Premier League Roundup: Gunners go top, United still struggling

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The Premier League’s busy holiday schedule kicked on with eight matches on Monday, with some great action coming in from all around England.

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Arsenal move to the top of the table with a win over Bournemouth, while Manchester United’s draw against Chelsea see the Red Devils now winless in eight.

Manchester United 0-0 ChelseaFULL RECAP

Manchester United put in a better performance today against Chelsea, but failed to break through as the Red Devils are now winless in eight. The goalkeepers were the best players on the pitch, as both David De Gea and Thibaut Courtois made big saves to keep the match scoreless. The draw means Chelsea are three points above the relegation zone, while Louis Van Gaal‘s future is still up in the air at United.

Arsenal 2-0 Bournemouth — FULL RECAP

The Gunners jump to the top of the table thanks to a 2-0 win over Bournemouth. The Cherries were unbeaten in six but couldn’t slow down Mesut Ozil, who scored a goal and grabbed his league-leading 16th assist in a strong performance from Arsenal. Gabriel scored his first goal for the club, as the Gunners now have a point lead over Leicester City, although the Foxes do have a game in hand.

Everton 3-4 Stoke City — FULL RECAP

In the match of the day, Stoke City edged Everton in a seven-goal thriller at Goodison Park. Xherdan Shaqiri bagged a brace for the Potters, including a ridiculous chip over Tim Howard that will surely be up for goal of the season. Everton’s Romelu Lukaku scored two goals of his own, as the big Belgian now leads the league with 15 on the year. With the match tied at three, Marko Arnautovic converted a penalty kick in stoppage time to take all three points for the Potters, who jump above Everton to ninth on the table.

Watford 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur — FULL RECAP

Son Heung-min’s late goal gave all three points to Tottenham, who move up to third on the table after beating Watford in a hard-fought match. Erik Lamela gave Spurs the lead early, but Odion Ighalo drew Watford level, scoring in his sixth straight match for the Hornets. However, Watford was put in a hole as Nathan Ake was sent off in the second half, forcing Quique Flores‘ men to battle with ten men for the final half hour, with Son scoring the winner in the 89th minute.

West Ham United 2-1 Southampton — FULL RECAP

West Ham got their first win in nine matches after battling back to beat Southampton 2-1 at Upton Park. Dusan Tadic had given Saints a first-half lead, but goals after the break from Michail Antonio and Andy Carroll gave the Hammers all three points, moving back up to seventh on the table. Southampton failed to build on their big win over Arsenal, with Saints now sitting 12th.

Crystal Palace 0-0 Swansea City — FULL RECAP

A draw against Crystal Palace sees Swansea City now two points above the drop zone, although Palace will be disappointed they didn’t find a win. Wilfried Zaha and Patrick Bamford both missed good chances to put Palace ahead, while Swansea failed to find any great pressure until late in the match.

West Bromwich Albion 1-0 Newcastle United — FULL RECAP

Darren Fletcher‘s late header gave West Brom all three points, as Newcastle remains in the bottom three after being held scoreless at The Hawthorns. Both teams hit the crossbar as the match look destined for a draw, before the Baggies captain connected off a corner kick with just over ten minutes to play as West Brom held on for the win.

Norwich City 2-0 Aston Villa — FULL RECAP

Aston Villa remain glued to the bottom of the table after another loss, their 13th in 19 matches. With just eight points on the season, Remi Garde’s side will need one of the biggest miracles in Premier League history to avoid relegation. For Norwich City, the Canaries took care of business in a must-win match that sees the club jump to 15th on the table, three points clear of the drop.

El Tri winger Jurgen Damm headed for MLS this summer

Jurgen Damm
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This season’s Liga MX invasion of MLS continues with Jurgen Damm announcing that he’ll leave UANL Tigres this summer after five years with the club.

TUDN has the destination as Atlanta, though previous reports have linked Damm to the LA Galaxy is the spot.

And MLSSoccer.com scribe Tom Bogert says the Houston Dynamo have his “discovery rights” (which remains the worst concept in the entire league).

Reports emerged over the past 48 hours that the El Tri man was headed for an MLS club.

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The 12-times capped winger has one goal for Mexico, but has not been capped since Oct. 2018. He has spent his entire career in Liga MX.

Damm spent the early part of his career with Tecos and Pachuca, but has been with UANL Tigres since 2015.

He won four league titles with UANL, as well as the 2018 Campeones Cup.

Ex-Arsenal man Gnabry: “London’s still red” after Bayern beats Chelsea

Serge Gnabry
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Ex-Arsenal man Serge Gnabry still has love for the club.

Gnabry tweeted that “London is still red” after he scored twice for Bayern Munich in a 3-0 beating of Chelsea on Tuesday in the first leg of a UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie.

This after scoring four times against Spurs in a previous Champions League group stage match and Tweeting that “North London is Red.”

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So what’s with the London form?

“I’ve got a lot of friends here,” Gnabry said after the game. “A lot of them were in the stands tonight, and it seems they give me a lot of good power.”

Gnabry only scored once during his time in England with Arsenal and West Brom but is a bona fide star in the Bundesliga.

With a three-goal advantage over Chelsea heading to Munich for a second leg, however, he’s not got his head in the clouds.

“Three goals ahead gives us a little bit of confidence, but we need to be prepared for the second leg. We can’t take it not seriously enough. … We’ve seen it last year with Liverpool beating Barcelona, so we have to be careful. We have to go into the second leg with all of our focus.”

Gnabry now has 51 goals and 29 assists in four seasons since returning to Germany from Arsenal. Not terrible production for a player the Gunners offloaded to Werder Bremen for under $6 million in 2016.

What color will London be when Chelsea buys him next year? We kid, we kid…

Champions League preview: Real Madrid renews rivalry with Pep; Lyon hosts Juve

UEFA Champions League preview
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The final two ties of the UEFA Champions League’s Round of 16 begin Wednesday when Manchester City and Juventus head to Spain and France.

The focus for many will be on the former, as City continues to weather UEFA drama while its manager prepares for his fiercest foe as a player and manager.

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Pep Guardiola has managed against Real Madrid 17 times and boasts a 9-4-4 record between Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

The Catalan wizard has lost his last three versus Real, two with Bayern and once in his final El Clasico as Barca boss.

Even as Guardiola stresses preparation and plan, he knows there will be bounces and that both teams will have to cope with them.

“We have to be strong, have quality and need to have luck,” he said, via The Manchester Evening News. “At this stage, it’s important but we cannot control that. We can control what we can control and we will see. This competition, last season, against Liverpool, there are decisions. You have to overcome. You need incredible concentration in our game and game plan plus try to be a little lucky.”

Real Madrid living legend Sergio Ramos has earned the ire of Guardiola on plenty of occasions, one of the few things Liverpool and City fans have in common.

Ramos wouldn’t get drawn into rivalry talk, sying the stage somewhat negates the opponent.

“I have a lot of respect for him,” Ramos said via the club’s web site. “I think he’s a fantastic coach, with loads of experience, and his numbers speak for themselves. We’re motivated by the Champions League, regardless of the players or coaches who may have been rivals in the past. We’re up for the Champions League and our next task is to beat City. From a personal point of view, I’m just focused on making the next round.”

[ MORE: Key battles for Real-Man City ]

Wednesday’s other match sees a club long linked with Guardiola, as Juventus will play the role of heavy favorites against Lyon.

Maurizio Sarri‘s side is to bidding to win what’s eluded all Juve bosses since Marcello Lippi beat Ajax in 1996. If they succeed, it will be by going down a different path than it’s traveled in recent years.

Here’s Leonardo Bonucci, via Football-Italia:

“What the coach asks of us now is basically the opposite of what the previous coach did,” Bonucci mused. “It was usually individual against individual, now it’s more about organized team movements. Obviously, you need to train consistently to get that down and playing every three days makes it difficult. But we started this journey well aware of the positives it could bring and the difficulties of getting there.”

Lyon has been maddeningly inconsistent this season, sitting seventh in the Ligue 1 table, but has the tools to surprise if Juve doesn’t bring its best. That starts in France on Wednesday.

Lampard: Chelsea first leg loss ‘quite sobering,’ ‘harsh lesson’

Frank Lampard
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Chelsea manager Frank Lampard isn’t sugarcoating his side’s 3-0 first-leg loss to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 on Tuesday.

“Sometimes you have to be brutally honest about it,” he said in televised remarks after the loss. “It’s quite sobering.”

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Lampard admitted that Bayern was firing on all cylinders at Stamford Bridge, and proffered tepid support for the idea of an unlikely comeback in Germany next month.

“The level of team they showed that they are, hence why they challenge in the Bundesliga and the Champions League,” he said, via Football.London. “I’m disappointed we couldn’t do better against them. It’s a reality check. Don’t look at anyone else apart from yourself.”

“We should never say the door is closed because our fans would never accept that. I’m more concerned with the bigger picture here. There’s a lot to be done.”

Sure is.

Chelsea leads fifth-place Manchester United by three points in the top four race and has a four-point edge on sixth-place Spurs in the scenario that fifth is enough for Champions League football.

That’s important because the UCL path back to the tournament looks like a massive ask. And Lampard said the players need to use Tuesday’s blowout loss at home “as a positive effect” moving forward.

But he also put it pretty plainly during his post-match comments.

“It was a harsh lesson,” Lampard said. “This is Champions League football.”