Arsenal breaks through at Bournemouth

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  • Kolasinac, Aubameyang team up winner
  • Arsenal a point back of 4th
  • Cherries lose third-striaght

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang‘s league-leading 8th goal gave Arsenal a 2-1 win over Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday.

A Jefferson Lerma own goal put Arsenal in front, but Josh King gave Bournemouth a deserved deadlock before halftime.

Bournemouth remains eighth with 20 points, while Arsenal’s 27 points is one back of fourth-place Chelsea and three behind Spurs ahead of the North London Derby on Dec. 2.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Bournemouth started well, and David Brooks had the ball in the goal from an offside position before Arsenal launched its first real foray forward through Lucas Torreira‘s ninth minute striking of the post.

Callum Wilson nodded a Simon Francis cross into Bernd Leno‘s hands, as the Cherries continued to have more dangerous moments than Arsenal.

Leno made an outstanding flying save on Ryan Fraser‘s whirling free kick in the 27th, and Arsenal took the lead through an own goal in the 30th.

Ryan Gosling gave away the ball and Jefferson Lerma’s slide to clear the ball rocketed past Leno.

Bournemouth was justly rewarded for its attacking ways with a stoppage time equalizer. Fraser sprang a counter attack from his own box, with David Brooks playing a role in finding King on the right side of the box.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Torreira saw a deflected rip from the right of the box pop over the bar for a corner in the 58th minute, but no one met Henrikh Mkhitaryan‘s ensuing invitation via corner kick.

Arsenal found its lead when Sead Kolasinac‘s low cross evaded a sliding clearing bid to meet Aubameyang inside the six for a quick punch-in. 2-1.

Junior Stanislas had a low shot attempt turn off a defender’s leg to make Leno’s collection bid easy in the 81st as Bournemouth sought an equalizer. And Lerma hit the post three minutes later.

Bournemouth won a free kick just outside the 18 at the edge of stoppage time, but Stanislas gunned it over the bar.

Full details as EURO 2020 playoff draw confirmed

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The draw for the EURO 2020 playoffs has been made and some intriguing clashes have been lined up for March.

With 20 of the 24 teams already qualified for the tournament next summer, 16 teams remain in the hunt for the final four places.

Okay, so here’s how it works:

  • Each team will play in a one-legged semifinal match on Mar. 26
  • The winners of each semifinal in their path will meet in the final on Mar. 31, with the winner of that game qualifying for the EURO 2020 finals

Path A is loaded with tough teams, as Iceland and Hungary both qualified for EURO 2016, and Romania were pretty decent during qualifying as they narrowly lost out on automatic qualification. The winner of this path will go into either Group A/D for the finals tournament.

In Path B there is the potential for a Northern Ireland v. Republic of Ireland final in Belfast, but both sides face tricky away tests in the semifinals first. The winner of Path B will be placed in Group E of the finals tournament alongside Spain.

Path C sees Scotland host Israel in Glasgow in their semifinal, but the winner of that game will be the heavy underdogs to face either Norway or Serbia in the final away from home. Whichever team prevails from Path C will be placed in Group D alongside England.

Kosovo seem like the frontrunners in Path D as all four teams have never qualified for a European Championships so we will have a new team in action next summer. The winner of this path will go into either Group A/D for the finals tournament.

Below is a look at the how the paths have been lined up, and which winners of the semifinals will host the finals.


Path A
Match 1: Iceland v. Romania
Match 2: Bulgaria v. Hungary
Final: Match 2 winner v. Match 1 winner

Path B
Match 1: Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Northern Ireland
Match 2: Slovakia v. Republic of Ireland
Final: Match 1 winner v. Match 2 winner

Path C
Match 1: Scotland v. Israel
Match 2: Norway v. Serbia
Final: Match 2 winner v. Match 1 winner

Path D
Match 1: Georgia v. Belarus
Match 2: North Macedonia v. Kosovo
Final: Match 1 winner v. Match 2 winner

Chelsea issue injury update on Christian Pulisic

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Christian Pulisic is in contention to play against Manchester City on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard spoke to the media and was asked about Pulisic’s availability.

Speaking ahead of Chelsea’s trip to the Etihad Stadium, Lampard confirmed he has been back in training.

“He didn’t go and we had full on communication with the States, manager Gregg Berhalter and their medical team,” Lampard said. “They want their players for top games. He [Pulisic] had a problem going into Palace. He has trained again this midweek. He is in contention to play.”

Pulisic, 21, injured his right hip when scoring Chelsea’s second goal in the 2-0 win against Crystal Palace before the international break.

The American winger missed the international break as the USMNT’s two wins against Canada and Cuba, as they reached the CONCACAF Nations League finals without him.

For Chelsea he will be keen to pick up his sensational form over the last month as he’s scored five goals in his last three Premier League games for the Blues.

With Callum Hudson-Odoi picking up a hamstring issue over the international break, it seems highly likely that Pulisic will start once again for Chelsea in their biggest game of the season so far.

They travel to Man City looking for a seventh-straight Premier League win as they currently sit one place and one point ahead of Pep Guardiola‘s side.

Mohamed Salah an injury doubt for Liverpool

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Mohamed Salah is an injury doubt for Liverpool’s trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET online via NBCSports.com).

Salah, 27, has been struggling with a right ankle injury over the last six weeks and he has been subbed off in his last three Premier League appearances for Liverpool as well as missing their draw at Man United last month.

“Yesterday he trained,” Klopp revealed. “He trained the whole time since he was here, but only the things we wanted him to do. Today is another important session to see how it looks and we can make the decision. It’s not that it got worse but it’s still kind of there, that’s the problem. We have to be sensible with things like this. But I didn’t make the decision. If I would have made a decision, I probably wouldn’t have told you now, but it’s true I have to see the session today.”

Andy Robertson and Joe Gomez are also injury doubts and late calls will be made on the duo, while Roberto Firmino, Fabinho, Alisson and Georginio Wijnaldum were all in international action and have only just returned to Liverpool’s Melwood training base.

“From the others, I cannot say 100 per cent, I don’t know 100 per cent,” Klopp said. “Today is a very important session to judge that, especially with the players who came back late.”

When it comes to Salah, he didn’t feature for Egypt during the international break and Liverpool have given him a special program to follow to build up the strength in his ankle.

The Egyptian winger has scored in recent home wins against Tottenham and Man City but his performance levels haven’t been as explosive as last season and that’s because he’s nursing this ankle injury. At some point Klopp needs to give him a rest, and with the busy festive season creeping ever closer, it seems like Liverpool’s boss is ready to rotate his squad a little more as they play in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday against Napoli.

Main takeaways from MLS contract deadline day

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Major League Soccer saw a lot of big names in the news as “Contract Deadline Day” played out across the U.S. and Canada.

— The New York Red Bulls watched two all-timers walk out the door, as Bradley Wright-Phillips did not get a new contract and the club declined its option on Luis Robles (STORY).

— Not a player move, but Austin FC announced the hiring of former NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna to the same position.

[ MORE: PST’s talk 1v1 with Reyna earlier this season ]

— Toronto FC is yet to reach a deal to keep Michael Bradley in town, but remains in contract talks with its captain. The same is true for Nicolas Benezet, while Drew Moor is out-of-contract.

— And that’s also what’s happening in Portland with Diego Valeri, the longtime star in talks with the team despite not having his option picked up.

Chicago Fire announced a new branding initiative, changing its logo from a classic crest to something else and dropping the SC for an FC. Like Columbus before them, everyone will still call them the fire and ignore the SC, FC, or whatever see. It’s what happens when you take a formal nickname.

The club also cut ties with playmakers Nico Gaitan and Aleksandar Katai.

— Minnesota United remains in talks to bring back Reading loanee and reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year winner Vito Mannone, and that means longtime backstop Bobby Shuttleworth will hit the open market.

— Orlando declined its option on Dillon Powers, and also let the clock run out on the contract of one-time megastar Sacha Kljestan.

— Real Salt Lake did not reach an agreement with Kyle Beckerman on a new deal, though MLSSoccer.com thinks he’s still in the mix.

— New England is letting Juan Agudelo walk into free agency.

— Atlanta United exercised the contract option for Julian Gressel, but he’s being badly underpaid and the club needs to find salary room for a proper new deal.

— Thierry Henry is keeping his two brightest attacker, with Ignacio Piatti getting another year at the club and Saphir Taider seeing his loan from Bologna made permanent.

— The Philadelphia Union did not exercise their option on Marco Fabian, and are letting Haris Medunjanin leave without a new deal.

— Roman Torres did not see his option exercised by the Sounders, and Kim Kee-hee is also leaving the club.

— Sporting KC waves goodbye to Seth Sinovic, Krisztian Nemeth, Benny Feilhaber, and Gedion Zelalem.