FBL-ENG-PR-ARSENAL-MAN UTD

Arsenal fail to take advantage of Manchester United’s title-clinching hangover

2 Comments

Against a clearly half-speed Manchester United, Arsenal were kept off the board over the match’s last 88 minutes, left to hope a controversial Theo Walcott opener would hold up. But two 43rd minute mistakes from Bacary Sagna – a giveaway and then a foul in the penalty area – allowed Robin Van Persie to secure a celebration-less equalizer, leaving the match destined to finish 1-1.

That may be a just result, given the nature of Arsenal’s goal. Manchester United’s line was beaten in the second minute when a Tomas Rosicky pass into the right of the area allowed Theo Walcott, who had blown by Patrice Evra, to beat David de Gea far post. Replays, however, showed Walcott to be clearly offside when Rosicky played the ball; however, since the flag stayed down, the Arsenal winger was merely in an offside position (not offside, strictly) before scoring his 12th goal of the season.

Though Arsenal looked the more dangerous team for much of the first half, at one point they went nearly 20 minutes without a shot, let alone a shot on goal. Manchester United were able to stabilize after a flat-footed start and eventually got back into the match through Sagna’s generosity. Had the Arsenal right back not stepped in, United may have never emerged from the celebratory slumber they carried in into today’s game, having clinched their 20th league title on Monday.

By the second half’s kickoff, United were back, embarking on a controlling run that forced out any air left in Arsenal’s challenge. Fifteen minutes before time, the Gunners seemed to perk up and realize they needed three points, but by then they were second best. While 1-1 was a fair result, if one team were more likely to snatch a goal late, it would have been United.

Given how poorly the Red Devils played in the first half, it was a sorry turn of events for Arsenal – a home side that needed the points more than their guests. With the draw, Arsenal lose ground on Chelsea and stay only two upon Spurs, with top-four rivals carrying a match in hand. Against a United team with little motivation, Arsenal should have expected full points.

There are, however, two things working in Arsenal’s favor:

(a) Their run-in is ridiculously easy, particularly particularly compared to Chelsea’s. The Gunners are “at” QPR, host Wigan, then finish at Newcastle.

(b) Chelsea and Tottenham still play each other.

Arsenal are still on track for a top-four finish, but Sunday’s showing against an ambivalent United will stunt the building notion the Gunners were moving forward. They may be good enough to get back into Champions League, but against a team that didn’t seem to care that much about the result, Arsenal were only good enough for a draw.

West Ham loses ex-Hammer of the Year Cresswell for four months

FBL-ENG-PR-WEST HAM-NEWCASTLE
GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Aaron Cresswell was one of the stalwarts of the last two Premier League campaigns, a good crosser capable of lung-busting runs and the occasional brilliant shot.

So it’s a significant blow for West Ham United to be without him for the next four months.

[ MORE: Does Pogba match his fee? ]

Cresswell has played in 75 of the Hammers’ 76 PL matches since arriving from Ipswich Town in 2014, and was injured in a 50/50 play against Karlsruher SC this weekend.

He may not need surgery to repair the knee ligaments, but is out nonetheless.

From WHUFC.com:

Head of Medical and Sports Science Stijn Vandenbroucke explained that Cresswell had undergone a scan and will consult a specialist in central London early next week. The medical team will then take a decision whether or not the defender requires surgery.

“Whatever course of action we decide to take, Aaron faces a period of rest, followed by treatment and rehabilitation and he will be out for a period of between three and four months,” said Vandenbroucke.

Left back isn’t a position of strength for most teams, and West Ham doesn’t look to be an exception.
Vandenbroucke also issued an update on Manuel Lanzini, saying the club won’t know his status until the attacker returns from Argentina duty. Lanzini was injured with Argentina’s Olympic team while preparing for the Games in Rio.

 

Borchers ruptures achilles tendon, leaving Timbers without best back

CARSON, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10:  Nat Borchers #7 of Portland Timbers passes the ball against the Los Angeles Galaxy during the first half of their MLS match at StubHub Center on April 10, 2016 in Carson, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
Leave a comment

FOX analyst Stu Holden said it right after it happened, and it’s true: Nat Borchers has torn his achilles tendon and is out for the season.

The Portland Timbers back with the big burly beard was injured late in the first half, and had to be stretchered off the pitch. Amobi Okugo took his place for the rest of the match, which finished 2-1 to the Galaxy.

[ MORE: Does Pogba match his fee? ]

It’s a big blow for the Timbers, whose regular season struggles are an annual occurrence. The 2015 MLS Champions are currently in the West’s seventh position, and Borchers has been one of their best players in each of the last two seasons.

Borchers is 35, and in his second season with the Oregon set after 211 appearances for Real Salt Lake.

The achilles is a brutal injury to return from at any age. Whenever, he’s done Borchers will exit MLS in the select company of winning an MLS Cup for at least two different teams in separate decades (2009-RSL, 2015-PDX).

Aubameyang admits there’s one club that could move him: Real Madrid

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26:  Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Borussia Dortmund is tackled by Kieran Gibbs of Arsenal during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund at the Emirates Stadium on November 26, 2014 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is among the best strikers in the world, and somehow doesn’t get as much praise as his peers.

If he ever gets his dream transfer, that would certainly change.

[ MORE: Does Pogba match his fee? ]

Aubameyang, 27, is contracted to Borussia Dortmund until 2020, but admitted there’s a club that could make him antsy.

The reigning African Player of the Year — he of the 39 goals in 46 matches last season — is loving his time at Borussia Dortmund. That said, Real Madrid.

From EUROSport:

“The only club to leave Borussia Dortmund for is Real Madrid. But not now.

“Sometime I want to play for Real Madrid, which is one of my big goals in my career. But at the moment everything is great.”

Aubameyang could approach otherworldly numbers next season — we’re thinking 50-plus goals — with the additions of Mario Gotze and Andre Schurrle to BVB’s already strong squad (which did lose Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mats Hummels this offseason).

And with Ousmane Dembele in the fold and looking very good, perhaps BVB is prepared to reap the rewards of an Aubameyang sale after this season?

Big day in Stoke: Potters capture Joe Allen and Egyptian prodigy

stokecityfc.com
stokecityfc.com
Leave a comment

Stoke City got one for now and another for the future on Monday, announcing the purchase of Joe Allen from Liverpool and Ramadan Sobhi from Al Alhy.

Allen, 26, had been with the Reds since 2012 after more than a decade in the ranks of Swansea City. The midfielder helped Wales into the semifinals of EURO 2016.

[ MORE: Does Pogba match his fee? ]

Swansea was linked with matching Stoke’s bid, but Allen moves onto a new home at the Britannia Stadium.

From Stoke City’s site:

Chief Executive Tony Scholes said: “Joe is a player that Mark has admired for a considerable amount of time. Therefore when we became aware of the possibility of bringing him to the Club it was something that we were determined to do.

Sobhi, 19, is a lesser known entity full of promise. At 19, he already had six caps and a goal for Egypt, and has made 71 appearances with 17 goals for Al Alhy in the Egyptian Premier League.

The fee could reach $7 million with incentives.

From Stoke City’s site:

“We are absolutely delighted to have signed a player of Ramadan’s undoubted quality and potential. He’s a special young talent who is excited about the prospect of making an impact in the Premier League and we’re looking forward to giving him that platform.”

Stoke has quietly been amassing assets for some time, and made a strong push last season before finishing ninth. If Allen can combine well with Giannelli Imbula, perhaps Stoke can continue its rise up the PL pecking order.