Wenger hails Arsenal; injury update on Giroud, Sanchez

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Arsene Wenger was very happy that his Arsenal side beat Swansea City 4-0 but there was no getting away from the Gunners starting slowly.

[ VIDEO: Carroll’s stunning goal ]

Arsenal went ahead eight minutes before half time via Olivier Giroud, who left the game in the 60th minute with an injury, and that swung the game in favor of the Gunners.

Speaking to the media after the game, Wenger was happy enough with the win but accepted it was a tougher afternoon for his side than the scoreline suggested.

“The first half was very intense physically, they gave a lot in the first half and then our pace took over. They had problems to contain us. Swansea were very well organised and they closed down as a unit very well. We lost balls in the first 20-25 minutes which was down to them,” Wenger said. “In the second half, you could see we could create chances. Our transition and accuracy of passing was very good. We were fortunate with the goals, but the chances were there.”

With two own goals for Arsenal, plus strikes for Giroud and Alexis Sanchez, the Gunners got the rub of the green as they’re now four games without defeat and have climbed above Liverpool on goal difference, plus they now sit five points behind leaders Chelsea.

Speaking of his two goalscorers, Wenger confirmed that Giroud has suffered an ankle injury (he was grimacing after scoring his goal but carried on until the 15 minutes into the second half) and that he simply took Sanchez off for a bit of a rest.

Sanchez’s somewhat angry reaction to being subbed and then his signs of frustration were clear for all to see.

“Olivier Giroud did well again and he was important for us. He had an ankle injury after 30-35 minutes and got to 60 minutes,” Giroud said. “Alexis Sanchez is not injured, he just wanted to stay on the pitch. I did not want to take a gamble on him. There are many good teams around us and everyone is doing well. We can only focus on our results and hope some go our way.”

It wasn’t a vintage display from the Gunners, especially in the first half, but Wenger’s men took care of business in the second half and keep the pressure on the teams around them who play on Sunday.

FOLLOW LIVE: Timbers host Sounders in PNW showdown

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They don’t get much bigger, or more heated, than this one in MLS — it’s Portland versus Seattle, the Timbers versus the Sounders, tonight at Providence Park (10 p.m. ET).

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To keep up-to-the-second informed on proceedings in Portland this evening, hit the above link, or click right here.

Seattle won the first meeting between these sides, 1-0 back on May 27, on their home turf at CenturyLink Field. Cristian Roldan, who’ll depart for U.S. national team camp following Sunday’s game, scored the only goal that afternoon in Seattle, a 4th-minute header from three yards out.

Mustafi: Arsenal players powerless, hope “brilliant” Sanchez will stay

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Shkodran Mustafi admits that he, along with his Arsenal teammates, feels helpless with over the ongoing transfer saga of Alexis Sanchez.

[ MORE: Sunday’s transfer rumor roundup | Saturday | Friday ]

The Chilean superstar is linked with a move away from Arsenal this summer, as the Gunners fell out of the Premier League’s top-four and the 28-year-old’s contract is set to expire next summer. Perhaps most importantly, Sanchez hasn’t so much as publicly stated a desire to remain at the club, which, from the outside, appears to have left his future in even greater doubt.

Mustafi admits he hasn’t a clue how things will shake out in the coming weeks, but he’s quick with a pleading sales pitch for Sanchez to stay — quotes from Goal.com:

“I have no idea. Obviously the other players cannot make that decision, he has to make that decision.

“I’m not too much involved. I hope he stays because he is a really brilliant football player but there’s nothing in my hands that I can do.”

[ MORE: De Boer set to be named new Crystal Palace boss ]

Arsenal would likely have to double (if not more) Sanchez’s current $180,000 weekly wages in order to convince him to forego a season in the UEFA Champions League and commit his long-term future to a club presently trending in the wrong direction.

Report: Frank De Boer accepts Crystal Palace job

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Frank de Boer is widely expected to be named new Crystal Palace manager this week, as he has reportedly accepted the job after having been offered the position this week.

[ MORE: Sunday’s transfer rumor roundup | Saturday | Friday ]

The 47-year-old Dutchman has been out of work since he was fired by Inter Milan in November. He lasted just 84 days at the San Siro, where he managed to win just five of 14 games. Inter Milan is Inter Milan, though, and that’s something worth remembering when critiquing Palace’s impending appointment of De Boer.

Palace are also widely expected to back De Boer in the transfer market this summer, in a big way. Kelechi Iheanacho is the biggest name linked with a move to Selhurst Park, as the 20-year-old Nigerian striker is reportedly unwanted by Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.

5th-place San Jose parts ways with Kinnear after 2.5 seasons

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Dominic Kinnear is out after two and a half seasons as head coach of the San Jose Earthquakes, despite leading the club to a hugely improved standing 17 games into the 2017 season.

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The move comes 17 hours after San Jose put to bed a three-game winless skid with a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake on Saturday, a result which propelled them into fifth place in the Western Conference, just two points off second place. After seventh- and ninth-place finishes in Kinnear’s first two seasons back in Northern California (he managed the club in 2004 and 2005 before the club was relocated to Houston, where he would remain for nine seasons, through the 2014 season), this year’s team seemed to be moving in a positive direction quicker than most had previously expected.

[ MORE: Accam scores a backheel (video) | Opara scores a CB bicycle ]

The club has named Chris Leitch head coach and Alex Covelo as assistant coach. Current assistant coach Steve Ralston and goalkeeper coach Tim Hanley will remain in their current roles.

“First and foremost, we would like to thank Dominic for his hard work, professionalism and contributions to this club over the years,” Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli said in a release. “He worked hard this year and was a first-class person all the way. This decision was made after a lot of thought and evaluation. We decided that we wanted to go in a different direction as we continue to build the identity of this club.”

Kinnear is the second MLS coach to be relieved of his duties this season, suffering the same fate as RSL’s Jeff Cassar, who lasted just three games before being fired in March.