Pepe Reina

Aston Villa - Arsenal recap
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Aston Villa strikes early, outlasts Arsenal, climbs out of bottom three

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Aston Villa – Arsenal recap: Arsenal’s only route to Europe is the FA Cup and Aston Villa controls its Premier League destiny after Trezeguet fired the hosts to a scrappy 1-0 win at Villa Park on Tuesday.

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Villa’s good day makes Watford’s bad day worse. The Hornets’ 4-0 loss to Man City means they are in the bottom three with minus-27 goal differential to Villa’s minus-26. Bournemouth is three points back of both, also holding a minus-27 GD.

Arsenal’s 53 points means the club cannot finish any higher than eighth. Had Arsenal had won, it would’ve had hope of finishing seventh and guaranteeing a place in Europe. Now it’ll come down to the FA Cup Final.


Three things we learned

1. FA Cup only Arsenal path to Europe: Mikel Arteta’s men held out hope that a late hot run could propel them into the top seven and a place in the Europa League. A win over Liverpool stoked the fire, but Tuesday put it clear out (despite plenty of the ball at Villa Park). Arsenal maxes out at 56 points and can only make the Europa League by beating Chelsea in the FA Cup Final on Aug. 1. What a massive moment that will be for Mikel Arteta as he hopes to recruit reinforcements and convince Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to stick around the Emirates Stadium.

2. Trezeguet only scores big goals: The Egyptian belted a sweet low drive home off a first-half corner kick to give Villa a lead. Trezeguet scored twice in a win over Crystal Palace on July 12 to snap a 10-match league winless run. He also authored the winner against Leicester City in the League Cup semifinal that sent the Villans to Wembley. Not a bad season of moments.

3. Villa comes together in a big way: Dean Smith didn’t celebrate Villa’s goal, much like he remained calm when the Villans went ahead against Everton. His calm demeanor matched the resolute nature of his team once it went ahead. No, it failed to find the insurance goal that would’ve made the night a bit easier to control but the Villans barely wavered despite giving almost 70 percent of the ball. Tyrone Mings wasn’t perfect but he combined with center back partner Ezri Konsa to make 13 clearances and block three shots while holding Arsenal without a shot on target.

Man of the Match

There’s no picking against Trezeguet, who might have the same stature in Birmingham as his namesake does in France.

Aston Villa – Arsenal recap

The most notable early incident saw an injury force Frederic Guibert into the mix in place of Ahmed Elmohamady.

Villa got another massive goal from Trezeguet, the Egyptian at the back to collect a flicked corner kick and smash a screened low shot past Emiliano Martinez on the near post side.

Eddie Nketiah was among the lively Gunners, though Douglas Luiz had another strong performance in handling Arsenal’s attackers over the first 45 minutes.

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Jack Grealish was lively and came close to a rocket goal. He also could’ve had an assist with a brilliant run to send young Keinan Davis into the box. Davis beat Martinez but could not slide his left-footed shot inside the far post.

Hearts were in Villan throats in the 77th when Nicolas Pepe headed a corner kick off the far post but Pepe Reina pulled the bouncing ball off the goal line.

Grealish then found McGinn outside the 18 for a well-hit shot that Martinez parried and Arsenal cleared.

Pogba, Fernandes lead Manchester United over Aston Villa

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Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba are loving life.

Heck, all of Manchester United is feeling mighty good after the Red Devils won yet another game with ease, this one a 3-0 defeat of Aston Villa at Villa Park on Thursday.

[ MORE: Premier League summer schedule ]

Fernandes had a goal and an assist, joining Mason Greenwood and Pogba on the score sheet in a cruise past the relegation-threatened Villans.

United moves six points ahead of sixth-place Wolves and within a point of fourth-place Leicester City. The two sides meet to finish the Premier League season, and the Red Devils will meet Southampton, Crystal Palace, and West Ham before that.

Villa is four points behind safety and still meets Palace, Everton, Arsenal, and West Ham.


Three things we learned

1. Bruno and Pogba unfair: The are systems that will make Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba work a whole lot harder than what’s demanded by Aston Villa, of course, but don’t let that deter you from witnessing the special combination play between the Portuguese midfielder and his World Cup-winning French teammate. Fernandes had a goal and an assist, the latter a training ground routine that Pogba scored with class, and United looks a new team. No team has benefited more from the break than United.

2. He’s got the look: The stories out of the Manchester United training ground have been coming for years and we’re now getting an eyeful of what they’ve been promising about Mason Greenwood. The 18-year-old strikes a ball like it’s his job, or even better like he’s an artisan. Few players on earth possess a way about them that the ball’s path off their foot just looks different. His strike to beat Pepe Reina was absolutely marvelous and we can’t wait to see what he does in the future.

3. Villa through the ugly stretch (hopefully): Dean Smith’s men have tried to escape the drop zone by getting points against a rough stretch of opponents and it has not gone well. Draws against Sheffield United and Newcastle have been joined by losses to Chelsea, Wolves, Liverpool, and now Manchester United. Villa finds itself four points adrift with four opponents to play: Palace, Everton, Arsenal, and West Ham. There are points there. Will Villa take them?

Man of the Match:

Fernandes — The way he won his penalty was unsavory but that doesn’t change his status as the best player on the pitch.

Aston Villa – Manchester United recap

Jack Grealish missed a back-post chance to give the hosts an early lead, as United was a bit uneven over the opening 20 minutes.

VAR helped United to a penalty soon after that, won and converted by Fernandes off Ezri Konsa.

United had a chance to double the lead in the 36th minute when Mason Greenwood got past Douglas Luiz to pump a hard shot saved by Pepe Reina.

Fernandes missed with a bullet header in the 45th minute off a Luke Shaw cross, but United scored just before halftime when Greenwood took an Anthony Martial layoff and blasted a shot past Reina. He has such a sweet stroke.

Pogba made it 3-0 with a tremendous strike in the 58th minute, Fernandes spotting the Frenchman above the arc and Villa giving him ages to address the ball.

Martial smashed the ball off the bottom of the bar at the hour mark, United threatening to put a cartoonish figure on the scoreboard..

Premier League social media wrap: Alexander-Arnold gets quizzed

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Rebecca Lowe’s back with her latest Premier League social media recap, which goes from Eric Cantona showing what he’s still got to Nicolas Otamendi having some fun with laundry and so much more.

Check the video above, then let’s take a spin around the PL this afternoon.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Liverpool’s U-9 team usually gets a party when they commit to the club for the next season.

That wasn’t happening in the social distancing world of the coronavirus pandemic, so the club asked Trent Alexander-Arnold to hold a bit of an AMA with the kids.

The questions and answers were wonderful.

Hard as nails midfielder Philip Billing has been a difference maker at Bournemouth, just as he was during his time at Huddersfield Town.

Apparently not all Terriers would agree with the latter part of that assessment — the comments section says they felt he mailed in the relegation season — and Billing stepped to the Twitter platform to express a bit of disbelief, showing off his strong run of HTAFC hardware.

Soccer is tricky.

Aston Villa goalkeeper Pepe Reina was reminiscing on his starring role for another Premier League club.

Reina backstopped the Reds to a 2006 FA Cup Final win, stopping three penalty kicks on the day.

Liverpool came back from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits against West Ham United thanks to goals from Djibril Cisse and Steven Gerrard, and only one of four shooters beat Reina in kicks (Teddy Sheringham).

Crystal Palace’s Andros Townsend is apparently a killer when it comes to jersey swapping.

The Eagles forward showed off a terrific collection of jerseys, from Yaya Toure to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Harry Kane.

Premier League social media wrap: Mings surprises NHS workers

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Marcus Rashford took to social media to share an emotional story and a generous donation, and many other Premier Leaguers were pretty busy on social media.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Aston Villa center back Tyrone Mings might be an absolute monster on the pitch, but he’s got plenty of time and enthusiasm for helping out.

Mings had a conversation with a pair of England fans who are playing pivotal roles in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The man who plays behind Mings at Villa Park is also trying to help.

Villa goalkeeper Pepe Reina is auctioning off a shirt he wore versus Spain at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Speaking of goalkeepers…

Okay, he’s not a goalkeeper. But maybe Roberto Firmino would make a pretty decent backstop.

Man City playmaker Leroy Sane was looking back at the good ol’ days.

The Schalke product clearly brought style to the futsal pitch and has been technique as a grade schooler than many of us have shown by adulthood.

Let’s close with more training, the theme of Wednesday’s social media wrap.

Leicester City’s Ricardo Pereira sure does like to get creative with both his weight training and pet relationship.

Reina believes he had coronavirus, concerned for general public

Pepe Reina
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Aston Villa goalkeeper Pepe Reina knows his privilege, and worries for those in a worse spot than him in the battle against coronavirus.

For what it’s worth, Reina believes he’s had COVID-19 thanks to a conversation with doctors and that he’s come out the other side.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Reina was sick and said his symptoms matched coronavirus but he wasn’t tested due to the lack of severity of his symptoms.

From Marca:

“It was a different kind of week as I had to take precautions to avoid infecting those living with me.

“We’re privileged people, with a big house and a garden. I’m worried about the people who live in a 70m² flat with two kids.”

Reina has been pretty good since returning to the Premier League on loan from Napoli. He’s made 23 saves including a penalty stop during his six appearances for the Villans, who are 1-1-4 with him on the field including four-consecutive league losses.