‘I Don’t Take It For Granted’, Klopp Praises Liverpool Win At Palace

A file photo of Liverpool’s German manager, Jurgen Klopp. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

 

Jurgen Klopp praised his side’s unerring ability to dig out results when not at their best after Liverpool again scored late to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 on Saturday and maintain their eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

The leaders were indebted to an 85th-minute Roberto Firmino goal at Selhurst Park after Wilfried Zaha had cancelled out Sadio Mane’s second-half opener.

The victory made it 30 league games unbeaten for Klopp’s side and was further compelling evidence that they are well-equipped to end an agonising 30-year wait for the English league title.

“Getting a result at Crystal Palace, I don’t take it for granted,” said Klopp, whose side are eight points clear of Leicester after 13 games.

“We are not out there to show we invented football. We have a job to do to get results. We did that again.

“I have no problem that we were not brilliant today. You just have to make sure you are ready to fight for the result and we were that from the first minute.

“Could we have played better? Yes. But we had players on the pitch that on Thursday morning who were still on the plane back from Abu Dhabi or wherever (during the international break). That’s not too cool.”

Liverpool were missing Mohamed Salah, who was on the bench as he continues to struggle with an ankle injury and lacked their usual fluency going forward in a first half dominated by Palace.

The half-chances were falling to the home side, notably when Jordan Ayew skewed his shot wide before a Joel Ward free-kick was headed onto the top of the crossbar by Gary Cahill.

It appeared that a set-piece had given Palace the lead two minutes before half-time.

A Luka Milivojevic free-kick clipped the head of Georginio Wijnaldum and dropped into the path of James Tomkins to nod home at the far post.

But Klopp’s men had VAR to thank for ruling the goal out after a review ruled that Jordan Ayew had fouled Dejan Lovren in the area.

If Liverpool had been ponderous in the first half, they sprinted into the lead within four minutes of the restart.

– Rasping shots –

First, Jordan Henderson released Mane with a thrusting through ball only for the striker to drag his shot wide.

Within seconds, he atoned for that miss when Firmino flicked Andy Robertson’s cross into his path.

Mane swivelled and sent in a shot that had just enough force to skim the hand of Palace keeper Vicente Guaita and spin-off one post onto the other and cross the line.

The home side responded with rasping shots from first Andros Townsend and then Milivojevic.

At the other end, Firmino almost made it 2-0 midway through the second half, toe-poking a shot which Guaita palmed away for a corner.

That seemed a costly miss as Palace fought their way back into the contest. Alisson Becker was required to tip away a low Jeffrey Schlupp drive before substitute Christian Benteke went close with a spectacular bicycle kick.

The former Liverpool player then helped set up the equaliser, bursting into the area and finding Townsend, who slipped the ball to Zaha. A quick shimmy later and Zaha struck a low shot beyond Alisson.

However, as so often this season, Liverpool found an immediate answer. Virgil van Dijk’s scuffed effort sowed panic in the Palace ranks following a corner and Firmino popped up to steer the loose ball into an empty net.

The fortune that follows champions surfaced again in injury-time when Zaha, superbly found by an astute clipped Townsend pass, slashed at the ball and sent his shot high over the Liverpool bar.

Liverpool Leave It Late Again To Beat Palace

Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino (L) watches his shot to make the score 2-1 during the English Premier League football match against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in south London on November 23, 2019. Ian KINGTON / AFP

 

 

Liverpool continue to look like Premier League champions in waiting as they combined grit and good fortune to secure a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

The victory, secured by Roberto Firmino’s 85th-minute winner, made it 30 league games unbeaten for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

It also reinforced their imposing ability to turn draws into victories, a habit which looks set to carry them to a first Premier League title in 30 years.

Another vital win maintains the European champions’ eight-point lead over Leicester at the top of the table and opens up a 12-point gap on defending champions Manchester City prior to their clash with Chelsea later on Saturday.

Liverpool were shorn of Mohamed Salah, who started on the bench as he continues to struggle with an ankle injury and lacked their usual fluency going forward in a first half dominated by Palace.

The half-chances were falling to the home side, notably when Jordan Ayew skewed his shot wide before a Joel Ward free-kick was headed onto the top of the crossbar by Gary Cahill.

It appeared that a set-piece had given Palace the lead two minutes before half-time.

A Luka Milivojevic free-kick clipped the head of Georginio Wijnaldum and dropped into the path of James Tomkins to nod home at the far post.

But not for the first time this season, Klopp’s men had VAR to thank for ruling out the goal.

Ayew’s hand was on the back of Lovren as the pair moved towards the ball, yet VAR official Chris Kavanagh was clearly fooled by the Croatian defender’s theatrical fall to what could hardly be considered a push at normal speed.

If Liverpool had been somewhat ponderous in the first half, they sprinted into the lead within four minutes of the restart.

– Rasping shots –

First, Jordan Henderson released Mane with a thrusting through ball only for the striker to drag his shot wide.

Within seconds, he atoned for that miss when Firmino flicked Andy Robertson’s cross into his path.

Mane swivelled and sent in a shot that possessed just enough force to skim the hand of Palace keeper Vicente Guaita and spin-off one post onto the other and cross the line

The home side responded with rasping shots from first Andros Townsend and then Milivojevic.

At the other end, Firmino almost made it 2-0 after 67 minutes, toe-poking a shot which Guaita palmed away for a corner.

That seemed a costly miss as Palace fought their way back into the contest. Alisson was required to tip away a low Jeffrey Schlupp drive before substitute Christian Benteke went close with a spectacular bicycle kick.

The former Liverpool player then helped set up the equaliser, bursting into the area and finding Townsend who slipped the ball to Zaha. A quick shimmy later and Zaha struck a low shot beyond Alisson.

However, as so often this season, Liverpool found an immediate answer. Virgil van Dijk’s scuffed effort met with Palace panic following a corner and Firmino popped up to steer the loose ball into an empty net.

The fortune that follows champions surfaced again in injury-time when Zaha, superbly found by an astute clipped Townsend pass, slashed at the ball and sent his shot high over the Liverpool bar.

AFP

Sixth Win On The Spin Lifts Chelsea To Second In Premier League

Chelsea’s US midfielder Christian Pulisic (C) celebrates with teammates after he scores his team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge in London on November 9, 2019. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Chelsea secured a sixth straight Premier League win to move up to second as the in-form Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic struck to beat Crystal Palace 2-0.

Abraham ended Palace’s dogged defensive resistance with a simple finish from Willian’s deft through ball seven minutes into the second half before Pulisic headed home a loose ball 11 minutes from time to seal all three points.

Chelsea edge a point clear of Manchester City and to within five of leaders Liverpool, who host City in a highly-anticipated clash on Sunday.

A 4-4 draw with Ajax on Tuesday took the tally of goals Chelsea’s prior 18 games this season to 70 at an average of nearly four per game.

However, the Blues free-flowing football under Frank Lampard was met with a brick wall of a Palace defence for the first 45 minutes.

Pulisic had scored four goals in his last two Premier League games as the American begins to deliver on his £58 million ($74 million) price tag and only a fine save from Vicente Guaita denied the USA captain another strike early on.

Thereafter, Chelsea were largely restricted to efforts from free-kicks on the edge of the box before the break as Willian curled inches wide.

Gary Cahill was making his return to Stamford Bridge after his seven years as a Chelsea player came to an end in the summer.

And Cahill reminded his former employers of why he won eight trophies for the club with a brilliant block to repel Willian’s goalbound effort in first half stoppage time.

The Palace resistence was finally broken by one moment of genius from Willian as Chelsea’s captain for the day flicked the ball perfectly into Abraham’s path to slot home his 11th goal of the season.

Pulisic tested Guaita again with a rising drive shortly after that the Spaniard did brilliantly to tip over.

Palace’s problem this season has been scoring goals, but they missed a huge chance to snatch a point 20 minutes from time when James Tomkins headed wide from Luka Milivojevic’s free-kick.

Instead at the other end, Pulisic finally got the goal his performance deserved by following up after Michy Batshuayi’s shot had been blocked to nod past a helpless Guaita.

Crystal Palace Hold Arsenal As Emery’s Problems Increase

 

 

Unai Emery’s problems mounted as Arsenal blew a two-goal lead amid VAR controversy and captain Granit Xhaka feuded with fans in Sunday’s 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace.

Emery was already under pressure after Arsenal slumped to a shock defeat at Sheffield United on Monday and the Gunners boss has more fires to put out following his side’s dismal capitulation at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal were on course for victory after goals from Sokratis and David Luiz put them two up inside 10 minutes.

But Luka Milivojevic started the Arsenal collapse when he converted a penalty awarded by VAR after Wilfried Zaha was initially booked for diving.

Emery’s team faded in familiar fashion after that and Jordan Ayew bagged Palace’s deserved equaliser before Arsenal had a late Sokratis winner disallowed by VAR.

Fifth-placed Arsenal, four points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, have won just two of their last eight Premier League games and there is a growing sense that all is not well with the club.

Xhaka’s remarkable bust-up with the crowd laid bare the simmering tensions.

When Xhaka was replaced by Bukayo Saka, the disliked Swiss midfielder trudged slowly to the touchline while petulantly gesticulating to the fans who had cheered his substitution and were now angrily urging him to get off the pitch quicker.

Xhaka’s incredible tantrum climaxed when he ripped off his shirt and stormed straight down the tunnel to more derision from the stands.

The match finished to a soundtrack of boos from Arsenal supporters who sang Mesut Ozil’s name in a pointed reference to Emery’s decision to once again leave out the German star.

It seemed Arsenal might lift the gloom from their depressing trip to Bramall Lane when they opened the scoring in the seventh minute.

When Wayne Hennessey and Gary Cahill made a hash of heading clear from Nicolas Pepe’s corner, Xhaka nodded the ball down for Sokratis to fire home through a crowd of players for his first goal since April.

Arsenal storm

Goals from set-pieces are something of a rarity for Arsenal, while Palace hadn’t conceded one from that route all season.

But just two minutes later Arsenal netted again from another corner.

Pepe’s delivery was glanced on by Alexandre Lacazette and, with the Palace defence slow to react, Luiz pounced with a tap-in at the far post.

Lacazette nearly made it three when he controlled Kieran Tierney’s cross and swivelled for a low shot that forced Hennessey to save at full stretch.

Zaha responded in the 32nd minute as the Ivory Coast winger showed why Arsenal tried to sign him in the close-season before switching their attentions to his compatriot Pepe.

When Zaha tricked his way past Calum Chambers in the Arsenal area, the defender clearly stuck out a leg and tripped the Palace star.

Martin Atkinson thought otherwise and booked Zaha for diving, but justice was done when a VAR review reversed the referee’s decision, awarding a spot-kick that Milivojevic stroked home with ease.

Pepe went close from the edge of the area, but Palace were looking more menacing and Patrick van Aanholt’s stinging drive drew a good save from Bernd Leno.

With Arsenal creaky at the back, it was little surprise that Palace equalised in the 52nd minute.

Pepe complained he was fouled by Van Aanholt in the build-up, but Arsenal still had plenty of time to stop James McArthur lofting a cross towards Ayew, who peeled away from the dozing Luiz to head home.

Arsenal tried to quell the storm after Xhaka’s bizarre exit, but Lacazette’s thudding effort rattled the woodwork.

Sokratis thought he had won it from close-range in the 83rd minute after Lacazette flicked on Pepe’s corner.

But for the second time in the match, VAR went against Arsenal as the goal was ruled out for Chambers’ foul on Milivojevic.

Guardiola Asks Players To Be Clinical After Crystal Palace Win

Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola attends a press conference at City Football Academy in Manchester, north west England on September 30, 2019. Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola called on his side to be more clinical after they brushed aside in-form Crystal Palace 2-0 on Saturday to narrow the gap to Premier League leaders Liverpool to five points.

The defending champions travelled to London with questions over their ability to sustain a title challenge after two defeats in four league games but produced some incisive football without applying their usual killer touch.

City had 21 shots but Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey kept his side in the game and the visitors had their own ‘keeper, Ederson, to thank for a couple of outstanding saves at the other end.

“We played good, created a lot of chances,” said City boss Guardiola. “They are always so strong for the second ball. Unfortunately, we could not convert the chances we had but it was an important three points after the international break.

“Hopefully we can start from here and continue our good performance. Their ‘keeper made a lot of saves but hopefully we can be more clinical.”

He praised his makeshift defence on a day when John Stones made his first appearance, from the bench, since September.

City were quickly into their stride against Roy Hodgson’s men, dominating possession and forcing Palace onto the back foot but they did not break the deadlock until shortly before half-time.

Jesus strikes 

The visitors were rewarded for their dominance in the 39th minute when Bernardo Silva whipped in a left-footed cross. Gabriel Jesus shaped to head the ball but it came off his shoulder and crept into the net off the far post past a rooted Hennessey.

They doubled their lead just two minutes later following a speedy counter-attack.

When the ball came to Raheem Sterling he produced a delightful chip from just inside the area into the path of David Silva, who watched it drop over his left shoulder before guiding it into the net.

Palace occasionally looked threatening, with Wilfried Zaha a flickering menace, but failed to make the most of their few opportunities to test City’s back four.

Jesus was preferred to Sergio Aguero while Riyad Mahrez was also missing from the starting side, with Fernandinho and Rodri at the heart of defence.

The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, with City in charge. Kevin De Bruyne was denied a penalty after a VAR check backed up the referee’s original decision not to award a spot-kick.

Jesus forced a smart save from Hennessey before Bernardo Silva forced Hennessey into a one-handed save with a curling left-foot shot from the angle.

Hodgson threw on Christian Benteke for Luka Milivojevic with about 15 minutes to go and the Belgian almost scored with his first touch, rising highest to head the ball goalwards from a corner only to see Ederson push the ball onto the crossbar.

City should have killed the game off moments later but Jesus failed to square the ball to the unmarked De Bruyne.

Ederson produced another stunning save from Zaha’s strike minutes before the end.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, who have a perfect record of eight wins out of eight games, can restore their eight-point lead if they beat Manchester United on Sunday.

City’s next two Premier League games against Aston Villa and Southampton look winnable but they face a crucial match against Liverpool at Anfield on November 10.

AFP

Man City Return To Winning Ways But Guardiola Wants Killer Touch

Manchester City’s Spanish midfielder David Silva (C) celebrates after scoring their second goal during the match. Ian KINGTON / AFP

 

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola called on his side to be more clinical after they brushed aside in-form Crystal Palace 2-0 on Saturday to narrow the gap to Premier League leaders Liverpool to five points.

The defending champions travelled to London with questions over their ability to sustain a title challenge after two defeats in four league games but produced some incisive football without applying their usual killer touch.

City had 21 shots but Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey kept his side in the game and the visitors had their own ‘keeper, Ederson, to thank for a couple of outstanding saves at the other end.

“We played good, created a lot of chances,” said City boss Guardiola. “They are always so strong for the second ball. Unfortunately, we could not convert the chances we had but it was an important three points after the international break.

“Hopefully we can start from here and continue our good performance. Their ‘keeper made a lot of saves but hopefully, we can be more clinical.”

He praised his makeshift defence on a day when John Stones made his first appearance, from the bench, since September.

READ ALSO: Alli Saves Spurs From Another Defeat

City were quickly into their stride against Roy Hodgson’s men, dominating possession and forcing Palace onto the back foot but they did not break the deadlock until shortly before half-time.

Jesus strikes

The visitors were rewarded for their dominance in the 39th minute when Bernardo Silva whipped in a left-footed cross. Gabriel Jesus shaped to head the ball but it came off his shoulder and crept into the net off the far post past a rooted Hennessey.

They doubled their lead just two minutes later following a speedy counter-attack.

When the ball came to Raheem Sterling he produced a delightful chip from just inside the area into the path of David Silva, who watched it drop over his left shoulder before guiding it into the net.

Palace occasionally looked threatening, with Wilfried Zaha a flickering menace, but failed to make the most of their few opportunities to test City’s back four.

Jesus was preferred to Sergio Aguero while Riyad Mahrez was also missing from the starting side, with Fernandinho and Rodri at the heart of defence.

The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, with City in charge. Kevin De Bruyne was denied a penalty after a VAR check backed up the referee’s original decision not to award a spot-kick.

Jesus forced a smart save from Hennessey before Bernardo Silva forced Hennessey into a one-handed save with a curling left-foot shot from the angle.

Hodgson threw on Christian Benteke for Luka Milivojevic with about 15 minutes to go and the Belgian almost scored with his first touch, rising highest to head the ball goalwards from a corner only to see Ederson push the ball onto the crossbar.

City should have killed the game off moments later but Jesus failed to square the ball to the unmarked De Bruyne.

Ederson produced another stunning save from Zaha’s strike minutes before the end.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, who have a perfect record of eight wins out of eight games, can restore their eight-point lead if they beat Manchester United on Sunday.

City’s next two Premier League games against Aston Villa and Southampton look winnable but they face a crucial match against Liverpool at Anfield on November 10.

AFP

Son At The Double As Spurs Thump Crystal Palace

 

 

Tottenham emphatically allayed concerns about their ability to break down teams at home with a 4-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Spurs had laboured in their previous home matches this season, having to come from behind to beat newly promoted Aston Villa and then falling to a 1-0 defeat against Newcastle.

Tottenham fans may have feared another frustrating afternoon against London rivals Palace.

Roy Hodgson’s side arrived lying fourth in the league table and boasting the best defensive record, having conceded just two goals in their opening four matches.

The Eagles have also developed a reputation for winning away against top-six sides, having triumphed at all of those elite teams apart from Spurs since the start of the 2016/17 season.

READ ALSO: Abraham Leads The Way For Five-Star Chelsea

But Mauricio Pochettino’s side blew their visitors away with four first-half strikes, Son Heung-min scoring either side of a Patrick van Aanholt own goal before Erik Lamela got in on the act in a victory that took the north Londoners up to third in the table.

Pochettino made just one change to the side that had drawn 2-2 with Arsenal before the international break, selecting Serge Aurier at right-back in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

It was Aurier’s first league start since February 23, and the Ivorian would probably have been overlooked once again if Juan Foyth or Kyle Walker-Peters had been available.

Spurs warning

In the very first minute, Son found himself in space inside the box and sent a low shot at goalkeeper Vicente Guaita.

Toby Alderweireld then dissected Palace’s centre-backs with a ball over the top to Harry Kane, who was also unable to beat Guaita.

The visitors should therefore have spotted the danger when Alderweireld sent another long pass up towards Son but Mamadou Sakho got caught underneath the ball, allowing Son to bring it down, cut inside and find the bottom right corner.

Eleven minutes later Aurier fired in a low cross that deflected in off Van Aanholt at the near post, and two minutes after that the right-back hung up a cross to the far post, where Son arrived unmarked and volleyed home six yards out.

It was the South Korean’s fifth goal in his four home league matches against Palace, and he was involved in the move for the final goal before the break, passing wide to Kane, whose low cross was finished by Lamela.

Son nearly completed his hat-trick after half-time when he burst past Sakho and lobbed Guaita from a tight angle, only to find the near side netting, while a powerful Aurier shot was blocked.

Pochettino said at the start of this month that when the European transfer window closed, ending speculation about the immediate futures of some of his players, he would “make a big party and celebrate”.

Content his side were safe, the Argentine’s thoughts turned to Wednesday’s Champions League match against Olympiakos and he withdrew Harry Winks, Danny Rose and Kane.

Palace, having suffered a ninth straight league defeat to Spurs, will wonder how long it will be before they are next in the top four again.

Rashford Misses Penalty As Crystal Palace Shock United

Manchester United’s English striker Marcus Rashford reacts after missing his penalty during the English Premier League football match between his team and Crystal Palace at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on August 24, 2019. Lindsey Parnaby / AFP.

 

 

Manchester United suffered fresh penalty woe as Marcus Rashford missed from the spot in their shock 2-1 home defeat against Crystal Palace, while Chelsea manager Frank Lampard secured his first win at Norwich on Saturday.

On Monday, United were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw at Wolves after Paul Pogba’s penalty was saved by Rui Patricio when the France star insisted on taking over spot-kick duties from Rashford.

But Rashford fared no better when he hit a post from the spot in the second half against Palace at Old Trafford, putting United on course for their first defeat of the Premier League season when Patrick van Aanholt grabbed the visitors’ winner in stoppage-time.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had sent out United’s first unchanged line-up in the Premier League since December 2017, but that group produced a tame first-half performance as Palace took the lead in the 32nd minute.

Palace keeper Vicente Guaita thumped the ball upfield and Jeffrey Schlupp flicked on to Jordan Ayew, who was played onside by the slow-to-react Harry Maguire as he side-footed past David de Gea for Palace’s first goal of the season.

When Scott McTominay was fouled, Rashford, who had scored a penalty against Chelsea in the first game of the campaign, took the ball as Pogba looked on, but the England striker’s spot-kick cannoned back off the woodwork.

Former Swansea midfielder Daniel James looked to have spared Rashford’s blushes when he bagged his second goal for United with a fine finish in the 89th minute.

But a terrible blunder by United keeper De Gea proved decisive in the third minute of stoppage-time as the Spaniard allowed van Aanholt’s shot to squeeze under him at the near post.

It was Palace’s first league win over United since May 1991 and their first league victory at Old Trafford since December 1989.

At Carrow Road, Tammy Abraham got the Lampard era up and running as the young Chelsea striker’s double helped seal a 3-2 win over the Canaries.

Lampard had gone three games without a win in all competitions since he took over as Chelsea manager, but the Blues legend finally got off the mark thanks to his faith in Abraham.

– Pulsating encounter –

Abraham had failed to score in his three previous appearances this term, but the 21-year-old striker bagged his first goal for the club to put Chelsea ahead.

A pulsating encounter saw Todd Cantwell equalise for Norwich before Mason Mount restored Chelsea’s advantage.

Teemu Pukki’s fifth goal in three games this season brought Norwich back on level terms before half-time, only for Abraham to give Chelsea the points with his predatory second-half finish.

Southampton won 2-0 at south-coast rivals Brighton, who paid the price for the 30th-minute dismissal of forward Florin Andone for nasty high challenge on Yan Valery.

Southampton took the lead when Mali Under-20 international Moussa Djenepo struck with his first touch in the 55th minute — just 78 seconds after coming on as a substitute.

Nathan Redmond ensured Southampton would enjoy their first win of the season when he scored in the closing moments.

Leicester substitute Harvey Barnes sealed his side’s first victory of the season as they beat Sheffield United 2-1 at Bramall Lane.

Jamie Vardy produced a typically predatory effort from James Maddison’s pass to give Leicester the lead in the 38th minute.

Oliver McBurnie brought United level in the 62nd minute, the club-record signing heading past Kasper Schmeichel after coming off the bench.

But Barnes won it for Leicester with a superb strike in the 70th minute.

Sebastien Haller’s first goals for West Ham ensured his side cruised to a 3-1 victory at Watford.

Mark Noble was making his first start this term for West Ham and the midfielder was on the scoresheet with a third-minute penalty.

Andre Gray drew Watford level with their first goal of the season in the 17th minute.

However, Haller, a close-season signing from Eintracht Frankfurt, broke the deadlock from Felipe Anderson’s cross in the 64th minute.

And French forward Haller’s brilliant overhead kick nine minutes later sealed West Ham’s first success of the campaign and left Watford still waiting to get a point on the board.

AFP

Sheffield United Earn First Win Back In The Premier League

 

Sheffield United made a winning return to the Premier League at Bramall Lane as John Lundstram scored the only goal for a deserved 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Lundstram, who has spent the majority of his career on loan spells in England’s lower leagues, blasted into an unguarded net after Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita could only parry a low cross into the box two minutes into the second half.

Despite the slender margin of victory, Chris Wilder’s men were well worthy of the three points as they built on a promising 1-1 draw at Bournemouth on the opening weekend of the season.

READ ALSO: City Held By Spurs After Late VAR Drama

Palace were blunt in attack with Wilfried Zaha often outnumbered and they have yet to find the net this season.

David McGoldrick missed a glorious chance to put the hosts in front before half-time, but his prodded finish from point-blank range was too close to Spaniard Guaita.

However, the Blades quickly made their mark after the break when a purposeful run and cross by Luke Freeman fell perfectly for Lundstram to fire home.

United Complete Wan-Bissaka’s £50m Move

Aaron Wan-Bissaka of England(file)/AFP

 

Manchester United completed the signing of Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace for a reported fee of up to £50 million ($64 million) on Saturday.

“Manchester United is delighted to confirm the signing of Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace,” United staid in a statement.

“Aaron has signed a five-year contract with an option to extend for a further year.”

The 21-year-old made just 42 Premier League appearances for the Eagles, but was an outstanding performer last season.

READ ALSO: Women’s World Cup: Rapinoe Knocks Out Hosts France, Fires USA Into Semi-Finals

An initial fee of £45 million with an extra £5 million in add-ons has reportedly been agreed between the clubs, making Wan-Bissaka the most expensive defender in United’s history.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling and an honour to call myself a Manchester United player and something I know that only a small number of players have the privilege to say,” said Wan-Bissaka.

The Red Devils are in need of an overhaul after finishing sixth in the Premier League last season to miss out on Champions League qualification.

A long-term replacement at right-back for club captain Antonio Valencia, who left Old Trafford at the end of last season when his contract expired, was one of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s priorities in the transfer market.

“Aaron is one of the best upcoming defenders in the Premier League,” said Solskjaer.

“He has the right work ethic, talent and mentality to play for Manchester United and he fits exactly the type of player that we are looking to bring into the squad to help us improve and push on further.”

Wan-Bissaka will become United’s second signing of the summer following the arrival of winger Daniel James from Swansea as United turn their attention towards young, British players rather than the expensive star buys of recent seasons.

He will travel with his new teammates for a pre-season tour in Australia, Singapore and China after a short break to recover from a disappointing under-21 European Championships with England.

Wan-Bissaka scored an injury time own goal to gift France a 2-1 victory in England’s opening game in Italy and was then dropped for matches with Romania and Croatia as Aidy Boothroyd’s side crashed out at the group stages.

“I will have a short break now after the European Championships but I’m looking forward to starting training with the manager and my new team-mates on the pre-season tour,” he added.

AFP

Crystal Palace Beat Arsenal In Premier League Showdown

Crystal Palace’s Ivorian striker Wilfried Zaha celebrates scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium in London on April 21, 2019. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Arsenal’s bid for a top four finish in the Premier League suffered a major setback as Crystal Palace punished their sluggish display to claim a shock 3-2 win on Sunday.

Unai Emery’s side paid the price for a defensive horror show at the Emirates Stadium to leave their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League via the domestic route hanging in the balance.

The Gunners, who can also reach the competition by winning the Europa League, fell behind to Christian Benteke’s first goal for a year before Mesut Ozil equalised early in the second half.

Shkodran Mustafi’s blunder allowed Wilfried Zaha to put Palace back in front.

James McArthur took advantage of more woeful Arsenal defending to make it three and, although Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang reduced the deficit, it was too late to stop Palace’s first league win at Arsenal since October 1994.

READ ALSO: Liverpool Beat Cardiff To Mount Pressure On City

Arsenal sit in fourth place, level on points with Chelsea, who will go above them if they avoid defeat against Burnley on Monday.

Arsenal’s top four challenge had been fuelled by their impressive home form and their first league loss at the Emirates since the opening weekend of the season was hugely damaging.

Arsenal had won 12 of their last 13 home games in all competitions, but the end of that streak puts them in the tricky position of needing to improve their dismal away record when they travel to Wolves and Leicester this week.

Emery made seven changes from Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final win at Napoli in a bid to freshen up his side and, as a result, Arsenal never looked in sync.

They were authors of their own downfall when Palace took the lead in the 17th minute.

Benteke won a free-kick wide on the right and when it was curled in, Mustafi and Konstantinos Mavropanos both stood watching as Benteke thundered past them to head home from close-range.

It was the much-maligned Benteke’s first goal since he scored against Leicester in April 2018, ending the Belgian striker’s 19-game drought in his 200th Premier League appearance.

Mustafi was guilty of appealing for offside rather than following Benteke for the goal and the centre-back produced another costly miscue moments later when he headed over from close-range.

Day To Forget

It was that kind of afternoon for Arsenal, who felt Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka should have conceded a penalty when he blocked a cross with his hands.

Zaha says he wants to leave to play in the Champions League next season and the forward gave a glimpse of his class when he accelerated away for a cross that Benteke ballooned over the bar.

Emery sent on Alex Iwobi and Ainsley Maitland-Niles at half-time, and the changes helped Arsenal draw level two minutes after the restart.

Iwobi slipped a pass to Alexandre Lacazette on the edge of the area and the Arsenal forward picked out Ozil, who beat Vicente Guaita with a fine strike at his near post.

But Mustafi’s day to forget hit a new low in the 61st minute as Palace went back in front after another mistake from the German.

When Benteke flicked a header towards the Arsenal area, Mustafi seemed unware of Zaha’s presence behind him.

Holding out his arms to indicate the ball would run to keeper Bernd Leno, he bizarrely allowed the Ivorian to run past him and clip a cool finish into the far corner.

Shell-shocked Arsenal crumbled again as Palace made it three in the 69th minute.

Having already won at Manchester City in December, Roy Hodgson’s side were on course for another famous scalp when Scott Dann nodded goalwards and McArthur headed past Leno.

Aubameyang capped an incisive burst with his 24th goal of the season in the 77th minute.

But it was too late to spare Arsenal’s blushes as Matteo Guendouzi wasted their last chance with a weak finish.

AFP

Sako Returns To Crystal Palace

Bakary Sako. Credit: @AdvertiserCPFC

 

Bakary Sako has returned to Crystal Palace on a short-term deal until the end of the season, the English Premier League club announced Sunday.

Sako made 50 appearances for Palace from 2015-2018 but left at the end of last season when his contract expired and signed a one-year deal with second-tier club West Bromwich Albion.

But the 30-year-old Mali forward struggled at The Hawthorns, starting only three times, and Albion have agreed to release him from his contract so he can return to south London side Palace.

“I’m delighted that we’ve managed to bring Bakary back to Palace,” manager Roy Hodgson said.

“He’s a player with a huge amount of talent and as he showed when he was fully fit last year, he is able to provide a boost to our attacking options.”

AFP