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Premier League Preview: Arsenal v. Manchester City

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  • Arsenal unbeaten in 31 of last 32 home fixtures vs. Citizens
  • Man City could be 1st club since 2005-06 to beat Gunners 3x in one season
  • Aguero going for 200th career City goal in all comps

Manchester City aims to build off of its first piece of silverware in the Carabao Cup against Arsenal on Thursday (Watch live at 2:45 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The two sides, which just met over the weekend, will face off at the Emirates Stadium.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Henrikh Mkhitaryan will be available for the Gunners, after not having featured in Sunday’s 3-0 defeat to Man City due to being cup-tied to Manchester United earlier in the season. However, the Gunners will almost surely be without Nacho Monreal, who suffered a back injury in the loss.

Meanwhile, the Citizens won’t have Fernandinho — who went off injured in the match with a hamstring strain — Raheem Sterling or Fabian Delph.

What they’re saying

Arsene Wenger on Sunday’s Carabao Cup loss“We are very disappointed because we lost an important game [on Sunday]. We need to recover and prepare for the next challenge. It was a tight game until 2-0. City had three shots on target and we had two. We have to turn the decisive moments into our favour. We played a bit apprehensive and we need to have more freedom. It is part of our job to respond and to focus on the next game. We must do that in a united way.”

Pep Guardiola on difficulty of facing Arsenal“Arsenal is always a hard game. Maybe they have not been consistent this season but they are so strong at home. When I have been there, it is always tough. Forget about what you have done and move on to the next one. We won and are happy but we are thinking about tomorrow’s game. In May, we are going to think about the season.”

Prediction

Even without Sterling and a host of City players, they are the superior side. They have been all season. There’s no reason to believe this club’s historic campaign will be halted on Thursday. Arsenal 1-3 Man City

Nothing to separate Portland and 10-man LAFC

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There was entertainment value in Los Angeles FC’s potential playoff preview with the Portland Timbers on Sunday in the City of Angels, but all that arrived was a scoreless draw.

[ MORE: Atlanta 1-1 Seattle ]

Both Giovani Savarese’s Timbers and Bob Bradley‘s nickname-free expansion club remain in the West’s Top Four. PLAFC remains unbeaten at home during their maiden voyage through Major League Soccer.

Adama Diomande came close for the hosts, who finished with 10-men when Lee Nguyen went studs-up on Sebastian Blanco‘s thigh for a pretty easy red card (though it took some time for Silviu Petrescu to produce the red).

VIDEO: France stars projected onto Arc de Triomphe

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If France’s players had any doubt about the level of import their World Cup title had back home, it was erased when their photos were projected onto one of the most celebrated monuments in the world.

The photos of Hugo Lloris, Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, and company made their way onto the Arc de Triomphe on Sunday, hours after France defeated Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup Final.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

The Arc de Triomphe honors those who died in the French Revolution and early 19th century wars, and sits above France’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.

How humbling must it be for those players to grace such a heavy monument (both in weight and substance).

Dalic: In one day, Croatia went from lucky to unlucky

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Ante Cacic’s Croatia was on pace to miss out on the World Cup.

Zlatko Dalic’s Croatia rallied the troops to second place in their qualifying group, a playoff defeat of Greece, and a run to the World Cup Final.

Pretty decent stuff.

[ MORE: FIFA awards Golden Ball, Golden Glove ]

And surely the 51-year-old will reflect on that, probably even this evening, but he’s more focused on a letdown after Sunday’s 4-2 loss to highly-favored France.

Key to the match was a penalty awarded to France when a partially-obscured Mario Mandzukic handled a ball inside the 18, leading to Antoine Griezmann’s pivotal goal.

The PK was awarded via VAR, and France went up 2-1 en route to a three-goal lead. From the AFP:

“I never comment on referees but in a World Cup final you do not give such a penalty,” said Dalic.

“It in no way diminishes France’s win. We were a bit unlucky. Maybe in the first six games we were favored by luck and today we weren’t.

“I have to congratulate my players. Maybe today we played our best game at these championships. Against such a strong side as France you must not make mistakes. We are a bit sad but we must also be proud of what we’ve done.”

Croatia had two-thirds of the ball and doubled France’s shot attempts, and Dalic isn’t the least bit controversial in wondering whether the match is much different if that penalty goes unawarded by referee Nestor Pitana.

Atlanta comes back to draw 10-man Seattle (video)

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A scrappy if not downright venomous affair between the lowly Seattle Sounders and high-flying Atlanta United ended in a 1-1 draw in Georgia on Sunday.

The Sounders went ahead through a Nicolas Lodeiro penalty kick, awarded via VAR a la this morning’s World Cup Final, but Atlanta leveled the score with a highlight which show every bit of the game story.

[ MORE: FIFA awards Golden Ball, Golden Glove ]

Just check Josef Martinez’s barking at Stefan Frei, who made an uncharacteristic error on the play, after his 19th goal of the season (Nice cross, Julian Gressel).

Martinez needs nine more goals to break the MLS single season record, and he has 13 games to score them.

Jordan McCrary was sent off for Seattle in the 63rd minute for a second yellow, but Seattle navigated the final half hour or so to scoop up an unlikely point.

Atlanta still sits first with its earned point but opens the door for New York City FC to reach the top of the table when it plays its match-in-hand, while Seattle is now 11 points back of the West’s final playoff spot.