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Wenger admits contract insecurity might affect Arsenal players

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With Arsenal in the midst of a horrid run of form, Arsene Wenger‘s future with the club after 20 years is up in the air, and many have tabbed this as one of the more glaring reasons for the team’s struggles.

Wenger himself has been asked many times about how this is affecting the squad, and he’s consistently denied that it is having any affect on the mental state of the players. Now, however, he is starting to give in.

In his pre-match press conference ahead of Arsenal’s Monday matchup with Middlesbrough, Wenger was asked flatly if his questionable contract situation could be affecting the players.

“I don’t know but I hope not,” Wenger said. “When I speak about mental test it is to perform, no matter what the circumstances are around you. Is that an influence? I’d say I hope not. But what is for sure is that in the last three months there has been no consistency, especially away from home.”

Wenger has consistently called upon his squad to have mental fortitude to perform under any outside circumstances, urging his players to concentrate solely on their duties on the field. Not many fans are buying it, however, and the players are starting to sour on the sentiment as well.

Mesut Ozil, a player under heavy fire for his effort on the field, admitted last week to the Mail on Sunday that Wenger’s current situation is vitally important to him, as the Frenchman was a big reason he came to Arsenal. “It’s not just important for me, but for the whole club,” Ozil said. “It’s important to know if he stays or if he goes. We need to think towards next season. He’s very important. In my career I’ve always made decisions not just because of clubs, but managers too.”

So while Wenger can ask his players to concentrate on the job at hand, that might not be the reality.

The Gunners sit in seventh in the Premier League table, and Champions League qualification looks out of reach, with fourth placed Liverpool nine points away.

Swansea 1-2 Leicester: Foxes back to winning ways

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  • Leicester took lead lead via Fernandez OG
  • Okazaki doubled lead
  • Mawson got Swansea back in it

Michael Appleton led Leicester City ti victory in his first game as interim boss following the firing of Craig Shakespeare earlier this week.

Leicester beat Swansea 2-1 at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday with an own goal from Federico Fernandez and a strike from Shinji Okazaki good enough to secure the Foxes a first win since August as Riyad Mahrez impressed.

Alfie Mawson scored in the second half to set up a tense finish for Leicester but they held on to grab their second win of the season and move away from the relegation zone.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The visitors looked like the better team early on and Okazaki almost knocked out home after a goalmouth scramble in the box.

Leicester took the lead with Riyad Mahrez’s cross deflecting off Fernandez and in. 1-0 to the Foxes away from home.

Tammy Abraham went close twice in the first half for the Swans but Paul Clement‘s men struggled to get any kind of foothold in the game.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Leicester doubled their lead early in the second half through Okazaki as the Japan international finished off Mahrez’s ball. 2-0 and cruising.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Mawson then unleashed his inner-striker with a fine turn and finish to make it 2-1 but that wasn’t enough for the Swans.

Stoke City 1-2 Bournemouth: Cherries secure huge road win

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  • Surman, Stanislas put Bournemouth ahead
  • Stoke have only won one of their last 8 games in all comps
  • Diouf’s goal not enough for a point

Bournemouth beat Stoke City 2-1 at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday as the Cherries secured their first away win of the season.

Early goals from Andrew Surman and Junior Stanislas was enough to grab Bournemouth all three points as Mame Biram Diouf’s goal in the second half wasn’t enough to launch a Stoke comeback.

With the defeat Stoke slip into the bottom with Bournemouth.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]  

Bournemouth got off to the best possible start as Stanislas set up Surman who fired home to make it 1-0 after 15 minutes.

Three minutes later after it was 2-0 as Stanislas slammed home a penalty kick following Benik Afobe being hacked down in the box.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Stoke struggled to recover after that awful start but they did grab a goal midway through the second half.

Diouf made it 2-1 with just 17 minutes gone in the second half as a long ball forward caused havoc in the box with Choupo-Mouting knocking it down for Diouf to finish.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Stoke threw plenty of long balls at Bournemouth late on but the Cherries held on for a crucial three points to leave Stoke in plenty of trouble.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

Afobe and others came close to sealing the win late on for Bournemouth with Stoke pushing forward but the Cherries were well worth their victory.

Huddersfield Town 2-1 Manchester United: Monumental win!

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  • Town’s first win over United since 1952
  • Mooy, Depoitre score
  • Rashford pulls one back
  • United’s first PL loss

Aaron Mooy and Laurent Depoitre scored to give Huddersfield Town its first win over Manchester United in 65 years, a 2-1 win at the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday.

Marcus Rashford pulled a goal back for United, which has lost its first PL match of the season and drops five points behind Man City.

Town leaps 10th, with 12 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Anthony Martial collected an early yellow card for United, and a clever move from Tom Ince to Steve Mounie called up Red Devils backstop David De Gea for his first collection of the match.

And Mooy put Town a head when he played Ince in for a shot, then put the rebound behind De Gea.

The keeper wouldn’t be relieved when a Jonas Lossl goal kick sailed over Victor Lindelof‘s jumping intervention, and Depoitretw danced around De Gea to make it 2-0.

Nemanja Matic‘s stoppage time effort through traffic almost pulled one back for United, but Town dealt with a corner kick to get to the break unscathed.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

But how many have?

Rashford lifted the hopes of the visitors with a goal with just under 15 minutes to play.

WATCH LIVE: Southampton vs. West Brom

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Southampton and West Brom seek three points which would move them into the top half of the Premier League table when they meet Sunday at St. Mary’s (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE HERE

As a bonus, Joe Prince-Wright is on the scene to give you a “proper match day experience” from the run-up to the final whistle at St. Mary’s.

LINEUPS

Southampton: Forster, Cedric, Van Dijk, Yoshida, Bertrand, Lemina, Romeu, Davis, Tadic, Long, Gabbiadini. Subs: McCarthy, Hoedt, McQueen, Ward-Prowse, Boufal, Redmond, Austin.

West Bromwich Albion: Foster, Gibbs, Hegazi, Evans, Dawson, Livermore, Krychowiak, Chadli, Barry, Rodriguez, Rondon. Subs: