Arteta Confident FA Cup Winner Aubameyang Will Stay At Arsenal

Arsenal’s Spanish head coach Mikel Arteta holds the winner’s trophy as the team celebrates victory after the English FA Cup final football match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in London, on August 1, 2020. – Arsenal won the match 2-1. (Photo by Catherine Ivill / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta believes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will commit his long-term future to the Gunners after scoring twice to beat Chelsea 2-1 in the FA Cup final on Saturday.

Aubameyang dropped the trophy in his first mistake of the day before lifting Arsenal’s record 14th FA Cup and his first trophy since joining the Londoners from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018.

The Gabon international has been prolific in his two-and-a-half years in England, attracting interest from around Europe with just one year of his contract at the Emirates left to run.

 

Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the English FA Cup final football match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in London, on August 1, 2020. 

But Arteta is confident Aubameyang will be convinced to stay by Arsenal’s upturn since the Spaniard took charge in December.

“He knows what I think about him, I want to build a squad around him,” said Arteta.

“I think he wants to stay, it is about getting the deal done.

“I think moments like that will help to realise and give him belief that we are in the right path and he is a big part of it.

“He is loved by everyone at the club so hopefully he will continue with us.”

 

Arsenal Defeat Chelsea 2-1 To Win FA Cup
Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang holds the winner’s trophy as the team celebrates victory after the English FA Cup final.
Catherine Ivill / POOL / AFP

Victory also secured Arsenal’s place in the Europa League next season to ensure they did not miss out on European football for the first time in 25 years.

Arteta warned that failure to qualify for Europe would further restrict his transfer budget before the new Premier League season starts in just six weeks’ time.

“It is a double reward for us, it is really important for this club in every way to be in Europe,” added Arteta, who became the first man to win the FA Cup for Arsenal as a captain and coach.

“Winning this competition is part of our history. It’s 14 now, I contributed, we all did it, so I am so happy.”

Aubameyang paid tribute to Arteta’s impact after what had been a desperately disappointing start to the season under Unai Emery, but dodged questions on his future.

“He deserves this win. He did a great job and we are all happy to have him on board,” said Aubameyang.

“Nothing,” he added when pushed for comment on his plans for next season. “Today, it’s just about the trophy.”

 

 

 

-AFP

Three Things We Learned From The FA Cup Final

Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is mobbed by teammates after scoring his team’s second goal during the English FA Cup final football match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in London, on August 1, 2020. (Photo by Catherine Ivill / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-1 thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s brace in the FA Cup final on Saturday.

Let’s look at three things we learned from the Wembley clash:

Irreplacable Aubameyang

In what could be his last game for Arsenal, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang showed why the Gunners must do everything in their power to keep the Gabon forward.

The 31-year-old is out of contract at the end of next season and has been linked with a move amid reports he wants to play for a club in the Champions League.

Coach Mikel Arteta insists Aubameyang wants to stay, but he also conceded winning the FA Cup would be a useful way to show him the club are heading in the right direction.

Arsenal did their part and it was Aubameyang who provided the crucial cutting edge.

The first African player to start an FA Cup final as captain, Aubameyang became the second-oldest player to score for Arsenal in the showpiece.

With Arsenal trailing to Christian Pulisic’s early goal, Aubameyang’s blistering break left Cesar Azpilicueta trailing in his wake.

Azpilicueta responded by tugging at Aubameyang’s shoulder and the forward made the most of the contact as he tumbled in the area to win a penalty that he dispatched with ruthless efficiency.

Aubameyang won the German Cup with Borussia Dortmund in 2017, scoring the winning goal from the penalty spot.

Once again, he would be the star, but this time it was his skill and improvisation that proved decisive as he jinked past Kurt Zouma and clipped a fine finish over Willy Caballero in the 67th minute.

Chelsea hamstrung by Pulisic injury

Christian Pulisic had emerged as a key figure for Chelsea since the coronavirus hiatus, but a day that started on a high for the United States winger ended in agony.

It has been that kind of turbulent season for Pulisic, whose first year with Chelsea started slowly amid injuries and poor form before bursting into life.

He was on the scoresheet after just five minutes, with his 11th goal of the season.

Drifting into central midfield to take possession, Pulisic slipped a precise pass to Mason Mount and carried on his run into the Arsenal penalty area, where he took Olivier Giroud’s flick and slotted past Emiliano Martinez.

Pulisic was the first American to score in the FA Cup final but disaster struck in the 49th minute when he raced away for a shot that was interrupted when he felt his hamstring twang.

Immediately grabbing the injured area, Pulisic was helped off the pitch.

Without the pace of Pulisic to keep Arsenal’s defense on the back foot, Frank Lampard’s side was bereft of a cutting edge in the final third as the trophy slipped from their grasp.

Arteta bolsters growing reputation

Mikel Arteta enhanced his reputation as one of the Premier League’s brightest young managers with another tactical masterclass.

Having out-witted his mentor Pep Guardiola in Arsenal’s FA Cup semi-final success against Manchester City, Arteta showed his acumen again to leave Chelsea boss Frank Lampard out of answers.

Arteta’s use of long passes into the channels behind Chelsea’s two attacking full-backs exposed the flaw in Lampard’s defensive system and led directly to Aubameyang’s equaliser.

Leading Arsenal to their 14th FA Cup success — which brings them a place in next season’s Europa League — showed the 38-year-old Spaniard is the man to restore the club’s tattered reputation.

Arsenal may have endured their lowest league finish for a quarter of a century this season as Arteta battled to steady the ship following Unai Emery’s sacking in December.

But he has won over his players with a direct approach to discipline — banishing malcontents Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi — and his astute game-plans.

Winning the FA Cup will buy Arteta time to continue his rebuild and it was fitting his first trophy as Arsenal manager came in the tournament that brought the last major silverware of Gunners legend Arsene Wenger’s reign.

 

 

-AFP

[Updated] Arsenal Defeat Chelsea To Win FA Cup

Arsenal Defeat Chelsea 2-1 To Win FA Cup
Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang holds the winner’s trophy as the team celebrates their FA Cup victory. Catherine Ivill / POOL / AFP

 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang inspired Arsenal to a record 14th FA Cup win as the Gunners captain struck twice to beat Chelsea 2-1 in the final at an empty Wembley on Saturday.

Christian Pulisic had given Chelsea the dream start, but the Blues unravelled after Aubameyang was brought down by Cesar Azpilicueta inside the area and converted the resulting penalty.

A brilliant finish from Aubameyang 23 minutes from time earned Mikel Arteta silverware in his first season as Arsenal boss before Chelsea were controversially reduced to 10 men when Mateo Kovacic was shown an extremely soft second yellow card.

Arteta said ahead of the final he hoped a taste of success would encourage Aubameyang, who only has a year left on his contract at the Emirates, to commit to a new long-term deal.

The Gabon international’s double took his tally for the season to 29 and ensured the Gunners will not miss out on European football next season for the first time since 1995/96 as they qualify for the Europa League.

Aubameyang (L) celebrates after scoring the equalising goal during the match. Photo: Adam Davy / POOL / AFP

 

An FA Cup final unlike any other with nearly 90,000 empty seats saw the traditional singing of “Abide With Me” performed on the Wembley roof.

Chelsea had already achieved their primary goal from Frank Lampard’s first season in charge by securing a place in next season’s Champions League last weekend and early on they seemed set to cap a top-four finish with Lampard’s first trophy as a manager.

Emiliano Martinez flew to his left to turn Mason Mount’s shot behind, but Arsenal did not heed that warning as Chelsea’s front three combined perfectly for the opener on five minutes.

Mount’s low cross was flicked on by former Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud and Pulisic continued his scoring streak since football’s return in June by showing quick feet before prodding the ball home.

Arteta has gained plenty of plaudits for his tactical nous during his first eight months in a managerial role and the Spaniard managed to reorganise the Gunners during the first-half drinks break to change the momentum of the game.

Arsenal’s Spanish head coach Mikel Arteta holds the winner’s trophy. The Spaniard has gained plenty of plaudits for his tactical nous during his first eight months in charge of the Gunners. Catherine Ivill / POOL / AFP

Aubameyang leads comeback

A minute after play resumed, Nicolas Pepe thought he had curled home a brilliant equaliser from the edge of the box, only to be denied by Ainsley Maitland-Niles being flagged for offside in the build-up.

While Chelsea have already significantly strengthened their forward line for next season with the signings of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech, Arsenal are hoping just to hold onto their key man in Aubameyang.

Just like in the semi-final win over Manchester City, he proved to be the match-winner as he raced onto Kieran Tierney’s hopeful ball over the top and outpaced Azpilicueta before being brought down by the Chelsea captain just inside the area.

Azpilicueta escaped the double punishment of a red card, but VAR confirmed the spot-kick and Aubameyang coolly slotted home.

Aubameyang (L) scores his team’s second goal past Chelsea’s Argentinian goalkeeper Willy Caballero. Photo by Adam Davy / POOL / AFP

 

Chelsea were further hit by two big injury blows either side of half-time as Azpilicueta and Pulisic pulled up with hamstring injuries that will almost certainly rule them out of the Champions League last 16, second leg against Bayern Munich next weekend.

Despite Chelsea’s major spending spree in reinforcing their attack, it is at the back where they have been found wanting all season and they were caught out too easily for the winner.

Referee Anthony Taylor (C) shows a red card to Chelsea’s Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic (2L). Photo by Catherine Ivill / POOL / AFP

 

Hector Bellerin burst through the weak challenge of Jorginho before the ball was played into the path of Aubameyang, who skipped past Kurt Zouma and nonchalantly lifted the finish over Willy Caballero.

Worse was to come for Lampard’s men when Kovacic was inexplicably sent off for the slightest touch on Granit Xhaka, but Anthony Taylor’s decision could not be reviewed by VAR as it was a second bookable offence.

Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (C) holds the winner’s trophy as the team celebrates victory. Catherine Ivill / POOL / AFP

 

AFP

Arteta Hopes FA Cup Win Convinces Aubameyang To Stay At Arsenal

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

 

 

Mikel Arteta believes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s future at Arsenal could be influenced by the outcome of Saturday’s FA Cup final against Chelsea as the Gunners try to convince the Gabon international to extend his contract.

Aubameyang, 31, has just one year left on his deal at the Emirates and given Arsenal’s financial predicament, it would make sense to sell in the close season if he cannot be convinced to prolong his contract.

Despite his strike rate as one of Europe’s deadliest forwards over the past six years, Aubameyang has just two major trophies to his name with cup wins at St Etienne and Borussia Dortmund.

Arteta captained Arsenal to two FA Cup wins during his playing career and believes experiencing that success could convince Aubameyang to trust the club are going in the right direction.

 

Arsenal's Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates after scoring a goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Norwich City at the Emirates Stadium in London on July 1, 2020. (Photo by Shaun Botterill / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /
Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates after scoring a goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Norwich City at the Emirates Stadium in London on July 1, 2020. (Photo by Shaun Botterill / POOL / AFP)

 

“No, I don’t have that feeling,” said Arteta on Friday when asked if Saturday’s clash could be Aubameyang’s final game for the club.

“It’s a package at the end. You need to have a lot of ingredients on the table to persuade a player of his level to be at this football club.

“Don’t forget that he still has a contract here with us. We want to do it in a long-term, at the moment he’s with us and he should be really proud of where he is.

“Winning a trophy helps to really believe and feel ‘wow’, I want more of these moments. If you are wearing the armband and able to lift that cup, it is such a moment. This is going to help for sure.”

Winning a trophy in his first season in management would also be a huge bonus for Arteta to prove he can restore Arsenal’s former glories.

“It generates trust when you win titles,” he added. “It generates moments when together you go through some good emotions.

“It brings everybody together, you have memories, there is a lot of things about winning a trophy that is so positive for any group and when you are in a process of (development) that makes it even more important, so we have a great opportunity tomorrow, let’s go for it.”

Beating their London rivals behind closed doors at Wembley would also ensure Arsenal do not miss out on European football next season for the first time since 1995/96 by qualifying for the Europa League.

 

File photo: Arsenal’s Spanish head coach Mikel Arteta shouts instructions to his players from the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Sheffield United at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 18, 2020. Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

“It’s a final, the only focus is on winning that trophy tomorrow,” said Arteta.

“Financially it would be really helpful and on the sporting side, to play European football for this club is a must.”

AFP

Liverpool To Face Arsenal/Chelsea In 2020 Community Shield On August 29

The winners of the Arsenal Vs Chelsea final will take on Liverpool in the 2020 Community Shield. Photo: The FA

 

 

The Football Association announced on Wednesday that the Community Shield, the traditional curtainraiser for the new English season, would take place at Wembley on August 29.

The match between Premier League champions Liverpool and the winners of Saturday’s FA Cup final between Arsenal and Chelsea will be played two weeks before the start of the top-flight season.

liverpool-epl-champions
This is Liverpool’s first EPL crown in 30 years. Photo: Twitter/Liverpool FC

 

It has been reported that the match could serve as a test event to welcome a restricted number of fans into Wembley as part of plans for supporters to make a socially distanced return to sports venues more widely from October 1.

The match will be immediately followed by an international break from September 2 to 10.

The Premier League said last week that the 2020/21 season would start on September 12 and run until May 23, 2022.

AFP

Former Arsenal Coach Unai Emery Joins Villarreal

Former Arsenal’s Spanish head coach Unai Emery gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium in London on September 1, 2019. Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

Villarreal announced on Thursday that former Arsenal and Sevilla boss Unai Emery is taking over as the La Liga club’s coach from the sacked Javi Calleja.

The 48-year-old Emery was dismissed by Arsenal last November with the Gunners on a seven-match winless streak, their worst run since 1992.

He led Sevilla to three straight Europa League titles from 2014-16 before winning five major trophies with French giants Paris Saint-Germain.

“Villarreal CF has reached an agreement with Unai Emery for the Basque manager to be Yellows head coach for the next three seasons,” Villarreal said in a statement.

Villarreal parted ways with former player Calleja this week despite him taking the club to a fifth-placed finish in La Liga.

Influential midfielder Santi Cazorla, who has since joined Qatari side Al-Sadd, also left the Estadio de la Ceramica.

Emery reached the Europa League final last season with Arsenal, losing to London rivals Chelsea.

Villarreal are set to return to Europe’s second-tier competition next term.

 

AFP

Villa Out Of Relegation Zone After Edging Arsenal

Aston Villa's English defender Ezri Konsa celebrates after the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa and Arsenal at Villa Park in Birmingham, central England on July 21, 2020. Shaun Botterill / POOL / AFP
Aston Villa’s English defender Ezri Konsa celebrates after the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa and Arsenal at Villa Park in Birmingham, central England on July 21, 2020. Shaun Botterill / POOL / AFP

 

Aston Villa climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone as Egypt winger Trezeguet clinched a priceless 1-0 win against Arsenal on Tuesday.

Dean Smith’s side have their survival fate in their own hands after Trezeguet’s first-half strike at Villa Park.

Watford’s 4-0 thrashing against Manchester City earlier on Tuesday had opened the door for Villa to escape the bottom three.

And Villa seized their chance with a first home Premier League win over Arsenal in 18 attempts dating back to 1998.

Villa are now fourth bottom and have moved ahead of third bottom Watford on goal difference, with Smith’s men on -26 compared to the Hornets’ -27.

They head to West Ham for their final game of the season on Sunday, while Watford visit Arsenal and second-bottom Bournemouth, three points from safety, travel to Everton.

There are a multitude of permutations that could decide relegation, but Villa will be safe if they can better Watford’s result on what is certain to be a dramatic finale.

If Villa and Watford both win, goal difference or goals scored will decide who goes down.

Having secured an FA Cup final place by beating Manchester City on Saturday, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta made six changes and Arsenal looked a shadow of the team who impressed at Wembley.

Arsenal cannot finish higher than eighth and must win the FA Cup final against Chelsea to qualify for next season’s Europa League.

They are certain to finish below north London rivals Tottenham for a fourth successive season.

Villa kicked off just minutes after the final whistle at Watford, whose captain Troy Deeney found himself in the awkward position of looking for a favour from an Arsenal team he had mocked for lacking passion in the past.

If Smith was expecting his team to use the motivation from Watford’s defeat to make a fast start, he must have been disappointed by their tepid opening.

Trezeguet steps up

The most notable incident in the early stages was a plane flying over Villa Park with a banner that read “Back Arteta Kroenke Out” in a pointed message to Arsenal’s US-based owner after another troubled season.

Villa were struggling to find any rhythm, but the drinks break offered Smith a chance to fire up his players.

Crucially, Arsenal’s long-standing weakness at set-pieces reared its head again as Villa snatched the lead in the 27th minute.

Aston Villa's Spanish goalkeeper Pepe Reina (R) jumps for the ball during the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa and Arsenal at Villa Park in Birmingham, central England on July 21, 2020. Shaun Botterill / POOL / AFP
Aston Villa’s Spanish goalkeeper Pepe Reina (R) jumps for the ball during the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa and Arsenal at Villa Park in Birmingham, central England on July 21, 2020. Shaun Botterill / POOL / AFP

 

Tyrone Mings glanced Conor Hourihane’s corner across the six-yard box and Trezeguet was left unmarked to blast a fierce strike past Arsenal keeper Emiliano Martinez.

Trezeguet has been Villa’s savour as the stakes have got higher and his vital goal followed his brace in the victory against Crystal Palace nine days earlier.

The 25-year-old’s seventh goal of the season came from Villa’s first shot on target and he had their second as well with a header that Martinez grasped gratefully.

Jack Grealish, strongly linked with a close-season move, was captaining Villa in what could have been his last home game with the club he supported as a boy.

If it was to be his farewell, Grealish almost made it a memorable one with a long-range curler that flashed just wide.

Arteta sent on the revitalised Granit Xhaka at half-time and Arsenal immediately improved.

Cedric Soares’ cross found Bukayo Saka, who shot over from a good position 12 yards out, then Ezri Konsa threw himself into a brave block to repel Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s shot.

Keinan Davis wasted a golden opportunity to seal the points when he raced onto Grealish’s pass, only to drag his shot wide.

With the tension mounting, Villa rode their luck when Eddie Nketiah’s glancing header hit the post and bounced back into Pepe Reina’s hands.

 

 

AFP

‘We Deserve To Win A Trophy’: Luiz Redemption As Arsenal Shock Man City

Arsenal’s Brazilian defender David Luiz heads the ball during the English FA Cup semi-final football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium in London, on July 18, 2020. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / POOL / AFP)

 

David Luiz insists Arsenal’s shock 2-0 win over Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-finals proves they deserve to be contenders for major trophies.

Arsenal defender Luiz enjoyed a sweet moment of redemption as his superb display paved the way for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s double to knock out holders City at Wembley.

Luiz was lambasted after giving away a goal before being sent off for conceding a penalty in Arsenal’s 3-0 defeat at City in their first game following the coronavirus hiatus.

 

Arsenal’s Brazilian defender David Luiz (L) jumps across to block Manchester City’s English midfielder Raheem Sterling (C) during the English FA Cup semi-final football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium in London, on July 18, 2020. (Photo by MATTHEW CHILDS / POOL / AFP)

 

But the Brazilian kept City at bay in the rematch and Arsenal, through to a record 21st FA Cup final, will play Chelsea or Manchester United in the showpiece on August 1.

“We have a final to play this season and we will try and win a title for this club because this club deserves to win a trophy,” Luiz told BT Sport.

 

 

Arsenal’s Argentinian goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez (L) celebrats with Arsenal’s Brazilian defender David Luiz (2L) and Arsenal’s Spanish midfielder Dani Ceballos (3L) at the end of the English FA Cup semi-final football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium in London, on July 18, 2020. (Photo by MATTHEW CHILDS / POOL / AFP) 

 

“It was a great result against one of the best teams in the world. We were humble, we understood the way we had to play and we took the opportunities to score.

“We have to be mature, to understand what level we are in the process.”

Luiz paid tribute to Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, who out-witted City boss Pep Guardiola with a shrewd game plan, and saluted his team-mates’ fighting spirit.

 

Arsenal’s Brazilian defender David Luiz (R) challenges Manchester City’s Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus (L) during the English FA Cup semi-final football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium in London, on July 18, 2020. (Photo by MATTHEW CHILDS / POOL / AFP) / NOT FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING USE / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE

 

“We have an amazing coach but we can’t go from 0 to 100. We are improving. The spirit was great and I’m happy for the team because they deserve it,” Luiz said.

“All the team defended, it is not just the last line. Everybody has to fight and play every ball 100 percent. It’s part of the process.

 

Arsenal’s Brazilian defender David Luiz (R) celebrates with Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (2R) at the end of the English FA Cup semi-final football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium in London, on July 18, 2020. 

 

“We could do more of this in the game so it would maybe be easier. The other team is miles away in front of us but we were humble so when we play we can hurt the opponent and we did that.”

Asked if he was hurt by the criticism following the defeat at City in June, Luiz — who has since signed a new contract — said: “It is part of the football. I understood that football is about surviving.

“Every day you are going to defend the odd thing. I was working hard every single day after my mistakes. I was humble to work more and to work more for the team.”

-AFP

Arsenal Shock Man City To Reach Record 21st FA Cup Final

Arsenal's Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (L) leaps for the ball as Manchester City's French defender Benjamin Mendy (R) defends during the English FA Cup semi-final football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium in London, on July 18, 2020. (Photo by MATTHEW CHILDS / POOL / AFP) / NOT FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING USE / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE
Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (L) leaps for the ball as Manchester City’s French defender Benjamin Mendy (R) defends during the English FA Cup semi-final football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium in London, on July 18, 2020. (Photo by MATTHEW CHILDS / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Arsenal reached a record 21st FA Cup final as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s double clinched a shock 2-0 win over holders Manchester City at Wembley on Saturday.

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta outwitted City manager Pep Guardiola with an astute counter-attacking scheme and Aubameyang struck in each half as Arsenal executed the plan to perfection.

Arsenal will face Chelsea or Manchester United, who meet in the other semi-final on Sunday, in the final at Wembley on August 1.

 

Arsenal's Spanish head coach Mikel Arteta (R) embraces Arsenal's Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (2R) at the end of the English FA Cup semi-final football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium in London, on July 18, 2020. (Photo by MATTHEW CHILDS / POOL / AFP) / NOT FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING USE / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE
Arsenal’s Spanish head coach Mikel Arteta (R) embraces Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (2R) at the end of the English FA Cup semi-final football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium in London, on July 18, 2020. (Photo by MATTHEW CHILDS / POOL / AFP)

 

Arteta captained Arsenal to FA Cup triumph six years ago and, in his first season in charge of the north London club, the Spaniard has led them back to the final of a competition they last won in 2017.

Just days after beating Premier League champions Liverpool, Arsenal offered further evidence that Arteta could be the man to restore them to the glory days of the Arsene Wenger era.

Arteta had fired a warning shot to Arsenal’s board in midweek when he admitted he was concerned about his club’s ability to spend enough to turn them into title contenders.

 

Arsenal’s Scottish defender Kieran Tierney (C) and Arsenal’s Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka (R) celebrates at the end of the English FA Cup semi-final football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium in London, on July 18, 2020. (Photo by MATTHEW CHILDS / POOL / AFP)

 

On the evidence of the canny way he got one over on Guardiola, Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke would be wise to give the man he hired in December a chance to show what he can do with a rebuilt team.

Arsenal had lost their previous seven meetings with City, including a 3-0 drubbing in their first game after the coronavirus hiatus.

City were unbeaten in their past nine matches at Wembley but, thanks to Arteta’s masterstroke, Arsenal handed Guardiola’s side a first defeat there since the 2017 FA Cup semi-final against the Gunners.

With second place in the Premier League secured, City have to focus on the resumption of their Champions League challenge in August, when they defend a 2-1 first leg lead against Real Madrid in the last 16.

City bossed the early exchanges to such an extent that they had amassed 83 percent possession after 10 minutes.

 

Manchester City’s French defender Benjamin Mendy (L) chases Arsenal’s French-born Ivorian midfielder Nicolas Pepe (R) during the English FA Cup semi-final football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium in London, on July 18, 2020. (Photo by MATTHEW CHILDS / POOL / AFP)

 

But Arteta knows City well after his time as Guardiola’s assistant and he set out to exploit their weakness against counter attacks, using Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe to get behind City’s attacking full-backs Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy.

 Rope-a-dope plan

Arsenal should have been ahead when David Luiz picked out Aubameyang, who wastefully shot straight at Ederson with only the keeper to beat.

It was a warning City failed to heed and Aubameyang made them pay in the 19th minute.

At the climax of an 18-pass move, Pepe’s deep cross caught Walker dozing and Aubameyang eluded him to slide a fine finish off the far post from a tight angle.

 

Arsenal’s Brazilian defender David Luiz (R) challenges Manchester City’s Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus (L) during the English FA Cup semi-final football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium in London, on July 18, 2020. (Photo by MATTHEW CHILDS / POOL / AFP)

 

It was the kind of incisive, imaginative attack that City usually torment Arsenal with, but for once it was the men in red celebrating.

The Gabon striker’s 24th goal of the season was a reminder why Arsenal are so desperate to get him to sign a contract extension.

Urging Arsenal to “get the ball, get the ball” at every opportunity, Arteta’s intensity on the touchline was matched by his players.

City, unbeaten in their previous 22 domestic cup ties, were well short of their best.

Raheem Sterling wasted a golden opportunity to equalise when he shot wide from Kevin De Bruyne’s pass.

City finally tested Emiliano Martinez for the first time as Riyad Mahrez’s low strike forced an excellent one-handed stop from the Arsenal keeper.

De Bruyne’s free-kick curled just wide before VAR rejected Sterling’s penalty appeal after Mustafi appeared to trip the winger.

Defending deep, Arsenal were putting their bodies in the way of everything to keep City at bay.

Even Luiz, much maligned for a terrible display in Arsenal’s last meeting with City, was at the top of his game and Arteta’s rope-a-dope plan brought a rich reward in the 71st minute.

City left themselves open at the back and Aubameyang beat the offside trap as he accelerated onto Kieran Tierney’s sublime pass before slotting under Ederson.

 

 

AFP

We Won’t Beg Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka To Play For Nigeria, Says Pinnick

Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka (2nd L) chases after the ball during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium in London on July 15, 2020. Glyn KIRK / POOL / AFP

 

Mr Amaju Pinnick says the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) will not beg Arsenal forward Bukayo Saka to play for the Super Eagles.

He said this on Thursday in an Instagram chat with the NFF media department, noting that there are many players of Saka’s pedigree in Nigeria willing to play for the three-time African champions.

 

pinnick_1
File photo of NFF President, Amaju Pinnick.

 

Pinnick, who is the NFF President, said although the 18-year-old is an excellent player, anyone interested to feature for Nigeria must show zeal.

It’s About Interest

According to him, the football body will always welcome Saka or others with interest in playing for the country.

“There are many players that play like Bukayo Saka in Nigeria. We don’t want to go begging any player,” Pinnick said.

He added, “It is about ardour and fervour. If a player has decided for Nigeria and only want to be assured that he would be much welcome, we will come in and provide that assurance.”

Similarly, Super Eagles Head Coach, Gernot Rohr had in the past said he would not beg anyone to play for Nigeria and that players must show interest in the country first before inviting them.

Undecided Future

In December 2019, Saka told the BBC that he had yet to decide the country he would play for at the senior level.

The versatile player, however, said he had not been approached by either the Nigerian or English side.

Saka who is having a breakthrough season with the Gunners after making a senior debut in 2018, is eligible to play for the Super Eagles and the English Three Lions.

 

Arsenal's Spanish head coach Mikel Arteta (L) high-fives Arsenal's English striker Bukayo Saka (R) as Saka goes off substituted during the English Premier League football match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Arsenal at the Molineux stadium in Wolverhampton, central England on July 4, 2020. (Photo by Michael Steele / POOL / AFP)
File photo:  Arsenal’s Spanish head coach Mikel Arteta (L) high-fives Arsenal’s English striker Bukayo Saka (R) as Saka goes off substituted during the English Premier League football match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Arsenal at the Molineux stadium in Wolverhampton, central England on July 4, 2020. (Photo by Michael Steele / POOL / AFP)

 

He was born to Nigerian parents and has also played for the English team at age grade levels.

Since breaking into the Arsenal first team this term, he has scored two goals and made five assists in 15 games for the North London side.

He recently signed a long-term deal with the Premier League club following his impressive performances.

VIDEO: The Future Looks Good For Super Eagles – Henry Onyekuru

‘No Magic’ Recovery For Arsenal Without Spending, Warns Arteta

Arsenal's Spanish head coach Mikel Arteta gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and West Ham at the Emirates Stadium in London on March 7, 2020. Ian KINGTON / AFP
Arsenal’s Spanish head coach Mikel Arteta gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and West Ham at the Emirates Stadium in London on March 7, 2020. Ian KINGTON / AFP

 

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said there is only so much he can do to close the gap on Liverpool next season without major transfer funds after beating the Premier League champions 2-1 on Wednesday.

Despite losing for just the third time in the league this season, the Reds still enjoy a 40-point lead over the ninth-placed Gunners, who are on course for their lowest league finish since the 1994/95 season.

Arteta has improved the side since landing his first managerial role in December and believes the attitude of his squad now matches the desire of Liverpool, if not the quality.

“The gap is enormous but the gap in many areas we cannot improve in two months,” Arteta told Sky Sports. “But the gap between the accountability, the energy, commitment and fight of the two teams is now equal and before it wasn’t like this.

“The rest will take some time, but at least that we have now and my message to the players is with that we can create something.”

Arsenal profited from two rare errors from the world’s most expensive defender Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker, who also cost a then world-record fee for a goalkeeper when he joined Liverpool from Roma in 2018.

Those signings helped shore up a previously leaky defence to turn Klopp’s men into world, European and English champions.

Arteta, by contrast, is not expected to be handed major funds in the transfer market with Arsenal set to miss out on Champions League football for a fourth straight season.

“It’s a big concern,” he said when asked about the money available to him in the close season. “You know how you build those squads, there is no magic.

“You need to improve with quality players and you need bigger squads to compete in this competition.”

Arsenal Beat Liverpool To End Record Bid, Man City Sink Bournemouth

Arsenal's Argentinian goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez (C) celebrates with teammates on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium in London on July 15, 2020. - Arsenal won the game 2-1. (Photo by PAUL CHILDS / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /
Arsenal’s Argentinian goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez (C) celebrates with teammates on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium in London on July 15, 2020. – Arsenal won the game 2-1. (Photo by PAUL CHILDS / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Arsenal ended Liverpool’s bid to set a new Premier League points record with a 2-1 win over the champions, while Manchester City pushed Bournemouth closer to relegation on Wednesday.

Jurgen Klopp’s side needed to win their final three games of the season to break Manchester City’s record of 100 points set in 2018.

They were on course when Sadio Mane opened the scoring with a clinical finish from Andrew Robertson’s cross at the Emirates Stadium.

But two careless mistakes condemned Liverpool to a third league defeat this season.

Virgil van Dijk’s wayward backpass went straight to Alexandre Lacazette, who rounded Reds keeper Alisson Becker to slot home in the 32nd minute.

Alisson was guilty of an equally costly blunder when his pass out was intercepted by Lacazette and he picked out 20-year-old Reiss Nelson for a cool close-range finish.

Liverpool have failed to win three of their five matches since clinching the title.

They have 93 points and with just two games left and can only reach 99 at the end of their first title-winning campaign for 30 years.

Arsenal climb to ninth place as they chase qualification for the Europa League.

Mikel Arteta’s side go into Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City in good spirits after bouncing back from Sunday’s defeat at north London rivals Tottenham.

Manchester City had enjoyed a big win off the field already this week with their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturning a two-season ban from playing in European competitions, freeing up Pep Guardiola’s men to play in the Champions League next season.

Guardiola left Aymeric Laporte, Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez on the bench against Bournemouth to keep them fresh for Wembley, but City still had too much quality in the form of David Silva and Gabriel Jesus.

Silva has just two more matches at the Etihad after a 10-year City career and showed why he will be so missed by curling a free-kick in off the underside of the crossbar six minutes in.

Bournemouth had chances to level against a makeshift City defence as Ederson turned Junior Stanislas’s free-kick onto the post.

At the other end, Jesus was ruthless as he wriggled between two weak Bournemouth challenges inside the box before firing into the far corner to score for the third consecutive game.

– Stunning strike –
City finally conceded for the first time in five home games since the restart when David Brooks turned home Callum Wilson’s cross two minutes from time.

“It was a really difficult game. We started well in the first 10 or 15 minutes of the second half but then we had a problem in our build-up,” Guardiola said after his side’s 2-1 win.

Defeat leaves Bournemouth still three points adrift of safety from Watford and West Ham, who face each other on Friday.

Wolves remain three points adrift of the Champions League places with just two games to play after Chris Wood’s 96th-minute spot-kick gave Burnley a 1-1 draw at Turf Moor.

It was not until 14 minutes from time that the visitors broke the deadlock thanks to Raul Jimenez’s stunning strike on the half-volley.

In stoppage-time, Mike Dean pointed to the spot for a handball by Matt Doherty despite the Irishman seemingly being impeded by Wood’s attempt at an overhead kick.

Tottenham won 3-1 at Newcastle to keep their chances of European football next season on track by moving up to seventh.

Harry Kane and Son Heung-min were the key men for Tottenham as the South Korean’s low shot crept in at Martin Dubravka’s near post to open the scoring.

Serge Aurier started for the visitors just three days after his brother was shot dead in Toulouse and the Ivorian was at fault for Newcastle’s equaliser as Matt Ritchie pounced on a wayward clearance to fire home.

Kane quickly restored Tottenham’s lead with a back-post header and the England captain added a second with his head in the final minute.