Beauties from Lacazette, Aubameyang lead Arsenal to win

Leave a comment
  • Mustafi, Aubameyang score
  • Cardiff equalizes twice
  • Lacazette the difference late

Alexandre Lacazette had a goal and an assist as Arsenal was too much for stubborn Cardiff City in a 3-2 win at Cardiff City Stadium on Sunday.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Shkrodan Mustafi also scored for the Gunners, who held three one-goal leads in winning their second successive match under Unai Emery.

Victor Camarasa and Danny Ward scored equalizers with Cardiff City’s only efforts on target, as Cardiff remains on two points.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live ]

Petr Cech passed the ball to Cardiff’s Harry Arter just outside the 18, but Arter slipped in cutting to make the interception and Cech was able to cover the frame before Arter zipped a shot over the goal.

Shkrodan Mustafi’s sliding effort missed high at the other end moments later before making good on his threat in the 11th minute. Mustafi shook Sol Bamba on a corner kick and pounded a header home.

Alexandre Lacazette zinged an effort off the far post in the 33rd minute, the Gunners in clear control of the match aside from a nervy moment or two via Cardiff counter.

That changed in the final few minutes of the half, as the Bluebirds burst through the door to get their first goal of the season (the final team of the 92 English clubs to do so).

Camarasa missed badly on a volley effort, but he quickly found the loose ball and belted it past Cech. 1-1 in first half stoppage time? Cardiff boss Neil Warnock would’ve signed up for that.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

The Gunners were frustrated by Cardiff’s shot blocking and tight zone for much of the early second half, but Alexandre Lacazette’s gorgeous back heel flick of Mesut Ozil’s pass was smashed home by Aubameyang.

Cardiff improved after conceding, with a pair of corners and an Arter-won free kick yielding hope for the home support. The latter paid off, with Ward heading off the post and into the goal.

Lacazette’s swaggering celebration came in the 81st minute after he turned Lucas Torreira‘s pass into space and shot an arrow near post and into the upper 90.

Neil Etheridge made a pair of saves on Lacazette and Ramsey in stoppage time.

FOLLOW LIVE: Seattle v. Portland, ATLUTD v. DCU on a busy MLS Sunday

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
Leave a comment

Strap yourself in for a very busy Sunday of soccer, as four MLS games are set to consume your attention for the rest of the day.

[ FOLLOW: MLS scoreboard, for the next 7.5 hours ]

The day begins with Atlanta United hosting D.C. United in a 3-versus-2 matchup in the Eastern Conference, and ends with the Seattle Sounders hosting the Portland Timbers in arguably the biggest and best rivalry in MLS.

In between all that, a suddenly resurgent Orlando City SC hosts the New York Red Bulls, and FC Cincinnati hosts the red-hot (unbeaten in nine games) New England Revolution, in case you feel the need to cram a little more soccer into your afternoon/evening.

Sunday’s full MLS schedule

Atlanta United v. D.C. United — 4 p.m. ET
FC Cincinnati v. New England Revolution — 6 p.m. ET
Orlando City SC v. New York Red Bulls — 7:30 p.m. ET
Seattle Sounders v. Portland Timbers — 9:30 p.m. ET

Rumored Neymar for Bale swap: Who wins?

Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Who would gain more of an advantage from the rumored, sensational Gareth Bale for Neymar swap: Paris Saint-Germain or Real Madrid?

Both players are currently problems for their clubs, though neither is known as a true rabble-rouser; Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane wants to be done with the newly-minted 30-year-old Bale, while PSG knows Neymar wants to leave and would love to satiate Kylian Mbappe’s appetite to be the man at their club.

[ REPORT: Man Utd, Leicester agree Maguire fee ]

Presumably some money would be headed PSG’s way in addition to Bale, and both clubs would be getting a motivated megawatt star.

Neymar doesn’t turn 28 until February, but the difference in age may be offset by the Brazilian’s track record of injuries.

In fact, his injury status last season combines with an off-field accusation of sexual assault and a red card for confronting a fan to overshadow his production: Neymar’s 23 goals and 13 assists in just over 2300 minutes last season, including five and two in the Champions League (and a goal and an assist against defensively-stout Liverpool).

Bale presents very few personality challenges, and PSG won’t have a problem with his massive wages (especially with Neymar off the books). His numbers have dipped in two of three seasons since his otherworldly 2015-16, but La Liga is a more difficult scoring league than Ligue 1.

Neymar has twice been a Ballon d’Or finalist and, presuming his legal troubles don’t persist, could be a title fight changer in La Liga. Imagine the Neymar, Eden Hazard, and Luka Jovic trying to outgun Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, and Luis Suarez? Insane.

We’d say Real would be winning the straight-up swap, and that it’s pretty unlikely to go down that way. So it depends what PSG does with the relative Financial Fair Play freedom that would come with the money that also arrives from Spain. Is it Idrissa Gana Gueye? Someone else who helps take PSG’s Champions League hopes to the next level?

Manchester United in ‘concrete talks’ with Lille over Pepe

Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Manchester United are reportedly in “concrete talks” to agree a fee with Lille for much-tracked playmaker Nicolas Pepe.

The 24-year-old attacking midfielder has been linked with Liverpool and Arsenal amongst others, and Lille has admitted he’ll be leaving the club.

[ REPORT: Man Utd, Leicester agree Maguire fee ]

United’s reported salvo was around $87.5 million. He’d give them a star who could play across from Anthony Martial or as an attacking midfielder under Romelu Lukaku.

Only Kylian Mbappe and Teji Savanier garnered better season-long ratings than Pepe in the 2018-19 Ligue 1 campaign, and Pepe’s 22 goals and 11 assists stand out from the pack. Only Mbappe had more goals and only Savanier more assists.

Pepe has four goals in 11 caps for the Ivory Coast, and made three starts in Les Elephants’ five-match run at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. He’s a fit for the Premier League, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s system. And if the Red Devils can keep him from Liverpool, well, all the better we’re sure.

Report: Manchester United, Leicester agree to monster Maguire fee

Adam Davy/PA via AP
2 Comments

Manchester United and Leicester City have agreed a fee for Harry Maguire, clearing the way for the English center back to join the Old Trafford set.

That fee is a whopping $100 million, according to Bleacher Report’s Dean Jones. That’s about $4 million more than the world record for a defender, set when Liverpool purchased Virgil Van Dijk from Southampton.

[ MORE: USMNT CB to West Ham? ]

Maguire has been a statistical monster for Leicester City, and he passes the eye test, too.

Manchester United has needed to upgrade its stable of center backs for some time, and now the biggest question is who will work best alongside the 6-foot-4 26-year-old.

The former Sheffield United, Wigan Athletic, and Hull City defender is now 20-times capped by England.

The move could have a ripple effect on the Premier League, as the Foxes have been expected to bid for Burnley star James Tarkowski should Maguire leave the King Power Stadium.