Offshore drilling, England: Wigan Athletic 2, at Arsenal 1

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Man of the match: Playing as the middle-man in Wigan’s narrow, deep, three-man central defense, Gary Caldwell was not only the Latics’ best defender but also the man that kept the team organized. Given a game plan that was always going to put a lot of pressure on him and his teammates, Caldwell was calm, poised, and able to radiate that presence throughout the defense.

Packaged for takeaway:

  • OMG! Shock! Well, kinda. The win was Wigan’s fourth in five and seems part of the late-season push we should expect from Roberto Martínez’s teams. During this one they’ve gotten wins from Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal. Should we really be that shocked?
  • Arsenal was certainly shocked when Wigan went up within 10 minutes, as were onlookers by Gunners’ defending. A text book counterattack allowed the Latics to score their first goal, but the key to a that kind of transition is your opponent opening up. On the second goal, Victor Moses was able to collapse the right side of Arsenal’s defense and, eventually, feed an easy ball into the six for Jordi Gómez.
  • When Arsenal soon responded through Thomas Vermaelen it looked like we were in for a shootout, but Wigan seemed to adjust. Through the first 20 minutes Wigan’s midfield played very deep and refrained from putting in a challenges that could see them beat. After the goal, the midfield (particularly, James McArthur and Jamie McCarthy) got more aggressive.
  • Even before Wigan’s midfield toughened up, Arsenal’s only success was playing crosses into the box. Their goal came off a cross, while Yossi Benayoun went close a couple of times by out-jumping Antolín Alcaraz. Curiously, Arsenal stopped doing this and even (eventually) took Benayoun off. Predictably, they tried to break down Wigan while keeping the ball on the floor, an approach which never came that close to an equalizer.
  • It’s matches like this that make people question Arsene Wenger’s in-game tactics. Disclaimer: He knows his team better than we do. However, why does Marouane Chamakh even dress if he’s not going to be used in this type of match? Particularly when playing in the air gave Arsenal their first goal and their best chances?
  • Wigan is now five points clear of the drop and, more importantly, have a struggling team (QPR) between them and relegation. For Arsenal, they still have a five point lead on fourth and will be fine. Wigan’s shown they’re pretty good right now.

Marco Verratti crushes teammates in PSG ultimatum

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When asked if he wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain, Marco Verratti gave an answer sure to turn the heads of his teammates in the French capital.

Transfer rumors have swirled around the Italian midfielder all summer, and he finally addressed the situation in Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport. When asked if he wanted to leave, Verratti said he’d like to stay, but if he is to do so, the club must come through in the transfer window.

“It’s not that I want to go at all costs,” Verratti said. “It’s just I want to see if they really do build a great squad this time. In that case, I would be happy to stay.”

“Each year they say they are going to build a great squad, but we’ve seen the results. Promises are not enough. If, on the other hand, this time PSG with [sporting director Antero] Henrique stick to what they say, then I will be absolutely happy to stay. At the end of the day, nobody is forcing me to leave.”

It’s one thing for a player to say he thinks the club needs reinforcements in the summer, but Veratti goes all in here. For the Italian to claim that promises had been broken and good players were not brought in, that’s a ruthless aside to his current teammates.

Media reports have linked Verratti with a move away from Parc de Princes all summer. The 24-year-old has been most heavily linked with Barcelona, although clubs like Bayern Munich and Chelsea have been mentioned. According to a number of reports, Verratti turned down a new PSG contract as recently as last week in a meeting with the sporting director.

MLS Snapshot: Houston Dynamo 1-1 FC Dallas (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): It ended scoreless when the two sides met for the first time this season, and although there were goals in this one, it finished with the same outcome. The Dynamo and Dallas remain equal on points following the draw, with each team boasting 25 at the midway point through the MLS campaign. Goals from Erick “Cubo’ Torres and Maxi Urruti cancelled one another out at BBVA Compass Stadium, but it was the Dallas that had more of the chances in the match. The Dynamo remain one of the top sides in MLS at home, boasting a record of 7-0-2 in their opening nine matches in Houston.

Three two moments that mattered

19′ — Torres makes it 11 on the year! — Give Erick Torres an inch this season… Well, you know the rest of the saying…

59′ — Urruti makes Dynamo pay for missed chance on other end — The Dynamo were so close to making it 2-0 just a minute sooner, but Maxi Urruti had other plans for the visitors.

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Man of the match: Maxi Urruti

Goalscorers: Erick Torres (19′), Maxi Urruti (59′)

MLS Snapshot: Toronto FC 2-0 New England Revolution (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Toronto FC was without some of its regulars on Friday night, but that didn’t matter much as Greg Vanney’s side avenged their loss to the Revolution from two weeks ago. Coming off of just two days’ rest, TFC continued its push towards an Eastern Conference title at BMO Field behind Drew Moor’s first goal of the season. Sebastian Giovinco was held in check most of the evening, but the Italian scorer did what he does best in the final minute of stoppage time to seal it for the home side with his seventh goal of the year. The Revs pushed and pushed during the second half for an equalizer but TFC’s resilience defensively proved superior as they kept the visitors off the scoreboard for their eighth shutout of 2017.

Three moments that mattered

11′ — Moor taps in for early Toronto advantage — Even on two days’ rest Toronto looks like this…

57′ — Cheeky Nguyen keeps Revs in match — Lee Nguyen is typically known for his creativity in the offensive half but it was this clever play defensively that kept the Revolution down just one goal.

83′ — Kamara comes so close! — It’s just not meant to be on the night for the Revs.

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Man of the match: Alex Bono

Goalscorers: Drew Moor (11′), Sebastian Giovinco (90+6′)

Video: Orlando City product scores crazy bicycle kick

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Goals like this one below never grow old.

Orlando City academy product Alejandro Pereira scored a brilliant bicycle kick for his Under-17/18 side in their 2-0 win on Thursday night during the U.S. Soccer Development Academy playoffs.

Orlando will continue its path in the Academy Playoffs on Saturday when they face off against Players Development Academy (PDA) U-17/18, before meeting Indiana Fire U-17/18 on Monday.