Arsenal 3-0 Newcastle United: Magical Mesut mauls miserable Magpies

Leave a comment

Goals from Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud led Arsenal to a 3-0 trouncing of visiting Newcastle as the hosts look to boost their UEFA Champions League standing at the expense of the moribund Magpies.

Arsenal’s UCL fortunes are good as its fourth-place lead over Everton is up to four points.

Newcastle has lost six-straight matches for the first time in its Premier League existence. The Magpies remain in 9th place, two points ahead of Stoke and three ahead of Crystal Palace.

In other words, Alan Pardew’s return to the touchline upon completion of his suspension for headbutting David Meyler meant very little. They may be the worst team in the Premier League right now.

Unsurprisingly, the Gunners were often the better side, led by Ozil. The German was denied by a sliding Fabricio Coloccini about a quarter-hour into the match.

Newcastle’s best chance came about 20 minutes in, but Moussa Sissoko was quickly surrounded by red jerseys and his room to shoot was hampered as he pushed one high and wide.

Arsenal struck first, with a set piece goal punctuated by Koscielny punting the ball into the stands. Tim Krul would’ve been all over the stop earlier this year, and it’s never felt more like he’s already on a “bigger” club.

source:
In this image, Pardew may or may not be blaming the Emirates Stadium oxygen for his team’s loss.

The Gunners had five corners by the 30th minute, and Krul was fantastic to parry a firm-headed shot. It’s like he was reading this before it was posted.

There was hope for Newcastle, as Loic Remy forced Wojciech Szczesny into a save on a free kick and Cheick Tiote doubled down with a long-ranger curler in the 33rd minute.

The keeper was wise, and the score remained 1-0 to the home side.

Maybe the goal woke the home side, as Mathieu Debuchy lashed a shot that troubled the Szczesny before failing to arrive on goal.

Embarrassing Newcastle defending allowed Arsenal to double its advantage as the clock turned to 41. Krul stopped Giroud twice point-blank on a breakaway before Ozil tapped home a rebound while the Magpies defenders watched.

Arsenal possessed the ball well for the first 12 minutes of the second half, but Newcastle found a chance when Yoan Gouffran was sprung on goal. Szczesny made the save, though, as Gouffran popped the ball at the keeper’s chest.

Giroud made it 3-0 in the 66th minute, as Ozil continued his wizardy with a whipped-in cross from the left that the Frenchman had no problem heading home (to Arsene Wenger’s delight).

LINEUPS

Arsenal: Szczesny; Monreal, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Sagna; Arteta, Ramsey (Rosicky, 74′); Podolski, Ozil (Flamini, 74′), Cazorla; Giroud (Sanogo, 84′)

Goals: Koscielny (26), Ozil (42), Giroud (66)

Newcastle: Krul; Dummett, Coloccini, Williamson, Debuchy (Yanga-Mbiwa, 84′); Gouffran (Armstrong, 89′), Tiote, Gosling (Shola Ameobi, 70′), Anita; Sissoko; Remy

New York Red Bulls introduce space at RBA for autistic families

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for New York Red Bulls
Leave a comment

HARRISON, N.J. (AP) The Red Bulls have announced plans for a permanent sensory-friendly space at their stadium for families impacted by autism.

Formerly executive offices, the space overlooking midfield is a calm area that is free from the crowds and the noise of Red Bull Arena during matches. Families can use it for free.

The team announced the new space on Saturday before the Red Bulls were set to host the Chicago Fire. It was Autism Awareness Night at the stadium.

“Families deserve to feel welcome and comfortable each time they step foot into Red Bull Arena, not just one night a year,” Red Bulls GM Marc de Grandpre said in a statement released by the club. “We hope all sports teams and entertainment venues are inspired to take similar action to provide comfort for families with loved ones on the autism spectrum.”

League Two game restarted in empty stadium after fans storm field

Photo credit: BBC Sport / Twitter: @BBCSport
Leave a comment

LONDON (AP) An English soccer game restarted in an empty stadium after a pitch invasion led to the crowd being told the fixture had been abandoned.

There were five minutes remaining in Leyton Orient’s fourth-tier game against Colchester on Saturday when a sit-down protest was staged on the pitch by Orient fans against Italian owner Francesco Becchetti.

It forced the referee to take the players off the field. The protests lasted for more than an hour before the crowd was told the game had been abandoned and the stadium eventually cleared. The teams came out and finished the game.

Leyton Orient lost 3-1 a week after its relegation from the English Football League was confirmed after 112 years.

“A decision was taken with the police to announce that the game had been abandoned as it was felt this would help clear the pitch, which proved correct,” the EFL said in a statement. “However, it was deemed appropriate that the game needed to be played to a conclusion in order to maintain the integrity of the competition.”

La Liga: Barcelona, Real Madrid hold serve in tight title race

AP Photo/Manu Fernandez
Leave a comment

A roundup of Saturday’s action in Spain’s top flight…

[ MORE: Super-duper Sunday preview — North London derby, plus 6 of top 7 ]

Espanyol 0-3 Barcelona

Barcelona are doing all they can do — win — in their bid to usurp Real Madrid in the race for the title. While they entered the weekend — and still are — ahead of their El Clasico rivals based on head-to-head results this season, Los Blancos still have a game in hand which will surely decide whether Madrid claim their 33rd top-division title, or a 25th for Barca.

On Saturday, Luis Enrique’s side had more than just the title at stake — also at stake: the Derbi Barceloni, against fellow Catalan side Espanyol.

For 45 minutes, the home side held firm and refused to break, but once Luis Suarez put the Blaugrana ahead in the 50th minute, that was all she wrote. Ivan Rakitic doubled the advantage in the 76th minute, and Suarez completed the scoring 11 minutes later.

Real Madrid 2-1 Valencia

By the time the derby kicked off, Madrid had already applied the pressure and gone three points clear with a 2-1 victory that was a whole lot closer than the final score indicates.

Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring just before the half-hour mark, and Zinedine Zidane’s side was well on its way to victory. Ronaldo followed up his opening goal with a missed penalty kick 10 minutes into the second half, and Daniel Parejo pulled the visitors level with a sensational free kick just eight minutes before the end of regular time. Points looked sure to be dropped, and the door opened wider for Barca, but Marcelo was prepared to play the part of hero on the day, and the Brazilian left back bagged one of the season’s more improbable goals, a right-footed strike from the top of the box, in the 86th minute.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Las Palmas 0-5 Atletico Madrid
Real Sociedad 2-1 Granada

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Osasuna vs. Deportivo La Coruña — 6 a.m. ET
Real Betis vs. Alaves — 10:15 a.m. ET
Eibar vs. Leganes — 12:30 p.m. ET
Celta Vigo vs. Athletic Bilbao — 2:45 p.m. ET

Monday’s La Liga schedule

Malaga vs. Sevilla — 3 p.m. ET

Championship Focus: It’s all about the playoff places now

Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images
Leave a comment

With Brighton & Hove Albion and Newcastle United having already clinched the Championship’s two automatic promotion places, all eyes turn to the four teams behind them still jockeying for playoff positioning…

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s coverage of the Championship ]

3rd — Reading — 82 points, +2 GD
4th — Sheffield Wednesday — 81 points, +16 GD
5th — Huddersfield Town — 81 points, +1 GD
6th — Fulham — 77 points, +27 GD

First of all, the Championship remains the least sensible league in the world. Disagree? Just try to explain the above wildly varying points totals and the corresponding goal differentials. Go ahead, I’ll wait

As for the weekend’s results, Reading and Wednesday did themselves major favors in the race for third with victories over Wigan Athletic (1-0) and Ipswich Town (1-0), respectively, while Huddersfield, who entered the weekend in that top playoff place, played 67 minutes with a man advantage against Birmingham City, and lost 2-0. All three of Reading, Wednesday and Huddersfield have clinched their place in the promotion playoffs, which begin two weeks from Saturday, on May 13.

[ MORE: PL Sunday preview — North London derby, plus 6 of the top 7 play ]

Given Leeds United’s 3-3 draw with Norwich City, a win would have clinched the fourth and final playoff place for Fulham, but the Cottagers dropped a pair of points themselves in a 1-1 draw with Brentford at Craven Cottage. Still, Fulham are all but into the playoffs with a three-point lead on Leeds, and a goal differential that’s 13 goals better.