Arsenal Sink Tottenham 3-1 To Prove Title Credentials

Arsenal’s Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus (R) celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium in London on October 1, 2022. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

 

Arsenal underlined their credentials as genuine contenders for the Premier League title with an impressive 3-1 win over 10-man Tottenham in a bruising north London derby on Saturday.

Mikel Arteta’s side made it seven wins from eight league games this season as they moved four points clear at the top of the table.

The 192nd meeting between these bitter rivals from opposite ends of the Seven Sisters Road was a typically frenetic occasion from the moment Thomas Partey put Arsenal ahead early in the first half.

Harry Kane equalised with a penalty but third-placed Tottenham imploded after the interval as Hugo Lloris’s mistake allowed Gabriel Jesus to restore Arsenal’s lead.

Tottenham defender Emerson Royal was sent off for an ugly foul on Gabriel Martinelli before Granit Xhaka’s goal ensured Arsenal would avenge the 3-0 defeat against their hated neighbours last season that cost them a Champions League place.

Ending Tottenham’s 13-match unbeaten run in the league was a significant statement of intent from Arsenal.

 

Arsenal’s Ghanaian midfielder Thomas Partey (R) and Arsenal’s Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka (C) celebrate with Arsenal’s English goalkeeper Aarron Ramsdale after the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium in London on October 1, 2022. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) 

 

Arsenal have now lost just once in 30 home league games against Tottenham, yet there was far more than local bragging rights at stake for the Gunners.

Their only previous match against a top-four rival this season ended in a 3-1 defeat at Manchester United, but this dynamic performance showed they must be taken seriously in the title race.

Next Sunday’s showdown with Liverpool will be another test for Arsenal, but while champions Manchester City remain the title favourites, Arteta’s team are emerging as a force to be reckoned with.

Arsenal quickly seized the initiative, penning Tottenham back into their own penalty area before Martinelli met Bukayo Saka’s cross with a fierce strike that Lloris pushed onto the post.

 

Arsenal’s English midfielder Bukayo Saka controls the ball during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium in London on October 1, 2022. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) 

 

Despite their vibrant opening, Arsenal were fortunate not to fall behind when Son Heung-min’s cross reached Richarlison, who should have done better than poke tamely wide from six yards.

But with Tottenham sitting too deep in a desperate bid to soak up Arsenal’s pressure, the Gunners took the lead in stunning style after 20 minutes.

 

Tottenham Hotspur’s Uruguayan midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur runs with the ball during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium in London on October 1, 2022. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

 

– Lloris blunder –
A mesmerising 22-pass move ended with Ben White setting up Partey and the Ghana midfielder curled a sublime strike into the top corner from 25 yards.

Tottenham responded to Partey’s first goal since March with an equaliser 11 minutes later as Kane extended his north London derby record to 14 goals in 18 appearances.

William Saliba’s poor headed clearance was followed by Xhaka’s heavy touch inside his own area and Richarlison nipped in to steal possession, prompting a panicked rash tackle from Gabriel that sent the Brazilian sprawling.

Kane stepped up to drill the spot-kick straight down the middle, making him the first player to score 100 away goals in the Premier League.

Jesus almost restored Arsenal’s lead with a sublime run through the heart of the Tottenham defence before Lloris made a good stop from his close-range effort.

Lloris had saved Tottenham on that occasion but the France keeper was guilty of a costly mistake four minutes after half-time.

Saka cut inside the Tottenham area for a low strike that Lloris parried weakly in front of him.

When Cristian Romero was unable to clear, Lloris compounded his initial blunder as he let the ball roll through his hands and Jesus tapped in from virtually on the goal-line.

 

Arsenal’s Ghanaian midfielder Thomas Partey (R) and Arsenal’s Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka (C) celebrate with Arsenal’s English goalkeeper Aarron Ramsdale after the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium in London on October 1, 2022. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / 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. – 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. /

 

Jesus has been one of the catalysts for Arsenal’s impressive run this term, scoring five times since joining from Manchester City in the close-season.

Emerson shattered Tottenham’s comeback hopes when the right-back earned a straight red card for raking his studs down Martinelli’s ankle in the 62nd minute.

It took Arsenal just five minutes to make the most of their numerical superiority as a flowing move featuring Partey and Martinelli climaxed with Xhaka blasting a fine finish into the far corner from 18 yards.

Arteta Faces Jesus Balancing Act Over Arsenal Star’s Bookings

Arsenal's Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus celebrates after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium in London on August 13, 2022. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP)
Arsenal’s Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus celebrates after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium in London on August 13, 2022. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP)

 

Mikel Arteta admits he faces a balancing act as the Arsenal manager lets Gabriel Jesus play his natural game while doing all he can to prevent the feisty striker from being suspended.

Jesus has scored four goals in seven Premier League games since joining from Manchester City, with his tally helping propel Arsenal to the top of the table ahead of Saturday’s north London derby against Tottenham.

However, the Brazil international has already been shown four yellow cards in the Premier League this term.

A further booking against Tottenham would lead to a one-match ban ruling Jesus out of Arsenal’s crunch clash with Liverpool on October 9.

Arteta acknowledges Jesus’s fiery temperament but is wary of trying to rein in the forward too much.

READ ALSO: Man Utd Boss Ten Hag ‘Convinced’ Maguire Can Recover Form

“It’s a thin balance. It’s in his nature, he gets a lot of contact and puts his foot and his body on the line in every situation,” Arteta told reporters on Friday.

“He’s a been a bit unlucky with the number of yellow cards that he had. Some of them we could not prevent because they were a little bit disciplinary, but yeah we want to avoid that for sure.”

Arteta will hope Arsenal can hold their temper better than they did during a devastating 3-0 defeat at Tottenham last season.

Gunners defender Rob Holding was sent off in a loss that played a major role in Tottenham pipping Arsenal to a place in the Champions League.

A Tottenham win at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday would see Antonio Conte’s men leapfrog Arsenal to the top of the table.

“The journey they’ve had since Antonio (Conte) joined and how things have changed and the team that he’s building (is evident in) the very clear identity they have in their way of playing,” Arteta said.

“Obviously we know that both teams expect a tough match tomorrow.”

AFP

Arsenal, Spurs Seek To Prove Title Credentials In North London Derby

Arsenal's Brazilian defender Gabriel Magalhaes (2R) celebrates scoring during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Fulham at the Emirates Stadium in London on August 27, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)
Arsenal’s Brazilian defender Gabriel Magalhaes (2R) celebrates scoring during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Fulham at the Emirates Stadium in London on August 27, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

Arsenal and Tottenham will be fighting for much more than local bragging rights on Saturday as the north London rivals aim to prove they are serious contenders for the Premier League title.

As top-flight action returns following the international break, Arsenal sit top of the table after an unexpectedly strong start, while unbeaten Tottenham are just one point behind in third place.

With Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United still recovering their equilibrium after turbulent starts to the season, a path has opened up for the north London clubs to gate-crash the title race.

If a title challenger was expected to emerge from either end of the Seven Sisters Road, it was Tottenham who were the more likely candidates after snatching a top-four finish from their bitter rivals and neighbours in dramatic fashion last term.

Arsenal were in pole position to qualify for the Champions League when they moved four points clear of Tottenham with just three games left.

But Mikel Arteta’s side blew their chance as a disastrous 3-0 defeat at Tottenham was followed by a devastating loss against Newcastle, ruining their hopes of returning to the Champions League for the first time since the 2016/17 season.

Buoyed by pipping Arsenal, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy bowed to Antonio Conte’s demands, sanctioning a close-season spending spree that further enhanced the feelgood factor around the club.

With Conte refusing to let his players rest on their laurels, Tottenham have continued to progress in their second season under the demanding Italian.

Conte showed his ruthless side in Tottenham’s last game when he dropped Son Heung-min after his eight-match goalless run and was rewarded with a hat-trick from the South Korean after sending him on as a substitute in the 6-2 rout of Leicester.

While Tottenham’s rise underlines Conte’s managerial acumen, it is arguably Arteta who has done the more impressive work this term.

READ ALSOFIFA Ends Video Game Partnership With EA Sports After 30 Years

Title chance 

Arsenal's Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus (C) and Arsenal's Norwegian midfielder Martin Odegaard (3rd R) celebrate with teammates after winning at the end of the English Premier League football match between Bournemouth and Arsenal at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth, southern England on August 20, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)
In this file photo, Arsenal’s Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus (C) and Arsenal’s Norwegian midfielder Martin Odegaard (3rd R) celebrate with teammates after winning at the end of the English Premier League football match between Bournemouth and Arsenal at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth, southern England on August 20, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

Arsenal’s implosion in the final week of last season could have been a hammer blow to Arteta’s gradual rebuild of a club mired in mediocrity since well before the end of Arsene Wenger’s reign.

The eccentric side to Arteta’s personality was on display during the “All or Nothing” television documentary that captured the Spaniard’s fight to steer the club through troubled waters last season.

But Arteta’s quirks should not obscure the astute way he has infused Arsenal with energy and enthusiasm by promoting a group of talented youngsters, while also shipping out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang following disciplinary problems.

Revitalised by the recent signings of Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko, as well as the development of Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli, Arsenal have enjoyed the benefits of a relatively benign fixture list so far.

Wenger, who led Arsenal to their most recent title in 2004, believes his former team should already be regarded as title contenders.

“I would say they have a good chance because I don’t see any super-dominating team,” Wenger told Sky Sports. “I believe it is a good opportunity to do it this season.”

However, Arsenal’s only match against a top-four rival this season ended in a 3-1 defeat at Manchester United.

Arteta needs a statement victory to show there is substance to the surge that gave Arsenal their best start to a season since 2004, courtesy of a five-game winning run.

History is in Arsenal’s favour, with Tottenham on a run of 11 top-flight visits to the Emirates Stadium without a win since their last success in 2010.

Yet Arsenal, beaten only once in their past 29 home league games against Tottenham, must find a way to subdue long-time nemesis Harry Kane.

Tottenham striker Kane has scored a record 13 goals in 17 north London derby appearances, including two in their most recent meeting in May.

EPL Fixtures This Week:

Saturday (1400 GMT unless stated)

Arsenal v Tottenham (1130), Bournemouth v Brentford, Crystal Palace v Chelsea, Fulham v Newcastle, Liverpool v Brighton, Southampton v Everton, West Ham v Wolves (1630)

Sunday

Manchester City v Manchester Utd (1300), Leeds v Aston Villa (1530)

Monday

Leicester v Nottingham Forest (1900)

AFP

VAR Killing ‘Joy’ Of Football, Says Arsenal Great Henry

Champions League 'Dream' Awaits Monaco Coach Henry
In this file photo, former Monaco French coach Thierry Henry reacts on the pitch prior to the French L1 football match between Monaco and Strasbourg on October 20, 2018, at the Stade de la Meinau in Strasbourg, eastern France. Frederick FLORIN / AFP

 

Thierry Henry believes the time taken to reach decisions using VAR is killing the “joy” of football.

Henry, a World Cup winner with France in 1998, said Wednesday he had no problems with the technology in principle but was frustrated by the speed of reviews compared to other sports.

The 45-year-old, Arsenal’s record goal-scorer, thinks that VAR is causing fresh controversies and not reducing arguments about refereeing decisions.

“In football we’re still behind, we have so much to learn,” Henry told the Leaders Week sport business conference in London.

“What I can see in American football, in rugby, in cricket or whatever it is, tennis, it’s instant.”

READ ALSOFIFA Ends Video Game Partnership With EA Sports After 30 Years

Henry, now the assistant coach of the Belgium national side, added: “With VAR, what I get annoyed with is it’s not quick enough. Then it’s still the decision of someone in a truck or wherever they are, because it’s not VAR that makes the decision, VAR is just there to recall the situation.”

Henry said the uncertainty surrounding VAR was preventing immediate celebrations.

“What we want to see is the game going on,” he said. “Another thing that’s very difficult for me is I used to score goals as a player. Sometimes (now) you don’t even know if you need to jump.

“Am I jumping? Am I celebrating? Am I not celebrating? It kills the beat of the joy of the game.”

AFP

Record-Breaking Women Super League Crowd Watches Arsenal Thrash Tottenham

Match Ball during Barclays FA Women’s Super League match between West Ham United Women and Arsenal at The Chigwell Construction Stadium on 08th May 2022 in Dagenham, England (Photo by Action Foto Sport/NurPhoto)

 

Arsenal moved top of the Women’s Super League with a 4-0 thrashing of north London rivals Tottenham in front of a record-breaking crowd for the women’s top flight in England of 47,367 at the Emirates.

The popularity of the women’s game in England received a huge boost with the Lionesses’ victory at Euro 2022 on home soil.

One of England’s heroes Beth Mead opened the scoring before the prolific Vivianne Miedema struck twice either side of Rafaelle Souza’s goal.

The crowd topped the previous record of 38,262, set in November 2019 in the reverse fixture at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

However, in contrast to that match and some other record-breaking crowds for women’s matches in other European leagues and the Champions League, tickets at the Emirates were not given away for free.

“I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I don’t think we should compare attendance figures with giveaway tickets and sold tickets,” said Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall.

“I don’t think it’s fair when you’re doing that comparison.

“If you give away tickets, it’s something else. When you sell tickets, that’s how you run a football club.”

AFP

Arteta Wins Premier League Manager Of The Month Award For August

This is Arteta’s third time winning the prize. [email protected]

 

Mikel Arteta has clinched the Premier League Manager of the Month prize for August 2022.

The Arsenal gaffer led the North London side to a five-match winning start in the league in August.

He saw off competition from Tottenham’s Antonio Conte; Pep Guardiola of Manchester City, Everton’s Marco Silva, and new Chelsea boss Graham Potter who was formerly of Brighton and Hove Albion.


“We won all five of our August fixtures, scoring 13 goals and conceding only four in the process. Our manager led us to victory against Crystal Palace, Leicester City, Bournemouth, Fulham, and Aston Villa, finishing the month top of the table,” the club wrote after the Spaniard scooped the prize.

“Mikel is our second manager to win his opening five games of a Premier League season. Arsene Wenger achieved this record in two successive seasons during our Invincibles era of 2003/04.”

Friday’s win is the third time Arteta will be claiming the prize. The former Everton midfielder got the award twice last season – September 2021 and March 2022.

Although the Emirates sides lost their last league encounter to Manchester United, the Gunners are first on the log with 15 points.

Meanwhile, Erling Haaland won the Player of the Month gong after an impressive start to life at the Etihad Stadium. The Norwegian was unstoppable in August, scoring nine times in five games as Guardiola’s men began their title defence.

Aside from Haaland, Newcastle United’s Allan Saint-Maximin took the Goal of the Month award for his 90th-minute effort against Wolves.

“The Frenchman, who was nominated for the prize along with teammates Kieran Trippier and Fabian Schär, was shortlisted for his stunning volley against Wolves which rescued a point for the Magpies at Molineux,” Newcastle wrote about Saint-Maximin.

“Saint-Maximin’s first-time effort after a clearance dropped fortuitously into his path saw him pick up the first award of the new season, beating off competition from Trippier – for his free kick against Manchester City – and Schär, whose thumping strike in the opening-day win over Nottingham Forest earned him a nomination.”

Arsenal Off To Winning Start In Europa League But Roma Beaten


Arsenal’s Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka (C-R) embraces Zurich’s Swiss midfielder Antonio Marchesano after winning the UEFA Europa League Group A first leg football match between FC Zurich and Arsenal FC at Kybun Park stadium in St Gallen on September 8, 2022. (Photo by URS BUCHER / AFP)

 

Brazilian teenager Marquinhos scored on his Arsenal debut as the Gunners started their Europa League campaign with a 2-1 win over FC Zurich in Switzerland on Thursday, while Jose Mourinho’s Roma slumped to a surprise defeat.

Nineteen-year-old Marquinhos, signed from Sao Paulo in June, finished first time from a low Eddie Nketiah cross in the 16th minute to put Arsenal ahead in the city of St Gallen.

Zurich, who were Swiss champions last season for the first time since 2009, equalised just before half-time when Mirlind Kryeziu converted a penalty after a foul in the box by Nketiah.

However, Nketiah made up for that by scoring the winning goal just after the hour mark, heading in a hanging cross from Marquinhos.

The game took place as news of the death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II came through, and the two sets of players held a minute’s silence before the start of the second half.

READ ALSO: UK Sporting Events Suspended After Queen Elizabeth II’s Death

The win made it the perfect start in Group A for Arsenal, after coach Mikel Arteta made eight changes to his line-up following the 3-1 weekend defeat at Manchester United in the Premier League.

Gabriel Jesus, Martin Odegaard and Aaron Ramsdale were among the players rested while Marquinhos made his first appearance, as did American goalkeeper Matt Turner, signed in the close season from New England Revolution.

Fabio Vieira also made a first start since joining from Porto.

Group rivals PSV Eindhoven and Bodo/Glimt drew 1-1 in the Netherlands, with Cody Gakpo equalising for Ruud van Nistelrooy’s side after Albert Gronbaek had given the Norwegian champions the lead.

Arsenal welcome PSV to the Emirates Stadium next Thursday.

Roma are looking to claim a second succesive European trophy after winning the inaugural Europa Conference League last season, but they went down to a surprise 2-1 loss away to Luodogorets Razgrad in Bulgaria in Group C.

Uzbek forward Eldor Shomurodov looked to have secured a draw for Roma when he equalised with four minutes to go, cancelling out Brazilian midfielder Cauly’s opener.

But the Bulgarian champions grabbed all three points in the 88th minute through Nonato, another member of their sizeable Brazilian contingent.

Meanwhile Fenerbahce beat Dynamo Kyiv 2-1 in Istanbul in Group B with Michy Batshuayi coming off the bench to score an injury-time winner on his debut following his recent move from Chelsea.

The result is a measure of revenge for the Turkish side, who lost to the Ukrainians in the Champions League qualifying rounds.

Dynamo were then beaten by Benfica in the Champions League play-offs, and so the clubs were reunited in the same Europa League group.

Manchester United were among the clubs in action later as they hosted Real Sociedad at Old Trafford in Group E.

AFP

Man Utd, Arsenal And Mourinho’s Roma Headline Europa League Line-Up

Manchester City’s Spanish midfielder Rodri (2nd L) takes part in a training session at the Manchester City training ground in Manchester, north west England, on September 5, 2022, on the eve of their UEFA Champions League Group G football match, away against Sevilla. (Photo by OLI SCARFF / AFP)

 

 

Premier League heavyweights Manchester United and Arsenal begin as the leading contenders for this season’s Europa League, although Jose Mourinho’s Roma are eyeing back-to-back continental titles after claiming the inaugural Europa Conference League earlier this year.

It is a long road to this season’s final at the Puskas Arena in Budapest on May 31, 2023, with clubs facing a packed schedule in order to complete the group stage before the World Cup in Qatar starts on November 20.

That means the likes of United and Arsenal will be relying on their squad depth to get them through some of their less glamorous Thursday night fixtures while they try to maintain challenges at the top of the Premier League.

Returning to the Champions League has to be the priority for both, although winning Europe’s second-tier trophy is one way of getting there.

Eintracht Frankfurt were the surprise victors last season, beating Rangers in a breathless final in Seville, and it is notable that the last four winners of the trophy all began the campaign in the Europa League group stage, rather than dropping out of the Champions League.

The last club to fall out of Europe’s elite club competition and go on to win the Europa League was Atletico Madrid in 2018.

Erik ten Hag’s United should not face too many obstacles in advancing from Group E up against Real Sociedad, Sheriff Tiraspol and Neil Lennon’s Omonia Nicosia.

Real Sociedad, who finished sixth in La Liga last season, will come to Old Trafford for their opening game with a 36-year-old David Silva in tow but without Alexander Isak following the Swedish striker’s departure for Newcastle United.

Europa League winners in 2017 and runners-up in 2021, United will not fear their other opponents, even if perennial Moldovan champions Sheriff beat Real Madrid away in last season’s Champions League.

Arsenal, off to a fine start in the Premier League, have landed in a Champions League group in the sense that all three opponents dropped out of the qualifying rounds of that competition.

– Villarreal target Conference League –
But none of them will strike fear into Mikel Arteta’s side, with Ruud van Nistelrooy’s PSV Eindhoven having lost to Rangers in the Champions League play-offs.

They will also face Norwegian champions Bodo/Glimt in Group A but start off away to FC Zurich.

The Swiss champions hardly come into the game — which will be played an hour away from Zurich in St Gallen — in great shape, having failed to win in their domestic league so far and having sold Italian international striker Wilfried Gnonto to Leeds United.

Roma are an intriguing prospect as they look to follow up their Conference League victory by winning a competition that Mourinho has got his hands on twice before, including with United in 2017.

Among their group-stage opponents will be Real Betis, whose coach Manuel Pellegrini was Mourinho’s predecessor at Real Madrid over a decade ago.

Roma’s city rivals Lazio, or an ambitious Monaco, might also enter the Europa League with ambitions of winning the trophy, although it is notable that the last 11 editions of the tournament have all been won by clubs from Spain, England or Germany.

This season’s competition will also feature Dynamo Kyiv, who are set to play home matches against Rennes, Fenerbahce and AEK Larnaca in Group B in the Polish city of Krakow as war continues to rage in their home country.

Meanwhile, leading contenders to succeed Roma as Europa Conference League winners include last season’s Champions League semi-finalists Villarreal and an expensively-assembled West Ham United squad.

Yet the charm of the Conference League lies in the presence of several genuine minnows for whom the chance of playing in the group stages of such a competition could be transformational.

For Ballkani, champions of Kosovo, and FC Vaduz, who come from Liechtenstein but play in the Swiss second division and qualified by virtue of winning their national cup, just being there is a remarkable achievement.

Man Utd Beat Arsenal At Old Trafford

Manchester United’s English striker Marcus Rashford (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring their third goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford in Manchester, northwest England, on September 4, 2022. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)

 

Antony scored on his dream debut for Manchester United as the Brazilian’s clinical strike and Marcus Rashford’s double inspired a 3-1 win that ended Arsenal’s perfect start to the Premier League season on Sunday.

Antony was making his first appearance after signing from United manager Erik ten Hag’s former club Ajax in an £82 million ($94 million) deal on Thursday.

Full of flicks, tricks and purposeful movement, the 22-year-old forward took just 35 minutes to get on the scoresheet in a dazzling introduction to his new fans at Old Trafford.

Arsenal hit back to equalise through Bukayo Saka, but Rashford blew the leaders away with two goals in the space of nine second-half minutes after Antony was replaced by Cristiano Ronaldo.

Thanks to Antony and Rashford, United were able to celebrate a fourth successive victory that lifted them to fifth place.

Opening his reign with consecutive losses against Brighton and Brentford was a humbling experience for Ten Hag.

But since then, the Dutch coach has started to put his imprint on a United side that look far more organised than the shambolic unit that finished sixth in the Premier League last season.

Arsenal’s first defeat this term after five successive wins was cruel on Mikel Arteta’s men, who contributed plenty to an engrossing encounter but paid the price for some naive defending.

Arsenal thought they had snatched the lead in the 12th minute as Gabriel Martinelli raced away from Diogo Dalot to clip a fine finish over David de Gea.

But VAR intervened to ask Paul Tierney to check for a foul in the build-up and the referee ruled Martin Odegaard pushed Christian Eriksen to steal possession.

Antony put United ahead in the 35th minute when Rashford’s deft pass reached the forward, who took advantage of Arsenal’s sloppy marking to sweep a composed finish into the far corner from eight yards.

Antony kissed his badge and posed for the television cameras in a flamboyant celebration that sent Old Trafford into raptures, earning a ticking off from Tierney for sticking the ball up his shirt in front of the Arsenal fans.

Audacious Antony 

Confidence clearly was not a problem for Antony and he even tried an audacious lob that kept Arsenal keeper Aaron Ramsdale on his toes.

Antony departed to a standing ovation after 58 minutes to be replaced by Ronaldo.

Saka silenced Old Trafford two minutes later as Arsenal grabbed a deserved equaliser.

Odegaard’s pass unhinged the United defence and when Dalot’s tackle on Gabriel Jesus diverted the ball to Saka, the England winger slotted home with ease.

But United caught Arsenal with a brilliant counter in the 66th minute.

Playing through the Arsenal press, Eriksen found Bruno Fernandes and his superb pass sent Rashford galloping clear to fire past Ramsdale.

United wrapped up the points with a replica of their second goal as Arsenal once again left themselves open at the back and this time Eriksen fed Rashford to slot home.

In Sunday’s early game, Brighton extended their superb start to the season with a 5-2 victory that left bottom of the table Leicester in turmoil.

Graham Potter’s fourth-placed side made it four wins from their first six games thanks to a second-half surge at the Amex Stadium.

Kelechi Iheanacho put Leicester ahead in the first minute, but a Luke Thomas own goal and Moises Caicedo’s strike gave Brighton the advantage.

Patson Daka equalised for Leicester, but the struggling visitors collapsed after half-time as Leandro Trossard put Brighton in front before Alexis Mac Allister’s double sealed the rout.

Leicester have taken just one point from their first six games, losing five in a row to leave boss Brendan Rodgers under severe pressure.

“The simplicity goes out of your game if you lack confidence,” Rodgers said.

“I don’t listen to the outside noise. You put the hard yards in and work, not shirk responsibility.

“The results are down to me. I’m the manager. We need to go away and work even harder to get that first win.”

AFP

FIRST 11: Recovered United Eye Arsenal’s Winning Run+The Week’s Big Sports Stories

first-eleven-top-sports-stories
The week’s top sports stories. Illustration. Benjamin Kehinde.

 

Transfer deadline deals dominated much of the conversations in the sporting cycle this week. From England to Spain, it was fever-pitch high as clubs battled to shore up their squads for the marathon football season.  

But away from the transfer madness, there was pretty much to talk about in sports this week. Actions have continued in the US Open; the race for elective posts in the Nigeria Football Football Federation (NFF) has also heightened. The home-based Super Eagles team will hope to revert a 2-0 first leg defeat to Ghana in the qualification race for the 2023 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN). 

These and several others are covered in this edition of First 11, the weekly recap of major sports stories around the world. 


Eagles Go For Broke

The Super Eagles Team B now have an uphill task in the second leg next weekend. [email protected]

 

Starting from the home front, the Super Eagles Team B will be doing all to reverse a 2-0 loss to Ghana earlier in the week. Coach Salisu Yusuf’s Eagles had their wings clipped by the Black Galaxies in Ghana during the first leg qualification game for CHAN. And in Abuja, the Nigerians will hope for redemption when the second leg kicks off this weekend. 

Already, Super Eagles Team A coach Jose Peseiro has linked up with the side as Nigeria plot Ghana’s downfall. When the game begins on Saturday, millions of Nigerians will expect the home-based side to revenge the Super Eagles Team A’s World Cup qualification ouster in the hands of their perennial rivals. 


Parker Gets The Boot

In this file photo, former Bournemouth’s English head coach Scott Parker reacts after they concede their ninth goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Bournemouth at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on August 27, 2022. Liverpool won the game 9-0. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)

 

Still on football but this time in the English Premier League where gaffer Scott Parker became the first casualty of the “sack race”. It took just four games into the new campaign for Bournemouth to dismiss Parker who led them back to the top flight.  A string of poor results (three losses and one win) in August including a 9-0 thumping against Liverpool, culminated in his sack. 

Former Bournemouth midfielder Gary O’Neil will take charge at the Vitality Stadium on an interim basis, the club said in a statement confirming Parker’s departure. 


EPL Catches Transfer Bug

In this file photo taken on August 12, 2017 The Premier league trophy sits beside the pitch ahead of the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester City at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton. CHRIS J RATCLIFFE / AFP
In this file photo taken on August 12, 2017, the Premier league trophy sits beside the pitch ahead of the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester City at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton. CHRIS J RATCLIFFE / AFP

 

And as the action intensifies across Europe’s top leagues, English Premier League sides have beefed up their squads for the marathon games. The summer football transfer ended Thursday night but Premier League sides achieved a feat in spending. The gross spending by teams in the first division was pegged at £1.9 billion ($2.1 billion).

This eclipsed the 2017 record of £1.43 billion spent in that transfer window. Signings by Chelsea, Newcastle, Manchester United, and Arsenal among others, contributed largely to this. Deloitte’s Sports Business Group estimated the gross spending by the 20 English top-flight clubs during the transfer window that ended on Thursday was the highest in the history of the competition.


Arsenal on Cloud Nine

Arsenal's Brazilian defender Gabriel Magalhaes (2R) celebrates scoring during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Fulham at the Emirates Stadium in London on August 27, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)
Arsenal’s Brazilian defender Gabriel Magalhaes (2R) celebrates scoring during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Fulham at the Emirates Stadium in London on August 27, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

One of the teams responsible for the transfer feat, Arsenal, have also got many people talking. The Gunners are a revitalised side this season, winning their first five league games.

Mikel Arteta’s are on cloud nine, topping the league standings, two points ahead of holders Manchester City, a reality that strikingly contrasts their start to life last term. Arsenal were rooted to the bottom of the league after losing their first three matches last season but bounced back to push for a Champions League spot which they narrowly lost to London rivals Tottenham. 

Against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday, Arsenal will have their biggest test so far in the campaign. Their opponents, having recovered from a sloppy start to the season – they lost their first two matches – have a chance to make it four wins out of four. But how they will neutralise the bullets from Arsenal’s blazing cannons is yet to be seen!


Hard to Handle Haaland Scores for Fun!

Haaland is one of the new signings expected to bring fireworks to the EPL. [email protected]

 

Arsenal’s latest win over Fulham at the Emirates Stadium came on the same day Manchester City brushed aside Nottingham Forest in a league game. That day, Norwegian striker Erling Haaland’s first-half hat trick set the tone for a 6-0 thumping of Forest.

He proved unplayable and has silenced critics who called him “white Lukaku” after a poor outing in the Community Shield against Liverpool. The former Borrusia Dortmund forward also scored a treble in City’s 4-2 victory over Crystal Palace. In just five league games, Haaland has scored eight goals and there is no guessing that the striker, who has had rave reviews over his performances, will be a nightmare to defenders in the months to follow. 


France Launches Probe

Mathias Pogba is linked with blackmailing his younger brother , Paul
In this file photo taken on December 29, 2019, the Pogba brothers, Manchester United and France midfielder Paul Pogba (C), Atlanta United defender Florentin Pogba (L), and CD Manchego midfielder Mathias Pogba (R), pose prior to a gala football match between All-Star France and Guinea at the Vallee du Cher Stadium in Tours, central France, as part of the “48h for Guinea” charity event. (Photo by GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP) /

 

Meanwhile, France on Friday launched a criminal investigation into claims by World Cup winner Paul Pogba that he is the victim of a multi-million euro blackmail plot by gangsters involving his brother, the Paris prosecutor said.

Two investigating magistrates have been appointed to lead the probe, prosecutor Laure Beccuau said in a statement. Based on the findings of a preliminary investigation launched last month it will examine allegations — for now against persons unknown — including blackmail by an armed gang, kidnapping, and membership of a criminal conspiracy, she said, confirming a weekend statement from a judicial source.


D’Tigers Caged!

File photo of D’Tigers Roster at the 3rd qualification window for the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Kigali.

 

Moving on to basketball! Nigeria’s D’Tigers failed to roar at the African qualification window for the 2023 FIBA World Cup. They were caged by Angola, 70-67, in the last game of the window on Sunday after winning and losing one game. Nigeria had beaten Guinea 89-70 after a first game loss, 78-66, to hosts Ivory Coast at the 3,500-capacity Palais des Sports Treichville. 

The results leave them in a tight corner ahead of the next qualification window. Four tickets are up for grabs for Africa after the Ivorians booked a slot for the basketball showpiece billed to run from August 25 to September 10, 2023, in Japan, Indonesia, and The Philippines.


Falcons Face US Test

Nigeria’s players pose for a group picture during the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations semi-final football match between Morocco and Nigeria at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat on July 18, 2022. (Photo by AFP)

 

In football, the Super Falcons are up against the US in two international friendly games. They arrived in the US city of Kansas earlier in the week for matches which are part of preparations for the 2023 Women’s World Cup. 

Coach Randy Waldrum invited four of the ladies that reached the quarter-finals of the just-concluded FIFA Women’s U-20 World Cup to face the heavyweights. The first game of the two-match series is billed for Saturday at the Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City. On Tuesday, the second tie of the clash with the World Cup champions holds at the Audi Field in Washington. 


Peterside, Akinwunmi, Others Join NFF Race

Giwa Takes Control Of NFF As Dalung Asks Pinnick To Obey Court Order
A logo of the NFF.

 

As the Falcons battle the US, political activities are intensifying on the home front for elective posts in the NFF. President of the body Amaju Pinnick won’t be seeking re-election after two terms but the NFF first vice president Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi is among others contesting to replace him. 

Aside from Akinwunmi, a former international Peterside Idah has also joined the race alongside the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Head of Safety and Security Christian Emeruwa. A former NFF first vice president Amanze Uchegbulam has equally declared for the position. 

The presidential seat and other positions are up for grabs when the NFF congress holds later in the month in Benin City, Edo State.


Guinea Ready To Host Africa?

AFCON trophy.

 

On the continental scene, Guinea’s ruling junta has told a Confederation of African Football mission that it will meet the timetable for staging the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN).

CAF has sent a team to the poor and volatile West African state to assess its progress in hosting the tournament. Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, who appointed himself president after taking power in a coup in September 2021, met with the visiting experts on Wednesday.


No Farewell For Williams Sisters?

SA’s Serena Williams (R) and Venus Williams confer as they play against Czech Republic’s Lucie Hradecka and Linda Noskova during their 2022 US Open Tennis tournament women’s doubles first-round match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on September 1, 2022. (Photo by COREY SIPKIN / AFP)

 

Heading to the court, Serena and Venus Williams’ glittering Grand Slam doubles career ended abruptly at the US Open as the reunited sisters crashed out in the first round against Czech duo Lucie Hradecka and Linda Noskova.

The Americans in what is almost certainly their final outing together as a Grand Slam doubles duo — slumped to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 loss at the Arthur Ashe Stadium on Thursday. The Williams sisters – winners of 14 Grand Slam crowns and three Olympic gold medals — had not played together in a doubles tournament since 2018.


FIRST 11 is a weekly recap of some of the big sports stories told in a condensed form.


 

Liverpool Eye Derby Delight, Arsenal Aim To Extend Perfect Start

Arsenal's Brazilian defender Gabriel Magalhaes (2R) celebrates scoring during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Fulham at the Emirates Stadium in London on August 27, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)
Arsenal’s Brazilian defender Gabriel Magalhaes (2R) celebrates scoring during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Fulham at the Emirates Stadium in London on August 27, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

Bolstered by one of their “best nights”, Liverpool will look to pile fresh misery on Merseyside rivals Everton this weekend.

Surprise leaders Arsenal travel to Manchester United aiming to extend the only perfect record in the Premier League this season, while Thomas Tuchel searches for answers to Chelsea’s struggles.

Liverpool Revival Gathers Pace

What a difference a week has made for Liverpool as the angst sparked by their three-match winless run has been replaced by the more familiar sight of Jurgen Klopp punching the air in front of a jubilant Kop.

When a pair of lacklustre draws against Fulham and Crystal Palace were followed by a dismal defeat at Manchester United, Liverpool boss Klopp faced some difficult questions about his injury-hit side’s struggles.

But the critics have been silenced over the last seven days as Liverpool hammered Bournemouth 9-0 to equal the Premier League’s record win, then stole a 2-1 victory against Newcastle thanks to Fabio Carvalho’s opportunistic strike with virtually the last kick of the game.

Releasing the pent-up frustration of Liverpool’s shaky start, Klopp celebrated wildly on the pitch after Carvalho’s goal, to the delight of fans all around Anfield.

Now Klopp wants Liverpool to channel that emotion into another winning performance on Saturday at Goodison Park against an Everton side still waiting for their first league victory this season.

“It’s a massive boost from a frustrating night,” Klopp said. “One of the best nights we ever had, that’s how football is.

“But we have to make sure we use these two days really well. The last two games we got six points, but we have to improve.

“It will not be that Everton open up for us now. We know it will be tough so we have to be ready.”

READ ALSO: Premier League Clubs Shatter Spending Record In £1.9bn Spree

Arsenal Must Find Killer Instinct

Granit Xhaka has urged his Arsenal teammates to show the killer instinct required to maintain their blistering form.

Ahead of Sunday’s intriguing test at Manchester United, Mikel Arteta’s side sit two points clear at the top after five successive wins.

But their last two matches — a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Aston Villa on Wednesday and a gritty success by the same score against Fulham four days earlier — have left Xhaka concerned about Arsenal’s ability to turn territorial dominance into easy wins.

Swiss midfielder Xhaka is impressed by Arsenal’s spirit but wants them to show a ruthless edge to avoid the need for more late drama.

“We have to learn, you can’t always concede and come back like against Fulham or Villa, we have to try to finish and to kill the game before that,” Xhaka said.

‘No Excuses’ For Chelsea Slump

Thomas Tuchel insists there are no excuses for big-spending Chelsea’s troubled start to the season.

Tuchel’s men suffered their second defeat in five league games as they blew the lead in a 2-1 loss at Southampton on Tuesday.

Coming so soon after a wretched 3-0 reverse at Leeds, Tuchel felt compelled to question his players’ mental toughness following the Southampton debacle.

Chelsea are already eight points off the top and, aware his summer spending spree on new signings could have unsettled the squad, Tuchel called for renewed focus ahead of Sunday’s London derby against West Ham.

Asked if the change of ownership from Roman Abramovich to the Todd Boehly-led consortium could still be having a lingering effect, Tuchel said: “Yeah maybe, but we know the line is so thin between excuses and explanations.

“So I better not go down this road, because I don’t want to give anybody any chance, myself, players, staff, any room for excuses.

“We need to find solutions, I think what will help is the closing of the transfer window. Then we will know who has a full commitment and what role does everybody need to play.”

Fixtures

Saturday (1400 GMT unless stated)

Everton v Liverpool (1130), Brentford v Leeds, Newcastle v Crystal Palace, Nottingham Forest v Bournemouth, Tottenham v Fulham, Wolves v Southampton, Aston Villa v Manchester City (1630)

Sunday (1400 unless stated)

Brighton v Leicester, Chelsea v West Ham, Manchester United v Arsenal (1530)

AFP

Premier League Clubs Shatter Spending Record In £1.9bn Spree

In this file photo taken on August 12, 2017 The Premier league trophy sits beside the pitch ahead of the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester City at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton. CHRIS J RATCLIFFE / AFP
In this file photo taken on August 12, 2017, The Premier League trophy sits beside the pitch ahead of the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester City at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton. CHRIS J RATCLIFFE / AFP
 

Premier League clubs shattered their single-season spending record during an incredible £1.9 billion ($2.1 billion) spree during the summer window.

Deloitte’s Sports Business Group estimated the gross spending by the 20 English top-flight clubs during the transfer window that ended on Thursday was the highest in the history of the competition.

Despite the cost-of-living crisis gripping Britain, Premier League teams needed just one window to break the £1.86 billion mark set in the summer and winter transfer periods combined during the 2017-18 season.

According to Deloitte, the gross spend on a total of 169 players was also 34 percent higher than the previous record for a single window of £1.4 billion in the summer of 2017.

It was 67 percent higher than last year’s total Premier League summer window spend of £1.1 billion.

“Gross spend was so high among Premier League clubs this summer that, before this season’s January transfer window had taken place, the 2022/23 season already has the highest transfer spend since the two-window season began, exceeding the previous record by 3 percent (2017/18’s £1.86 billion),” Deloitte said.

Nine Premier League clubs spent over £100 million each as expenditure recovered dramatically after two seasons of decline caused by the financial fall-out from the coronavirus.

In total, the Premier League spent more than Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A and Germany’s Bundesliga combined.

Tim Bridge, lead partner in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, said: “The record level of spending during this transfer window is a clear indication of Premier League clubs’ confidence, as fans return to stadia and a new broadcast cycle begins.

“It’s now become part and parcel of the Premier League that clubs are willing to pay significant sums to maximise performance.

“This season, the desire to acquire playing talent has reached new levels as the pressure for clubs to stay in the competition is higher than ever.”

READ ALSO: Super Eagles Striker Sadiq Joins Real Sociedad For 20m Euros

Chelsea Splurge

New ownership at Chelsea, with Todd Boehly’s consortium taking over from Roman Abramovich, acted as a catalyst for the increased spending.

With a £255 million splurge, Chelsea spent more in one window than any team in Premier League history.

Their spending was £53 million more than Manchester United, who were the next biggest in this window at £202 million.

United’s £82 million signing of Ajax forward Antony on deadline day was the fourth biggest transfer in Premier League history.

Liverpool’s move for Benfica forward Darwin Nunez could eventually beat that fee, with the initial £67 million outlay potentially rising to £85 million depending on contract clauses and add-ons.

Chelsea’s biggest deal during the window was the £70 million purchase of French defender Wesley Fofana from Leicester.

Boehly also funded moves for Marc Cucurella (£60 million), Raheem Sterling (£50 million), Kalidou Koulibaly (£33 million) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£10.3 million)

At Old Trafford, Casemiro (£60 million) and Lisandro Martinez (£51 million) joined Antony in United’s top 10 most expensive signings of all time.

Champions Manchester City strengthened their squad with the £50 million move for Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland, who has already started to repay that fee with nine goals in five games.

Newcastle striker Alexander Isak and West Ham midfielder Lucas Paqueta were among seven players to be signed for over £50 million this summer, while 19 players were signed for £30 million or more.

Even Nottingham Forest, back in the Premier League for the first time since 1999, recorded a gross spend of £126 million on an astonishing 21 players.

That was only the third time Deloitte has reported any club spending over £100 million immediately after promotion to the Premier League.

AFP