Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Arsenal - Leicester City recap
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Aubameyang, Vardy score in Arsenal-Leicester draw

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Premier League Golden Boot leaders Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Jamie Vardy both scored as 10-man Arsenal held on to draw Leicester City 1-1 at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday.

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Eddie Nketiah was sent off with 15 minutes to play for Arsenal, giving the Foxes a chance to fight back after Aubameyang scored his 20th of the PL season.

Vardy poked home his 22nd with five minutes to play, giving Leicester 59 points and keeping them a point back of third-place Chelsea.

The Foxes have a four-point lead on fifth-place Manchester United and are six clear of Wolves, but have played one more match than both.


Three things we learned

1. Aubameyang, Vardy pace league: Aubameyang’s first-half goal was his 20th of the season and moved him within one Jamie Vardy’s Premier League lead only to see the Leicester City hit man regain his 2-goal advantage late.

For those wondering the ways home for both players, Arsenal finishes with Spurs, Liverpool, Aston Villa, and Watford. Leicester will finish the season with Bournemouth, Sheffield United, Tottenham, and Manchester United. It’s going to be tight.

2. Schmeichel remains underpraised: Remember those years ago when Leicester made its big charge and it was simply a fun note that its goalkeeper was the son of Premier League royalty? Well, Kasper might not have the EURO title or collection of PL crowns his father amassed, but he’s an incredible goalkeeper. The Dane made five stops before halftime and another great move to thwart a David Luiz free kick after the break.

Leicester can count its lucky stars he’s been there to bail them out a few times this season. His 12 clean sheets are one off the Golden Glove race and his 86 saves tops amongst top four contenders.

3. Vardy equalizer defies offside: VAR did the right thing when it comes to super fine margins. Vardy wasn’t onside when he started his run to meet the late equalizer, but he was a shade off if Ayoze Perez’s flailing boot got a piece of the ball. The cameras couldn’t tell for sure, and the call rightly stood.

Man of the Match

Schmeichel — Arsenal’s subbing all of its stars at the hour mark if the Dane doesn’t stand on his head in the first half.


Arsenal – Leicester City recap

Emiliano Martinez was busy early and made no better play than his leg save on a Kelechi Iheanacho shot that came through a sea of bodies and Shkrodan Mustafi’s legs.

The Gunners went ahead when Dani Ceballos played an exquisite long pass to Bukayo Saka behind the line, the teenager sweeping across for Aubameyang to finish. The term “inch-perfect” comes to mind.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Schmeichel made a tremendous point-blank save on Alexandre Lacazette to keep it 1-0 before impressing with another stop on Hector Bellerin within 30 seconds.

Both teams had goals ruled offside by the linesman, Lacazette’s 69th minute hit one that could’ve put the rain-drenched tie to bed.

The Gunners looked prepared to outduel Leicester but handed a chance back to the Foxes when Eddie Nketiah’s dangerous high challenge was reviewed by VAR.

Vardy was offside when he fired into the outside of the net in the 80th minute but he got his goal four minutes later when he charged over a sliding Shkrodan Mustafi to score his 22nd of the season.

Arsenal beats Wolves to strengthen European hopes

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Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette scored as Arsenal closed ground on the top five with a gritty and complete 2-0 win over Wolves at the Molineux on Saturday.

WOLVES – ARSENAL FULL MATCH REPLAY

Mikel Arteta’s project looks to be going well as Arsenal moves seventh with 49 points, three back of Wolves and four clear of rivals Spurs, who have a match-in-hand.

Wolves saw a four-match clean sheet run spoiled by Saka’s first-half goal. The sixth-place Wolves lose ground in the battle for a top four place and now sit two points behind Chelsea, who plays later Saturday. They are three back of Manchester United and six behind Leicester City.


Three things we learned

1. Arsenal begins gauntlet with promise: The Gunners need wins, not draws, if they want to creep up the table and into the European places by season’s end. Saturday was the first of three chances to take three points from a team it’s chasing, with a visit from Leicester City coming Tuesday before July 12’s North London Derby at Spurs. A team they won’t catch, Liverpool, follows so… get those points now and get your form sorted.

2. Saka celebrates new deal in style: Arsenal’s 18-year-old wonder worker on the left side came from the right to score his first Premier League goal. Kieran Tierney’s deflected cross gave Saka a chance to show his technique, and that left-footed side volley oozed the good stuff. Saka now has four goals and 10 assists in all competitions, and does not turn 19 until Sept. 5.

3. Wolves falter: Raul Jimenez was fine, which is substandard from his usual prowess, while Adama Traore didn’t do much after a lively start up top. Injections of Diogo Jota and Pedro Neto yielded little as you’d call this a certified dud. When Conor Coady is getting cooked, you know something’s not right.

Man of the Match

The best player on the pitch for either team might have been Ruben Neves. Wolves’ Portuguese midfielder had a goal-mouth clearance and sprayed long balls around the field as if he was four yards, not 40 away from his target.


Wolves – Arsenal recap

The first half did not live up to the billing of two offense-first teams, although Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah came close after the half-hour mark.

The best chance at the other saw a hesitant Raul Jimenez trouble Wolves’ promising rush into the 18.

Adama Traore drew a dangerous free kick off Sead Kolasinac that led to nothing as the match neared halftime.

It was Saka who stroked Arsenal in front in the 43rd minute, celebrating his new contract with a terrific left-footed side volley after Kieran Tierney’s cross was deflected into his path.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Traore came close for Wolves after the hour mark but Arsenal was staunch in its final third.

Arsenal got its second when Lacazette roasted Conor Coady with a slick first touch of Joe Willock’s pass as the Gunners needed a half-dozen moves to produce a goal from a David Luiz-won header at midfield.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang nearly had Willock on the board with a third Arsenal goal after Lacazette keyed a move in the final third, but Ruben Neves cleared the shot off the line.

Arteta praises Xhaka; Manager, Aubameyang talk contract

Aubameyang contract
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There was a time not too long ago that Granit Xhaka looked set for any club but Arsenal.

The Swiss midfielder had to turn in his captain’s armband after reacting poorly to fan jeers, and the 27-year-old missed three-straight matches.

Mikel Arteta saw something in the midfielder, who had been pivotal to Unai Emery’s plans before the coaching change and incident versus Palace, and implored him to reject Hertha Berlin and Newcastle United interest during the January transfer window.

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Xhaka did just that and has become pivotal to Arsenal’s season resurgence. Arteta explained what he loves about the midfielder, who received the captain’s armband from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after the striker subbed out of Wednesday’s 4-0 defeat of Norwich City.

From Football.London:

“His commitment goes beyond anything normal. He’s a great example the way he lives this possession. I’m really happy we convinced him to stay and learn from the mistake he made.”

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

So it would appear Xhaka’s future is secure and Bukayo Saka has signed a new deal.

Now what about Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang?

“I’m really happy that Bukayo signed,” Aubameyang said after his two-goal game moved him into a tie for the Golden Boot race lead. “We’ll see. We’ll talk with the club and see what happens. I’m really focused on the games. Since Mikel is in we’re doing well. We’re working well. We have signs we’re improving.”

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Arteta says he’s leaving Aubameyang’s fate to the board of directors, though the Spaniard has long underlined the striker’s importance.

“The way he works every day he decided to get better,” Arteta said. “Hopefully he’s here for longer. He can see what we are trying to do and hopefully he can evolve.”

He later added, “Auba knows really well my thoughts towards him, the project I want to create and that I want him in that. I am positive and I will remain positive but things have to progress.”

Aubameyang becomes fastest Arsenal player to 50 (video)

Aubameyang goal video
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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang reached an Arsenal milestone in fast and hilarious fashion.

The free-scoring Gabonese striker is now the fastest player in Arsenal history to score 50 goals in the Premier League after the opener in the Gunners’ Wednesday visit from Norwich City.

He’d add an assist and Goal No. 51 before it was all said and done, pulling into a tie with Jamie Vardy for the PL Golden Boot.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

Normally steady Norwich City goalkeeper Tim Krul lost his mind with the ball high in the 18, allowing Aubameyang to pounce and fire home.

It’s his first goal in five PL matches and 18th of the league campaign. He also has 21 goals in 36 matches this season.

Aubameyang’s also on the board with his fourth assist of the season.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

 

Premier League Golden Boot race

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Will England have a new name on an illustrious list when the Premier League Golden Boot race is run next month?

Every winner since the 2014-15 season is still within a rich vein of form from renewed acquaintances. with the honor, but six of the league’s top ten scorers would be first time top dogs on the PL season goals list.

[ MORE: Werner to Chelsea official ]

That includes the leader, Jamie Vardy. The next three names on the list are Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mohamed Salah, and Sergio Aguero, and they all have a Golden Boot in their lockers.


Jamie Vardy, Leicester City (19)

As Vardy goes, so do the Foxes. He scored at least one goal in every match of Leicester’s eight-match winning streak this fall but his brace against Villa on March 9 was his lone appearance on the dance card since the calendar turned to 2020. Four of Vardy’s goals have been penalties, so he’s got that going for him if the VAR is kind to Leicester.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal (17)

Aubameyang isn’t having his best year, no doubt down to some inconsistency from his playing partners. Arsenal still faces three of four PL clubs to have conceded 50 or more goals this season.

Mohammed Salah, Liverpool, and Sergio Aguero, Man City (16)

Aguero has won this award before and he’s among the favorites to do it again given he’s three goals from the top despite playing at least 800 fewer minutes then the men level or ahead of him.

Throw in the fact that City’s 76 expected goals are 14 higher than the field and you’ve got the recipe for something special. Aguero and teammate Gabriel Jesus are the runaway leaders for xG/90 amongst qualified players.

Salah’s been very good since the start of December, scoring 10 of his goals and adding three assists in that span. He’s the league leader in expected goals (15.54) just ahead of snakebit teammate Roberto Firmino (15.49 xG, 8 goals).

Danny Ings, Southampton (15)

Like Vardy, it would be silly to rule out the clear target man for a Premier League club. Ings has only scored once in his last seven as Saints hit a rough patch before the coronavirus pause, but maybe time’s healed his form.

Marcus Rashford, Man Utd, and Sadio Mane, Liverpool (14)

Rashford has been a monster when healthy and trails only Aguero and Jesus in xG per game. He’s also United’s penalty taker so there’s that.

Mane’s a powerful force but he’s also in the business of sharing goals at Liverpool. It’s difficult to project him winning the Premier League Golden Boot race.

The field (13 or fewer)

13 goals
Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Everton
Raul Jimenez, Wolves
Tammy Abraham, Chelsea

12 goals
Raheem Sterling, Man City

11 goals
Anthony Martial, Man Utd
Chris Wood, Burnley
Harry Kane, Spurs
Teemu Pukki, Norwich City

10. goals
Gabriel Jesus, Man City
Richarlison, Everton