EPL: Arsenal Held By Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace's English defender Joel Ward (L) vies with Arsenal's English striker Bukayo Saka (R) during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 14, 2021. NEIL HALL / POOL / AFP
Crystal Palace’s English defender Joel Ward (L) vies with Arsenal’s English striker Bukayo Saka (R) during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 14, 2021. NEIL HALL / POOL / AFP

 

Arsenal’s recent revival ground to a halt as Crystal Palace frustrated the Gunners in a scrappy 0-0 Premier League draw at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday.

Mikel Arteta’s side had won their previous four matches in all competitions, but they were fortunate to extend their unbeaten run to five games.

Palace were unable to convert several first half chances and, although Arsenal improved after the interval, they missed a chance to climb into the top half of the Premier League.

Arsenal sit in 11th place, eight points adrift of the Champions League places as they continue to pay the price for their worst start to a season since 1974-75.

Just before Christmas, Arsenal were only four points above the relegation zone, so their current position 12 points away from the bottom three affords Arteta some much-needed breathing space.

But this disjointed display underlined the attacking flaws that have stopped Arsenal’s building on last season’s FA Cup triumph.

Palace have only won one of their past eight matches in all competitions and are one point behind Arsenal in 13th.

Emile Smith-Rowe, Arsenal’s promising young midfielder, started after scoring against Newcastle as a substitute last weekend.

But Kiernan Tierney was absent with muscle tightness and the Gunners missed the Scotland left-back’s busy presence.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has endured a difficult season and, once again, Arsenal’s captain was a diffident figure.

The Gabon forward briefly sparked into life and tested Vicente Guaita with a fierce strike that has parried by the Palace keeper.

But Palace were finding their feet on a wet evening and Granit Xhaka had to make a perfectly timed sliding tackle to stop Wilfried Zaha getting a shot away after the forward slalomed into the penalty area.

Palace broke through the Arsenal defence again when Christian Benteke scooped his shot wastefully over from 10 yards after good work by Tyrick Mitchell.

James Tomkins was inches away from giving Roy Hodgson’s men the lead as the Palace defender got above Rob Holding to glance his header against the bar from Eberechi Eze’s free-kick.

Arsenal were struggling to get out of their own half and Bernd Leno had to make a superb save to repel Benteke’s header from Mitchell’s cross.

Arteta’s half-time team talk seemed like it might have the desired effect and Hector Bellerin drilled just wide from the edge of the area in the opening minute of the second half.

Arsenal threatened again as Bukayo Saka forced Guaita to block at the near post before Alexandre Lacazette blasted into the side-netting after a flowing move.

Arteta sent on Nicolas Pepe and Thomas Partey, back after a month out with a thigh injury.

But the expected push never came and Palace were able to keep the misfiring Gunners at bay with ease.

 

AFP

I’ve Never Regretted Joining Arsenal – Ozil

Ozil won the World Cup with Germany in 2014. Photo: [email protected]_Official

 

Arsenal star Mesut Ozil says he does not regret moving to the North London side in spite of the recent controversies surrounding his stay at the Premier League team.

“Of course – there have been many ups and downs so far, but all in all I’ve never regret my decision to join Arsenal,” the former Real Madrid player said when asked if he ever enjoyed playing for Arsenal during a tweet chat on Monday.

“And to be honest the last couple of games before the corona break in February & March 2020 made really a lot of fun. I’ve enjoyed that time a lot and I’ve thought we’re really on a very positive way. But after the break things unfortunately changed.”

Ozil has been frozen out of the Arsenal side since the closing part of last season and does not appear to be in coach Mikel Arteta’s plans. He has been linked with a move to several teams including Fenerbahce in Turkey and MLS side DC United.

“This city … #throwback #Istanbul,” the player had recently tweeted alongside a photo of himself, further fueling speculations about a move to the Turkish side.  Fenerbahce chairman Ali Koc had reportedly been in London to persuade the 32-year-old player of Turkish origin to join them.

READ ALSO: Manchester City Confirm Three More COVID-19 Cases

The World Cup winner signed for Arsenal in 2013 and is the highest-paid player in the Premier League club’s history on a reported £350,000 ($480,000) a week.

Earlier in 2019, Ozil stirred controversy when he criticised China’s treatment of the Uighur Muslim population in Xinjiang in a social media post, with the Gunners distancing themselves from his comments.

 

 

 

FA Cup: Smith Rowe Fires Arsenal Into Fourth Round

Arsenal's English midfielder Emile Smith Rowe (R) celebrates after scoring the opening goal of the English FA Cup third round football match between Arsenal and Newcastle United at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 9, 2021. Glyn KIRK / AFP
Arsenal’s English midfielder Emile Smith Rowe (R) celebrates after scoring the opening goal of the English FA Cup third round football match between Arsenal and Newcastle United at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 9, 2021. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Emile Smith Rowe made the most of his red card reprieve as the Arsenal youngster sent the FA Cup holders into the fourth round with the decisive extra-time strike in Saturday’s 2-0 victory against Newcastle.

Smith Rowe avoided being sent off when his foul on Sean Longstaff — initially ruled a dismissal — was changed to a booking after referee Chris Kavanagh consulted the pitchside monitor.

It would have been harsh on the promising 20-year-old midfielder if he had been given his marching orders.

Smith Rowe celebrated the escape with a fine finish to open the scoring in a hard-fought third-round tie at the Emirates Stadium.

Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang bagged Arsenal’s second goal — just his sixth of a difficult season — in the final moments.

“It was bit of a relief for me with the (red card) incident. It definitely wasn’t intentional,” Smith Rowe said.

“I’m happy to get the goal. From a young kid I have always wanted to play for this club.

Arsenal's Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (L) chases the ball during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal at The Hawthorns stadium in West Bromwich, central England, on January 2, 2021. Rui Vieira / POOL / AFP
Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (L) chases the ball during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal at The Hawthorns stadium in West Bromwich, central England, on January 2, 2021. Rui Vieira / POOL / AFP

 

“We knew how tough it was going to be. It was about breaking them down. It shows how together we are.

“We have been working off the pitch to get closer as a group.”

The Gunners gave boss Mikel Arteta the first silverware of his reign when they beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final in August and the optimism provided by that success is slowly returning to north London after a difficult period.

Arteta was fighting to save his job just two weeks ago, but three successive wins over Christmas lifted Arsenal away from the Premier League relegation zone and eased the pressure on the Spaniard.

Arsenal have won the FA Cup a record 14 times, lifting the trophy four times in the last seven seasons, and another long run in the competition would be a welcome boost for Arteta.

Smith Rowe shines

Bernd Leno, Kieran Tierney, Pablo Mari and Aubameyang were the only Arsenal players to retain their places from the 4-0 win at West Brom.

Arsenal were forced into a late change after Gabriel Martinelli suffered an ankle injury in the warm-up and was replaced by Reiss Nelson.

Newcastle made eight changes of their own but chances were at a premium for Arsenal until David Luiz’s quick free-kick found Aubameyang, whose stinging strike was pushed away by Martin Dubravka.

Andy Carroll scored his first Newcastle goal in 10 years recently and he forced Leno into action with an agile strike from the edge of the area early in the second half.

Newcastle were showing more attacking intent, only for Carroll to waste a golden opportunity to put them ahead when he stabbed wide from close range.

Joe Willock forced Dubravka to make a superb save at full stretch when the midfielder met Nicolas Pepe’s cross with a glancing header.

Arsenal captain Aubameyang couldn’t hit the target with a close-range header before Leno made a brilliant stop to deny Carroll in the final moments of normal time.

Arsenal broke through in the 109th minute when Bukayo Saka chipped a pass to Alexandre Lacazette and his header reached Smith Rowe, who controlled on his chest before drilling a fine finish into the far corner for his second goal of the season.

Aubameyang put the result beyond doubt in the 117th minute when he tapped in Tierney’s cross.

AFP

EPL: Rejuvenated Arsenal Thrash West Brom

Arsenal's French striker Alexandre Lacazette (L) scores their fourth goal during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal at The Hawthorns stadium in West Bromwich, central England, on January 2, 2021. Michael Regan / POOL / AFP
Arsenal’s French striker Alexandre Lacazette (L) scores their fourth goal during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal at The Hawthorns stadium in West Bromwich, central England, on January 2, 2021. Michael Regan / POOL / AFP

 

Alexandre Lacazette scored twice as Arsenal further eased their early season struggles by thrashing West Brom 4-0 at a snow covered Hawthorns on Saturday.

After seven Premier League games without a win, the Gunners have now won three in a week to dampen talk of a relegation fight and move back into contention for the European places.

Kieran Tierney’s stunning solo goal opened the floodgates as Sam Allardyce’s men have now conceded nine times in two games.

Bukayo Saka rounded off a brilliant team move to double the visitors’ lead before Lacazette struck twice in four second-half minutes.

West Brom are yet to win in four games since Allardyce took charge and the former England manager needs to quickly instill the defensive discipline he has made his trademark at previous clubs if the Baggies are to have any chance of survival.

Just over a week ago Allardyce said Arsenal were in a battle against the drop, but Mikel Arteta’s decision to finally put faith in his crop of talented youngsters has turned his side’s season around.

Saka was again the shining light, while Tierney and Emile Smith Rowe also impressed.

Arsenal’s poor run was principally caused by a struggle to score goals, but they were a threat from the off despite the treacherous conditions.

Sam Johnstone denied Hector Bellerin and Saka inside the first 10 minutes, but he was powerless to stop Tierney’s stunning opener on 23 minutes.

The Scotland international left Darnell Furlong trailing in his wake before cutting inside onto his weaker right foot and curling into the top corner.

Arsenal’s second was reminiscent of their flowing football at the height of the Arsene Wenger era as Saka fed Lacazette, whose brilliant pass played Smith Rowe in behind the West Brom defence and he squared for Saka to tap into an empty net.

The one way traffic continued after the break and some comical West Brom defending led to the third as Semi Ajayi smashed a dangerous cross off his own post and the ball broke to Lacazette to apply a simple finish.

Moments later another raid from Tierney down the left teed up Lacazette for another finish from point-blank range.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has missed out on Arsenal’s return to scoring form over the past eight days as he turned a glorious chance from Willian’s mishit shot over before Johnstone produced another fine save from the Gunners’ captain.

However, four goals were more than enough to prove Arsenal’s return to form as they moved to within six points of the top four with two favourable fixtures against Crystal Palace and Newcastle to come.

West Brom on the other hand remain six points adrift of safety and showing little sign of life since Allardyce’s arrival.

 

AFP

EPL: Arsenal Win Again At Brighton To Ease Pressure On Arteta

Arsenal's French striker Alexandre Lacazette celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Arsenal at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on December 29, 2020. Frank Augstein / POOL / AFP
Arsenal’s French striker Alexandre Lacazette celebrates scoring his team’s first goal during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Arsenal at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on December 29, 2020.
Frank Augstein / POOL / AFP

 

Arsenal further eased the pressure on manager Mikel Arteta with a 1-0 win at Brighton on Tuesday, but the continuation of the Premier League in the coming weeks was cast into doubt after a record 18 positive tests for coronavirus among players and staff earlier in the day.

After Manchester City’s trip to Everton on Monday was postponed due to a Covid outbreak in Pep Guardiola’s squad, all five matches scheduled for Tuesday went ahead despite disruption for Sheffield United and Southampton.

Bottom-of-the-table United revealed they had suffered a number of positive Covid-19 cases but were still able to field a squad of 18 for their 1-0 defeat at Burnley.

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl coached his side from his home for a 0-0 draw against West Ham after a member of his household tested positive.

On the field, Arsenal eased fears they could be dragged into a relegation battle with a 3-1 win over Chelsea on Saturday and can now look up the table with hope thanks to consecutive league wins for the first time since the opening two games of the season.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returned from injury in the place of Alexandre Lacazette in the only change made by Arteta.

But Lacazette came off the bench to make an instant impact and win the game with a fine near-post finish from Bukayo Saka’s pass just 26 seconds after coming on

Victory moves the Gunners up to 13th, within seven points of the top four.

West Brom are next up for Arsenal at the weekend and the Baggies confidence after a shock 1-1 draw at Liverpool on Sunday quickly evaporated in a 5-0 hammering by Leeds.

A miserable night for West Brom started with a self-inflicted wound as Romain Sawyers scored a remarkable own goal as his backpass sailed past Sam Johnstone.

Ezgjan Alioski smashed a strike in off the post before Jack Harrison slotted home the third after a neat one-two with Patrick Bamford.

Rodrigo’s deflected strike made it 4-0 before half-time and Raphinha’s powerful strike into the top corner inflicted Sam Allardyce’s heaviest ever home defeat in the Premier League.

Sheffield United are the only side below West Brom in the table and their chances of survival are diminishing rapidly with just two points from their opening 16 games.

Ben Mee scored the only goal at Turf Moor as Burnley moved five points clear of the relegation zone and above Brighton into 16th.

Southampton missed the chance to move into the top four as they failed to score for the third consecutive game in a 0-0 draw with West Ham.

Danny Ings had an early goal ruled out for offside against Che Adams and despite the Saints’ dominance they were nearly hit by a sucker punch late on when Alex McCarthy had to spread himself to block Said Benrahma’s shot from point-blank range.

Southampton remain ninth with West Ham three points further back in 10th.

Manchester United can move up to second and within two points of leaders Liverpool when they host Wolves later on Tuesday at Old Trafford.

AFP

Arsenal’s Gabriel Tests Positive For COVID-19

A file photo of Gabriel

 

Arsenal defender, Gabriel has tested positive for the COVID-19 which will rule him out of the Gunners upcoming clash against Brighton and West Brom

Arsenal released this statement via its official website on Thursday which read ”Gabriel has tested positive for COVID-19 and is isolating according to UK Government and Premier League protocols.”

”We will continue to monitor and support Gabriel, and we are hoping he will be available again after our next two matches,” it concluded.

Fellow countrymen Willian and David Luiz missed the Chelsea game with illness, and are set to rejoin the full squad on New Year’s Eve. The North London club has stated that  the pair had tested negative for COVID-19

Thomas Partey is yet to recover from a thigh injury and still faces some weeks on the sidelines

 

UPDATED: Arsenal Beat Chelsea To Record First Win In Eight Leagues Matches

Arsenal's Spanish manager Mikel Arteta (C) xelebrates with Arsenal's Spanish defender Pablo Mari after the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium in London on December 26, 2020. Julian Finney / POOL / AFP
Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta (C) celebrates with Arsenal’s Spanish defender Pablo Mari after the English Premier League football match against Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium in London on December 26, 2020. Julian Finney / POOL / AFP

 

Arsenal eased their relegation fears and lifted the pressure on beleaguered boss Mikel Arteta with a much-needed 3-1 win against Chelsea on Saturday.

Arteta’s side sat just three points above the relegation zone before kick-off at the Emirates Stadium after their worst start to a season since 1974-75.

But the Gunners produced their best performance this time to out-class their London rivals.

Alexandre Lacazette’s controversial penalty opened the scoring before Granit Xhaka’s superb free-kick increased Arsenal’s lead before half-time.

Bukayo Saka bagged Arsenal’s third goal after the break as they won in the Premier League for the first time in eight games stretching back to November 1.

Their last league victory was the 1-0 win over Manchester United at the Old Trafford.

Chelsea's English striker Tammy Abraham recats after the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium in London on December 26, 2020. Julian Finney / POOL / AFP
Chelsea’s English striker Tammy Abraham reacts after the English Premier League football match against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in London on December 26, 2020. Julian Finney / POOL / AFP

 

Tammy Abraham’s late strike was no consolation for woeful Chelsea, who missed a penalty through Jorginho in the final moments.

Moving six points clear of the bottom three will buy Arteta a little breathing space following talks that he was in danger of the sack after just a year in charge.

Arsenal have only been relegated from the top flight once in their history, in 1912-13.

With matches against Brighton and West Brom coming next in their Christmas schedule, the Gunners have a chance to climb to a healthy league position heading into 2021.

Having won the FA Cup final against Chelsea in August, Arteta has now delivered two major blows to Blues boss Frank Lampard this year.

Chelsea would have gone second with a victory, but instead, they remain six points behind leaders Liverpool after a third defeat in their last four league games.

Lacklustre in attack, short of drive in midfield and bereft of a cutting edge up front, Chelsea’s £200 million ($267 million) pre-season overhaul is yet to pay off.

Lampard has only 48 hours to lift Chelsea’s flagging spirits before they are back in action against Aston Villa on Monday.

 

– Vibrant Arsenal –

Arteta suffered a pre-match blow when Gabriel was ruled out for three matches as he self-isolates under coronavirus protocols.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang started on the bench as he battles with a calf injury and a poor run of form, yet Arsenal didn’t miss their captain or Brazilian defender Gabriel.

Although Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount curled a free-kick against the outside of the post, there was no doubt who was on top.

Arsenal made the breakthrough in the 35th minute when Kieran Tierney got across Reece James into the Chelsea area and tumbled under the slightest contact from the panicked defender.

Arsenal's English striker Bukayo Saka (2L) celebrates scoring their thrid goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium in London on December 26, 2020. ANDREW BOYERS / POOL / AFP
Arsenal’s English striker Bukayo Saka (2L) celebrates scoring their third goal during the English Premier League football match against Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium in London on December 26, 2020. ANDREW BOYERS / POOL / AFP

 

Michael Oliver’s debatable decision to award a penalty survived a VAR review and Lacazette sent Edouard Mendy the wrong way from the spot for his sixth goal of the season.

It was no more than Arsenal deserved for a vibrant first half and Arteta was celebrating again in the 44th minute.

Xhaka has been much-maligned at Arsenal, with the Swiss midfielder’s most recent faux pas coming when he was sent off in a defeat against Burnley.

N’Golo Kante fouled Saka and Xhaka did his bit to get back in favour when he whipped a brilliant 20-yard free-kick over the Chelsea wall and into the top corner.

Lampard sent on Jorginho and Callum Hudson-Odoi for Timo Werner, whose goal drought now stretches to 10 games, and Mateo Kovacic.

But the switches failed to spark lethargic Chelsea into life and Arsenal struck again in the 56th minute.

Hector Bellerin and Emile Smith Rowe combined to send Saka into the area and his cross-shot looped over Mendy into the far corner.

Abraham converted Hudson Odoi’s cross from close range in the 85th minute to spark a late Arsenal wobble.

Pablo Mari’s foul on Mount gave Chelsea a stoppage-time penalty, but Jorginho missed for the third time this season as Bernd Leno kept out the Italian’s weak effort.

AFP

League Cup: Man City Demolish Arsenal To Advance

Manchester City's Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus is congratulated after scoring his team's first goal during the English League Cup quarter final football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium, in London on December 22, 2020. Adrian DENNIS / AFP
Manchester City’s Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus is congratulated after scoring his team’s first goal during the English League Cup quarter final football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium, in London on December 22, 2020. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Manchester City increased the pressure on Mikel Arteta as the League Cup holders powered into the semi-finals with a 4-1 demolition of troubled Arsenal on Tuesday.

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

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.

Arteta had said he wants “fighters” around him to resolve the team’s problems, but there was little punch about woeful Arsenal.

The Spaniard 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

Arsenal were staggering against the ropes and Foden delivered the knockout blow five minutes later.

With no VAR in the League Cup, Foden’s run from a slightly offside position went unchecked and he met Fernandinho’s pass 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.

Manchester City's Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus celebrates scoring during the English League Cup quarter final football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium, in London on December 22, 2020. Adrian DENNIS / AFP
Manchester City’s Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus celebrates scoring during the English League Cup quarter final football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium, in London on December 22, 2020. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

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.

“It means a lot to me, the staff and the players because it’s a massive step and a massive win,” Frank said.

Badly hit by an outbreak of the coronavirus recently, this was another bitter blow in a frustrating season for Newcastle, who were hoping to reach their first domestic semi-final since the 2004-05 FA Cup.

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

 

AFP

‘We Don’t Have The Luck’: Arteta Blames Ill-Luck For Defeat Against Everton

Arsenal's Brazilian defender David Luiz (L), Arsenal's English midfielder Joe Willock (C) and Arsenal's Spanish manager Mikel Arteta (R) leave the field after the English Premier League football match between Everton and Arsenal at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on December 19, 2020. Clive Brunskill / POOL / AFP
Arsenal’s Brazilian defender David Luiz (L), Arsenal’s English midfielder Joe Willock (C) and Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta (R) leave the field after the English Premier League football match between Everton and Arsenal at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on December 19, 2020. Clive Brunskill / POOL / AFP

 

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta admitted his side were unlucky after they slumped to their eighth Premier League defeat of the season against Everton on Saturday.

The Gunners came into the game on the back of three uninspiring Premier League games against Wolves, Burnley and Southampton but slumped to a 2-1 defeat at the Goodison Park to add more pressure on under-fire Arteta whose side have now managed just one win in their last 10 league matches.

“We reacted really well,” he told Sky Sports. “We dominated the game. We created enough chances at least to not lose. We hit the bar. We don’t have the luck.”

“The boys are absolutely still fighting,” he added. “They’re hurt right now.”

Carlo Ancelotti’s side moved five points behind leaders Liverpool after beating the Londoners 2-1 in front of 2,000 delighted fans at Goodison Park.

At the other end of the table, the Gunners remain 15th, putting Arteta’s position under intense scrutiny just four months after they won the FA Cup.

 

File photo: Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta reacts during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Emirates Stadium in London on November 29, 2020. Julian Finney / POOL / AFP

 

After red cards undid Arsenal in their previous two games, much of the damage was again self-inflicted as Rob Holding’s own goal opened the scoring.

Nicolas Pepe’s penalty briefly levelled the scores, but Yerry Mina’s header on the stroke of half-time secured a third consecutive win for Everton.

Arsenal were dealt a major blow before kick-off, losing captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to a calf injury.

He had just re-found his scoring touch with a first goal from open play in the Premier League since September in a 1-1 draw at home to Southampton on Wednesday.

That point briefly stemmed the spiral of decline for Arsenal but the club, who have been in English football’s top flight since 1919, find themselves in uncharted territory, facing a relegation battle.

– Relegation fight? –

Should results go against them on Sunday and Monday, Arteta’s men could be just two points above the drop zone, with Chelsea to come on Boxing Day.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin was usurped by Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah as the Premier League’s top scorer earlier in the day and while the England international failed to score for the third straight game, he did have a big part to play in the opening goal.

READ ALSO: Neymar Set For PSG Return In January

Former Arsenal winger Alex Iwobi’s cross was headed towards goal by Calvert-Lewin, but his effort was going off target until it was turned in by Holding’s thigh.

Arsenal had been thoroughly outplayed in the opening half-hour but were gifted a route back into the game when Ainsley Maitland-Niles was fouled by Tom Davies inside the area.

In the absence of Aubameyang, Pepe took responsibility from the spot and sent Jordan Pickford the wrong way.

However, Everton’s power from set-pieces caused problems all night for the visitors and it was from a corner that the winner arrived, as Gylfi Sigurdsson’s wicked delivery to the near post was headed home by Mina.

Arsenal responded brightly in the second half and came close to a second equaliser when Pickford dropped a cross into the box and David Luiz’s shot came back off the post.

Thereafter, Everton were happy to let Arsenal have the ball but the visitors rarely looked capable of getting back into the game until deep into stoppage time, when Pickford made amends for his earlier error by saving from Bukayo Saka.

At the start of the campaign, Arsenal’s target was a return to the Champions League next season. Now their focus is staying in the Premier League, while it is the Blues who are contenders for a top-four finish.

“We have fantastic players on set-pieces, we score lots of goals,” Ancelotti told the BBC. “We work on this because we are very dangerous.

“We are pleased. The position in the table is really good. But as I said last week, it is not the end of the season, we have to keep fighting.”

 

Everton Pile Pressure On Arteta As Arsenal Lose Again

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
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

 

Everton piled more misery on Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta as the Toffees moved second in the Premier League with a 2-1 win in front of 2,000 delighted fans at Goodison Park on Saturday.

At the other end of the table, the Gunners remain 15th after just one win in their last 10 league games to leave Arteta’s position under mounting pressure just over four months on from winning the FA Cup.

After red cards undid Arsenal in their previous two games, much of the damage was again self-inflicted as Rob Holding’s own goal opened the scoring.

Nicolas Pepe’s penalty briefly levelled, but Yerry Mina’s header in first-half stoppage time secured a third consecutive win for Carlo Ancelotti’s men to move within five points of Merseyside rivals Liverpool at the top.

Arsenal were dealt a major blow before kick-off as captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed out due to a calf injury.

He had just refound his scoring touch with a first goal from open play in the Premier League since September in a 1-1 draw at home to Southampton on Wednesday.

Arsenal's Brazilian defender David Luiz (L), Arsenal's English midfielder Joe Willock (C) and Arsenal's Spanish manager Mikel Arteta (R) leave the field after the English Premier League football match between Everton and Arsenal at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on December 19, 2020. Clive Brunskill / POOL / AFP
Arsenal’s Brazilian defender David Luiz (L), Arsenal’s English midfielder Joe Willock (C) and Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta (R) leave the field after the English Premier League football match between Everton and Arsenal at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on December 19, 2020. Clive Brunskill / POOL / AFP

 

That point briefly stemmed the spiral of decline at the Emirates, but Arsenal, who have been in English football’s top flight since 1919, find themselves in unchartered territory facing a relegation battle.

Should results go against them on Sunday and Monday, Arteta’s men could be just two points above the drop zone with Chelsea to come on Boxing Day.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin was usurped by Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah as the Premier League’s top scorer earlier in the day and while the England international failed to score for the third straight game, he did have a big part to play in the opening goal.

Former Arsenal winger Alex Iwobi’s cross was headed towards goal by Calvert-Lewin, but his effort was going off target until it was turned in by Holding’s thigh.

Arsenal had been thoroughly outplayed in the opening half-hour, but were gifted a route back into the game when Ainsley Maitland-Niles was fouled by Tom Davies inside the area.

In the absence of Aubameyang, Pepe took responsiblity from the spot and sent Jordan Pickford the wrong way.

However, Everton’s power from set-pieces caused problems all night for the visitors and it was from a corner that the winner arrived, as Gylfi Sigurdsson’s wicked delivery to the near post was headed home by Mina.

Arsenal responded with a bright start to the second half and they came close to a second equaliser when Pickford, who returned in goal after being rotated for Wednesday’s 2-0 win at Leicester, dropped a cross into the box and David Luiz’s shot came back off the post.

Thereafter, Everton were happy to let Arsenal have the ball without ever looking capable of getting back into the game until deep into stoppage time when Pickford made amends for his earlier error by saving from Bukayo Saka.

At the start of the campaign, Arsenal’s target was a return to the Champions League next season. Now they hope just not be in the Championship, while it is the Blues who are the contenders for a top-four finish.

 

AFP

No ‘Quick Fix’ For Struggling Arsenal, Says Arteta

Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta reacts during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Emirates Stadium in London on November 29, 2020.
Julian Finney / POOL / AFP

 

Mikel Arteta said Arsenal knew there would be no “quick fix” after he arrived at the club as he scrambles for solutions following a disastrous start to the Premier League season.

The Gunners head into Saturday’s Premier League match at Everton languishing in 15th place in the table following a 1-1 draw against Southampton.

Arsenal’s winless league run now stretches to six matches, with the club enduring their worst start to a top-flight season since 1974/75.

The 13-time English champions have scored just 11 goals in their 13 league matches, fewer than all but three clubs.

 

READ ALSO: In-Form Benzema Has Madrid On ‘Right Track’ For Title Charge

 

But Arteta insisted on Friday the “project” was focused on the long term, with Sunday marking his one-year anniversary in charge at the Emirates.

The Spaniard said he had felt supported by the club hierarchy from the moment he took over following the departure of Unai Emery last December.

“At the end of the day, it is the feeling that I feel with the staff, with the coaching, with the players, which is the most important,” said the 38-year-old.

“It’s about what chemistry you have with them, what understanding they have. Do they follow you? Do they believe in what you are trying to do?”

Arteta said everybody at Arsenal was pulling in the same direction but finding stability would take time after a “big shake-up”.

“We all knew — at least the people who made the decision with me to start this new project — that this was not a quick fix and it was going to take time,” he said.

“When you are shaking things up, things can take a while.”

Arteta recovered from contracting coronavirus earlier this year to guide Arsenal to FA Cup glory, with victory over Chelsea at Wembley on August 1.

“We have made a lot of progress and implanted a lot of positive things that have worked really well,” said the former Arsenal and Everton midfielder.

But he said the club’s poor Premier League form had dampened the mood at the Emirates.

“I think it could have been a really, really positive year, but the recent form in the Premier League is taking the gloss off what we have done in the calendar year,” he added.

“But we have to accept that our Premier League form in recent weeks is not good enough for this football club.”

-AFP

Aubameyang Ends Goal Drought As Arsenal Draw Southampton, Continue Woeful Home Run

Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (C) celebrates after scoring the equalising goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Southampton at the Emirates Stadium in London on December 16, 2020. PETER CZIBORRA / POOL / AFP

 

Pierre Emery-Aubameyang ended his goal drought as Arsenal drew 1-1 with Southampton, stretching their winless home run. 

With Arteta under intense pressure after his side’s wretched recent run, the Arsenal manager was shifting uncomfortably on the touchline when Theo Walcott put Southampton ahead in the first half on Wednesday.

Walcott’s goal against his troubled former club was a painful twist of the knife, but Aubameyang ended a run of 11 games without a goal in open play with his second-half equaliser.

Arsenal had to play the last 28 minutes with 10 men after Gabriel was sent off for a second booking, but they held firm to avoid the ignominy of a fifth successive home league defeat.

While a point was something of a relief for Arteta in the circumstances, his 50th game in charge was hardly a cause for celebration.

Arsenal are languishing in 15th place after seven defeats in their first 13 league games and sit much closer to the relegation zone than the top four.

Arteta insisted this week that he is strong enough to cope with the pressure of Arsenal’s worst start to a season since 1974.

But the Gunners’ six-match winless league run leaves him engaged in a fight to save his job heading into the hectic Christmas period.

READ ALSO: Arsenal Have To Apologise To Mesut Ozil – Paul Merson

Arteta made four changes from the Burnley defeat last weekend, with Nicolas Pepe, Eddie Nketiah, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Dani Ceballos coming in.

– Bereft of confidence –
Despite the switches, Arsenal still looked bereft of confidence.

Disorganised at the back and short of leadership in midfield, Arteta’s team were carved open with ease when Walcott put Southampton ahead in the 18th minute.

Somehow, it was inevitable that Walcott, who scored 108 goals for Arsenal between 2006 and 2018, would be the man to add to their woes.

Arsenal carelessly surrendered possession and Che Adams made them pay with a fine pass behind Kieran Tierney to pick out Walcott, who sprinted clear and clipped a cool finish over Bernd Leno.

Walcott’s gleeful celebration made it clear he had no problem with rubbing salt into his old club’s wounds.

With London clubs no longer allowed to have fans in their stadiums due to the strengthening of coronavirus lockdown restrictions, Arteta was spared from the prospect of Arsenal fans turning on him.

If that was fortunate for the Spaniard, there was no such luck on the pitch as Ceballos appealed in vain for a penalty when he went to ground after contact from Jan Bednarek.

Aubameyang was anonymous in the first half, maintaining a pattern since he signed his new contract in September.

But when Arteta needed him most, the Gabon forward came to his rescue with just his fifth goal of the season in the 52nd minute.

Bukayo Saka was the catalyst with a superb run past three Southampton players down the left-wing.

Nketiah took Saka’s pass and guided the ball deftly into Aubameyang’s path and he stroked a cool finish into the far corner from the edge of the area.

Having ended a run of over 13 hours without a league goal in open play, Arteta’s relief was clear to see as he celebrated by punching the air.

But there was more angst for Arteta in the 62nd minute as Gabriel was sent off.

Guilty of getting too close to Walcott, the winger’s nimble turn triggered a panicked tackle from the centre-back, who hauled him down and could have no complaints about his early exit.

It was Arsenal’s second red card in two games, and the seventh of Arteta’s 12-month reign, following Granit Xhaka’s foolish dismissal for grabbing Burnley’s Ashley Westwood around the neck at the weekend.

In a tense finale, Southampton’s Nathan Redmond stretched to shoot against the bar before Arsenal defender Rob Holding hit the woodwork with a header in stoppage-time.

AFP