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Arsenal 2-2 Manchester City: Gunners come back twice

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At times the defense was cringe-worthy. At times possession was painful. There were more than few bad giveaways. Both teams had moments of brilliance, but both teams also had moments of disaster.

All told, it ended even as Arsenal twice fought back to level the score as the points were shared at the Emirates with a 2-2 draw. Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero each gave Manchester City a one-goal lead, but both times they were pegged back as Theo Walcott and Shkodran Mustafi got goals for the Gunners.

The opening strike by City came less than five minutes into the match and it was embarrassingly easy for the visitors. After a Danny Welbeck attempt went wide, City countered immediately. A ball through the middle of the field gashed the Arsenal midfield and defense all at once, and Leroy Sane rounded David Ospina and passed the ball into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.

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City continued to pepper the home side. David Silva hit the post in the 10th minute, and his second effort on the rebound was saved by Ospina from a tight angle. It appeared the visitors would truly dominate at least the first half, but that didn’t exactly occur. City began to sputter, failing to connect forward after their hot start. Arsenal looked to build large spells of possession, and they worked hard to equalize five minutes before the break.

On an Arsenal short corner, the eventual cross wasn’t cleared far enough, and Shkodran Mustafi headed it back to Theo Walcott who skipped by a defender and poked home to level things at 1-1.

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But it wouldn’t last long. City responded immediately, with Kevin De Bruyne hitting the post, and then they took a chance and went right back in front. David Silva fed Sergio Aguero on the right-hand edge of the six-yard box, and he finished from a very tight angle past David Ospina and two sliding defenders.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Arsene Wenger was forced into a halftime change as Laurent Koscielny came off due to an Achillies problem, replaced by Gabriel. City came close to going two-up straight out of the break as Aguero headed wide, and Arsenal made them pay for missing. Again off a corner, Mustafi rose high above the trees and delivered a massive header to again draw the Gunners level.

Fernandinho forced a big save from David Ospina minutes later, rifling a bouncing ball low towards the bottom-left corner that Ospina parried away. Ospina was down to receive treatment for a hip injury but would continue. He was needed again in the 65th minute on an Aguero header which he lept high to catch.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Both teams cautiously looked for the win, and Alex Iwobi ripped a howitzer on the 88th minute that fizzled just over. Manchester City screamed for a penalty in stoppage time for a handball on Nacho Monreal, but there was little in the shout.

With the sides level at the final whistle, Arsenal stays in sixth place, two points back of Manchester United and still seven back of Manchester City in fourth. The visitors will be disappointed not to get all three points, as they stay in fourth, failing to take the chance to jump Liverpool.

Red-hot Rebić scores again as AC Milan tops Torino

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MILAN (AP) Ante Rebić kept up his scoring form to lead AC Milan to a 1-0 win over struggling Torino in Serie A on Monday.

The Croatia international beat his marker to redirect a cross from the center of the area midway through the first half at the San Siro.

The score raised Rebić’s tally to six goals and an assist in eight matches since he earned his starting spot – a move that coincided with Zlatan Ibrahimović’s return to the Rossoneri.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Bouncing back from a derby loss, Milan moved up to eighth and just beyond the Europa League places. The seven-time European champion is hoping to return to continental competition after voluntary withdrawing from this season’s Europa League to pay for UEFA financial fair play breaches.

Torino, meanwhile, lost its fifth straight, with new coach Moreno Longo still unable to turn things around in his second match in charge.

Ibrahimović narrowly missed a curling shot shortly after the break.

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

Simeone: Liverpool intensity “makes me admire it as a rival”

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The UEFA Champions League returns at long last on Tuesday, and two of the greatest managers in the game will match wits for the first time.

No we’re not talking about Lucien Favre and Thomas Tuchel, the meeting of the minds in Tuesday’s other kickoff between Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain in Germany.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp will go head-to-head with Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone in Spain, and the fiery German thinks it will be “absolutely interesting.”

From The Liverpool Echo:

“People say I emotional on the sideline,” Klopp said. “I am only on level 4, Diego is level 12. Really I am the kindergarten cop against him. He is so impressive after all these years, after so many years at the club – eight years. That is really long and having still this emotional level, still, wow. So impressive. I say, his teams are always organized world class.”

The admiration is mutual.

Simeone expects a huge challenge from a Liverpool team he regards on a historic plane.

“We are facing a magnificent team, really well-trained by a coach who is different and has different alternatives in his team,” he said, via The Independent. “We have always spoken about great teams throughout time and I have no doubt this Liverpool is going to go down in history as a great team because it is different to teams that we have admired. This team is much more intense, more adaptable, and it makes me admire it as a rival.”

The bettors say Liverpool is the heavy favorite in the first leg despite the match’s location at the Wanda Metropolitano. With football geniuses like Klopp and Simeone, however, either could have a plan to throw the other for a loop.

CONCACAF Champions League preview: Five MLS sides eye history

CONCACAF Champions League preview
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Once the Premier League and La Liga had taken their final bows of the day on Saturday, there felt was a particular absence, one soon-to-be filled by domestic soccer.

Yes, MLS is coming soon, and the CONCACAF Champions League is even closer.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Five MLS sides begin their Round of 16 ties over the next three evenings, some with easier paths than others to elusive CCL glory.

The competition may not have burned itself onto the mainstream, lagging behind continental competitions in Europe and South America, but those who’ve embraced it (hint: this guy) love the thing.

For all the progress Major League Soccer has made in its quarter-century, it’s yet to find much success in dealing with Liga MX powers in the fight to qualify for the Club World Cup.

MLS sides have not won the competition since it was rebranded the CCL. Only three MLS sides have made the CCL final this decade, with Real Salt Lake (2011), Montreal Impact (2015), and Toronto FC (2017) all coming up short at the last step.

The CCL provides everything you love and hate about World Cup qualifying, and those dicey pitches with sometimes worse lighting mean the favorites aren’t guaranteed much.

The top half of the bracket sees three MLS teams — Montreal, Seattle, and NYCFC — and just one Liga MX side, while the bottom half gives us a Liga MX v. MLS match-up straight away.

That’s Leon v. LAFC, and it begins Tuesday night in Mexico. That tie carries the added intrigue of MLS superstar Carlos Vela bringing his act back to his home country for the first time… ever.

Bracket

Saprissa (Costa Rica) v. Montreal — 8 p.m. ET Weds.
Olimpia (Honduras) v. Seattle — 10 p.m. ET Thurs.

San Carlos (Costa Rica) v. NYCFC — 8 p.m. ET Thurs.
Alianza (El Salvador) v. UANL Tigres — 8 p.m. ET Weds.

Leon v. LAFC — 10 p.m. ET Tues.
Portmore United (Jamaica) v. Cruz Azul — 8 p.m. ET Tues.

Comunicaciones (Guatemala) v. Club America — 10 p.m. ET Weds.
Montagua (Honduras) v. Atlanta United — 10 p.m. ET Tues.

The 2 Robbies podcast: VAR carnage at Stamford Bridge

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Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle dissect a crazy game at Stamford Bridge that saw Chelsea on the wrong side of several VAR decisions (00:45).

The gents also recap the big moments from the weekend; Liverpool beat Norwich (18:30), Son’s late winner against Aston Villa (24:45) and Arteta‘s attackers thrash Newcastle United (30:15).

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

To listen to more lively conversations and passionate debate from Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, subscribe to The 2 Robbies Podcast on Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

And you can follow them on Twitter @The2RobbiesNBC here.

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]