Bayern Munich wary of Arsenal ahead of UEFA Champions League showdown

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Ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Bayern Munich on Tuesday in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League knockout round, Arsenal know they need a near miracle to advance to the quarterfinal stage.

But having beaten Bayern 2-0 at the same stage last season at the Allianz Arena, but losing 3-2 on aggregate, the Gunners now only too well that it can be done.

Bayern’s players know that too as they are confident, yet wary, of Arsenal, heading into Tuesday’s clash. Munich forward Thomas Müller had the following to say to Bayern’s website.

“We took away a good result from the first leg and we want to produce a solid performance to get through to the next round,” Munich striker Müller, who scored the killers second goal in the first leg, said. “We learned a lesson and we know what happened last year. That serves as a warning. I don’t expect us to lose 2-0 again.”

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With talk of last year’s result (a repeat this season would take the game into extra time and PKs if needed) still emanating from the Bayern camp, you have to feel as though Arsenal have left a lasting impression on the Bavarian club.

Munich waltzed past the likes of Juventus and FC Barcelona last season on the way to lifting the Champions League title, with their only defeat in the knockout stages coming at home against Arsenal.

But after winning 10-straight games since the Bundesliga’s winter break this season and stretching their lead at the summit of the German top-flight to 20 points, it’s hard to see why Bayern fear Arsenal. Especially after the first leg where they wore the Gunners down, although they did struggle in North London early on.

The reigning European champions should respect the Gunners, who possess several top class players and a hugely experienced manager, but this Bayern side seem to fear no one. Except, perhaps, Arsenal.

Check back into ProSoccerTalk for all the latest news, recaps and analysis from the UCL knockout games.

VIDEO: Pedro scores stunning goal for Chelsea

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Not a bad way to start the Premier League weekend…

12 minutes into the first game of Matchweek 9, Chelsea’s Pedro curled home a stunning effort into the far corner and off the far post after a corner was played short to him.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

A simply stunning goal from the Spaniard which you can watch in the video above.

Watch Live: Chelsea v. Watford in top five clash

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Chelsea host Watford at Stamford Bridge on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as fifth and fourth clash.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

Antonio Conte‘s Chelsea are without a win in three games in all competitions and some pressure is starting to build on the Blues as they’ve fallen further behind the two Manchester clubs atop the PL table.

As for Watford, Marco Silva‘s men are in fourth place and aiming to keep up their impressive away form in the PL this season with three of their four wins coming on the road.

In team news Chelsea’s injuries are piling up with Victor Moses and N'Golo Kante missing but Alvaro Morata does start after recovering from his hamstring injury, while Watford start Troy Deeney up top after his impressive cameo against Arsenal last week.

LINEUPS

Chelsea: Courtois; Rudiger, David Luiz, Cahill; Azpilicueta, Bakayoko, Fabregas, Alonso; Pedro, Morata, Hazard. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Ampadu, Zappacosta, Musonda, Willian, Batshuayi

Watford: Gomes; Mariappa, Kabasele, Britos; Femenia, Cleverley, Doucoure, Holebas; Pereyra, Deeney, Richarlison. Subs:

Sky Blue’s Sam Kerr named NWSL league MVP for 2017

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CHICAGO (AP) Sky Blue FC forward Sam Kerr has been named the National Women’s Soccer League’s Most Valuable Player for this season.

Kerr, a standout on the Australian national team, had a league-record 17 goals and became the league’s fifth Golden Boot winner to also be named MVP.

[ MORE: MLS Decision Day preview ]

She became the first NWSL player to score four goals in a game on Aug. 19 against the Seattle Reign. Kerr rallied Sky Blue from a 3-goal deficit to beat the Reign 5-4.

Kerr’s award was announced Friday. The league had earlier announced the season’s other award winners: North Carolina’s Abby Dahlkemper was named Defender of the Year, teammate Ashley Hatch was named Rookie of the Year, Portland’s Adrianna Franch was named Goalkeeper of the Year and the Thorns’ Mark Parsons was named Coach of the Year.

The Mendy Effect: Pep praises injured back

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Full back Benjamin Mendy cost Pep Guardiola and Manchester City $68 million, but perhaps he’ll be just as valuable as a very expensive sports psychologist.

The “Shark Team” member was amusing on social media even before his ACL injury sent him to the sidelines until at least April, but he’s become a must-follow Twitter fixture with his in-game messages (See some of his work below).

[ MORE: MLS Decision Day preview ]

City faces Burnley at 10 a.m. ET Saturday (Watch live on CNBC and online via NBCSports.com).

It’s fairly clear his act has translated in private, too, as apparently Mendy is just as good in group messages (Let us in, Pep. We won’t tell anyone). From ManCity.com:

“Usually, players who are out for a long time with injury are sad. They sometimes train apart and feel isolated.

“Mendy decided to be present. He is communicating on social media, WhatsApp and he calls his teammates and messages me. He is going to be so important outside the pitch because people like him make the atmosphere much better.”

It’s not surprising for anyone who’s been following the former Le Havre, Marseille and Monaco man.

Keep in mind, these Tweets below are from the last few days alone!