Chelsea ‘agree terms’ on Mauricio Pochettino appointment hours after latest Lampard misery

Chelsea have settled on Mauricio Pochettino as their new manager for next season and are working with him on player recruitment, the only consideration now being when exactly to make the announcement.

Pochettino will bring assistant Jesus Perez with him as well as his usual coaching team but will not start officially in the role until the end of the season.

Pochettino and the club’s sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley are discussing the squad improvements that need to be made, with a striker, midfielder and a goalkeeper to be signed in the summer, despite the need also to sell surplus players to balance the books.

Argentina and Inter’s Lautaro Martinez is the most likely centre forward target. Like many clubs, Chelsea are interested in Victor Osimhen, though getting him out of Napoli will be problematic. Chelsea have already signed Christopher Nkunku for £63m from RB Leipzig.

Chelsea still want Declan Rice but they will face competition with Arsenal for his signature and also with Liverpool to sign Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister. Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martinez would be a goalkeeping option.

Pochettino wants to persuade Mason Mount to stay, the Chelsea player having only one year left on his contract and is yet to agree to Chelsea’s offer of extension, while he will talk with returning Romelu Lukaku, currently on loan at Inter, to ascertain whether he can be part of Chelsea’s team next season.

Pochettino’s son Sebastian, goalkeeping coach Toni Jimenez and assistant coach Miguel D’Agostino are all expected to join the coaching team.

Talks have been extensive and detailed over past days and are now at a developed stage of refashioning the squad for next season after what is on course to be Chelsea’s worst season since 1994 but Pochettino is now the choice of owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali and the board, following the recommendation of Stewart and Winstanley.

Pochettino has a shown a willingness to be engaged across the club, as the owners want, communicating with Stewart and Laurence and technical director Christoph Vivell as well across the academy and other departments.

This fits with their vision of a joined-up club rather than a manager only concerned with the first team and the short term. They are said to be on the same page regarding the areas in which the team needs strengthening, on outgoing players and all want Mount to stay.

There are no fears over a clash of personalities, which led to Thomas Tuchel being dismissed. The Chelsea owners are said to welcome being challenged by Pochettino and his staff.

The issue with Tuchel was that they perceived that he was brooding on issues, seemingly resenting questions and yet not challenging the owners openly.

Pochettino was considered in September as Tuchel’s replacement but at that point, as new owners in the English game, there was a reluctance to appoint an ex-Spurs manager to the job, given the historic rivalry between the clubs.

That view has softened, seemingly with fans as well, partly due to the failure of Graham Potter’s style and a feeling that a more forceful presence is needed.

Chelsea’s owners are reflective about their first season in charge, recognising that they made mistakes.

However, the effect on sanctions on the Roman Abramovich regime was more debilitating than has been commonly appreciated, directly led to the departure of Antonio Rudiger and left the club playing catch up in many areas.

Though the new owners were criticised for dismissing Abramovich’s transfer negotiator Marina Granovskaia, it became apparent it was politically impossible to keep an executive so closely tied to sanctioned Abramovich, given the war in Ukraine.

Petr Cech might have stayed but made it clear he wished to leave when Granovskaia was going.

An early approach to have former Liverpool transfer guru Michael Edwards in charge for the summer fell through because of family commitments, meaning they were initially left without expertise.

It is insisted the Boehly never wished to step into that breach as interim sporting director and is now delighted to have stepped back to allow Stewart and Winstanley to lead.

Though the relationship with Tuchel was never going to work long term, in retrospect it is accepted that it might have been better to retain the German coach for a season for a more orderly transition.

But as new owners, they wanted to get on with a fresh era as quickly as possible.

Having dismissed Tuchel, with relations pretty bruised on both sides, there is a feeling that they overcompensated in appointing Graham Potter because he was so adept at working the executives and owners.

Chelsea’s owners are said to still rate Potter and feel he may yet prove himself at a top club but the team’s form ultimately had become so bad they felt they had to intervene and change track.


Man United 1-0 Wolves: Martial put Red Devils in front

Hello and welcome to Apex Football’s live coverage of the Premier League game between Manchester United and Wolves at Old Trafford.

Manchester United will be desperate for a lift in their increasingly stressed bid for Champions League qualification as they return to action at Old Trafford today. Though still occupying fourth place, back-to-back defeats by Brighton and West Ham plus Liverpool’s incredible run of six successive victories have left Erik ten Hag’s side looking rather vulnerable to being usurped late on by their fiercest rivals.

United still have a crucial game in hand on Liverpool, but can ill-afford another slip-up today with the Reds only one point behind and travelling to struggling Leicester on Monday night. Ten Hag is not helped by Marcus Rashford being absent altogether through injury, though the return of Raphael Varane for the first time in a month will be most welcome as they look to lean on their strong home form and avoid three straight Premier League losses for the first time since 2015.

Wolves secured top-flight safety with their surprise win over Midlands rivals Aston Villa last weekend and will be eager to improve their dismal away form with Julen Lopetegui handing a debut to Daniel Bentley in goal.

🔴 Live Blog


The first half at Old Trafford ends with a poor Bruno Fernandes effort that was never testing Bentley.

Goal! Manchester United 1-0 Wolves

After missing that sitter a few moments ago, Antony now turns provider as his smart cutback is swept home emphatically by Martial for the Frenchman’s fifth Premier League goal of the season and eighth across all competitions. Great work from Bruno Fernandes to win a tackle with Kilman in the build-up and slide in a perfect through ball for Antony.

Kick Off

And so it begins!

Starting XI

So no Marcus Rashford as expected for United – he’s not in the matchday squad at all. It’s three changes in total from Erik ten Hag to the side that lost at West Ham last time out thanks to David de Gea’s blunder, with Tyrell Malacia and Wout Weghorst both dropping to the bench.

The fit-again Raphael Varane comes straight back into the starting lineup after a month out, joining Victor Lindelof at centre-back as Luke Shaw shifts out to left-back and Aaron Wan-Bissaka is preferred to Diogo Dalot on the right.

Rashford and Weghorst are replaced in attack by Anthony Martial and Jadon Sancho, meanwhile.

Alejandro Garnacho is named as a substitute once more, with Anthony Elanga and Facundo Pellistri also added to the bench. Ten Hag keeps faith with De Gea as promised.

AC Milan 0-2 Inter: Dzeko and Mkhitaryan Shine as Inter Milan Triumph in Derby Delight >>>

🔴 Live Blog

In a highly anticipated Milan derby, Inter Milan emerged victorious with a convincing 2-0 win over their city rivals AC Milan at the San Siro stadium. The match was filled with excitement and showcased the quality of both teams, but it was Inter who proved to be more clinical in front of goal.

The opening goal came in the 8th minute and it was Edin Dzeko who found the back of the net for Inter. It all started with a corner kick, as Hakan Calhanoglu delivered a wicked ball into the box. Dzeko displayed his aerial prowess and strength as he managed to hold off Davide Calabria and unleashed a stunning volley that left Milan’s goalkeeper with no chance. The San Siro erupted in celebration as Inter took an early lead.

Not content with just one goal, Inter continued their attacking onslaught and quickly doubled their advantage in the 11th minute. A lethal counter-attack caught AC Milan off guard, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan showcased his pace and intelligence by getting behind Sandro Tonali. With composure and precision, Mkhitaryan calmly slotted the ball past Mike Maignan, extending Inter’s lead and leaving Milan in a state of shock.

Full time

Game. Set. Match


That would be all for the first 45 minutes!

Goal! AC Milan 0-2 Inter

A lethal counter-attack sees Henrikh Mkhitaryan get in behind Tonali and slot a second past Maingan!

Goal! AC Milan 0-1 Inter

Calhanoglu with a wicked delivery from the corner and it finds Dzeko, who holds off Calabria to hit a stunning volley to open the scoring!

Kick Off!

Here we go!

Starting XI

A huge blow for Milan tonight as the man who decided the game against Napoli misses out with an injury.

Inter, meanwhile, bring in the experience of Edin Dzeko in place of Romelu Lukaku.

Bournemouth 1-3 Chelsea: Blues finally get a win under Frank Lampard, but fans are not happy >>>

Chelsea fans have endured a rough few weeks since Frank Lampard returned as interim boss, so they made the most of taking the lead away at Bournemouth with a jibe at themselves.

Frank Lampard has finally won a game as Chelsea interim boss
Chelsea fans broke out into a chant of “we are staying up” after only their third goal scored under Frank Lampard.

The Blues took the lead inside the opening 10 minutes against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium. Conor Gallagher nodded home N’Golo Kante’s cross for his second strike since Lampard returned as interim boss last month.

Noni Madueke, who netted in the 3-1 defeat at Arsenal in midweek, was the only other player to find the back of the net for the Englishman in recent weeks – so the travelling supporters made the most of what has been a rare sight of late.

Having lost six games on the trot – a run of form which meant their Premier League safety hadn’t been guaranteed – they belted out “we are staying up” from the away end.

Fans watching on from afar were equally chuffed, with one tweeting: “I’ve found my joy again.” A second joked: “After 800 years, I have forgotten how it feels to be leading.”

“Lampard I hate you for this,” replied a third, while a fourth commented: “This isn’t a drill? Can’t believe it.”

Not everyone was convinced by the early opener, however, with one posting: “Nah we are losing this one.” Another questioned: “Are we staying up?”

And they were right to have doubts, as the lead lasted just 12 minutes. Cherries left-back Matias Vina levelled the scoreline just before the halfway point of the first half.

However, centre-back Benoit Badiashile converted Hakim Ziyech’s free-kick eight minutes from time before Joao Felix added a third with three minutes to go to give Lampard his first win.

Man City 2-1 Leeds: Gundogan double sour Sam Allardyce return to coaching >>>

Manchester City secured a comfortable 2-0 victory over Leeds in a Premier League encounter played at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday night.

The hosts took the lead in the 19th minute when Riyad Mahrez cut inside from the right flank before laying the ball off to Ilkay Gundogan, who fired a first-time shot into the bottom corner to put City ahead.

Gundogan then doubled City’s lead just eight minutes later, calmly slotting home after some excellent build-up play from the home side.

Despite their best efforts, Leeds struggled to create many clear-cut chances in the remainder of the game. However, they did manage to pull a goal back in the 85th minute through Rodrigo, who pounced on a loose ball inside the City penalty area.

But it was too little, too late for the visitors, as City held on to secure a deserved three points and continue their march towards the Premier League title.

The victory sees City move 10 points clear at the top of the table, while Leeds remain in mid-table. City will be hoping to maintain their impressive form in the weeks ahead as they look to wrap up the title and focus on their upcoming Champions League fixtures.

🔴 Live Blog

Goal! Manchester City 2-1 Leeds

Late drama! Ilkay Gundogan misses a penalty, Leeds go down the other end and Rodrigo fires a shot past Ederson

Second half

We are back for the second 45!


That’s the half we expected. Many will be pleased it’s only 2-0. Hasn’t been anywhere near enough composure on the out-balls for Leeds to even look like countering consistently

Goal! Manchester City 2-0 Leeds

Gundogan again. Unmarked again. Edge of the box, again.

Goal! Manchester City 1-0 Leeds

Riyad Mahrez cuts in from the right and lays the ball off to Ilkay Gundogan, whose first-time strike nestles into the bottom corner

Kick Off!

And so it begins!

Starting XI

Despite City moving a point above Arsenal with a game in hand, Guardiola insists they are not in a position to make wholesale changes and rest players for their Champions League semi-final against Real.

Ederson returns in goal after Stefan Ortega started against West Ham on Wednesday.

Man City 3-0 West Ham: Haaland breaks record for most goals in a single Premier League campaign, Foden and Ake also on target>>>

Manchester City have put some wind in their sail towards winning the English Premier League title with a resounding 3-0 win over West Ham at the Etihad. Erling Haaland scored his 35th Premier League goal of the season and Phil Foden scored Pep Guardiola’s 1000th goal as a manager.

🔴 Live Blog

Goal! Manchester City 3-0 West Ham

City force another corner after unselfish play from Haaland. It’s headed away at the front post, with Foden’s fierce left-footed volley deflecting in off Emerson, who had turned his back. That’s City’s 1,000th goal of the Pep Guardiola era. So many huge milestones tonight.

Goal! Manchester City 2-0 West Ham

Haaland breaks the record for the most goals in a single Premier League campaign EVER!

Goal! Manchester City 1-0 West Ham

City break the deadlock within five minutes of the interval! After Downes’ foul on Grealish, Mahrez whips in a delicious free-kick that Ake heads in off a touch from Fabianski.

Really poor from Ogbonna, who was playing everyone onside and then left Ake free as he got sucked towards the ball in a failed attempt to clear. West Ham’s stubborn resistance is broken.

Second half

The teams are back out at the Etihad. No changes from Guardiola or Moyes at the break. Can West Ham give London rivals Arsenal a huge boost in their title quest?


An admirable and spirited effort from the depleted Hammers so far. City have hit the woodwork twice through Rodri and Grealish, but otherwise they’ve been off the pace despite having 80 per cent of the possession. Is there hope for Arsenal yet?

Kick Off

Underway at the Etihad! Manchester City need a win to go back above Arsenal in the title race. This could be a long night for depleted West Ham

Starting XI

The biggest surprise from a City perspective is Ederson only being named as a substitute and deputy Stefan Ortega taking over on goal.

There is still no Kevin De Bruyne in the squad, but Nathan Ake is back in the starting XI after shaking off that hamstring issue. He replaces Manuel Akanji.

Julian Alvarez continues to deputise for De Bruyne after that super goal at Fulham, but Ilkay Gundogan drops to the bench as Bernardo Silva gets the nod in midfield.

Tottenham 2-2 Man United: Spurs come from behind to steal a point against Red Devils, Son with decisive goal, Rashford on target >>>

The highly anticipated Premier League clash between Tottenham and Manchester United ended in a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

It was Manchester United who took the lead in the 7th minute through Jadon Sancho. The young English winger cut inside and curled a delightful shot into the far corner past the outstretched arms of Tottenham keeper Fraser Forster. The goal set the tone for United’s attacking play in the first half as they continued to put pressure on the Spurs defense.

United doubled their lead just before halftime when Marcus Rashford calmly carried the ball past Spurs defender Eric Dier and smashed the ball into the net, leaving Forster with no chance. The goal was another excellent team effort by United with Bruno Fernandes once again playing a pivotal role in the buildup.

Tottenham came out of the dressing room with renewed vigor and pulled one back in the 56th minute through Pedro Porro. The Spanish right-back lashed a loose ball high into the top corner of the net, giving United keeper David de Gea no chance. The goal ignited the Tottenham crowd and spurred the home team on to go in search of an equalizer.

The equalizer came in the 79th minute when Harry Kane found his strike partner Son Heung-min in the box with an excellent pass. Son made no mistake and coolly turned the ball home to make it 2-2. Spurs had shown real fighting spirit to come back from two goals down and were now pushing for a winner.

Both teams continued to attack in the final minutes of the game, but neither was able to find the winning goal. The match ended in a hard-fought draw, which was a fair result given the quality of both teams.

🔴 Live Blog

Goal! Tottenham 2-2 Manchester United

Kane finds Son who turns the ball home to equalise. Spurs have shown some real fight here. Excellent pass from Kane.

Goal! Tottenham 1-2 Manchester United

A lovely strike from Pedro Porro brings Spurs back into the match, hammering a loose ball high into the top corner

Second half

And we are back at it!


Manchester United are very comfortable at the break thanks to clinical strikes from Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford.

Goal! Tottenham 0-2 Manchester United

Third time lucky for Rashford. Superb finish. So calm to carry to the ball past Dier + lash in. Another excellent pass by Fernandes, he’s be brilliant in this first half. What injury?

Goal! Tottenham 0-1 Manchester United

Jadon Sancho opens the scoring in style, cutting inside and curling into the far corner past Fraser Forster

Kick Off

And we are off!

Starting XI

Man City 3-0 Sheffield United: Riyad Mahrez hattrick send City to the FA Cup final >>>

Manchester City booked their place in the FA Cup final with a comfortable 3-0 win over Sheffield United, thanks to a stunning Riyad Mahrez hat-trick.

The Algerian forward opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 43rd minute, sending goalkeeper Wes Foderingham the wrong way. City dominated proceedings but couldn’t find a second goal until just after the hour mark, when Mahrez picked up the ball on the halfway line, drove through the heart of the Blades defence and slotted home with aplomb.

Five minutes later, Mahrez completed his hat-trick, as Jack Grealish cut the ball back perfectly for him to lash home first time, despite Foderingham getting a hand to it.

The result never looked in doubt as City cruised into the final and Mahrez cemented his place as one of the most lethal finishers in the game.

🔴 Live Blog

Goal! Manchester City 3-0 Sheffield United

That really is that. Grealish into the box, ball cut back perfectly to Mahrez and he just whips it first-time beyond Foderingham, who got a big hand to it.

Goal! Manchester City 2-0 Sheffield United

Brilliant from Mahrez. Wins the ball back on the halfway line and just runs at the Blades defence, straight through the middle. Into the box, slides the finish into the bottom corner and City are cruising now.

Second half

Up and running again at Wembley!


And that’s half-time. Frustrating for Sheffield United to be behind, one rash challenge in the box was all it took. Mahrez with a great penalty and City have control.

But there was plenty to be encouraged by for the Blades – they have to find a goal now though.

Goal! Manchester City 1-0 Sheffield United

Riyad Mahrez take the lead for Cityzens in front of the Sheffield United fans but he keeps his cool, tucked in the bottom corner as Foderingham dives the wrong way.

Kick Off!

And so it begins!

Starting XI

So Guardiola does make changes, as expected. Ortega comes in to replace Ederson, with Walker and Gomez the full-back pairing this afternoon in what appears to be a more traditional back-four.

Gundogan and Bernardo in midfield, with both Alvarez and Haaland in the side too. Very attacking side.

For Sheffield United, McBurnie on the bench as Ndiaye and Jebbison get the nod up front. They need to be clinical when their chances come.

Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou in surprise Chelsea job hunt

Ange Postecoglou has emerged as a surprise candidate for the Chelsea vacancy, although reports suggest that Mauricio Pochettino is leading the race to take over at Stamford Bridge.

The west London club are weighing up their options to replace Graham Potter following the Englishman’s dismissal, after their preferred candidate, Julian Nagelsmann, snubbed them on Friday.

And according to The Guardian, Celtic boss Postecoglou is on Todd Boehly’s radar given the excellent job the Australian has done north of the border.

The 57-year-old is on track to win a second consecutive Scottish Premiership title with his side 12 points clear of Michael Beale’s Rangers. The former Socceroos coach has developed an attacking brand of football in Glasgow and has earned a reputation for improving players on the training ground.

Postecoglou joined Celtic in 2021 as a managerial uncertainty but has handled the weight of expectation with aplomb, leading the club to the title last season, and has won back-to-back League Cups in his first two seasons.

However, there are reportedly concerns that, having managed in Australia, Japan and Scotland, Postecoglou lacks the required experience of managing a big club in Europe’s top leagues.

As a result, Pochettino is the candidate leading the race for the Stamford Bridge post, while Burnley manager Vincent Kompany is also being considered by the club’s hierarchy.

Former Spurs manager Pochettino has held multiple talks with the Blues this past week and is understood to be giving the vacancy serious consideration.

The Argentine has been out of work since leaving his post at Paris Saint Germain last year, and a return to north London – where Spurs are looking for a new manager – appears unlikely.

While Chelsea have maintained there was no favourite for the job and the hunt was open, Nagelsmann was the preferred candidate of key figures among the Stamford Bridge hierarchy and widely considered to be the most likely to succeed Graham Potter.

However Chelsea, who held detailed face-to-face talks with Nagelsmann last week in which the German impressed, have been keen to carry out a thorough search involving discussions with a number of candidates.

‘To cancel something, you have to say something,’ Nagelsmann told Sky Sport in Germany.

Sevilla (5) 3-0 (2) Man United: Red Devils knocked out of the Europa League, En-Nesyri bag brace >>>

Manchester United have been knocked out of the Europa League after a horrendous night full of errors at the back led to a 3-0 defeat to Sevilla.

The first mistake came from Harry Maguire who go closed down by the Lamela before En-Nesyri converted the chance. The second goal came from a well taken set piece which Loic Bade looped the ball over De Gea in the 47th minute.

The final goal came in the 81st minute which came from another round of mistakes at the back this time from De Gea, but Youssef En-Nesyri made no mistake in dispatching the goal.

🔴 Live Blog

Goal! Sevilla 3-0 Manchester United

Another mistake at the back and Youssef makes no mistake!

Goal! Sevilla 2-0 Manchester United

Sevilla increase their lead from a corner, Loic Bade loops the ball over David De Gea to make it 2-0.

Second half

We are back for the second 45!


Red Devils would need to search deeper for a response as they have 45 minutes left in the Europa League.

Goal! Sevilla 1-0 Manchester United

Oh dear, what was Maguire doing? He’s gifted Sevilla a chance and they obliged. The pass from De Gea was not on and Maguire is closed down – disaster.

Kick Off!

And so it begins!

Starting XI

That feels like a very predictable team, with maybe the exception of a left-back returning, although Dalot was actually very good in that position at Nottingham Forest on Sunday. Malacia and Shaw both settle for a place on the bench and the latter will presumably be cover at centre-back rather than left-back. In midfield you would expect it to be Sabitzer in the advanced role, given Eriksen has so rarely played there this season and the Austrian was doing well in that position recently.