Can the Gunners extend their lead at the top? Or will they come unstuck against the Toffees?

Arsenal 2-0 Hull City: Bendtner and Ozil keep Gunners top (video)

Leave a comment

Arsenal kept on rolling as they won their sixth-straight home PL game with a 2-0 win against Hull City on Wednesday. Nicklas Bendtner and Mesut Ozil grabbed the goals as the Gunners kept their terrific form going with an easy win.

The damage was done early on as Bendtner headed home superbly from Carl Jenkinson’s fantastic cross from the right inside two minutes, the goal marked his first start in the league for the Gunners in over 1000 days as he put the home side 1-0 up. It remained that way at the break as Arsenal dominated but couldn’t break down a resilient Hull side. But after half time Mesut Ozil finished off a sublime move to put the game out of the Tigers reach and give Arsenal all three points.

With their fifth shutout win in four games Arsenal stay top on 34 points, while Hull are in 12th with 17 points.

It took under two minutes for the North London side to go ahead as Bendtner headed home in his first PL start since March 2011. The Danish international has scored three goals in his last four games against Hull and the league leaders were relentless early on after taking the lead. Hull could not get out of their own half Aaron Ramsey and Ozil combined superbly in and around the box.

Jenkinson went close with a header as he reacted to a flick in the box and a scrambled clearance from the Tigers kept them just 1-0 down. The Gunners, as usual, continued to dominate possession and Hull were struggling to contain the home sides fluid attacking movements. In the the first half Arsenal had 67 percent of possession and had 13 attempts on goal against Hull.

source: AP
Ozil slots home Arsenal’s second as yet another shutout win keeps them top.

Arsenal nearly got their second when Ramsey was found on the edge of the box and his shot was tipped wide by Alan McGregor as the Scot got down low wide. Hull held their own and forced Wojciech Szczesny into a good close range stop but that sparked Arsenal back into life as just before the break Bendtner crossed for Ozil who headed just wide of the far post.

After the interval Arsenal carried on attacking and just one minute and 57 seconds into the second half Ozil made it 2-0. Ramsey played a perfect pass into the German international who slotted home superbly to give the league leaders a commanding lead. By this point Hull were fighting fires across the midfield and defense and Bendtner saw his header cleared off the line in the 55th minute.

Hull had a few good chances to reduce the deficit as Jake Livermore made some good runs forward from midfield, however Arsenal were drifting through the gears as they eased towards full time with their two-goal lead intact. Wenger may be slightly worried at how easy Hull created some chances in the second half, as Elmohamady whipped in a great ball late on but George Boyd drifted into an offside position.

Arsenal shut up shop and played out the win to stay top of the league, after their 11th victory from 14 games.


Arsenal: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Flamini, Ramsey (Arteta, 80), Rosicky (Wilshere, 73), Cazorla, Ozil, Bendtner (Walcott, 73)

Goals: Bendtner (2), Ozil (47)

Hull City: McGregor, Figueroa, Elmohamady, Chester, Bruce, Meyler, Huddlestone, Livermore, Brady (Rosenior, 58), Graham (Boyd, 58), Sagbo (Nagy, 73)

Reports: Jack Grealish banished to U-21’s after heavy partying

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 25:  Jack Grealish of Aston Villa looks around the Etihad Stadium prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Aston Villa at Etihad Stadium on April 25, 2015 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

Aston Villa youngster Jack Grealish has found himself in hot water with the club’s new manager, and it has him on the outside looking in.

According to reports from England, Grealish has been sent to train with the U-21’s after partying back-to-back nights following a 4-0 pummeling at Everton. Recent comments from Villa manager Remi Garde on Grealish’s on-field performances seem to suggest this has been coming for a while, and the partying was simply the last straw.

Garde called him an “unfinished player” in his press conference prior to the Everton match, saying, “Jack for me is a very gifted player with a lot of skill and quality but what I saw in the last few games he played was not the level he should have played. It is as simple as that. He needed more confidence and more structure in his game.”

Following the Everton defeat, which saw Grealish start and play 74 minutes before being removed, Grealish was pictured partying in Manchester, where he was seen inhaling nitrous oxide from balloons with his friends, the same act that got youngsters Raheem Sterling and Saido Berahino in trouble with their clubs in the past year.

The 20-year-old burst onto the scene last season registering some solid minutes down the stretch as Villa maintained its Premier League status. However, this season has been a rough go for Grealish, who has appeared in eight matches (nine starts) for Villa this season, all losses, and has scored just one goal. The five points earned by Aston Vill this season have all come in matches without Grealish making an appearance.

FC Twente president steps down amid investigation of transfer deals

ENSCHEDE, NETHERLANDS - NOVEMBER 8: General view of the FC Twente Stadion, home of FC Twente taken during the UEFA Europa League group stage match between FC Twente and Levante UD held on November 8, 2012 at the FC Twente Stadion in Enschede, Netherlands. (Photo by Anoek de Groot/EuroFootball/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

Aldo Van der Laan, the President of Dutch club FC Twente, has stepped down after allegations of shady transfer dealings have surfaced.

This week, a website posted a contract dated 2014 between Van der Laan and Malta-based Doyen Sports Investments that saw a payment of $5.3 million from the company to the club in exchange for between 10 and 50 percent of the transfer rights to seven Twente players.

In a statement on its official website, the club said “Van der Laan has stated that the club is always of paramount importance to him, and that is now in jeopardy. Continuing doubt about him harms FC Twente.” The statement went on to say the Dutch federation (KNVB) is investigating, and that the club will cooperate.

FIFA outlawed third-party ownership of players to keep outside forces from influencing transfer deals. The alleged contract posted is dated before the FIFA ruling went into effect, but the KNVB has outlawed third-party ownership for a while.

According to Dutch reports, five of the seven players listed on the contract have already been sold, including current Southampton midfielder Dusan Tadic. The contract states that the two remaining players, Shadrach Eghan (with the first team) and Kyle Ebecilio (on loan at Championship club Nottingham Forest) must be sold by the end of the season, or the club must pay a $1.48 million fine to Doyen.

Those same reports also suggest Twente is likely to see some form of sanction, with some serious possibilities including relegation, a large points deduction, or a transfer ban as long as two years.

UEFA orders Dynamo Kiev to close stadium doors for racist incidents

KIEV, UKRAINE - SEPTEMBER 19:  FC Dynamo Kyiv supporters during the UEFA Europa League group stage match between FC Dynamo Kyiv and KRC Genk held on September 19, 2013 at the Olympic Stadium, in Kiev, Ukraine. (Photo by Genya Savilov/EuroFootball/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

UEFA handed down a two-match closed door ban to Dynamo Kiev after racist incidents during a Champions League match against Chelsea, with a third match suspended for three probationary years.

Anti-discrimation body Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) brought footage to UEFA of four black fans who appeared to be harassed in the stands at the match on October 20. UEFA charged Dynamo for racist behavior, crowd disturbances, and blocked stairways.

Dynamo was also fined €100,000 for the incidents.

As a result, Dynamo will play in an empty stadium on December 9 in a group stage match against Maccabi Tel Aviv, and their second match will either be in the Champions League Round of 16, or in the Europa League Round of 32 should they finish third in their group, which seems more likely.

Last season, Dynamo was punished by UEFA for racist behavior at Europa League matches, ordered to close part of their stadium on two separate occasions.

Roma goalkeeper Szczesny calls rout to Barcelona “beautiful”

BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 05:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona competes for the ball with Radja Nainggolan of AS Roma during the Joan Gamper trophy match at Camp Nou on August 5, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Roma was trounced by Barcelona 6-1 in the Champions League on Tuesday, and while the Italians will have to pick up the pieces and continue the battle for second place in Group E, one player is still peeking back at the destruction.

Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, on loan from Arsenal, played the full 90 minutes  on the losing side and while he has struggled to cope with the massive defeat, he also appreciates what he saw – what all of us saw.

“It was beautiful to watch because we played against a team from another planet,” Szczesny told BT Sport after the game. “I was in goal playing for Roma but I appreciated what I saw from Barcelona. They were ridiculously good. As hard as it is to lose 6-1 it was beautiful to watch.”

Under normal circumstances, this would not be an appropriate reaction for the losing team to have. These are not normal circumstances. This Barcelona team is anything but normal. In fact, it might be one of the most dominant teams we have seen in recent memory.

[ RELATED: How can Chelsea qualify for knockout stage? ]

Szczesny wasn’t the only Roma player to feel Barcelona’s wrath. Defender Maicon told BT Sport, “We were lucky to lose only 6-1 actually.”

Even without an injured Lionel Messi, Barcelona has torn up La Liga and the world. They suffered a 2-1 loss to Sevilla in Messi’s first game out, but went on to win their next five league games by a combined 17-3 score. Neymar scored eight of those 17, while Luis Suarez scored another eight himself. Tack on a pair of Champions League wins without Messi by a 5-0 combined score (both against BATE Borisov) and it’s been total domination.

Now with Messi back, it’s completely unfair. The Argentinian bagged a brace against Roma along with Suarez, while Neymar remained a force out on the left.