West Brom 3-1 Arsenal: More misery for Wenger

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  • Dawson scores two headers
  • 4 defeats in last 5 PL games for Arsenal
  • WBA equal 2015-16 points tally
  • Cech forced off with injury

West Bromwich Albion beat Arsenal 3-1 at the Hawthorns on Saturday as the Baggies piled more pressure on Arsene Wenger.

[ MORE: Plane carries Wenger banners ]

Craig Dawson headed home the opener but Arsenal equalized soon after through talisman Alexis Sanchez and it remained that way until the second half. Then Hal Robson-Kanu came on and scored a controversial goal to make it 2-1 and Dawson headed home another set piece late on to put the result beyond doubt.

With the win West Brom have 43 points, the same number they had for the whole of last season. With their seventh defeat of the PL season Arsenal lose ground in the top four battle and remain on 50 points.

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A lively start at the Hawthorns saw two quick-fire goals.

First, it was the hosts who went ahead as Nacer Chadli‘s corner from the left was flicked home by Dawson as he was completely unmarked after losing Aaron Ramsey to head home. 1-0 to the Baggies as Wenger looked on with a face like thunder.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings

Moments later Wenger was punching the air with delight as Granit Xhaka clipped a delightful ball to the back post where an unmarked Sanchez chested down, cut inside and finished calmly to make it 1-1.

Just three minutes between the goals as West Brom continued to threaten from set pieces and the Gunners had the majority of possession but couldn’t break down a stubborn Baggies backline.

Aaron Ramsey tested Ben Foster who produced a fine save and at the other end Darren Fletcher was denied by Petr Cech superbly but Arsenal’s goalkeeper hobbled off injured just before half time.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Rondon headed just wide earlier in the second half and he was hauled off moments later as Robson-Kanu came on. That substitution turned out to bee a masterstroke from Pulis as Ospina flapped at a ball over the top from Chadli and Robson-Kanu poked home to make it 2-1.

Despite protests over James McClean being in an offside position, both initially and then as the ball rolled towards the goal, the Republic of Ireland international didn’t touch the ball and wasn’t interfering with play.

Wenger was furious with that decision and Arsenal came agonizingly close to making it 2-2 as Danny Welbeck‘s header smashed off the crossbar.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score

The Gunners were left more and more exposed at the back and Robson-Kanu raced clear. Ospina again hesitated and Chadli rounded the goalkeeper but his shot was cleared off the line.

With 15 minutes to go the Baggies made it 3-1 as a Chris Brunt corner was headed home by Dawson.

Wenger and his team will now have two weeks to think about this result over the international break. Maybe that will make his decision about his future easier.

FIFA force pace on $25B Club World Cup, global league plan

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GENEVA (AP) FIFA is forcing the pace on talks over a $25 billion offer to revamp the Club World Cup and create a global national team competition.

FIFA says President Gianni Infantino hosted a meeting last Friday with invited officials from some top European clubs.

[ MORE: Everton gets past Newcastle behind Walcott strike ]

The European Club Association has strongly opposed FIFA’s hope for a four-yearly club tournament starting in 2021, which could rival the UEFA-organized Champions League.

UEFA has also proposed a Global Nations League. A similar project is tied to the FIFA-controlled $25 billion, 12-year offer from a consortium including investors from Saudi Arabia and China.

FIFA says it’s holding “informal ongoing discussions with different stakeholders on the topic of the future Club World Cups.”

Infantino is set to meet confederation presidents and general secretaries “in the near future,” FIFA says.

Video: De Rossi, Roma make classy visit to Hillsborough memorial

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On many occasions there are instances where teams and individuals exemplify the fact that real-life occurrences are more meaningful than sports.

Ahead of Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League meeting, Italian giants AS Roma visited Anfield –where they will face Liverpool in the competition’s semifinals.

After walking around the venue where the two sides will compete in less than 24 hours, Roma captain Daniele de Rossi and the rest of the Roma squad visited the Hillsborough memorial at Anfield to pay tribute to the 96 victims lost in the 1989 event that rocked the entire country.

De Rossi was seen laying a floral arrangement on the site, along with a note from the club that read, “In memoria delle vittime di Hillsborough AS Rome.”

Liverpool, Roma ride major emotions into the UCL semifinals

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Four clubs remain in this season’s UEFA Champions League competition, and while two of the teams have been considered heavy dogs in the fight all year long the other two sides look to continue on their storybook run.

Liverpool, Roma, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have found themselves in the semifinals of this season’s UCL, creating a strong mix of storylines as the tournament heads towards its most critical point.

[ MORE: Everton gets past Newcastle behind Theo Walcott’s strike ]

Anfield will be the site for Tuesday’s first leg between Liverpool and Roma, with both sides still riding major highs from their victories in the last round.

The Reds enter the final four after having disposed of fellow Premier League side Manchester City in relatively dominating fashion. Meanwhile, Roma completed a seemingly impossible comeback against Barcelona to progress in the competition.

Liverpool is led by three of the year’s top goalscorers, including Mohamed Salah — who has scored eight goals in the UCL and 41 across all competitions.

For Roma, much of the side’s success has been predicated on finding defensive strength at the right moments throughout the tournament.

Despite falling behind 4-1 in their first leg defeat to Barca in the previous round, Edin Dzeko and Co. rallied for a 3-0 win at the Stade Olimpico to stun the Catalan club by holding Lionel Messi and his side in check.

Manager Eusebio Di Francesco will have to find creative ways to halt the Liverpool attack though over the course of two legs, with the Reds boasting the top attack in this year’s UCL.

Liverpool has scored 33 goals in 10 UCL matches, while only conceding seven in the process.

Keeper Ederson hopeful he can score this season for Man City

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The prospects for a goalkeeper scoring during a match are usually uncommon, but that hasn’t halted Manchester City’s number one choice from aiming to break the trend this season.

Ederson — who has moved into the starting role at the Etihad Stadium with relative ease in 2017/18 — has dreamt of scoring a goal of his own for the Premier League champions in waiting.

“I heard the fans chanting my name, asking me to take the penalty but Gabriel went there,” Ederson said. “Unfortunately he missed it and Bernardo happily scored. But if the manager have asked me to go there, definitely I’d score.

“I’m not sure if I would be able to do set-pieces, but I’m good at penalties, either using power or technique on shooting it. But City have [their] regular penalty-takers and we are well-served.

Citizen supporters chanted for the goalkeeper to take a penalty kick over the weekend in the team’s 5-0 win over Swansea City.

However, Gabriel Jesus was the man selected for the opportunity, but had his attempt saved by Lukasz Fabianski before Bernardo Silva was in the right spot to score the game’s fifth goal.

“If Pep asks me to take it, I’m there,” Ederson said of the penalty kick. “Hopefully it will happen [before the end of the season], I’d like to score.”

This isn’t the first time Ederson has discussed exploring opportunities outside of the net, though.

The Brazilian shot-stopper has long been a fan of former Brazil international goalkeeper Rogero Ceni — who scored 65 goals for club side Sao Paolo.

Earlier this season, the 24-year-old joked around with the media, saying that he’d be more than happy to fill a role in the midfield when City was experiencing some injury issues within the squad.