Premier League Roundup: Arsenal goes top outright, both Manchester sides win

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Saturday’s Premier League action proved the surprises of early season aren’t going away just because the calendar has moved to 2016.

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West Ham, Norwich and West Brom each scored surprising wins, while Bournemouth held Leicester and Newcastle almost tripped up Arsenal.

Oh, and surprise! Manchester United scored two goals.

All that and more inside the roundup:

Watford 1-2 Manchester City — RECAP

Ben Watson‘s first Premier League goal since the 2012-13 season came when his corner kick spun off Aleksandr Kolarov’s head and beyond Joe Hart. But Big Yaya Toure used his left leg to pop Kolarov’s corner past Heurelho Gomes in the 83rd minute to level things up at Vicarage Road. Sergio Aguero scored his eight of the season moments later to put City ahead.

Manchester United 2-1 Swansea City — RECAP

Anthony Martial scored a headed goal and then played the cross that Wayne Rooney calmly back heeled past Lukasz Fabianski (who nearly found an equalizer in stoppage time). Gylfi Sigurdsson scored a class goal for Swans, who nevertheless stay on the verge of the drop zone.

Arsenal 1-0 Newcastle United — RECAP

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 02: Arsene Wenger Manager of Arsenal controls the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium on January 2, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The Magpies walked into the Emirates and arguably had better quality chances than the hosts, but Arsene Wenger‘s side scrapped its way to a win when Olivier Giroud won a 50-50 ball that Laurent Koscielny scored in front of a napping Ayoze Perez. Gunners are top, and Newcastle remains in 18th.

Sunderland 3-1 Aston Villa — RECAP

Jermain Defoe‘s brace helped Sunderland overcome a scintillating goal from Carles Gil, and Patrick Van Aanholt also scored as the Black Cats moved to within four points of safety. Villa is now 11 points back of 17th.

Norwich City 1-0 Southampton — RECAP

The Canaries crept further up the table while putting Saints on the verge of a relegation scrap. Victor Wanyama was shown the red card for Saints, and Alex Tettey scored the late decisive goal.

West Bromwich Albion 2-1 Stoke City — RECAP

USMNT veteran Geoff Cameron saw red from his defensive midfielder position on a pretty rash decision, and Jonny Evans scored a late goal to lift Tony Pulis‘ side to a surprise home win over Stoke. Stephane Sessegnon scored the other Baggies’ goal, while Jonathan Walters netted for Stoke.

West Ham United 2-0 Liverpool — RECAP

A pair of crosses from Enner Valencia and Mark Noble turned into goals from Mikhail Antonio and Andy Carroll, and Slaven Bilic‘s Hammers looked good even before Dimitri Payet subbed into the game after a surprising return to full fitness.

Leicester City 0-0 Bournemouth — RECAP

Finally getting a break from Premier League regulars, Leicester bungled a chance to pick up three points against newly-promoted Bournemouth. The biggest offense was Riyad Mahrez missing a penalty chance, admittedly well-saved by Artur Boruc.

Goalkeeper goal seals knockout stage spot in UEFA Youth League

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Club Brugge goalkeeper Senne Lammens may just be 17 years old, but he just lived every goalkeeper’s dream: to score a dramatic equalizer in the dying seconds of a game to send the club through to a European competition’s knockout stage.

The young goalkeeper came forward on a corner in the 94th minute of a game against Real Madrid in the UEFA Youth League Wednesday morning in Belgium. With the visitors leading 2-1 and added time just about expired, Brugge needed to score an equalizer to secure passage to the knockout stage, lest they be left at the mercy of Galatasaray’s match against PSG.

Lammens delivered. The corner swung in to the top of the six-yard box and the youngster was on hand to head home a pinpoint effort inside the far post.

The header was quite literally the last act of the game, with stoppage time already creeping more than 60 seconds past the minimum three added minutes.

Lammens has shuttled back and forth between the youth squad and the senior squad this season serving occasionally as an emergency third goalkeeper behind Simon Mignolet and Ethan Horvath. Mostly, though, he’s been with the youth squad appearing in five of their six UEFA Youth League games, with three wins and a draw.

Report: Arsenal not interested in Ancelotti “profile”

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According to The Athletic reporter David Ornstein, Arsenal is not interested in a manager of Carlo Ancelotti’s “profile.”

The Italian was recently let go by Napoli after a disappointing first half of the season despite qualifying for the Champions League knockout stage.

Ancelotti has won a Premier League title, three Champions League titles, and a Scudetto during his career but apparently a manager with his resume does not interest the Gunners, who may be looking for a more youthful boss with a longer-term strategy and potentially stronger club or domestic ties.

At 60 years old, Ancelotti has been fired from posts at Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and now Napoli over the last four years. Over those four seasons, he has just one league title, the 2016/17 Bundesliga crown he won with Bayern in runaway fashion, and has exceeded expectations in very limited capacities, instead seeing things turn sour at each job relatively quickly. This season at Napoli, the club sits seventh in the Serie A table, mired in a horrible seven-match winless run that has seen them tumble further from the Champions League places.

Ornstein’s report also touched on the timeline of a potential hire, with the club apparently still deciding on whether to see out the season with interim manager Freddie Ljungberg or make a mid-season appointment. He states that the club “want situation settled asap” but also prefer “right man over quick decision.” He does not identify who the number one target is, but suggests that if that person is available at this point in time, they will make the hire mid-season, otherwise there will be a waiting game.

Jorge Sampaoli resigns as Santos boss

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Brazilian club Santos confirmed Tuesday evening that manager Jorge Sampaoli has resigned as boss.

Sampaoli, who won the 2015 Copa America in charge of Chile but could not recreate that success with the Argentinian national team, signed on with Santos a year ago and guided them to a second-place finish in the Brazilian top flight, 16 points behind runaway champions Flamengo. His contract had another year, expiring in the winter of 2020, but with reports of offers from multiple clubs, he has stepped down.

The most widely reported destination is fellow Brazilian club Palmeiras, whom many believe Sampaoli has already entered talks with. He has also been linked with Argentinian club Racing, and his name has cropped up on occasion with the Arsenal vacancy, although that seems like a longshot. It was said in late October that Sampaoli had an offer from an unnamed La Liga club, but those rumors have cooled.

His reason for leaving Santos after just one successful season in charge is unconfirmed, but rumors are circulating that Sampaoli had incredibly ambitious transfer plans for the offseason, and when club president Jose Carlos Peres could not guarantee his support, the relationship became strained.

The 2019 season was mostly successful for Sampaoli at Santos, finishing second in the league table, but the secondary competitions were somewhat disappointing. They received a tough first-round draw in the Copa Sudamericana, falling to River Plate on away goals. They were also ousted from the Copa do Brasil in the Round of 16, falling 2-1 to an Atletico Minero side that finished 13th in the league table.

Tierney out months as Arsenal injuries pile up

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According to multiple reports, including Mark Mann-Bryans of PA Sport and Charles Watts of, Arsenal full-back Kieran Tierney could be out up to three months after dislocating his shoulder in the 3-1 win over West Ham on Monday.

Tierney was withdrawn in the 29th minute after an awkward fall, using the bottom of his shirt as a makeshift sling. The club is still deciding on whether he will require surgery, according to Mann-Bryans, and that decision will ultimately determine the length of time he will miss. Still, even without surgery, it could leave him sidelined for a month or more.

The 22-year-old has struggled with injuries since joining the Gunners this past summer, missing the first seven games of the year with a hip injury. He has seen action in just five Premier League games thus far, and again could be sidelined for a significant spell. He could also end up missing Scotland’s critical playoff match against Israel in late March depending on his recovery timeline and fitness level.

Tierney’s injury is not the only one Arsenal is currently sweating. Granit Xhaka will miss the Europa League group stage finale against Standard Liege with a concussion, while Hector Bellerin is struggling with a hamstring problem. “Hector had a feeling in his hamstring during the warm-up [before West Ham] and we took the decision,” said interim manager Freddie Ljungberg after the win over the Hammers. “Not going to force anyone to play if they don’t feel 100%.”

Dani Ceballos is still sidelined with a hamstring injury suffered against Vitoria in October Europa League play and won’t return to training until later this month, while Rob Holding is a question mark this week after missing the West Ham game thanks to a bruised knee.

Arsenal, currently sitting ninth in the Premier League table and is scheduled to host Manchester City this coming Sunday following the trip to Belgium. They have upcoming games against Everton, Bournemouth, Chelsea, and Manchester United through the festive period.