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Premier League social media wrap: Arsenal’s big gesture, Gray speaks out

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The Premier League and its players’ social media channels continue to get ready for the return of the season while keeping the anti-racism message front and center.

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Arsenal’s players donned special Black Lives Matter-themed shirts on the pitch Wednesday as they trained for June 17’s match against Manchester City.

The squad took a knee at midfield and there were several different slogans on show. Right back Hector Bellerin wore a shirt that read, “I’m not black but I stand with you.” Others said “I Can’t Breathe” or “Silence is Violence.”

Watford striker Andre Gray has been speaking out against racism on his social media platforms for some time.

The Hornets man upped the ante on Wednesday when he posted a photo from a recent protest, masked against coronavirus but marching in the streets.

The quote he shared is from Maya Angelou, pictured on his shirt, and the phrase “renders the present inaccessible” is a powerful one.

 

Sheffield United is celebrating two mainstays’ commitments to the club.

Defensive midfielder Oliver Norwood and longtime scorer Billy Sharp staged a socially-distanced celebration photo after signing new contracts with the club.

Full marks to Blades’ social media team on the emoji caption.

Let’s move onto something lighthearted to close.

Brighton defender Shane Duffy has already made this space for his training ground antics, as the Irishman turned a sprinkler on unwitting teammates.

On Wednesday he retweeted what has to be one of the best fantasy sports related burns you’ll see, as a fan who captained Duffy in fantasy wound up getting a tattoo as a punishment.

Duffy loves it.

Premier League social media wrap: Fuchs’ empty airport experience, Man City birthday party

Premier League social media wrap
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Monday’s wrap-up of the best of Premier League personalities on social media is going to be a bit different.

We’re going to start with a reality check during this brutal coronavirus pandemic.

While the social media wrap is meant to spotlight the fun antics of Premier League players, Christian Fuchs brought us eye-opening video from JFK Airport in New York.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Presumably en route for a return to Leicester, Fuchs took a stroll through the ghostly airport. It’s…. off-putting.

The ePremier League Invitational is back this week for a second go-round, and teams are getting fired up.

Well, sort of.

Watford forward Andre Gray is clearly lacking in confidence ahead of his tournament debut and wants the Hornets faithful to know the score (or dangers of a lopsided one).

On to a different kind of screen…

Newcastle United and Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Rob Elliot was all about that “May the Fourth Be With You” life.

“The Rise of Skywalker” was redemptive in his mind.

Morgan Schneiderlin has his old boss in his thoughts.

Former Southampton manager Ronald Koeman underwent a heart procedure Sunday after a scary incident, and is said to be recovering.

The current Everton midfielder is thinking of the Netherlands manager and praying for the best.

Finally some teammate and mentor-mentee vibes to close out Monday’s wrap.

Man City captain Fernandinho has openly spoke of his duty to get the next generation of players ready, and Brazilian youngster Gabriel Jesus clearly enjoys his relationship with the old man.

Watford, Sheffield United wallow in scoreless draw

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A forgettable draw at Vicarage Road saw Watford and Sheffield United each take a point.

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The visitors move 12th with nine points, while last-place Watford remains winless after eight matches and has three points.


Three things we learned

1. Chances untaken by Hornets…: When your club is playing poorly, even the good things go sour. Roberto Pereyra was a spark plug, and should’ve had Watford up 1-0 inside of 10 minutes when he swept a cross around Tom Heaton and onto the path of Andre Gray. Gray might’ve been proven offside by VAR but it didn’t get that far as the former Burnley man slapped his shot over the bar.

2. …Or anyone for that matter: Between goalkeepers Ben Foster and Dean Henderson, there was a total of five saves. Watford was credited with the only big chances created in the match (three)

3. Norwood the star man: Look to the captain. If anything was going to happen, it seemed like the Blades skipper was going to be the man who got it done. Our Man of the Match, Norwood had 115 touches and completed 88 percent of his passes in the middle of the park. A lackluster Man of the Match? Sure, but it was a lackluster game.


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There were chances for both teams in the early stages — see Point No. 1 above — and Watford was unable to take care of some disorganization from the Blades at the back.

But Sheffield United’s pursuit of a goal seemed more likely to produce something, creative rather than relying on errors from the Hornets.

West Ham hands Watford another home loss as record-signing Haller shines

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West Ham United’s record signing has manager Manuel Pellegrini feeling great and Watford boss Javi Gracia looking over his shoulder.

The Irons took care of Watford 3-1 at Vicarage Road on Saturday, with Sebastien Haller having a role in all three goals during a brace-bagging performance.

[ MORE: How did Pulisic perform v. Norwich?

Watford falls to 0-3, high hopes sincerely grounded having lost to Everton, Brighton and Hove Albion, and now West Ham. Two of those losses came at home, a year after the Hornets remarkable 2018-19 season ended with eight losses at Vicarage Road.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 


Three things we learned

1. Seb’s star show: West Ham United fans will be watching their big center forward closely this season as the club hopes it has its long-sought answer to the center forward position. Haller’s sensational pass helped the Irons earn a third-minute penalty, and he raced to the doorstep to deposit Felipe Anderson‘s second-half cross. After 15 goals and nine assists for Eintracht Frankfurt last season, Haller is every bit the multi-faceted playmaker required for the position. Will he be able to keep it up.

2. Don’t forget Felipe: West Ham’s transfer record holder prior to Haller’s arrival was as electric as ever. The Irons holding onto him this summer may’ve had a little bit of luck involved, but it was also a stroke of genius.

3. Will Hughes the silver blonde lining: The 24-year-old midfielder was very decent in defeat, getting an assist on Andre Gray‘s clinical equalizer before it all went back to poor form for the Hornets.

Man of the match: Haller


Noble’s penalty came after a clearly-fouled Manuel Lanzini launched himself into the air for what was a stonewall foul.

Gerard Deulofeu smashed a shot off the cross bar in the 7th minute after a terrific cross-18 through ball.

West Ham looked wide open in the midfield and allowed Hughes to show a bit of wizardry in cueing up Gray for his well-taken goal.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

The teams continued to battle well for the points in entertaining fashion, and it was West Ham’s all-time transfer buys who delivered the winner.

Anderson‘s cross through traffic met Haller at the back post for a hopeful winner, and Haller later made it two.

Premier League friendlies: Watford beats Bayer, Man Utd over Inter

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Arsenal and Fiorentina are set to kickoff in Charlotte tonight, with the Gunners the last of a bevy of Premier League sides to engage in preseason friendlies this muggy Saturday.

[ MORE: Guardiola hails KDB ]


Girona 1-2 Bournemouth

Juanpe’s late header pushed La Liga’s hosts past Eddie Howe and his 10-man Cherries, playing down after VAR deemed Jack Simpson‘s foul worthy of a sending off. Ryan Fraser scored Bournemouth’s goal, assisted by Jordon Ibe.

Northampton Town 0-4 Sheffield United

Oliver Norwood converted two penalties in an easy win for Chris Wilder in his return to a club he played for and managed.

Fulham 2-1 Brighton and Hove Albion

Pascal Gross scored with an early free kick — a Megan Rapinoe special — but Tom Cairney scored twice after halftime for the Championship side.

Cheltenham Town 1-2 Leicester City

The Foxes collected a second win over a lower league side this week, with Jamie Vardy and Marc Albrighton on the board.

Newcastle United 1-0 West Ham United (Shanghai)

New manager Steve Bruce watched from the crowd as the Magpies made amends for a 4-0 loss to Wolves by blanking West Ham. Jamie Sterry‘s cross for Yoshinori Muto was delightful, and the Japanese striker’s finish was well-taken.

Port Vale 1-3 Burnley; Crewe Alexandra 0-1 Burnley

Chris Wood, Matej Vydra and Robbie Brady scored as the Clarets overcame an early Nick Pope goal to beat Port Vale, but the Premier League side couldn’t do much in a simultaneous friendly at Crewe.

Inter Milan 0-1 Manchester United (Singapore)

Substitute forward Mason Greenwood, just 17, scored the late goal in a match United controlled, outshooting Inter 21-8.

Preston North End 1-3 Southampton

Brace-bagging Danny Ings doesn’t usually have a problem with finish, so passing the ball directly to him is not something we’d recommend to goalkeepers. Jake Vokins also scored for Saints at Deepdale.

Watford 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen (Austria)

Will Hughes and Andre Gray scored as the Hornets collected a win over Champions League competition.

Man City (0-0, 2-3 pens) Wolves (Shanghai)

Rui Patricio was very good over 90 minutes, and stopped City’s first two penalty attempts as Wolves continue to perplex the PL champions.