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Player ratings: Arsenal v. Chelsea in Community Shield

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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

Man United reveal plans for the future; financial results announced

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Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has a plan.

He shared it in a statement on Monday, as the Red Devils have picked up some momentum over the past few weeks with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s side back in the hunt for a top four finish in the Premier League.

The leading man at the PL giants confirmed that producing their own young group of players in the first team is now their main aim.

“We have a clear vision in terms of football philosophy and recruitment,” Woodward said. “The significant investments that we have made in recent years in areas such as transfers, recruitment infrastructure, analytics and our Academy are already beginning to bear fruit.

“We are very proud to be shortly approaching a milestone 4,000th game featuring an Academy player, and we are particularly optimistic regarding the considerable young talent currently coming through. Our ultimate goal is to win trophies by playing exciting football with a team that fuses graduates from our Academy with world-class acquisitions.”

Academy products Marcus Rashford, Andreas Pereira and Scott McTominay are key players in United’s first team this season while the likes of Brandon Williams, Axel Tuanzebe and Mason Greenwood have all gained valuable experience.

That said, Woodward will no doubt realize that United have to spend on key additions in the upcoming windows alongside promoting their talented youngsters.

Solskjaer has already mentioned that the January transfer window is something United will look at closely, as they are currently in seventh place in the Premier League table and nine points off the top four. An attacking midfielder is likely to be their key target as they failed to bring in Sporting Lisbon’s Bruno Fernandes this summer.

With regards to the finances, United’s net debt rose by $177.9 million which was in essence due to bringing in Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire and Daniel James this summer. However, their first quarter revenue for this year was slightly up to $175.5 million year-on-year.

They are expected to bring in $86.8 million less in the next 12 months from TV revenue and prize money as they failed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League, but players wages did fall 8.8 percent with the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez off the wage bill, as that now stands at $90 million.

As always, a lack of success on the pitch doesn’t really seem to hurt United off it.

Senegal, Nigeria stay perfect in African Cup qualifying

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Famara Diedhiou scored a hat trick in a game interrupted by heavy rain as Senegal beat Eswatini 4-1 on Sunday for two wins out of two in qualifying for the 2021 African Cup of Nations.

Diedhiou missed an early penalty and it was 0-0 at halftime when Senegal coach Aliou Cisse substituted Sadio Mane.

Diedhiou netted all three of his goals in a nine-minute period from the 59th to keep this year’s African Cup runner-up on course in the final stage of qualifying for the 2021 tournament. Badou Ndiaye scored Senegal’s fourth in Manzini against the kingdom formerly known as Swaziland.

Senegal lost to Algeria in the final of this year’s African Cup of Nations in Egypt and is embarking on another attempt to win the continental title for the first time.

Like Senegal, Nigeria has also won its first two of six games in the qualifiers’ decisive group stage after the Super Eagles benefited from an outstanding performance by forward Victor Osimhen in a 4-2 win over Lesotho. Osimhen scored twice and set up the other two as Nigeria again came from behind to win, like it did in its opening qualifier.

South Africa beat Sudan 1-0 with a goal by Lebogang Phiri for its first win of the qualifiers after losing to Ghana first up. Cameroon, which will host the 2021 African Cup, also registered a first win by beating Rwanda 1-0. Midfielder Ngoumo Ngamaleu scored in Cameroon’s first competitive win under new coach Toni Conceicao and first in six games.

Cameroon has already qualified as host but is still taking part in qualifying. The top two teams in each of the 12 groups will qualify with the exception of Cameroon’s group. There, the highest-placed of the other three teams – currently Mozambique – goes through to the 24-team finals which will be played in mid-2021.

Guinea and Mali sit in the qualifying positions in Group A – Mali won 2-0 in Chad and Guinea 2-0 at home to Namibia. There were also wins on Sunday for Uganda, Benin, Republic of Congo and Gabon.

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

Griezmann: Playing for Barcelona is ‘not the easiest’

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Over the summer, Barcelona shelled a whopping $135 million to land Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid.

It was a match made in heaven; the rest was supposed to be history.

Only that hasn’t been the case for the Frenchman in Barcelona.

Despite scoring a brace in his debut at the Camp Nou, Griezmann’s impact and influence on the field has quickly dwindled. In 11 league appearances with the Catalan giants, the 28-year-old has scored four goals and added three assists, signs that the World Cup winner is, in fact, struggling with his new team.

Speaking to Telefoot, Griezmann revealed that playing for Barcelona is not an easy thing to do, but that with hard work, his fortunes will turn around for the best:

“It is hard, I knew it would be, it is not the easiest place. This is a new team, a new club, new tactics, a new position. I have to work, try to understand my team-mates, after they will understand me too and it will work just like that… Critics will always be there. But I am good, I am proud of where I am. Only work pays off. I have to take confidence and it will all come just like that.”

This season, Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has frequently deployed the Frenchman as a left winger, with the hope that he will link up with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. The positives form such an ideology have yet to be reaped, however. Griezmann is scoring a goal every 224 minutes, a career worst.

The 28-year-old, too, has played in a central role on a couple of occasions, specifically during the absences of Messi and Suarez, but it hasn’t worked out for a player that has made a career from roaming that part of the field.

The building clamor at the Camp Nou is borderline justifiable – mainly because it’s now evident that Griezmann is wrestling with adapting to the expectations and systems in place in Barcelona.

But the high-flying attacker has proven he’s worth the price time and time again, and now he’s on the record saying that he’ll do everything in his power to do so with his new club.

Real Monarchs beat Louisville City to win first ever USL Cup

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Real Monarchs scored three unanswered goals as they routed Louisville City 3-1 at Lynn Stadium to win their first ever USL Cup title.

Noah Powder’s goal in the 66th minute sealed the deal for the visitor’s, adding to the goals scored by defenders Erik Holt and Konrad Plewa in the first half.

Surprisingly enough, it was Lou City who got off to a superb start on Sunday night, though.

Only six minutes after the initial whistle, Lou City’s leading goalscorer, Magnus Rasmussen, scored the game’s first goal, breaking a record for the fastest goal in a USL Cup final.

The defeat brings an end to Lou City’s historic run of consecutive USL Cup-winning seasons.

On July 1, former Real Salt Lake defender, Jamison Olave, took over as the Monarchs interim coach following Martin Vasquez’s unexpected resignation.