Swansea City 0-4 Arsenal: Gunners hammer sorry Swans

  • Giroud, Sanchez, two own goals
  • Arsenal move above Liverpool in table
  • Swansea rock bottom of PL

Arsenal breezed past Swansea City on Saturday at the Liberty Stadium with goals from Olivier Giroud, Alexis Sanchez and two unfortunate own goals from Swansea won it for Arsene Wenger‘s men.

The Gunners led 1-0 at the break through Giroud’s goal and then Alex Iwobi was instrumental as Swansea’s Jack Cork and Kyle Naughton scored own goals. Sanchez nabbed one to seal the win as Arsenal recovered well after a good start by the Swans.

With the win Arsenal move in to third place above Liverpool on goal difference, while Swansea slip to the bottom as new manager Paul Clement has it all to do.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Swansea started well with Jack Cork sending a shot over the bar and the Swans kept the pressure on Arsenal early on in south Wales.

Giroud had a tame header at goal but that was as good as it got for Arsenal in the opening stages.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings

Swansea continued to press Arsenal high and pinned the Gunners back with Alexis Sanchez having an effort from distance which Lukasz Fabianski saved easily.

Arsenal took the lead eight minutes before half time as Alexis Sanchez’s cross from the left was headed down by Mesut Ozil and the loose ball fell to Giroud who slotted home for his fifth goal in his last five  games. 1-0 to the Arsenal.

Before half time South Korean midfielder Ki went down in the box but no penalty kick was given and the Swansea man was handed a yellow card for simulation. It looked like the right call from the referee.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Arsenal started the second half brightly as Sanchez passed up a great chance to score, then Aaron Ramsey forced Fabianski into a fine save.

Moments later the Gunners were 2-0 ahead as Iwobi’s shot deflected off Cork and looped into the net.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score

Swansea stuck with it and Federico Fernandez should’ve done better with a chance inside the box but Arsenal looked fairly comfortable as they added some more gloss to the scoreline. Another own goal arrived as Iwobi’s cross was deflected into his own net by Kyle Naughton.

Late on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain pulled the ball back and Sanchez swept home to make it 4-0. Game over. A bad day at the office for the Swans as Arsenal continue their push up the table.

UEFA: Wales in trouble; Spain dominates; Buffon hits 1000

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Friday’s matches mark the midway point of the main round of qualifying in UEFA, and the tables remain tight near the top of Groups D and G.

[ MORE: Smalling hurt, Gibson called up ]

Group I, however, is seeing some distance between first and second thanks to Croatia’s result versus Ukraine.

Republic of Ireland 0-0 Wales

Neil Taylor was sent off in the 69th minute for Wales, whose World Cup hopes are in trouble.

Seamus Coleman was stretchered off after the tackle, with a scary-looking injury that will leave Everton fans sick in more ways than one. Coleman’s leg was broken, and left dangling by the challenge.

Ireland couldn’t take advantage of the sending off, and failed in a bid to overtake Serbia for first in Group D. The Irish trail on goal differential, and will host Serbia on Sept. 5.

But Wales will rue the result more, remaining four points back of second-place Ireland. Chris Coleman’s side drops a point behind Austria as well, and will not have Taylor or Gareth Bale (card accumulation) in its next match. That comes against leaders Serbia.

Italy 2-0 Albania

Daniele De Rossi scored a 12th minute penalty kick won by Andrea Belotti, and Ciro Immobile scored late to provided the goals in Gianluigi Buffon’s 1000th appearance for club and country. Fittingly, it ended in a clean sheet. The match was briefly delayed after flares were thrown onto the field.

Spain 4-1 Israel

David Silva, Vitolo, and Diego Costa stakes the Spaniards to a three-goal lead, with Lior Refaelov ruining David De Gea‘s clean sheet with 11 minutes to play. Isco scored the match’s final goal.

Spain remains atop Group G on goal differential, eight better than second place Italy. Israel is four points behind both.

Croatia 1-0 Ukraine

Fiorentina’s Nikola Kalinic’s 38th minute goal was enough for the hosts, and Croatia is now five points clear at the top midway through qualifying.

Austria 2-0 Moldova — RB Leipzig’s Sabitzer nabs winner
Liechtenstein 0-3 Macedonia — Ilija Nestorovski bags brace
Kosovo 1-2 Iceland — Sigurdsson PK the match winner
Georgia 1-3 Serbia — Mitrovic, Tadic lead the way
Turkey 2-0 Finland — Brace for Cenk Tosun

Boro’s Gibson called to England after injury to Man Utd’s Smalling

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Scoring goals has been the biggest problem for Middlesbrough in its return to the Premier League, and that overshadows how well the Northeast club has defended its own goal.

Ben Gibson has been a huge part of that, and now he’ll earn the chance to represent his nation thanks to an injury to Chris Smalling. Gibson will join England ahead of Sunday’s home World Cup qualifier against Lithuania.

[ MORE: Podolski leads Germany past England ]

Gibson has far and away been Boro’s best player, leading the side in blocked shots and clearances. The blocked shots total is tied for ninth in the Premier League, 11 behind current leader and new England teammate Michael Keane.

Smalling’s undisclosed injury is a bigger problem for Manchester United, which had already lost center back depth on England duty when Phil Jones was hurt.

Dele Alli to miss next three European matches, UCL or UEL

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Tottenham Hotspur is primed to qualify for a second-straight UEFA Champions League campaign this year, and will have to start that sophomore run without Dele Alli.

The 20-year-old playmaker has banned for his next three matches. If Spurs finish fourth, that would mean both qualifying matches and an additional match.

[ MORE: Five questions for USMNT ]

If they finish higher, Dele will miss the first three group stage matches.

Dele was shown red for a tackle on Brecht Dejaegere in Spurs’ 2-2 draw with Gent in the UEFA Europa League Round of 32, as Tottenham left the tournament.

Men in Blazers podcast: Man City-Liverpool review, USMNT preview

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Rog and Davo recap the Top Four battle between Manchester City and Liverpool, ask (again) whether it’s time for Arsene to go, and break down two of the most important USMNT games in modern history.

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