Interesting that today is for some reason a hotbed for Arsenal transfer news.
With MLS Soccer already reporting that the Gunners could be seriously considering a move for Aston Villa’s Brad Guzan, Arsene Wenger has made some very interesting comments about Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa.
Wenger very rarely comments on other clubs’ players, but he has done so by praising the “animal” that is Diego Costa.
Discussing Atletico’s outstanding start to the season, Wenger said, “They have really good players in midfield and of course there is Diego Costa. This guy is an animal, he can score in any situation.”
Off to a ridiculous start in La Liga, the 25-year-old striker has 10 goals already in eight Primera Division matches, with wins in all eight. They’re tied with Barcelona at the top of the table, only behind on goal difference thanks to the Catalan giants’ absolute tear.
The key to all this is that Wenger very rarely speaks openly about players of another club (aside from helping reporters to preview upcoming opponents).
Arsenal were also linked to Costa in the summer transfer window as a backup to Gonzalo Higuain (neither of which ended up materializing). Liverpool were rumored to have swooped in at one point as well but the Spaniard remained in Madrid.
Atletico will no doubt do their best to keep Costa. Given his torrid start, he’s essential to retaining their Champions League place next season. In addition, they’ve failed to keep their best attacking players over the past few seasons, having no choice but to sell strikers Falcao and Sergio Aguero to bigger, richer clubs over the past three years.
Both Premier League sides fell in Thursday’s UEFA Europa League play, but for one side the result didn’t effect their progression into the next round.
[ MORE: Ex-Brazil forward Robinho handed nine-year prison sentence ]
Arsenal dropped a 1-0 result to Cologne, however, the Gunners still moved into the Round of 32 after their Group H counterparts, Red Star Belgrade and BATE Borisov settled for a scoreless draw.
Meanwhile, Everton’s 2017/18 woes continued on the day as the Toffees suffered a brutal 5-1 defeat at home against Serie A side Atalanta. The win secures Atalanta’s place in the knockout phase, along with fellow Group E club Lyon — who also won on Thursday.
AC Milan put up five goals of its own in a convincing win against Austria Wien, while Lazio, Nice and Red Bull Salzburg were among the other sides to move into the next round after picking up the necessary results.
Below are all of the scores from Thursday’s Europa League action.
Astana 2-3 Villareal
Konyaspor 1-1 Marseille
Rosenborg 0-1 Real Sociedad
Lazio 1-1 Vitesse
Viktoria Plzen 2-0 Steaua Bucuresti
Lokomotiv 2-1 Copenhagen
Zenit 2-1 Vardar
Red Bull Salzburg 3-0 Vitoria
Athletic Bilbao 3-2 Hertha Berlin
BATE 0-0 Red Star Belgrade
Ostersunds 2-0 Zorya
Koln 1-0 Arsenal
Nice 3-1 Zulte Waregem
Lugano 1-0 Beer-Sheva
Ludogorets 1-2 Istanbul
Braga 3-1 Hoffenheim
AEK 2-2 Rijeka
AC Milan 5-1 Austria Vienna
Lyon 4-0 Apollon
Maccabi Tel Aviv 0-2 Slavia Praha
Sheriff 1-0 Zlin
Partizan 2-1 Young Boys
Skenderbeu 3-2 Dynamo Kyiv
Everton 1-5 Atalanta
Former Brazil international Robinho has been sentenced to nine years in prison after being convicted of rape on an Albanian woman back in 2013.
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At the time, Robinho was playing for Serie A side AC Milan.
The court decision came down on Thursday after the 33-year-old forward had failed to attend any court hearings in Italy, where the crime reportedly took place.
Robinho is believed to have acted in the crime with five other Brazilians, to which their whereabouts are unknown to this point.
Reuters has reported that Robinho is entitled to up to two appeals and “Italy would only launch extradition proceedings once this legal process is exhausted.”
The Brazilian is known for his club playing days at AC Milan and Manchester City, among other clubs in addition to his time with the Selecao. Robinho took part in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups with Brazil.
- West Ham is winless in last six against Leicester
- Jamie Vardy has two goals, two assists in last 4 games vs. West Ham
- Hammers have nine points through first 12 matches
West Ham United will host Leicester City from the London Stadium on Friday (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET Friday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as David Moyes and Co. look to climb out of the relegation zone.
[ MORE: Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks ]
Moyes and West Ham currently sit 18th in the Premier League through 12 games, and will be hoping to see an improvement in their form with the potential returns of Andre Ayew and Marko Arnautovic.
The Hammers are without Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Michail Antonio, as well as James Collins.
The Foxes are winless in their last two matches, and coming off of a 2-0 defeat to Manchester City over the weekend. Robert Huth and Matty James remain sidelined for Puel’s group, but otherwise, the club is relatively healthy.
What they’re saying
West Ham boss David Moyes on turning the team’s form around: “We need to give the supporters something to shout about and something that looks half decent, and then they will support us. I want everyone to be together. I am not aware of the problems before I came, I was a bit surprised when I heard (chanting against the board). “I want them behind us to give us a chance of winning.”
Leicester’s Claude Puel on confidence in his players: “I have a good feeling with the players; they listen, they work hard on the pitch and I feel their ambition. We will see in the next games, with a good adaption and rotation, to see them approach it with a positive attitude.”
The Hammers are missing several key attacking pieces, including Hernandez, which will surely make the defensive task easier for Leicester. The Foxes attack hasn’t been at its finest, but they’ll be facing a West Ham back line that allows over two goals per game (25 in 12 matches).
West Ham 1-3 Leicester
The Gunners didn’t take care of business on Thursday in Germany, but luckily they got some help from two of their other Group H counterparts.
[ MORE: Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks, video previews ]
Cologne defeated Arsenal, 1-0, at the RheinEnergieStadion, but Red Star Belgrade and BATE Borisov ended in a scoreless draw to give Arsene Wenger‘s side the top spot in the group.
The difference on the day proved to be Sehrou Guirassy’s penalty kick, which came in the 62nd minute after he had been taken down by Matthieu Debuchy a moment prior.
Arsenal were forced back early on by the hosts, with Jhon Cordoba nearly breaking the deadlock inside the opening five minutes.
Meanwhile, the Gunners struggled to break down Cologne’s defense throughout the encounter, despite having an overwhelming amount of possession.
Arsenal will close out Group H play on Dec. 7 against BATE, while Cologne battles Red Star Belgrade for a shot at reaching the Round of 32.