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)

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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.

LINEUPS

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)

Wayne Rooney to retire from England after 2018 World Cup

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Wayne Rooney will not play again for England after the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

[ MORE: Wilshere to leave Arsenal? ]

Speaking ahead of England’s opening 2018 World Cup qualifier against Slovakia this Sunday, Rooney confirmed the next World Cup will be his last major tournament with England.

Rooney, 30, is the all-time leading goalscorer for England with 53 goals and he has once again been named captain of the English national team under new manager Sam Allardyce.

The Manchester United skipper spoke to reporters at England’s training HQ at St. George’s Park and confirmed his plans to retire from international duty in 2018.

“I know myself that Russia will be my last opportunity to do anything with England. I am going to try and enjoy these two years and then hopefully I can end my time playing for England on a high,” Rooney said. “I am not old. I am 30 years of age. Come Russia I feel like that will be the time for me to say goodbye to international football. My mind is made up. It’s down to Sam Allardyce again, in terms of the next two years, but that will be my last tournament if selected. I will have enjoyed some highs, some lows but I am an immensely proud man.”

Rooney first played for England as a 17-year-old in 2003 and over the last 13 years he has played six major tournaments for the Three Lions, captaining them since 2014 when Steven Gerrard retired from international duty.

So often criticized, especially in recent months after being dropped into a deeper midfield role by Hodgson for England and Louis Van Gaal at his club, Rooney is still the talisman for England. He will become the all-time leading appearance holder for an outfield player when he next plays for England, surpassing David Beckham’s record of 115 caps. The former Everton striker is only 11 appearances away from equaling legendary goalkeeper Peter Shilton’s record of 125 appearances.

When all is said and done, despite disappointments at major tournaments (the kick at Ronaldo at the 2006 World Cup and the rant at England’s fans at the 2010 World Cup stick out) Rooney will go down as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, players to ever play for England.

His legacy will remain intact no matter what happens between now and the end of the road in the summer of 2018.

Report: Jack Wilshere available on loan; Juventus, Roma interested

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 15:  Jack Wilshere of Arsenal looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium on May 15, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
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Multiple reports are claiming that Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has met with Arsene Wenger and wants to go out on loan to play regularly.

[ TRANSFERS: Who needs what? ]

Wilshere, 24, hasn’t started any of Arsenal’s opening three games of the season and after the arrival of Granit Xhaka this summer, it seems as though the England international is down to fifth or sixth place in the pecking order with Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey, Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny around.

It is widely claimed that Serie A sides Juventus and AS Roma are interested in taking Wilshere on loan, while West Ham United has also been mentioned by the London Evening Standard but it seems as though Slaven Bilic is looking elsewhere and is focusing on getting a new striker in.

Either Italian side would be a good fit, but particularly Juve as Wilshere could play in the UEFA Champions League and challenge for titles. Whether or not he’d be a regular in Massimilliano Allegri’s team is another matter, and at this point that’s all he needs.

Wilshere was left out of Sam Allardyce‘s first squad as England manager and after missing pretty much the whole of last season he was taken to EURO 2016 by Roy Hodgson and featured in three games for the Three Lions.

Injuries have hit the Arsenal academy product hard over the past five years with persistent ankle, lower league and foot issues leading to him playing just 17 PL games since the start of the 2014-15 campaign.

With the reports suggesting Wilshere is openly available on loan, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a host of Premier League teams trying to grab the combative midfielder on loan.

There’s no doubting Wilshere’s talent on the ball as his passing, dribbling and ability to link midfield with attack is incredibly good. This injury record is hanging over him though and if he isn’t going to be a regular at Arsenal this season, which seems to be the case, then Wilshere must go out on loan to prove he can still do it for a whole season.

This isn’t quite a last-chance saloon for Wilshere, but it’s not far off it.

Kasper Schmeichel wants to play for Denmark 6 days after hernia surgery

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 27: Kasper Schmeichel of Leicester City in action during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Swansea City at The King Power Stadium on August 27, 2016 in Leicester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
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Former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel was tough, but his son might be tougher.

Leicester City shot-stopper Kasper Schmeichel had hernia surgery earlier Monday, and while that seems like it would sideline him for some time, apparently not.

The 29-year-old tweeted from the hospital bed that he is aiming for a return on Sunday – just six days removed from surgery – when his native Denmark takes on Armenia in World Cup qualification.

That’s…ambitious. Not surprising though, given the ambition Leicester City showed last season stunning everyone to win the title.

Schmeichel was injured against Swansea on Saturday in Premier League play when he made a clearance and came up notably uncomfortable. He was replaced in the 57th minute by new Foxes signing Ron-Robert Zieler. According to manager Claudio Ranieri, the club had already planned surgery for this problem even before Saturday’s flare-up due to the recurring nature of the problem.

Sadly, the Wednesday’s friendly against Liechtenstein comes a little too soon for Schmeichel. It will be the first international match he will miss since March of 2015. We’ll give him a pass, considering most of us would still be in post-op then.

Report: Zardes injury is serious, broken foot could end his season

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 16:  Gyasi Zardes #9 of the United States dribbles against Jefferson Montero #7 of Ecuador during the 2016 Quarterfinal - Copa America Centenario match at CenturyLink Field on June 16, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The United States beat Ecuador 2-1.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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According to Goal.com’s Ives Galarcep, the injury that forced Gyasi Zardes to withdraw from USMNT consideration for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers is serious and could have much larger consequences.

Zardes reportedly suffered a broken right foot, and could not just miss the rest of the 2016 MLS season, but the rest of the calendar year, ruling him out of not just the two upcoming matches, but also the beginning of the Hexagonal in November should the U.S. advance to the next round.

The 24-year-old was injured just after halftime in an MLS match against Vancouver on Saturday, when he was brought down by Kendall Watson. It’s hard to see in full-speed what happens, but upon closer inspection, it appears that Watson’s follow-through catches the inside of Zardes’s right foot. He continued to play but looked less than healthy when he was finally substituted off in the 87th minute.

Zardes has been a rare youthful yet important cog in the USMNT machine the past few years. He played every minute of the Copa America run to the 3rd place match, and he has missed just two matches since making his debut in January of 2015, giving him 31 caps already despite a debut just 19 months ago.

The injury is also a serious blow for the LA Galaxy. Zardes had come onto the field in the 31st minute to replace an injured Steven Gerrard, and in-form defender Jelle van Damme had also departed the match with a knee ligament injury which will see him miss 2-3 weeks.