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Atletico Madrid 1-0 Arsenal: Costa downs Gunners again, Atleti into Europa League final

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Diego Costa is yet again the scourge of Arsenal, even after having departed the Premier League.

The former Chelsea man bagged the game’s only goal as Atletico Madrid beat Arsenal 1-0 at the Estadio Metropolitano to send the Spanish side through to the Europa League final in Lyon on a 2-1 aggregate score. On the other end, the vaunted Atletico Madrid defense completely stumped Arsenal, leaving them with little to show for their 90 minutes of running in Spain.

Atletico had the best early chance six minutes in as Diego Costa shrugged off Nacho Monreal and shot from a tight angle, but David Ospina got down low to make the save. The Gunners were forced to make a chance moments later as captain Laurent Koscielny went down in a heap with a non-contact injury, holding his ankle and screaming in pain. He was stretchered off and replaced by Calum Chambers, and it was eventually confirmed that he suffered a torn Achilles.

The injury sucked much of the early life out of the game, and it devolved into a physical midfield battle. The rest of the first half was cagey, with Atletico understanding that they only needed to keep the scoreline clean to advance. Meanwhile, the Gunners held nearly 60% of the first-half possession, but produced precious little in front of the Atletico net. Alexandre Lacazette had a half-chance for Arsenal after 25 minutes, but couldn’t pull the trigger.

Down the other end, Atletico had a few small chances. Antoine Griezmann missed by inches on what would have been a stunning strike seven minutes before the half-time whistle. Then, just moments before the half-time whistle, the game snagged its first moment of glory. Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak launched the ball deep down the field, and after a few ping-pong touches, Diego Costa burst forward past Hector Bellerin and grabbed a breakaway opportunity, finishing past Ospina to put Atletico 1-0 up in first-half added time.

Things opened up in the second half with Arsenal still needing a goal, now to force extra time. Their best chances of the second half came on the hour mark as a cross from Mesut Ozil was just out of reach of a stretching Lacazette. Then moments later Granit Xhaka forced a fantastic save by Oblak on a low shot towards the bottom-right corner. Substitute Henrikh Mkhitaryan volleyed towards the net two minutes after coming on but ripped it just inches over the bar.

Costa continued to prove dangerous through the final portion of the game, finding himself on the end of a number of late chances to put the game away. As the game waned, the Gunners had less and less to offer and appeared to be both exhausted and out of ideas. It was all Atletico in the final few minutes, with Fernando Torres coming close and forcing an Ospina save.

Laurent Koscielny suffers torn Achilles in Europa League semis

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Arsenal defender and captain Laurent Koscielny‘s season and World Cup is in serious doubt after the 32-year-old suffered what appeared to be a serious injury in the opening 10 minutes of the Gunners’ Europa League semifinal match against Atletico Madrid in Spain.

Under no contact with the play nowhere close, Koscielny went down in a heap on the pitch grasping his ankle and screaming in pain. Diego Costa, nearby in his striker position, immediately signaled for the bench, as did a number of surrounding players. Koscielny was eventually stretchered off after receiving treatment on the pitch, all the while grimacing and yelling in serious pain.

All initial signs pointed to a torn Achilles, and that was confirmed by Arsenal before the game was even concluded.

The 32-year-old has been nursing an Achilles problem for years after being diagnosed with chronic tendonitis, and it came out last year that he would require daily treatment on his ankle to keep his career alive. “I have some problems,” he said in May of 2017. “Now it is better. I know it is a difficult injury because you need to work every day on this. Every morning I have my treatment for my Achilles and I know I need to do this to the end of my career.”

His current injury will require approximately a six-month recovery period.

Koscielny has not played much of late, with just one Premier League appearance since March 5th, but was on the field for the first leg against Atletico Madrid and was culpable for the visitors’ late goal at the Emirates that changed the course of the matchup. The Frenchman has dipped in form this season after serving as one of the premier defenders in the English top flight for much of his career.

The injury is ill-timed should it be proven as serious, as the World Cup is this summer and Koscielny remains an important part of France’s international squad. Koscielny announced in November that he would be retiring from international duty following this summer’s tournament, and now he has been robbed of his swansong. France does have the depth to deal with a serious injury to Koscielny, as they still have Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Kurt Zouma, and Presnel Kimpembe to fill in at center-back, among others.

Not only does an Achillies injury spell the end of Koscielny’s season and possibly his international career, it could also have serious ramifications on his future at Arsenal. Koscielny, at 32 years old and appearing to be on the decline, could be on thin ice at the Emirates. A new manager is due in next season with the departure of Arsene Wenger, and Koscielny’s contract expires in the summer of 2020. The club could choose to sell the Frenchman this summer, or he could prove on the outside of the squad looking in and eventually come to a mutual agreement to negate the rest of the contract. Much remains to be seen on how the immediate future will play out for Koscielny.

Ramsey hat trick leads Arsenal demolition of Everton

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  • Aubameyang scores 1st Arsenal goal
  • Mkhitaryan sets up Ramsey’s first
  • Ramsey doubles season output
  • Gunners beat Everton 5-2 in reverse fixture

Aaron Ramsey scored a hat trick as Arsenal ran all over Everton in a 5-1 blowout at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Laurent Koscielny also scored for the Gunners, who stay sixth with 45 points.

Everton remains on 31 points, dropping to 10th behind Bournemouth and seven points above the drop zone. Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored for the Toffees.

According to the BBC, Ramsey is the 20th Arsenal player to record a PL hat trick, joining “Henry, Wright, Adebayor, Van Persie, Walcott, K.Campbell, Sanchez, Anelka, Arshavin, Bergkamp, Cazorla, Giroud, Kanu, Ljungberg, Overmars, Parlour, Pennant, Pires, Wiltord.”

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Arsenal was ahead before the clock hit six, with new boy Henrikh Mkhitaryan sliding a ball through the six for Ramsey to pass home.

Given a bit of room from Michael Keane, Mkhitaryan just missed on a laser from 25 yards in the 10th minute.

A corner kick saw Arsenal make it 2-0, as Koscielny’s diving header stopped a debut goal from Aubameyang. Both players had time thanks to lost loanee Eliaquim Mangala‘s marking.

Ramsey made it 3-0 in the 19th minute, his hard shot taking a hard turn off Mangala to defy Pickford’s hopes of a save.

Aubameyang had a chance to lift the lid on the pace with a 32nd minute charge toward goal, but Pickford closed him down.

He did score in the 37th minute, possibly offside, with a tiny chip over a sliding Pickford. And Monreal nodded a ball off the bottom of the cross bar and out as Arsenal attempted to set some recent records.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Everton didn’t quit, to their credit. Well, at least Oumar Niasse didn’t, sliding to put a ball off the post in a characteristic relentless effort.

Substitute Calvert-Lewin did dent the scoreboard for Everton, leaping over Sead Kolasinac to deny Petr Cech a 200th PL clean sheet.

Cech was injured shortly after the concession, and came out of the game for David Ospina.

Ramsey completed his hat trick in the 74th minute, doubling his season output in the Premier League.

AT HALF: Man City, Liverpool lead; Arsenal up 2, down to 10

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Championship Sunday is well underway, and we already have big drama at Anfield and the Emirates Stadium.

Watford 0-4 Manchester City — USA (STREAM)

Vincent Kompany scored early and Sergio Aguero added a pair. Fernandinho also has a goal, and Pep Guardiola‘s bunch is comfortably approaching third place in the Premier League.

Arsenal 2-0 Everton — NBC (STREAM)

Hector Bellerin scored early for the Gunners, but it’s another defender who put the Gunners in jeopardy. Laurent Koscielny has been sent off, meaning he’ll miss the FA Cup Final as well. Welbeck cued up Alexis for a finish in the 28th minute.

Liverpool 1-0 Middlesbrough — NBCSN (STREAM)

The Reds are living in the Boro end, but needed a Georginio Wijnaldum arrow inside Brad Guzan‘s near post in stoppage time to put the Reds ahead.

Burnley 1-1 West Ham United — Oxygen (STREAM)

Sam Vokes and Sofiane Feghouli trade goals with four minutes to leave it level at the break.

Chelsea 1-1 Sunderland — SYFY (STREAM)

Javier Manquillo scored a deflected goal to put the visitors ahead, but Willian equalized for the champs.

Southampton 0-0 Stoke City — E! (STREAM)

Manchester United 2-0 Crystal Palace — CNBC (STREAM)

Twenty-one year-old Josh Harrop scored on debut, and Paul Pogba has also scored as a group of youngsters is battering Sam Allardyce‘s Palace.

Swansea City 0-1 West Bromwich Albion — Esquire (STREAM)

Jonny Evans scored in the 33rd minute to give the Baggies the lead.

Leicester City 0-1 Bournemouth — BRAVO (STREAM)

Junior Stanislas scored in the first minute to put the hosts down with heaps of time remaining at King Power Stadium.

Hull City 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur — MSNBC (STREAM)

Harry Kane has six goals in his last three halves of football after nabbing markers in the 11th and 13th minutes. Dele Alli finished a chance in stoppage time.

Stream Live: Massive North London Derby as Arsenal visits Spurs

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Tottenham can confirm its first finish above rival Arsenal since 1995 as the final North London derby at White Hart Lane begins at 11:30 a.m. ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

The game is important to both sides for more than just the rivalry as well. With a win for Chelsea earlier, Spurs will be focused on the title race as well, needing three points to keep pace. For Arsenal, draws earlier in the day for both Manchester clubs have suddenly opened the door to make a go at the final Champions League place, and a win would leave them just two points adrift.

[ WATCH LIVE: Tottenham vs. Arsenal live online at NBCSports.com ]

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino has left midfield rock Moussa Dembele on the bench due to an ankle injury in last week’s win over Crystal Palace. Danny Rose misses out with a knee injury, leaving Kieran Trippier to start at left-back. Kyle Walker is also left on the bench, leaving Spurs without both first-choice full-backs as Ben Davies starts on the right.

Arsenal gets a boost as Laurent Koscielny is fit to start despite a knee injury picked up against Leicester City last weekend. That’s big as Shkodran Mustafi misses out, leaving Nacho Monreal to play as a member of the back three, with Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin on the bench. The lineup is attacking in nature, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, and Olivier Giroud all on the field to start the game.

The Gunners have won just once in its last eight visits to White Hart Lane in Premier League play, and come into today against a Spurs side that have won twelve straight home games and sit as the only unbeaten Premier League side at home this season.

LINEUPS

Tottenham: Lloris, Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Wanyama, Son, Eriksen, Dele, Kane.
Subs: Vorm, Walker, Wimmer, Dembele, Sissoko, Nkoudou, Janssen.

Arsenal: Cech, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Xhaka, Gibbs, Ozil, Sanchez, Giroud.
Subs: Ospina, Holding, Bellerin, Coquelin, Iwobi, Walcott, Welbeck.