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Arsenal’s Ozil rips Huddersfield apart

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  • Huddersfield have won just one of their last 16 matches v Arsenal
  • Ozil grabs one goal, two assists
  • Arsenal have won 12 PL home games in a row; their best run since winning 13 consecutively at Highbury between February and November 2005

LONDON — Arsenal beat Huddersfield Town 5-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday with the Gunners scoring four times in the second half to blow the Terriers away.

Alexandre Lacazette gave Arsenal the lead in the first half, then Mesut Ozil set up Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez to score before scoring the fourth himself. Giroud, on as a half time sub, added his second and Arsenal’s fifth late on to seal the emphatic win.

With the win Arsenal stay in fourth place on 28 points ahead of their massive game against Man United on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com), while Huddersfield remain on 15 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Four minutes into the game the opening goal arrived with Aaron Ramsey setting up Lacazette with a delightful back heel and the Frenchman finished clinically. 1-0.

Huddersfield grew into the game as Zanka headed over the top from a set piece but Arsenal always looked like increasing their lead before the break.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Sublime build-up play from Arsenal then played in Lacazette and he beat Jonas Lossl to the ball, chipped Huddersfield’s goalkeeper but Martin Cranie cleared off the line with Sead Kolasinac firing the follow-up over.

Huddersfield looked dangerous on the break as Steve Mounie failed to make the most of a breakaway and Collin Quaner also went close with Arsenal sloppy in possession as the first half came to a close.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Quaner then had a great chance to score for Huddersfield as he raced into the box but Petr Cech saved his low drilled shot. Moments later Arsenal raced up the other end and substitute Olivier Giroud (on for Lacazette at half time) forced Lossl into a save.

Huddersfield were looking increasingly dangerous as Mounie’s shot looped off Cech and with the ball going in Arsenal’s goalkeeper slapped the ball against his own crossbar and over. Arsenal appealed for a penalty kick as Quaner appeared to handle in the box, then Giroud rounded Lossl after Ramsey’s wonderful pass but hit the outside of the post and scuffed his follow-up wide.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Arsenal then opened the floodgates as they scored three goals in a four-minute spell.

First Ozil and Sanchez played a fluid one-two to set up Giroud and he tapped home to make it 2-0 and less than two minutes later it was 3-0. Ozil’s cross on the right evaded Giroud at the near post and Sanchez swept home to treble Arsenal’s lead.

Soon after it was 4-0 as Ozil was played in on the edge of the box and he finished calmly to cap off a fine individual display. Giroud then smashed home after good work from Kolasinac to make it 5-0.

A walk in the park for Arsenal ahead of their huge clash at home against Man United.

Rio prosecutors launch probe into soccer final violence

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Prosecutors in Rio de Janeiro launched an investigation Thursday into the fan violence surrounding the Copa Sudamericana final between local club Flamengo and Argentine team Independiente.

[ SOURCE: LAFC close to signing third DP, Geraldes of Sporting CP ]

Clashes broke out on the night before Wednesday’s match at Maracana Stadium, and continued throughout the day. There was vandalism inside the stadium during the match and violence afterward, with more than 50 Flamengo supporters being detained over the two days.

The Rio prosecutor’s office said in a statement it would be questioning officials at Brazil’s football confederation, South American soccer’s ruling body, CONMEBOL, and local police about the incidents.

The statement added that “a profound investigation of the facts is needed so we can identify and punish the criminals that disguised as fans to spread chaos, fear and disorder in society.”

Major Silvio Luiz, head of policing for the final, criticized Flamengo’s handling of ticket sales.

Flamengo drew the second-leg match 1-1, and lost the final 3-2 on aggregate. The Copa is the second most prestigious club competition in South American soccer.

Ligue 1 set to use VAR starting in 2018/19 season

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With video replay technology becoming more and more prevalent in soccer across the globe, another major European league has revealed it too will join those ranks.

[ SOURCE: LAFC set to sign third DP with Sporting CP’s Geraldes ]

Ligue 1 has announced that the French top flight will begin to utilize video replay and have a video assistant referee (VAR) starting in the 2018/19 season.

Major League Soccer and the German Bundesliga are just two of the major global leagues to implement the system thus far. In MLS, the technology can be used in four instances; when goals are scored, during penalty situations, when a straight red card is given and during cases of mistaken identity.

French outlet L’Equipe wrote on Thursday that Ligue 1 would also follow a similar structure in what decisions VAR officials will be reviewable.

Spain has also announced that it will introduce VAR in 2018, ahead of the next La Liga season.

Top Premier League storylines — Week 17

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The title is looking more and more like it’s heading to Manchester, so will Tottenham be able to slow the Premier League leaders on Saturday?

[ MORE: Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks ]

 

Here are the four biggest storylines ahead of this weekend’s action.

Can anyone stop the Cityzens?

Manchester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur — 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC (Watch online at NBCSports.com)

Nobody has found a way to halt Pep Guardiola‘s side yet this season in PL play, so why would that change this weekend? City remain unbeaten through 17 matches, and while Spurs enter the weekend unbeaten in its last four, Mauricio Pochettino and Co. have their work cut out. The City attack, which has scored 52 goals this season, has shown no signs slowing down during the first four-and-a-half months of play, giving Tottenham a big test defensively. Harry Kane and his 12 goals will surely have a say in the get together, but Spurs has been lacking thus far in another go-to finisher.

Will the Toffees keep rolling under Big Sam?

Everton vs. Swansea City — 3 p.m. ET Monday on NBCSN (Watch online at NBCSports.com)

It’s been quite the turnaround recently at Goodison Park, and Everton has the chance to extend its unbeaten streak to six games on Monday. Sam Allardyce has brought life to the Toffees as of late, with Everton scoring 11 goals over the last five matches.

Foxes aim to climb higher, while Palace shoots for safety

Leicester City vs. Crystal Palace — 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN (Watch online at NBCSports.com)

The Foxes have found their footing this season, and dare I say there are some glimpses of the team that won the title two years ago? Since Leicester’s 2-0 defeat to Man City, the Foxes have looked the part of a top-tier PL side, winning four of five matches, including victories over Tottenham and Burnley. Meanwhile, Palace has made the relegation battle a very intriguing one, as Roy Hodgson and Co. sit just a point inside the bottom three. Amazingly, Palace is unbeaten in seven of its last eight matches, but the club remains in 18th place.

Clarets aim for third consecutive victory

Brighton vs. Burnley — 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBC Sports Gold (Watch online at NBCSports.com)

The Clarets don’t boast a bonafide goalscorer, but Burnley looks like a well-oiled machine as Sean Dyche‘s side sits on the edge of the top four. Although the side likely won’t be pulling off a Leicester-sided feat in 2017/18, what the Clarets are accomplishing is quite amazing given the squad currently in place. Brighton has gone through its share of struggles recently, going winless in its last six matches, and scoring just three goals in that span. They’ll likely have a hard time breaking past Burnley’s tough backline.

NYCFC busy on Thursday with Abdul-Salaam, Stuver additions

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New York City FC is moving on from the club’s first-ever MLS SuperDraft selection, but they’ll be acquiring a solid defensive piece as the team continues to rebuild at the back.

[ SOURCE: LAFC finalizing deal to make Sporting CP’s Geraldes third DP ]

On Thursday, NYCFC announced a trade sending former 2015 first-round pick Khiry Shelton to Sporting KC in exchange for defender Saad Abdul-Salaam.

Shelton, who spent three seasons with NYCFC, struggled to find playing time under manager Patrick Vieira, particularly once the organization drafted England youth international Jack Harrison in 2016.

Vieira and Co. will be getting back a player also selected in the 2015 SuperDraft in Abdul-Salaam.

With the departures of Ethan White, RJ Allen and Andraz Struna this offseason, the move certainly makes sense for NYCFC, who were severely lacking at the right back position heading into this week.

NYCFC signed Malmo defender Anton Tinnerholm on Wednesday to help improve the backline.

The Eastern Conference side also added goalkeeper Brad Stuver from the Columbus Crew on Thursday, with the 26-year-old presumably serving as the backup to Sean Johnson in 2018.