Arsenal 1-2 Watford: Gunners title hopes in ruins

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  • Watford secure first-ever PL win vs. Arsenal
  • Gunners failed to have a shot on target in first half
  • Arsenal travel to Chelsea on Sat. with title hopes on the line

Arsene Wenger will not have enjoyed watching that from under his blanket in the stands.

Arsenal lost 2-1 to Watford at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday as the Gunners were dealt a potentially fatal blow in their quest to chase down Chelsea at the top of the Premier League table.

Watford raced in to a 2-0 lead with goals from Younes Kaboul and Troy Deeney putting them 2-0 up early and although Alex Iwobi made it 2-1, the Gunners couldn’t find a way past the excellent Heurelho Gomes plus Lucas Perez hit the bar.

With the win, their first in eight games, Watford ease their relegation fears and move on to 27 points. Arsenal — who were without Wenger on the sidelines for the second-straight game as his four-match touchline ban continues — remain on 47 points and now face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge knowing only a win will do.

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Watford started brightly and were rewarded handsomely in soggy north London.

The Hornets took the lead through Kaboul’s thunderous free kick which took a deflection off Aaron Rasmey and in. 1-0 to Watford and the home fans were stunned.

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13 minutes in it was 2-0 to Watford as Etienne Capoue surged forward and his shot was blocked by Petr Cech but it fell straight to Deeney to slot home. 2-0. Watford in dreamland.

Things went from bad to worse for Arsenal as Ramsey went off injured clutching his calf and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came on, but the Gunners just couldn’t get going in attack and failed to have a single shot on target in the first half.

Before half time Arsenal almost fell further behind as Capoue’s cross was headed towards goal by Sebastian Prodl but Cech saved and then Miguel Britos drilled a shot on goal which Cech stopped brilliantly.

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Theo Walcott came on at half time

Walcott fired one effort wide and was then denied again, then Iwobi was thwarted by Gomes as Watford battened down the hatches.

Iwobi made it 2-1 with over 30 minutes to go as first Alexis Sanchez went down in the box under a tackle from Prodl but played was waved on and eventually the Chilean international clipped in a perfect cross which Iwobi mishit but tucked home.

Game on.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score

Arsenal continued to surge forward as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain forced Gomes into a fine stop down low. Sanchez then had a free kick which deflected just over and Nacho Monreal‘s volley went inches wide.

Chances kept coming for Arsenal and Lucas Perez drilled a fine effort against the crossbar and out but that was as close as Arsenal came to drawing level as Watford secured a famous win.

Salah beats De Bruyne to win PFA Player of the Year award

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LONDON (AP) Mohamed Salah has been voted Player of the Year by his fellow professionals in English football in recognition of an incredible scoring return to the Premier League with Liverpool.

[ MORE: Man United reach FA Cup final | Chelsea join them ]

The Egypt forward collected the Professional Footballers’ Association award at a ceremony in London on Sunday, two days before Liverpool’s Champions League semifinal first leg against Roma.

It is a reunion with the Italian club he left in the offseason for 42 million euros (then $47 million). The hefty fee appeared to be a gamble for Liverpool but now represents a real bargain.

The former Chelsea player has scored 41 goals in 46 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool – enabling him to beat Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne in second place to the PFA award.

Tottenham striker Harry Kane was third.

[ MORE: Man City thrash Swansea in pursuit of points record ]

“It’s a big honor,” Salah said. “I’ve worked hard and I’m very happy to win it.”

Salah is preparing to lead Egypt into its first World Cup in 28 years and he is the first player from the North African nation to win English football’s top individual prize.

“Hopefully I’m not the last one,” he said. “I’m very proud to win and I’ve worked very hard.”

Salah’s impact has been more remarkable given his underwhelming 2014-15 season at Chelsea before being offloaded by then-manager Jose Mourinho. He went on loan to Fiorentina in early 2015 and Roma in 2016, and then on a permanent basis to Roma in August 2016.

Scoring 15 goals and setting up 11 more for Roma convinced Liverpool to bring Salah back to a second spell in England.

[ MORE: Liverpool draw West Brom in final tune-up before UCL semis ]

His goal at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday was his 31st in the league this season, tying the scoring record in a 38-game campaign held by Cristiano Ronaldo, Alan Shearer and Luis Suarez.

Suarez was the last Liverpool player to be crowned player of the year by the PFA in 2014 before moving to Barcelona.

It’s a sign of his remarkable impact that Salah secured the award with third-place Liverpool and that none of Manchester City’s newly crowned champions won the accolade.

But City winger Leroy Sane was voted PFA Young Player of the Year.

The PFA women’s player award went to Chelsea forward Fran Kirby, while Lauren Hemp of Bristol City secured the young player prize.

CONCACAF cancels women’s U-17 tournament due to violence

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MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) CONCACAF has canceled the rest of its 2018 Women’s Under-17 Championship following violence in Managua, Nicaragua, where the tournament began Thursday.

The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football made the announcement Sunday. The tournament was to have determined the region’s qualifiers for the Under-17 World Cup in Uruguay, which starts Nov. 13.

More than two dozen people have been killed since Wednesday according to the independent Nicaraguan Human Rights Center, though the government had acknowledged only nine dead. Dozens of shops in Managua were looted during protests and disturbances sparked by government social security reforms.

The U.S. opened Friday with a 4-0 win over Costa Rica and had been scheduled to play Bermuda on Sunday and Canada on Tuesday.

The 2 Robbies: “Wenger was the Guardiola of his day”

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Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle discuss the shock news of Arsene Wenger announcing he will stand down at the end of the season and celebrate the living legend’s career, while also exploring who will take this massive job, then finish up talking about the FA Cup semifinal results.

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

All of the The 2 Robbies content can be accessed by clicking on this link:

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Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies

Juventus 0-1 Napoli: Serie A title race back on… again

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This season’s scudetto race has been very much on, all but over, back on, a mere formality and now, following Sunday’s clash between first- and second-place Juventus and Napoli, on again… all inside the last four or five weeks of this roller-coaster Serie A season.

[ MORE: Man United reach FA Cup final | Chelsea join them ]

Some will say that Juventus have regressed as the majority of their stars are now on the wrong side of 30, while others will say that a young and always-improving Napoli side has closed the gap all on their own and pulled themselves onto level footing with the six-time defending champions. The all-knowing among us will say it’s all of the above.

[ MORE: Barcelona hammer Sevilla to lift 4th straight Copa del Rey ]

For 89 minutes, Saturday’s clash at the Allianz Stadium appeared to be the final nail in Napoli’s coffin, as Maurizio Sarri’s side found themselves hopelessly blunted and unable to break through Juve’s ultra-defensive foundation (4 shots, o on target for Juve over 90 minutes). Kalidou Koulibaly’s thunderous header from Jose Callejon’s corner kick changed all of that, and drew Gli Azzurri to within a single point of Juve with four games left to play.

It’s the first time Juve have lost in league play since Nov. 19 (17 wins in 20 games) and their first league defeat at home since Oct. 14 (10 wins in 11 games, outscoring opponents by a combined 28-3). Napoli are now unbeaten in their last 30 league games away from home (24 wins), dating back to the last time they visited Juventus, Oct. 29, 2016.

Still on Juve’s remaining schedule: trips to take on fifth-place Inter Milan and third-place Roma. As for Napoli, they’ll take on eighth-, ninth- and 10th-place Sampdoria, Fiorentina and Torino, respectively, as well as 16th-place Crotone.

(Ever so slight) Advantage, Napoli?