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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ten-Man Arsenal Held By Leicester After Vardy Strike

Arsenal's Argentinian goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez (C) dives to block a shot from Leicester City's English striker Jamie Vardy (R) during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium in London on July 7, 2020. Michael Regan / POOL / AFP
Arsenal’s Argentinian goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez (C) dives to block a shot from Leicester City’s English striker Jamie Vardy (R) during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium in London on July 7, 2020. Michael Regan / POOL / AFP

 

Jamie Vardy salvaged a much-needed point for Leicester in their quest to claim a place in next season’s Champions League in a 1-1 draw at Arsenal on Tuesday dominated by VAR reviews.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s strike gave the Gunners a well-deserved first half lead, but Arsenal were reduced to 10 men for the final 15 minutes when substitute Eddie Nketiah was shown a straight red card after a lengthy VAR review.

Leicester made the most of the man advantage as Vardy slotted home from Demarai Gray’s cross, but also had a nervous wait before the goal was awarded as VAR checked for offside.

Despite the late rally, Leicester have now won just once in six games since the restart to the season and drop to fourth after Chelsea won 3-2 at Crystal Palace earlier on Tuesday.

Manchester United can close to within one point of the Foxes if their scintillating form continues at Aston Villa on Thursday.

Arsenal’s own chances of a top-four finish appear gone as they remain nine points adrift in seventh.

But after a poor start to English football’s restart with back-to-back defeats at Manchester City and Brighton, there were more promising signs from Mikel Arteta’s men as his reign at the Emirates begins to take shape.

Bukayo Saka has flourished since Arteta replaced Unai Emery in December and the 18-year-old was again at the heart of an excellent first 45 minutes from Arsenal.

Saka created the opening goal as he latched onto a defence-splitting pass from the outstanding Dani Ceballos and teased Jonny Evans into falling over his own feet before laying Aubameyang’s 20th Premier League goal of the season on a plate.

But for Kasper Schmeichel in the Leicester goal, the hosts would have been out of sight before half-time as the Danish number one produced an incredible low save to deny Alexandre Lacazette in between further smart stops from the French striker and Saka.

After weathering the Arsenal storm, Leicester felt aggrieved not to go in level at half-time when Kelechi Iheanacho was penalised for a soft foul before he tapped in Vardy’s cross and this time VAR offered no assistance to the visitors.

Iheanacho was denied by Emiliano Martinez, who produced another impressive performance in the Arsenal goal since stepping in for the injured Bernd Leno, before Vardy failed to connect properly with a great chance.

Arsenal were far less potent as an attacking force after the break, but Lacazette’s frustrating night in front of goal was rounded off when he did turn in from David Luiz’s flick-on only to be flagged offside.

Seconds after Lacazette was replaced by Eddie Nketiah, the Gunners were down to 10 when the young striker’s late lunge on James Justin was deemed worthy of a red card by referee Chris Kavanagh after he came to the side of the pitch to review the incident.

Rodgers immediately threw on an extra attacking option in Gray and his cross was the service Vardy had been seeking all night as turned home to regain his two-goal advantage over Aubameyang in the race for the Golden Boot.

 

AFP

Chelsea Win Holds Off Rampant Man Utd In Race For Premier League Top Four

Chelsea's Spanish defender Cesar Azpilicueta (L) and Watford's English mifielder Tom Cleverley after the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Watford at Stamford Bridge in London on July 4, 2020. (Photo by MATTHEW CHILDS / POOL / AFP) /
Chelsea’s Spanish defender Cesar Azpilicueta (L) and Watford’s English mifielder Tom Cleverley after the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Watford at Stamford Bridge in London on July 4, 2020. (Photo by MATTHEW CHILDS / POOL / AFP) /

 

 

Chelsea held on to their place in the Premier League’s top four by bouncing back to beat Watford 3-0 on Saturday after Manchester United briefly powered past with a 5-2 rout of struggling Bournemouth.

Third-placed Leicester also got back on track with Jamie Vardy reaching 100 top-flight goals in a comfortable 3-0 win against Crystal Palace, while Arsenal dealt a blow to Wolves’ Champions League chase by winning 2-0 at Molineux on Saturday.

United’s fearsome front four of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood, who netted twice, were all on the scoresheet as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men hit five goals in a home Premier League game for the first time since 2011.

“Confidence is sky high. You get energy and confidence by performances and results and we are getting that at the minute,” said Solskjaer, who is feeling the benefits of a 16-match unbeaten run.

“I have enjoyed the last few games to be honest and it is healthy. You don’t age as quickly!”

Bournemouth are moving fast in the other direction as they remain second bottom and the Cherries’ defensive problems were quickly exposed after they took a shock 16th-minute lead through Junior Stanislas.

Greenwood got the comeback started as he smashed home from Fernandes’s pass before Rashford, from the penalty spot and Martial, with a stunning shot into the top corner, scored their 20th goals of the season,

“Mason is one of the best if not the best finisher I have worked with and seen,” added Solskjaer. “He is so calm. He knows where to finish if it is on the training ground, here or in his garden at home.”

Bournemouth were given hope when Josh King scored from the spot after Eric Bailly handled inside his own box just four minutes after coming on as a half-time substitute.

But there was no stopping Solskjaer’s men going forward and Greenwood restored their two-goal cushion with another powerful drive, this time on his weaker right foot, before Fernandes then capped another influential display with a fine free-kick.

Chelsea shrugged off a shock 3-2 defeat at West Ham in midweek with a routine win at Stamford Bridge.

Olivier Giroud was recalled up front and repaid Frank Lampard with a smart finish to break the deadlock before Willian’s penalty made it 2-0 before half-time.

Ross Barkley added the third in stoppage time to move Chelsea back two points ahead of fifth-placed United.

A third defeat in four games since the restart leaves Watford still just one point above Bournemouth and Aston Villa in the battle to beat the drop.

Arsenal kept their hopes of European football next season alive moved by ending Wolves’ eight-game unbeaten run in impressive fashion to move up to seventh.

Bukayo Saka celebrated signing a new long-term deal this week by hooking in the opener just before half-time and Alexandre Lacazette came off the bench to seal all three points for Mikel Arteta’s men four minutes from time.

“Every game you have no margin for error, we know that we try to win every game,” said Arteta of Arsenal’s top-four chances.

Defeat leaves Wolves five points behind Chelsea.

 

100 up for Vardy

Arsenal face Leicester next on Tuesday, but the Foxes go into that game with a much-needed confidence boost after a first win in five games.

Leicester have struggled to score goals of late, but were helped back to winning ways by some calamitous Palace defending for Kelechi Iheanacho to open the scoring and Vardy to tap into an empty net for his Premier League century.

Vardy struck again in characteristic fashion in stoppage time, sprinting in behind before dinking the ball over the advancing Vicente Guaita.

“To get the two goals and the three points is all you can ask for,” said Vardy. “We know it’s down to us. We are in this position on merit and we have to keep going. If we play like that between now and the end of the season, we will pick up a quite a few points.”

Norwich manager Daniel Farke conceded his side are heading for relegation after Leandro Trossard fired Brighton nine points clear of the relegation zone with a 1-0 win at Carrow Road.

The Canaries are seven points from safety with five games remaining after losing all five games following the coronavirus hiatus.

“It was more or less our last chance to get back in the mix,” said Farke.

“After a few losses, we don’t have the right to make any fighting messages or to make any unrealistic claims.”

 

 

-AFP

Saka’s First Premier League Goal Keeps Arsenal In Euro Race

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

 

 

Arsenal climbed back into the race to qualify for the Champions League as Bukayo Saka’s first Premier League goal inspired a crucial 2-0 win against Wolves on Saturday.

Mikel Arteta’s side made it three successive league victories thanks to Saka’s first half strike and a late Alexandre Lacazette goal at Molineux.

Arsenal are now six points behind fourth placed Manchester United with five games left.

The Gunners remain a long shot to reach next season’s Champions League, but if second placed Manchester City’s continental ban is upheld, a fifth place finish would secure a place in Europe’s elite club competition.

Just days after Saka signed a new long-term contract with the club, the 18-year-old underlined the potential of Arsenal’s emerging crop of academy graduates.

After the panic caused by consecutive defeats following the coronavirus hiatus, Arteta has steadied the ship impressively.

Wolves’ hopes of qualifying for the Champions League were hit by their first defeat in four games since the restart and they now sit three points behind Manchester United.

Once again there was no place in the Arsenal squad for out of favour midfielder Mesut Ozil or Matteo Guendouzi, while Nicolas Pepe was absent after his wife went into labour.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had Arsenal’s first sight of goal when he stabbed straight at Wolves keeper Rui Patricio from a Dani Ceballos corner.

Adama Traore carried the main threat for Wolves and the winger teased Kieran Tierney and Sead Kolasinac before crossing just too high for Leander Dendoncker.

David Luiz responded to another menacing raid from Traore by cynically chopping him down to earn a booking.

Arsenal’s youngsters were growing into the game and Eddie Nketiah almost caught Rui Patricio off guard with a long-range shot that the keeper had to turn onto the post with his foot.

The visitors took the lead two minutes before half-time when Willy Boly misjudged the bounce and Aubameyang touched it on to Kieran Tierney.

Tierney’s deflected cross reached Saka and he hooked a fine finish past Rui Patricio from 12 yards.

Saka’s fourth goal of the season in all competitions was the first Wolves had conceded in 448 minutes stretching back to their win at Tottenham on March 1.

Wolves striker Raul Jimenez appealed in vain for a penalty when Cedric Soares made contact with him as they challenge for Traore’s cross.

The introduction of substitute Diogo Jota lifted Wolves and the midfielder had a goalbound shot blocked by Luiz.

Traore should have done better than chip tamely wide from Jota’s defence-splitting pass, while Pedro Neto’s effort was too close to Emiliano Martinez.

Lacazette came off the bench to wrap up the points three minutes after his introduction.

The French forward took Joe Willock’s pass and drove a clinical strike past Rui Patricio in the 86th minute.

-AFP

Arteta Won’t Sell Arsenal Stars To Fund Rebuild

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

 

Mikel Arteta insists Arsenal will not sell their best players to fund an overhaul of his inconsistent team.

Arteta has been linked with several players as he prepares for a summer rebuild, but mooted moves for the likes of Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey won’t be cheap.

While the club broke their transfer record to land Nicolas Pepe last summer, Arsenal are now set to be without Champions League action yet again next term.

Such big-money deals appear to be out of the reach of Arsenal at the moment, which has led to speculation that some players would have to be moved on to fund any major signings.

Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would raise the biggest fee and has been mentioned as a Barcelona target with one year left on his contract.

But Arteta, who saw his side win their third game in six days with a 4-0 victory over Norwich on Wednesday, does not feel that is the right approach.

Asked if the club would have to sell to bring in new players, the Arsenal manager said: “Obviously we are putting different plans together to see what we are going to be able to do. At the moment the uncertainty is still big.

“We have seen different things. The way that Chelsea is dealing with the market is different to rest at the moment, but Bayern Munich as well they’ve have been really aggressive.

“So I don’t know. But if you ask me, we cannot be a team that has to sell his best player to try to bring in and improve our squad. That’s for sure.”

AFP

West Ham Stun Chelsea, Aubameyang Fires Arsenal Revival

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

 

 

West Ham rocked Chelsea’s top-four hopes and boosted their survival bid with a dramatic 3-2 win, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck twice as Arsenal climbed back into European contention with a 4-0 thrashing of Norwich on Wednesday.

Chelsea were hoping to take advantage of third-placed Leicester’s 2-1 defeat at Everton earlier in the day, but instead, the Blues were beaten for the first time since the Premier League restart.

West Ham were denied the opening goal at the London Stadium when VAR ruled Michail Antonio was offside as he lay on the ground while Tomas Soucek slotted home.

Willian fired Chelsea ahead from the penalty spot five minutes before half-time after Issa Diop tripped Christian Pulisic.

Soucek headed home in first-half stoppage time as West Ham finally scored their first goal since the restart.

Antonio put West Ham in front in the 51st minute when he slid in to convert Jarrod Bowen’s cross.

Willian’s superb 70th-minute free-kick drew Chelsea level, but it was West Ham who broke away to win it in the 89th minute when substitute Andriy Yarmolenko finished a brilliant counter attack.

Chelsea are one point behind Leicester and only two ahead of Manchester United and Wolves as the race to qualify for the Champions League hots up with six games left.

West Ham’s crucial first win since the restart moved them three points clear of the relegation zone.

At the Emirates Stadium, Aubameyang moved alongside Jamie Vardy as the Premier League’s top scorer on 19 goals on a night of contrasting fortunes for the Golden Boot contenders.

Arsenal registered a third straight win to move up to seventh against a Norwich side ever more resigned to relegation.

Canaries keeper Tim Krul did his side no favours by gifting the opener to Aubameyang when he was caught trying to dribble past the Gabon international.

Aubameyang’s first saw him reach 50 Premier League goals in 79 appearances — making him the fastest Arsenal player to reach that landmark.

“A player that is able to score as many goals as he has done in that short space of time tells you everything about the importance that he has for us,” said Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta.

Aubameyang turned provider for Granit Xhaka to make it 2-0 before half-time and was then handed another gift when Norwich striker Josip Drmic teed him up to make it 3-0.

Cedric Soares, signed from Southampton in January, made his debut one to remember with a long-range strike nine minutes from time to round off the scoring.

 

Leicester lose more ground 

Leicester are headed in the opposite direction as their winless run since English football’s restart from the coronavirus pandemic stretched to four games.

Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson’s penalty gave Everton the perfect start at Goodison Park.

Kelechi Iheanacho’s fortunate goal as the ball ricocheted in off his face reduced Leicester’s arrears and they pressed hard for an equaliser in the closing stages.

Michael Keane’s clearance off the line spared Jordan Pickford’s blushes after another huge error from the England number one.

“Our form hasn’t been the best for a period now but we still have it in our hands to achieve what would be a dream for us, getting into the top four,” said Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers. “But we can only get that if the performance is right.”

At the bottom of the table, Bournemouth also suffered a huge blow in their battle to beat the drop with a humiliating 4-1 home defeat by Newcastle.

Dwight Gayle, Sean Longstaff, Miguel Almiron, and Valentino Lazaro were on target for the Magpies, who were not distracted by the ongoing uncertainty around the club over a proposed Saudi takeover.

Bournemouth remains in the bottom three and the margin of defeat could also prove costly as they drop below Aston Villa on goal difference into 19th.

 

 

-AFP

Arsenal Beat Southampton To End Losing Streak As Burnley Sink Watford

arsenal-politics
Arsenal’s English midfielder Joe Willock (C) is mobbed by teammates after scoring the second goal during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Arsenal at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on June 25, 2020. Andrew Matthews / POOL / AFP

 

Arsenal kept alive their hopes of qualifying for Europe as Eddie Nketiah punished a howler from Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy to inspire a much-needed 2-0 win on Thursday.

Mikel Arteta’s side were handed the opener in the first half at St Mary’s when Nketiah picked off McCarthy’s pass and fired home.

Joe Willock doubled Arsenal’s lead late in the second half, moments after Southampton’s Jack Stephens was sent off for bringing down Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Arsenal had suffered two successive defeats following the Premier League restart after the coronavirus hiatus.

That wretched run effectively ended their bid to reach the Champions League and sparked criticism of Arteta’s decision to give new contracts to David Luiz and Cedric Soares despite their problems with poor form and injuries respectively.

Against the dispiriting backdrop, Arsenal’s success at St Mary’s, which lifted them into ninth place and kept them in the hunt for a Europa League berth, was a welcome tonic for Arteta.

Arsenal had kicked off with 40 points, which ranked as their joint lowest tally after 30 games of a Premier League campaign.

Matteo Guendouzi was dropped just days after reports that Arteta has grown frustrated with the French midfielder’s behaviour, while Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil were left on the bench.

Guendouzi reportedly taunted Brighton players about how much he earns during Saturday’s match and clashed with Seagulls striker Neal Maupay after the final whistle, with his absence at St Mary’s put down to “squad management” by Arteta.

– Pressure rewarded –

Despite all the turbulence around Arsenal at present, they started brightly in scorching hot temperatures on the south-coast.

Aubameyang should have put Arsenal ahead early on but, after racing into the penalty area, the Gabon forward’s close-range shot cannoned off the bar and bounced clear.

The Gunners were making all the running and their pressure was rewarded in the 20th minute thanks to the gift from McCarthy.

Chasing down Jan Bednarek’s ball to McCarthy, Nketiah forced a woefully misdirected pass from the Saints keeper, pounced on the loose ball and slotted into the empty net.

It was the 21-year-old’s second Premier League goal of the season and his fourth in all competitions for the Gunners after a loan spell at Leeds.

Arsenal had blown the lead at Brighton and have a poor away record this season, so alarm bells were ringing when Southampton striker Danny Ings was left unmarked to volley over.

Southampton were pushing hard and Ryan Bertrand fired into the side-netting from a tight angle before Shane Long forced a good stop from Emiliano Martinez.

But Stephens saw red for his foul on Aubameyang on the edge of the area and Willock slotted home from close-range to seal the points in the 87th minute.

In Thursday’s other early kick-off, Burnley beat struggling Watford 1-0 thanks to Jay Rodriguez’s goal.

Sean Dyche’s team took the lead in the 73rd minute when Rodriguez got across his man at the near post and stooped to head in Dwight McNeil’s cross.

Burnley, rocked by speculation Dyche might quit at the end of the season, remain in mid-table, while Watford are just one point above the relegation zone.

Arsenal Keeper Leno Stretchered Off In Agony At Brighton

Arsenal’s German goalkeeper Bernd Leno lies on the ground 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 June 20, 2020. (Photo by Gareth Fuller / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /

 

Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno was stretchered off after suffering a potentially serious injury during the first half of his side’s Premier League clash at Brighton on Saturday.

Leno screamed in pain after sliding awkwardly when he came to collect the ball just inside his own penalty area.

The German seemed to twist his knee and was given oxygen during several minutes of treatment on the pitch before being taken off.

Leno appeared frustrated with Brighton forward Neal Maupay, shouting and pointing a finger at him while being stretchered to the tunnel.

Maupay had been the Brighton player challenging Leno for the ball when he fell.

Already hit by injuries to Granit Xhaka and Pablo Mari in their 3-0 defeat at Manchester City on Wednesday, Leno’s departure was another blow to Gunners boss Mikel Arteta.

Arteta was also missing Brazilian defender David Luiz, who was sent off against City.

COVID-19: Arsenal Players Allowed Back To Training Ground

In this file photo taken on January 1, 2020 Arsenal's Spanish head coach Mikel Arteta (C) celebrates with his players on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium in London. Ben STANSALL / AFP
In this file photo taken on January 1, 2020 Arsenal’s Spanish head coach Mikel Arteta (C) celebrates with his players on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium in London. Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

Arsenal’s squad will be allowed back to their training ground from next week, although the club stressed they would still have to maintain British government guidelines designed to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

The Premier League side’s players will have access to training pitches but on a strict rotational basis that will see them uphold social distancing measures.

“Players will be permitted access to our London Colney training grounds next week,” said a club spokesperson.

“Access will be limited, carefully managed and social distancing will be maintained at all times.

“All Colney buildings remain closed. Players will travel alone, do their individual workout and return home.”

This week saw Arsenal become the first Premier League club to agree a coronavirus pay cut with their players as manager Mikel Arteta and his stars slashed their wages by 12.5 percent.

There are reports Arsenal, whose yearly wage bill is around £230 million ($286 million), will give players their money back in the event that they bridge an eight-point gap and qualify for the Champions League when football restarts.

Football is currently suspended indefinitely in England, with the UK under lockdown.

 

AFP

Coronavirus: Arsenal Vs Manchester City Game Postponed

Players wait on the pitch while a VAR (Video Assistant Referee) review is conducted before awarding a goal to Arsenal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and West Ham at the Emirates Stadium in London on March 7, 2020.
Ian KINGTON / AFP

 

Arsenal’s game at Manchester City set for Wednesday has been postponed after players from the London club were quarantined, making it the first Premier League football fixture to be called off because of coronavirus.

Arsenal said players and four staff had been isolated at their homes after coming into contact with the owner of Greek club Olympiakos, Vangelis Marinakis, who has since tested positive for COVID-19.

“We are strictly following the government guidelines which recommend that anyone coming into close contact with someone with the virus should self-isolate at home for 14 days from the last time they had contact,” an Arsenal statement said.

“As a result, the players are unavailable for tonight’s (Wednesday’s) match against Manchester City and the Premier League has decided the game should be postponed.”

A picture shows the pitch and stands ahead of the English FA Cup fifth round football match between Portsmouth and Arsenal at Fratton Park stadium in Portsmouth, southern England, on March 2, 2020. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

The first postponement in the Premier League, which has a huge worldwide following, follows widespread disruption to football and other sports across the globe.

Arsenal were knocked out of the Europa League by Olympiakos on February 27. Marinakis, owner of the Greek club and English side Nottingham Forest, announced on Tuesday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.

But Arsenal said the players and staff, who met Marinakis after the game at the Emirates Stadium, will return to work on Friday ahead of Saturday’s trip to Brighton.

“The medical advice we have received puts the risk of them developing COVID-19 at extremely low,” it added.

The Premier League called the move a “precautionary measure” and said there were no plans to postpone any other games.

Arsenal’s opponents on Saturday struggling Brighton tweeted that their game was still on.

“Albion’s match against Arsenal this Saturday remains scheduled to go ahead as planned, in line with government advice, and following consultation with the Premier League and medical advisors. #BHAFC,” they tweeted.

Football’s Serie A and all other sports have been put on hold in Italy, while the top two divisions in Spain and France will be played in empty stadiums for at least the next two weeks.

UEFA’s Champions League and Europa League have also been both forced to arrange matches behind closed doors as the epidemic spreads.

Olympiakos host Wolverhampton Wanderers in Athens this week in the Europa League, in one of the last-16 games that will be played in front of an empty stadium.

Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo has joined a number of managers, including Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp, in voicing disquiet at being asked to play without fans.

“If we have to go we will. But we don’t agree — we’re not happy to go,” he told Sky Sports.

“Behind closed doors doesn’t make sense,” he added. “We’re pretending to live a normal life when things aren’t normal.”

Wednesday’s postponement could also frustrate Premier League leaders Liverpool, as a defeat for Manchester City would have taken Liverpool to the brink of their first top-flight title in 30 years.

AFP

Super-Sub Lacazette Boosts Arsenal’s Euro Hopes Against West Ham

Arsenal's French striker Alexandre Lacazette celebrates after scoring the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and West Ham at the Emirates Stadium in London on March 7, 2020. Ian KINGTON / AFP
Arsenal’s French striker Alexandre Lacazette celebrates after scoring the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and West Ham at the Emirates Stadium in London on March 7, 2020. Ian KINGTON / AFP

 

Alexandre Lacazette came off the bench to keep Arsenal in the hunt for a Champions League place as his late strike survived a VAR review to seal a vital 1-0 win against West Ham on Saturday.

Mikel Arteta’s side struggled to find any momentum for long periods at the Emirates Stadium and could easily have been behind before Lacazette settled a scrappy London derby.

The French striker turned in Mesut Ozil’s header with 12 minutes left, but it took several minutes before VAR finally confirmed the German was onside when he laid on the goal.

Arsenal’s third successive Premier League win lifted them within five points of fourth placed Chelsea, who face Everton on Sunday.

Earning a Champions League berth still looks a long-shot for Arsenal, especially after this uneven display.

But the Gunners, who face Manchester City on Wednesday, are unbeaten in their last eight league games and showed commendable spirit to make the late breakthrough.

West Ham have lost five of their last seven league games and, with only one win in their past nine, they are destined for a nervous finish to the season as they battle to avoid relegation.

Arteta admitted this week that only a victory against West Ham would keep their Champions League bid alive.

He got his wish, but only just.

There was no pre-match handshake between the teams following the Premier League edict to ditch the ritual over coronavirus fears.

Listless for long periods, Arsenal didn’t look too keen on any contact once the game started either.

Granit Xhaka carelessly surrendered possession to Jarrod Bowen, whose long-range drive slipped through Bernd Leno’s grasp onto the near post.

West Ham should have gone ahead when Michail Antonio raced onto Pablo Fornals’ pass, but with the unmarked Sebastien Haller screaming for the ball, the winger could only send a woeful delivery yards behind him.

Pablo Mari, on loan from Flamengo, was making his Premier League debut at the heart of Arsenal’s defence alongside David Luiz, while Greek centre-back Sokratis was used out of position at right-back.

But Arteta’s reshuffled rearguard were easily exposed by Mark Noble’s pin-point pass and Leno did well to get down quickly at the feet of Haller after the West Ham striker moved menacingly towards goal.

Lacazette impact

West Ham’s enterprising opening was nearly undone when Sokratis thumped his close-range header onto the bar from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s cross.

There were still plenty of holes for David Moyes’ men to exploit and only a shocking miss from Antonio stopped them scoring just before half-time.

Issa Diop climbed above Aubameyang and headed Noble’s corner to Antonio, who somehow managed to screw wide from just two yards.

For the first time in over a year, Arsenal had failed to record a shot on target in the first half of a home league game.

They finally tested Lukasz Fabianski when Eddie Nketiah darted onto Bukayo Saka’s pass and flicked his shot at the Hammers keeper.

West Ham remained a threat and it took a superb save from Leno to deny Antonio’s close-range header from Haller’s flick.

Arteta sent on Lacazette in place of Nketiah for the final 30 minutes and his arrival turned the game.

He saw his appeal for a penalty rejected by VAR after Angelo Ogbonna appeared to haul him down.

But Lacazette broke the deadlock with his ninth goal of the season in the 78th minute.

Aubameyang’s shot deflected off Declan Rice and looped to Ozil, whose header found Lacazette for a clinical close-range finish.

A lengthy VAR review prolonged the agony for West Ham before it was finally ruled that Ozil was onside when he set up Lacazette.

Haller almost snatched an immediate equaliser but his effort was pushed away by Leno as Arsenal held on.

 

AFP

Arsenal Knocked Out Of Europa League By Olympiakos

 

Youssef El-Arabi scored in the last minute of extra-time as Olympiakos knocked Arsenal out of the Europa League on Thursday on a night when four former European champions were eliminated.

Ajax, Celtic, Benfica, and Porto went out but Manchester United hardly broke a sweat after Simon Deli of Brugge conceded a penalty and earned a red card in the 23rd minute at Old Trafford and won 5-0.

Arsenal had won the first leg of the round of 32 ties 1-0 in Greece.

Defender Pape Abou Cisse canceled out that advantage when he headed in a corner after 53 minutes.

Arsenal could not break through and were forced to extra time.

Giorgos Masouras hit the bar for Olympiakos in the 112th minute and a minute later Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck for Arsenal, putting them back in front with a spectacular flying kick.

However, in the final minute of extra time, Arsenal cleared an Olympiakos corner but was still disorganised when the ball was swung back into the area.

The cross found El Arabi free in front of goal for an unchallenged shot.

“Very hard, very tough,” said Aubameyang. “Their last-minute goal was unlucky for us.”

Last year Arsenal reached the final.

“It hurts a lot,” said Mikel Arteta, the Arsenal manager. “Attack against defence in 25 metres is difficult, but we created enough chances to win the game comfortably.”

Olympiakos coach Pedro Martins was delighted.

“We were determined, we believed we could qualify and we made it,” said he said. “Tactical intelligence, effectiveness, inner strength, courage…they all weighed in this success.”

At Old Trafford, one of United’s recent signings Bruno Fernandes gave the hosts the lead with a penalty after Deli’s flying intervention.

The other new boy, Odion Ighalo, making his first start, hit his first goal for the club in the 34th minute.

Tentative Ajax

For the Nigerian, who says United were his childhood club, it was a moment to celebrate, but the emotion was mixed.

Ighalo lifted his shirt to reveal a picture of his sister Mary Atole who died suddenly at her home in Canada in December. Ighalo also has her name stitched into his boots.

“I have been waiting for this,” said Ighalo. “It’s a moment I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.”

Scott McTominay and Fred, with two late goals, completed the 5-0 rout and 6-1 aggregate win.

“The football we played at times pleased me the most,” said Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Manchester United manager.

“The players are smiling, they are playing with confidence and that is what we want. The new lads have brought that in.”

Ajax, Champions League semi-finalists last year, kicked off two goals down to Getafe, this season’s Liga surprise team, and conceded another after five minutes.

Jaime Mata exploited tentative Ajax defending to spin and drill in a low shot from close range.

That left the home needed needing to score four, they managed two, the first from young Brazilian Danilo Pereira, with his first for the club, and an own goal when Mathias Olivera deflected a free-kick. Getafe held on comfortably.

Copenhagen scored three goals on three shots as they won 3-1 at Celtic, but deserved the victory.

Jozo Simunovic’s weak back pass gave Copenhagen the ball close to goal after 51 minutes and Micheal Santos completed the punishment.

With seven minutes left, Odsonne Edouard leveled with a penalty but as Celtic tried to press, their defence panicked twice in the last five minutes. Pep Biel and Dame N’Doye coolly accepted the gifts to make the aggregate score 4-2.

“It just wasn’t our day and we’re big boys, we can take it on the chin and we’ve got to make sure we bounce back,” said Celtic captain Craig Brown

Benfica went out 5-4 on aggregate after repeatedly throwing away the initiative as they drew 3-3 at home to Romanians Cluj.

Porto subsided 3-1 at home to Bayer Leverkusen to go out 5-2 overall.

Inter Milan beat Ludogorets 2-1 to advance 4-1 in a match played in an empty San Siro because fans were banned to avoid spreading coronavirus.

The game between FC Salzburg and Eintracht Frankfurt was postponed because of a forecast of dangerously high winds and will be played on Friday.

AFP