West Brom 2-1 Arsenal: Baggies fight back to stun Gunners

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  • Arteta OG wins it for WBA
  • Giroud put Gunners ahead
  • Coquelin, Arteta both injured
  • Cazorla misses late PK

West Bromwich Albion beat Arsenal 2-1 at the Hawthorns on Saturday as Tony Pulis‘ side battled back to win.

Olivier Giroud headed Arsenal into the lead but James Morrison equalized and then an own goal from Mikel Arteta sealed all three points for the home team who also saw Santi Cazorla miss a late penalty kick as he slipped when kicking the ball.

With the win the Baggies move up to 13th on 17 points, while Arsenal drop to fourth on 26 points.

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West Brom made a decent start as James McClean whipped in a dangerous cross but no Baggies attacker could get on the end of it.

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Arsenal were handed an early injury blow as Francis Coquelin had to go off injured after clattering into a challenge with Claudio Yacob. The Frenchman was clutching his right knee and was replaced by Mike Arteta. The Gunners went close to taking the lead as Alexis Sanchez’s free kick looped up and over the wall but Boaz Myhill saved well.

Giroud did give Arsenal the lead before the half hour mark as he headed home Mesut Ozil’s free kick with the German grabbing an assist for the seventh-straight PL game.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Before half time the Baggies were level as Morrison cleverly finished with the outside of his right foot to make it 1-1. The Hawthorns was bouncing. Five minutes before half time West Brom went 2-1 up as Salomon Rondon played in McClean down the left and his cross was pushed onto Arteta’s hand by Petr Cech and the ball bobbled into the goal. Own goal, as Arsenal trailed 2-1.

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In the second half Arsenal’s injury woes continued with Arteta, the sub, had to be subbed through injury with Matheiu Flamini coming on. Despite that setback Arsenal pushed hard for an equalizer as Ozil hit the post and Kieran Gibbs had an effort which was superbly blocked by Craig Dawson. Late on Arsenal continued to push with Ozil hitting the post but Chris Brunt headed across the bar as West Brom thought they had gone 3-1 up but goal-line technology said otherwise and a free kick was also given for a push in the box.

In the 83rd minute Arsenal were then handed a penalty kick as Brunt was adjudged to have knocked Sanchez to the ground in the box with Mark Clattenburg pointing to the spot. Cazorla stepped up to take the PK but slipped as he did so and the ball looped up and over the bar in a huge let-off for the Baggies.

West Brom held on to win despite late pressure from Arsenal, as Arsene Wenger‘s side missed the chance to go top of the Premier League.

Belarusian Premier League roundup: BATE Borisov pick up win, end early-season drought

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The Belarusian Premier League – the only active European top-flight league at the moment – continued on Saturday despite the coronavirus pandemic.

FC Rukh 0-1 BATE Borisov

With an early goal from midfielder Stanislav Dragun, BATE Borisov, Belarus’ most successful team (15 league titles) and a regular face in European competition, earned their first win of the season. Kirill Alshevsky, who took over at the helm prior to the season, had started his spell on a two-game losing streak.

BATE, despite not winning the possession battle decisively, generated twice as many shots on target as the visitors, registering a total of 11 shots throughout 90 minutes at Borisov Arena.

A winner of 13 straight Belarusian Premier League titles – spanning from 2006 to 2018 – pressure began looming over BATE after starting the 2020 campaign with back-to-back lackluster results. BATE, who lost to Arsenal in Europa League’s Round of 32 in April 2019, were outscored 5-2 in the first, two games of the league.

Dinamo Minsk, the second most successful Belarusian side, also picked up their first three points on Friday, following a slower-than-usual start to the season. Meanwhile, defending champion Dinamo Brest fell 2-1 to Slavia-Mozyr, dropping to eighth on the table.

Elsewhere in Belarusian Premier League 

Shakhtyor 0-0 Nerman

Dinamo Brest 1-2 Slavia-Mozyr

NWSL extends league-wide training moratorium through May

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The NWSL is extending its league-wide training moratorium another month amid the coronavirus pandemic, the league announced on Saturday.

All NWSL teams will be unable to partake in team trainings until at least May 5, extending its previous training moratorium that was set to expire on Sunday, April 5. The 2020 season – which was set to start on April 18 – is expected to start by the end of June, according to NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird.

“We’ve been just communicating with our players and we’re targeting for the end of June for our season to start,” Baird told The Equalizer. “I say that with conviction and hope, but … we’re gonna adhere to the public health guidelines that are in place at the time and I don’t think that we can predict what they are. But our strategy is in place.”

Earlier this week, Major League Soccer and United Soccer League extended their training moratorium through April 24 and April 19, respectively.

Report: England manager Gareth Southgate agrees to 30 percent pay cut

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England manager Gareth Southgate has agreed to a 30 percent pay cut amid the coronavirus pandemic, our partners at Sky Sports reported on Saturday.

[ MORE: What PL clubs are doing to help during coronavirus ] 

Southgate’s move, which is reportedly expected to be confirmed by the Football Association (FA) next week, comes hours after the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) released a statement on behalf of the Premier League players responding to proposed pay cuts.

A FA spokesperson told Sky Sports the following: “The financial implications of the coronavirus are not yet known however, as a not-for-profit organization, we want to ensure that we take the appropriate course of action to support the wider organization and our employees.

“We will make a further announcement on our next steps in due course.”

On Friday, Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe – and a handful of technical staff personnel – became the first Premier League manager to take a voluntary pay cut. Howe’s “significant, voluntary” pay cuts were done in light of the club furloughing non-playing employees throughout the organization, joining Tottenham, Norwich, Newcastle and Liverpool.

Spanish league and players still far apart on salary cuts

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MADRID (AP) The Spanish league and players are still far apart on the size of the salary cuts they need to take to help reduce the financial impact caused by the coronavirus outbreak, with the footballers saying the organization wants them to carry nearly half the total losses.

The league and the players’ association have been in talks to try to find ways to mitigate losses that could reach nearly 1 billion euros ($1.08 billion) if the season cannot be restarted because of the pandemic.

The players have said they are willing to reduce their salaries, but not as much as the league or the clubs want.

“After analyzing the current circumstances of the sector and given the distance in conversations with the players’ association, it is necessary to adopt measures in view of the serious economic crisis that COVID-19 is causing in the Spanish soccer industry,” the league said in a statement.

It also added that government furloughs are “an exceptional mechanism to avoid and mitigate the negative impact that COVID-19 is having on the sector, and thus guarantee its subsequent recovery.”

According to media reports, the league expects losses of 957 million euros ($1.03 billion) if the season is canceled, with 303 million euros ($327 million) lost if it resumes with games in empty stadiums and 156 million euros ($168 million) of deficits if it continues with fans.

The players said the total cuts in salaries requested by the league would account for 451 million euros ($487 million) if the top flight cannot restart.

The reduction in salaries being discussed reportedly varies depending on the clubs, and also on whether they are playing in the Champions League or the Europa League.

Team captains met with the players’ association late Friday to discuss their options after the league earlier in the day called for all clubs to put the footballers on government furloughs to reduce labor costs while the stoppage of play continued. The furloughs help the clubs and guarantee players their jobs once the crisis is over.

The league said it is responsible for preserving an industry that represents 1.37 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product and employs about 185,000 people.

Atlético Madrid and Barcelona were among the clubs to resort to the furloughs in recent days. Both reached an agreement with players to reduce their salaries by 70 percent, and guaranteed the wages of other employees were unaffected.

There are nearly 125,000 cases of the new coronavirus in Spain, which on Saturday surpassed Italy as the country with the second-most infections behind the United States. The death toll in the nation stands at 11,744.

The government is expected to extend lockdown measures until April 26, likely keeping the Spanish league suspended until then.

The league has said the season won’t resume until authorities deem it safe for everyone’s health. It said it will recommend a “minimum of 15 days” of practice before the games can restart, though it suggested recently the training period may begin with restrictions before the lockdown is removed.

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