Tottenham 0-1 Arsenal: Early Rosicky goal, solid shape give Arsenal derby double over Spurs (video)

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Spurs were held goalless for the third North London derby this season – two in the Premier League – as Tomas Rosicky gave Arsenal the win in the second minute and the back line solidly kept the home attack at bay. The home side held nearly 60% of the possession throughout the match, but solid shape at the back for the visitors meant Spurs were left with a handfull of half-chances and not much more. Arsenal led just 72 seconds after the opening whistle as Rosicky and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain worked a quick break and Rosicky finished strong into the top corner for a shock away lead. Sandro gave the ball away in the attacking half, and with the defense playing up Rosicky and Ox beat them back easily. The Czech worked the ball down the right edge, and cut back in to Ox.  The English winger was defended well, but before he was dispossessed he laid back off to Rosicky who cannoned his shot home past Hugo Lloris from a tight angle. Coming just a minute and 12 seconds into the match, the goal is the fastest ever for Arsenal against Spurs. Spurs settled in after the goal, but were left vulnerable on a number of occasions thanks to a very high defensive line put in by manager Tim Sherwood.  It resulted in a very open match on both ends.

source: AP
Tomas Rosicky (R) gave Arsenal the early lead with a stunning strike and Spurs could never find their own breakthrough.

Tottenham came the closest to an equalizer in the 28th minute, as Andros Townsend on the right edge cut across for a streaking Emmanuel Adebayor, but defended well the Togolese striker couldn’t get a clean look and put it just wide. Their high line earned Spurs 62% of possession in the first half, but could not manage a shot on target. The hosts came out of the blocks firing in the second half, with two wide open chances, but botched them both.  The second on 48 minutes was the more clear-cut, with Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny spilling the ball out of net, but Nacer Chadli couldn’t finish as Per Mertesacker threw his body in the way. Continuing to press, Adebayor three minutes later played Townsend in, and the winger cut across to Chadli in front of net but again he couldn’t finish.  Adebayor later on 65 minutes got a head to a ball from Chadli but could only put it wide as Laurent Koscielny proved barely strong enough. They peppered the Arsenal area in the final 20 minutes, but couldn’t get anything solid out of it as Mertesacker and Koscielny led the stand. With the win, the Gunners draw level with Liverpool who won earlier today as well, as both pull four minutes back of Chelsea.  They also pull nine points clear of Spurs, whose Champions League hopes are all but dashed, seven points out of the final Premier League spot. Arsenal have now beaten Spurs all three times they’ve played their London rivals this season – twice in the league and once in the FA Cup – by a total scoreline of 4-0. LINEUPS: Tottenham – Lloris; Naughton, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Rose; Sandro (Paulinho 68′); Townsend, Bentaleb, Eriksen (Soldado 82′), Chadli (Sigurdsson 69′); Adebayor. Arsenal – Szczesny; Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs; Arteta, Rosicky (Flamini 69′), Oxlade-Chamberlain (Vermaelen 85′), Podolski (Monreal 77′), Cazorla; Giroud. Goals: Rosicky 2′

Serie A: Juve keep winning to remain 1 point back of Napoli

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TURIN, Italy (AP) Juventus closed the gap on Serie A leader Napoli back to just one point as the six-time defending champion eased past Genoa 1-0 on Monday.

Douglas Costa scored in the 16th minute, the first conceded by Genoa in five league matches. It was a less than convincing performance from Juventus but it was never really troubled, as goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny – standing in for the still-injured Gianluigi Buffon – was little more than a spectator.

“What was important was to win,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. “At the end there was a bit of nervousness because we were lacking in energy a bit.

“We could have finished off the match in the first half, and again with a couple of occasions after the break. We didn’t manage to so compliments to Genoa.”

The battle for the Serie A title is shaping into a two-horse race. Juventus moved 10 points clear of third-placed Lazio, although the capital side has a match in hand.

“The season is still long and all those who are behind us can still get back into the race,” Allegri said. “It was important to stay in Napoli’s slipstream.”

Juventus needed to win after Napoli beat Atalanta 1-0 on Sunday.

Allegri’s side started brightly and had an early chance to take the lead but Genoa goalkeeper Mattia Perin did well to keep out a free kick from specialist Miralem Panic.

However, it did not take much longer to strike. Douglas Costa passed out left to Mario Mandzukic, who played a delightful return ball for the Brazil midfielder to slot into the bottom left corner.

League Cup semi: Man City take 2-1 lead into 2nd leg vs. Bristol

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Manchester City can move one step closer on Tuesday to claiming their first of four potential trophies this season, when Pep Guardiola‘s men take on Bristol City in the second leg of the League Cup semifinal.

[ MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundup | Sunday | Friday ]

After coming back to beat the Robins in the first leg at home, Man City must now go on the road and take care of business to reach the Feb. 25 final at Wembley Stadium. As he has done so many times — and so famously — in the sky blue of City, Sergio Aguero grabbed the late winner (91st minute — WATCH HERE) 14 days ago.

For a few not-so-insignificant periods of the game, Bristol were very much the aggressors and appeared more likely to make the score 2-0 than for City to get back to 1-1. Bobby Reid converted from the penalty spot in the 44th minute after her was brought down under John Stones‘ wild, sliding tackle. Kevin De Bruyne leveled things up 10 minutes into the second half, setting the stage for Aguero’s late heroics.

[ MORE: Alexis-for-Mkhi swap complete | De Bruyne’s new contract ]

Since the first leg on Jan. 9, City have failed in their bid to finish the PL season with an unbeaten record before bouncing back to beat Newcastle United on the weekend, courtesy of a hat trick from Aguero — Guardiola quotes, from Sport24:

“I said many times it was going to happen, we can lose, so (it is) important the reaction we have. Still we have 42 points to play (for). It is 14 games. It is a lot of games to play and difficult games like Saturday and like Liverpool. It is important to show the team is still there but I don’t have the feeling we give up.

“We want to go through to the final in the (League) Cup and the FA Cup, so (we have) a lot of games but I think the people have the desire to keep going, to keep going, to keep going.”

[ MORE: One dream January signing for each top-six side ]

Bristol, meanwhile, have fallen on hard times: it’s been nearly a month (Boxing Day, to be specific — five losses, one draw) since Lee Johnson’s side last won a game in any competition, and they’ve fallen from second to fifth in the Championship table — Johnson quotes, from the Guardian:

“We don’t want to be brave losers, we want to compete to win. It’s up to the players to be focused and tactically aware, and who knows what will happen if we can show the same quality as we have shown in the previous rounds?

“We have to make sure we’re really bold. If you’re going to deliver a corner, do it like you mean it. I’d rather fail bold than fail timid. We know we have to score. I hope Pep picks his absolute best team and we can give them a right go. I’m not sure you could go and play an under-23 side against us at the moment and I think he’ll know that.”

The winner of Arsenal versus Chelsea (0-0 after the first leg) awaits in the final.

The 2 Robbies: Alexis-Mkhitaryan Swap Becomes Reality

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Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe react to the Alexis Sanchez-Henrikh Mkhitaryan swap deal between Arsenal and Manchester United finally becoming reality (0:20), Swansea’s stunning 1-0 victory over Liverpool (9:20), Southampton’s much-needed draw with Spurs (22:30) and Watford’s decision to part ways with Marco Silva (36:20). The gents end the show sharing their memories of the late English striker, Cyrille Regis (39:45).

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

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Inter Milan sign Barcelona midfielder Rafinha on loan

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MILAN (AP) Inter Milan completed the signing of Barcelona midfielder Rafinha on loan until the end of the season, with a view to a permanent move.

Inter can sign the Brazil international permanently for $43 million plus $3.7 million in bonuses, and said on Monday that option “must be taken up before the end of the season.”

Rafinha, who was born in Sao Paulo, had been at Barcelona since 2006, when he joined its youth team. He spent the 2013-14 season on loan at Celta Vigo.

After nine months out after surgery on his right knee, he made his first appearance of the season last week as a late substitute in Barcelona’s Copa del Rey defeat at Espanyol.

“It’s an important stage in my life,” he said, “and I had a lot of desire to approach this new phase in my career.”

Inter has slipped to fourth in Serie A, 11 points behind leader Napoli.

It could slip out of the Champions League places if Roma wins its match in hand on Wednesday.

“I hope to play in as many matches as possible and help the team to reach our objective which is Champions League qualification,” Rafinha said.