Arsenal Suffer Shock Defeat To Sheffield United In EPL

Sheffield United’s French striker Lys Mousset (C) scores the opening goal past Arsenal’s German goalkeeper Bernd Leno (R) during the English Premier League football match between Sheffield United and Arsenal at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, northern England on October 21, 2019.
Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Arsenal slumped to a shock 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United as Lys Mousset condemned the Gunners to their latest away-day flop on Monday.

Unai Emery’s side are without an away Premier League win since the opening weekend of the season after failing to rise to the challenge posed by fired up United at Bramall Lane.

French forward Mousset, making his first Premier League start for United, punished poor Arsenal defending in the first half to score his second goal since signing from Bournemouth.

That was enough to send Arsenal crashing to just their second defeat of the season, ending an eight-game unbeaten run in all competitions.

The north Londoners sit fifth in the league after a powder-puff performance that showed Emery’s rebuilding job is still a work in progress.

Under Emery, Arsenal have kept just two clean sheets in 24 away league matches and once again they wilted too easily in a hostile environment.

This was a signature win for the Blades after last season’s promotion and they sit proudly in ninth place, just three points behind Arsenal.

With the Bramall Lane crowd in full voice, a bruising clash got off to a contentious start when Arsenal defender Sokratis appealed in vain for a penalty after having his shirt tugged by John Egan.

United midfielder John Fleck was fortunate to escape with a yellow card from referee Mike Dean after crunching into Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Emery’s men should have taken the lead when Sead Kolasinac curled a perfect low cross towards Nicolas Pepe in the six-yard box, but the unmarked Ivory Coast winger completely miscued his shot.

 Pepe struggles 

It was the latest in a growing list of disappointing displays from Pepe, who has struggled to make an impact since his club record move from Lille in the close-season.

United made the most of that escape as Arsenal’s long-running set-piece issues resurfaced in the 30th minute.

Oliver Norwood’s corner reached Jack O’Connell at the far post and he rose above Matteo Guendouzi to head down to Mousset, who poked home from virtually on the line after Granit Xhaka failed to react to the danger.

Damningly, Arsenal have conceded 22 league goals from set plays since the start of last season, with only Watford (25) and Everton (24) allowing more.

Bukayo Saka tried to lead the Arsenal response with a surge into the United area, but the teenager went to ground too easily and earned a booking for diving.

Xhaka almost conjured an equaliser with a dipping long-range effort that Dean Henderson pushed away at full stretch.

Mesut Ozil was once again left out of the Arsenal squad and, with Aubameyang anonymous, Emery sent on Dani Ceballos for Joe Willock at half-time for an injection of creativity.

The on-loan Real Madrid midfielder should have equalised when he shot weakly at Henderson from Saka’s cross.

Always creaky at the back, Arsenal were nearly caught when Fleck thudded into the side-netting and then forced Bernd Leno into an unconvincing save.

Alexandre Lacazette came on with 22 minutes left for his first appearance since suffering the ankle problem that had ruled the Arsenal striker out since the start of September.

For all their territorial dominance in the closing stages, Arsenal lacked composure in the final third.

Pepe curled just wide and Kolasinac headed over as the visitors’ frailties were laid bare.

AFP

Tottenham Suffer Shock Defeat To Brighton

Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane (R) and teammates react after Brighton’s Aaron Connolly scores his team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Tottenham Hotspur at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on October 5, 2019. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Tottenham’s calamitous week went from bad to worse as Mauricio Pochettino’s men were outclassed in a 3-0 defeat at Brighton on Saturday.

Nineteen-year-old Aaron Connolly scored twice for the Seagulls on his first Premier League start after Neal Maupay had headed Brighton into an early lead.

Four days on from a 7-2 thrashing at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League, Pochettino was looking for a reaction.

Instead, Spurs looked like a side devoid of confidence after getting off to the worst possible start when Hugo Lloris gifted Brighton the opener and injured himself in the process.

The France captain dropped a simple cross into the box and as he fell backwards and landed awkwardly, Maupay stooped to head into an empty net.

Lloris was stretchered off with what looked like an elbow injury and replaced by Paolo Gazzaniga.

Connolly took advantage of more generous Spurs defending and goalkeeping to double Brighton’s lead before half-time and curled in his second of the day in style 25 minutes from time.

Last season’s Champions League finalists have now won just three of their opening 11 games of the campaign and five of their last 19 dating back to when these sides last met in April.

And while Pochettino could justifiably claim Bayern’s ruthlessness in midweek meant the scoreline was not a true reflection of his side’s performance, there was no excuse for being thoroughly outplayed by a Brighton side that had not won in six league games.

The visitors’ were on the back foot from the off when injury was added to insult for Lloris.

The Spurs skipper was given oxygen and morphine before being taken to hospital and now seems certain to miss France’s upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Iceland and Turkey.

After a lengthy delay for Lloris to be stretchered off, Brighton pushed on rather than trying to protect their lead and were rewarded just after the half hour mark.

Connolly was twice the quickest to react as he turned Dan Burn’s cross goalwards and, after Gazzaniga spilled his first effort, the Irishman followed up for his first Premier League goal.

Tottenham have made a bad habit of letting leads slip in recent weeks against Arsenal, Olympiakos, Leicester and Bayern, but when forced to mount a fightback themselves were found wanting.

Pochettino sacrificed club record signing Tanguy Ndombele at half-time for Harry Winks and changed system to a 3-5-2.

However, rather than turning the tide, it was Brighton who got the third goal to kill the game off.

Connolly jinked inside onto his right foot and curled brilliantly into the far corner to round off an afternoon that he and the Seagulls will long remember.

Son Heung-min and Harry Kane then missed huge chances to pull a goal back that summed up Spurs’ dire week and leaves Pochettino with plenty to ponder over the upcoming two-week international break.

AFP

EPL: New Captain Xhaka To Repay Emery’s Faith In United Clash

Aston Villa’s Brazilian striker Wesley (L) vies with Arsenal’s Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka (R) during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium in London on September 22, 2019. Tolga AKMEN / AFP

 

Granit Xhaka will lead Arsenal into Monday’s Premier League clash at Manchester United as the club’s new captain, but the Swiss midfielder has to win over plenty of doubters that he is fit to wear the Gunners’ armband.

Xhaka’s discipline and defensive awareness have repeatedly been questioned since joining the club from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2016, but both Arsene Wenger and current Arsenal boss Unai Emery have consistently put their faith in the 27-year-old.

That trust is not replicated by the club’s fans. On one of the few occasions he was replaced by Emery with the Gunners trailing 2-1 to Aston Villa last weekend, Xhaka was booed as he trudged off the field.

Despite being down to 10 men, Arsenal turned the game around with the energetic duo of Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira buzzing around the midfield.

That is a combination many supporters would like to see on a more regular basis, but Xhaka’s elevated status in the dressing room means he will remain a fixture for some time to come.

Emery sought votes from his squad before naming a five-man leadership group on Friday, of which Xhaka came top, but the Spanish manager is aware of the doubters questioning his decision.

“In the dressing room the players voted him as the first (in the) leadership (group),” said Emery on Friday.

“I spoke with him, we want to change that opinion outside. That respect he has inside is very, very important.

“Each match is for him, for me, for us, is a very good opportunity to show our capacity.

“Really I trust and believe in him. He is a good man. A good professional. A good player.”

Emery’s trust in Xhaka could easily backfire.

Arsenal have a break clause in the contract they handed the former Sevilla manager in 2018 that could see him released at the end of the season if he fails to deliver Champions League football to the Emirates for the first time in four years.

“It is a brave decision from the manager,” said former Arsenal defender Martin Keown, who described Xhaka’s performance against Tottenham earlier in the season as being “like a fire engine that turns up and discovers the house has already burned down.”

A stereotypical late lunge conceded a penalty that day in the north London derby as Arsenal had to battle back from 2-0 down to salvage a point.

Xhaka also described his side as “scared” when they threw away a 2-0 lead at Watford to draw 2-2 earlier this month.

Monday’s visit to an injury-ravaged United offers Arsenal a great chance for their first league victory at Old Trafford since 2006.

Do so and they will also open up a six-point lead over one of their rivals to break into the top tour.

For Emery to show to his superiors that he is making progress as Wenger’s long-awaited successor, he needs Xhaka to start to inspire his side to rise to the occasion.

AFP

VAR Helps Leicester To Victory Against Tottenham

Leicester City’s Nigerian midfielder Wilfred Ndidi (L) vies with Tottenham Hotspur’s Argentinian midfielder Erik Lamela to header the ball during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on September 21, 2019. Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

Tottenham’s long wait for an away win in the Premier League continued as Leicester came from behind to beat last season’s Champions League finalists 2-1 at the King Power on Saturday.

Harry Kane’s great improvisation handed Spurs a first-half lead and Mauricio Pochettino’s men thought they had doubled that advantage when Serge Aurier fired home.

However, the goal was ruled out by the finest of margins for offside after a VAR review and Leicester compounded Spurs’ pain by equalising two minutes later through Ricardo Pereira.

James Maddison’s fine long-range strike five minutes from time then capped Leicester’s comeback as they moved above Manchester City into second in the Premier League, for a few hours at least.

By contrast, Spurs have now won just two of their first seven games of the season in all competitions and have still not won away from home in the Premier League since January.

Leicester are aiming to break the glass ceiling of the Premier League top six for the first time since their sensational title triumph in 2016.

And Brendan Rodgers’s men claimed their first big-six scalp of the season after drawing away to Chelsea and running Manchester United close at Old Trafford last weekend.

The Foxes started brightly as Maddison curled just wide and then forced Spurs’ stand-in goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga into a smart save at his near post.

The hosts were also first to have the ball in the net when Gazzaniga — deputising for the injured Hugo Lloris — spilled Youri Tielemans’s shot and Wilfred Ndidi bundled home the rebound.

But replays showed Ayoze Perez was offside as he reached the loose ball off Gazzaniga first and the goal was ruled out after a VAR review.

Kane makes most of reprieve 

Handed that reprieve, Tottenham went in front in unusual fashion on 29 minutes when Son Heung min’s backheel found Kane, who stumbled and hit the floor as he bore down on goal.

However, the England captain still managed to flick the ball high beyond Kasper Schmeichel from the ground for his 14th goal in 13 games against Leicester.

Kane should have done better with a far better chance moments later when he dragged a shot wide.

At the other end, Gazzaniga was being kept busy as he denied Perez and Jamie Vardy either side of half-time, while Harvey Barnes also headed wastefully wide for the hosts.

But the momentum of the match truly turned Leicester’s way on another VAR call 23 minutes from time.

Kane teed up Aurier to fire home from the edge of the area, but the goal was ruled out for Son being barely a millimetre offside in the build-up.

Leicester built on that huge lift and went straight down the other end to level when Vardy’s low cross was turned home at the far post by Pereira.

Spurs had chances to retake the lead as Aurier fired across goal and wide, while Kane’s powerful effort was too close to Schmeichel.

And they were hit with the sucker punch when Maddison pounced on a loose ball and drilled a shot into the bottom corner from 25 yards.

AFP

Draw! Watford Fight Back From Two Goals To Hold Arsenal

Arsenal’s Brazilian defender David Luiz (C) jumps to defend a corner during the English Premier League football match between Watford and Arsenal at Vicarage Road Stadium in Watford, north of London on September 15, 2019. Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

Quique Sanchez Flores enjoyed a happy return to Watford as Arsenal blew a 2-0 lead at Vicarage Road to draw 2-2 on Sunday.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looked to have the Gunners well on course for a comfortable three points when he struck twice in 11 minutes before the break.

However, Sanchez Flores, who was appointed as Hornets’ boss for the second time last week after one point from their opening four games of the season saw Javi Gracia sacked, roused the hosts for an impressive second-half fightback.

Arsenal played a huge part in their own downfall too as they gifted possesion away inside their own box for Tom Cleverley to pull a goal back before David Luiz upended Roberto Pereyra, who slotted home the resulting penalty.

A point sees Arsenal only move level with Manchester United, Tottenham, Chelsea and Leicester behind Liverpool and Manchester City in the early season battle for a top-four finish.

However, it is Watford who will feel they should even have gone onto win the game as Arsenal boss Unai Emery’s inability to find a balance between his brilliant attack and shoddy defence continued.

Emery recalled Mesut Ozil to his starting line-up for the first time since he and Sead Kolasinac were the victims of a carjacking attack in July.

Ozil initially struggled to settle as Watford started the brighter with Cleverley’s rising drive forcing Bernd Leno into a fine save before Jose Holebas fired horribly off-target with a great chance from the edge of the area.

However, Watford have now conceded 10 goals in their opening five games to the campaign and were opened up far too easily to allow Aubameyang to open the scoring on 21 minutes.

The home fans were screaming for a foul as Dani Ceballos won back possession, but Watford were slow to react as Kolasinac burst down the left and fed Aubameyang, who spun and fired low past Ben Foster.

Ozil was involved as a patient build-up from the visitors doubled their lead on 32 minutes.

At the end of a 20-pass move, Ozil freed Ainsley Maitland-Niles in behind the Watford defence and the right-back squared for Aubameyang to slot home his fifth goal in as many games this season.

Twice the visitors escaped gifting Watford a way back into the game when Matteo Guendouzi was caught in possession on the edge of his own box, trying to play out from the back.

But Arsenal did not learn their lesson and were finally punished when Sokratis Papastathopoulos gifted possession to Gerard Deulofeu and the Spaniard teed up Cleverley to shot low past Leno.

Watford were then in the ascendancy as Deulofeu curled just wide, Ismaila Sarr scuffed a great chance for his first goal in English football off target and Pereyra’s flicked finish flashed across goal.

They finally got the equaliser their second-half display deserved nine minutes from time when Pereyra was clipped by Luiz inside the box and the Argentine sent Leno the wrong way from the penalty spot.

Deulofeu sent another effort inches wide and Cleverley’s fierce drive was deflected over by Luiz as wave upon wave of Watford attack continued.

But is was Abdoulaye Doucoure who squandered the best chance of all for a winner deep into stoppage time when he shot too close to Leno with just the German goalkeeper to beat to leave Watford still bottom of the Premier League table.

AFP

Bournemouth Shock Everton In Premier League Clash

Bournemouth’s English striker Callum Wilson (2nd R) heads home the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Bournemouth and Everton at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth, southern England on September 15, 2019. OLLY GREENWOOD / AFP

 

Callum Wilson scored twice as Bournemouth curbed early season optimism over Everton’s prospects with a 3-1 win on Sunday.

The England international took advantage of some sloppy defending from the visitors to head home the opener from close range, but Everton levelled before half-time through Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

The Toffees have spent big again this summer in a bid to challenge the established ‘top six’ for a European place, but will need to improve on the road to do so.

Ryan Fraser’s driven free-kick restored Bournemouth’s lead 23 minutes from time via a deflection off Fabian Delph before Wilson’s cool finish to lob international teammate Jordan Pickford made the game safe.

Everton have now picked up just one point from three away games this season after also failing to win at Crystal Palace and Aston Villa.

Victory takes Bournemouth above their opponents on goal difference with both sides on seven points from their opening five games.

Manchester City’s Laporte Undergoes Knee Surgery

Laporte was injured during a Premier League match between Manchester City and Brighton and Hove Albion at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester on August 31, 2019.
Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte has undergone knee surgery that is expected to keep the centre-back sidelined for at least a couple of months.

Laporte had been in line to make his international debut with France this week after his exceptional form for the Premier League champions over the past year was finally rewarded with a first call-up by Didier Deschamps since March 2017.

However, he was stretchered off late in the first-half of City’s 4-0 win over Brighton on Saturday after a clash with the visitors’ Adam Webster.

“Aymeric Laporte has undergone surgery on his knee after damaging his cartilage and lateral meniscus during Saturday’s win over Brighton,” City said in a statement without giving a timeframe for Laporte’s return.

“The surgery, carried out by Dr Ramon Cugat in Barcelona, was successful and a more detailed prognosis will be provided in due course.”

Should Laporte be absent for a prolonged period, he will be badly missed with centre-back one of the few positions where City are not blessed with great strength in depth.

They did not buy a replacement for departed former captain Vincent Kompany in the summer transfer window and midfielder Fernandinho had to fill that position against Brighton with John Stones also sidelined by injury.

However, with City handed a favourable Champions League group stage draw alongside Shakhtar Donetsk, Dinamo Zagreb and Atalanta and not facing ‘top six’ opposition in the Premier League again until early November, there is hope Laporte will be back for the business end of the season.

“After successful completion of yesterday evenings surgery, I would like to say thanks for all your messages of support during the last few days. I feel truly loved and so thankful about it,” Laporte posted on Instagram.

“I am sad for not being able to join the national team and to not fulfil my dream of making the debut with Les Bleus.

“I would like to thank the coach for being so supportive. From now on we start counting down the days to go back to the pitch.”

AFP

Sanchez Blames Flop At United On Lack Of Game Time

Sanchez Gives United Options At Juventus
Manchester United’s Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez reacts during the football match against Watford at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on May 13, 2018. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Alexis Sanchez believes his failure to shine in a dismal 18 months at Manchester United prior to joining Inter Milan on loan was due to a lack of opportunities.

The Chilean moved to Italy on a 10-month loan deal last week with United still paying a large chunk of his reported £400,000 ($484,000) a week wages.

Sanchez failed to live up to the expectations United had when signing him from Arsenal on a four-and-a-half year contract in January 2018, scoring just five times in 45 appearances for United.

However, he started just 31 of 77 games the Red Devils played during his time there and played the full 90 minutes on just 13 occasions.

“I’ve always said to my friends: I want to play,” Sanchez told the BBC.

“If they would let me play I’ll do my best. Sometimes I’d play 60 minutes then I wouldn’t play the next game — and I didn’t know why.”

Sanchez was signed with United second in the Premier League and aiming to close the gap on local rivals Manchester City, who were also interested in reuniting Sanchez with his former boss at Barcelona Pep Guardiola.

Instead, in his first full season at Old Trafford, Jose Mourinho was sacked and replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as United finished sixth and as close to the relegation zone on points as they were to champions City.

But despite winning no trophies, Sanchez has no regrets over joining United rather than City.

“I’m very happy I went to Manchester United. I’ve always said that. It’s the club that’s won the most in England,” added Sanchez.

“When I went to Arsenal it was fantastic — I was happy there — but United were growing at the time, they were buying players to win something.

“I wanted to join them and win everything. I don’t regret going there.”

AFP

Kane Rejects Diving Claims In Tottenham, Arsenal Clash

Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane falls in the area under pressure from Arsenal’s Greek defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos (top) but no penalty is awarded during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium in London on September 1, 2019. The game ended 2-2. Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

Harry Kane has slammed claims he dived in a failed bid to win a late penalty in Tottenham Hotspur’s thrilling 2-2 draw at Arsenal on Sunday.

With just seconds left in a dramatic north London derby, Spurs striker Kane hit the deck after a challenge from Arsenal defender Sokratis in the penalty area.

Kane was heavily criticised after replays appeared to show him throwing himself theatrically to the turf after minimal contact, but the England captain insisted Sokratis’ challenge could have been a foul if it had taken place elsewhere on the pitch.

READ ALSO: Arsenal Held By Tottenham At Emirates

“The defender made a tired tackle. On halfway I think I’d get that foul. Ref probably thinks I’m looking for it,” Kane said.

“It is 50-50, I could get it in some games. In the box you don’t always get them. He’s come through the back of me.”

Kane had already scored a first half penalty after Granit Xhaka’s foul on Son Heung-min, giving him 10 career goals in north London derbies.

That put Tottenham 2-0 up but Arsenal earned a share of the spoils thanks to goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

“I feel like were coming off disappointed. We expect to see the game out,” Kane said.

“The goal hurt us with momentum just before the break. It was an end-to-end game, especially last 10-15 minutes.

“If a few final balls would have been better, we would have created more. It is a shame we couldn’t kill it off. But it is the Premier League and if you don’t kill teams off they come back at you.”

AFP

Klopp Turns Attention To Champions League After EPL Title Loss

Klopp Apologises For Wild Celebrations After 'Weird' Liverpool Winner
Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp/ AFP

 

Jurgen Klopp has challenged Liverpool to use the pain of their failed Premier League title bid as fuel to finish a remarkable season with Champions League glory.

Liverpool fell one point short of winning their first league title since 1990 as Manchester City pipped Klopp’s side on the final day of the season.

Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Wolves was rendered irrelevant by City’s 4-1 victory at Brighton, leaving the Anfield faithful frustrated after it briefly appeared they might witness two football miracles in the space of a week.

Tuesday’s astonishing 4-0 win against Barcelona, which overturned a 3-0 first-leg deficit and sent Liverpool to their second successive Champions League final, was one of the greatest nights in the club’s history.

READ ALSO: Brighton Sack Manager Chris Hughton

And when Sadio Mane put Liverpool ahead early on against Wolves and City fell behind to Glenn Murray’s goal, another unthinkable dream was about to become reality.

That tantalising moment lasted only a matter of seconds, however, as Sergio Aguero equalised for City, who went onto shatter Liverpool’s hopes with a ruthless goal-spree.

It was cruel on Liverpool, who secured 30 wins and 97 points, setting a standard that would have secured the title in any year but the last two, with Pep Guardiola’s sensational City amassing 100 points 12 months ago and 98 this term.

Yet Klopp insists his players won’t dwell on their agonising near-miss for long because they have a chance for redemption in the Champions League final against Tottenham in Madrid on June 1.

“We have qualified for the Champions League final. That is special. This team is one of the best that ever played for Liverpool, 100 per cent,” Klopp said.

“If I would start telling you all the positive things about this team we would be here until an hour before the Champions League final.

“This club is in the best moment for a long time and it will not end because another team has one more point.

“If we are ready to make the next step, we will. That is the plan from tomorrow.”

While Klopp is confident Liverpool can bring home the club’s sixth European Cup and first since 2005, even if they do triumph in Madrid the German doesn’t believe his team are at the peak of their powers yet.

“I am not worried that this is as good as it can be. This team is not the finished article,” he said.

“We had an unbelievable season. I can read all the numbers. It would be nice to get an award for the biggest development I can remember.

“We made a big step. But really think there is more to come. We will go again.”

 Unique challenge 

Reeling in City won’t be a piece of cake for Klopp and the 51-year-old conceded Guardiola’s group present a unique challenge.

“As long as Manchester City are around with their financial power, no team will pass them easily,” Klopp said.

“We need to be very close to perfection to win the Premier League as long as this is the case.”

As the sun-soaked Liverpool fans retreated to the pubs around the city, the mood remained upbeat.

Rather than drowning their sorrows, all the talk was of Madrid and the chance for another magical day in a season that featured so many highs.

“I never expected it to happen today. Realistically City had it in their hands. We’ve got a great opportunity to win number six in Madrid, that’s all we care about now,” Reds fan Stephen Mulgrew told AFP.

Dom Tyler, another diehard supporter, said he had started the day optimistic, but his focus was also on the Champions League.

“When Brighton scored I thought I was going to cry. I really thought we could do it. It didn’t happen but there’s nothing to be ashamed of. We’ve got a hell of a team and there’s still everything to play for,” he said.

Echoing that sentiment, Klopp expects Liverpool to put their title angst to good use — once he’s had a few hours to lick his wounds.

“If you really want something, you feel the disappointment as well. That is what we feel,” he said.

“We play in a league with other very good teams. We accept that, no problem. We will go again but give me a few hours to get over it!”

AFP

African Trio Share Premier League Golden Boot

 

The race to be crowned the English Premier League’s leading scorer this season ended in a three-way tie on Sunday as the African trio of Sadio Mane, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mohamed Salah shared the Golden Boot.

Gabon forward Aubameyang scored twice for Arsenal at Burnley to join Salah and his Liverpool teammate Mane, who netted a final-day double against Wolves, on 22 goals for the Premier League season.

Sergio Aguero, of champions Manchester City, was next in line with 21 goals.

Salah has now won the award two seasons in a row but this term’s winning tally was the lowest by players in English football’s top-flight since 2010/11 when Dimitar Berbatov and Carlos Tevez shared the Golden Boot with 20 goals apiece.

Aubameyang was delighted to be a member of an all-African trio of winners, saying in quotes reported by the BBC: “I share this trophy with two other guys I like, great players and African. We are representing Africa, that’s cool.

READ ALSO: Liverpool Chase Euro Dreams After Losing League Title To City

“I am happy we won, and I am sharing this trophy with two other guys I like.

“My teammates knew about the Golden Boot, I said nothing. I did not want them to play and only focus on me. I am a team player.”

For Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp there was the satisfaction of knowing he had a played a part in the careers of all three of this season’s Golden Boot winners, having signed Aubameyang from Saint-Etienne in 2013 when he was in charge of Dortmund.

“Auba too? Do they have three boots?” said Klopp, who suffered the last-day heartache of seeing Liverpool finish just one point behind City.

“It is good. They are all my players,” the German added.

Salah scored 32 league goals last season, a record for a 38-game Premier League campaign.

The 26-year-old is the sixth player to win the Golden Boot award in consecutive seasons.

AFP

UPDATED: Manchester City Beat Liverpool By One Point To League Title Victory

Man City Lead Liverpool By One Point To Retain Premier League Title
Manchester City’s Algerian midfielder Riyad Mahrez (2R) celebrates scoring their third goal during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester City at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on May 12, 2019. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Manchester City held off a titanic challenge from Liverpool to become the first side in a decade to retain the Premier League title by coming from behind to beat Brighton 4-1 on Sunday.

A 14th straight league win ensured Pep Guardiola’s men pipped Liverpool by a solitary point as the Reds’ long wait to win the league continued despite a 2-0 victory over Wolves at Anfield that saw them post the third highest points tally in Premier League history.

City remain on course to complete the first ever domestic treble in English football in the FA Cup final next weekend as goals from Sergio Aguero, Aymeric Laporte, Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan saw the visitors recover from Glenn Murray’s shock opener.

READ ALSO: Manchester City Honours (1904-2019)

For 83 seconds Liverpool fans were able to dream, but City showed why they are champions and have racked up a remarkable 98 points, just two shy of their record century of points last season.

Liverpool applied as much pressure as they could with their own nine-game winning run to end the season and went in front early against Wolves to raise the tension inside the Amex Stadium.

Manchester City’s Argentinian striker Sergio Aguero (CR) and Manchester City’s Belgian defender Vincent Kompany (L) celebrate at the final whistle of the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester City at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on May 12, 2019. Glyn KIRK / AFP.

City had not conceded in their previous four games, but Brighton were playing on their nerves as they sought revenge for defeat in their FA Cup semi-final last month.

Ali Jahanbakhsh flashed a shot just wide of Ederson’s right-hand post before the moment that was celebrated as wildly 270 miles north at Anfield as it was on the south coast.

Pascal Gross’s dangerous in-swinging corner was powered home by veteran striker Murray at the near post on 27 minutes.

This was the first time City had failed to score first in a league game since early December and the first time they had trailed at all in the 14-game winning run that has carried them to the title.

However, Brighton’s lead and Liverpool’s hope lasted just over a minute.

– Aguero leads City recovery –

Aguero scored the sensational last-gasp goal that ended City’s own 44-year wait for the title in 2011/12 and his goals have been a constant of their now four Premier League triumphs in eight seasons.

David Silva’s wonderful flick freed the Argentine in behind the Brighton defence and Aguero made no mistake with a powerful low finish.

The brief shock of going behind sparked City into life as Mathew Ryan was then forced into saves at his near post from Bernardo Silva and Mahrez.

However, Brighton were undone from a simple set-piece when Mahrez’s corner found Laporte completely unmarked to head City in front seven minutes before half-time.

The champions still had nervy moments to see through as Ederson only just scrambled Lewis Dunk’s dipping free-kick over the bar with the last action of the first half.

And the Brazilian goalkeeper was lucky not to concede a free-kick yards from the City goal line when he collected a back pass from Laporte.

Yet, 27 minutes from time they had the breathing space they desired in a moment of magic and redemption for Mahrez.

The Algerian has failed to make a big impact in his first season since joining for a club record £60 million from Leicester.

Until now his most noteworthy moment was a late missed penalty in a 0-0 draw at Anfield in October that could easily have cost City the title.

Instead, he scored the goal to ensure Liverpool were denied at the end of a remarkable title tussle by cutting inside Dunk before firing into the top corner on his weaker right foot.

Nine minutes later Gundogan added the icing on the champions’ cake with a glorious free-kick from 25 yards.

AFP