West Bromwich 1-0 Sunderland: Berahino’s controversial goal wins it

Leave a comment
  • Berahino scores only goal
  • West Brom to 12th with 11 points
  • Villa remains 18th

Saido Berahino‘s controversial second-half goal was enough to lift Tony Pulis‘ defense-first Baggies past struggling Sunderland in Sam Allardyce‘s debut as manager on Saturday.

The young English striker picked the pocket of a stunned Costel Pantilimon, who failed to handle Berahino’s challenge on a cross, and that was all the scoring West Brom needed in a 1-0 win.

USMNT winger/back DeAndre Yedlin earned the start for Sunderland.

[ MORE: Watch full match replays ]

Allardyce nearly got a dream start twice early on, and was deprived in the 12th minute when Boaz Myhill dove right to slap away another Black Cats chance off a corner kick.

West Brom broke through when Saido Berahino collided with Costel Pantilimon as the Sunderland keeper collected a cross. Pantilimon dropped it, and Berahino back-heeled it away from safety before slotting into the goal.

The play was reviewed, in a sense, but not overturned.

The Black Cats simply have no luck, with better pressure as the game progressed and a late appeal for a penalty turned down when Stephane Sessegnon‘s tackle of Fabio Borini in the box was deemed a-okay.

[ MORE: Click here for full lineups, stats, box score

English FA allows Floyd justice messages by players in games

Liverpool
Liverpool
Leave a comment

English Premier League players will be able to show solidarity with the George Floyd justice campaign during games without the prospect of facing sanctions.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live

The Football Association on Tuesday endorsed FIFA’s new stance that “common sense” would be applied when assessing the context of on-field messages on players’ equipment. The laws of the game prohibit “any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images.”

German soccer authorities said they may sanction players who used goal celebrations to highlight last week’s death in Minneapolis of Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died after a white police officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes even after he stopped moving and pleaded for air.

But the English FA, which oversees disciplinary action for Premier League games, has given the green light for players using games to protest against social and racial inequality.

“Where any behaviors or gestures on the pitch that may constitute a breach of the laws of the game have to be assessed, they would be reviewed on a case by case basis with a common sense approach and understanding of their context,” the FA said in a statement when asked about players’ tributes to Floyd. “The power of football can break down barriers across communities and we remain deeply committed to removing all forms of discrimination from across the game we all love.”

The Premier League is due to resume on June 17.

Players from Premier League clubs Chelsea, Liverpool and Newcastle have been pictured this week in training taking a knee as part of anti-racism gestures sparked by the death of Floyd.

The England team tweeted a close-up photo of Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling high-fiving alongside the message “whatever our nationality. Whatever our race. We’re all on the same team.”

An England men’s game had to be stopped twice last year in Bulgaria after players were subjected to racial abuse.

The FA said it “strongly condemns discrimination of any kind and has endeavored to ensure that football in England is both diverse and inclusive in recent years.”

England winger Jadon Sancho was booked while playing for Borussia Dortmund on Sunday for removing his jersey – a yellow-card offense – only so he could reveal a T-shirt with a “Justice for George Floyd” message.

That led to FIFA telling The Associated Press on Monday that national federations should apply “common sense and have in consideration the context surrounding the events.”

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Season restart preview: Arsenal

Arsenal
Getty Images
Leave a comment

With the 2019-20 Premier League season soon to restart, let’s focus on all 20 clubs and see where they are at ahead of the final nine weeks of the season as Arsenal are up first.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

Focusing on Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, who had plenty of momentum before the suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic, they now have plenty of players back fit and ready for a late season surge.

Let’s take a closer look at all things Arsenal when it comes to the season restart.


Outlook: Arteta has lost just one of his 10 Premier League games in charge of Arsenal and somehow he has managed to solidify their defensive unit and the Gunners could be set for a late top four push. They do have a game in hand on their rivals but that is away at Man City. However you look at it, Arteta has Arsenal grinding defensively and we all know they have the attacking weapons to score goals galore. They are in the FA Cup last eight too and there is plenty of optimism around the Emirates Stadium as Arteta has placed his faith in young homegrown talents.


Tactical analysis: What has been the biggest change since Unai Emery was fired? Arsenal have kept things tight at the back with a solid back four which has seen David Luiz and Shkodran Mustafi strike up an unlikely partnership. With Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos ahead of them there is a mixture of grit and flair too. Stats wise, Arsenal have faced the sixth-most shots in the Premier League this season (415) and among the ‘big six’ clubs, only bitter rivals Tottenham have faced more (418). Arsenal have to stay solid and stop giving up so many shooting opportunities. If they can do that, you always fancy to knock in a few at the other end.


Possible XI (4-2-3-1) 

—– Leno —–

— Bellerin — Luiz — Mustafi — Saka —

—- Xhaka —- Ceballos —-

—- Pepe —- Ozil —- Aubameyang —-

—– Nketiah —–

Notice that there is no Alexandre Lacazette, Kieran Tierney or Matteo Guendouzi. Lacazette and Guendouzi do not appear to be favorites of Arteta, while Tierney has been unlucky with injuries and the emergence of Bukayo Saka playing out of position at left back. Do not be surprised to see Saka pushed up to be a winger and Tierney come in, while January loan signings Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares may also be given the chance to establish themselves. The lineup above perhaps isn’t their strongest on paper but it is the on which was working best for Arteta before the suspension arrived.


Remaining schedule:
Home: Norwich, Leicester, Liverpool, Watford
Away: Man City, Brighton, Southampton, Wolves, Tottenham, Aston Villa

Predicted finish: With Arsenal currently in ninth place in the table, it seems unlikely they can make a late surge into the top four but they are just eight points off fourth-place Chelsea and have a game in-hand. Arteta would surely be happy with a top six finish and run to at least the FA Cup final. Given everything that has happened at Arsenal this season with Emery leaving, Arteta arriving and

McKennie: I have to stand up for what I believe in

George Floyd tributes in soccer
AP
Leave a comment

USMNT and Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie has said he will stand firm and accept any punishment for wearing an armband in support of George Floyd.

During Schalke’s 1-0 defeat at home to Werder Bremen on Saturday, McKennie wore an armband saying ‘Justice for George’ and along with several other Bundesliga players, he will now be investigated by the German Football Association as there are rules against players wearing political messages on shirts or other garments. FIFA have called for “common sense” to take place when it comes to each association ruling on regulations against players revealing political, religious or personal slogans during a game.

Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN last week there have been widespread protests across the USA. A video showed former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, putting his knee on George Floyd’s neck for more than 8 1/2 minutes. Chauvin was arrested last Friday and charged with murder, authorities confirmed.

Over the weekend Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi revealed messages of support on their jerseys, while McKennie wore his armband saying ‘Justice for George’ and Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram took a knee after he scored in the Bundesliga.

Clubs and players across Europe have since issued their support to the movement. As for the German FA, they said they are looking into potential breaches around rules on political, religious or personal slogans.

Speaking to Forbes in an interview, McKennie said that as an American international player he simply had to speak out.

“I was like, ‘I’m not taking it off’. There’s a rule in the league that you can’t make political statements. But I mean, if you really, really look at this as a political statement, then I don’t know what to tell you,” McKennie said. “The league and everyone (in soccer) always preaches ‘say no to racism’. So I didn’t think that there would be a problem. If I have to take the consequences to express my opinion, to express my feelings, to stand up for what I believe in, then that’s something that I have to do.”

“I felt like it was my responsibility and my duty, especially being American, and with the situation going on in America,” McKennie added. “And I felt like it was the best and biggest platform that I could use to spread awareness. Of course, maybe some people don’t agree with it, but that’s their opinion and for me, I felt like it was my duty and my responsibility to go out to show justice for George Floyd. This is a problem that’s been going on way too long. We’re the only (soccer) league that’s playing right now, all eyes are on the Bundesliga. So I felt like there’s no better way and no better time than now.”

McKennie then went on to detail some of the racist abuse his family have received in the USA and said he wasn’t surprised at all about what happened to George Floyd, but urged people around the world to join the Black Lives Matter movement and the battle to stop police brutality.

“It doesn’t matter the color of your skin. If you believe that this is wrong, if you want to see change, it’s something that you can join. Every voice matters, no matter how big or how small,” McKennie said. “Obviously it’s a global problem and it’s going to take the world to fix it.”

Hasenhuttl signs new four-year contract at Southampton

Hasenhuttl
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ralph Hasenhuttl has handed Southampton a massive boost by signing a new four-year contract at the Premier League club.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Hasenhuttl, 52, joined Saints in December 2018 and his high-pressing style of play has impressed fans and neutrals, although there have been a few bumps in the road along the way.

The low-point was the 9-0 home defeat to Leicester City in October but since then Hasenhuttl went back to basics with his tactics and the slate was wiped clean for most of his players. Saints went on a run of seven wins from 11 games from late November to January to drag themselves away from the relegation battle.

“This, for me, was a simple decision. Simple because of the relationship that I have built with the club, the players and the fans, and also because of the relationship they have built with me too,” Hasenhuttl said. “I said when I arrived at the club that we were at the beginning of a long journey, and also a journey that would bring emotion and hopefully enjoyment. We have already had some moments where we could celebrate together, and some that have been emotional and also challenging.

“The way we have handled this together as a group of people has been incredible for me, and I believe we now have strong foundations here that can allow us to take the next steps in our progress as a team… We value the same philosophies, and this is a big part of why I want to stay here, and I hope we can share in some very successful moments moving forward.”

This works out well for everyone. Saints need Hasenhuttl and vice versa, as the club stood by him when his side were battered by Leicester and were all over the place defensively earlier in the season. Since then there’s been a massive turnaround as Hasenhuttl’s high-pressing style has returned to Saints and they’ve won away at the likes of Chelsea and Leicester City.

Southampton currently sit seven points above the relegation zone with nine games of the 2019-20 season to go and Hasenhuttl’s young, hungry side have a string of games against teams battling against relegation to come.

This contract will give the playing squad certainty as Hasenhuttl only had one year left on his previous deal. Shane Long is expected to sign a contract extension soon too, while captan Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has one year on his contract but may be swayed to stay at Saints given Hasenhuttl will be sticking around.

The financial situation at Saints is a little unclear given that their majority owner Gao Jisheng has stated he will not bankroll signings and wants the club to be sustainable, so Hasenhuttl will likely have to rely on polishing plenty of gems from Saints’ famed academy to bring into the first team.

Providing Saints don’t collapse in the final games of the season, they will be in the Premier League next season and they will have stability with Hasenhuttl around as they can plan ahead. During the suspension of play, Hasenhuttl has been working on a virtual book for the entire academy system at Saints to follow and his style of play will now be present from their youth sides all the way up to the first team.

The ‘Klopp of the Alps’ has found his home on England’s south coast.