Three things we learned from Arsenal vs. Tottenham

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LONDON — Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur drew 1-1 in the north London derby at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

[ RECAP: Arsenal, Spurs share the spoils ]

Harry Kane‘s first half strike was canceled out by Kieran Gibbs‘ late leveler, as two Londoners were on the scoresheet, and the honors were even in an end-to-end derby between two bitter rivals.

Here’s three things we learned from an enthralling derby at the Emirates.

COOL KANE RED-HOT

Time seemed to stand still as Danny Rose‘s clipped ball over the top skipped off the perfect surface at the Emirates and Kane had nobody around him. Spurs’ main man was through on goal. The lad from north London had a glorious chance to put his team ahead and, unlike earlier this season when his confidence in front of goal evaded him, he took it with aplomb. With Per Mertesacker dropping off and Laurent Koscielny stepping up, Arsenal’s defense was at sixes and sevens and Kane took advantage of it. The England international, 22, has now scored five goals in his last three Premier League games which comes after a run of just one in his opening nine games of the campaign. Slowly but surely the PFA Young Player of the Year who scored 31 times last season in all competitions has reemerged. Kane’s confidence is sky-high.

We know that Spurs are solid at the back and Mauricio Pochettino has built a side capable of pressing high, not allowing other teams to dictate the tempo. That will keep them in most games this season and Kane’s goals will win them plenty. With Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela buzzing in around Kane, Spurs’ solid defensive unit has plenty of targets to hit when they get on the ball. As for Kane, he’s back to his best and hitting the target and scoring goals. Arsenal’s late show denied him being the hero in a north London derby for a second-straight season.

SPURS PERSONAL DUELS

Spurs’ came so close to winning the north London derby not solely because of Kane’s cool finish but because they won personal duels all over the pitch. In midfield the trio of Mousa Dembele (who was magnificent), Dele Alli and Eric Dier dominated Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin with the former being subbed out at half time by Arsene Wenger, such was his subdued first half. In central defense the Belgian duo of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen marshaled Olivier Giroud in open play, even though the Frenchman hit the bar and came inches away from scoring with another header from set pieces in the second half. That’s an area they must work on. In the first half a flash-point arrived as Giroud first fell to the ground when tussling with Vertonghen and the French striker got to his feet before flailing an arm which caught Vertonghen in the face, who also hit the floor. Spurs’ high energy antagonized Arsenal all game long and until Gibbs’ late equalizer, Spurs could have easily extended their  lead with Kane, Eriksen and Alderweireld all being denied by Petr Cech and Arsenal’s defenders who threw themselves at everything. Pochettino has got his team well-organized and they look dangerous in the final third. Only five points off the top, Spurs can perhaps dream of more than a top four finish this season.

ARSENAL RALLY DESPITE SHAKY DEFENSE

Substitute Gibbs grabbed Arsenal a point — just 181 seconds after replacing the hard-working but ineffective Joel Campbell — and in truth, it was probably what they deserved after a second half where they dug deep and peppered the Spurs box with high-crosses and teasing passes. After a week which has seen them first beat Swansea City away and then take a midweek pasting at Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League, it was an admirable fightback after a subdued first half performance. Throughout the game there were numerous defensive mistakes from the Gunners. We’ve already highlighted Koscielny and Mertesacker’s miscommunication for Kane’s goal and in recent games the Gunners center backs have suffered from stepping up and leaving a forward in acres of space (see: Gabriel pushing up to let in Lewandowski).

Then in the 57th minute a monumental mistake from Cech almost let Lamela and Spurs in to make it 2-0. Arsenal’s goalkeeper, who saved superbly from Eriksen and Alderweireld in the second half, tried to dribbled out of the back after a miscommunication with his defenders. If Arsenal are genuine title contenders, and their overall play and grit to rally late on against a top six team proves they are, they have to cut out silly defensive mistakes which will cost them dear in the long run. As it is, Mesut Ozil’s sublime cross to the back post picked out Gibbs and the Gunners sit joint-top in the PL after almost a third of the season gone.

Petersen’s header leads Freiburg past 10-man Gladbach

Freiburg v. Borussia Monchengladbach recap
Photo by Ronald Wittek/Pool via Getty Images
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Nils Petersen’s second half goal led Freiburg to a huge 1-0 win over 10-man Borussia Monchengladbach at the Schwarzwald-Stadion on Friday.

Freiburg keeps its Europa League hopes alive by moving onto 41 points, one behind sixth and seventh.

Gladbach fails in a bid to go third and remains fourth with 56 points, ahead of Bayer Leverkusen on goal differential.

A second yellow card to Plea was a double curse to Gladbach, who went down a man and now will miss a star forward against Bayern Munich.

[ LIVE: Bundesliga scores, stats ]

Bayer’s Ramy Bensebaini utilized a slick backheel turn to nutmeg an opponent and send in a cross that was put out for a corner kick.

Freiburg keeper Alexander Schwolow made a tight-angle save on Alassane Plea just after the quarter-hour mark.

Gladbach saw a chance chalked off after two dangerous bids resulted in an offside deflection into the goal.

Florian Neuhaus came close to scoring again when Lars Stindl headed the penultimate move of a fine team play into the six, but he popped it over the frame.

[ BUNDESLIGA: Week 30 preview and predictions ]

Gladbach’s second half again settled into the Freiburg final third, but it was a home sub that paid dividends at the other end.

Petersen improved his club record for goals when he nodded Vincenzo Grifo’s free kick home in the 59th.

Stindl wasn’t too far from equalizing with a 17-yard shot at the hour mark, but Plea’s second yellow card damaged Gladbach’s hopes of a comeback.

LA Galaxy release Katai after wife’s social media mocks protestors

Aleksandar Katai released
Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images
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The LA Galaxy have “parted ways” with Aleksandar Katai after the Serbian winger’s wife posted racist and violent comments regarding protestors.

On Tuesday, Tea Katai posted a comment to “kill the s—-” with an accompanying video of a New York PD police vehicle ramming into a barricade help up by protestors and another photo of looters with sneakers she captioned, “Black Nikes Matter.”

[ BUNDESLIGA: Week 30 preview and predictions ]

Aleksandar Katai issued an apology on Instagram saying that the views would not “be tolerated in my family” and condemned white supremacy while posting that “Black Lives Matter.”

That wouldn’t be enough for the Galaxy, who announced they would meet with Katai on Thursday. Their consideration may have been affected by protests outside their stadium.

According to the LA Times’ Kevin Baxter:

On Thursday four men stood before a statue of David Beckham outside the team’s stadium holding a bedsheet-sized banner that read “No Racists in Our Club” with Katai’s uniform No. 7 encircled with a red line through it.

Katai, 29, was in his first season with the Galaxy after spending 66 matches with the Chicago Fire, scoring 19 goals with 12 assists. Prior to that, he spent time with Red Star Belgrade and Vojvodina. He is nine times capped by Serbia including thrice in 2019.

Newcastle United season restart preview

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With the 2019-20 Premier League season soon to restart, let’s focus on all 20 clubs and see where they stand ahead of the final nine matches of the season.

Newcastle United is next.

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

Here is a closer look at all things Magpies when it comes to the season restart.


Outlook: The Magpies won’t be qualifying for Europe and also are extremely unlikely to be relegated, but is there some danger of the latter? It seems more likely that Newcastle’s season will be more headline watching to see if its controversial takeover is approved and serious pitch-analyzing to see if Joelinton can rediscover what he did well in the Bundesliga last season. Steve Bruce’s men are also in the FA Cup quarterfinals but have Man City coming to St. James’ Park, but the veteran manager getting a result against Pep Guardiola twice in one season seems a tall ask.

[ MORE: Ranking every Newcastle player in 2019-20 ]


Tactical analysis: The Magpies have done their best work replicating the system Rafa Benitez implemented last season, but Bruce has shown some real nous in getting four of six points from a flat back four in the final two matches before the pause (That said, the Burnley draw was abysmal).

It’s easy to imagine Bruce using four at the back for the first two matches of the restart, home outings against Blades and Villa, though the Magpies’ 2-0 defeat of Sheffield United at Bramall Lane saw the side effective in a 3-4-3. How it goes from there could dictate Bruce’s plans, though expect more 5-man back lines with Man City, Liverpool, and Spurs yet to come.

[ MORE: The 2 Robbies assess Newcastle’s chances ]


Possible XI (4-2-3-1) 

—– Dubravka —–

— Manquillo — Lascelles — Fernandez — Rose —

—– Shelvey —– S. Longstaff —–

— Ritchie— Almiron — Saint-Maximin—

—– Joelinton —–

There are plenty of things that could and should change here. Loan signings Valentino Lazaro and Nabil Bentaleb have good chances to start and Isaac Hayden’s been more consistently than sophomore-slumping Sean Longstaff. The club also will want to court Matty Longstaff into a new deal and Geordie hero Andy Carroll is healthy and works well in place of or next to Joelinton, who can move to the wing. Fabian Schar and Ciaran Clark are starting caliber backs looking for homes since Steve Bruce moved away from a back five, and Paul Dummett is a healthy and adequate CB, too.


[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

Remaining schedule
Home: Sheffield United (6/21), Aston Villa (6/24), West Ham, Spurs, Liverpool
Away: Bournemouth (7/1), Man City, Watford, Brighton and Hove Albion

Predicted finish: We’ll know plenty within three days of the season’s restart, as Blades and Villa visit St. James’ Park and the Magpies could sit top half in no time. Eight points clear of the drop zone is not entirely safe with eight matches left, though, so there’s some potential for danger if they lose those winnable matches at an empty SJP. That said, there are too many ways to cross the 40-point mark and so many teams behind them. They sit 13th, and they’ll finish within a place or two of that.

LIVE, Bundesliga: Freiburg hosts top four hopefuls Gladbach

Freiburg v. Borussia Monchengladbach live
Photo by Christian Verheyen/Borussia Moenchengladbach via Getty Images
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Alassane Plea and Marcus Thuram bring red-hot form and top four hopes to Freiburg when Borussia Monchengladbach visits the Schwarzwald-Stadion on Friday for a 2:30 p.m. ET kickoff.

Gladbach is ahead of fifth-place Bayer Leverkusen on goal differential and four points back of second-place Borussia Dortmund.

[ LIVE: Bundesliga scores, stats ]

Freiburg is winless in four and staring down a tough run of fixtures while their Europa League hopes have taken a massive hit.

There were six goals between the sides in late November when Gladbach took all the points in a 4-2 win.

[ BUNDESLIGA: Week 30 preview and predictions ]

Below is the schedule for the Bundesliga game early on Friday and how you can watch live on TV in the USA and online and follow along via the link above.

Bundesliga how to watch

  • TV Channels: FS2
  • Stream LiveVia Fox Soccer
  • USMNT players to watch: Fabian Johnson, Gladbach (not on bench)
  • Kick off time: 2:30 p.m. ET — Freiburg v. Gladbach