Gunners school Fulham on New Year’s Day

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  • Xhaka strikes first, 25′
  • Lacazette caps team goal
  • Kamara pulls one back
  • Ramsey puts it to bed

Arsenal responded to its weekend drubbing by turning the lopsided score line on Fulham with a 4-1 win at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday.

Granit Xhaka, Alexandre Lacazette, Aaron Ramsey and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang all scored for the Gunners, who move two points back of fourth-place Chelsea.

Aboubakar Kamara scored for Fulham, who remain 19th with 14 points.

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Arsenal was on the front foot from Moment No. 1, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was closely-marked by American defender Tim Ream as he popped an Alex Iwobi pass over the goal from close range.

The visitors nearly surprised when Tom Cairney opened up Ryan Sessegnon on the counter attack, but the youngster missed the far post after beating Bernd Leno.

If Sessegnon could’ve scored the first, he should’ve scored the next: Andre Schurrle swept a gorgeous effort around the Arsenal back line but the winger totally missed the ball.

And how often do you see it? The underdogs miss a chance to go ahead, snapping the favorites into life. Xhaka was the man in the middle to push an Iwobi pass beyond the reach of Rico.

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Lacazette made it 2-0 on the business end of a terrific team goal off a throw-in. Aubameyang and Sead Kolasinac were the last two to play the ball en route to the Frenchman for his 56th minute finish.

Jean-Michael Seri cued up Mitrovic for a 69th minute chance, but the Serbian nodded right to Leno.

This time, Fulham responded to the danger by scoring. Kamara got on the end of a Sessegnon cross after Seri stole the ball and set the wheels in motion.

Ramsey restored order with a calm finish into the side netting when a loose ball came his way in the 79th minute.

Rico stayed big to block a 1v1 Aubameyang chip in the 82nd, but was defied when the same striker’s deflected shot hit the back of the net in the 83rd.

VIDEO: Xhaka smashes home incredible free kick

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Granit Xhaka loves to smash a shot in on goal. On Sunday it was no different.

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The makeshift left back drilled home a stunning free kick in the second half to make it 1-1, then ran over to celebrate with his manager Unai Emery.

Take a look at the video below to see Xhaka in full-flow.


UEFA Nations League: Dzeko scores, Finland wins again

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England’s 3-1 win over Spain was the biggest news of the day in UEFA Nations League play, but there was plenty else to take from the action on Monday.

Edin Dzeko bagged a double as Bosnia & Herzegovina defeated Northern Ireland 2-0. The Roma striker robbed Jamal Lewis of the ball in his own defensive third after the defender slipped, and he buried the chance before the defense could regroup. He picked up his second with 17 minutes remaining as Miralem Pjanic completely bypassed the midfield with a fantastic long chip to Dzeko waiting on the left side of the box, and he had an easy finish with the defense trailing the play.

Dzeko’s two goals were two of just five total shots on target between the two sides in an otherwise drab match, as Northern Ireland has just one win in its last six matches.

Finland topped Greece 2-0 for its fifth consecutive clean-sheet win, going ahead on a goal by Pyry Soiri who finished off a messy chance in the box just after halftime as Greece failed to clear. Finland has not conceded a single goal since falling 2-0 to Romania in mid-June, a run of 479 total minutes. The center-back pairing of Joona Toivio and Paulus Arajuuri has started and played every minute of the three UEFA Nations League wins. Midfielder Glen Kamara scored Finland’s second, ending the country’s run of three straight 1-0 victories.

Switzerland held on to beat Iceland 2-1, with Haris Seferovic and Michael Lang on target for the visitors in Reykjavik. The former headed in a perfect far-post cross from Granit Xhaka just after halftime, while Lang finished off a beautiful bit of team play as Seferovic switched play from right to left before it came back in front of net, touching two Swiss players before finding Lang on the doorstep for finish in traffic. Alfred Finnbogason picked up a consolation with nine minutes left but that would wrap things up.

Hungary drew 3-3 with Estonia in a wild match that featured a double from Hoffenheim striker Adam Szalai. The 30-year-old Hungarian bagged a brace on his 50th cap, including his second that rescued a point for his country in the 81st minute after they wasted a 2-1 lead and fell behind 3-2.

Luxembourg topped 10-man San Marino 3-0, grabbing the opener just four minutes in and cruising to the win. Belarus and Moldova drew 0-0 in Minsk as Moldova failed to register a single shot on target despite holding the majority of possession.

Arsenal hold off late Newcastle charge

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  • Ozil scores in 200th Arsenal app
  • Xhaka bags free kick
  • Clark pulls one back
  • Newcastle one point in five

A stoppage time goal had Arsenal on red alert despite a relatively comfortable 90 minutes in a 2-1 win over Newcastle United at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil scored for Arsenal, who moves level on points with sixth place Spurs.

Ciaran Clark nodded in a Yoshinori Muto cross in stoppage time to give the Magpies extremely late hope, but Newcastle remains in the drop zone after playing four of their first five against Top Four contenders.

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A big error from a slipping Shkrodan Mustafi forced Sokratis into a good intervention after Jacob Murphy pushed his chance a bit too hard.

Newcastle had to remove injured captain Jamaal Lascelles for Ciaran Clark at the break. Would Arsenal take advantage?

It was Newcastle’s other center back, Federico Fernandez, who allowed Arsenal to score its opener. Xhaka lashed a bending free kick past a flying Martin Dubravka. 1-0.

Xhaka’s long cross led a shot blocked into the path of Ozil, who did not miss.

Petr Cech didn’t have to make a save until the 88th minute, pushing a Joselu header over the goal.

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FIFA fines Xhaka, Shaqiri, Lichtsteiner for goal celebrations

AP Photo/Antonio Calanni
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MOSCOW (AP) — FIFA has fined three Switzerland players for making hand gestures of an Albanian national symbol to celebrate World Cup goals against Serbia, and cleared them to continue playing.

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Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri received a warning and a fine of $10,100 for unsporting behavior, in a judgment Monday by FIFA’s disciplinary panel.

Switzerland captain Stephan Lichtsteiner was warned and fined $5,050.

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The FIFA judges had the power to impose two-match bans if the actions of the players in a 2-1 win last Friday in Kaliningrad were judged to have provoked the general public.

Xhaka and Shaqiri made hand gestures of a two-headed eagle after scoring second-half goals, and Lichtsteiner joined in the celebration.