Wenger calls on refs to address time wasting

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was happy Olivier Giroud earned his men a point off the bench, but that’s about it.

Wenger lamented his side’s opening stages, which saw Charlie Austin put Southampton ahead inside of five minutes.

[ RECAP: Saints 1-1 Arsenal ]

And after saying his club “paid a heavy price for a slow start,” Wenger turned his attention to Southampton’s tactics. From the BBC:

“Time wasting is a problem in England and referees have not found the solution yet.

“The answer is the authority of the referees and to put it in the head of the players to respect the game and play. It’s become a real problem in the last two seasons.

Certainly time wasting isn’t the prime reason Arsenal didn’t take all three points at St. Mary’s, but Wenger is one of several big names bosses angered by the lack of time policing in the sport. It’s a talking point, but perhaps better suited for later in the week.

Southampton 1-1 Arsenal: Giroud goal grabs point

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  • Austin produces three early chances, scores one
  • Arsenal with 67 percent possession
  • Giroud nods home equalizer

Southampton’s big striker Charlie Austin saw his early goal canceled out by Arsenal counterpart Olivier Giroud, as the Saints and Gunners split the spoils 1-1 at St. Mary’s on Sunday.

The point boosts Arsenal fifth with 29, while Southampton is 10th with 18.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Austin put Saints ahead in the third minute, driving his run forward to meet Dusan Tadic‘s chopped pass.

And he almost had a two on the scoreboard when Petr Cech made a sprawling stop on a similar enough low drive.

Arsenal had the better of the next 20 minutes, but the hosts came storming back just before the half hour mark. The intent and possession was there, but the touches sloppy in the box. It remained 1-0.

Fraser Forster came across his body to stop a low Aaron Ramsey drive in the 32nd minute.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Arsenal certainly produced its fair share of early shots, but it was Oriol Romeu who came close to an audacious second Southampton goal in the 62nd minute.

Ryan Bertrand came close to giving Saints a 2-0 lead when he dinked a ball over Cech only to see it meander wide of the far post.

Forster stopped an Alexis Sanchez free kick as the match hit the 85th minute.

Giroud got the job done in the 88th, coming off the bench to nod past Forster when Maya Yoshida mistimed his header.

WATCH LIVE: Southampton vs. Arsenal

Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images
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Arsenal and Southampton whet the appetite for a double derby day when they meet at St. Mary’s sharing top end ambitions (Watch live at 7 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

LINEUPS

Southampton: Forster, Yoshida (c), Stephens, van Dijk, Bertrand, Romeu, Højbjerg, Ward-Prowse, Tadić, Redmond, Austin.

Arsenal: Cech, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Ramsey, Xhaka, Bellerin, Kolasinac, Ozil, Alexis, Lacazette.

PL Sunday preview: Derby day in Manchester, Merseyside

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Sunday is derby day for two of the fiercest, longest-standing local rivalries in the Premier League. Need we say more?

[ PL ROUNDUP: Spurs bounce back in a big way; Leicester on fire ]

Southampton vs. Arsenal — 7 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Arsenal turned in arguably their best performance of the season last weekend, and were hammered on the scoreboard, 3-1 by Manchester United. On the one hand, they’ll feel good about the performance; on the other hand, questions remain about their abilities to compete with other top-six sides. It was a fourth straight impressive performance by the Gunners, who over the last six weeks have stabilized (wins in five of their last seven) after a rocky first few games (one win from their opening three).

Much Sunday’s opponent, who are comfortably slotted into the top-four battle, Southampton find themselves in a familiar place as a mid-table side with very little hope of catching the elites of the PL, and in very little danger of sliding into a relegation battle. Saints have hit-or-miss at home this season, as Mauricio Pellegrino‘s side has won 11 of its 16 point at St. Mary’s Stadium, site of Sunday’s clash, but have also lost three of eight games at the ground, by a combined score of 7-1.

INJURIES: Southampton — OUT: Cedric (hamstring) | Arsenal — OUT: Shkodran Mustafi (thigh), Santi Cazorla (achilles)

Liverpool vs. Everton — 9:15 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Red-hot Liverpool (nine games unbeaten in all competitions, with seven wins; six games unbeaten in the PL, with five wins) welcome a suddenly resurgent and re-energized Everton side (riding back-to-back PL wins for the first time all season) to Anfield for the 229th Merseyside derby.

Only first-and second-place sides Manchester City (46) and Man United (35) have scored more goals this season than the rabid attack of Liverpool (33), but it’s those pesky defensive struggles (once again) which have held Jurgen Klopp‘s side back from putting forth a genuine title challenge. There have been massive improvements in recent weeks, though, as the Reds have conceded just three goals during their current six-game run in the league. As if they need anymore confidence ahead of Sunday’s clash, history also happens to be on their side: Liverpool haven’t lost a derby at Anfield in 17 outings.

As for the Toffees, Sam Allardyce is in charge now, and they’ve won all three games since his appointment — though he’s only actually managed one of the three. Allardyce’s debut saw Everton grind out a 2-0 victory over Huddersfield Town last weekend, though they were far from dominant in doing so. Alas, goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Dominic Calvert-Lewin are wonderful signs for a side which managed only 13 goals in as many games to start the season.

INJURIES: Liverpool — OUT: Joel Matip (leg), Nathaniel Clyne (back); QUESTIONABLE: Adam Lallana (fitness), Alberto Moreno (ankle) | Everton — OUT: Leighton Baines (calf), James McCarthy (hamstring), Ross Barkley (hamstring), Seamus Coleman (leg), Ramiro Funes Mori (knee), Yannick Bolasie (knee)

Manchester United vs. Manchester City — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

No PL side has ever won 14 straight games in the league, a feat Man City can achieve on Sunday, and can do so against their most hated local rivals to boot. Undoubtedly, Jose Mourinho has thought of nothing other than Pep Guardiola‘s quest for history this week, and will set out to ruin the party by any means necessary.

Without the services of star midfielder Paul Pogba (suspension), expect a heavy dose of bludgeoning courtesy of Marouane Fellaini, who is set to return after two weeks out with a knee injury. The absences are truly a shame, as United have appeared — when healthy — to be genuinely capable of matching City stride for stride at the very top of their game. While City have scored nine more goals than the Red Devils — two two sides were on a nearly identical scoring pace prior to Pogba’s injury back in mid-September — United’s defense is predictably best in the league once again.

What’s more, a City win at Old Trafford feels as though it would — even 16 games into the season — all but end the title race, as Guardiola’s men would go 11 points clear of United, their closest title rivals.

For the first time all season, City fell to defeat in the Champions League on Wednesday. Prior to that loss to Shakhtar Donetsk, they had won 20 straight games across all competitions and were unbeaten in 22. Having already secured the top spot in the group, Guardiola elected to rest a handful of regular starters with Sunday’s showdown presumably in mind. As for what this particular derby means for the Citizens and their fans, defender Vincent Kompany believes the tables have turned 180 degrees in recent years.

“I think to every player it means more than any other game,” he said this week. “It started as something that was way more important for the City fans than the United fans. At this moment in time, we are the team they want to beat more than any other team.”

INJURIES: Man United — OUT: Paul Pogba (suspension), Eric Bailly (groin) | Man City — OUT: John Stones (hamstring), Benjamin Mendy (knee)

Premier League player Power Rankings

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It is time to take stock on who’s on fire in the Premier League right now.

[ MORE: Power Rankings archive ]

Players from Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Man United dominate our rankings, which is no surprise given that they’re the form teams in the PL.

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League.

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections of the top 20 players in the PL right now.


  1. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) – Up 1
  2. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – Down 1
  3. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) – Down 1
  4. David De Gea (Man United) – New entry
  5. Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City) – Up 3
  6. Raheem Sterling (Man City) – Down 3
  7. David Silva (Man City) – Even
  8. Mesut Ozil (Arsenal) – Down 4
  9. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) – New entry
  10. Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) – Down 4
  11. Alvaro Morata (Chelsea) – New entry
  12. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) – New entry
  13. Paul Pogba (Man United) –  Down 2
  14. N’Golo Kante (Chelsea) – Down 4
  15. Ashley Young (Man United) – Up 5
  16. Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City) – New entry
  17. Jesse Lingard (Man United) – New entry
  18. Richarlison (Watford) – Down 2
  19. Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford) – Even
  20. Charlie Austin (Southampton) – New entry