No Turkish delight for Arsenal: Ramsey sent off, Arteta injured, Wenger fumes

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After a bruising encounter in Istanbul on Tuesday, Arsenal are feeling relieved to be taking Besiktas back to the Emirates on level terms for the second-leg of their UEFA Champions League play-off next Wednesday.

That said, the Gunners have plenty to complain about and they aren’t keeping quiet.

Inspirational midfielder Aaron Ramsey will miss the pivotal second leg — everything is left to play for after a 0-0 draw which saw both sides squander glorious chances — after being sent off for two yellow cards 10 minutes from the end of a feisty affair. His second yellow did seem rather harsh as he was adjudged to have tugged at the shirt of Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup but contact looked minimal.

[RELATED: Arsenal held, Athletic-Napoli draw]

Plenty of meaty challenges flew in from Slaven Billic’s side (the former Croatian national team manager was sent to the stands for protesting against referee Milorad Mazic) in the second half and Gunners captain Mike Arteta sustained an ankle injury which will keep him on the sidelines. Adding insult to injury, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger had a bottle thrown at him by rowdy home fans at the final whistle, as the Gunners couldn’t wait to get out of Istanbul and back to North London.

Speaking after the match, Wenger had the following to say about the Ramsey’s red card, the rough tackling and being targeted personally by the Turkish fans.

“Neither the first nor the second yellow card was deserved [for Ramsey],” Wenger said. “When you see some of the fouls made tonight and we go home with Ramsey red-carded, it’s a bit unbelievable. The challenge on Arteta was very bad but the referee was on the pitch and didn’t see anything of it. It’s very difficult to understand but, in the second half, the performance of the referee was very bad. As I left the pitch a bottle or something was thrown at me. I reported the incident to Uefa.”

It isn’t the first time, and won’t be the last, that Wenger has harsh words to say about the officiating.

All in all, not a great night for Arsenal. They will still fancy their chances of advancing to the UCL group stages for the 17th straight season with the second leg against Besiktas to come at home, however this trip to Turkey will leave a sour taste in the mouth. Besiktas’ manager Billic was unsure if he would be sanctioned for his own actions as Arsenal’s trip to the Ataturk Stadium was far from a uneventful one. With Demba Ba causing plenty of problems up top for the Turkish outfit, they will head to North London next week in a one-off match to decide which side will compete in the UCL group stages this season with a massive cash windfall on the lines.

Arsenal fans, are you nervous?

On Tuesday we saw first hand how incredible atmospheres are created by the locals at the best of times in Turkey, but especially for clashes against English sides. Galatasaray’s fans used to welcome Manchester United’s players to Istanbul by throwing rocks at the team bus, holding up signs saying “Welcome to Hell” and after two Leeds United fans were stabbed to death in Istanbul ahead of a UEFA Cup semifinal in 2000, tension between supporters from the two nations have been high ever since.

That tension boiled over onto the pitch and into the dugouts on Tuesday as Arsenal are certainly not home and dry against Besiktas with everything to play for in the return leg at the Emirates next Wednesday.

Does Paul Pogba to PSG make sense?

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Paul Pogba‘s time at Manchester United could be nearing an abrupt end for the second time in his professional career.

And now, a club that was previously tracking the France international appears to be expressing heavy interest in the midfielder once again.

[ MORE: The latest Premier League player power rankings ]

ESPN FC is reporting that Paris Saint-Germain and Mino Raiola — Pogba’s agent — have been in contact recently over a potential move to the French capital at the conclusion of the 2017/18 season.

The report suggests that Raiola has been in talks with several other big clubs in regards to the availability of Pogba in the near future, however, a move to his native country could sweeten the deal for the 25-year-old.

The Frenchman has scored 10 league goals for the Red Devils since he re-joined the side in 2016/17 from Juventus.

Pogba has had an up-and-down relationship at Old Trafford with manager Jose Mourinho, which nearly caused a move for the attacker during the January transfer window.

Cross-town rivals Manchester City were heavily linked to Pogba at the time, however, nothing came to fruition as the Citizens went on to claim the Premier League title with several matches remaining on their calendar.

While PSG seems like a logical fit given the club’s free-flowing attack and recent willingness to acquire massive talents, including Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, the Ligue 1 giants may not be able to financially support another big-time addition like Pogba.

UEFA’s Financial Fair Play laws have been tested by PSG, particularly during last summer’s transfer window when the club acquire both Neymar and Mbappe for over $400 million combined.

PSG is set to meet with UEFA on Friday though, which could give an indication one way or another as to how the front office can approach its spending habits in the months to come.

Watch Live: Burnley v Chelsea; Leicester v Saints

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Two big Premier League games are coming your way on Thursday as Burnley host Chelsea at Turf Moor, while Leicester welcome Southampton to the King Power Stadium.

WATCH BURNLEY-CHELSEA LIVE

Burnley are aiming to win six-straight games in the Premier League as reigning champs Chelsea head to Lancashire hoping to cut the gap on the top four to just five points.

In team news from Turf Moor, Burnley start Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes up top together as Sean Dyche looks to get at the visitors early with plenty of balls into the box. Chelsea rest Eden Hazard and Willian ahead of the FA Cup semifinal and start Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata up top together.

WATCH LEICESTER-SAINTS LIVE

As for Leicester against Saints the Foxes’ hopes of European action are all but over after a poor run of form, while Southampton are battling for their lives in the relegation zone but a win would move Saints to just two points from safety with four games to play.

The teams news from Leicester is that Kasper Schmeichel is out injured in goal, while Claude Puel has picked an attacking lineup with Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho up top and the Mahrez, Gray and Albrighton all starting.

Saints are unchanged from the team which started so well against Chelsea before collapsing to lose last time out.

Click on the links above to watch the games, which both kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET.

Premier League player Power Rankings

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With the games coming thick and fast, it is time to take a look at which players were “en fuego” during the past weekend in the Premier League.

[ MORE: Full Power Rankings archive ]

Players from Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City dominate our latest rankings after their fine performances over the past PL weekend.

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League and based on them actually playing in the previous Matchweek. If they didn’t play due to injury or suspension, they aren’t going to make this list.

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.


  1. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – New entry
  2. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) – Up 8
  3. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) – Up 10
  4. Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) – Up 14
  5. Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle United) – Up 10
  6. Harry Kane (Tottenham) – Up 5
  7. David De Gea (Man United) – Down 5
  8. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham) – Down 8
  9. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) – Up 3
  10. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) – New entry
  11. David Silva (Man City) – Down 2
  12. Paul Pogba (Man United) – Down 7
  13. Romelu Lukaku (Man United) – Down 7
  14. Kenedy (Newcastle) – Up 3
  15. Marko Arnautovic (West Ham) – Down 11
  16. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) – Down 13
  17. Kyle Walker (Man City) – New entry
  18. Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace) – New entry
  19. Nick Pope (Burnley) – New entry
  20. Jay Rodriguez (West Brom) – New entry

FIFA closes racism case from U-17 World Cup final

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA closed a racism investigation Thursday that involved a Spain player and an England opponent from the Under-17 World Cup final.

FIFA said its disciplinary panel dismissed the charge against the Spanish player because of a “lack of sufficient evidence that could corroborate the English player’s claim.”

It is the third recent case of a high-profile allegation of racist abuse of black players being closed without action.

The latest ruling, from England’s 5-2 win in India last October, followed “a thorough investigation,” FIFA said.

In March, UEFA ended two investigations because of a lack of verifiable evidence.

Those claims were made by Borussia Dortmund forward Michy Batshuayi against Italian club Atalanta, and Liverpool youth forward Rhian Brewster against a Spartak Moscow opponent.

Brewster also played in the Under-17 World Cup final, scoring the first goal in England’s comeback after trailing 2-0 in the first half.

“Despite the absence of a sanction, which can only be imposed on the basis of clear evidence, the disciplinary committee would like to restate FIFA’s unequivocal, zero-tolerance stance against all forms of discrimination,” the soccer body said in a statement.

In other rulings announced Thursday, FIFA imposed fines totaling more than $1.25 million.

The Laos soccer federation was fined 690,000 Swiss francs ($712,000) for several breaches of rules governing the eligibility of players to represent a national team.

Benfica and Sporting Lisbon were among five clubs found guilty of breaking rules which prohibit third-party investors having a stake in players’ transfer rights, and misuse of FIFA’s international transfer registration process.

Benfica was fined a total of 165,000 Swiss francs ($170,000) in two cases and Sporting was fined 110,000 Swiss francs ($114,000). In Spain, Celta Vigo was fined 65,000 Swiss francs ($67,000) and Rayo Vallecano was fined 55,000 Swiss francs ($57,000). Qatari club Al Arabi was fined 187,500 Swiss francs ($194,000).