Aubameyang Deal Shows Arsenal Are Among European Giants, Arteta Says

arteta-aubameyang
Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (L) and Arsenal’s Spanish head coach Mikel Arteta hold the winner’s trophy as the team celebrates victory after the English FA Cup final football match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in London, on August 1, 2020. Arsenal won the match 2-1. / AFP / POOL / Catherine Ivill /

 

 

Mikel Arteta said Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s decision to sign a new deal at Arsenal showed the Premier League club were on the same level as European giants such as Barcelona.

The Gabon forward, 31, committed his future to Arsenal this week after months of speculation that he would leave for a club in the Champions League.

The deal is reported to be worth £250,000-per-week ($324,000), with bonuses that could take it beyond the £350,000-per-week contract of the club’s highest earner, Mesut Ozil.

Arsenal boss Arteta, speaking at his pre-match press conference on Friday, said he was delighted the transfer saga was over.

“It was a big boost because I think everybody was hoping for Auba to stay but it was creating some uncertainty around the place and obviously it’s great as well to be able to finish those sort of speculations, move on and find some more stability,” he said.

“It was worrying me because it’s so hard to find replacement strikers of that calibre, so I’m really pleased,” he added.

 

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

 

The Spaniard said it was a “joy” to work with Aubameyang, who signed for the FA Cup holders in 2018 and has scored 72 goals in 111 appearances.

“The way he trains, the way he behaves himself and the way he performs is exactly what I want from him so I want him to do that again consistently in the next few years,” Arteta said.

The manager admitted that when he joined the club last December he was not as positive as he had been in the past few weeks that Arsenal would keep hold of their star forward.

“Financially we were in a position that it was difficult to get what we wanted to get,” he said. “I think Auba had his doubts as well at the time.

“Things evolved in a natural way. I had a feeling that the club wanted to move forward, I had a feeling that Auba wanted to stay here and we were just trying to glide those things together and that sometimes takes time but if the outcome is what we both wanted then we’re happy.”

– Arsenal ambition –

Aubameyang had been linked with a move to Barcelona but Arteta said the deal showed Arsenal were as big a name as the Spanish giants.

“I think the big reason Auba is staying is because we have an incredible football team, an incredible club,” said Arteta, who started his career in the Barcelona youth system.

“We have some fantastic people working here and because he feels as well how much love he’s got from the fans.”

Arteta, whose side host West Ham on Saturday, said the club were looking to bring in a new goalkeeper to compete with Bernd Leno after the departure of Emiliano Martinez to Aston Villa.

Emiliano Martinez. [email protected] Villa

 

Iceland international Runar Alex Runarsson is believed to be close to joining.

“We’ve been looking in the market and I think we will be shortly in a position to announce our new signing,” said Arteta.

AFP

Preview: Liverpool Face Early Test In Title Defence Against Chelsea

File photo: Chelsea’s French defender Kurt Zouma (L) vies with Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield in Liverpool, north-west England on July 22, 2020. Laurence Griffiths / POOL / AFP).

 

Liverpool face an early test of their Premier League title defence against Chelsea this weekend as Manchester City and Manchester United launch their quest to be champions.

Arsenal, Everton and Leicester hope to build on encouraging opening wins while Jose Mourinho needs a morale-boosting victory for Tottenham.

AFP Sport looks at some of the main talking points ahead of the action.

Will big-spending Chelsea make Liverpool pay?

Chelsea’s meeting with Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Sunday has added edge after a feisty exchange between the managers over transfer spending.

The London club finished 33 points behind the champions last season but have splashed out around £200 million ($259 million) on new players.

 

Brazilian defender, Thiago is on an initial one-year deal with Chelsea. Photo: [email protected] FC

 

By contrast, Liverpool have been relatively quiet, adding just Greece left-back Kostas Tsimikas so far, with Spain midfielder Thiago Alcantara likely to follow.

Jurgen Klopp pointedly said Liverpool could not spend in the same way as clubs owned by “countries” and “oligarchs” such as City and Chelsea during the coronavirus pandemic.

But Frank Lampard, who also became embroiled in a spat with Liverpool’s bench in July, pointed out the Anfield side had spent big in previous seasons as they built their title-winning side.

Liverpool will be keen to cut out the defensive errors they committed in a 4-3 win against newly-promoted Leeds, but Mohamed Salah looked in fine early season form as he scored a hat-trick on the opening weekend.

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

 

Chelsea were also unconvincing winners against Brighton in their opening match, but Timo Werner, who chose to join the Blues despite interest from Liverpool, did impress in winning a penalty against the Seagulls.

Manchester City’s tough task

Manchester City are the bookmakers’ favourites to land a third Premier League trophy in four seasons but face a tough opener against Wolves.

City boss Pep Guardiola has shored up his defence by signing Netherlands international Nathan Ake and has added to his rich attacking options, landing Ferran Torres from Valencia.

City scored 102 goals last season as they finished second, but lost nine matches as they surrendered their crown to Liverpool.

Both Manchester clubs are starting a week later than other sides due to their European commitments last season.

Guardiola will be painfully aware that his team must be more consistent this campaign and he cannot afford to let Klopp’s men open up an early lead.

But he will feel nervous as he travels to face Wolves, who beat City twice last season, after a disrupted pre-season.

City duo Aymeric Laporte and Riyad Mahrez tested positive for coronavirus earlier this month, while Phil Foden was sent home by England after breaking coronavirus protocols while on international duty.

Can Man Utd progress?

The challenge facing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ahead of a match against Crystal Palace is how to improve on last season’s third-place finish.

Midfielder Bruno Fernandes was the catalyst as United put together a long unbeaten run, with a front three of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood providing the firepower.

But United have been relatively quiet in the transfer window, so far adding just midfielder Donny van de Beek from Ajax, despite persistent speculation linking them with Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho.

“When we signed Bruno Fernandes, we knew we needed that kind of player — now we’ve signed Donny and he’s a type of player I felt we needed in the squad,” said Solskjaer.

Arsenal’s feel-good factor

Arsenal are buoyant after launching their season with a 3-0 win at newly-promoted Fulham and tying down captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for three more years.

Mikel Arteta’s men, who host West Ham on Saturday, finished down in eighth place last season but ended their campaign on a high, winning the FA Cup for a record 14th time.

They followed that up by beating Liverpool on penalties in the season-opening Community Shield before the announcement on Aubameyang this week that fans had craved.

 

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

 

 

“I want to become an Arsenal legend just like Thierry (Henry), Wrighty (Ian Wright), (Tony) Adams and (Dennis) Bergkamp,” he said.

Premier League Fixtures This Weekend

Saturday

Everton v West Brom (1130 GMT), Leeds v Fulham (1400), Manchester United v Crystal Palace (1630), Arsenal v West Ham (1900)

Sunday

Southampton v Tottenham (1100), Newcastle v Brighton (1300), Chelsea v Liverpool (1530), Leicester v Burnley (1800)

Monday

Aston Villa v Sheffield United (1700), Wolves v Manchester City (1915)

AFP

Bruno Fernandez Wins Manchester United Player Of The Year In Debut Season

Bruno Fernandez is seen as one of the best penalty takers. Photo: [email protected] United.

 

 

Portuguese star Bruno Fernandez has been voted as Manchester United Player of the Year for 2019/2020 in a debut season that saw him scoring and seven goals and bagging eight assists. 

“Thousands of fans voted in our Official App to determine the victor, and they decided in favour of the Portuguese playmaker, who just edged out Anthony Martial, with Marcus Rashford finishing in third place,” the Premier League club said on Friday while announcing the midfielder as the winner of the Sir Matt Busby Player prize.

“Bruno succeeds Luke Shaw as the trophy’s holder and is the first player in club history to seize it after just half a season in the red shirt.”

 

Manchester United's Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes (L) celebrates scoring their second goal with Manchester United's French midfielder Paul Pogba (R) during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester United at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on June 30, 2020. Alastair Grant / POOL / AFP
File photo: Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes (L) celebrates scoring their second goal with Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba (R) during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester United at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on June 30, 2020.
Alastair Grant / POOL / AFP

 

Despite playing 22 times for the Red Devils since joining them from Sporting Lisbon in January 2020,  Fernandez got 35.5 per cent of the votes from fans, pipping Martial who scored 34 per cent, to the award.

READ ALSO: Solskjaer Asked England Not To Pick Greenwood Before COVID-19 Breach

England forward, Marcus Rashford earned 10.4 per cent of the nominations to finish third while Mason Greenwood finished fourth in the poll with 8.3 per cent of votes.

“Next was Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who obtained 3.8 per cent, and Harry Maguire finished sixth with 2.4 per cent,” United explained.

A Good Feeling 

The Portuguese star who has been in dazzling form for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side scooped the club’s Player of the Month gong in February, March, June and August.

“Of course you want to win some trophies for the team, for the club and for the fans. But, obviously, I’m happy with the individual trophies,” the player said, admitting that it “you feel good” when a footballer win prizes.

“I want to add this to so many trophies for the club and for the fans because I think they deserve [it].”

Everton Inflict Defeat On Mourinho’s Tottenham As Calvert-Lewin Scores

Everton players celebrate after scoring against Spurs. Photo: [email protected]

 

Everton signalled their intent for Carlo Ancelotti’s first full season in charge as Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s towering header earned their first win over Tottenham since 2012 in a 1-0 victory on Sunday.

Ancelotti has been heavily backed with the signings of James Rodriguez, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Allan, and the Toffees looked a much-improved side on the one that finished 12th last season as they were thoroughly deserving winners at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Spurs are also hoping for an upturn in Jose Mourinho’s first full season as boss, but the hosts looked short on ideas as they slipped to a damaging home defeat for their aspirations of mounting a challenge to get back into the top four this season.

Everton settled the quicker with their new midfield trio helping to control possession, but it was on the counter-attack they wasted by far the best chance of the game. Richarlison intercepted Ben Davies’s wayward pass and accelerated past Toby Alderweireld and Hugo Lloris before skewing high and wide with an open goal to aim at and Calvert-Lewin begging for a cut-back.

Son Heung-min was by far Spurs’ most dangerous attacking outlet in a performance otherwise lacking in inspiration going forward.

The South Korean’s teasing cross just evaded Harry Kane and the far post before he put Dele Alli in on goal and his shot forced a great save from fellow England international Jordan Pickford.

James curled his first sight of goal in an Everton shirt just wide, while at the other end Pickford stood up well again to deny Matt Doherty after Tottenham’s best move of the half saw the Irishman teed up by Kane’s dinked pass.

Everton surrendered meekly to a 1-0 defeat when they visited the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in July without mustering a meaningful shot on goal.

But the difference a few months and fresh faces can make was on show in the second half as they controlled the game to earn a first win over Spurs in 16 games.

Tottenham were given a few warnings before the only goal of the game arrived as James dragged a shot from inside the box wide before Richarlison mistimed his header at the back post from an inch-perfect James cross.

The opener arrived 10 minutes after the break as Calvert-Lewin rose highest to power Lucas Digne’s free-kick into the top corner.

Mourinho said on Friday he hopes to add another striker before the end of the transfer window to add some support to Kane, but any new arrival will need better service to work with as the England captain did not have an opportunity to get his side back on level terms.

Everton and Richarlison continued to enjoy all the chances as twice the Brazilian cut inside on his favoured right foot and curled efforts just beyond Lloris’s far post.

However, one goal was enough for a statement win for the visitors and the worst possible start for Tottenham ahead of a gruelling schedule as they face up to eight games in the Europa League, League Cup and Premier League in the next three weeks.

AFP

We Want To Reach Europe Next Season, Ancelotti Tells Everton Players

In this file photo taken on January 02, 2017 Fans shield their eyes from the Sun during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Southampton at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England. Paul ELLIS / AFP
In this file photo taken on January 02, 2017 Fans shield their eyes from the Sun during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Southampton at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north-west England. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

 

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti has set his players the minimum target of qualifying for Europe this season after they finished a lowly 12th in the Premier League in his first season in charge.

The Italian, a three-time Champions League winner, enjoyed a bright start to his reign after his appointment in December but their form fell away and they finished in their lowest position since 2004.

That was a disappointment for Ancelotti, who harboured hopes of sneaking into the European places despite taking over a team in a relegation battle.

“I think that the goal we want to achieve is to fight for the first positions of the Premier League to be able to reach Europe next season,” he said.

“The goal is quite clear. We have this desire, this ambition. I think we can.”

Ancelotti has strengthened his midfield with the signings of Napoli’s Brazil international Allan, Watford’s Abdoulaye Doucoure and high-profile Colombia playmaker James Rodriguez.

He still needs more cover at centre-back as Yerry Mina has been hampered by niggling injuries, while there are question marks over whether he has enough firepower with Richarlison, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Moise Kean.

But Ancelotti is satisfied with the club’s transfer activity so far, with all three new signings set to be given their debuts at Tottenham on Sunday.

“I think that we are happy to have these players,” he said. “The club did a fantastic job because these players — James, Doucoure and Allan — were the priority for us.

“We were able to sign them and so we’re really happy, I think the club did a fantastic job.

“Now we are working to have a good season. We would like to be competitive in all the competitions and I think with these players the squad has improved and I think we are going to compete.

“The market is going to be closed on October 5. If there is some opportunity I think we can look for this (more signings), but honestly I am satisfied with the squad in this moment.”

AFP

Man City To Erect Statue To Honour Silva’s Decade Of Service

File photo: Manchester City’s Spanish midfielder David Silva (R) waves into the lens of a television camera operator after the UEFA Champions League round of 16-second leg football match between Manchester City and Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north-west England on August 7, 2020. Manchester City won the match 2-1. Shaun Botterill / POOL / AFP

 

 

 

David Silva is to be honoured by Manchester City, as former captain Vincent Kompany was, with a statue celebrating his 10 years with the club and his contribution to 14 trophies, the club announced on Monday.

The 34-year-old former Spanish international attacking midfielder saw the curtain come down on his career at City in the surprise 3-1 loss to French side Lyon in Saturday’s Champions League quarter-final.

Silva joined from Valencia in 2010, and made 436 appearances — he also was part of the Spain national side that collected two Euro crowns (2008 and 2012) and the 2014 World Cup.

“David is a transformational player, a quiet leader who has inspired everyone around him,” said City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak in a club statement.

 

 

File photo: Manchester City’s Spanish midfielder David Silva celebrates after he scores the team’s first goal during the English FA Cup final football match between Manchester City and Watford at Wembley Stadium in London, on May 18, 2019. Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

“David’s statue will act as a lasting reminder of the wonderful moments that he gave us, not only as an incredible footballer but as an inspiring ambassador who represented this football club with great dignity at all times.”

The statue will be unveiled in 2021.

Silva’s contribution will also be commemorated by a mosaic and the naming of a training pitch in his honour at City’s training ground.

Silva made 309 Premier League appearances, scoring 60 goals and played a pivotal role in City’s title wins in 2012, 2014, 2018 and 2019.

He also won two FA Cups and five League Cups.

Silva holds the record for the most European appearances for City, having played 70 Champions League matches over the past decade.

Silva is unlikely to hang up his boots as he has been linked with a move to Serie A side Lazio, who have reportedly offered him a three-year contract.

AFP

Man City’s De Bruyne Wins Premier League Player Of The Season

Kelvin De Bruyne
Manchester City’s Kelvin De Bruyne. Photo: [email protected] League

 

 

Manchester City midfielder, Kelvin De Bruyne has won the 2019/2020 Premier League Player of the Season.

De Bryne saw off competition from Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson, Sadio Mane and Trent Alexander-Arnold, Nick Pope of Burnley, Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy and Danny Ings of Southampton to win the prize.

The Belgian was the only player from Manchester City to be shortlisted for the award.

Although City relinquished the domestic league to Liverpool, De Bryne had an outstanding season.

He scored 13 goals and bagged 20 assists – matching the record set by Thierry Henry in 2003 – as Pep Guardiola’s side ended as the Premier League highest scorers for the third season running.

The midfielder was on the pitch when City lost 1-3 to Lyon in the quarter-final of the UEFA Champions League on Saturday, a defeat Guardiola has blamed on the team.

City crashed out in the quarter-finals for the third straight season with a shock 3-1 defeat to Lyon in Lisbon.

A familiar cocktail of defensive errors missed chances and VAR controversy did for Guardiola’s side with the Catalan coach also under fire for another surprise team selection in the knockout stages.

‘Breaking The Gap’

Guardiola is yet to get beyond the last eight in his four years in charge of City as the English side’s wait to be crowned champions of Europe continues despite the billions invested by the club’s Abu Dhabi owners.

 

In this file photo taken on April 17, 2019 Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola reacts during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg football match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north-west England.
Anthony Devlin / AFP

 

“One day we’ll break this gap to the quarter-finals,” said Guardiola.

“You have to be perfect in these competitions in one game and we weren’t.”

City looked disjointed as Guardiola started with an unfamiliar 3-5-2 formation and trailed at half-time to Maxwel Cornet’s strike.

Their pressure in the second half finally told when Kevin De Bruyne levelled 21 minutes from time.

However, Moussa Dembele’s strike to restore the French side’s lead was allowed to stand despite a VAR check for a trip on Aymeric Laporte.

Raheem Sterling then incredibly fired over with the goal gaping to bring City back on level terms and less than 60 seconds later an error from goalkeeper Ederson allowed Dembele to tap home and seal Lyon a semi-final meeting with Guardiola’s old club Bayern Munich.

 

Manchester City's English midfielder Raheem Sterling (L) misses a goal opportunity during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final football match between Manchester City and Lyon at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon on August 15, 2020. FRANCK FIFE / POOL / AFP
Manchester City’s English midfielder Raheem Sterling (L) misses a goal opportunity during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final football match between Manchester City and Lyon at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon on August 15, 2020. FRANCK FIFE / POOL / AFP

 

“This competition is that situation,” Guardiola added of Sterling’s miss.

“You have to equalise and go to extra-time and after we concede the third goal. We create more chances, so we did everything but unfortunately, we are out again.”

‘I’ll Decide When I Go:’ Ozil Tells Premier League Side Arsenal

File photo: Arsenal’s German midfielder Mesut Ozil (L) celebrates scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Watford at the Emirates Stadium in London on September 29, 2018. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

 

Mesut Ozil insists he is the only person who will decide when he leaves Arsenal after the German star was frozen out by Gunners boss Mikel Arteta.

Ozil has not played for Arsenal since the coronavirus hiatus amid reports the club are keen to get his huge salary off the wage bill.

The 31-year-old earns a reported £350,000-per-week ($458,000), but has rarely provided good value since his 2013 move from Real Madrid.

Ozil was absent as Arsenal beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final on August 1, but he will not allow the club to force him out before his contract expires in June 2021.

Holding out hope of winning back his place next season, Ozil told the Athletic: “Things have been difficult but I love Arsenal. I’ll decide when I go, not other people.

“I’ll give everything I have for this club. Situations like these will never break me, they only make me stronger.

“I showed in the past that I can come back into the team and I will show it again.”

Ozil fell out of favour with Arteta’s predecessor Unai Emery but started all 10 of Arsenal’s Premier League games after the former Gunners midfielder took charge in December.

 

File photo: Arsenal’s German midfielder Mesut Ozil (L) shakes hands with Arsenal’s former Spanish head coach Unai Emery (R) after being substituted during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium in London on October 22, 2018. Glyn KIRK / IKIMAGES / AFP

 

However, he has not featured in their past 13 matches in all competitions, with Arteta saying his exile was down to “football reasons”.

Ozil believes he deserves another chance and he said: “You don’t play 10 games in a row if you’re unfit, not good enough or don’t behave well.”

Arteta and many Arsenal players accepted a 12.5 percent pay cut in April as a result of the financial fall-out from the coronavirus.

But Ozil did not vote for the cut and he is concerned that “possibly the decision affected my chances on the pitch.

“As players, we all wanted to contribute. But we needed more information and many questions were unanswered.”

Ozil fears there is now an agenda against him that will make the rest of his time at Arsenal uncomfortable.

“I guess that’s because it is me and people have been trying for two years to destroy me, to make me unhappy, to push an agenda they hope will turn the supporters against me and paint a picture that is not true,” he said.

AFP

Wolves Reach First European QF In Nearly 50 Years As Sevilla Win Roma

Olympiakos’ Egyptian striker Ahmed Hassan headers the ball but fails to score during the UEFA Europa League round of 16 second leg football match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Olympiakos at the Molineux stadium in Wolverhampton, central England on August 6, 2020.
Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

 

Wolves battled into their first quarter-finals in Europe in 48 years on Thursday while Sevilla, Bayer Leverkusen and Basel enjoyed far more comfortable victories in the matches that brought the Europa League round of 16 to a belated close.

Raul Jimenez scored the only goal from the penalty spot in the ninth minute and Wolves survived a series of scares to edge Olympiakos 1-0 at Molineux for a 2-1 aggregate win in a tie that began in Athens on March 13.

Leverkusen beat visiting Rangers 1-0 to win 4-1 on aggregate while Basel beat Eintracht Frankfurt 1-0 for a 4-0 aggregate victory.

 

Glasgow Rangers’ Scottish forward Greg Stewart is persued by Leverkusen players during the UEFA Europa League round of 16 football match Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Glasgow Rangers at the Bay Arena stadium on August 6, 2020 in Leverkusen, western Germany. Sascha Schuermann / AFP / POOL

 

Sevilla cruised past Roma 2-0 in a one-off Europa League game played at neutral Duisburg, which will one of the host grounds when the Rhineland region of Germany hosts the last three rounds of the competition from August 10-21.

At Molineux, Bobby Allain, the visitors’ Franco-Scottish goalkeeper, failed to control a back pass in the seventh minute.

Daniel Podence, who scored for Olympiakos at Tottenham in September but moved to Wolves in January, darted in and stole the ball.

Allain clumsily bundled his former clubmate over and Jimenez converted the penalty.

The Greek champions, who had drawn at Tottenham in the Champions League and won at Arsenal in the Europa League this season, responded by dominating possession.

They created a string of chances but were thwarted by good saves by Rui Patricio, a tight offside decision and their own inaccurate finishing.

Wolves, who began their Europa League campaign on July 25 last year against Crusaders in the second qualifying round, will next face Sevilla at Duisburg on August 11.

“A long, long season,” Jimenez said. “Now we are in the quarter-finals and we want to keep going.”

Sevilla were also in Duisburg on Thursday where they took the lead against Roma after 22 minutes. Captain and right back Jesus Navas switched play with a cross-field pass to left back Sergio Reguilon that caught Roma flat-footed.

 

Players reacts after the UEFA Europa League round of 16 football match between Sevilla FC and AS Roma at the MSV Arena on August 6, 2020 in Duisburg. WOLFGANG RATTAY / POOL / AFP

 

Reguilon surged past two defenders and into the box before sliding a low shot past Spanish goalkeeper Pau Lopez’s foot.

Sevilla added a second on the counter-attack in the 43rd minute.

Lucas Ocampos burst down the right and after Lopez failed to cut out the low cross, Youssef En Neysri finished into an empty net from close range.

Sevilla, coached by former Spain boss Julen Lopetegui, dominated as they stretched their unbeaten run to 18 games in all competitions and kept on course to add to their record five Europa League titles.

“We are a team in every sense of the word. We want to win this tournament, we want to win everything we can,” said Reguilon.

It was a tame end to a dramatic day for Roma.

The club announced earlier Thursday that it had been bought by US billionaire Dan Friedkin for 591 million euros ($700 million).

“We’ve got to accept that Sevilla were superior,” said Roma coach Paulo Fonseca.

In Basel, defender Fabien Frei scored the only goal in the 88th minute as the home team won 1-0 to complete an aggregate 4-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt.

 

basel
FC Basel’s Swiss midfielder Fabian Frei (unseen) celebrates with his teammates after scoring his team’s first goal during the UEFA Europa League round of 16 second leg football match between FC Basel and Eintracht Frankfurt on August 6, 2020 at St Jakob-Park Stadium in Basel. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

 

In Leverkusen, Moussa Diaby scored the only goal after 51 minutes to complete a comfortable victory for Bayer, who won 3-1 in Glasgow in March.

“We had the chances to score one or two more times tonight and in the rounds to come we have to make sure that we’re more clinical,” said Leverkusen captain Lars Bender.

“But the most important thing about tonight was getting the ball rolling, avoiding injuries and re-establishing rhythm.”

In the quarter-finals, Bayer will make the short trip to Dusseldorf to face Inter Milan on August 10, Basel will play Shakhtar Donetsk in Gelsenkirchen the next night.

AFP

Premier League Clubs Vote Against Retaining Five Subs Rule

premier-league-fixtures-today
The Premier League was put on hold since mid-March due to COVID-19 outbreak. Photo: Twitter/Premier League.

 

 

Premier League clubs voted against continuing to allow five substitutes for the 2020/21 season on Thursday.

Following the resumption of the 2019/20 campaign after the coronavirus shutdown, clubs were allowed to name nine substitutes and make five changes during matches to support player welfare.

Some clubs wanted the new regulation carried over but the Premier League confirmed they were voted down at Thursday’s annual general meeting, held virtually.

All 20 members also backed changes to the video assistant referee as the system is to fall in line with FIFA protocol.

“At the Premier League’s annual general meeting today, shareholders agreed to rules relating to VAR and substitute players for the 2020/21 season,” the statement said.

“Shareholders unanimously approved the implementation of VAR, in line with the full FIFA VAR protocol.

“Clubs also agreed to revert back to using up to three substitute players per match, with a maximum of seven substitutes on the bench.”

The VAR changes come as FIFA aims to have a unified approach to its implementation.

There was controversy in several Premier League games during the season, with the new protocols agreed upon unanimously.

The changes will see referees use the pitch-side review area more often, with the Premier League now also using VAR to spot goalkeeper encroachment on penalties, while assistant referees have been told to keep their flag down for marginal offside calls until the attacking move has played out.

AFP

Fulham Return To Premier League Promised Land After Play-Off Glory

Fulham players celebrating their promotion to the EPL. Photo: [email protected] Football Club

 

 

 

Fulham made an instant return to the Premier League on Tuesday, beating Brentford 2-1 at Wembley in what is regarded as the most lucrative game in world football.

Defender Joe Bryan was the unlikely hero for Scott Parker’s side in the Championship play-off final, scoring two goals in extra time after the London clubs were locked at 0-0 at the end of a cagey 90 minutes.

Henrik Dalsgaard scored a late consolation for Brentford but it was too little too late for Thomas Frank’s team, who have not played in the English top-flight for 73 years.

The Craven Cottage club will earn around £135 million ($176 million) for bouncing back from relegation last season and this result also gives rookie boss Parker a first success of his fledgling managerial career.

 

“We’ve done what we’ve done tonight, but there’s still improvement, and that’s what makes me so proud and happy,” Parker told Sky Sports.

“For all of the good players and everything you see, what makes me so happy I see a group of players who only a year ago were struggling psychologically, didn’t have a mindset or mentality.

“I’ve driven this team every single day and what makes me proud is I stood on the touchline tonight and have seen a team that represents what I’ve been saying over the last 12 months.”

fulham
Fulham supporters gather outside their team’s Craven Cottage football stadium to celebrate the club’s promotion to the English Premier League, in west London on August 4, 2020, following their Championship play-off victory over Brentford. JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP

 

– Bryan double –

Left-back Bryan broke the deadlock for Fulham in the 105th minute when he made the most of a costly misjudgement by Brentford goalkeeper David Raya.

While Raya and everyone else expected a cross from a free-kick 35 yards out, Bryan beat the goalkeeper at his near post to break the deadlock.

The goal sparked wild celebrations, which only grew in the 117th minute when Bryan got forward again and exchanged passes with substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic before finding the net again.

Promotion was confirmed for Fulham but only after Henrik Dalsgaard had pulled one back for Brentford with seconds to go, heading home after Christian Norgaard had knocked a free-kick across the face of goal.

Brentford, who beat Fulham twice in the league this season, finished third in the Championship table, ahead of their London rivals on goal difference.

The result is a bitter blow for Brentford, who were on the brink of automatic promotion last month before successive defeats against lowly Stoke and Barnsley forced them to settle for a third-place finish behind Leeds and West Brom.

“Of course it’s tough when you lose a final like this in a very tight game but I’m extremely proud of my players,” said Frank.

“We have gone from a mid-table club to a team who, in the league table, was the third-best team. We are very fine margins away from the Premier League, which is an incredible achievement from us.”

AFP

Coach Lampard Calls For ‘Fair’ Treatment For Tired Chelsea

File photo: Chelsea’s English head coach Frank Lampard attends a training session ahead of the UEFA Super Cup 2019 football match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Besiktas Park stadium in Istanbul on August 13, 2019. Ozan KOSE / AFP

 

 

Frank Lampard has called on the Premier League to give Chelsea a fair start to next season, saying the September 12 launch date is “too early” for his players.

The Blues lost Saturday’s FA Cup final 2-1 to London rivals Arsenal but are still not finished with the current campaign.

 

File photo: Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang holds the winner’s trophy as the team celebrates victory after the English FA Cup final football match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in London, on August 1, 2020.  Catherine Ivill / POOL / AFP

 

Lampard’s side take on Bayern Munich on Saturday in the rescheduled second leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie, trailing 3-0 from the first leg.

Even if they exit the competition, Chelsea will have just 35 days before the new season is due to begin.

Manchester City are also still in the Champions League, the final of which is scheduled for August 23, while Manchester United and Wolves are involved in the Europa League, which ends on August 21.

It is understood that when Premier League clubs agreed a September 12 start date, it was also clear there would need to be at least a 30-day break for Chelsea and any of the other teams playing in the end-of-season European competitions.

Lampard lost Willian and Ruben Loftus-Cheek on the eve of the FA Cup final to injury and Cesar Azpilicueta and goalscorer Christian Pulisic during the game to hamstring problems.

“Even in a worst-case scenario, we don’t go through against Bayern, the 12th feels too early for me for the players to start playing again,” said the Chelsea boss.

“The players need a break. That is why we have pulled two hamstrings and had players pull out of the game before this.”

 

File photo: Chelsea’s English head coach Frank Lampard reacts during the English FA Cup final football match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in London, on August 1, 2020. (Photo by Adam Davy / POOL / AFP) 

 

Lampard implored the Premier League to make sure clubs start the next season with a level playing field.

“I would like to think the Premier League would look seriously at that,” he said.

“Hopefully they give us a fair start next season. We deserve to be (given a fair start) as a Premier League club competing in the Champions League.”

AFP