Arsenal 2-1 Man City: Gunners make huge statement in title race

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The 2015-16 Premier League title race will likely not be decided until late May. With Leicester City currently leading the way, and perennial top-four finishers Arsenal and Manchester City not far behind, Monday’s showdown, between the latter two, at the Emirates Stadium was chock full of title implications.

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It was Arsenal who came out on top, 2-1 at the final whistle, thanks to goals scored by Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud, and an extremely disciplined defensive effort that frustrated Man City’s prolific attacking unit for much of the game.

The game’s first real chance came and went in the 31st minute, when City unlocked the Gunners’ deep-lying midfield and defense with a quick move down the right flank. Kevin De Bruyne ended up in acres of space and racing in on goal, but the Belgian playmaker fired his bouncing effort inches wide of the far post.

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Theo Walcott opened the scoring for Arsenal barely a minute later. He received the ball from Mesut Ozil on the left edge of the City penalty area, cut inside past Bacary Sagna and rifled a low, right-footed drive through a sea of defenders and around Joe Hart, nestling itself inside the far post. It was Arsenal’s first shot of the game.

The Gunners doubled their lead during first-half stoppage time, when Olivier Giroud slotted a low screamer between the legs of Hart. The entire thing began with a wayward pass from Eliaquim Mangala into no-man’s-land midfield. The ball was quickly circulated to Ozil 25 yards from goal, where he played Giroud onto his favored left foot and the Frenchman made no mistake with his finish. With two assists in the first half, Ozil’s tally for the season rose to 15 in league play (tops in all major European leagues).

With 53 minutes on the clock, Joel Campbell nearly gave Arsenal a 3-0 lead, but the Costa Rican blazed his shot well over the crossbar after getting on the end of Nacho Monreal‘s cut-back cross toward the penalty spot. Campbell had another chance two minutes later, when he raced in one-on-one against Hart, but the England no. 1 made a clever quick save to keep the deficit at 2-0.

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The one-way traffic continued as yet another chance for 3-0 came and went in the 60th minute. Ozil played the ball to Campbell at the top of the penalty area, and Campbell slipped Aaron Ramsey into the penalty area with a one-touch ball but again it was Hart rushing out quickly and making the one-on-one save.

Yaya Toure gave the visitors a lifeline in the 82nd minute (above video). The Ivorian midfielder lofted a perfectly weighted, left-footed shot into the upper-90 from the top of the 18-yard box. Sagna cut the ball back to Toure, whose first-time strike left Petr Cech with no chance of intervening.

For the next 10-plus minutes, City threw numbers forward, pressed much higher up the field and chased an equalizer with everything they had. In the end, Arsenal held firm and escaped with a much-deserved victory.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

With the victory, Arsenal move to within two points of Leicester at the top of the table, while City remain in third, six points back of the Foxes. Up next for Arsenal is a Boxing Day trip to Southampton. Meanwhile, City will host Sunderland at the Etihad Stadium.

LIVE, Europa League: Group stage finale arrives

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The group stage finale of the 2019-20 UEFA Europa League campaign is here.

Everything is set up for an epic Thursday of action.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores  ]

Arsenal need a point away at Standard Liege to reach the Round of 32, while Wolves and Man United are already safely through to the knockout rounds.

Wolves must win to stand a chance of winning Group K, while a point for Man United will be enough for them to win Group L.

Plenty of intrigue remains around Glasgow Rangers as any team from Group G can still reach the knockout round going into the final 90 minutes of action. If Steven Gerrard‘s men beat Young Boys at Ibrox then they will definitely be through as group winners.

Groups B, C and J are all so tough to call heading into the final games with giants such as Roma, Basel and Dynamo Kiev all in danger of being knocked out.

Below is the schedule in full for Thursday’s games, while you can click on the link above to follow all the action as it happens.

Full Europa League schedule

12:55 p.m. ET
Eintracht Frankfurt v. Vitoria
CFR Cluj v. Celtic
LASK v. Sporting Lisbon
Copenhagen v. Malmo
PSV Eindhoven v. Rosenborg
Qarabag v. Dudelange
Standard Liege v. Arsenal
Basel v. Trabzonspor
Dynamo Kiev v. Lugano
APOEL Nicosia v. Sevilla
Rennes v. Lazio
Getafe v. Krasnodar

3 p.m. ET
Rangers v. Young Boys
Wolves v. Besiktas
Espanyol v. CSKA Moscow
Gent v. Oleksandriya
Borussia Monchengladbach v. Istanbul Basaksehir
Porto v. Feyenoord
Ludogorets Razgrad v. Ferencvaros
Slovan Bratislava v. Braga
Roma v. Wolfsberg
Manchester United v. AZ Alkmaar
Wolfsburg v. Saint-Etienne
Partizan Belgrade v. Astana

Michael Bradley re-signs with Toronto FC

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Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley has re-signed with the Major League Soccer franchise.

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Bradley, 32, saw his previous contract run out at the end of the 2019 season but he has now agreed a new deal with the Canadian side and Toronto have squeezed him into their salary cap by using Targeted Allocation Money (TAM).

During his six season stint so far in Toronto, Bradley has led the team to three MLS Cup finals as TFC stunned MLS with a run to the final against Seattle in 2019. They lost on that occasion but beat Seattle in 2017 and Bradley’s displays, along with that of Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore and now Alejandro Pozuelo have seen Toronto become one of the most consistent teams in MLS.

Explaining his reasons for signing a new deal in Toronto, Bradley revealed that he wants to take them onto bigger and better things.

“I feel so attached to the city of Toronto, the club, the team. I love it here and I am really proud of what we’ve been able to do over the past six years,” Bradley said. “Beyond the success, I am equally as proud of the mentality and identity this club has taken on. The relationship between the club and the city, the club and the fans are both very special and I’m proud to have played a part in that. What we have in Toronto doesn’t exist everywhere. My family and I are so happy to remain in Toronto and we’d like to thank everyone at Toronto FC for ensuring that this process was done quietly and professionally behind the scenes. I’m looking forward to continuing to play in the biggest games and competing for trophies every year.”

Bradley still has plenty left in the tank, as last season showed, and despite rumors that he would link up with his father, Bob Bradley, at LAFC, he is staying in Ontario.

That’s great news for Toronto FC as despite plenty of criticism from USMNT fans over recent years, Bradley has continued to deliver consistency and leadership at BMO Field.

Premier League player Power Rankings

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Our latest Premier League player Power Rankings have landed.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

Matchweek 16 followed a similar pattern to recent weeks as players from Liverpool, Leicester City, Spurs and Man United dominated our top 20 with so many games played over the last seven days.

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League. If they didn’t play in the last matchweek, they aren’t getting in this list!

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]  

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.

1.  Jamie Vardy (Leicester) – Even
2. Heung-Min Son (Tottenham) – Up 7
3. Marcus Rashford (Man United) – New entry
4. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – New entry
5. Harry Kane (Tottenham) – Up 6
6. Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle) – New entry
7. Jonny Evans (Leicester) – New entry
8. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) – Down 4
9. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton) – New entry
10. Danny Ings (Southampton) – New entry
11. Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Man United) – New entry
12. Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool) – Down 2
13. Caglar Soyuncu (Leicester) – Even
14. Dele Alli (Tottenham) – Down 11
15. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) – Down 10
16. Raul Jimenez (Wolves) – Down 3
17. Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) – Down 1
18. Anthony Martial (Man United) – New entry
19. Diogo Jota (Wolves) – New entry
20. Nicolas Pepe (Arsenal) – New entry

Christian Pulisic named USMNT Player of the Year

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Who else could it be? Christian Pulisic has been named the USMNT player of the year for 2019.

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The Chelsea star, 21, excelled for club and country over the past 12 months and after taking a few months to settle into life in England, he’s now taking the Premier League by storm on a weekly basis.

Pulisic has now won this award for a second time after first winning it in 2017 and he becomes the youngest player in U.S. men’s national team history to win the award twice.

His achievements over the last 12 months are numerous, as he dragged a struggling USMNT to the 2019 Gold Cup final and also became the youngest player to reach double figures in goals for the USMNT.