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Southampton boss backs Long to lead line at Man City

Ronald Koeman has backed Shane Long to spearhead Southampton's attack at Manchester City in the absence of suspended top-scorer Graziano Pelle.

Koeman has faith in Long during Pelle's absence. Credit: PA

Boss Koeman believes Long can lead Saints' line in Saturday's Premier League trip to the Etihad Stadium, with 14-goal Pelle banned after picking up five bookings this term.

Long returned to club action after ankle trouble and helping the Republic of Ireland qualify for Euro 2016 for the 1-0 home loss to Stoke, deployed in behind lone striker Pelle.

This weekend though the 28-year-old should have his chance to stake a claim for a central role moving forward.

Koeman said, of Pelle's absence:

You'll always miss a player that regularly starts, but we can certainly cope, if we couldn't I would be doing something wrong, because we're only talking about one player in the squad.

Shane's a different player, with different qualities but also a very dangerous front player. He was a long time injured, he played 90 minutes last weekend and he will start again.

Our style will be the same, that we try to play football, to build up from the back, but of course in direct play it needs to be changed a little bit.

– Southampton manager Ronald Koeman


Arsenal manager admits he loves a good bargain

Arsene Wenger may not have much in common with Black Friday shoppers but the Arsenal boss admits he loves a genuine bargain as much as anyone.

Arsene Wenger was told about Black Friday earlier today. Credit: PA

With Britain braced for another day of massive sales across most retail sectors, Wenger will be preparing his side for Sunday's Premier League trip to Norwich.

The Frenchman has indicated his intention to strengthen his squad during the January transfer window - expected to be a defensively-minded midfielder - and while he knows bargain buys make everyone happy his own idea of a steal may differ from that of the Black Friday masses.

After having the concept explained to him, Wenger said:

I love a bargain. Who doesn't love a bargain? I don't know many people that don't like a bargain. If they need two TVs, yes. But if they don't need one, why should they buy two? That's where you come back to what is a bargain.

What is a bargain for us is to buy players of top quality, because only top quality strengthens our squad. I can tell you I bought Patrick Vieira for £2.5million and it was a top bargain because he was a top-quality player.

We spent nearly £40million on Mesut Ozil but I still consider it a bargain because the player is top quality and the priority has to be the quality of the player.

– Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Away football fans banned from Ligue 1 matches

No away fans can watch Ligue 1 matches for the next two weeks. Credit: PA

French Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 matches will be played without away supporters for a second successive weekend on government orders in the wake of the Paris attacks.

The French football league - the LFP - also said the ruling is set to apply for the subsequent three rounds of Ligue 1 games, the next two rounds of Ligue 2 fixtures, along with matches in the Coupe de France, Champions League and Europa League.

It means travelling fans will be able to attend games again on December 18-20, the final weekend before the French game goes on its Christmas break.

A lack of available police for handling the movement of fans led to the ruling, with France in a state of emergency after the terrorism attacks on November 13, and with the COP21 climate change conference in Paris from November 30 to December 11 demanding high security.

Arsene Wenger explains Arsenal January transfer plans

Wenger is looking to strengthen Arsenal's squad in January. Credit: PA

Arsene Wenger is ready to enter the January transfer market to avoid an injury crisis at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners are still missing a host of first-team players heading into Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash at Norwich and were hit with the news that midfielder Francis Coquelin faces three months on the sidelines after injuring his knee in the defeat at West Brom last weekend.

Wenger said:

We are in a position where we want to do something.

If I find the right quality I will do something. (The injury to) Arteta is short term but Coquelin as I told you is much longer but the scans are positive because he does not need any surgery, but it will be 12 weeks.

Walcott goes through a few tests and steps but the first one was successful. He started running again on Tuesday morning and had no reaction. He has no big hurdle to get across today and hopefully he will be successful.

– Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger


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