Arsenal's Ramsey scores a goal against Norwich City during their English Premier League soccer match in Londpon

Arsenal 4-1 Norwich: Teamwork and individual class both on display for the Gunners (video)

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The home side had their first goal before 20 minutes were up. The opener truly showcased Arsenal’s talents, with Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and Olivier Giroud all exchanging tight one-touch passes as they wove through the Norwich defense. Wilshere slipped through the back line to latch on to the end of the final ball from Giroud, using his right foot to knock it into the back of the net.

Arsenal were kind enough not to score any more during the first half, and by the last five minutes, Norwich finally came to life. Robert Snodgrass and Leroy Fer both saw their shots saved. It seemed like there might be hope for the visitors, after all.

Sure enough, the Canaries continued to pressure Arsenal after the break. Wojciech Szczesny saved another from Snodgrass, followed immediately by an attempt from Martin Olsson. But the Gunners seemed to thrive on that pressure. A quick counter attack saw Giroud flying up the right. He sent the ball into the middle where Mesut Ozil, after a great run down the left, was waiting. And, wonder of wonders, Ozil headed the ball into the back of the net for his first Premier League goal.

But, with 20 minutes left to play, Arsenal let down their guard and the visitors took advantage. Per Mertesacker failed to adequately clear a cross and Kieran Gibbs didn’t do quite enough to chase it down. Jonny Howson controlled it wonderfully before sending a low drive into the back of the net.

Yet Howson’s goal turned out to be a mere consolation, with Arsenal hitting back with two more of their own. The second was another beauty, this time from Aaron Ramsey. Receiving the ball from Wilshere, Ramsey executed not one but two dummies, throwing off the Norwich defense and leaving him clear on Ruddy’s goal.

Ramsey turned provider for the fourth and final goal. Tomas Rosicky, on for Cazorla, sent the cross over for Ramsey, who pulled it back beautifully for Ozil to fire in his second goal. Another lovely display of team work, and another reason why the other title challengers should feel very worried indeed.

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Wilshere, Arteta, Flamini (Ramsey 37), Cazorla (Rosicky 59), Ozil, Giroud (Bendtner 78)

Subs not used: Vermaelen, Monreal, Fabianski, Jenkinson

Goals: Wilshere 18′, Ozil 58′, Ramsey 83′, Ozil 88′

Norwich: Ruddy; Martin, Bassong, Turner, Olsson; Tettey (Hoolahan 79), Fer, Howson; Snodgrass, Pilkington (Redmond 70), Hooper

Subs not used: Bunn, Whittaker, Johnson, Becchio, R Bennett

Goals: Howson 70′

Everton’s Bolasie needs ACL surgery, will miss AFCON

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04:  Jose Mourinho manager of Manchester United reacts as Yannick Bolasie of Everton is given treatment during the Premier League match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park on December 4, 2016 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
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This is a big blow to Everton, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Yannick Bolasie is set for a long spell on the sidelines after suffering an ACL injury in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United.

The 27-year-old attacker has played in every match for the Toffees, and is an electric attacking threat. He has one goal and four assists in PL play this season, after nabbing five and four for Palace last season.

[ PL: Grading the superstars’ seasons ]

A $32 million buy from Crystal Palace, Bolasie will miss the Africa Cup of Nations next month and likely send the Toffees into the transfer market.

Manager Ronald Koeman has made no secret of his Memphis Depay admiration, and this could tip Everton’s hand.

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Aubameyang raises transfer eyebrows in midst of otherworldy season

LISBON, PORTUGAL - OCTOBER 18: Pierre Aubameyang of Borussia Dortmund in action at the warm up during the UEFA Champions League match between SC Sporting and Borussia Dortmund at Estadio Jose Alvalade on October 18, 2016 in Lisbon, Lisboa. (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)
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Game changer, season changer, title changer.

It’s hard to find a phrase that would overstate what it would mean if a club could pry Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from the hands of Borussia Dortmund.

Aubameyang raised eyebrows Monday with his non-dismissal of a transfer possibility. It wasn’t quite a “come and get me”, but the door is certainly open.

[ MORE: U.S. Soccer’s Player of Year finalists ]

“I don’t know if I will stay. I just think about playing good football right now. I want to give my best and win titles. I just think about the sport and nothing else.”

If you don’t pay a lot of attention to the Bundesliga, it might be easy to overlook Aubameyang. But the season he’s having with BVB’s wealth of playmaking midfielders is overwhelming. Give him less than a yard, and he’s all set.

Throw in the UEFA Champions League, and “Auba” has 18 goals in 18 matches. In the Bundesliga, he has a 4-goal night at Hamburg but also goals against Bayern and Hertha. Aubameyang has two braces, and has only been held off the score sheet three times (BVB is 1D-2L in those contests).

Put plainly, no one is doing what he’s doing right now.

Top Five leagues, 2016-17 goals (matches)

  1. Aubameyang, BVB — 15 (12)
  2. Edinson Cavani, PSG — 14 (14)
  3. Anthony Modeste, Koln — 12 (13)
  4. Mauro Icardi, Inter Milan — 12 (14)
  5. Eden Dzeko, Roma — 12 (15)
  6. Alexandre Lacazette — 11 (11)
  7. Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal — 11 (14)
  8. Diego Costa, Chelsea — 11 (14)
  9. Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid — 10 (11)
  10. Sergio Aguero, Manchester City — 10 (12)
  11. Andrea Belotti, Torino — 10 (13)
  12. Lionel Messi, Barcelona — 9 (9)
  13. Luis Suarez, Barcelona — 9 (12)
  14. Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich — 9 (13)
  15. Iago Aspas, Celta Vigo — 9 (13)
  16. Ciro Immobile, Lazio — 9 (15)
  17. Alassane Plea, Nice — 9 (16)

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Report: NASL’s New York Cosmos terminate all player contracts

SO KON PO, HONG KONG SAR - FEBRUARY 19:  Daniel Szetela (R) of New York Cosmos and Siu Kwan Chan of South China in action during the 2015 Lunar New Year Cup match between South China and the New York Cosmos at Hong Kong Stadium on February 19, 2015 in So Kon Po, Hong Kong.  (Photo by Victor Fraile/Getty Images)
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As we await the future of both the North American Soccer League and its champion New York Cosmos, another dark cloud arrived regarding both.

Empire of Soccer reports that the Cosmos have terminated all of its player contracts, putting a 2017 season into the neighborhood of improbability.

[ MORE: Atlanta signs second DP ]

New York’s staff is on furlough, and the club has been “on the brink of collapse” for weeks (if not longer).

The USL avoided having its champion collapse by finding new owners for the Rochester Rhinos in the offseason. Will New York be able to do the same?

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U.S. Soccer announces Players of the Year nominees

HARRISON, NJ - JUNE 01:  John Brooks #6 of United States and teammates Clint Dempsey #8,Michael Bradley #4,Geoff Cameron #20 and Julian Green #16 wait for the corner kick in the second half against Turkey during an international friendly match at Red Bull Arena on June 1, 2014 in Harrison, New Jersey.The United States defeated Turkey 2-1.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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U.S. Soccer unveiled the finalists for its top 2016 Male, Female, and youth awards on Monday.

MLS stars Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, and Clint Dempsey are joined by Geoff Cameron and Bobby Wood as top men’s player nominees. The winner will be announced on the eve of Saturday’s MLS Cup Final.

[ MLS: Best XI has historic American low ]

Stoke City’s Cameron and Hamburg’s Wood are the European-based players on the list, while Fabian Johnson did not make the cut. Dempsey has been limited by heart problems, but still found a way to the list.

John Brooks and Christian Pulisic are also notable exceptions, though the latter is a finalist for the younger award.

The five-woman list for Female Player of the Year sees Crystal Dunn, Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath, and Becky Sauerbrunn vying to finish second behind Carli Lloyd (Sorry, we couldn’t resist even with Heath’s incredible season).

The Young Male award promises to be a showdown between Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund) and Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), though it’s difficult to see the latter edging the former. Also in the frame are Spurs back Cameron Carter-Vickers, Atlanta United teenager Andrew Carleton and U.S. U-17 star Josh Sargent.

The Young Female nominees are midfielders Emily Ogle and Andi Sullivan, defenders Kaleigh Riehl and Karina Rodriguez and forward Ashley Sanchez.

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