James Tarkowski

Aubameyang double helps Arsenal down Burnley (video)

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A Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang double saw Arsenal finish the Premier League season on a winning note, and the Gabon international draw level with the Premier League top scorers as Arsenal topped Burnley 3-1 at Turf Moor on the final day of the season.

Aubameyang started the day off strong, hitting the bar in the opening minutes. A free kick from a lateral angle swung in to the near post and the Arsenal striker clattered the crossbar with a chested ball. Tom Heaton was also forced into action in the early going, with Aubameyang again coming close minutes later.

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Arsenal was nearly broken down past the half-hour mark on a scrum in the box but a critical tackle from Mateo Guendouzi kept Burnley off the board. Just before the break, James Tarkowski got his head to a corner, but it fired just wide.

The Gunners had a familiar sight when Konstantinos Movrapanos went off injured past the half-hour mark, with Laurent Koscielny coming on in his place. The back line for the Gunners this season has been a revolving door with injuries dotting the landscape, and now with the Europa League final on the horizon, they will have to deal with another.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Burnley finally broke thanks to a poor back-pass from Jack Cork, leaving Ben Mee in trouble. Aubameyang snatched the wayward ball, and he finished cooly through on goal for the opener 52 minutes in, his 21st goal of the season.

The second came 10 minutes later with Aubameyang on the double, smashing home a looped cross from Alex Iwobi to the far post. The goal was notable in the Golden Boot race, but Burnley made sure the celebration was short-lived as a header from Ashley Barnes pegged the Gunners back.

Aubameyang had a glorious chance to not only seal his hat-trick but also to win the Golden Boot, and he somehow missed. Henrikh Mkhitaryan‘s pinpoint cross came right to a sliding Aubameyang at the doorstep, but he managed to put it wide with the goal gaping.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

19-year-old Eddie Nketiah finished off the scoreline with the final kick of the game as he scored from an absurdly tight angle, squeaking it through a defender’s legs right on the end line and into the far corner. The goal was somewhat noteworthy given that Aubameyang was wide open at the penalty spot calling for the ball, and another goal for him would have sealed not only the hat-trick but the Golden Boot outright. Instead, Nketiah took it himself and wrapped up the game.

With the win, Arsenal finished the season in fifth, just a point off the Champions League places with 70, inches behind rival Tottenham’s 71-point haul. Burnley ends up in 15th, right on the magical 40-point mark.

Who would make a PFA Team of the Year without Top Six teams?

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The PFA Team of the Year was dominated by Manchester City and Liverpool, to no one’s surprise, though which players comprised the team surprised many.

For example, the team may be without the league’s Golden Boot winner.

[ PL PREVIEW: Brighton v. Newcastle ]

Mohamed Salah was left off the team, likely due to his cold form while the players were voting for the peers, and he’d be an easy part of any “The Best of the Rest” list (along with Christian Eriksen, Roberto Firmino, Harry Kane, and Eden Hazard).

But we’ve added another angle, as we’ll make a “Best Outside The Top Six of the Year.” Here is a team to join the PFA Team of the Year.


“No Top Six” Team of the Year

Fabianski (West Ham)

Wan-Bissaka (Palace) – Tarkowski (Burnley) – Duffy (BHA) – Digne (Everton)

Gana Gueye (Everton) – Ndidi (Leicester City)

Felipe (West Ham)- Doucoure (Watford) – Fraser (Bournemouth)

Raul Jimenez (Wolves)

Aaron Wan-Bissaka‘s 3.8 tackles per game led all backs, full or center; His 2.4 interceptions per match rate isn’t far off from the leader: Cardiff’s Sol Bamba (who just misses).

Shane Duffy and James Tarkowski lead the league in clearances, and are also 1-2 in blocked shots.

Only Hazard has more assists than Fraser’s 12, tied with Eriksen, who also is Top Two in key passes per game.

And even this list leaves out quality like Gylfi Sigurdsson, Joao Moutinho, and Neil Etheridge. Wild.

Furious Warnock ‘lost for words’ after more referee drama

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Neil Warnock and Cardiff City are sick and tired of controversial calls going against them.

Battling against relegation, the Bluebirds looked to have been handed a lifeline (literally) as Ben Mee was adjudged to have handled in the box with Cardiff 1-0 down at Burnley on Saturday.

But referee Mike Dean then spoke to his assistant referee, Darren Cann, who had flagged for the penalty and the decision was overturned by Dean. Cardiff ended up losing 2-0, and with other results going against them this weekend they are the overwhelming favorites to be the third and final team relegated from the Premier League this season.

Warnock and his players were apoplectic with rage after the game, as the Bluebirds now sit five points from safety with five games to go, although they do play the team directly above them, Brighton, on Tuesday.

“I have no view at all thanks. I’ve already seen the FA three times this week. I’m disappointed, I’ll be asking the referee obviously,” Warnock said. “Mike says it hit his head first, I’m sure I’ll get the right story from all three of them. We’re disappointed Gunnarsson didn’t get a penalty for being pulled down. He doesn’t dive. Little bit unlucky today. There’s still a chance. I might be smiling but I’m gutted underneath.”

Aside from the handball decision against Mee, which was overturned, Arron Gunnarsson went down in the box under a challenge and James Tarkowski also appeared to handle late on. In short, Cardiff were unlucky but Burnley were fairly comfortable as they pretty much secured their Premier League safety with a third-straight win.

Add into the mix that Cardiff lost 2-1 to Chelsea two weeks ago after conceding an equalizer late on which was clearly offside (Warnock’s comments and reaction to that — he said the Premier League has “the worst referees in the world” — saw him handed an FA charge), and everything seems to be going against them right now.

Warnock added that although Cardiff’s players continued to be kicked while they are down, he still believes they have a chance to stay up as they face struggling Brighton on Tuesday.

“Our lads keep getting kicked in the teeth really, week after week,” Warnock said. “My lads should surround the referee really, they had three lads in his ear straight away. I’m looking forward to hearing what they [the referees] say – I’m sure when I get in there they’ll all be singing from the same hymn sheet. Can I say I’m lost for words? Once we get over the disappointment we have to get ready for Tuesday.”

If only we had a camera in the referees locker room at Turf Moor to see what Warnock, Dean and the other officials had a chat about after the game…

Red-hot Burnley beat Cardiff amid penalty kick drama (video)

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  • Burnley win third-straight match
  • Cardiff lose 6 of last 7 games
  • Penalty kick awarded to Cardiff, taken away

Burnley beat Cardiff City 2-0 at Turf Moor on Saturday, as the Clarets all but secured their Premier League safety with a third-straight win.

Chris Wood scored twice, once in each half, as Burnley battled past a spirited Cardiff side who came up short once again. Neil Warnock and his players were apoplectic with rage as Mike Dean and his fellow officials first awarded a penalty kick when it was 1-0, but after a lengthy consultation took it away as Ben Mee‘s handball was adjudged to have been accidental.

With the win Burnley move on to 39 points, while Cardiff have 28 points and are five points from safety. The play against the team they’re closest to, Brighton, on Tuesday.

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Burnley started off superbly and Wood should have put the Clarets ahead, as the in-form striker sent his close range header against the post.

Cardiff improved after a shaky start, but Burnley created the better chances.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Dwight McNeil picked up the ball on the edge of the box but curled just wide of the goal. Ashley Westwood then had a great chance to put Burnley ahead as he went clean through but hit his shot straight at Neil Etheridge.

Wood then put Burnley ahead, as McNeil’s in-swinging corner was nodded home by the New Zealand international to make it 1-0. Moments later Westwood then went clean through but his shot was saved well by Etheridge who rushed off his line.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Burnley then handed Cardiff a lifeline (literally) as Ben Mee twice handled in the box in quick succession, and on the second occasion a penalty kick was awarded as Mike Dean was helped out by the officials. But that decision was then overturned by Dean after talking to his linesman, much to the disgust of Warnock and the Cardiff players.

Harry Arter fired inches over soon after that contentious incident, as Cardiff came flying out of the traps in the second half.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Junior Hoilett then wasted a glorious chance as Kenneth Zohore picked him out but the Canadian winger skied the ball over the bar.

Ashley Barnes and Mee both went close late on for Burnley, while Cardiff appealed for a penalty kick in stoppage time as James Tarkowski appeared to block a shot from Bruno Manga with his arm.

Wood added his and Burnley’s second in stoppage time to complete the win and rub further salt into Cardiff’s wounds as they are hanging in the Premier League by a thread.

Declan Rice gets first England call-up after winning Irish award

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On Tuesday, it was announced that Declan Rice had been selected for Ireland’s Young Player of the Year award, though he will not be present to celebrate his honor at an awards ceremony on Sunday.

[ MORE: Pep Guardiola loving life as “bold” Man City advances in UCL ]

That’s because the 20-year-old will be with the England team after receiving his first call-up after switching international allegiances earlier this year. The call came from Gareth Southgate‘s Three Lions on Wednesday and will have Rice in camp for EURO 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Montenegro.

“His form warrants it,” Southgate said of West Ham’s rising star. “It’s been a well-publicized situation with Declan. We’ve tracked him for quite a while … His form has been excellent. We like what we see. … There aren’t many players of his age playing as well as he is in the Premier League.”

England’s 25-man squad

Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke City), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Jordan Pickford (Everton)

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Leicester City), Michael Keane (Everton), Harry Maguire (Leicester City), Declan Rice (West Ham United), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), James Tarkowski (Burnley), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham), Kyle Walker (Manchester City)

Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham), Ross Barkley (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea)

Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth)