Arsenal 0-1 Swansea City: Gunners’ second-place hopes dashed by Gomis’ late winner (video)


Arsenal’s chase for the Premier League’s second-place finish took a massive hit on Monday, as the Gunners dropped all three points at home, losing to Swansea City, 1-0, after dominating and controlling the game for 89 of 90 minutes.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

The first half, disjointed as it was, certainly favored the hosts in terms of possession, but at the same time provided plenty of hope to the visitors that in their rare forays forward the Arsenal defense could be toppled.

At halftime, only a pair of Swansea shots — coming from Jonjo Shelvey and Angel Rangel — had been registered as on target. Arsenal’s inability to turn 68 percent of the game’s possession into anything meaningful, unable to break down Swansea’s well-organized defense with Jack Cork sitting just in front of the backline, proved enough to send the two teams into halftime with the score still 0-0.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

Arsenal amped up the pressure considerably in the second half, with Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud each testing goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski twice inside the first 15 minutes, but each time the former Arsenal ‘keeper would either see the ball just wide of the post or turn it round the post himself.

Fabianski made a stunning double save from inside 12 yards, thwarting Sanchez and Theo Walcott three seconds apart. Santi Cazorla was also turned away barely 20 seconds later, as the Spaniard’s side-volley from close range bounced into the waiting arms of Fabianski.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Arsenal’s onslaught of chances proved futile as Fabianski turned them away time and again, setting up Bafetimbi Gomis to score the game’s only goal in the 85th minute. Gomis headed the ball to David Ospina’s near post, where the Colombian ‘keeper appeared to palm the ball away before it crossed the line, but referee’s watch signaled the whole of the ball had crossed the whole of the line.

With three games to play, Arsenal trail Manchester City by three (nine goals behind on goal difference) with a game in hand.


Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin (Wilshere 67′), Cazorla, Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud (Walcott 69′)

Swansea City: Fabianski, Rangel (Richards 60′), Fernandez, Williams, Taylor, Ki (Gomis 74′), Shelvey, Cork, Sigurdsson, Montero, Dyer (Barrow 79′)

Goals: Gomis (85′)

FOLLOW LIVE: Seattle v. Portland, ATLUTD v. DCU on a busy MLS Sunday

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Strap yourself in for a very busy Sunday of soccer, as four MLS games are set to consume your attention for the rest of the day.

[ FOLLOW: MLS scoreboard, for the next 7.5 hours ]

The day begins with Atlanta United hosting D.C. United in a 3-versus-2 matchup in the Eastern Conference, and ends with the Seattle Sounders hosting the Portland Timbers in arguably the biggest and best rivalry in MLS.

In between all that, a suddenly resurgent Orlando City SC hosts the New York Red Bulls, and FC Cincinnati hosts the red-hot (unbeaten in nine games) New England Revolution, in case you feel the need to cram a little more soccer into your afternoon/evening.

Sunday’s full MLS schedule

Atlanta United v. D.C. United — 4 p.m. ET
FC Cincinnati v. New England Revolution — 6 p.m. ET
Orlando City SC v. New York Red Bulls — 7:30 p.m. ET
Seattle Sounders v. Portland Timbers — 9:30 p.m. ET

Rumored Neymar for Bale swap: Who wins?

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Who would gain more of an advantage from the rumored, sensational Gareth Bale for Neymar swap: Paris Saint-Germain or Real Madrid?

Both players are currently problems for their clubs, though neither is known as a true rabble-rouser; Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane wants to be done with the newly-minted 30-year-old Bale, while PSG knows Neymar wants to leave and would love to satiate Kylian Mbappe’s appetite to be the man at their club.

[ REPORT: Man Utd, Leicester agree Maguire fee ]

Presumably some money would be headed PSG’s way in addition to Bale, and both clubs would be getting a motivated megawatt star.

Neymar doesn’t turn 28 until February, but the difference in age may be offset by the Brazilian’s track record of injuries.

In fact, his injury status last season combines with an off-field accusation of sexual assault and a red card for confronting a fan to overshadow his production: Neymar’s 23 goals and 13 assists in just over 2300 minutes last season, including five and two in the Champions League (and a goal and an assist against defensively-stout Liverpool).

Bale presents very few personality challenges, and PSG won’t have a problem with his massive wages (especially with Neymar off the books). His numbers have dipped in two of three seasons since his otherworldly 2015-16, but La Liga is a more difficult scoring league than Ligue 1.

Neymar has twice been a Ballon d’Or finalist and, presuming his legal troubles don’t persist, could be a title fight changer in La Liga. Imagine the Neymar, Eden Hazard, and Luka Jovic trying to outgun Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, and Luis Suarez? Insane.

We’d say Real would be winning the straight-up swap, and that it’s pretty unlikely to go down that way. So it depends what PSG does with the relative Financial Fair Play freedom that would come with the money that also arrives from Spain. Is it Idrissa Gana Gueye? Someone else who helps take PSG’s Champions League hopes to the next level?

Manchester United in ‘concrete talks’ with Lille over Pepe

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Manchester United are reportedly in “concrete talks” to agree a fee with Lille for much-tracked playmaker Nicolas Pepe.

The 24-year-old attacking midfielder has been linked with Liverpool and Arsenal amongst others, and Lille has admitted he’ll be leaving the club.

[ REPORT: Man Utd, Leicester agree Maguire fee ]

United’s reported salvo was around $87.5 million. He’d give them a star who could play across from Anthony Martial or as an attacking midfielder under Romelu Lukaku.

Only Kylian Mbappe and Teji Savanier garnered better season-long ratings than Pepe in the 2018-19 Ligue 1 campaign, and Pepe’s 22 goals and 11 assists stand out from the pack. Only Mbappe had more goals and only Savanier more assists.

Pepe has four goals in 11 caps for the Ivory Coast, and made three starts in Les Elephants’ five-match run at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. He’s a fit for the Premier League, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s system. And if the Red Devils can keep him from Liverpool, well, all the better we’re sure.

Report: Manchester United, Leicester agree to monster Maguire fee

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Manchester United and Leicester City have agreed a fee for Harry Maguire, clearing the way for the English center back to join the Old Trafford set.

That fee is a whopping $100 million, according to Bleacher Report’s Dean Jones. That’s about $4 million more than the world record for a defender, set when Liverpool purchased Virgil Van Dijk from Southampton.

[ MORE: USMNT CB to West Ham? ]

Maguire has been a statistical monster for Leicester City, and he passes the eye test, too.

Manchester United has needed to upgrade its stable of center backs for some time, and now the biggest question is who will work best alongside the 6-foot-4 26-year-old.

The former Sheffield United, Wigan Athletic, and Hull City defender is now 20-times capped by England.

The move could have a ripple effect on the Premier League, as the Foxes have been expected to bid for Burnley star James Tarkowski should Maguire leave the King Power Stadium.