Football

Lunchtime Report: February 1

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Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez's job at Stamford Bridge could be determined by the upcoming Premier League clash against Wigan Athletic.

The interim boss will take a rare break to spend 72 hours with his family during the international break this week, but will return to London knowing that his future could hinge on the result next weekend.

Tottenham fear that Jermain Defoe could be out for up to two months with ankle ligament damage.

The England striker who has already withdrawn from Roy Hodgson's squad to face Brazil this week, left West Brom in a protective boot, after twisting his ankle in the first half of yesterday's 1-0 win.

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini insists the title race is not over, despite his team's 2-2 home draw with Liverpool on Sunday.

The champions are now nine points adrift of Premier League leaders Manchester United, and it could have been worse had Sergio Aguero not scored 12 minutes from time to rescue a point.

Theo Walcott is hoping to be deployed as a central striker by England, after showing what he is capable of at Arsenal.

Arsene Wenger has finally succumbed to Walcott's demands this season, with the 23-year-old offering the perfect response, with a flurry of goals.

Now he's looking to make a similar positional switch on the international stage, with no forward in the current Three Lions squad having found the target on more occasions than him this season.

Wayne Rooney has leapt to the defence of under-fire goalkeeper David de Gea, confirming his Manchester United side are firmly "behind" the Spaniard.

The former Atletico Madrid goalkeeper produced a number of impressive saves at Fulham on Saturday, that led to a crucial 1-0 victory for the Premier League leaders.

And finally, Barcelona were indebted to goalkeeper Victor Valdes for producing two super saves to secure a point from a tough assignment against Valencia at the Mestalla.

The visitors had the opportunity to establish an 18-point gap over arch-rivals Real Madrid, following the capital club's shock loss at Granada on Saturday night, but turned in a performance well below their usual high standards drawing 1-1 with Valencia.

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Topics:
Tottenham Hotspur
Arsenal
Football
Manchester City
Chelsea
Premier League
Manchester United

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