Arsenal

Arsenal hits break with five-point Premier League table lead

0 Comments

Martin Odegaard scored a pair of goals to give Arsenal a five-point lead atop the Premier League table following a 2-0 win over Wolves at the Molineux on Saturday.

Arsenal’s 12-1-1 record through 14 matches gives it a five-point lead over Manchester City atop the Premier League table, seven points clear of Newcastle and 14 ahead of fifth-place Manchester United.

WATCH WOLVES vs ARSENAL FULL MATCH REPLAY STREAM

Wolves enter the World Cup break with just 10 points and eight goals, 20th place on the table. That’s four points off 17th.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


What we learned from Wolves vs Arsenal

Odegaard at his clinical best: Martin Odegaard is a technician. Sometimes he’s a team’s metronome. Other times he’s asked to carve open a difficult, tight back line. But the Norwegian has also shown a willingness to fire when ready, and Odegaard’s pair of finishes on Saturday give him six goals through 13 Premier League games this season. That’s one off his PL-best total, set last season, and two off his best-ever league season when he scored eight times with Vitesse Arnhem in the 2018-19 Eredivisie season. He’s about to get a month off to recharge his batteries with Norway’s failure to qualify for the World Cup, and that seems unlikely to be a bad thing for Arsenal.

Wolves not ready for possession: There’s this line from Heath Ledger’s Joker in “The Dark Knight” where he compares himself to a dog chasing cards, “I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it! You know, I just… do things.” That’s what Wolves look like in the final third right now. Wolves had an electric counterattack in the first half that fizzled in almost comical fashion whether a runner wasn’t arriving or arrived at the wrong time or destination. Julen Lopetegui has a lot of interesting pieces for his formal takeover of the squad, and his possession and attacking ideas are going to be paramount to Wolves’ hopes of staying in the Premier League.


Tactical focus

Fabio Vieira slid in for Granit Xhaka after just 16 minutes as the Swiss midfielder reportedly took ill, and brought a different feel to the game as Mikel Arteta’s midfield plan took a turn. Less explosive but just as forward-hopeful, Vieira barely put a foot wrong and helped move Wolves around with his clever runs.


Stars of the Show

Oleksandr Zinchenko

Martin Odegaard

Goncalo Guedes

Gabriel Jesus

Toti Gomes

Fabio Vieira


What’s next?

Arsenal’s off until Boxing Day, when the Gunners reengage their Premier League title chase by hosting West Ham for a London derby.

Wolves will break until hosting Gillingham in the League Cup’s Round of 16 on Dec. 20, then heading to Everton for what will be a relegation six-pointer on Boxing Day.


Martin Odegaard goal videos


How to watch Wolves vs Arsenal live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 9 am ET, Saturday
TV channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com


Key storylines & star players

Arsenal are perhaps a year ahead of schedule by challenging for the Premier League title, but make no mistake they are genuine contenders this season. With just one defeat and one draw in 13 games, only Manchester City have a better goal-scoring record (thanks to the arrival of Erling Haaland), and no one has a better defensive record this season (11 conceded).

As for Wolves, relegation is a genuine fear after winning just two of their first 14 games. Julen Lopetegui is set to take over as new manager after Saturday’s game, with a reliable goal-scorer (or two) the top priority in the January transfer window. Just last weekend, Wolves scored two goals in a game for the first time all season, in a 3-2 defeat to Brighton.


Wolves team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Diego Costa (suspension), Raul Jimenez (groin), Pedro Neto (ankle), Sasa Kalajdzic (torn ACL), Chiquinho (knee), Jonny (undisclosed)

Arsenal team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Emile Smith Rowe (groin), Takehiro Tomiyasu (undisclosed)

Follow @AndyEdMLS

Impressive Arsenal beats Chelsea to regain top spot

5 Comments

Arsenal moved back to the top of the Premier League table with a hard-fought win at London rivals Chelsea.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]  

Gabriel’s second half goal was enough to make it 11 wins from 13 games so far this season, as Mikel Arteta’s side looked dangerous throughout and controlled vast swathes of the game.

Graham Potter’s Chelsea never got going in this game and they’ve now lost back-to-back Premier League games for the first time since December 2020, when Frank Lampard was in charge.

Arsenal’s win (their third-straight at Chelsea) means they are top of the table with 34 points, as they sit 13 points above Chelsea who are seventh.

WATCH FULL MATCH REPLAY


What we learned from Chelsea vs Arsenal

The Gunners are the real deal: This is the kind of game you win if you’re going to be in the title race. On a stormy, wet afternoon in west London, the Gunners showed up. Big time. In previous seasons they would have lost or drawn this game but they stuck to their task, kept the ball well and played with the philosophy and style that Arteta demands. Their belief never wavered and they’re playing with so much confidence right now. They still may not match Manchester City over the course of a 38-game season but the desire, passion and belief of this Arsenal side tells us they will be very close when all is said and done. The stat below sums up their improvement against the big boys this season and remember: they are the youngest team in the Premier League.

Clunky Chelsea need patience: This was a pretty terrible Chelsea display. It was clunky from the start and they never looked comfortable in a 4-3-3 formation. Graham Potter has been hampered by injuries but he has tried pretty much every combination of players and formation at this point. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a terrible time up top against his former team and Chelsea just couldn’t get the ball forward quickly enough to the final third. It is going to take time for Potter to fully implement his playing style. Do Chelsea’s fans, and Todd Boehly, have the patience needed?

Jesus does everything but score: He often has the facial expression of someone who just lost their winning lottery ticket and that tells you how desperate Gabriel Jesus is to succeed. He missed a big chance in the first half but never stopped running and he knits Arsenal’s entire attack together. His runs, flicks and hold-up play gets them up the pitch and even though his drought continues, his importance to this Arsenal team is clear for all to see.


Tactical focus

Graphic via FotMob.com

Arsenal’s 4-2-3-1 was dominant and so too were Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ben White. The two full backs tucked inside and Zinchenko’s return was a huge boost as he pushed in from left back and became the extra man in midfield. That allowed Arsenal to get on the ball further forward quickly and then Ben White on the other flank was often the spare man. It worked so well and Chelsea just couldn’t stop Arsenal getting up the pitch after a few slick passes.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]


Mikel Arteta lauds Arsenal’s performance

“Obviously we wanted to get back to the top but the competition is so difficult. The job, the challenge for us was to come here against a top team in the league and the way we did it – we deserved to win the game,” Arteta told BT Sport.

“For such a young team, the maturity, the composure they showed, the resilience and courage to play how we wanted to play was phenomenal to do it against these kind of players. Winning in this stadium is an extra thing, another step for this team to keep believing they can do it under pressure and against big opponents. The boys are willing and physically capable of doing it, the understanding of times and spaces is getting better every day, they feel comfortable playing these type of games.”

Speaking to the BBC: “What Manchester City are doing is what they’ve been doing for six years, they’re the best team in world, with the best coach in the world. We have taken another step against a really difficult opposition and to convince ourselves we can do it.”

Graham Potter concedes Chelsea ‘lacked quality’

“We played against a team in a really good moment, a confident team and you can see the points they have so credit to them. The boys gave everything, it was huffing and puffing but missed that last bit. The goal was disappointing, but overall they deserved it,” Potter told BT Sport.

“Arsenal are in a good moment and have been working together for a long time with a good understanding of what they want to do. We lacked a bit of quality. The effort was there, we were just beaten by the better team. It was not a great goal from our perspective.


Stars of the show

William Saliba: Dominant defensive display and looks so confidence and composed.

Gabriel Jesus: Ran himself into the ground and even though he didn’t bag his one big chance, was so unselfish.

Thomas Partey: He and Xhaka dominated midfield and the Ghanaian midfielder always looks in control.


What’s next?

Chelsea head to Manchester City on Wednesday, Nov. 9 in the League Cup, then travel to Newcastle in the PL on Saturday, Nov. 12. Arsenal host Brighton on Wednesday, Nov. 9 in the League Cup and Wolves in the league on Nov. 12.


How to watch Chelsea vs Arsenal live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 7am ET, Sunday
TV Channel: USA Network 
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com


Key storylines

Chelsea lost at Brighton last time out and drew against Manchester United in their last home game as Potter’s side are going through a few issues, especially defensively. He continues to rotate his lineup, especially in attack, and despite just one defeat in 11 games it feels like Chelsea are still yet to fully come to life under the talented English coach. As for Arsenal, they are flying with 10 wins from their opening 12 games of the season and Arteta’s youngsters responded superbly after dropping points at Southampton. They battered Nottingham Forest from start to finish last weekend and they will need to replicate that slick attacking display to make the most of the chances they get at Chelsea. The Gunners will be looking for yet another fast start as that has been key to their early-season success and they will be dangerous on the break.


In-form players to keep an eye on

Raheem Sterling scored in the Champions League in midweek and Mason Mount put in a Man of the Match display, while Denis Zakaria scored on his debut and looked very decent in midfield after spending the last few months waiting for his chance. Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard have been superb all season long, while Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey are dominating midfield each week. Everyone is in great form for the Gunners.


Chelsea team news, injuries, lineup

Ben Chilwell suffered a very serious hamstring injury right at the end of their win against Dinamo Zagreb and that is another big blow for the Blues’ defense. He joins Reece James and Wesley Fofana on the sidelines, plus N’Golo Kante is also out with a long-term thigh issue. Kepa Arrizabalaga is also out so Edouard Mendy starts in goal, while Mateo Kovacic is only fit enough for the bench. Thiago Silva, Marc Cucurella and Ruben Loftus-Cheek come back into the starting lineup.


Arsenal team news, injuries, lineup

Emile Smith Rowe is out, while Matt Turner is working his way back to fitness from a groin issue. Mohamed Elneny is back, while Oleksandr Zinchenko returns at left back which is a big boost. At the moment this is a very settled Arsenal lineup and Arteta has Gabriel Jesus up top with Saka (who has shaken off a knock), Martinelli and Odegaard floating around underneath him.



Arsenal clobbers Nottingham Forest; Bukayo Saka injured early

0 Comments

Arsenal hammered Nottingham Forest 5-0 on Sunday at the Emirates Stadium but the big win came at a potentially significant cost.

England and Arsenal star Bukayo Saka subbed off the pitch before the half-hour mark, having assisted Gabriel Martinelli’s opener before going down with an apparent leg injury.

WATCH ARSENAL v NOTTINGHAM FOREST FULL MATCH REPLAY STREAM

Reiss Nelson had a brilliant day in Saka’s place, scoring twice before assisting Thomas Partey. Martin Odegaard also got on the score sheet in front of a joyous home crowd, while Gabriel Jesus had two assists in the win that pushed the Gunners back ahead of Man City for the Premier League lead.

As for Nottingham Forest, the shock upset of Liverpool is gone as is the defensively-sound presence the Tricky Trees had against the Anfield set at the City Ground. Forest sits 20th with nine points, three off 17th place.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]  


What we learned from Arsenal vs Nottingham Forest

Feel-good Nelson flexes depth after Saka injury: Yes, there’s the full nelson, the half-nelson, and now the feel-good Nelson. The Arsenal academy boyhood prodigy would’ve felt his growth slowed by loan stints to Hoffenheim and Feyenoord. Boy will he — and the rest of the world outside of Nottingham — feel good at a brace off the bench. Bukayo Saka’s injury is a major concern should it be anything more than a precautionary sub, but Nelson’s scoring joins previous shows from Eddie Nketiah and a soon-to-return Emile Smith-Rowe as a real flex for Arsenal.

Forest will have more days like this with a lineup like this: Choosing Renan Lodl and Serge Aurier shows that Steve Cooper wanted to attack the Gunners but Neco Williams and Joe Worrall could’ve been used in the Starting XI instead of off the bench (What in the world does Aurier provide Forest is another question). Willy Boly will soon-enough get a look, too, as Forest has plenty of attacking pieces but needs help at the back to hang with top attacks.


Tactical focus

Getting packed-in at the back can limit damage and keep your team in a game at 0-0 or even 1-0, but Nelson’s early second-half goal all but set the stage for the eventual blowout. Doors were, indeed, blown off the barn.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]


Stars of the show

Reiss Nelson

Gabriel Jesus

Thomas Partey

Arsenal vs Nottingham Forest
Gabriel Jesus stats at fotmob.com

What’s next?

Arsenal hosts Zurich on Thursday with its Europa League advancement secured but not seeded, but it will likely worry more about a 7am ET Sunday trip to Chelsea.

Forest hosts Brentford at 11am ET Saturday.


Gabriel Martinelli goal video, Bukayo Saka injury update

Arsenal and England star Bukayo Saka assisted the game’s opening goal with class, but fans of both his club and national team will be concerned about his status coming out of the match.

Saka’s left leg was being cared for by trainers on the pitch before he was replaced by Reiss Nelson on Sunday.

It’s less than a month before the World Cup and Saka is one of the keys to England’s high hopes in Qatar. He walked off the pitch without a major limp but watch this space for Mikel Arteta’s post-match thoughts.


Thomas Partey goal video: Curling smash makes it 4-0


How to watch Arsenal vs Nottingham Forest live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET, Sunday
TV Channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com


Key storylines

All eyes will be on this young Gunners squad to see how they respond to a few small setbacks. They have a two-point lead atop the Premier League table heading into this weekend but with Manchester City playing before them in Matchweek 14, but the time Arsenal kick off against Forest they could be second. Arsenal look a little jaded and susceptible on the counter and they need to take their big chances early to stop any thought of dropping more points. For Forest, they have nothing to lose in this game. Ryan Yates’ industry has summed up the new-look of this side as Forest have become a solid unit and nasty to play against. Also, quite a few of these Forest players played in their FA Cup win against Arsenal in January 2022 as the then second-tier side knocked FA Cup holders Arsenal out of the competition.


In-form players to keep an eye on

Arsenal’s entire team is in good form but Granit Xhaka has been the main man for most of this season. Elsewhere, Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli looked a little tired and have been just off it and that could explain Arsenal’s poor results in their last two games. Yates has been the heartbeat of Forest’s revival, with goalkeeper Dean Henderson playing superbly and Taiwo Awoniyi giving them a real focal point up top.


Arsenal team news, injuries, lineup options

Emile Smith Rowe and Mohamed Elneny remain out, while Oleksandr Zinchenko and Marquinhos are doubts. USMNT goalkeeper Matt Turner suffered a small groin injury in training so 20-year-old Karl Hein is in the 18 at backup goalkeeper. Arsenal left Ben White, Thomas Partey, Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel, and Bukayo Saka out of the starting lineup at PSV and all five return after a rest.


Nottingham Forest team news, injuries, lineup options

Omar Richards, Harry Toffolo, Jack Colback, and Moussa Niakhate all remain out of the lineup. Forest makes one change from the team which performed so well against Liverpool as Cooper has finally found his formula.

 


Arsenal’s Pablo Mari injured in mass stabbing in Italy

0 Comments

One person is dead and Arsenal’s Pablo Mari is among at least four people injured in a mass stabbing at a supermarket in Northern Italy.

Mari, 29, is on loan to Serie A side Monza and Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says the player is hospitalized but “seems to be okay.”

[ MORE: Premier League odds, picks ]

Arsenal said the club was “shocked to hear the dreadful news about the stabbing in Italy,” while Monza CEO Adriano Galliani released the following statement:

“Dear Pablo, we are all here close to you and your family, we love you, keep fighting as you know how to do, you are a warrior and you will get well soon.”

The BBC reports that the deceased is an employee of the super market and that a 46-year-old with “mental health problems” has been detained by police.

Mari has made nine appearances for Monza and scored a goal in an Oct. 9 win over Spezia.

10 things we learned in the Premier League: Week 13

0 Comments

We’ve learned plenty from Week 13 of the 2022-23 Premier League season, and there’s still a match between Hammers and Cherries to entertain us on Monday.

West Ham hosts AFC Bournemouth at 3:15pm ET Monday (Watch live on USA Network and stream online via NBCSports.com), the final act of a weekend that saw a stunning stat.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]

That stat?

Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United, Chelsea, and Liverpool combined for a total of three points between them, as Manchester City was the lone “Big Six” team to pick up all three points.

VIDEO: PL highlights ]

Or is it “Big Seven” now? Read on…

Here’s a look at 10 things that stood out, as our writers Joe Prince-Wright (JPW), Andy Edwards (AE), and Nicholas Mendola (NM) share their observations from across the most recent PL games.

1. Van Dijk misses big chances as Liverpool definitely out of title race (Nottingham Forest 1-0 Liverpool): Virgil van DIjk tried to set up Roberto Firmino in the first half instead of nodding home from six yards out. Late on he was totally unmarked but Dean Henderson saved his header which was straight down the middle of the goal. Of course, Van Dijk is a colossus of a defender but he had Liverpool’s best two chances and squandered them both. That lack of focus when it mattered most has cost Liverpool dearly this season and even if their levels have only dipped about 10 percent, it makes a huge difference for what Klopp demands from them. Klopp said a few weeks ago they were out of the title race and after a few dogged wins it looked like they could be back in it. But this defeat to Forest proves they will not be title contenders this season. (JPW)

2. Newcastle’s in the discussion (Spurs 1-2 Newcastle): There’s a lot of work to be done and a lot of season to be played but there’s very little in the first three months of the season that shows Newcastle cannot be a serious part of the top seven fight and perhaps even compete for a cup. The club is doing it without Jonjo Shelvey having a kick this season until the final moments of this match and with Allan Saint-Maximin missing for some time. And we know there’s a segment of Newcastle fans just happy to see their Premier League status appear safe in October for the first time in years. With Villa, Saints, and Chelsea the final three fixtures before the World Cup, Newcastle should enter the winter break in the mix. (NM)

3. Early goal remains key for Gunners (Southampton 1-1 Arsenal): Arsenal have set the tone early in games all season long, flying out of the traps and scoring early when they’re on top. The rest then usually takes care of itself as Arsenal can sit back and tempt opponents to take more chances to get back in the game. It is clearly something Mikel Arteta is demanding and this young team is full of energy, pace, and excitement. Sometimes the game is as simple as starting fast and then having the right to control the tempo. However, maybe fatigue kicked in Sunday and the Gunners couldn’t get over the line to make it 10 wins out of 11 to start the season. (JPW)

4. Man City not at its best, but Erling Haaland still is… (Man City 3-1 Brighton): When a side has a goalscorer of Erling Haaland’s quality and consistency, they’ll win more games than not even when they turn in a 5/10 or 6/10 performance (by their own standards). That’s the biggest difference between Manchester City this season and in years past. Saturday’s game is one they might have very well drawn a season (or two or three) ago, as they created just a handful of scoring chances and found themselves uncharacteristically out-possessed and out-passed. As for now? They have the undisputed best striker in the world to make the absolute most of those key moments that too often went against Man City before his arrival, and he’s putting up the most gaudy, absurd numbers we’ve ever seen in the Premier League. (AE)

5. Class of Casemiro and Christian Eriksen gives United sturdy foundation (Chelsea 1-1 Man Utd – Player ratings): The experienced duo of Christian Eriksen and Casemiro got Man United off to a fine start at Chelsea as they ticked things over nicely in midfield and gave the visitors a foundation to get something from the game. It wasn’t their fault Antony and Marcus Rashford missed chances. The way Eriksen and Casemiro were so calm under pressure was incredible to watch up close and their movement off the ball makes everything look so easy when they’re on it. And then of course Casemiro had the quality to finish when it mattered most. (JPW)

6. Everton’s loaded midfield delivers as McNeil flashes off the bench (Everton 3-0 Crystal Palace): On a good day for Everton midfielders, Dwight McNeil flashed for Frank Lampard when he entered the fray with the Toffees holding the lead. McNeil drove the ball into Palace territory before working a very stylish 1-2 with Alex Iwobi to round out Saturday’s scoring. It’s a cluttered midfield for Everton now that Frank Lampard’s helped Iwobi to another level, as Amadou Onana (just 21 years old), Idrissa Gana Gueye, McNeil, and James Garner give him a well-stocked cupboard at a position he knows better than most. (NM)

7. Coaching change, positional tweaks propel Villa to huge win (Aston Villa 4-0 Brentford): Sure there will have been emotions after Steven Gerrard was fired by Villa, but credit caretaker boss Aaron Danks for making some lineups moves that may’ve been coming from midweek anyway. Leander Dendoncker was immense in place of John McGinn, and playmaker Emiliano Buendia showed why any of his absences from the Starting XI were questioned by supporters. Ollie Watkins was more of a winger on Sunday and Leon Bailey was splendid on the left. (NM)

8. Finishing continues to betray Marsch, taking Elland Road to full boil– (Leeds 2-3 Fulham): Jesse Marsch has not done what he needs to do to inspire confidence out of Patrick Bamford, it seems, as Leeds’ center forward continues to get himself into position for goals but do anything other than put the ball over the line. Bamford had terrific chances in the 1-0 loss to Arsenal and the 2-0 loss to Leicester City, and he missed a prime chance to put Leeds ahead after coming on for scorer Rodrigo. Bamford was 1v1 with Bernd Leno and was denied by the Fulham keeper, and he later just missed reaching a cross from the right that could’ve given Leeds a late lifeline. Instead, Leeds will face another week of questions about their boss. (NM)

9. Quality strikes prove Leicester’s false position (Wolves 0-4 Leicester City): There is so much quality in this Leicester City side that it has been so surprising to see where they are in the league. Youri Tielemans’ strike was incredible and the movement and finish on Harvey Barnes’ effort was Leicester at its very best. And we all know what James Maddison can do. Leicester can carve opponents apart and now they have confidence back and they’re winning games. That will push them up the table very quickly. (JPW)

10. Kieran Trippier is ideal right back for Newcastle (and post-Reece James England) (Spurs 1-2 Newcastle): Who knows how long this can last — he’s 32 but still runs like a 25-year-old — but right now Kieran Trippier looks the perfect mix of adventure, grit, and wisdom in one right back. Eddie Howe’s general leads from the right side. Right now, he looks the top option for start for England at the World Cup following the injury to Reece James. The ex-Spurs back also highlights everything the club is missing on its right flank, but we’ll leave that for the Tottenham fans to lament. (NM)

Tottenham vs Newcastle
fotmob.com