West Brom 3-1 Arsenal: More misery for Wenger

Leave a comment
  • Dawson scores two headers
  • 4 defeats in last 5 PL games for Arsenal
  • WBA equal 2015-16 points tally
  • Cech forced off with injury

West Bromwich Albion beat Arsenal 3-1 at the Hawthorns on Saturday as the Baggies piled more pressure on Arsene Wenger.

[ MORE: Plane carries Wenger banners ]

Craig Dawson headed home the opener but Arsenal equalized soon after through talisman Alexis Sanchez and it remained that way until the second half. Then Hal Robson-Kanu came on and scored a controversial goal to make it 2-1 and Dawson headed home another set piece late on to put the result beyond doubt.

With the win West Brom have 43 points, the same number they had for the whole of last season. With their seventh defeat of the PL season Arsenal lose ground in the top four battle and remain on 50 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

A lively start at the Hawthorns saw two quick-fire goals.

First, it was the hosts who went ahead as Nacer Chadli‘s corner from the left was flicked home by Dawson as he was completely unmarked after losing Aaron Ramsey to head home. 1-0 to the Baggies as Wenger looked on with a face like thunder.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings

Moments later Wenger was punching the air with delight as Granit Xhaka clipped a delightful ball to the back post where an unmarked Sanchez chested down, cut inside and finished calmly to make it 1-1.

Just three minutes between the goals as West Brom continued to threaten from set pieces and the Gunners had the majority of possession but couldn’t break down a stubborn Baggies backline.

Aaron Ramsey tested Ben Foster who produced a fine save and at the other end Darren Fletcher was denied by Petr Cech superbly but Arsenal’s goalkeeper hobbled off injured just before half time.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Rondon headed just wide earlier in the second half and he was hauled off moments later as Robson-Kanu came on. That substitution turned out to bee a masterstroke from Pulis as Ospina flapped at a ball over the top from Chadli and Robson-Kanu poked home to make it 2-1.

Despite protests over James McClean being in an offside position, both initially and then as the ball rolled towards the goal, the Republic of Ireland international didn’t touch the ball and wasn’t interfering with play.

Wenger was furious with that decision and Arsenal came agonizingly close to making it 2-2 as Danny Welbeck‘s header smashed off the crossbar.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score

The Gunners were left more and more exposed at the back and Robson-Kanu raced clear. Ospina again hesitated and Chadli rounded the goalkeeper but his shot was cleared off the line.

With 15 minutes to go the Baggies made it 3-1 as a Chris Brunt corner was headed home by Dawson.

Wenger and his team will now have two weeks to think about this result over the international break. Maybe that will make his decision about his future easier.

Inter-Ludogorets to be played in empty stadium due to coronavirus

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MILAN (AP) Inter Milan announced on Monday that its Europa League match against Ludogorets will be played behind closed doors as authorities try to contain a spreading virus that has made northern Italy the focal point of the outbreak in Europe.

The Italian government is moving toward having other soccer matches played without fans in attendance in affected areas but Thursday’s match was the first to be confirmed as going ahead in an empty stadium.

“Inter announces that, in accordance with the requirements of the health authorities in the Region of Lombardy and the Municipality of Milan and with the agreement of UEFA, the second-leg clash between Inter and Ludogorets at the round of 32 stage of the Europa League will take place at 21:00 CET on Thursday 27 February behind closed doors at San Siro,” Inter said in a statement on Monday evening.

[ MORE: Europa League schedule

The decision was widely expected and Ludogorets had announced shortly before that Inter had sent it a letter stating that the city’s health authorities have allowed the match to go ahead behind closed doors.

Ludogorets added that UEFA has said it is monitoring the situation and will react immediately if anything changes.

Inter leads 2-0 from the first leg of the round of 32 clash.

Civil protection officials said at least 229 people have tested positive for the virus in Italy. State television on Monday night reported the seventh death of an infected person – that of a 62-year-old man who already had serious health problems. The other six victims, also with pre-existing medical conditions, were elderly.

The majority of those known to be infected with COVID-19 hail from two main clusters – some 10 towns in Lombardy and another area in the neighboring region of Veneto. Italy has the highest number of cases outside Asia.

Four Serie A match scheduled for last Sunday were postponed, including Inter’s home match against Sampdoria.

Inter’s key match at Juventus next Sunday will likely also be played behind closed doors, as well as several other matches in northern Italy.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Man United release latest financial results

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Man United have released their latest financial results and revenue has fallen by 20 percent year-on-year, while net debt has also risen.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

What is clear from the results is that not being in the UEFA Champions League has hit United hard but they continue to make money with commercial revenue on the up seven percent.

Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward revealed the latest results as Man United’s financial might is clear for all to see even.

“We have continued to make progress on our squad rebuild … the foundation for delivering the long-term success that we are all working towards is in place as we implement our plan and our footballing vision with Ole,” Woodward told investors. “We are pushing for a strong finish in the Premier League, the Europa League and the FA Cup as we enter the final third of the season.”

Man United are currently in fifth place in the Premier League table ahead of a pivotal run of games which will decide if they will once again dine at Europe’s top table under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. On the pitch they’ve beaten Chelsea and Watford in the last week without conceding and things are coming together nicely with new signings Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, Daniel James and Bruno Fernandes making a big difference. 

Man United face Everton, Man City, Tottenham and Sheffield United in their next four PL games and that will be crucial in deciding if they’re going to reach the Champions League next season. Given Man City’s European ban and the potential for a UCL spot to move down to fifth-place, Man United are exactly where Solskjaer hoped they would be right now.

Below we have a look at the main takeaways form the financial results, which are always a huge talking point among United fans all over the world.

Main talking points from Man United’s Q2 results:

  • Revenues of $218.3 million, down 20 percent year-on-year
  • Operating profit of $47.3 million
  • Commercial revenue up 7 percent
  • Broadcast revenue down 37 percent due to no UEFA Champions League qualification
  • Matchday revenue down 15 percent due to fewer home games
  • Player wages down 9 percent
  • Net debt is $506.9 million, up $94.6 million, 23 percent

USMNT’s Arriola likely will miss MLS season, six World Cup qualifiers

Paul Arriola
AP Photo/LM Otero
Leave a comment

WASHINGTON (AP) D.C. United midfielder Paul Arriola had major knee surgery Monday and likely will miss the entire Major League Soccer season and the United States’ first six qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup

The operation was to reconstruct his right anterior cruciate ligament. The team said there was no additional cartilage damage.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

The 25-year-old midfielder injured his knee Feb. 15 during D.C. United’s preseason match against Orlando in Tampa, Florida.

Arriola has been a regular starter for the U.S. national team under coach Gregg Berhalter. Arriola has five goals in 33 international appearances.

After failing to reach the 2018 World Cup, the U.S. starts qualifying for the 2022 tournament this year. The Americans have two matches each in September, October and November, then complete qualifying with two games apiece in March and September 2021.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

State of play in CONCACAF Champions League

CONCACAF Champions League
AP Photo/Carlos Gonzalez
Leave a comment

Four of five Major League Soccer clubs alive in the CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16 are in fine shape to reach the quarterfinals after one leg.

The fifth has a tall hill to climb.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

LAFC trails Club Leon by two and did not collect an away goal in Mexico during first leg play last week.

“It’s 2-0, but we’re going to work hard,” said LAFC attacker Latif Blessing. “We’re going to prepare ourselves to win the next game. … We did good, but we want to win. It couldn’t happen that way but we’re going to prepare next game to win this game. We need to win.”

The second leg in L.A. is one of the last two matches of the round, kicking off at 10 p.m. ET Thursday just as Seattle Sounders square off with Olimpia.

The Honduran side managed a controversial comeback in the 2-2 draw with Jordan Morris-fueled Seattle last week, but the Sounders will be happy to have those two away goals and home field.

Montreal Impact has the same situation for Deportivo Saprissa’s visit at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday, while Atlanta United scored an away goal in a draw with Motagua and hosts the visitors from Honduras’ capital at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday.

That leaves us with NYCFC, who got a Heber hat trick amongst five away goals at Costa Rican side San Carlos in a 5-3 win. The second leg begins at 6 p.m. ET Wednesday at Red Bull Arena (yes, you read that correctly).

Elsewhere, Liga MX sides don’t have it much better. Cruz Azul leads Portmore 2-1 heading back to Mexico, while Club America scored an away goal in a draw with Comunicaciones.

Finally, Tigres UANL trails 2-1 after one leg with Alianza in El Salvador.

CCL second leg schedule
all times ET

Atlanta United v. Motagua (1-1) — 8 p.m. Tuesday
Cruz Azul v. Portmore United (2-1) — 10 p.m. Tuesday
NYCFC v. San Carlos (5-3) — 6 p.m. Wednesday
Montreal Impact v. Deportivo Saprissa (2-2) — 8 p.m. Wednesday
Tigres UANL v. Alianza (1-2) — 8 p.m. Wednesday
Club America v. Comunicaciones (1-1) — 10 p.m. Wednesday
Seattle Sounders v. Olimpia (2-2) — 10 p.m. Thursday
LAFC v Leon (0-2) — 10 p.m. Thursday