Arsenal 3-0 Stoke City: PKs inspire win

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  • Controversial PK converted by Aubameyang
  • Gabonese striker completes brace, 86′
  • Lacazette scores second Gunners PK
  • Stoke remains in drop zone

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a 75th minute penalty kick and then belted home an emphatic insurance goal as Arsenal beat Stoke City 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Alexandre Lacazette also scored a penalty kick for the Gunners.

The win gives Arsenal 51 points, five more than seventh place Burnley and five less than fifth place Chelsea.

Stoke remains 19th, three points back of 17th place Crystal Palace.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Xherdan Shaqiri threatened from the top of the 18 yard box, but curled his shot across the goal and outside the far post.

For Arsenal, it was all going through an active and armband-wearing Jack Wilshere. He cued up Aaron Ramsey for a blocked shot int he 29th minute. The corner came to nothing.

The second half saw Arsenal find better form as the match neared the hour mark, and Nacho Monreal forced Jack Butland into a low collection.

Shaqiri swept a shot into the arms of David Ospina with 23 minutes to play. The Swiss attacker struck the post with a corner kick moments later.

At the other end, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang joined Alexandre Lacazette in having in-tight shots blocked by the Stoke defense.

Arsenal won its penalty with controversy, as Bruno Martins Indi pushed the ball away from Mesut Ozil before the German hit the deck. It wasn’t a dive, but the referee had a rough angle and awarded a penalty that Aubameyang converted for 1-0.

Badou Ndiaye tried his luck from just outside the arc but swirled the ball around the post in the 82nd.

Butland made another pair of stops in the 85th, but Aubameyang scored off the ensuing corner to salt away all three points.

Stoke gave away another penalty when Ndiaye shouldered Lacazette to the turf in the 88th. Aubameyang deferred to Lacazette for the PK.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Premier League 2016-17 season reviews: M(UFC) to W(est Ham)

Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
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The 2016-17 Premier League season is now over and it is time to look back at how all 20 teams fared over the course of the campaign.

[ MORE: Full 2016-17 season reviews

Below you will find the second half of the PL analyzed (Manchester United to West Ham United), with the first half ably handled by Joe Prince-Wright this morning.

Plus, click on the link above to follow all of ProSoccerTalk’s reviews of the 2016-17 season.

Let’s get to it.


Manchester United

Pogba (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Final position: 6th (Europa League group stage)
Star manPaul Pogba — It’s clear that he’ll never justify his price tag to some critics, but once he found his footing in late Fall there was no turning back for one of the most complete players in the world. Only David De Gea played more minutes for the Red Devils.
The Gaffer: Jose Mourinho — There were typical odd Mourinho moments, and his fixture congestion talk was tiresome, but all-in-all he navigated the Europa League all the way to the final despite an absurd rash of injuries to defenders and long absences for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Juan Mata, and Paul Pogba amongst others.
Mark out of 10: 6/10 – Sixth is no prize for Manchester United, but a win on Wednesday against Ajax may bump this mark up to 7 (perhaps 8 given the injuries).
Season summed up in a word: Patience.


Middlesbrough

Gibson (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Final position: 19th (Relegated)
Star manBen Gibson — The 24-year-old defender played all 3420 Premier League minutes for Boro, and was the most consistent performer on a team that defended like a top half side.
The Gaffer: Aitor Karanka / Steve Agnew — Karanka has a right to feel a bit hard done-by after leading Boro to the Premier League, but he couldn’t orchestrate goals and that is what doomed the Smoggies down to the Championship.
Mark out of 10: 4/10 – Even with relegation, Boro didn’t embarrass itself like their Northeast neighbors Sunderland.
Season summed up in a word: Inoffensive.


Southampton

Romeu (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Final position: 8th
Star man: Oriol RomeuThe hard-nosed tackler with an eye for the smart pass showed us what Barcelona and Chelsea saw in the center midfielder.
The Gaffer: Claude Puel — Not back in Europe, and that’s a disappointment, and seems destined to start next season somewhere else. Is that fair for a League Cup final campaign, one that probably deserved better than a loss?
Mark out of 10: 6/10 – An injury to stellar center back Virgil Van Dijk is likely what kept them from contending with Everton for seventh place. Their Europa League return was decent, and Puel (or whoever) will need to boost the club back into the Top Seven discussion early if he wants to stick around St. Mary’s.
Season summed up in a word: Acceptable.


Stoke City

Martins Indi (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Final position: 13th
Star man: Bruno Martins Indi — The Dutchman was a beast in the back for Stoke, but heads back to Porto this summer unless Mark Hughes can work a sale.
The Gaffer: Mark Hughes — An injury to Geoff Cameron hampered their season, but the Potters stumbled too much given their talent.
Mark out of 10: 3/10 –  There’s a difference between leveling off and dropping off, and Stoke massively underachieved when it comes to taking any sort of step forward.
Season summed up in a word: Underwhelming


Sunderland

Pickford (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Final position: 20th (Relegated)
Star man: Jordan Pickford — The young backstop won’t be long for the Stadium of Light.
The Gaffer: David Moyes — From word one the Scottish boss said his club wasn’t good enough for the league, which sure didn’t help them en route to relegation. Oddly enough, he could’ve been the right man to lead an undermanned rebound to the Championship. Instead, he’s resigned.
Mark out of 10: 1/10 – There was nothing to like from the Northeast, but Jermain Defoe, Didier N’Dong, and Pickford were bright spots.
Season summed up in a word: Moribund.


Swansea City

(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Final position: 15th
Star manGylfi Sigurdsson — The Icelandic star is simply the reason Swans stayed alive long enough to see their season rescued by Clement and Co.
The Gaffer: Francesco Guidolin / Bob Bradley / Paul Clement — Not one of these men were given enough talent to keep the team in the Premier League, so credit to Clement for getting it done.
Mark out of 10: 3/10 – Selling Ashley Williams and not adequately replacing him as a leader or center back could go down as the worst move in a long time.
Season summed up in a word: Fortunate.


Tottenham Hotspur

Kane (Danny Lawson/PA via AP)

Final position: 2nd (Champions League group stage)
Star man: Harry Kane — Two Golden Boots before he’s turned 24, and the latest Englishman to have a deserved comparison to Alan Shearer.
The Gaffer: Mauricio Pochettino — He’s one of the best managers in the world, and Spurs are fortunate to have him.
Mark out of 10: 10/10 – From the development of Dele Alli to the steadiness of their back line, Spurs could be the next dynastic club in the Premier League.
Season summed up in a word: Precipice.


Watford

Capoue (Scott Heavey/PA via AP)

Final position: 17th
Star manEtienne Capoue — Impressed in possession and finishing touch. In some ways he may be like Gylfi Sigurdsson as a player best suited to stand out on a lesser squad than contribute on a well-oiled machine.
The Gaffer: Walter Mazzarri — Like Quique Flores, another Watford manager sent packing by an impatient brand.
Mark out of 10: 6/10 – Avoided the other end of the yo-yo worry.
Season summed up in a word: Alive.


West Bromwich Albion

Foster (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Final position: 10th
Star man: Ben Foster — Saved points for the Baggies on so many occasions.
The Gaffer: Tony Pulis — Yes he was in the running to be Premier League Manager of the Year, but that feels a bit hollow, like honoring a domestic mainstay for talking down his club’s chances and then keeping them from the drop. At some point, like with Stoke, stagnation makes staying alive less impressive.
Mark out of 10: 6/10 – Gareth McAuley, Jonny Evans, and Foster helped defend to the death, but the club dropped off a cliff.
Season summed up in a word: Sated.


West Ham United

Reid (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Final position: 11th
Star man: Winston Reid — The New Zealand captain was a steady presence in a tumultuous season.
The Gaffer: Slaven Bilic — Given the club’s massive aims, this season will be combed through in a fine manner. But the Dimitri Payet saga clobbered the team after the Frenchman welched on his commitment to the club. Bilic deserves another chance.
Mark out of 10: 5/10 – The chairman will want more than this, and he has to get it early this Fall.
Season summed up in a word: Wobbly.


Bruno Martins Indi joins Stoke City on loan with option to buy

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Dutch international defender Bruno Martins Indi has arrived at Stoke City from FC Porto.

[ STREAM: Deadline Day show ]

Martins Indi, 24, has initially signed a season-loan loan deal at Stoke but the Potters have the option of signing him permanently at the end of this season for a reported $11 million fee.

The towering Dutchman usually operates at center back but can also slot in at left back and Mark Hughes was delighted to seal the deal for Martins Indi.

“We have been aware of Bruno for quite some time now, as many other clubs around Europe have been,” Hughes said. “He is a very accomplished defender who has a lot of experience at a very high level, including playing for Holland during their good run at the 2014 World Cup. He is a guy that we feel can come in and make an immediate impression, because he boasts all the attributes needed to perform at the top level of the Premier League.”

[ LIVE: Every Deadline Day deal ] 

Stoke have had a busy Deadline Day with the Potters adding Wilfried Bony on loan from Manchester City and backup goalkeeper Lee Grant on loan from Derby County.

Champions League Wednesday preview: Real Madrid takes next step in defense

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Many neutrals will be hoping for more exciting UEFA Champions League action come Wednesday, and even ardent fans of the teams that played Tuesday have to admit there was a lot left to be desired after a pair of low-action draws.

So can we expect better than what Chelsea, PSG, Shakhtar Donetsk and Bayern Munich gave us on Tuesday?

Almost certainly.

[ MORE: Champions League roundup ]

High-flying Real Madrid heads to Germany to take on Schalke, while sneaky good Porto will head to Switzerland for a first leg against steady Basel. Why should it be better?

FC Basel vs. Porto

For one thing, Porto may not be the club that won it all for Jose Mourinho in 2004, but they have plenty of exciting players on the squad. Granted Group H wasn’t a difficult group, but Porto boasted 16 goals and a plus-12 goal differential. Jackson Martinez has led the way for Porto with five goals, but plenty have chipped in to help. Cameroon’s Vincent Aboubaker, Algeria’s Yachine Brahimi and the Netherlands’ Bruno Martins Indi are players who can make an impact for the Portuguese side.

Basel is a steady side that finished second in Group B, keeping Liverpool from the Round of 16, but claims it won’t sit back against Porto. Fabian Frei and Derlis Gonzalez provide much of the offense for a team that scored just 7 times in the group stage, allowing eight. However that includes a 5-1 loss at Real Madrid and another 1-0 loss versus the reigning champs. Take away Madrid, and Basel has scored six goals, conceding just two. That includes taking four of six points from Liverpool.

Schalke vs. Real Madrid

The hosts are in their fourth-straight Round of 16, but haven’t made the quarterfinals since 2011 when they lost to Manchester United in the semifinal. That said, Schalke was soundly defeated by Real Madrid last season in this round (9-2 on aggregate). Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has three goals in this season’s UCL, but may have to better that over two legs if Schalke wants any hope of upsetting the champs.

Roberto Di Matteo says they’ll have to hope Madrid doesn’t reclaim its form:

Of course we have all seen that Madrid have shown certain weaknesses in the past three or four weeks, so we will focus on capitalising on them. Every team has weaknesses. Nevertheless, they are still a side with very good players.

Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo have lit the UCL on fire so far, with five goals and two assists each. Only three players (Edinson Cavani, Luis Adriano and Lionel Messi) have scored more so far this season. Madrid only conceded a pair of goals in group play, one on the road at Razgrad and another in a 5-1 blowout of Basel. Look for more fireworks here.

ProSoccerTalk’s Top 50 winter transfer targets: #50 – 26

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With the January transfer window now open and in full swing, we take a look at the top targets that could potentially move in the transfer window.

This list is a rough ranking of top players that we are watching the most, and have made noise in reports recently. The rankings are determined by skill, star power, potential impact for a new team, and chance to move in the window.

So who could be on the move? Let’s find out! And stay tuned for numbers 25-1 coming up.

TOP 50 WINTER TRANSFER TARGETS: #50-26

50. Dani Alves (RB)
Current club:
Barcelona            Potential price: Free

49. Fabian Frei (CM)
Current club:
Basel                    Potential price: $6 million
Signed through 2017 at Basel, but he impressed in Champions League matches against Liverpool and he himself claimed LFC may be interested, even though he also said he is “skeptical” of winter transfers in general.

48. Marko Vejinovic (CM)
Current club:
Vitesse Arnhem  Potential price: $8 million

47. Fabian Delph (CM)
Current club:
Aston Villa           Potential price: $4.5 million

46. Peter Crouch (ST)
Current club:
Stoke City            Potential price: $2 million
West Brom and former Crouch boss Tony Pulis wants to sign his favorite long-ball target, but it seems odd as to why Crouch would accept a lateral move (at best) when he’s got a good thing going at Stoke. Unless West Brom pony up the cash, it seems this one is just for the papers. And would management want to pay for a 33-year-old? Crouch is out of contract at the end of the season, but in talks for a new one.

45. Cheick Tiote (DCM)
Current club:
Newcastle            Potential price: $17 million

44. Danny Ings (ST)
Current club:
Burnley                Potential price: $7 million

43. Virgil van Djik (CB)
Current club:
Celtic                     Potential price: $12 million

42. Jozy Altidore (ST)
Current club:
Sunderland           Potential price: $3 million
It’s been U-G-L-Y for Jozy in the Premier League, and it seems like that could come to a merciful end this month. He could benefit from Liverpool’s striker emergency, with Altidore rumored to be a replacement for Divock Origi at Lille if the Belgian youngster does end his loan and come back to LFC. He sure isn’t playing at Sunderland, so a move would be a positive for him, especially out of England.

41. Andrej Kramaric (ST)
Current club:
Dinamo Zagreb     Potential price: $14 million

40. Jay Rodriguez (LW)
Current club:
Southampton         Potential price: $22 million

39. Jermain Defoe (ST)
Current club: Toronto FC         Potential price:
$7 million
Defoe has flown out to London, and while it’s been a complete mystery who’s interested and who’s not, Defoe is very likely to leave MLS for a return to England. He could price a few teams out with wage demands, but he will likely move. Another sticking point for some teams could be loan vs transfer. Toronto wants to sell, while few teams are interested in anything more than a loan this window.

38. Seamus Coleman (RB)
Current club:
Everton                    Potential price: $15 million

37. Mauro Icardi (ST)
Current club:
Inter Milan                     Potential price: $30 million

36. Marek Hamsik (CM)
Current club:
Napoli                         Potential price: $30 million
Hamsik has seriously regressed from his near-world-class form two years ago (82% passing this season, yuck), but he remains a quality chance creator who may just need a change of scenery. However, with news that Hamsik is “happy” at Napoli, it’s unlikely he moves in January. Can Rafa Benitez get Hamsik back to his best, or will he have to leave to attain a return to form?

35. Bruno Martins Indi (CB)
Current club:
Porto                         Potential price: $10 million

34. Mesut Ozil (CAM)
Current club:
Arsenal                      Potential price: $48 million

33. Fabio Coentrao (LB)
Current club:
Real Madrid              Potential price: $22 million

32. Kevin Mirallas (RW)
Current club:
Everton                      Potential price: $17 million
With Everton mightily, could Kevin Mirallas become an all-time traitor and move across town to Liverpool? Reports at the beginning of December said Liverpool made contact with the lightning rod’s agent, but things have gone quiet since. Roberto Martinez also vehemently denied any potential sale, but we all saw how that worked out for Wenger and Podolski…

31. Winston Reid (CB)
Current club:
West Ham                  Potential price: $7 million
The New Zealand captain is a favorite to sign for Arsenal, and while Reid is one of the main reasons why West Ham is near the top of the table, Sam Allardyce has reportedly said he wants to be rid of the 26-year-old. He’s out of contract at the end of the year, and Allardyce did say he’s rejected a lucrative new deal.

30. Christoph Kramer (CB)
Current club:
Borussia Monchengladbach       Potential price: $14 million

29. Guillermo Ochoa (GK)
Current club:
Malaga                         Potential price: $4.5 million

28. Karim Benzema (ST)
Current club:
Real Madrid                Potential price: $45 million
Karim’s in the rumor mill every year, so he has to get a mention, but he’s nice and low on the list because – while he’s supremely talented and would be a program talisman if signed – he’s not going anywhere.

27. Saido Berahino (ST)
Current club:
West Brom                   Potential price: $30 million

26. Thiago Motta (DCM)
Current club:
PSG                                Potential price: $10 million
With his agent claiming he could leave if unwanted, reports that the Brazilian is unhappy with management have been set alight. Although, the 32-year-old’s agent also claimed “he’s not just another old player” soooo……(spoiler alert, he won’t be the only PSG player on this list when it’s all revealed).