Wales Announces Lockdown For Cardiff, Two Other Cities Over COVID-19

 

n. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP)

 

Welsh leaders on Friday announced Cardiff will become the first UK capital city to go into local lockdown since a national shutdown earlier this year, as London’s coronavirus rates also rose.

The restrictions, which bar people from entering or leaving areas unless for work, education or another valid reason, will also apply in second city Swansea, from 6pm (1700 GMT) Sunday, and in the town of Llanelli from Saturday.

The new rules, which also forbid people meeting anyone not in their household indoors, follow a nationwide surge in coronavirus cases that has intensified across south Wales.

The devolved government, which is responsible for healthcare, said ministers will hold discussions over the weekend with health experts and others to consider if the measures need to be imposed elsewhere.

“We’re acting to protect people’s health and to try and break the chain of transmission and stop the situation from getting worse,” Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething said.

The announcement of the new shutdowns came as the UK government said the so-called R number — the virus’ reproduction rate — across Britain was now between 1.2 and 1.5 and growing.

That means on average every 10 people infected will infect between 12 and 15 other people, with scientists estimating new cases were growing four to eight percent every day.

In London, the growth rate is four to nine percent, and Mayor Sadiq Khan warned the capital was at a “very worrying tipping point”.

He said there had been a sharp rise in hospital admissions and patients in intensive care, and called for more testing in the city, accusing ministers of diverting capacity elsewhere.

“The lack of testing capacity is totally unacceptable and it is why London has been added to the government’s coronavirus watchlist as an area of concern,” he said.

“Ministers simply have to get a grip…. Any delay will mean letting the city down and will cost lives.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday announced a raft of new restrictions in England, mirrored to varying extents in the UK’s other nations, to try to curb the rise.

They include a 10:00 pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants, which came into force on Thursday night, and again encouraging people to work from home if they can.

Large swathes of northern and central England were already under tighter restrictions than the rest of the country following spikes in Covid-19 cases there.

Local leaders in Leeds said on Friday it was likely the northern English city would face new rules from midnight, including a ban on households mixing in private homes.

That would take the number of people living under local restrictions to more than 16.2 million people across the UK, according to an assessment by the domestic Press Association news agency.

Britain has been the worst-hit country in Europe by the pandemic, with the government recording nearly 42,000 deaths of people who had tested positive for Covid-19.

AFP

Man City Fight Back To Edge Swansea In FA Cup

Man City Fight Back To Edge Swansea In FA Cup
Manchester City’s Spanish coach Josep Guardiola (C) congratulates Brazilian forward Gabriel Jesus (L) and Argentine forward Sergio Aguero after winning the FA Cup quarter-final football match against Swansea City at The Liberty Stadium in Swansea, south Wales on March 16, 2019. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Sergio Aguero kept alive Manchester City’s hopes of an unprecedented quadruple as they survived a major FA Cup scare in a thrilling fightback from two goals down to win 3-2 at Swansea in Saturday’s quarter-finals.

Aguero had watched from the substitutes’ bench as second-tier Swansea roared into a stunning first-half lead through goals from Matt Grimes and Bersant Celina.

But the Argentine emerged as City’s saviour on a rainy night in south Wales by setting up their first goal for Bernardo Silva, before completing the comeback with a last-gasp winner after Swansea keeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt scored an unlucky own goal from the Argentina striker’s penalty to draw City level.

Having already won the League Cup and advanced to the Champions League quarter-finals, Premier League leaders City remain in the hunt for a clean sweep of all four major trophies.

It was a fortunate escape for City on Saturday however, as replays showed Raheem Sterling was fortunate to win the penalty that led to the equaliser, while Aguero was marginally offside for the winner.

City boss Pep Guardiola had named a strong starting line-up and Leroy Sane and Bernardo Silva both went close early on.

It only looked a matter of time before City took the lead but Swansea ensured it was anything but one-way traffic.

They showed they could give the visitors a run for their money with a neat passing game that pushed City on to the back foot.

Grimes put Swansea ahead from the penalty spot in the 20th minute after Fabian Delph carelessly fouled Connor Roberts after the City defence was wrong-footed by Mike van der Hoorn’s crossfield pass.

Grimes had not scored in his three-and-a-half years at the Liberty Stadium but took over penalty duties following Celina’s embarrassing spot-kick miss in a 3-0 midweek defeat at West Bromwich Albion.

The 23-year-old centre back made the most of Delph’s misjudgement by confidently driving the ball high into the roof of the City net.

– Disintegrated –

It went from bad to worse for City nine minutes later as Guardiola’s defence disintegrated following a nine-pass move involving seven Swansea players.

This time Swansea attacked with pace and purpose and, after fine play on the edge of City’s box by Nathan Dyer and Daniel James, space opened up for Celina to curl the ball delightfully beyond Ederson.

Guardiola looked flummoxed in the technical area as he mulled over finding a way back into the tie while Aymeric Laporte lost his head following referee Andre Marriner’s half-time whistle and was booked for shoving Swansea winger Wayne Routledge in the chest.

It was a dire situation that left City in danger of a repeat of last season’s embarrassing FA Cup exit at Wigan.

But Guardiola replaced Sane with Sterling in the 57th minute and Aguero came on for Riyad Mahrez six minutes later.

The moves paid dividends soon after as City hit back.

City’s pressure was rewarded in the 69th minute when Bernardo Silva hit a crip shot beyond Nordfeldt after he was teed up by Aguero to set up a thrilling finale.

The visitors drew level in the 78th minute when Cameron Carter-Vickers’ challenge on Sterling was deemed a penalty even though the defender appeared to touch the ball first.

Aguero restored parity in fortuitous circumstances when his spot-kick hit a post and went in via Nordfeldt’s back.

City laid siege to the Swansea goal in the final stages and Aguero had the final word with a stooping 88th-minute header that survived the hosts’ offside claims as VAR was not available.

City’s celebrations were marred by a pitch invader, but there was no disguising their relief after a dramatic revival.

AFP

Swansea’s Manager, Carvalhal Set To Leave Club – Reports

Swansea City’s Portuguese Manager, Carlos Carvalhal                                       Geoff CADDICK / AFP

 

Manager Carlos Carvalhal is set to leave Swansea at the end of the season, with the club facing almost certain relegation from the Premier League, reports said Thursday.  

Defeat at home to fellow-strugglers Southampton this week coupled with Huddersfield’s draw against Chelsea leaves Swansea needing an unlikely sequence of events to survive in the English top flight.

The Swans, who have gone eight league games without a win, need to beat Stoke on the final day of the season on Sunday and for Southampton to lose at home to champions Manchester City with a 10-goal swing in their favour in order to stay up.

The reports said the Swansea board did not plan to renew Carvalhal’s contract.

The Portuguese manager’s reign began in December with a win over Watford and they followed that up with victories over Liverpool, Arsenal, Burnley and West Ham.

But their form has collapsed since then, with the club now looking doomed to the drop, ending a spell of seven seasons in the Premier League.

The Swansea City Supporters’ Trust on Thursday called for chairman Huw Jenkins to stand down.

AFP

Record Seekers Man City Thrash Swansea To Celebrate Title

Manchester City’s Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva celebrates scoring his team’s fourth goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Swansea at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north-west England, on April 22, 2018. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Pep Guardiola’s hope that his team’s hunger to rewrite the English football record books would see them maintain their championship-winning form proved well-founded as Manchester City swept aside Swansea City 5-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

The only negative aspect of the occasion for the newly-crowned Premier League champions was a post-match pitch invasion by several hundred City supporters, who ignored pleas over the loudspeakers to burst through stewards and onto the field.

Seven days after Manchester United’s shock home defeat to West Bromwich Albion had made the title a mathematical certainty for Guardiola’s side, City returned to action before their own supporters.

With the league safely won, Guardiola had warned that his players will find next season far tougher — both in terms of the opposition and his own demands — and hoped that the chance to set new historical marks would prove an inspiration over the remainder of this campaign.

And another emphatic victory certainly left City, who have four games remaining against teams in the bottom eight of the league, well placed to do precisely that.

They stand one victory short of Chelsea’s Premier League record tally of 30, set last season, and with 90 points, are also well on course to break the record of 95 points, again set by Chelsea in 2010.

That season also saw the London club set the current best for goals scored with 103, a marked City now trail by just five.

The season for the ages 

In short, Guardiola has presided over a season for the ages in his second season in England, even if there was a slightly anti-climactic feeling about the way in which City clinched the title just days after a Champions League quarter-final exit to Liverpool.

But there was still no denying the triumphant air around the Etihad as a huge banner proclaiming “Welcome to the home of the Premier League champions” was unfurled across the East Stand.

City and their captain Vincent Kompany must wait a further two weeks before physically getting their hands on the trophy — their third Premier League title in the last seven years — with the authorities having decided that a formal presentation will be made when Huddersfield Town visit the Etihad on May 6.

Still, Swansea provided City with a guard of honour before kick-off and the visitors were largely reduced to watching and admiring as City showed them why they are setting records this season.

After just 11 minutes, and relentless City possession, Kevin De Bruyne’s superb pass was played back by Raheem Sterling for David Silva who juggled the ball skilfully before volleying into the Swansea goal.

Five minutes later, an even better move saw David Silva and Fabian Delph play a series of one-twos before the latter crossed for Sterling to calmly slot in the ball from four yards.

It was the start of a monotonous procession towards the Swansea goal with De Bruyne scoring the pick of the bunch on 53 minutes with a magnificent 25-yard right-foot shot.

Nine minutes later, Federico Fernandez brought down Sterling and, after Gabriel Jesus’s penalty was touched onto the post by Lukasz Fabianski, Bernardo Silva responded quickly to net City’s fourth from the rebound.

In the comfortable finale for City, there was time for Benjamin Mendy to make his return after a seven-month absence with a knee injury as a 75th-minute substitute, handing the French international a fifth appearance of the season and, with that, a Premier League winner’s medal.

And Jesus finally claimed his goal two minutes from time, appearing on the end of Yaya Toure’s chip to head in the final goal of a game that served as an emphatic statement by club and manager alike.

AFP

Swansea Hire Carvalhal As Boss Until End Of Season

Carlos Carvalhal. Photo: Wikimedia

Premier League strugglers Swansea City appointed Carlos Carvalhal as their manager until the end of the season on Thursday.

Carvalhal was sacked by second-tier Sheffield Wednesday on Christmas Eve, but Swansea surprisingly chose the Portuguese coach to replace Paul Clement, who lost his job on December 20 with the club languishing at the bottom of the Premier League.

The Welsh club said Carvalhal’s contract included the option of an extension at the end of the season.

“We felt we needed to get the managerial situation resolved as soon as possible and while the timing is not always perfect, we can look forward to the second half of the campaign with renewed optimism,” Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins said.

To convince Swansea to keep him beyond this season, Carvalhal might have to save his new club from relegation.

They sit five points from safety and bottom of the table with no wins in their last four matches after a 5-0 thrashing at Liverpool on Tuesday.

Carvalhal is Swansea’s fifth permanent manager in two years and his move to the Liberty Stadium might not inspire much confidence from the club’s frustrated fans.

He led Wednesday to the Championship play-offs in the last two seasons, but lost his job with the Yorkshire side after an eight-game winless run left them well outside the top six.

Jenkins is confident Carvalhal can rescue Swansea, saying: “We are very pleased with the appointment.

“Carlos’ time at Sheffield Wednesday, which included securing two consecutive play-off places, highlighted that he has great character and personality to lead the squad and the football club, which is vital at such a crucial time,” Jenkins said.

“He has built up a lot of experience over the years which will ensure the team is structured and organised.

“He is driven and ambitious and, while he has a big challenge ahead of him, I know he will tackle it without fear.”

Leon Britton had been working as a player-caretaker manager, but Carvalhal hasn’t announced if the long-serving Swansea midfielder will stay on the coaching staff.

AFP

Coutinho Inspires Liverpool Rout Against Swansea

Coutinho Inspires Liverpool Rout Against Swansea
File photo

 

Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho underlined his importance to the Reds ahead of the transfer window with a fine individual display in a comfortable 5-0 win over Premier League strugglers Swansea City on Tuesday.

The Brazil international scored his 12th goal of the season with a fine curling effort and provided an assist for compatriot Roberto Firmino.

Coutinho, who was strongly linked with a move to Barcelona in the build-up to the season, has enjoyed his most prolific goalscoring month in a Liverpool shirt, finding the net seven times in December.

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s determination saw him score Liverpool’s third after half-time before Firmino and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain finished from close range.

Liverpool’s victory ensured they remain in the thick of the battle for the Champions League places in fourth spot — five points behind second-placed Manchester United.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp had made four changes from the side that drew 3-3 against Arsenal.

Joel Matip and Alexander-Arnold came into the defence, while Georginio Wijnaldum and Oxlade-Chamberlain both started in midfield.

It did not take Liverpool long to assert their authority against the Premier League’s bottom club.

The tireless Firmino dispossessed Jordan Ayew in midfield and rolled the ball into the path of Mohamed Salah who in turn fed Coutinho just outside the penalty area.

Coutinho, restored to an advanced role in Liverpool’s attacking triumvirate, cut inside onto his right foot and curled a sumptuous shot into the top right corner of the net, which Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski could only stand and admire.

Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who retained his place despite a high-profile blunder against Arsenal, was called into action shortly afterwards.

A deep cross picked out Ayew at the back post and the Swansea striker’s header brought a smart save out of the Belgium international.

With the atmosphere at Anfield flat and Swansea happy to pack men behind the ball, the remainder of the first half lacked any real intensity.

Liverpool continued to pose the greater threat with Emre Can, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Firmino all trying their luck from distance to no avail.

The Reds squandered a golden chance to add to their advantage on the stroke of half-time when Salah nabbed the ball in midfield and put Firmino through on goal, only for the Liverpool forward to drag his shot wide.

– Goal glut –

Six minutes into the second half Firmino made amends as he found the net and Liverpool effectively ended the game as a contest.

Coutinho, in his 200th appearance for Liverpool, turned supplier — his delivery from a free-kick picked out his compatriot’s run to the back post and Firmino sweetly volleyed home from close range.

Swansea’s Oliver McBurnie, on his first Premier League start, cut an increasingly isolated figure in attack and was withdrawn just after the hour for on-loan Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham.

However, it was Liverpool who posed the greater threat in the box and two goals in the space of 90 seconds enabled the hosts to cruise through the remainder of the game.

First, Alexander-Arnold netted his first Premier League goal then Firmino was able to tap into an empty net after Salah had unselfishly squared the ball to him inside the six-yard box.

Oxlade-Chamberlain completed the rout late on when he capitalised on some shambolic Swansea defending and lifted the ball into the top corner of the net with an angled finish.

AFP

Giggs Rules Himself Out Of Running For Swansea Job

 

Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs has ruled himself out of the running for the vacant manager’s job at Premier League strugglers Swansea following the dismissal of Paul Clement.

With the Swans looking for a third boss in less than 12 months, Giggs had been talked about in relation with the role along with Ronald Koeman, Tony Pulis and Louis van Gaal.

Giggs was asked if he was interested in managing a club he was linked with before Bob Bradley was appointed in October 2016.

“No. I’ve spoken to them before, last time before they appointed Bob Bradley,” Giggs told Sky Sports.

Giggs said the sales of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente in the summer had weakened the Swansea squad.

“I don’t know, I’m not in the club but obviously over the years (it has been) a really well-run club, (who) play the right way and are an established Premier League team,” said Giggs.

“But it’s tough now, you see the teams down there. It gets tougher each year. They lost good players, didn’t they? They lost Sigurdsson, they lost Llorente, and probably never replaced them. That’s always a problem.”

Giggs served as caretaker boss at Manchester United in 2014 following the sacking of David Moyes and was assistant manager under Van Gaal.

But despite being linked with a number of jobs, he has not managed to find a role since leaving United in 2016.

Clement saved Swansea from relegation after being appointed in January but his departure was confirmed less than 48 hours after the 3-1 loss at Everton on Monday — Swansea’s ninth defeat in 11 games.

Swansea on Thursday announced that long-serving midfielder Leon Britton, who has been part of the coaching staff, had been put in caretaker charge and would oversee Saturday’s match against Crystal Palace.

AFP

Swansea Sack Manager Paul Clement

(FILES) This file photo taken on October 21, 2017 shows former Swansea City’s English head coach Paul Clement awaiting kick off in the football match between Swansea City and Leicester City at The Liberty Stadium in Swansea, South Wales. Geoff CADDICK / AFP

 

Swansea City sacked manager Paul Clement on Wednesday after less than a year at the helm as the Premier League’s bottom club desperately search for a way out of the relegation mire.

As the season approaches its halfway point, the Welsh side are already four points adrift of safety following Monday’s 3-1 defeat at Everton, with just three wins in their first 18 Premier League matches.

“We can confirm that the club has tonight parted company with head coach Paul Clement,” the club said on its Twitter account.

Clement is the sixth Premier League manager to lose his job so far this season, following the dismissals of Frank de Boer (Crystal Palace), Craig Shakespeare (Leicester City), Ronald Koeman (Everton), Slaven Bilic (West Ham) and Tony Pulis (West Brom).

Swansea’s owners will be banking on fresh impetus from a new boss to lift the team up the table, with the likes of Leicester and Everton boosted by new appointments in recent weeks.

“To change the manager, especially at only the halfway point of the season, is the last thing we wanted to do as a club,” said Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins in a statement.

“We had three different managers last season and as a result, we all wanted to give Paul as much time as possible to turn things around.

“But we felt we couldn’t leave it any longer and needed to make a change to give us the best chance of an uplift and a turnaround in fortunes with the club bottom of the Premier League.”

Jenkins praised Clement’s role in helping keep the club in the English top flight last season.

He took over at Swansea in January, replacing Bob Bradley, with the club bottom of the Premier League and tipped as odds-on favourites for relegation.

But he masterminded four wins from his first six games, including an impressive victory at Liverpool, to earn himself the Premier League manager of the month award for January.

Swansea lost last season’s leading scorer Fernando Llorente and midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson during the summer transfer window, severely weakening their squad.

Former Derby manager Clement arrived at Swansea with a wealth of experience after working with some of the biggest teams in Europe as assistant manager to Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain.

Former West Brom boss Pulis and Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs are among the favourites to replace him.

Assistant coaches Nigel Gibbs and Karl Halabi have also left Swansea.

The club said they would give supporters a further update within 24 hours.

AFP

Manchester City Eye Record Against Swansea

Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola celebrates with Manchester City’s Spanish midfielder David Silva. Photo: Lindsey PARNABY / AFP

Manchester City look unstoppable in their relentless surge towards the Premier League title, and only have lowly Swansea standing in the way of Pep Guardiola’s men setting a new record of consecutive wins on Wednesday.

City are 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League and the managers of Manchester United and Chelsea both effectively conceded defeat in the title race at the weekend.

Their victory against Jose Mourinho’s United on Sunday was their 14th straight win in the Premier League — a single season record that also equalled the best-ever run Arsenal established over two seasons in 2002.

Yet despite their frightening form, City defender Kyle Walker is urging caution.

“We have to keep our feet on the floor and keep working hard, preparing physically and mentally,” he said.

“We have another important one on Wednesday against Swansea. We have to keep getting three points.”

Guardiola has declared repeatedly that his team will lose a league match at some point this season but few people would expect that to happen at second-from-bottom Swansea.

David Silva is in dazzling form, with goals in each of his past two appearances and a man-of-the-match display on Sunday but the Premier League’s leading scorers have an array of talent supporting him.

However there could be consequences on and off the field following derby victory. Captain Vincent Kompany was substituted after an hour with what appeared to be the latest in a sequence of muscle injuries.

With John Stones out until early January with a hamstring injury, it means Guardiola has just two fit senior centre-backs — Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala.

And the Football Association has demanded answers from both United and City following reports of an ugly fracas in the Old Trafford tunnel after the match that reportedly left City assistant coach Mikel Arteta bloodied.

Guardiola must decide whether to recall striker Sergio Aguero, who was an unused substitute on Sunday, after Gabriel Jesus played in a front three against United alongside Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane.

Swansea striker Wilfried Bony may feel he has a point to prove against his former club.

Bony had a disappointing year-and-a-half in a City shirt, scoring just 10 goals in 46 appearances after joining them from Swansea in January 2015.

An uninspiring season on loan at Stoke failed to rebuild his reputation and the Ivory Coast forward is now back at the Liberty Stadium for a second spell.

After failing to score in his first eight games back at Swansea, Bony has now found the net in each of his past two. He struck on Saturday as they beat West Brom 1-0, climbing off the bottom of the Premier League and easing some of the pressure on manager Paul Clement.

“We have to go into our next game with no fear,” said winger Nathan Dyer.

“Manchester City are doing very well so we will have to ensure we are concentrating for the full game and then take the chances we create.”

AFP

Conte Sees Red As Chelsea Defeat Swansea

Chelsea’s Italian head coach Antonio Conte (L) speaks with English referee Neil Swarbrick before being sent to the stands during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Swansea City at Stamford Bridge in London on November 29, 2017.
Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Chelsea kept alive their Premier League title hopes with a 1-0 win over Swansea as Blues boss Antonio Conte was sent to the stands for a furious touchline rant.

Conte lost his cool late in the first half at Stamford Bridge, earning his marching orders after blasting fourth official Lee Mason following referee Neil Swarbrick’s failure to award Chelsea a clear corner.

Chelsea weren’t troubled by their manager’s absence from the bench and clinched the points early in the second half when Germany defender Antonio Rudiger headed his first league goal since his pre-season move from Roma.

Despite recording a fifth win in their last six league games, third-placed Chelsea remain well behind leaders Manchester City and it will take a major surge for the champions to successfully defend the title.

With a host of matches against teams outside the top half of the table coming up in December, they will hope to at least close the gap on City heading into the new year.

Swansea stay second bottom as the pressure mounts on boss Paul Clement, whose team are without a win in six league games and haven’t scored in their last four.

It was far from a vintage display from Chelsea, with Conte’s decision to rest Eden Hazard after his fine performance in Saturday’s draw at Liverpool depriving the Blues of their creative catalyst.

Hazard wasn’t the only one given a breather by Conte as defender Cesar Azpilicueta was out of the Chelsea starting line-up in a league game for the first time since December 2015.

After a sluggish start on a freezing evening, Chelsea should have had a penalty when Alvaro Morata was grabbed by the neck and wrestled to the turf by Swansea defender Mike van der Hoorn.

Despite Morata’s complaints, Swarbrick waved play on, but Chelsea were back on the attack moments later as Willian whipped an inswinging free-kick just wide.

Conte this week warned the players he has used sparingly this season not to grumble about their lack of opportunities.

Pedro, among those played less frequently by Conte, wasted a chance to catch the eye when he shot too close to Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski from a good position.

– Angry tirade –

Swansea were utterly toothless without Tammy Abraham, the young striker on loan from Chelsea who had scored four times this season but wasn’t allowed to play against his parent club.

Chelsea went close again when Cesc Fabregas chipped a pass towards Morata, who was facing away from goal but quickly shifted his body for an agile volley that Fabianski tipped over.

When Willian drilled in a low cross that Swansea defender Alfie Mawson nearly deflected into his own net, it seemed only a matter of time before Chelsea took the lead.

But Swarbrick awarded a goal-kick instead of a corner for that incident and Conte responded with his angry tirade at Mason.

Sent off by Swarbrick, Conte retreated to the seats behind the Chelsea bench, where he continued to shout towards Mason before eventually calming down.

If Conte had struggled to keep his blood pressure down in the first half, the Italian must have been cursing again soon after the interval when Pedro wastefully blazed over from Willian’s cross.

But Conte’s mood was finally lifted as Rudiger broke the deadlock in the 55th minute.

N’Golo Kante’s shot from the edge of the area took a wicked deflection off Swansea’s Wilfried Bony and Rudiger reacted smartly to head home from close-range.

Morata almost finished off Swansea with a towering header that forced an excellent save from Fabianski, but despite their lack of killer instinct Chelsea had done enough.

AFP

Arsenal Rally to Mark Wenger Landmark With Swansea Win

Arsenal’s players observe a minute’s silence for Remembrance Day ahead of the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Swansea City at the Emirates Stadium in London on October 28, 2017. Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

Arsenal celebrated Arsene Wenger’s 800th Premier League game as manager with a win but only after coming from a goal behind to beat Swansea City 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

The Swans went ahead in the 22nd minute when Sam Clucas scored his first goal for the Welsh club since a pre-season transfer from Hull City.

But Sead Kolasinac equalised six minutes after half-time and Aaron Ramsey put Arsenal ahead seven minutes after that as the Gunners recorded their 10th successive home win in the Premier League.

There were few signs early in the game of the struggle in store for Wenger’s men and such was Arsenal’s command in the first 20 minutes they felt free to pass the ball with all the intensity of a five-a-side training match.

Sead Kolasinac celebrates after scoring. Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

Their lack of urgency, however, meant that Arsenal’s only significant efforts on goal in that period came when Per Mertesacker headed an Alexis Sanchez free-kick straight at former Gunners ‘keeper Lukasz Fabianski and Hector Bellerin’s shot was blocked by Federico Fernandez.

Perhaps the feeling that it was all too easy was responsible for the error by Laurent Koscielny that led to Swansea taking the lead.

As he stepped forward to clear a long diagonal ball from Mike van Der Hoorn, the Frenchman stumbled and then fell, leaving Swansea’s on-loan Chelsea forward Tammy Abraham in possession and in space.

Abraham instantly turned and slipped the ball between Bellerin and Mertesacker for Clucas to run onto and roll his shot under Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech.

– Lethargic –
The shock should have roused Arsenal, but they were still lethargic. Mesut Ozil was unable to reach a pass over the defence by Sanchez and Clucas might have had a second goal as a gap suddenly opened up in front of him before he shot just wide of Cech’s right-hand post.

Fabianski did not have to make a serious save until the 40th minute, when Sanchez exchanged passes with Nacho Monreal and fired a fierce shot towards the far top corner. Fabianski, though, flung out his right arm to push the ball over the crossbar.

Swansea had yet another chance to double their lead when Mertesacker was caught in possession by Jordan Ayew, who advanced and saw his shot saved by Cech at the expense of a corner.

Whatever veteran French boss Wenger said at half-time seemed to inspire his players and a more aggressive Arsenal were level six minutes after the break.

Alexandre Lacazette forced his way into the Swansea penalty area and both he and Ozil had shots blocked. The ball ran loose to Kolasinac and although Fabianski got a hand to his shot he could not keep it out.

If Arsenal expected Swansea to collapse, they were disappointed. They had the ball in the net barely a minute later only for Abraham’s close-range finish to be ruled out for offside.

But in the 58th minute Arsenal were ahead. This time Kolasinac was the creator, chesting the ball down and finding Ramsey in an unusual amount of space in the Swansea defence.

The Welshman’s first-time left-foot shot was not powerfully struck, but too well-placed for Fabianski to save.

Suddenly full of running, Arsenal made chances to extend their lead. Lacazette was inches from connecting with Bellerin’s cross from the right, and Bellerin’s shot at full stretch from Ramsey’s pass sent the ball looping over Fabianski but against the bar.

AFP

Spurs Stalemate Adds To Wembley Woes

 

Tottenham Hotspur’s English midfielder Dele Alli reacts at the final whistle in the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Swansea City at Wembley Stadium in London, on September 16, 2017.
Glyn KIRK / AFP

Tottenham were held to a goalless draw by Swansea as Mauricio Pochettino saw his side’s Wembley woes continue on Saturday.

Pochettino’s team have now gone three Premier League games without a win at their temporary home after losing to Chelsea and drawing against Burnley and Swansea.

The Welsh side rode their luck at times as Tottenham hit the woodwork and had three penalty appeals turned down, but the hosts had only themselves to blame for failing to kill off Paul Clement’s men.

Tottenham hoped they had banished talk of a curse at Wembley, which is their base this season while White Hart Lane is redeveloped, by beating Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League in midweek.

But that proved wishful thinking and even Harry Kane, who scored twice against Dortmund, couldn’t save them.

It needed a smart eighth minute save from Lukasz Fabianski to keep out Kane’s early free-kick which skipped up off the turf.

The Swansea goalkeeper’s reflexes were tested again two minutes later when Son Heung-Min found space and from an actuate angle forced Fabianski to tip his shot into the side-netting.

Another flowing move saw Son fire well wide before Swansea, who had barely got out of their own half, finally threatened on the counter-attack in the 25th minute.

Renato Sanches had made a sluggish start but his quick feet gave Tammy Abraham a chance to set up Tom Carroll’s effort on goal.

Tottenham were bidding to set a new club record of scoring in 30 consecutive Premier League home games, but they were finding Swansea tough to break down.

Swansea captain Federico Fernandez did well to turn Son’s cross over his crossbar.

From the resulting corner, Kieran Tripper drove wide as Spurs failed to score a first half goal in all three of their home league games this season.

Just like the first half, the second period was dominated by Tottenham.

But Pochettino’s side were becoming increasingly frustrated, never more so than when a strong handball claim against Martin Olsson was overlooked by referee Mike Dean.

Tottenham must have feared it wouldn’t be their day when Kane somehow rattled the crossbar from six yards out after Moussa Sissoko’s cut-back.

The game was now being played entirely in Swansea’s half, with Fernando Llorente introduced by Tottenham, just weeks after joining from the visitors.

There was still time for Trippier to whistle his shot just wide before Serge Aurier dragged his effort the wrong side of the post deep into stoppage-time.

AFP