African Players In Europe: Salah Set To Break Drogba’s Goal Record


Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah runs for the ball during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield in Liverpool, northwest England, on October 3, 2021. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Mohamed Salah netted a brilliant solo goal for Liverpool in a 2-2 draw with Manchester City at the weekend, and moved closer to overtaking Didier Drogba as the leading African scorer in the English Premier League.

Retired Ivory Coast great Drogba bagged 104 goals in two spells with Chelsea while Salah lifted his total to 103 with a wonderful goal against City at Anfield.

While scoring is second nature to the Egyptian, Ghanaian Iddrisu Baba claimed his first for Real Mallorca in his 102nd appearance for the La Liga outfit.

Here, AFP Sport highlights Africans who starred in the five major European leagues.

ENGLAND – MOHAMED SALAH/SADIO MANE (Liverpool)

Salah and Mane dazzled with two goals and an assist between them in a thrilling draw against Manchester City. Mane put the Reds ahead by scoring his 99th Premier League goal with a powerful finish across Ederson in the 59th minute after being released by Salah. The Egyptian gave the Reds the lead again in the 76th minute, bamboozling City’s defence with his dribbling and finding the far corner from a tight angle to score for the seventh consecutive game.

JEFFREY SCHLUPP (Crystal Palace)

Schlupp scored Palace’s equaliser 48 seconds after entering the fray as a substitute to haunt former club Leicester in a 2-2 draw at Selhurst Park. The Ghana international — part of Leicester’s title-winning 2015/16 squad — headed past Kasper Schmeichel with his first touch in the 72nd minute.

KELECHI IHEANACHO (Leicester)

Iheanacho celebrated his 25th birthday by opening the scoring for Leicester on his first Premier League start of the season. The Nigerian dispossessed Joachim Andersen and raced clear to score his third goal of the campaign.

SPAIN – IDDRISU BABA (Mallorca)

It has taken 102 matches but, finally, Ghanaian midfielder Baba made it on to the score sheet for Mallorca, scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win over Levante. Baba, who joined Mallorca’s youth setup in January 2014, rose above the defence at the back post to head home Pablo Maffeo’s cross four minutes before halftime.

ITALY – MUSA BARROW (Bologna)

Gambian international forward Barrow set Bologna on their way to a surprising 3-0 win over Lazio with a superb strike. The 22-year-old unleashed a curling shot which whipped around Pepe Reina and gave the hosts a 14th-minute lead, which they then used to end a mini-crisis early in the season.

GERMANY – TAIWO AWONIYI (Union Berlin)

The Nigerian striker scored Union Berlin’s 100th Bundesliga goal as he led his side’s superb second-half comeback in a 2-1 win at Mainz. Having missed several chances earlier in the game, Awoniyi struck twice in the space of four minutes against his former club as Union recorded their first away victory of the season.

ELLYES SKHIRI (Cologne)

The Tunisian midfielder also scored twice to keep Cologne’s excellent start to the season going with a 3-1 home win over Greuther Fuerth. Skhiri put Cologne ahead early in the second half before scoring again in stoppage time.

OMAR MARMOUSH (Stuttgart)

Egyptian Marmoush picked up his first Bundesliga assist as his side beat local rivals Hoffenheim 3-1. Marmoush, on loan from Wolfsburg, set up Stuttgart’s opening goal, picking out Marc-Oliver Kempf with a corner.

FRANCE – STEPHANE BAHOKEN (Angers)

The Cameroon forward struck the winning goal in stoppage time as Angers twice came from behind to beat Metz 3-2. Bahoken turned in from close range after coming on as a late substitute to net his second goal of the season and send Angers back into the top four.

KAMALDEEN SULEMANA (Rennes)

The Ghanaian teenager played a leading role as Rennes upstaged a Paris Saint-Germain side featuring Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar by inflicting a 2-0 defeat at Roazhon Park, putting an end to their 100-percent record in Ligue 1. Sulemana delivered the cross for Gaetan Laborde to volley in the opener and twice went close to scoring himself.

AFP

Former Chelsea Boss Ranieri Appointed As Watford Manager

Claudio Ranieri, Leicester City
A file photo of Claudio Ranieri.

 

Claudio Ranieri is back in the Premier League after being hired as Watford’s new manager on Monday. 

Former Chelsea boss Ranieri, who led Leicester to the Premier League title in 2016, agreed a two-year contract with the Hornets to replace the sacked Xisco Munoz.

“Watford FC is delighted to confirm the appointment of Claudio Ranieri as the club’s new head coach, on a two-year contract,” a statement on the club’s website announced.

“The Italian arrives at Vicarage Road boasting a wealth of experience in charge of some of Europe’s biggest clubs, with Premier League, Coppa Italia and Copa del Rey titles among his managerial highlights.”

READ ALSO: Beijing Winter Olympics Organisers Admit ‘Great Pressure’ Over COVID-19

Ranieri takes over with Watford in 15th place in the Premier League after earning seven points from their opening seven matches.

The 69-year-old Italian left Sampdoria at the end of last season and had been looking to return to the game since then.

Xisco had led Watford to promotion from the Championship last season, but he was axed on Sunday after only 10 months in charge.

Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Leeds prompted Watford’s owners, the Pozzo family, to act, with the club claiming a “negative trend” in performances had convinced them to move on from Xisco.

Ranieri is Watford’s 13th permanent manager since the Pozzo family took control of the club in 2012.

He boasts a wealth of experience, with clubs such as Napoli, Fiorentina, Valencia, Juventus, Roma, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid also on his CV.

Ranieri established Chelsea as a Champions League club during his spell from 2000 to 2004, but he was axed by Roman Abramovich to make way for Jose Mourinho.

His greatest triumph came when he masterminded Leicester’s stunning title success five years ago.

The Foxes were 5,000-1 outsiders and had battled relegation the season before Ranieri arrived in a move that was widely panned by pundits.

Despite Leicester’s incredible success, he was sacked just nine months after the title glory following a poor run that left the club just outside the relegation zone.

Ranieri last worked in the Premier League during a brief stint at Fulham in 2018-19.

He lasted just 106 days at Fulham after being unable to steer them away from relegation trouble.

Watford’s first match with Ranieri in charge will be against Liverpool at Vicarage Road on October 16.

Ranieri will be joined at Watford by Assistant Coaches Paolo Benetti and Carlo Cornacchia, as well as Fitness Coach Carlo Spignoli.

smg/lp

© Agence France-Presse

Liverpool, Man City Share Points In Four-Goal Thriller


Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah (L) challenges Manchester City’s Spanish midfielder Rodrigo during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield in Liverpool, northwest England, on October 3, 2021.
Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Pep Guardiola said Manchester City’s pulsating 2-2 draw with Liverpool on Sunday exhibited why he believes the Premier League is the best in the world.

The points were shared between the two sides that have dominated English football for the past four years after a breathless second-half that saw City twice come from behind having dominated the first 45 minutes.

Liverpool weathered that storm and hit the English champions with a sucker punch when Sadio Mane opened the scoring just before the hour mark.

Phil Foden levelled before Mohamed Salah looked to have won the game with a moment of individual brilliance as he jinked around four defenders before firing past Ederson.

However, Kevin De Bruyne’s shot that deflected in off Joel Matip nine minutes from time salvaged the point Guardiola’s men at least deserved.

“What a game! That is the reason the last years Man City and Liverpool were always there because we try to play in this way,” said Guardiola.

“That’s why the Premier League is the best. It was really great. Unfortunately we couldn’t win, but we didn’t lose.”

A share of the spoils leaves the title race tantalisingly poised with Liverpool a point behind leaders Chelsea and City two points off the top in third.

It could have been much worse for City as a 0-0 draw at home to Southampton two weeks ago left them three points off the top of the table ahead of two of the most daunting away trips in the Premier League either side of a Champions League trip to Paris Saint-Germain.

However, rather than being cut adrift from the contenders to take their title, they have laid down a marker in schooling Chelsea on their own patch last weekend and doing the same to Jurgen Klopp’s men for the majority of a thrilling contest.

“The way we played at Stamford Bridge, in Paris and today shows we are a great team,” added Guardiola.

Jurgen Klopp admitted he was happy to hear the half-time whistle as City failed to turn their dominance in the first 45 minutes into goals.

Alisson Becker twice saved one-on-ones with Foden, who also saw strong penalty appeals for a push by James Milner waived away, while De Bruyne headed over a glorious chance at the back post.

READ ALSO: Messi Suffers First PSG Defeat In Loss At Rennes

Sucker Punch 


Manchester City’s Spanish midfielder Rodrigo (R) challenges Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield in Liverpool, northwest England, on October 3, 2021. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

But Klopp reorganised his troops at the break to turn the game into a far more competitive contest in the second-half.

“I was more than pleased when I heard the whistle for half time because we had to adjust a lot of things and we did,” said Klopp.

“Second-half was completely different. If we only played the second-half I would have loved to have win, but with the first half I am happy with the point.”

Mane hit City with the sucker punch as Salah skipped past Joao Cancelo and played in the Senegalese to slot calmly into the far corner.

Anfield was suddenly stirred and Liverpool’s players crashed into challenges in response as they didn’t allow City to get into the rhythm they enjoyed before the break.

However, one slick move from Guardiola’s men finally saw them find the net to level 21 minutes from time.

Gabriel Jesus skipped across the face of the Liverpool box before finding Foden, who this time drilled the ball low into Alisson’s far corner.

Guardiola was then infuriated as Milner avoided a second yellow card after chopping down Bernardo Silva.

And moments his later his mood soured even more when Salah’s stunning solo goal swung the game in Liverpool’s favour.

The Egyptian danced around Cancelo, Silva and Aymeric Laporte before firing on his weaker right foot high past Ederson.

Guardiola was then booked for taking his protests too far, but five minutes later he was screaming in celebration as De Bruyne’s effort from the edge of the box deflected in off Joel Matip.

Liverpool had the best chance to win the game in an end-to-end finale, but Rodri blocked Fabinho’s goal-bound effort after Ederson flapped at a free-kick.

AFP

Arteta Relishes Pressure To Deliver Success At Arsenal

File photo:  Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta celebrates on the final whistle in the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium in London on September 26, 2021.  Ian KINGTON / IKIMAGES / AFP

 

Mikel Arteta says it is right that every Arsenal defeat should be viewed as a crisis as he targets a fourth straight Premier League win against high-flying Brighton.

The Gunners beat Tottenham 3-1 on Sunday to lift themselves to 10th in the table, one place above their north London rivals.

It marks a dramatic turnaround in fortunes for Arteta’s men, who were rock bottom of the table after three defeats in their first three games.

The Spaniard said he welcomed the intense pressure to deliver as he prepares for Saturday’s trip to the south coast of England.

“I think that feeling is very necessary at a big club because every defeat is a crisis and it should be a crisis, and you have to deal with that pressure,” Arteta said on Thursday.

“If you want to be the best you have to cope with that and realise that excellence is the only way and the only thing that is expected. Anything else isn’t good enough.”

The former Arsenal midfielder and captain said the club had a “great history because we have that competitive edge”.

“We have that mentality as well and that willingness to look further and have that ambition,” he added. “To achieve that you need to be able to deal with that.”

READ ALSOChelsea Lose To Juventus, Records Second Defeat In A Row

Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta (C) celebrates their win in the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium in London on September 26, 2021.  Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

Arteta must learn to cope without midfielder Granit Xhaka, who faces up to three months on the sidelines with a knee problem.

Xhaka, accidentally caught by Spurs forward Lucas Moura, could be out until next year, although it is hoped the Swiss midfielder will not need surgery.

“He has already had a couple of incidents this season with Covid and the suspension and now a long-term injury,” Arteta said.

“It is a significant injury, but he probably escaped an even worse injury in that action. He is a strong man and will use this time to focus on other things.”

AFP

Arteta Eyes More ‘Special’ Days After Arsenal Outclassed Tottenham

Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta (C) celebrates their win in the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium in London on September 26, 2021.  Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

Mikel Arteta called on Arsenal to consistently match the “special” levels they showed in blowing Tottenham away in the first-half of a 3-1 win on Sunday to move above their north London rivals in the Premier League table.

Just three weeks ago Spurs sat top and Arsenal bottom after their worst start to a league season for 67 years.

However, the Gunners have been rejuvenated by six summer signings and the return to fitness of a number of key players.

Arsenal struck three times in the opening 35 minutes as Emile Smith Rowe opened the floodgates before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rounded off a brilliant team move and Bukayo Saka rolled home the third.

Son Heung-min pulled a goal back for the visitors 11 minutes from time, but it was too little, too late for Nuno Espirito Santo’s men.

“It’s a special day. Today is one example of what we want to do, but we have to be consistent,” said Arteta.

“This win is for the fans. They were there when we needed their support.”

Arsenal climb to 10th ahead of Spurs on goal difference with both sides on nine points from six games.

However, they are going in opposite directions with Tottenham losing their last three league games by a combined score of 9-1.

“We lost complete control in the first half. We got smashed,” said Spurs captain Hugo Lloris.

“When you concede three goals in each of the last three league games you cannot hide the problems.”

The last time the north London derby took place in front of a full crowd, Unai Emery and Mauricio Pochettino were still in charge of the sides.

Both clubs have had little reason to celebrate in the two years since.

But there are encouraging signs for Arsenal that the decision to invest heavily in youth during the transfer window is beginning to pay off.

The Gunners spent more than any other Premier League club over the summer, investing £150 million in players aged between 21 and 23, despite failing to qualify for European football for the first time in 25 years.

READ ALSO: Football Must Do More To Combat Racism Than The Take Knee – Lukaku

‘Best Day Of My Life’ 


Arsenal’s English midfielder Emile Smith Rowe (R) scores their first goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium in London on September 26, 2021. Ian KINGTON / IKIMAGES / AFP

 

Four of the new faces started with all 11 of the starting line-up either signed in the two years since Arteta was appointed or handed a contract extension in that time.

Saka and Smith Rowe are two of those to have committed their long-term future to the club where they came through the ranks and were the stars of a first 45 minutes that sent the Emirates into raptures.

“It’s probably the best day of my life,” said Smith Rowe.

The England under-21 international was allowed a huge amount of space to amble into the box and slot home Saka’s cross.

The hosts rampaged through Spurs with ease for a brilliant second goal in a move reminiscent of Arsenal’s glory days under Arsene Wenger.

Aaron Ramsdale, Granit Xhaka and Kieran Tierney were all involved before Aubameyang flicked a pass through for Smith Rowe to charge in on the Spurs goal and he had the presence to turn back and pick out his captain for a cool finish.

Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta (C) celebrates their win in the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium in London on September 26, 2021. Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

Harry Kane’s day was summed up in his part for the third goal as he found himself back in his own box trying to make a tackle only for the ball to break kindly for Saka to sweep the ball past Lloris.

Kane’s frustrating day continued into the second-half as he prodded wide with just Ramsdale to beat before seeing strong appeals for a penalty waived away for a challenge by Ben White.

The England captain is still to score in the Premier League this season after Tottenham refused to relent to Manchester City’s interest.

 


Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane reacts after missing a chance during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium in London on September 26, 2021. Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

Spurs have only scored four goals in total in their opening six games, but Son has three of them as his shot from Sergio Reguilon’s cross had too much power for Ramsdale.

AFP

Chelsea Face Man City Test As Liverpool, Man Utd Bid To Keep Pace

A photo combination of Chelsea and Manchester City players.

 

Chelsea host Premier League champions Manchester City in a stiff test of the leaders’ title credentials on Saturday as Liverpool and Manchester United bid to keep pace with Thomas Tuchel’s side.

The Blues look well-equipped to end the season as English champions for the first time since 2017 after signing Romelu Lukaku to add a cutting edge to their attack.

But Liverpool, the 2020 title winners, and Manchester United are matching them, with all three teams locked on 13 points after five games.

AFP Sport takes a look at some of the talking points ahead of the weekend action.

No Fears for Tuchel’s Blues

 

Chelsea’s German defender Antonio Rudiger (C) celebrates scoring his team’s third goal with Chelsea’s German striker Timo Werner (R) during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on September 19, 2021. JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP

 

Even though the season is still young, former England captain turned TV pundit Alan Shearer predicts Chelsea are going to be difficult to stop.

Tuchel’s team beat Manchester City three times last season — including in the Champions League final.

Since then they have signed Lukaku from Inter Milan and have also been miserly at the back — conceding just one goal in the league.

“Lukaku is not the only reason they are so formidable,” Shearer wrote in his BBC Sport column.

“They won the Champions League in May without him. But his arrival means they don’t have a weak link in their team, and they have such strength in depth too.”

READ ALSOMan Utd Crash Out Of League Cup, Spurs, Chelsea And Arsenal Advance

It is too soon to call the match at Stamford Bridge a title decider, but City boss Pep Guardiola will not want to leave London six points behind one of his main rivals.

Norwich’s Unwanted Record

Norwich City's English midfielder Ben Godfrey scores an own goal during the English Premier League football match between Norwich City and Burnley at Carrow Road stadium in Norwich, eastern England on July 18, 2020. (Photo by Julian Finney / POOL / AFP)
File photo: Ex-Norwich City’s English midfielder Ben Godfrey scores an own goal during the English Premier League football match between Norwich City and Burnley at Carrow Road stadium in Norwich, eastern England on July 18, 2020. (Photo by Julian Finney / POOL / AFP)

 

Norwich have lost their past 15 Premier League games under Daniel Farke — the longest losing run by any side in English top-flight history under a single manager.

That horror streak encompasses the end of the 2019/20 season, when the Canaries were relegated to the Championship. They immediately bounced back.

Norwich were given a hideous task on their return to the English top-flight, with their four first matches against Liverpool, Manchester City, Leicester and Arsenal before last week’s loss to Watford.

The Canaries are only three points behind 16th-placed Wolves but must turn their form around soon, with Farke saying their leaky defence is the main problem.

“We need to be harder to play against,” he said ahead of this weekend’s trip to Everton.

“We need more steel, and we need to be nastier. We also need a result for the confidence.”

Can Kane Reignite Spurs?

Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane (R) celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the English League Cup third round football match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur at the Molineux stadium in Wolverhampton, central England on September 22, 2021. Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

Harry Kane has endured a slow start to his season for Tottenham after a move to Manchester City failed to materialise and is yet to score in the Premier League.

But Tottenham boss Nuno Espirito Santo believes the England striker is still getting up to speed after Euro 2020.

“He has much more to give and it’s about the game, improving and growing together,” said Nuno as he prepared for Sunday’s north London derby against Arsenal.

“In terms of the squad and preparation we have players who have 65/70 sessions and we have players who have 15 sessions.”

After three games, Tottenham were top of the Premier League and Arsenal rock bottom.

Since then Spurs have suffered consecutive 3-0 defeats against Crystal Palace and Chelsea, while Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal have stopped the rot with 1-0 wins over Norwich and Burnley.

Arteta said confidence levels were rising after his side won their League Cup third round tie against AFC Wimbledon in midweek.

“Now the boys have won three matches in a row so credit for how they have handled that situation and now they are really looking forward to playing on Sunday, which is the biggest day of the season for us so far at home,” he said.

EPL Fixtures This Weekend (all times GMT)

Saturday

Chelsea v Manchester City (1130), Manchester United v Aston Villa (1130), Everton v Norwich, Leeds v West Ham, Leicester v Burnley, Watford v Newcastle, Brentford v Liverpool (1630)

Sunday

Southampton v Wolves (1300), Arsenal v Tottenham (1530)

Monday

Crystal Palace v Brighton (1900)

AFP

Solskjaer Blames Klopp For Man Utd Getting Fewer Penalties

File photo combination of Klopp and Solskjaer

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer claims Manchester United are being given less penalties since Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp questioned the number of spot-kicks awarded to the Old Trafford outfit.

Solskjaer was furious after Cristiano Ronaldo was denied two strong appeals for a spot-kick in a 2-1 win at West Ham in the Premier League last weekend.

The Hammers got their revenge by knocking United out of the League Cup on Wednesday with a 1-0 victory, but Solskjaer’s men again felt hard done by when Jesse Lingard was not awarded a penalty.

Back in January, Klopp erroneously claimed United had been awarded more penalties in Solskjaer’s two-and-a-half years in charge than his first five years at Anfield.

“We just have to hope that we get what we deserve. We should have had three pens in the last two games,” Solskjaer said on Friday.

“I don’t know, but there was a certain manager last year who was starting to worry about us getting penalties and after that it seems like the decisions are more difficult to give. I’ve seen a big, big difference since then on.

“But we just have to leave it up to the refs and hope that they will make the right calls very soon.”

With another opportunity for Solskjaer to end his wait to win a trophy as United boss having slipped by, there is even more pressure on United to challenge for the Premier League this season.

United sit level on points with leaders Chelsea and Liverpool with 13 points from their opening five games, thanks in part to Ronaldo’s flying start since returning to Old Trafford.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has scored four goals in three games and Solskjaer has no concerns about the Portuguese being a marked man ahead of Saturday’s clash with Aston Villa.

“Cristiano has been used to that ever since he came to the club, but maybe more so in say the last 15 years of his career,” he said.

“His first few years, I think everyone wanted to try to kick him because they wanted to stop him, and then he became such a top player that all the teams would have to have an eye on him.

“His record shows already what an impact he has had with us and he is ready for that challenge. He’s so used to it, so no worries.”

AFP

Arteta Says Premier League Is ‘Different Planet Now’ As Arsenal, Spurs Struggle

File photo:  Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta speaks to the media after the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Arsenal at St James’ Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on May 2, 2021. LEE SMITH / POOL / AFP

 

Mikel Arteta said the Premier League was a “different planet” now in terms of quality as he tried to explain the decline in fortunes for Arsenal and Tottenham ahead of Sunday’s north London derby.

Meetings between the two rivals have historically had implications for the title race or European qualification but Spurs are currently seventh and Arsenal 13th.

Spurs are playing Europe’s third-tier Europa Conference League just two years after reaching the Champions League final while Arsenal last season failed to qualify for Europe for the first time in 25 years.

With the traditional “top six” of Arsenal, Spurs, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool challenged by clubs such as Leicester and West Ham, Arteta said England’s top flight is “a different planet now”.

“The Premier League has never been as strong as this,” the Spaniard said on Friday.

“It’s the strongest league in the world in history because of the quality of the teams, the quality and involvement of the organisation, the quality of the coaches and players — it’s never been that strong.”

READ ALSO: Man Utd Crash Out Of League Cup, Spurs, Chelsea And Arsenal Advance

Arsenal's Spanish manager Mikel Arteta reacts during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Arsenal at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on December 19, 2020. Jon Super / POOL / AFP
File photo of Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta. Jon Super / POOL / AFP

 

Arteta, who made 284 Premier League appearances for Everton and Arsenal between 2005 and 2016, believes the higher standards would have been a challenge even for a player of his calibre.

“I wouldn’t be able to play at this level,” he said.

Arsenal are on a three-match winning streak in all competitions after losing their opening three Premier League games — the club’s worst start to a league campaign in 67 years.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s visitors are looking for their first league win at the Emirates Stadium since 2010 and have lost their past two Premier League matches after a strong start.

Arteta has a full squad to call upon after midfielder Granit Xhaka served a three-match suspension for a red card he received in last month’s 5-0 defeat at Manchester City.

AFP

Chelsea Outclass Tottenham, Move Top Of League Table


Tottenham players react as Chelsea players congratulate Chelsea’s French midfielder N’Golo Kante after he scored their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on September 19, 2021. JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP

 

Chelsea produced a masterclass on Sunday, beating London rivals Tottenham 0-3 in a Premier League showdown. The victory catapulted the European champions to the top of the table with 13 points after five games.

Both clubs also paid an emotional tribute to their former striker Jimmy Greaves on Sunday.

Thiago Silva put Chelsea ahead early in the second half before N’Golo Kante bagged his first club goal since December 2019.

Antonio Rudiger rounded off Chelsea’s dominant display with a stoppage-time strike as Thomas Tuchel’s latest tactical masterclass paid rich dividends.

Tuchel’s unbeaten side sit top of the Premier League after winning four of their first five games.

Chelsea have only conceded one league goal so far this season despite a tricky fixture list that featured trips to Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal.

They face another test of their title credentials next weekend when champions Manchester City visit Stamford Bridge.

It was fitting that two of Greaves’ old clubs met on the day he passed away aged 81.

Hailed as “the finest marksman this country has ever seen” by Tottenham, Greaves is the club’s record scorer with 266 goals in 379 appearances between 1961 and 1970.

The charismatic Londoner started his career with a prolific spell at Chelsea and netted 44 times in 57 appearances for England, featuring in their 1966 World Cup-winning squad.

An image of Greaves wearing Tottenham’s famous white shirt was displayed on screens inside and outside the club’s north London stadium before kick-off.

In a moving tribute, several former Tottenham greats, including Greaves’ old team-mate Martin Chivers, lined up on the touchline to join both teams and the 62,000 crowd in a minute’s applause.

“Jimmy was an incredible player, a legend for club and country. It’s frightening really how good he was,” said Tottenham striker Harry Kane, who is second behind Greaves with 223 goals for the club.

READ ALSO: Ronaldo Scores Third League Goal As Man United Edge West Ham
Former England Striker Jimmy Greaves Dies At 81

Clinical Instincts 

Tottenham players react as Chelsea players congratulate Chelsea’s French midfielder N’Golo Kante after he scored their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on September 19, 2021. JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP

 

Kane had urged Tottenham to “put in a great performance” in Greaves’ honour.

But the England captain was unable to land his first league goal this season as Chelsea showed the kind of ruthless instincts Greaves would have approved of.

In a tight first half, Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen shot just over from the edge of the area before Kai Havertz poked narrowly wide after Marcos Alonso’s cross caused chaos in the Tottenham defence.

With Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy absent after complaining of a hip injury in midweek Champions League win over Zenit St Petersburg, Kepa Arrizabalaga made his first start this season.

Tottenham’s frenetic tempo meant Kepa had to stay alert and he rushed off his line to save bravely at Son Heung-min’s feet after the South Korean sprinted onto Giovani Lo Celso’s pass.

In a game-changing move, Tuchel sent on France midfielder Kante for Mason Mount at half-time, neutralising Tottenham’s high press in the process.

Where Chelsea had found it hard to take control before Kante’s introduction, now they were in the groove and Silva struck in the 49th minute.

Alonso’s corner found the Brazilian eight yards out and he rose above Dele Alli to thump a superb header past Hugo Lloris.

It took Eric Dier’s agile goal-line clearance to deny Chelsea a second when the defender blocked Alonso’s close-range strike from Cesar Azpilicueta’s pass.

But Chelsea were rampant and they struck again in the 57th minute when Kante’s 25-yard drive took a wicked deflection off Dier and trickled past the wrong-footed Lloris.

Tottenham lost heart as their second successive league defeat loomed and Rudiger rubbed salt into the wounds with a fine finish from Timo Werner’s cross in the final moments.

AFP

Ronaldo Scores Third League Goal As Man United Edge West Ham


Manchester United’s English midfielder Jesse Lingard (2nd R) celebrates with teammates after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Manchester United at The London Stadium, in east London on September 19, 2021.
Ian KINGTON / AFP

 

Portuguese skipper Cristiano Ronaldo continued his impressive form since returning to England as he netted once in Manchester United’s 1-2 win over West Ham on Sunday, his third league goal for the season.

Ronaldo tapped in to cancel out Said Benrahma’s opener and substitute Lingard appeared to have won the match for the visitors in the 89th minute.

But there was time for late, late drama when the home side were awarded a penalty for a Luke Shaw handball in added time.

Mark Noble came on to take the spot kick but United goalkeeper David de Gea dived to his left to keep it out, sparking a frenzy among United players.

United move into second place in the table, level on points with Liverpool.

Ronaldo was jeered and whistled by the home fans at the London Stadium as he tried his trademark stepovers and feints but proved a handful throughout at the point of United’s attack.

The Portuguese superstar was supported by Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood, with no starting place for Jadon Sancho, who has struggled to make an impact since his big-money move from Borussia Dortmund in July.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still trying to work out how best to juggle his impressive forward resources and United are still seeking fluency despite a bright start to the Premier League season.

West Ham proved a stern test for the visitors just five days after 10-man United crashed to a 2-1 defeat against Swiss side Young Boys in their Champions League opener.

Both sets of players lined up before kick-off as the stadium observed a minute’s applause for England great Jimmy Greaves, who died on Sunday at the age of 81.

READ ALSO: Bayern Hit Seven Past Bochum To Go Top Of Bundesliga

READ ALSO: Former England Striker Jimmy Greaves Dies At 81

West Ham Opener

West Ham United’s Algerian midfielder Said Benrahma (R) skips past the challenge from Manchester United’s English defender Harry Maguire (C) during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Manchester United at The London Stadium, in east London on September 19, 2021.  Ian KINGTON / AFP

 

West Ham, without suspended forward Michail Antonio, engineered the first clear opening of the game when De Gea was forced to save wth his legs from a Jarrod Bowen shot.

As the game opened up, West Ham goalkeeper Lukas Fabianski got his fingertips to a rasping Fernandes shot, touching it onto the post.

But it was West Ham who took the lead in the 30th when Benrahma’s effort from the edge of the box took a huge deflection off Raphael Varane and completely wrong-footed De Gea.

The goal galvanised the visitors and they were level just five minutes later, with Ronaldo poking the ball past Fabianski after the goalkeeper had saved his initial shot following a Fernandes cross.

Nikola Vlasic went close to restoring West Ham’s lead, flashing over following a cross by Aaron Cresswell.

Fabianski was called into action early in the second half racing off his line to block Ronaldo’s effort when he had seemed destined to score.

Both sides pushed forward as the second half wore on but there were few clear-cut openings.

Lingard, who spent a period on loan at West Ham last season, got a warm reception from the home fans when he came on as substitute alongside Sancho with 17 minutes to go, replacing Greenwood and Pogba.

But he left the home fans with a bitter taste in their mouths when he curled a beautiful shot into the top right corner, which ultimately proved to be the winner.

In the other 1400 GMT kick-off, Brighton beat Leicester 2-1 to move up to third in the table ahead of the late kick-off between Tottenham and Chelsea, both former clubs of Greaves.

Neal Maupay converted from the penalty spot with 10 minutes remaining of the first half following a handball by Jannik Vestergaard.

Danny Welbeck doubled the lead five minutes after half-time, flicking a near-post header past Kasper Schmeichel following a Leandro Trossard free-kick.

Leicester pulled a goal back through Jamie Vardy but it was not enough.

AFP

Ronaldo’s Man Utd Seek Response, Chelsea Look To Lukaku In Spurs Clash

File photo:  Manchester United’s Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates with Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League Group F football match against Young Boys at Wankdorf Stadium in Bern, on September 14, 2021. SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP

 

All eyes are once again on Cristiano Ronaldo as Manchester United aim make amends for a shock Champions League defeat to Young Boys when the Premier League leaders head to West Ham on Sunday.

Second-placed Chelsea are behind United only on goals scored and will look to extend their unbeaten start in a London derby at Tottenham.

Liverpool and Manchester City will not expect to be troubled when Crystal Palace and Southampton visit Anfield and the Etihad respectively on Saturday.

But the pressure is on under-fire Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta when the Gunners travel to fellow strugglers Burnley.

 United must do better

File photo: Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts at the final whistle during the English League Cup semi final first leg football match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Ol d Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on January 6, 2021. PETER POWELL / POOL / AFP

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has demanded an immediate response from United after the optimism engendered by Ronaldo’s return was punctured in Bern.

Solskjaer’s side had won three of their first four matches in an unbeaten start to the Premier League campaign, including a Ronaldo-inspired rout of Newcastle on the Portuguese superstar’s Old Trafford return last weekend.

Ronaldo was on target again in Bern, but United succumbed after Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s red card to lose to the lowest seed in their Champions League group.

“Our attitude is like you’d expect; focused, a little disappointed but not too downbeat,” Solskjaer said. “It’s a setback, we have to do better.”

It was Jesse Lingard’s woeful backpass that condemned United to defeat against Young Boys.

Lingard is back at United after shining on loan at West Ham in the second half of last season.

The Hammers were keen to sign Lingard on a permanent basis, but Solskjaer convinced him to stay and retains his faith in the England international.

“We really want to see the best of Jesse this season and we hope to see him, we support him, and we hope to keep him here with us. He’s a Red through and through,” Solskjaer added.

READ ALSO: Man Utd Dealt Shock Champions League Loss As Lukaku Boosts Chelsea

Lukaku v Kane

File photo: Chelsea’s Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku (R) celebrates scoring his team’s first goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium in London on August 22, 2021. JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP

 

Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku will go head to head with Tottenham’s Harry Kane in a fascinating shoot-out between two of the Premier League’s leading marksmen.

Lukaku has made a flying start on his return to Chelsea following his club record £98 million ($135 million) move from Inter Milan.

The Belgian has already scored four times in four appearances, including a perfectly-timed header to break Zenit Saint Petersburg’s stubborn resistence in the Champions League in midweek.

After the debilitating struggles of Chelsea’s misfiring forwards last season, Blues boss Thomas Tuchel admits Lukaku has been a breath of fresh air.

“He was the type of player and profile we were missing,” Tuchel said.

“He’s also super humble. He is always open to everybody and that creates a certain energy and atmosphere that we are proud of.”

While Lukaku is living out his dreams at his boyhood club, Kane is having to make do with another season at Tottenham after the England captain’s failed attempt to engineer a move to Manchester City.

Kane, frustrated by Tottenham’s 13-year trophy drought, was desperate to join City, but Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy refused to grant his wish.

With Tottenham looking to recover from last weekend’s chastening 3-0 loss at Crystal Palace, Kane’s first Premier League goal of the season would be timely for both the striker and his team.

Arteta ‘Sees The Light’

Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta on the sidelines during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on August 28, 2021. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) /

 

Besieged by calls for his head after Arsenal opened the season with three successive defeats and not a single goal, Arteta earned a modicum of breathing space when the Gunners narrowly beat Norwich last weekend.

But the Spaniard knows that 1-0 win will quickly be forgotten if Arsenal lose to a Burnley side still looking for their first win this term.

Arteta was given more money to spend than any other Premier League manager in the transfer window and is adamant there are better days ahead for his young squad.

“I can really see the light,” he said. “I’m telling you I’m very positive most of the time.

“There can be bumps in the road within that light, but I can see a lot of light.”

Fixtures (1400 GMT unless stated)

Friday

Newcastle v Leeds (1900)

Saturday

Wolves v Brentford (1230), Aston Villa v Everton, Burnley v Arsenal, Liverpool v Crystal Palace, Manchester City v Southampton, Norwich v Watford

Sunday

Brighton v Leicester (1300), West Ham v Manchester United (1300), Tottenham v Chelsea (1530).

AFP

Norwich Game Is A ‘Must-Win’ For Rock-bottom Arsenal, Says Arteta

Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta speaks to the media after the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Arsenal at St James’ Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on May 2, 2021. LEE SMITH / POOL / AFP

 

Mikel Arteta admitted Arsenal’s Premier League match against Norwich on Saturday is a “must-win” game after their worst start to a league season for 67 years.

The Gunners have failed to score and conceded nine goals in demoralising defeats to Brentford, Chelsea and Manchester City.

Arteta’s position as manager is under increasing threat, with the Spaniard reportedly given four more Premier League games to save his job.

Arsenal’s 5-0 humbling by City last month meant they had lost their first three league matches in a season for the first time since the 1954/55 campaign and to make matters worse, rivals Tottenham are top of the table.

The miserable run of results is despite the fact the club were the biggest spenders in the summer transfer window, splashing around £150 million ($207 million) on new faces.

Arteta said at his pre-match press conference on Thursday that the club were “nowhere near where we want to be” but added that he did not want to offer excuses.

“We know how difficult the start was with injuries, with a lot of Covid issues that we had and extremely difficult games that we had to play,” he said.

“We have to reset now, we need to restart, hopefully get everybody back on track and start to win football games.”

READ ALSO: Arsenal’s Steady Demise Hits Rock Bottom

The former Arsenal midfielder, who was appointed manager at the Emirates in December 2019, was asked whether Saturday’s match was a “must-win” game.

“It always is at Arsenal,” he said. “The pressure is always there to be as high as possible in the league table.

“We need the first win. We are playing in front of our own fans after a disappointing start so it’s down to us to provide everything we have.”

Arteta said the club had undergone a huge change in personnel during his tenure, with 30 incomings and outgoings over the past three transfer windows, but was confident in the club’s policy of signing young players.

“It’s a project that we believe in, that we have to assemble because it was the option we believe was the best for the future of the football club,” said the Arsenal boss.

“We all take responsibility because we’ve all been involved in the decisions and now we have to make it work.

“The complexity in football is that you want to build a medium, long-term project with immediate results and we have to embrace that because there is now no other way in football.”

AFP