write off Chelsea,’ he told Sky Sports. ‘They have a great habit of winning trophies, certainly early in a new manager’s reign.

‘Spurs as well, after a bit of a wobble, are only four points off the top.

‘But I think it will be difficult for Spurs to challenge for the title with their squad depth and how many players went to the World Cup but I wouldn’t write off Chelsea with Eden Hazard in the form he’s in.

‘But Klopp has been there a lot longer than Sarri and Pep’s into his third season also – and both sides are looking the real deal at this early stage – you would say it would be between these two, with City being big favourites.

Alan Shearer delivers Premier League title prediction and piles pressure on Man Utd manager Jose Mourinho

Premier League legend Alan Shearer believes the title is heading back to Manchester City (Picture: Getty)Alan Shearer believes Manchester City will defend their Premier League title this season – but says Liverpool will run them close.

Pep Guardiola’s City finished 19 points clear of Manchester United last term after a season in which they lost just two games and scored over 100 goals.

It already appears that they will face stiffer competition during the 2018-19 campaign, however, with Liverpool and Chelsea also going unbeaten through August and September.

Shearer reckons City and Liverpool will pull clear of their title rivals, with the Manchester club just pipping Jurgen Klopp’s charge to finish top.

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Asked where he believes the title will end up this season, Shearer told CNN: ‘That’s a tough question.

‘I do think it will be between Manchester City and Liverpool.

‘It will be a hell of a lot closer than it was last season with City running out 19 points away from Man Utd in second place. But I’m just going to pick for Manchester City.’

Shearer is not surprised by Liverpool’s fine start to the new season, particularly after seeing how the club strengthened Klopp’s squad in the summer.

Liverpool have made a fine start to the new season (Picture: AFP)Liverpool signed Brazil international Alisson for £67million – a world record fee for a goalkeeper – as well as midfielders Naby Keita, Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabinho.

Last year, the Reds spent £75m on a deal for Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk.

‘They identified where they had to improve,’ Shearer said. ‘They had to improve defensively.

‘They did that when they bought Van Dijk last January. They knew they needed a goalkeeper, they went out and spent a fortune on a goalkeeper and also a defensive midfielder.

Manchester City are the reigning champions (Picture: Getty)‘So they have got strength in depth now. And also with the front three that they have [Firmino, Mane, Salah] they will cause any teams problems.

‘If they don’t, they know one will come off and perhaps Sturridge can come in there also. So they will give it a good go this year in the Premier League.’

While Manchester City and Liverpool are flourishing, the same cannot be said for Manchester United, who were beaten by Derby County in the Carabao Cup and West Ham in the league last month.

Jose Mourinho is under substantial pressure and Shearer insists he could lose his job at Old Trafford.

Maurizio Sarri predicts Liverpool’s Champions League clash with old club Napoli

The Italian is familiar with both clubs after playing Liverpool in back-to-back games (Picture: Getty)Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri is expecting a fiercely competitive match when his old club Napoli host Liverpool in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

The Italian coach faced off against the Merseysiders twice in the past week, knocking them out of the Carabao Cup at Anfield before Daniel Sturridge’s wonder goal ensured the spoils were shared in the Premier League rematch at Stamford Bridge.

Napoli’s performances have noticeably dipped since Sarri was replaced by Carlo Ancelotti, even though they are still second in the table, but the Chelsea boss is anticipating a great game.

Chelsea were denied three points by a stunning goal from Sturridge (Picture: Getty)Asked if Napoli can beat Liverpool, Sarri replied in English before switching to Italian, saying: ‘Of course. I think that it will be an open game.

‘It will be a very hard game for both teams. For Liverpool to play Napoli will be hard and also for Napoli to play Liverpool because Liverpool are doing really well.’

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Sarri takes on Hungarian side Videoton in the Europa League on Thursday evening with Chelsea, and he is set to rotate his team again after such a draining pair of games against Liverpool.

‘I don’t think we didn’t win against West Ham because of the game in Greece,’ he explained. ‘We have changed a lot of players, and so I don’t think that the reason [for the draw] was that.

Sarri was in charge of Napoli for three years, though never won a trophy (Picture: AFP)‘Of course, tomorrow we need to change some players because we have spent a lot of mental energy and physical energy in two matches against Liverpool.

‘And then after this match [against Vidi] we have to play again in 60/62 hours so I think tomorrow we need to change. I don’t know how many changes, but we need to change.’

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