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Arsene Wenger hails Jack Wilshere, hints at new contract

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LONDON — Jack Wilshere has now started three-straight Premier League games for Arsenal for the first time since October 2014.

His long road to recovery often seemed like it would end in despair but Wilshere is showing plenty of promise as he shakes off the rust.

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The 25-year-old England international is doing his chances of getting a new contract no harm whatsoever, as his current Arsenal deal runs out on July 1, 2018.

At times in the 3-3 draw with Liverpool on Friday he struggled to cope with the pace of the game but he was always scrapping away, always trying to get on the ball and always trying to create.

Wilshere got caught in possession on a few occasions and was maybe at fault for Liverpool’s second goal as he seemed to let Mohamed Salah run free, but he dug deep and helped drag Arsenal back into the game.

Asked by Pro Soccer Talk if Wilshere’s display impressed him, Wenger was full of praise for the central midfielder.

“I think he was one of the players who played with quality even in the first half, determination” Wenger said. “You know Jack, he is never frozen as always. What he did in the second half was like the rest of the team. Yes, I like what he did. He is better now than he was in the last two to three years. I think it is positive overall and he is in a very good shape in the moment.”

Is that enough for Wilshere to be handed a new contract soon and are talks planned?

“It might. We will see. As well, we had four players tonight who have been educated at our academy with Niles-Maitland, Bellerin, Iwobi and with Wilshere. We are certainly the only ones at the top [doing that] but basically we want to keep these players,” Wenger added.

The midfielder has always said he would like to stay at Arsenal, the club he’s been at his entire career after making the step up from their academy.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Wilshere is happy with where he’s at right now.

“I’m fit now, I’m enjoying my football and I’m happy,” Wilshere said. “I’ve played three games now, I feel good. I’ve played a lot of Europa League games. I am ready to take part. It has been a while since I’ve been available for Arsenal in the Christmas period. I’m excited. I want to play. I want to give my all and help the team get up the table and into the top four.”

Wilshere’s awful luck with injuries has been well documented but he finally seems to be settling into his old rhythm and showing flashes of the classy deep-lying playmaker he was when he burst onto the scene as a teenager.

Don’t give up on Wilshere just yet.

Liga MX wrap: Xolos beats Chivas as Apertura begins

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Liga MX’s Apertura season is off and running with all 18 clubs partaking in a match this weekend.

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Club Tijuana 2-1 Chivas Guadalajara

Scoreless at the half, the weekend’s marquee match sprang to life in the final 45. Juan Martin Lucero gave TJ a 54th minute lead before Jose Van Rankin knotted it up five minutes later.

Lucero assisted Jose Rivero’s 75th minute winner, which was helped in its status when Michael Perez took a red card in the 80th.

Cruz Azul 3-0 Puebla

Elias Hernandez scored a goal and added an assist, and Milton Caraglio put one of his five shots on goal into the net. Andres Renteria also scored in the win.

Tigres 2-0 Leon

Andre-Pierre Gignac scored, and Lucas Zelarayan marked a goal and an assist in the win.

Necaxa 2-1 Club America
Toluca 2-0 Morelia
Santos Laguna 2-1 Lobos BUAP
Pachuca 0-1 Monterrey
Veracruz 0-2 Pumas UNAM
Atlas 0-0 Queretaro

Report: Colorado acquires USMNT mid Acosta for Badji

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The West’s first place team is switching it up in a big way.

FC Dallas is sending Homegrown Player and USMNT midfielder Kellyn Acosta to Western foes Colorado Rapids in exchange for striker Dominique Badji, according to a report by The Dallas Morning News.

[ MORE: Pulisic rips up Liverpool ]

Acosta, 22, has 17 caps and a goal for the U.S., and is primarily a defensive midfielder. He’s also played right and left back.

He’s appeared 139 times for Dallas, scoring 13 times with nine assists, but had fallen out with head coach Oscar Pareja. He’s also struggled mightily on the field, according to WhoScored.

Badji, 25, has seven goals and three assists in 16 matches for the Rapids this season, building on an eight-goal, five-assist campaign last season.

FCD has gotten six goals out of forward Maxi Urruti, and there’s been little production from anyone else. Cristian Colman is out with an ankle injury and managed just a pair of goals in 399 minutes.

The risk of trading Acosta is mitigated by the continued speculation that he may test the waters of European soccer. Badji’s a quality player, but Colorado may’ve gotten a bargain in its push to escape the dregs of the West.

Quintero, Loons pick LAFC apart in five-star win (video)

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Minnesota United throttled LAFC on Sunday, using a Christian Ramirez brace to batter the hot expansion team 5-1 in Minnesota.

Darwin Quintero had a goal and two assists for the Loons, who took advantage of LAFC’s decision not to start dominant forward Adama Diomande and center back Walker Zimmerman.

[ MORE: Marketing Pulisic with BVB ]

Quintero ripped off seven shots, putting five on goal. He now has 10 goals and five assists since joining the Loons after scoring two and eight in 29 matches for Club America last year.

Miguel Ibarra recorded a goal and an assist, while Rasmus Schuller also scored. LAFC’s goal came courtesy Benny Feilhaber.

Minnesota’s Bobby Shuttleworth and LA’s Tyler Miller each made six saves in their goals.

LAFC fails in a bid to make up points on Western Conference first seed FC Dallas, while the Loons now can eye a playoff spot in the West.

Already-thin Liverpool center back corps loses Matip to quad injury

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Liverpool’s 3-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund featured an injury to a position with very little depth.

The Reds lost Joel Matip to what Jurgen Klopp said could possibly be a “small tear” in one of his quads.

[ MORE: Marketing Pulisic with BVB ]

If Matip, 26, needs any significant time to heal up, he’ll put a major question mark into Liverpool’s opening day center back pairing.

Virgil Van Dijk, who scored against BVB on Sunday, already won’t have Dejan Lovren as a partner thanks to a post-World Cup vacation.

That leaves Joe Gomez and Ragnar Klavan as options next to Van Dijk.

Matches at Crystal Palace and home to Brighton and Hove Albion follow the Aug. 12 visit from West Ham.