Norwich City 0-2 Arsenal: Norwich make relegation official (video)

Leave a comment

.

Both Norwich and Arsenal had reasons to make the goals flow. If either side treated the match as simple target practice, notching eighteen or more goals, it could’ve changed their season. Arsenal may have wound up in third place. And, more vitally, Norwich could’ve saved themselves.

The dream was never realistic, but still it was expected that there might be a bit more excitement from this match. Alas, anyone watching was bound to be disappointed.

There were just four shots on target in the first half. With just five minutes gone, Nathan Redmond did make a decent attempt at goal, cutting inside to get past the Arsenal defense. But Lukasz Fabianski was up to the challenge, pushing the swerving shot out of danger.

source: Getty Images
Wilshere returned for Arsenal as the Gunners prepare for the FA Cup final.

John Ruddy, too, had work to do. At the other end, he performed a great reaction save to make sure that Lukas Podolski was unable to score. Later, he rescued a shot from Olivier Giroud that was destined for the top corner of the Norwich net.

In the second half, however, Arsenal were finally able to break down the Canaries’ defense. Giroud, heading down the left, chipped the ball over to where Ramsey was hanging out on the right. Ramsey caught the floated cross on the volley, hammering the ball into the top corner of the net.

If Norwich weren’t already broken, that goal sure seemed to do the trick. Sure enough, less than ten minutes later the visitors had doubled their lead – and Norwich were generous enough to allow the goal to go to Carl Jenkinson. The full back tapped in from close range to score his first goal for Arsenal.

With the Gunners up 2-0, Arsène Wenger decided to have mercy on the team’s supporters and bring off Ramsey, possibly preparing to wrap him in cotton wool until next week’s FA Cup final. In his place came Jack Wilshere, getting his first appearance since early March.

Elliott Bennett, on for Nathan Redmond with fifteen minutes left to go, tried to at least give his side a consolation in extra time. Fabianski refused to play nice, however, and of the 17 goals Norwich needed, they wound up scoring exactly zero.

And so Norwich finish the day in 18th, and will spend next season in the Championship. Arsenal, meanwhile, will go into Champions League qualifying, as they ultimately wind up in 4th.

LINEUPS

Norwich City: Ruddy; Martin, R Bennett, Turner, Olsson; Tettey (Loza 58); Snodgrass, Howson, Johnson, Redmond (E Bennett 76); Elmander (Hooper 58)

Arsenal: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Sagna, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Rosicky (Diaby 74), Ramsey, Ozil, Podolski, Giroud (Sanogo 74)

Goals: Ramsey 53′; Jenkinson 62

CCL: Lodeiro from 45; Royer’s diving header — SEA, RBNY lead (video)

AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter
Leave a comment

After 45 minutes of their respective CONCACAF Champions League knockout-round quests, things are going unnervingly well for the Seattle Sounders and New York Red Bulls.

[ MORE: FC Dallas disappoint in CCL; Club America flying ]

If you’ve watched Major League Soccer teams try, try and try again — only to eventually fail in spectacular fashion — in CCL over the years, you might say things are going a little too well.

There’s still another 45 minutes to be played on Thursday — plus the return legs next week — but both the Sounders and Red Bulls hold 1-0 halftime leads, and the vitally important away goals which come with it. Nicolas Lodeiro’s 45-yard, first-time lob of the Santa Tecla (El Salvador) goalkeeper in the 15th minute has already been eternally etched into the memories of Sounders fans.

Just 15 minutes later, Daniel Royer perfectly executed the diving header and got on the end of Bradley Wright-Phillips’ curling ball into the box to Jesse Marsch’s side ahead of Honduran side CD Olimpia.

Villarreal DF Semedo charged with attempted murder

AP Photo/Alberto Saiz
1 Comment

MADRID (AP) A Spanish judge has charged Villarreal defender Ruben Semedo with attempted murder and ordered him to be temporarily detained without bail.

Court officials in Lliria say on Thursday the Portuguese player is also charged with assault, robbery, illegal detention, and illegal possession of firearms.

Semedo testified before a judge on Thursday, and left the court in handcuffs.

The 23-year-old Semedo was detained early Tuesday, accused of tying up, assaulting and threatening another man last week. Authorities say he and two other men allegedly held the victim captive while they robbed his apartment.

Semedo’s agents told Spanish media the player denies any wrongdoing.

Villarreal on Tuesday said it was investigating Semedo and would take appropriate disciplinary action.

Villarreal signed Semedo from Sporting Lisbon last summer for a reported fee of $17 million.

Wenger: Arsenal “complacent, had no ideas” in Ostersunds loss

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Perhaps Sunday’s League Cup final had already reached the forefront of their minds, but Arsene Wenger admonished his players, whom he said were “complacent, not focused” and “had no ideas” for much of Thursday’s Europa League defeat, at home, to Swedish side Ostersunds.

[ MORE: Premier League TV schedule | Man United vs. Chelsea ]

The Gunners advanced to the round of 16 on the back of their 3-0 first-leg victory last week, but Wenger was understandably displeased by the effort he saw and expressed such feelings in no uncertain terms, before quickly easing up and praising the fact they were able to pull back a goal against the current fifth-place team from Sweden — quotes from the BBC:

“We were not at the races in the first half,” said Wenger, who saw his side booed off at half-time and full-time. I think in the second half it was much better and we should have scored a few goals.

“In the first half, we were in trouble and in danger because we were complacent, not focused and were open every time we lost the ball. We had no ideas with the ball and that’s why we were in trouble.

“We responded very well because we did the job to qualify, but that’s what we have to take from the night and that’s all.”

With Arsenal now trailing fourth-place Chelsea by eight points (and seven back of fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur), winning the Europa League might just be the Gunners’ last chance at qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Batshuayi racially abused by Atalanta fans

AP Photo/Martin Meissner
Leave a comment

Borussia Dortmund striker Michy Batshuayi says he was subject to racist chants from Atalanta fans during a Europa League game in Italy.

The Belgium international, on loan from Chelsea, tweeted:

Dortmund advanced to the round of 16 by drawing 1-1 to beat Atalanta 4-3 on aggregate on Thursday.

The game was played at Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia because Atalanta’s home stadium is unsuitable for UEFA games.

There have been several incidents of racism at Serie A matches this season.