Goodison Park is rocking as they have seen their Toffees hit twice in the first half as they look to take control of the final Champions League spot live on NBCSN or live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.
Battling for the title just weeks ago, Arsenal now find themselves in a precarious position down a pair after Steven Naismith and Romelu Lukaku have bagged the double.
With Everton holding a game in hand, a win would see them go a point behind Arsenal for the fourth and final Champions League place, meaning they would control their own destiny for the spot.
Naismith struck the opener after just 14 minutes, as Leighton Baines pulled out a brilliant ball forward and after Lukaku saw his initial effort saved, Naismith cleaned up the mess.
The Belgian would get his own 20 minutes later after a wonderful solo effort saw him bolt down the right side and cut back centrally before rifling easily past Wojciech Szczesny.
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It was a poor defensive first-half effort altogether from Arsenal, twice finding their back line caught napping on breaks towards the Gunners net.
Everton have not only put two into the back of the net, but have done it with an expert counter attack, seeing Arsenal hold nearly 60% of the first-half possession.
If Arsene Wenger wants to retain his Champions League status and avoid a horribly disappointing late-season collapse, he likely needs to pick up the pieces in the second half and make some sort of positive change to get Arsenal back in the match. Can they pull off a stunning upset and save their control of the race for 4th position?
Middlesbrough has impressed at times during its return to the Premier League this season, and now the club looks to bolster its backline as the transfer window closes.
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The club announced the loan signing of Arsenal defender Calum Chambers on Tuesday, providing the Boro with a promising young player to contribute in the back.
Chambers, 21, has made 58 appearances in the PL with both the Gunners and Southampton, while also earning three caps for England.
Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka revaled his excitement over the signing, while also stating that the player addresses a big need on the backline.
“I’m really pleased,” said Karanka. “It’s a position where we’ve been working towards bringing the right player in. We haven’t been in a hurry because Calum was the player we were waiting for, and he’s going to help us a lot.”
The Gunners have been heavily criticized for not spending enough during the transfer season, however, Arsene Wenger has gotten the man he wanted to help out defensively.
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Arsenal announced the signing of Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi on Tuesday, after the German centerback had been previously been linked to the club for some time as their top transfer target.
Mustafi will likely figure immediately into the Arsenal defense, which has also added Rob Holding this summer. The 24-year-old made over 64 appearances for Valencia while in La Liga after beginning his academy career in England with Everton.
Hope Solo hasn’t had the best couple of weeks since the U.S. Women’s National Team bailed out of the 2016 Olympics.
On Tuesday, the U.S. keeper announced her decision to take a step back from her club team as well after receiving a six-month ban from U.S. Soccer.
The veteran American shot stopper took to Twitter to make her decision known, leaving her status unknown with the Seattle Reign in the future. Solo remains under contract until the end of the current campaign, however, it is not known as to how her decision to sit out will affect her financially.
Solo wil be eligible to return to the USWNT in February, but it will be up to head coach Jill Ellis to reintroduce the 35-year-old into the fold.
U.S. Men’s National Team and LA Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes will miss the rest of the MLS regular season with a broken bone in his right foot.
It was initially believed on Monday that the U.S. attacker could be out until the end of 2016 after suffering the injury in Saturday’s 0-0 draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Zardes was taken down by Whitecaps defender Kendall Waston during the latter stages of the match, with the Costa Rican apparently catching the inside of the 24-year-old’s foot, ultimately causing the injury.
Because of his extended absence, Zardes was ruled out of consideration for the USMNT squad ahead of their upcoming CONCACAF World Cup qualifying matches vs. St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago.