Getty Images

Player ratings: Arsenal v. Chelsea in Community Shield

1 Comment

LONDON — Arsenal beat Chelsea on penalty kicks at Wembley on Sunday to win the Community Shield and clinch the first piece of silverware this season.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned ]

Arsene Wenger and Arsenal prevailed once again at Wembley with Saed Kolasinac popping up with a late equalizer and then Olivier Giroud scoring the winning penalty kick as the Gunners were perfect from the spot.

Below are the ratings out of 10 for each player who saw the field on Sunday as Arsenal beat their London rivals in an open, entertaining clash.


Arsenal

Petr Cech – 6 – Some slack passes which put his defense under pressure. Didn’t have much to do apart from that
Rob Holding – 7 – Another composed display from the young Englishman. Gets better each and every game
Per Mertesacker – 6 – Started well but forced off with a nasty head injury
Nacho Monreal – 7 – Solid enough in defense, especially when he switched to be the middle center back
Hector Bellerin – 6 – Added attacking prowess from right wing back and solid in defense despite some sloppy passes
Mohamed Elneny – 6 – Was fouled by Pedro for his red card and kept plugging away. Not his best display
Granit Xhaka – 7 – A growing influence in Arsenal’s midfield and forced Courtois into a stunning save
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 7 – Whipped in some great crosses from left wing back, a role
Danny Welbeck – 8 – Full of running and was unlucky not to get a clear look at goal. Great link up play
Alex Iwobi – 6 – Some great trickery in the first half but faded in the second half
Alexandre Lacazette – 8 – Fine display as he hit the post, caused Chelsea plenty of issues and linked up superbly with Welbeck

Subs
Sead Kolasinac – 8 – Surging runs forward from left side of Arsenal’s defense and popped up with a vital equalizer. Great debut and looks a bargain
Theo Walcott (on for Iwobi, 67′) – 6 – Launched some counters and his pace always provides problems
Olivier Giroud (on for Lacazette, 66′) – 6 – Provided a presence up top and scored the winning PK
Reiss Nelson (on for Welbeck, 87′) – N/A – A few decent touches but hardly had time to get involved


Chelsea

Thibaut Courtois – 6 – Some shaky touches and clearances and despite his PK miss in the shootout made a world-class save from Xhaka
Cesar Azpilicueta – 5 – Uncharacteristically shaky display. Booked for hauling down Welbeck in the first half and struggled
David Luiz – 6 – Was cool and calm, sometimes too much as he put his defense under pressure. Solid enough display
Gary Cahill – 6 – Great header to set up Moses and was in the wars after clattering Mertesacker, then his teammate Luiz. Great PK in penalty kicks
Victor Moses – 6 – Lovely finish for the goal but
Cesc Fabregas – 5 – Failed to really get a grip on the game and was bullied at times by Xhaka and Elneny
N'Golo Kante – 7 – Chelsea’s standout player, once again, as he launched counter attacks time and time again. Superb
Marcos Alonso – 5 – Caught early on by Bellerin and was subbed in second half. Some wild crosses and caught out in defense
Willian – 6 – Always lively on the ball but the final cross or pass was lacking at times. Typical speedy pest
Michy Batshuayi – 5 – Isolated for most of this game and failed to improve his chances of becoming a regular
Pedro – 5 – Really silly sending off to put his team under pressure but caused Arsenal problems in first half

Subs
Alvaro Morata (on for Batshuayi, 74′) – 6 – Missed one chance at the back post and
Antonio Rudiger (on for Alonso, 72′) – 5 – Difficult to come on at that time and has his back against the wall
Charly Musonda (on for Willian, 82′) – N/A – Had little time to get on the ball

Reports: Alli unlikely to play in England’s second Group G match

AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth
Leave a comment

The Three Lions may not have taken all good news away from the team’s 2-1 win over Tunisia in their World Cup opener.

[ MORE: Russia races past Egypt, likely en route to next round ]

Several reports are suggesting that England will likely be without Tottenham playmaker Dele Alli in their second Group G match against Panama on Sunday.

Alli was forced out of England’s opener with a thigh strain, which gave manager Gareth Southgate the decision to put in Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

There isn’t a timetable for the 22-year-old’s return to the pitch, but his absence will definitely present a major question for Southgate heading into the rest of group play.

Without Alli in the starting XI, it’ll likely be between Loftus-Cheek and Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard to fill the role where Alli normally sits.

In the case of Lingard, who started against Tunisia, the England boss would have to bring in another starter if Southgate opts to have the Red Devils attacker sit in as the number 10.

Report: Newcastle activates $12m release clause of ex-Arsenal youth

Photo by Burak Kara/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Reports out of Turkey say Newcastle United have finally struck the transfer market for a new No. 10.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Aksam reports that Rafa Benitez got the Magpies hierarchy to activate a near $12 million release clause for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.

The 25-year-old was part of Arsenal’s youth set-up until 2012, making two League Cup appearances in 2011-12 before moving to Besiktas.

Dutch-born Ozyakup is 35-times capped with a goal for Turkey, twice captaining the Crescent-Stars.

Ozyakup lost playing time to Talisca this season, and registered just four assists in 24 appearances. In 219 appearances for Besiktas, he’s posted 27 goals with 50 assists.

Like the move for Newcastle?

Lukaku pens inspiring post on hard-scrabble upbringing

AP Photo/Matthias Schrader
Leave a comment

Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has an inspiring and emotional post in The Players’ Tribune which tugs at the heart strings and explains his competitive fire.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Lukaku talks about how his family’s poverty caused him to become a fierce competitor in the hopes of meeting his dreams head-on and providing for his family.

The Belgian, 25, scored twice in his side’s 3-0 World Cup-opening win over Panama earlier this week, and is now far removed from his youth, but he tells his story as if it lives fresh in his mind.

From The Players’ Tribune:

There were even times when my mum had to “borrow” bread from the bakery down the street. The bakers knew me and my little brother, so they’d let her take a loaf of bread on Monday and pay them back on Friday.

Lukaku also talks about racism in football, his debut for Anderlecht, and that aforementioned competitive drive. It’s 100 percent worth the read.

West Ham signs club record center back from Toulouse

whufc.com
Leave a comment

West Ham has reportedly set a club record with its latest signing under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Issa Diop is the player, the 21-year-old Toulouse captain and center back costing the Irons around $29 million.

[ MORE: Arsenal signs Leno ]

Diop scored three goals with an assist and eight yellow cards in 31 Ligue 1 matches this season, giving the young defender 95 apps, six goals, three assists, and 23 yellows since debuting with the senior team at 18.

Capped by France at every level below the senior team, Diop’s 2.2 interceptions per game ranked sixth in Ligue 1.

Toulose finished 18th in Ligue 1, but won its promotion/relegation playoff to stay in the French top flight.

From WHUFC.com:

“I am very happy to sign for such a historic, English club, and I hope to show my best here. I am a very ambitious player and West Ham is a very ambitious club, as we’ve seen with the appointment of the new coach. I hope to help the team win lots of games and make the fans happy.”