Arsenal’s makeshift forwards run Spurs ragged, as Walcott and Gnabry dazzle in FA Cup win

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LONDON – With Arsenal’s two recognized strikers missing for Saturday’s FA Cup tie against North London rivals Tottenham, you would’ve expected an air of panic around the Emirates.

If there was an ounce of nervousness, that quickly dissipated.

From the start of Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Spurs, the Gunners new attack flourished as Theo Walcott was deployed as the lone forward with German teenager Serge Gnabry and Spaniard Santi Cazorla coming in off the wings.

On this showing, Arsenal should be fine if Olivier Giroud and Nicklas Bendtner are missing again in the future, as Walcott took the bull by the horns and put in a dominant forward display.

“I liked what he did today,” Arsene Wenger tole me after the game. “He has played before in that role, but today he added purpose, commitment and more decisiveness to his game. He had more of a fighting attitude. With that, he looks like he improves every time in that position. With that and the quality of the players behind him he can be dangerous in that position.”

Much has been made of Arsenal’s lack of depth this season, especially up front, but when it comes down to it they have a whole host of players who can interchange fluently between attack and midfield. Wenger was dubbed the ‘professor’ for a reason back when he arrived in England in the mid 90’s.

(MORE: FA Cup roundup – Plenty of upsets dot third-round slate)

Arsenal’s current team are set up to only need one central striker, who can run in behind or hold the ball up and Walcott did that marvelously well. He timed his runs patiently to give Spurs’ center half pairing of Michael Dawson and Vlad Chiriches a torrid time on Saturday.

While those two were in a spin over who was marking Walcott, Gnabry and Cazorla slid off the wings secretively and that’s how the first goal came about. In the 31st minute Gnabry fed Cazorla to finish, after Walcott’s run took two Spurs defenders away. Gnabry excelled in supporting the excellent Walcott and Wenger was especially pleased with the 18-year-old German.

Although Wenger was reluctant to heap too much praise on his shoulder, just yet.

“Today again he has shown that he’s quality,” Wenger said. “He had a very good game. He is a very young boy but is very bright. He has a really good football brain. I’m a strong believer in Serge Gnabry because I integrated him last year at the beginning of the season. But let’s not make superstars with one game.”

Going back to Gnabry’s partner in crime, Walcott is regularly described as being “too quick for his own good” as his electric pace sometimes sees his body move before his brain has time to react. But in the 11th minute Walcott latched onto a central ball superbly, took it in his stride and balanced himself before hitting a low shot towards goal that Spurs’ Hugo Lloris had to tip wide. He looked at home as center forward.

Next, again from a central area, Walcott’s sweeping effort from the edge of the box was deflected wide as his deft-touch and composure was again on show. Walcott is no stranger to the central role, after seeing him star in that position for Southampton as a 16-year-old when he first burst on the scene, I can vouch for that. Even going back to his days in the youth team at Saints, many believed he would flourish centrally in the future.

On Saturday against Spurs he certainly did.

To go alongside Walcott’s first half attempts Gnabry and Cazorla also went close as the German youngster smashed an effort over the bar, then Cazorla’s curler just went wide of Lloris’ left hand post. Arsenal were rampant early on, as they bamboozled Spurs with their inter-changing trio of attackers.

Pace, ingenuity and composure was shown in abundance by Gnabry, Cazorla and Walcott.

After the break Walcott popped up on the right and Gnabry drifted inside to play centrally and the killer second goal came courtesy of Tomas Rosicky’s pressing on Spurs left back Danny Rose. Game over.

source: Getty Images
Theo Walcott reacted to coins being thrown at him, as he used his fingers to make a 2-0 score line. Walcott excelled in Arsenal’s win.

But with only a 2-0 score line sealing the Gunners passage into the FA Cup Fourth Round, Walcott alone could have easily had a hat trick as Arsenal spurned several gilt-edged chances as the game closed out. Throughout the course of the season, that wastefulness may cost them but for now their defense is holding firm, so one or two goals is enough to win them a game.

Late on Walcott fell awkwardly and had to be stretchered off with what looked like an injury to his left knee. As he left the field, he reminded Spurs’ fans of the score line (pictured, left) and then as he passed them in the stands, bottles and coins rained down on the England international.

“The doctor said to me that the coins were coming down over Walcott’s head and they had to protect him, that’s maybe why he did that,” Wenger said. “After that, it was not offensive what he did.”

On a more serious note, that’s two central strikers and a converted one (depending on the diagnosis of Walcott’s injury) down for Arsenal before they face Aston Villa on January 13 in their next Premier League game. That leaves only Gnabry and Lukas Podolski left at the moment, both of whom aren’t too comfortable in central roles and are much better suited out wide.

So does Wenger have to buy a new striker in January?

“We still had Podolski and Ozil on the bench today,” Wenger said. “Giroud was sick, he was not injured but was available if he wasn’t sick. So for the next game he should be available. Of course if you lose Theo for a longer period it is a problem. While Nicklas Bendtner is out for a month, but it could’ve been more so we got some good news on him. I am waiting to see who walks out there [new signings] and wants to knock at the door and come in, but honestly it is hard to find better than the players we have.”

Arsenal vs Wolves, live! Score, updates, how to watch, videos

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Arsenal looks to put some shine back on an impressive season when it hosts Wolves on Championship Sunday at the Emirates Stadium. 

The Gunners led the Premier League for much of the season but have faded badly down the stretch, with just two eight points from their last eight games.

STREAM LIVE ARSENAL vs WOLVES

Wolves have won four times in that same stretch to secure another season in the Premier League, but the club has not secured the services of manager Julen Lopetegui.

The 56-year-old Spaniard needs to know whether Wolves will be able to properly address their squad in the transfer window, citing Financial Fair Play concerns as a possible problem for his future at Molineux.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Arsenal vs Wolves.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


How to watch Arsenal vs Wolves live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 11:30am ET Sunday
TV Channel: Peacock Premium
Online: Watch live on Peacock


Key storylines & star players

Arsenal will want to finish this season with a flourish, and Premier League Best XI favorites Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard are the likeliest to look bright no matter the occasion.

Is this Ruben Neves last game of a storied career with Wolves? The Portguese midfielder is desirous of Champions League football and Wolves are in need of money. Let’s watch how he reacts during the game.


Arsenal team news, injuries, lineup

QUESTIONABLE: Reiss Nelson (virus), Bukayo Saka (‘little issue’), Leandro Trossard (‘little issue’) | OUT: Gabriel Martinelli (ankle), William Saliba (back), Takehiro Tomiyasu (knee), Oleksandr Zinchenko (calf), Mohamed Elneny (knee)

Wolves team news, injuries, lineup

OUT: Sasa Kalajdzic (knee), Chiquinho (knee)

Everton vs Bournemouth, live! Score, updates, how to watch, videos

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Everton host Bournemouth at Goodison Park on Sunday as the Toffees must win to guarantee Premier League survival on the final day.

STREAM LIVE EVERTON v BOURNEMOUTH

Sean Dyche’s side sit two points above the relegation zone heading into their final 90 minutes of the season and their 1-1 draw at Wolves last time out, courtesy of a 99th minute Yerry Mina goal, gave them an advantage in the frantic relegation scrap. It will be a nervous occasion at Goodison as injuries have piled up and Everton’s 69-year stay in England’s top-flight is still in jeopardy with Leeds and Leicester within touching distance below them.

Bournemouth are safe from relegation and Gary O’Neil’s side have no pressure on them whatsoever. They lost 1-0 at home to Manchester United last weekend but gave it a real go and the Cherries certainly have dangerous players on the counter who can make the most of any defensive mistakes from the Toffees.

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Here’s everything you need for Everton vs Bournemouth.


How to watch Everton vs Bournemouth live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 11:30am ET, Sunday
TV Channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Everton vs Bournemouth live analysis! – By Joe Prince-Wright at Goodison Park 

The nerves continue to build here at Goodison. 45 minutes until kick off. Everton fans just want to get this started. This has to be excruciating for them. Meanwhile in the away end the Bournemouth fans are having a lovely time in the sun. Completely opposite atmosphere.

As we sit in the press box in the main stand at Goodison, you can hear a wall of noise approaching the stadium from every angle. Great atmosphere building here.

Team news is out and there are two changes for Everton as Conor Coady comes in for the injured Nathan Patterson. Demarai Gray starts up top in place of the injured Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Looks like Coady is at right back and McNeil is at left back. Bournemouth are without captain and star goalkeeper Neto who misses out due to personal reasons.

Hello and welcome to Goodison Park, where the nerves are jangling, the sun is shining and the flares are plentiful! The equation is simple for Everton: win and they will stay up. Lose or draw and their safety is out of their hands. Get ready for an intense few hours.


Key storylines & in-form players to watch

Everton have really been through it with injuries in recent weeks and the fact that Calvert-Lewin is once again struggling means that Dyche may play without a recognized striker on the final day. Defensively they have issues at full back but they have hung in there and the home crowd has inspired them on several occasions as they are within one win of safety.

Bournemouth goalkeeper Neto has been exceptional, so too has Dominic Solanke and Dango Ouattara at the other end of the pitch as there has been a really nice balance about the Cherries over the last few months as they stayed up without much stress in the end. In the reverse game in November Bournemouth beat Everton 3-0 to spark ugly scenes in the away end as the Everton fans turned on their players and demanded and were hugely disappointed with the display.


Everton team news, injuries, lineup

OUT: Seamus Coleman (hamstring), Dele Alli (groin), Ruben Vinagre (achilles), Andros Townsend (knee), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (thigh), Nathan Patterson (thigh), Tom Davies (thigh), Vitalii Mykolenko (thigh), Ben Godfrey (groin)

Bournemouth team news, injuries, lineup

OUT: Antoine Semenyo (leg), Ryan Fredericks (calf), Junior Stanislas (other), Joe Rothwell (thigh), Hamed Traore (ankle), Marcus Tavernier (thigh), Neto (personal reasons)


Southampton vs Liverpool, live! Score, updates, how to watch, videos

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Southampton host Liverpool at St Mary’s on Sunday as the Saints wave goodbye to the Premier League after an 11-year stay.

STREAM LIVE SOUTHAMPTON v LIVERPOOL

It was announced this week that current boss Ruben Selles will not continue at the club as he stepped up from being an assistant to try and help Saints stay in the Premier League. But they are 12 games without a win and lost 3-1 at Brighton last time out as relegation was sealed two weeks ago. Sport Republic, Saints’ owners who arrived just 16 months ago, have already announced sweeping changes behind-the-scenes and it will be intriguing to see how they get on in the Championship next season.

As for Liverpool, well, they’ve been chasing an unlikely Champions League dream in recent weeks and they just came up short in that pursuit. But it has still been a fine end to the season as they’re 10 games unbeaten. They drew 1-1 at home against Aston Villa last time out as Roberto Firmino said farewell to Anfield with a late goal. Jurgen Klopp’s side have shown they’re getting back to their best and with some big additions expected in midfield this summer, they should be challenging for the title again next season.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

Here’s everything you need for Southampton vs Liverpool.


How to watch Southampton vs Liverpool live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 11:30am ET, Sunday
TV Channel: Peacock
Online: Stream via Peacock Premium


Key storylines & in-form players to watch

Is this the last time Southampton skipper James Ward-Prowse plays for them? JWP has been at Saints since he was eight but his future is uncertain amid their relegation and intense interest in his services. It has been a sorry season for Southampton but they still have a bunch of talented young players, many of whom will be snapped up by Premier League clubs when the transfer window opens in July.

Liverpool have rallied to qualify for the Europa League which isn’t bad at all considering where they were at for large chunks of this season. Klopp seems refreshed and excited to lead an overhaul of this squad as Firmino, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita are all moving on this summer. Trent Alexander-Arnold has been imperious in recent weeks and Mohamed Salah has quietly had another superb campaign.


Southampton team news, injuries, lineup

OUT: Mohamed Salisu (pelvis), Juan Larios (hamstring), Armel Bella-Kotchap (thigh), Romain Perraud (ankle), Che Adams (calf), Paul Onuachu (back)

Liverpool team news, injuries, lineup

OUT: Stefan Bajcetic (groin), Calvin Ramsay (knee), Thiago Alcantara (groin), Andy Robertson (groin), Darwin Nunez (foot), Naby Keita (muscular)


Premier League table, 2022-23 season

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If it’s the 2022-23 Premier League table you’re after, you’ve come to the right place.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

After the break for the 2022 World Cup, the Premier League returned with a bang and the start to 2023 delivered plenty of fun and it continued into the business end of the season.

Now we are approaching the final few weeks of the campaign, it is so tight up and down the Premier League table.


Who’s looking like title contenders and/or favorites?

UPDATE: Manchester City are officially champions — again, again — for the third straight season.

As we moved into the final weeks of the 2022-23 season, Manchester City were in pole position after Arsenal’s title bid collapsed. During the season Manchester United briefly surged into the picture but they dropped back and now Arsenal have too.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

The Gunners stumbled down the home stretch and couldn’t keep up with Erling Haaland and Co., as he took the Premier League by storm with an almost impossible goal-scoring record. City secured a fifth title in the last six seasons and how now won three straight.


What about the top four and European places?

Newcastle has sealed a place in the Champions League and Manchester United is going there, too. Liverpool is alive and lurking should Man Utd lose out.

Fifth and sixth places in the Premier League will be UEFA Europa League spots, while seventh will be UEFA Europa Conference League qualification:

  • a) If the FA Cup winners finish in the top five of the Premier League, their UEFA Europa League group stage place will go to the next-highest ranked team not qualified for UEFA competitions in the Premier League.
  • b) If the League Cup winners finish in the top five of the Premier League (or top six if (a) happens), their UEFA Europa Conference League playoff place will go to the next-highest ranked team not qualified for UEFA competitions in the Premier League.

For the first time in club history, Brighton & Hove Albion have qualified for European competition. Roberto De Zerbi’s Seagulls will represent the Premier League in next season’s Europa League.

Also: if West Ham win the UEFA Europa Conference League they will automatically qualify for the Europa League group stage next season and that will not impact the European spots in the Premier League. So, up to eight Premier League teams could be in Europe next season with four in the Champions League, three in the Europa League and one in the Europa Conference League.


Who are the candidates for relegation?

Southampton has been relegated but there is so much going on with the other two relegation spots.

Leeds United and Leicester City currently occupy the other two relegation places but that keeps changing all the time and it is so tight at the bottom of the table. Everton snatched a late point in Matchweek 37, but the Toffees hang in a precarious position heading into Championship Sunday (vs Bournemouth).

West Ham have moved clear of the bottom three and Crystal Palace, Wolves, Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest are all safe after strong finishes to the season.

The race to stay in the Premier League has bubbled along all season and it has now intensified into what’s been one of the craziest relegation scraps in Premier League history. It all comes down to the final 90 minutes to see who will stay up.

Below you will find the latest Premier League table.


Premier League table – May 25

Premier League standings

NBC Sports’ standings and scoreboard



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