EPL: Man City Go Top, Arsenal Gain Revenge On Southampton

A photo combination of Arsenal and Manchester City players celebrating their goals in their Premier League games on Tuesday, January 26th, 2021.

 

Manchester City thrashed West Brom 5-0 to move back top of the Premier League on Tuesday as Arsenal aided their push towards the European places with a 3-1 win at Southampton.

City have now won 11 consecutive games since West Brom earned a shock 1-1 draw at the Etihad last month.

Pep Guardiola’s men have hit top form since and did not miss the presence of the injured Kevin De Bruyne in blowing away the Baggies by scoring four goals before half-time.

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Ilkay Gundogan opened the floodgates by curling home from the edge of the box before Joao Cancelo’s controversial strike doubled City’s lead.

Manchester City’s Algerian midfielder Riyad Mahrez celebrates scoring his team’s fourth goal with teammates during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester City at The Hawthorns stadium in West Bromwich, central England, on January 26, 2021. Laurence Griffiths / POOL / AFP

 

The West Brom defence was distracted by a wrongly raised offside flag before the Portuguese full-back found the net, but the goal stood after a VAR review.

Gundogan then took his tally to seven goals in his last eight league games before Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling rounded off the scoring.

“There’s not really a secret,” Gundogan said of his scoring streak. “I’m just in the right spaces at the right moment. I’m in a bit more of an offensive role, if I get the chance close to the box I try to make the right decisions.”

West Brom have now conceded 17 goals in Sam Allardyce’s four home games in charge as they remain second bottom of the table, six points off safety.

– Arsenal on the rise –
Guardiola’s former assistant Mikel Arteta is also enjoying a fine run of form as Arsenal have taken 16 from the last possible 18 points.

The Gunners avenged their FA Cup to Southampton at the weekend despite falling behind after three minutes to Stuart Armstrong’s sweet strike.

Nicolas Pepe quickly levelled before Bukayo Saka rounded Alex McCarthy and slotted home to give the visitors at half-time lead.

“I think we were good from the start. We conceded a goal from a corner but responded straight away,” said Arteta.

“It showed a lot of intelligent and resilience from the team in the way they managed the game.”

Southampton’s English midfielder Theo Walcott shoots but fails to score during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Arsenal at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on January 26, 2021. Naomi Baker / POOL / AFP

 

Alexandre Lacazette sealed a vital three points 18 minutes from time as Arsenal moved up to eighth and within five points of the top four.

– West Ham go fourth –
West Ham occupy the fourth Champions League place as Tomas Soucek scored twice in a 3-2 win at Crystal Palace.

The Hammers suffered an early setback when Wilfried Zaha put Palace in front after just three minutes.

But the stronger mentality that David Moyes has lauded in West Ham this season showed as Soucek struck twice in 16 minutes to turn the game around.

Only Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes has scored more Premier League goals from midfield than the Czech since he joined from Slavia Prague a year ago.

Craig Dawson headed in Jarrod Bowen’s corner 25 minutes from time to make it 3-1 before Michy Batshuayi scored a late consolation for Palace.

 

West Ham United’s English defender Craig Dawson (R) celebrates scoring his team’s third goal during the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and West Ham United at Selhurst Park in south London on January 26, 2021. Clive Rose / POOL / AFP

 

A sixth consecutive win in all competitions takes Moyes’s men above Liverpool in the table and Jurgen Klopp’s struggling Reds will be wary of their trip to the London Stadium on Sunday.

At the other end of the table, Newcastle lost 2-1 at home to Leeds to stretch their winless run to 11 games

“This league is demanding and cruel at times,” said beleaguered Magpies boss Steve Bruce.

Raphinha slotted home Rodrigo’s cut-back to give Marcelo Bielsa’s men a deserved half-time lead.

Miguel Almiron levelled with Newcastle’s first goal for five games early in the second half, but parity lasted only four minutes before Jack Harrison’s sensational finish with the outside of his left foot claimed all three points for the visitors.

Newcastle have a seven-point cushion over the bottom three, but have now played two games more than Fulham in 18th.

AFP

Aubameyang Bags Brace As Arsenal Crush Newcastle

Arsenal have now gone unbeaten in five games. Photo: [email protected]

 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returned to scoring form with a double as Arsenal’s rise up the Premier League table continued with a comfortable 3-0 win over Newcastle on Monday.

The Gunners were facing an unlikely battle for survival less than a month ago, but 13 points from a possible 15 have lifted Mikel Arteta’s men into 10th and within seven points of the top four.

Despite Aubameyang doubling his tally of league goals from open play this season, it was again Arsenal’s dynamic young duo of Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka who caught the eye as the later slotted home the hosts’ second goal in between the captain’s brace.

“When we are winning they put a smile on my face,” said Arteta of Smith Rowe and Saka’s impact.

“I know what they are capable of doing. They are developing really well, that’s merit to them, to their teammates and everyone who is involved to help them develop and protect them. The performances they are putting in are extraordinary.”

Newcastle do remain firmly in a relegation fight after a ninth consecutive game without a win despite Steve Bruce making eight changes.

Bruce said “the gloves were off” after a scathing analysis of his side’s display in becoming the only team to lose to Sheffield United in the Premier League this season last week.

However, there was no change from the Magpies, who showed little ambition in failing to force Bernd Leno into a single save of note.

Newcastle still enjoy a seven-point cushion above the relegation zone, but those behind them are in better form with still over half the season to play.

“We’re having a difficult moment, that little bit of confidence has ebbed away,” said Bruce, who pointed to Arsenal’s first two goals as example of why he has not played in a more expansive style this season.

“That’s why we’ve been deep in the past to avoid situations like that. Unfortunately we’re throwing bodies forward trying to score a goal and one pass and we’re caught.”

Aubameyang’s struggles in front of goal have played a major part in Arsenal’s difficult start to Arteta’s first full season in charge.

Another night to forget seemed in store for the Gabon international when he hit the post with the goal gaping after Karl Darlow had diverted Saka’s low effort into his path at the back post midway through the first-half.

But Aubameyang made no mistake with a more difficult chance early in the second-half after Newcastle were caught short from their own corner.

Thomas Partey got his first assist since arriving from Atletico Madrid in October as he set Aubameyang free in behind and, despite being forced onto his weaker left foot, he fired high beyond Darlow to open the floodgates.

The emergence of Smith Rowe has helped turned Arsenal’s fortunes around in recent weeks since Arteta began to put his faith in the 20-year-old ahead of expensive recruits Willian and Nicolas Pepe.

Smith Rowe’s inviting cut-back was swept home from just inside the area by Saka for his third goal in five league games.

Aubameyang then had an even easier task to slot home just his fifth league goal of the season into an empty net after Cedric Soares just managed to keep the ball in play with a low cross.

Another headache for Arteta is also set to be solved with Mesut Ozil on the verge of agreeing a move to Fenerbahce.

Ozil has been the highest earner at the club since signing a deal worth a reported £350,000 ($475,000) a week in January 2018, but has not featured under Arteta since March.

“He’s in Turkey now. There is some paperwork still to do and when the deal is finalised we’ll make the announcement.”

 

AFP

COVID-19: Cash-Trapped Arsenal Receive £120m Loan

The empty stadium is pictured ahead of the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium in London on July 15, 2020.
Glyn KIRK / POOL / AFP

 

Arsenal have taken out a short-term £120 million loan ($163 million, 133 million euros) from the British government to help them cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the Premier League club announced Thursday.

In August of last year, the Gunners announced plans to make 55 posts in their staff redundant because of the financial hit the north London side had suffered as a result of Covid-19.

At that stage, the bulk of the club’s players had agreed to a 12.5 percent pay cut from their largely lucrative pay packets in a bid to help other Arsenal staff retain their jobs.

Thursday saw the club confirm they were utilising a scheme from the Bank of England, the national central bank, to bolster their revenue at a time when matches at their Emirates Stadium are again being played behind closed doors amid a fresh country-wide lockdown.

“As we continue to work through the implications of the global pandemic on our finances, we can confirm today that the club has met the criteria set by the Bank of England for the Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF),” said an Arsenal statement.

“As a result, we are taking a short-term £120 million loan through this facility to partially assist in managing the impact of the revenue losses attributable to the pandemic.

“This is a similar approach to that taken by a wide variety of major organisations across many industries including sport, and is repayable in May 2021.

“The CCFF is designed to provide short-term finance at commercial rates during the pandemic to companies that have strong investment ratings and which make significant contributions to the British economy.”

Arsenal’s statement added that the loan was in addition to the extra financial support the club was receiving from owner Stan Kroenke, a US-based sports entrepreneur.

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“The CCFF is in addition to the loan provided by our owners Kroenke, Sports & Entertainment that enabled us to refinance the debt on Emirates Stadium in August last year.”

Arsenal’s spending on transfer fees and wages in recent months has been criticised in light of the redundancies made to non-playing staff.

The Londoners splashed out £45 million ($58 million) on transfer deadline day in October for Thomas Partey and offered lucrative three-year contracts to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Willian.

Arsenal have been financially hit by failing to qualify for the Champions League for four consecutive seasons.

Mikel Arteta’s men currently sit 11th in the Premier League, six points off the top four.

AFP

Arsenal Defender Saliba Joins French Side Nice On Loan

William Saliba. Photo: [email protected] FC.

 

Arsenal defender William Saliba has moved to Nice on loan until the end of the season, both clubs announced on Monday.

In a statement, Ligue 1 outfit Nice said the deal with Arsenal for the 19-year-old was without an option to buy, although a source close to the deal told AFP that the loan could be extended into next season.

Arsenal said that the move had the aim of giving Saliba “the chance for more competitive playing time”.

“We’re confident he will have a great career with us but we must remember that he is still only 19 years old and has a lot of time ahead of him,” said Arsenal’s technical director Edu.

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Saliba has yet to feature for the Gunners’ first team since joining from Saint-Etienne in June.

The Premier League outfit paid 30 million euros ($36.8 million) in July 2019 for the France under-20 international before sending him back to Saint-Etienne on-loan for a season.

Saliba could come in as cover for injured captain Dante for Wednesday’s trip to Brest, Nice’s first match since the winter break.

AFP

Aubameyang Urges Young Arsenal Players To ‘Be Patient’

aubameyang
Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates scoring their third goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Watford at the Emirates Stadium in London on July 26, 2020. NEIL HALL / POOL / AFP

 

Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang said the young players eager to establish themselves at struggling Arsenal must “be patient” in their wait for first team action.

The Gunners have endured their worst start to a league campaign in almost half a century (the 1974/75 season) and last won a domestic match on November 1.

Heading into Saturday’s tricky home game with fifth-placed Chelsea they are just four points above the relegation zone.

Aubameyang’s lack of goals is one of the reasons they are in such a predicament having scored just four times.

The form of other experienced players like Granit Xhaka and Willian has fallen away leading to calls for young players to be selected by coach Mikel Arteta.

Folarin Balogun, Eddie Nketiah, Emile Smith Rowe and William Saliba, all under 21, are those most frequently mentioned.

“When you are a young player trying to come through at a club like Arsenal then for sure there’s a lot of pressure,” said Aubameyang.

“You have to be patient too because we have great players who are playing in the first team so it’s always hard to find your way through.

“I remember when I was playing at AC Milan (2008-11) it was always really, really difficult to get into the first team, so I know that type of feeling.”

The former Borussia Dortmund attacker said the Europa League group stage — one of the rare bright spots in their season so far as they reached the knockout stages — had offered valuable experience for the youngsters.

“With the Europa League this season, there have been maybe more opportunities for the young guys to get minutes,” he said.

“We saw a few young players in our last European game and we also have them joining in with training quite a lot lately.

“For them it is not easy, but when you get the chance you have to take it and I think they are doing well when they have had the chance so far.

“You can see that the young lads always perform when they come in because the coaches are doing great work with them to get them ready for the games.

“The rest is down to them.”

AFP

‘A Lot Of Strange Things Are Happening’: Arteta Laments Loss To Man City

Arsenal's Spanish manager Mikel Arteta reacts during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Arsenal at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on December 19, 2020. Jon Super / POOL / AFP
File photo of Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta. Jon Super / POOL / AFP

 

Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta has lamented his side’s miserable form as Manchester City demolished the North London club 4-1 in the quarter-finals of the League Cup on Tuesday.

City ensured it will be a depressing Christmas for beleaguered Arsenal boss Arteta by condemning his side to a fourth defeat in their last six games in all competitions.

“It’s a hard one to take considering how the game went. This level of opponent, when you give the goals away it makes the game impossible,” Arteta said after the game.

“A lot of strange things are happening in every game and that makes things really difficult.

“Runarsson has not played a lot of games for us. We all make mistakes and have to support him.”

READ ALSO: Neymar Set For PSG Return In January

Gabriel Jesus took just three minutes to put City ahead at the Emirates Stadium and although Alexandre Lacazette equalised, it was another night of torture for Arteta.

Arsenal’s reserve keeper Alex Runarsson was made a horrendous mistake when he allowed Riyad Mahrez’s free-kick to squirm into the net.

Phil Foden and Aymeric Laporte piled on the pain for Arsenal with further goals to seal the rout.

Languishing 15th in the Premier League after losing five of their last seven games — their worst start to a season since 1974-75 — Arsenal are in crisis.

Amid talk of dressing room unrest, Arteta, who worked as Pep Guardiola’s City assistant before joining Arsenal 12 months ago, will be in danger of the sack if Arsenal’s wretched run continues into the new year.

“We have to turn it around. If we don’t, we are in big trouble. So that is the moment which is going to decide our season,” Arteta said.

“On the basis of what we have shown tonight against difficult opponents, I have fighters in my team.”

Guardiola defended Arteta, saying: “He is an incredible manager. I know his proposals and what he will do.

“Not even a little run of bad results is going to change my opinion.”

Arteta made eight changes from Saturday’s defeat at Everton, yet City made seven switches of their own and still went ahead in the blink of an eye.

Jesus, without a goal in his previous seven games, started the move wide on the left when he fed Foden and made an astute run into the six-yard box.

Oleksandr Zinchenko’s cross reached Jesus and, aided by Runarsson’s missed punch, the Brazilian netted with a clinical header at the near post while the Gunners’ defence stood and watched.

Arsenal equalised against the run of play in the 31st minute as Gabriel Martinelli’s cross from the byline found Lacazette, who threw himself forward to guide his header into the roof of the net.

City were gifted the lead again in the 54th minute when Runarsson made a complete hash of dealing with Mahrez’s free-kick, the Iceland international allowing a shot that was straight at him to slip through his gloves like a bar of soap.

– Knockout blow –
With no VAR in the League Cup, Foden’s run from a slightly offside position went unchecked and he delivered the knockout blow with a cool flick over Runarsson.

Foden turned provider in the 73rd minute with a teasing cross that was headed in by Laporte.

City trail eight points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool, but they are unbeaten in their last nine games in all competitions — conceding just two goals in that period.

Guardiola’s men have won the League Cup for the last three seasons and are bidding to become the first team to win it four years in a row since Liverpool from 1981 to 1984.

Brentford, fourth in the Championship,enjoyed a shock 1-0 win against Premier League side Newcastle thanks to Josh Dasilva’s 66th minute goal in west London.

Thomas Frank’s team had already knocked out West Bromwich Albion, Southampton and Fulham en route to the quarter-finals.

Their fourth Premier League scalp took them into their first-ever major domestic cup semi-final.

“I’m bitterly disappointed and very frustrated at this minute,” Newcastle manager Steve Bruce said.

AFP

Brazilian Defender David Luiz Signs New Arsenal Contract

David Luiz joined Arsenal last summer. Photo: Arsenal.com

 

Brazil defender, David Luiz has signed a new one-year deal with Premier League side, Arsenal.

The North London side disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday where the club described the 33-year-old as an “important” player for the team.

According to Arsenal Technical director, Edu, the player who joined the club last summer, “helps everyone” in the side.

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“David is a really important player for us,” Edu said. “He has played most of our matches this season and has been important for the team.

“His passing, his communication with the team on and off the pitch. He helps everyone.”

Also, Arsenal confirmed that defenders, Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares have made permanent moves to the club.

Spanish star, Dani Ceballos’s loan from Real Madrid was equally extended until the end of the 2019/20 campaign.

“I am really happy that we will have these players in our squad for the future,” Edu explained. “They have been part of the long-term technical plan Mikel and I have developed. They bring the right balance to our squad.”

Poor Run

Arsenal on Saturday lost their second game in a row since the resumption of the Premier League after Brighton beat them 2-1.

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City had earlier defeated Mikel Arteta’s side 3-0 in their first game after the restart of the league.

The twin defeats left the Gunners 10th on the table but a game against Southampton on Thursday will provide another chance for redemption.

Arsenal Will Sign In January If Right Opportunity Presents Itself – Wenger

idx-39Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger, has revealed that the Gunners will make signings in January, if the right opportunity presents itself.

The Arsenal Manager has hinted that he would strengthen his squad during the winter transfer window and he explained his approach at his pre-match press conference on Tuesday.

“There is a need there but the right opportunity has to come up. To buy (just) to buy is not what we want to do, but if the right opportunity comes up, we will do it.

“If you look at the number of games some players played, and the injuries we have with Wilshere, Ramsey and Arteta, we are a bit short at the moment in midfield.”

Wenger has not ruled out a loan switch for Yaya Sanogo, but he played down reports linking Lukas Podolski with a move to Inter Milan.

“He’s a player of Arsenal Football Club and I want him to stay,” said the manager.

“Apart from that, what it is to be professional is that as long as you are somewhere, you give your best to justify your wages and your love for the club.

“I hope (that Podolski will stay). (The) Inter Milan (reports) are not serious. They talk, it is only talk.

“Offensively we have many options (when everyone is fit), too many to keep everyone involved with the right number of games, that is for sure.

“I don’t really doubt (loan deals) in some positions where players need experience. That’s not the case for Podolski but players who need practice because they’re at a very young age like Sanogo, it is not impossible.”

Arsenal now sit fifth in the league table with 33 points from 19 games, three behind third placed Manchester United.

John Terry, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard Close To New Chelsea Deals

Chelsea JT-FL-ACIt appears that Chelsea’s senior players would still be part of the team’s plans until they are a lot older.

On Friday, during Chelsea’s pre-match press conference before their game with Sunderland, Assistant Manager, Steve Holland, gave an update on contract negotiations with some of the Blues’ veteran stars.

According to Holland, who was standing in for manager Jose Mourinho, at his request, contract talks with 33 year old captain, John Terry, were ongoing and new contracts for Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard were also being discussed.

“John has had an outstanding season; we have the best defensive record in the Premier League and he’s played in almost all of that and been a major part of it all,” Holland said.

“I know that John wants to stay at Chelsea, and Chelsea want John to stay, so hopefully that situation can be concluded amicably over the next few weeks. It’s the same situation (with Lampard and Cole), we’re dealing with not just normal players, but magnificent servants for this club over a long period. So, full respect will be given for those players.”

The wage demands might be the only stumbling block, as reports stated Terry might have to take a pay cut in order to stay on at Stamford Bridge. As for Cole and Lampard, they are in slightly less advantageous position when it comes to contract talks.

Terry, this season, and at times, Lampard, have shown that they still have a lot to offer.