Italy Soccer Serie A

Juventus poised to claim Serie A title this matchweek

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Juventus can claim its 30th league title in one of two ways this weekend.

Antonio Conte’s side can clinch the Serie A before they even step onto the pitch Monday evening against Atalanta if 2nd place AS Roma slip up against bottom club Catania on Sunday.

Or, if Roma, eight points behind the leaders, do the job against Catania, Juve can still hoist the title with a victory in Monday’s fixture.

Truth be told, Juventus has had one hand on the scudetto for what seems like the better half of a season. Roma put forth a valiant effort ripping off nine wins on the spin and achieving a club record 85 points on the season but never looked likely to dethrone the bianconeri, who have been resplendent in Serie A. Since beating Roma 3-0 on January 5th, Juventus has won 14 league matches, drawn twice and lost only once, 2-0 to Napoli on March 30th.

Juve has been particularly brilliant at home in Turin where the club has gone undefeated in the league, winning all 17 matches. The team’s defense has been staunch conceding only 23 goals, four adrift of Roma’s league-leading 19, thanks to stellar play from keeper Gianluigi Buffon and a back three of Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli along with Martin Caceres and Angelo Ogbonna rotating in. In attack, Conte’s side is the most potent in Italy having scored 75 goals with Carlos Tevez (19 goals), Fernando Llorente (15 goals) and Arturo Vidal (11 goals) all enjoying strong seasons, while Andrea Pirlo remains the inspirational engine and Paul Pogba (7 goals, 6 assists) has become a force to be reckoned with.

Perhaps above all, however, Juve’s bright season comes down to the mentality instilled by Conte who explained Thursday that his side “don’t know the word fear.”

MLS Snapshot: Colorado Rapids 1-2 Real Salt Lake

SANDY UT - MARCH 14: Olmes Garcia #13 of Real Salt Lake celebrates his goal during their game against the Philadelphia Union at Rio Tinto Stadium on March 14, 2015 in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
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The game in 100 words (or less): Real Salt Lake stays alive in the hunt for a playoff berth in the Western Conference with a crucial 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids. After falling behind early, RSL scored twice before halftime and held onto the lead for the rest of the match, moving within three points of the final playoff spot in the West. Real Salt Lake has three matches remaining, including a massive clash against the Portland Timbers, which will pretty much decide their season. For Colorado, it’s another year without playoff soccer.

[ MORE: FC Dallas clinches playoff berth ]

Three moments that mattered

16′ — Doyle heads Colorado into the lead — The former Premier League man gave the home side an early lead, thanks to a powerful header from quite a bit out. Sean St. Ledger played in a cross, where Doyle snapped a header into the top corner past Nick Rimando.

33′ — Joao Plata bends in the free kick — Trailing 1-0, Joao Plata drew RSL level with a brilliant free kick. Plata’s shot dipped over the wall and under the crossbar, as Clint Irwin stood helpless in goal for Colorado.

43′ — Mulholland fires home a volley to put RSL ahead — Luke Mulholland scored his first goal of the season, and it was a beauty. A corner kick popped out to the midfielder at the top of the box, as he rifled a shot off the bounce and into the side netting.

Man of the match: Luke Mulholland

Goalscorers: Doyle (16′), Plata (33′), Mulholland (43′)

Wenger lauds team spirit following Arsenal’s big win

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Arsenal put on a superb performance against Manchester United today, flying out to a three-goal lead in the opening 20 minutes of the match.

[ RECAP: Arsenal 3-0 Manchester United ]

United was stunned by the fast-paced, free-flowing Arsenal attack, unable to recover from the Gunners’ early dominance.

All of this came on the heels of a disappointing loss to Olympiacos in the Champions League, after which many questioned manager Arsene Wenger and his side.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Arsenal’s win vs. Manchester United ]

Following the big 3-0 win at the Emirates, Wenger praised his team’s spirit, saying there were outstanding performances throughout the side.

You go from Petr Cech up to Theo Walcott, and we had only outstanding performances. Sometimes we have that magic side in our game.

[Against Olympiacos] maybe we lacked a little bit of urgency and discipline, and that’s why we lost the game. But let’s not forget, last Saturday we won 5-2 at Leicester. Today we beat Man United 3-0.

[The players] have shown that we have an outstanding spirit in the squad. To respond the way we did after what happened to us, you need to have an exceptional spirit.

The Gunners’ performance today immediately silenced all the critics, as Wenger’s side put out on a display that many have been waiting for all season. The combination play of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott was brilliant, as Santi Cazorla continued to impress in the center of the midfield.

Wenger’s teams have not always been known to show strong heart and resiliency, but that’s exactly what they showed today against a Manchester United side that was in great form. Now sitting second on the table, Arsenal continues to climb up the Premier League.