Premier League Roundup: Villa shock Arsenal, plus wins for Saints, West Ham and Fulham

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What a tremendous opening day of the Premier League so far.

Earlier this morning Liverpool beat Stoke City 1-0, following Simon Mignolet’s last-minute penalty save on his debut at Anfield. Brendan Rodgers’ men took a first half lead through Daniel Sturridge as they pressed for a second during the rest of the game. But Stoke almost stole a point… but Mignolet was the hero.

After the 7:45am ET kick off came the main event, as there were five games starting at 10am then Manchester United faced Swansea at 12:30pm ET.

We covered them all at ProSoccerTalk, so here are the recaps with plenty more reaction to come.

Arsenal 1 – Aston Villa 3

Arsenal had a disastrous start to the season, as they lost 3-1 at home to Aston Villa. The Gunners took an early lead through Olivier Giroud but then Christian Benteke scored an equalizer as he tapped in after his penalty kick had been saved. The Belgian international striker then scored from the penalty spot in the second half to put Villa 2-1 up and then Antonio Luna added a third goal. Arsenal’s bad start got even worse when defender Laurent Koscielny was sent off in the second half.

Norwich 2 – Everton 2

What a great game at Carrow Road as both sides shared the points. Norwich City took the lead through Steven Whittaker but Everton struck twice in quick succession to turn things around. Ross Barkley smashed home a beauty from outside the box, while Seamus Coleman scored a tap in to put the Toffees 2-1 up. Yet Norwich had the last laugh when new signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel scored a stunning header to seal a 2-2 draw. Marvelous stuff.

Sunderland 0 – Fulham 1

Paolo Di Canio’s Sunderland side suffered a defeat at home on the opening day of the season. Fulham made the long-trip from Craven Cottage count, as the Londoners grabbed all three points thanks to a Pajtim Kasami header. His second half strike was enough for the win but the Black Cats did try to level things but couldn’t break Fulham down.

Swansea City 1 – Manchester United 4

Two goals each from Danny Welbeck and Robin van Persie sealed an opening day win for Manchester United at Swansea. David Moyes’ men were in cruise control by half time as each striker hit a goal to calm their nerves. New Swansea striker Wilfried Bony pulled a goal back from the bench to make it 3-1. But United scored superb second half goals from RVP and Welbeck, to win at a canter.

West Ham 2 – Cardiff 0

The Hammers gave Cardiff City are rude awakening to life in the Premier League. Joe Cole scored early at Upton Park and West Ham controlled the match for large swathes. The Bluebirds did look solid but offered very little going forward as United added a second in the 75th minute when captain Kevin Nolan curled home a sublime effort.

West Bromwich Albion 0 – Southampton 1

What a tremendous week for Rickie Lambert. After scoring his first-goal for England on Wednesday on his debut and celebrating the birth of his third child, the Southampton striker scored a 90th minute winner to give Saints a deserved victory. West Brom struggled to get hold of the ball and Saints dominated the first half and much of the second. Although Artur Boruc came up with a great save late on.

Report: Minnesota United chasing Ecuadorian national teamer

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Minnesota United may be hoping another Ibarra can cure what ails its attack.

Romario Ibarra, 23, is on the Loons’ radar according to The Athletic‘s Kristian Dyer and Jeff Rueter, who say Minnesota would like to land the Ecuadorian when the summer transfer window opens on July 10.

[ MORE: Modric urges humility ]

Ibarra was limited to eight matches for Universidad Católica this season as he battled through a lingering metatarsal fracture. But he’s scored against Argentina and Chile in each of his appearances for the national team, both World Cup qualifiers.

From The Athletic:

Sources say that Ibarra’s contract is unlikely to make him a designated player, leaving Quintero as the club’s sole DP. (It could depend, in part, on the size of the transfer fee.) Based on league standards, his salary will likely be drawn from Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) contract seems likely.

Ibarra’s older brother Renato plays for Club America, and has 36 caps.

Minnesota is six points outside the West’s final playoff spot, and has scored just 17 goals in 14 matches.

Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal field set

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The 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is down to one non-MLS entrant after LAFC fought past Sacramento Republic’s dogged effort to make it two, twice equalizing en route to a 3-2 win.

[ MORE: TFC extends Bono ]

Louisville City won a battle of USL sides in Wednesday’s final day of fifth round action, knocking off Nashville SC by a 2-1 score.

Now attention turns to the quarterfinals, where USL champions Louisville City will face the Chicago Fire on July 18.

All four quarterfinals will be staged on that day, and the winner of Louisville-Chicago will face the winner of the duel between Philadelphia Union and Orlando City.

The other side of the bracket shows Houston Dynamo against Sporting KC, and LAFC against the Portland Timbers.

Chicago and KC have won the cup an MLS-best four times each, while Philadelphia has finished second twice.

The remaining quarterfinalists have not advanced to a USOC final.

Sprawling translated Emery interview talks PSG, Guardiola, more

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Arsenal manager Unai Emery has given a sprawling interview, translated by France Football News, in which he discusses his history and his philosophies.

The interview was conducted after Emery was dismissed by Paris Saint-Germain but before he was hired by the Gunners.

[ MORE: Sampaoli defends Messi ]

It’s a fascinating read, with Emery going deep into his relationship with Neymar, the need for PSG to get an “A-ha” goal for its history books, and much, much more.

The interview is with Marti Perarnau, the author of “Pep Confidential,” and there are plenty of good nuggets regarding the Manchester City boss, as well as Rafa Benitez, Zinedine Zidane, PSG, Real Madrid, and Barcelona.

It’s fairly clear that Emery figured he’d be going to a new league, and he certainly seems like a guy fit for a project like succeeding Arsene Wenger at Arsenal. For one thing, he’s proud of his team’s style.

That’s something valued by the North London set, and Emery pointed out that Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid and Pep Guardiola at Man City had to fail before they succeeded.

Let me say this: PSG played well and won. Many people don’t value that enough and believe that it is easy. But what happened to us? We lacked competitiveness in important moments. Why? Because this team is not confronted with enough moments of adversity in the league. Being competitive also means being faced with adversity. One has to suffer like Simeone’s team to win. One has to suffer like Pep’s team to win in England.

My team had two basic principles: having possession and pressing. That was the basis. Having the ball, and winning it back as fast as possible. I should add a little nuance. I’m talking about having possession and not positioning because there are moments where you can win the ball through positioning, and others where moving out of position can surprise the opponent. And like Guardiola says, if you have to win with a long ball from the goalkeeper towards the striker and that the forward scores with his ass, then so be it! We work like that as well.

And here’s just a quick nugget on the importance of playmaking, and how good players make a coach look better.

During his first match against Toulouse at the Parc des Princes, we get corner. Neymar takes it quickly and Kurzawa scores. We hadn’t worked that at all with him. Afterwards, I told Neymar, “My work is limited to your strokes of genius.”

Love it. Arsenal seems like it’s in good hands. Read the full interview here.

Khedira laughs off Swedish reporter’s offer of tickets home

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Juventus midfielder Sami Khedira brushed off a gesture from a Swedish reporter, trading a bit of banter ahead of Germany’s big World Cup match against Sweden on Saturday.

Germany fell 1-0 to Mexico in its opener while Sweden beat South Korea, leading a playful Swede to hand Khedira boarding passes for a flight home to Germany.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Khedira’s reply? He joked that Sweden won’t be a problem and he’ll use the tickets after the World Cup Final.

From Goal.com:

“After this bad start, we know that it’s super difficult, but we know that we are a strong team. We analysed the game, we saw Sweden play and we are sure that we are winning this game.

“I think we’ll need them [plane tickets] on the 16th of July.”