Matteo Guendouzi

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Comical errors doom Arsenal in draw with inspired Watford

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Watford gave Quique Sanchez Flores a fine “re-debut” for the Hornets in thrilling fashion.

Well, maybe it’d be better said that Arsenal gave the manager his moment.

Arsenal made two silly mistakes in their own box, giving Watford a come-from-behind 2-2 draw at Vicarage Road on Sunday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Watford out shot the Gunners 28-7, but needed big help to solve Bernd Leno.

The Gunners led on a pair of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang goals scored 11 minutes apart in the first half, but Tom Cleverley and Roberto Pereyra had the answers thanks to grave errors from Sokratis Papastathopoulos and David Luiz.

Arsenal now sits seventh with eight points, while Watford remains 20th with two.


Three things we learned

1. Fullbacks on parade: Arsenal’s early lead came by their very different attack-minded fullbacks. Sead Kolasinac drove with power down the left to slip a ball to Aubameyang for the opening goal, while flying Ainsley Maitland-Niles found space on the right to cross for Aubameyang’s second. Beautiful stuff.

2. Leno bright early: Gunners goalkeeper Bernd Leno picked up where he left off in the North London Derby, making a number of key saves or claims as Watford came out the gates with brightness and purpose. He had little chance of stopping either Watford goal, and made a point-salvaging save on Abdoulaye Doucoure in stoppage time.

3. More laughs at the back:  Just when you thought Nicolas Otamendi had the “Worst Giveaway of the Weekend” award on lock down, enter Sokratis Papastathopoulos. The veteran defender couldn’t quite sense the danger in his pass to Guendouzi, could he?

David Luiz’s mistake was nearly as glaring, as he blocked Roberto Pereyra‘s 80th minute dribble into the 18. Pereyra wrong-footed Leno for 2-2.

Man of the Match: Aubameyang.


[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

The first proper chance of the match was produced by Gerard Deulofeu, whose curling shot gave Bernd Leno a little trouble.

Leno then made a fine save on Tom Cleverley in the 11th minute to led to a corner, and had to stop another shot from the same players off the set piece.

The chances kept coming, with Deulofeu cueing up Jose Holebas for a shot that sailed well over the bar.

Arsenal went ahead 1-0 in the 21st minute through a powerful Sead Kolasinac dribble up field to find Aubameyang for a classy turn and finish.

The second goal was electric, with Ozil playing a role in the build-up to Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ perfect cross for Aubameyang.

A bad giveaway by Matteo Guendouzi opened the door for Watford, but the Hornets couldn’t challenge Leno.

A spicy affair saw a touch line skirmish between Holebas and Arsenal duo Matteo Guendouzi and Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

Watford pulled one back off a terrible giveaway from Sokratis, who gave Cleverley a wide open look at either side of Leno.

Then substitute Ismalia Sarr dragged a shot wide of the frame. Watford was knocking, and David Luiz opened the door with a block on Roberto Pereyra at the top of the 18. Pereyra fooled Leno and got the equalizer.

Pogba out of France squad with injury; Guendouzi gets first call-up

Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images
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PARIS (AP) An ankle injury is keeping Paul Pogba out of international duty with France, opening the door for Arsenal’s Matteo Guendouzi to win his first cap.

[ MORE: Transfer Deadline Day in Europe: Deals galore ]

Pogba was limping after playing 90 minutes in Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Southampton on Saturday in the English Premier League.

France says he is out of the squad for upcoming European Championship qualifiers against Albania on Saturday, and Andorra on Sept. 10.

United says “it remains unclear how serious his injury may be” ahead of an assessment. United next plays Leicester on Sept. 14.

[ MORE: Premier League player Power Rankings ]

France has called up the 20-year-old Guendouzi to replace Pogba. He’s started all of Arsenal’s four league games, and set up a goal for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on Sunday in a 2-2 draw with Tottenham.

France is level on nine points at the top of qualifying Group H with Turkey and Iceland.

Arsenal erases 2-goal deficit in thrilling derby

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang‘s late goal helped Arsenal complete a two-goal comeback in a 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur in the first North London Derby of the season.

[ MORE: Three Four things we learned ]

Sunday’s match at the Emirates Stadium had a bit of everything: reckless tackles, creative playmaking, tremendous saves, and smashed finishes.

Alexandre Lacazette also scored for Arsenal, whose assists came from Nicolas Pepe and Matteo Guendouzi.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen had Spurs goals, with Tottenham heading into the international break with five points. That’s ninth in the Premier League, two behind fifth place Arsenal.


Three big stats (and three things we learned)

    1. Thirteen — Both goalkeepers were very, very good despite the three goals conceded, and Bernd Leno registered seven saves in defeat. Several of the saves, maybe more than half, were of the show-stopping variety.
    2. Sixty-seven — The amount of minutes Arsenal had Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, and Alexandre Lacazette on the bench before the scorer subbed out of the match for Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
    3. Ten — Spurs’ star striker is now the all-time leading scorer in NLD history after his first half penalty gave him 10 goals against the Gunners, and he just missed a second with a rocket off the post near the hour mark.

Man of the Match: Leno.


Aubameyang and Sead Kolasinac teamed up to give Nicolas Pepe the first chance of the match, the Ivorian curling wide from 18 yards.

Eriksen rewarded Mauricio Pochettino when he raced to the back post to pop a rebound into the gaping frame. Harry Kane won a header at midfield and Heung-Min Son did well to produce the play past a sleepy David Luiz. Erik Lamela hit the shot that wound up on Eriksen’s path via Bernd Leno’s save.

Kolasniac then fell down before he could hit a quality cross in the 13th minutes. Nerves were plenty.

Leno then made an insane save on Son’s 18th minute rip to keep the deficit to one.

Son earned a penalty off an insane challenge by Granit Xhaka in the 38th minute, sending Kane to the spot. That’s almost always meant a goal, and it did again.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Hugo Lloris made a pair of fine saves that were overshadowed by Lacazette breaking through the Spurs back line.

He was aided by a sensational bit of creativity from Nicolas Pepe, whose outside of the boot masterpiece allowed Lacazette to blast past Lloris.

Both sides had their chances in a more even second half, and Kane smashed the post in the 59th minute.

Arsenal got its equalizer when Matteo Guendouzi, who put in a spirited shift, sent a swirling cross into the mixer for Aubameyang to redirect past Lloris.

Classy Arsenal beat Burnley

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Arsenal beat Burnley 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday to make it two wins from two to start the new season. It is the first time in 10 years Arsenal have won their opening two games of a Premier League season.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

The Gunners took the lead early on through Alexandre Lacazette but a stubborn Burnley wouldn’t go away and Ashley Barnes equalized in a somewhat fortuitous manner before the break.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored the winner as Dani Ceballos dazzled on his full debut in the Premier League.

Up next for the Gunners is a trip to Liverpool followed by a north London derby against Tottenham. It is then we will see just how good this Gunners side really is.


3 things we learned

1. Ceballos is the real deal: The Spanish midfielder worked so hard defensively and oozed class on the ball. He is the replacement for Aaron Ramsey and was absolutely sensational. If he keeps playing like this, Arsenal may not be able to afford to buy him permanently next summer…

2. Defensive issues remain: There were a few shaky moments at the back for the Gunners. David Luiz‘s first start saw him take a few risks on the ball, while Bernd Leno flapped at a few crosses. Arsenal looked better defensively with Guendouzi in front of the defense, but they are far from being a solid outfit.

3. Burnley were Burnley: Sean Dyche‘s side didn’t have much of the ball but they created dangerous chances from set pieces and as long as they were only one-goal down, they were always a threat.

Man of the Match: Dani Ceballos – He will become a firm fans favorite at the Emirates Stadium. Silky on the ball, the Spaniard dug deep defensively and dictated the tempo of the game. A fine home PL debut for the Real Madrid loanee, who whipped in the corner for Lacazette’s goal and then won the ball back to create Aubameyang’s goal.


Arsenal were rampant early on and after Lacazette’s header was denied by Nick Pope, the French striker wriggled free from the resulting corner and made it 1-0.

Ashley Barnes flashed an effort just wide soon after as Burnley responded well to going behind with several high balls into the Arsenal box causing the Gunners defense problems.

Before the break Ceballos, who was running the show, orchestrated a fine counter attack which ended in Pope denying Matteo Guendouzi. Moments later Burnley were level as Dwight McNeil‘s deflected shot found Barnes and he bundled the ball home under pressure from Guendouzi to equalize against the run of play.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Arsenal thought they’d retaken the lead right on half time but Nacho Monreal was flagged for offside as he pulled the ball back for Reiss Nelson to smash home. VAR checked the decision and no goal was given.

Nicolas Pepe came on at half time as Arsenal cranked through in the second half, with the home side dominating the play and Pope making several saves.

Ceballos, once again, was the heart of their game-winning goal as he won the ball back in a dangerous area and Aubameyang raced towards goal before curling home at the near post.

Reports: Arsenal to spend big for Pepe, Tierney

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If the latest reports are to be believed, Arsenal’s transfer budget is actually much bigger than expected.

In a pair of reports, Arsenal is looking at paying as much as around $120 million in transfer fees to sign Lille attacker Nicolas Pepe and Celtic left back Kieran Tierney. L’equipe states that Arsenal has made a $90 million offer for Pepe, while Sky Sports reports Arsenal has made a bid of $31.4 million to Celtic for Tierney.

[READ: Premier League friendly roundup]

If true, it would certainly be an upgrade at left back for Arsenal. Tierney, at 22-years of age, is one of the top young left backs in Europe and if not for Andy Robertson, would be playing a lot more for the Scotland National Team. Regarding Pepe, he’s had a strong last couple of seasons with Lille, including scoring 22 goals with 11 assists in Ligue 1 last season.

However, Pepe really struggled with the Ivory Coast National Team at the Africa Cup of Nations, perhaps due to exhaustion and a lack of gas in the tank. In addition, his position as a forward and winger isn’t exactly a position of need for the Gunners. Arsenal currently has Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Alex Iwobi, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and even Reiss Nelson.

Last summer, Arsenal was able to bring in the vast majority of its signings by July 11. Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Bernd Leno and Stephan Lichtsteiner all signed early.

This summer, it’s only signed academy players and 18-year-old Gabriel Martinelli so far, with the necessary signings now late to arrive for preseason training. Arsenal certainly needs a replacement for Aaron Ramsey, David Ospina/Petr Cech, and Lichtsteiner.