Reiss Nelson

Arsenal stuns Liverpool to end 100-point dream

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Liverpool will not become the second Premier League team to post a 100-point season following a 2-1 loss to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.

Alexandre Lacazette had a goal and an assist as Arsenal capitalized on atypical errors from two of Liverpool’s brightest.

Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker gave away the ball deep in Liverpool territory after the Reds had opened up a 1-0 lead through Sadio Mane.

[ MORE: Premier League summer schedule ]

Liverpool now maxes out at 99 points if it beats Chelsea and Newcastle to complete its championship season.

The Gunners move onto 53 points, three back of sixth place and six back of the top four. Arsenal hosts Man City in an FA Cup semifinal on Saturday.

Liverpool can no longer meet Man City’s record of 100 points in a Premier League season, the Reds looking like the latest early clincher to lose their intensity.

ARSENAL – LIVERPOOL FULL MATCH REPLAY


Three things we learned

1. Intensity replicated is difficult: Jurgen Klopp bristled in a big way when reporters asked him about Liverpool’s mentality following a whooping at the hands of Man City days after winning the Premier League. It would be difficult for him to say there’s any other reason his Reds have failed to keep up their historic pace following the completion of their massive goals. There’s not too much wrong with that either, by the way, when you consider how much was poured into chasing City last year and roaring through this season. And that’s before the effects of a global pandemic.

Liverpool won the league with seven matches to play. Here’s how their finish resembles the four teams to share the previous record of clinching with five to go.

Everton 1984-85: 2W-3L
Man Utd 1907-08: 1W-2L-2D
Man Utd 2000-01: 1W-1D-3L
Man City 2017-18: 4W-1D
Liverpool 2019-20: 2W-1D-2L (two matches remaining)

2. Mikel’s glorious ‘oops’ win: Arsenal worked really hard to get its points and Mikel Arteta will rightly hang his hat on a win over the champions, but he’ll also have a chuckle considering he was clearly choosing his lineup to rest up for the weekend’s FA Cup semifinal against old pals Man City. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came off the bench, where Dani Ceballos and Hector Bellerin also started the day. Arsenal is deep enough to challenge anyone on a given day

3. Defense matters: For all the hope Arsenal’s engendered with the offensive fireworks of Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Bukayo Saka, and the like, what Arteta’s done with his defensive shape and organization has been key to providing optimism regarding his project. The marking on Liverpool’s opener wasn’t great but this is Liverpool nonetheless and chances are going to come their way. The Leicester City draw and Spurs loss following what felt like a momentous win over Wolves asked questions of Arteta. Wednesday was a fine response.

Man of the Match

Lacazette’s goal and an assist make him an easy mention, but Martinez’s eight-save day was a good one. He had an early mistake but the 27-year-old Argentine made four of his stops from inside the box. Not bad.


Arsenal – Liverpool recap

The Reds got on the board after a lengthy feeling out period that saw the visitors in relative control when Mane belted home from close range in the 20th.

Andrew Robertson cut back for the Senegalese scorer as Arsenal fell asleep at the back.

A rare error from Van Dijk gave the lead right back. Hassled by Reiss Nelson, the Dutchman made a poor pass back to Alisson Becker that Lacazette stole to make it 1-1.

The Reds then allowed a second goal when Nelson lashed past Alisson from close range after Lacazette stole the keeper’s goofy clearing attempt. It’s Nelson’s first PL goal.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Liverpool looked ready to tie the game in the 54th when Trent Alexander-Arnold slid the ball to Mohamed Salah outside the six.

The Egyptian used quick feet to move around David Luiz and shoot but Martinez poked it over the bar.

Substitute Takumi Minamino saw a 63rd minute shot deflect off David Luiz and wide of Martinez’s far post.

Salah hit a free but tame header to Martinez off a Mane cross in the 70th minute.

Arsenal did an effective job of keeping the Reds outside the danger areas in fighting for the final whistle, which came after one lost incredible stop from Martinez.

Arsenal handles Portsmouth to advance in FA Cup

Arsenal
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Arsenal clinched the first spot in the quarterfinals of the 2020 FA Cup with a 2-0 victory over Portsmouth at Fratton Park on Monday.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Eddie Nketiah scored for the Gunners, whose 13 tournament titles are the most in the history of the competition.

Arsenal hosts West Ham United on Saturday.


Three things we learned

1. Gunners steady despite Europa ouster: Arsenal’s home disappointment to Olympiacos in the Europa League last week might’ve been its only hope of Champions League football. There was plenty of focus on how the Gunners would react, even given substandard competition, and Mikel Arteta‘s men did well enough. Seventy-five percent of the ball and only one big chance allowed show a real professional win, even if their attackers’ finishing deprived them of a blowout score line.

2. Pablo Mari makes solid first impression: Arsenal’s January addition took some time to get up to speed because Flamengo was out-of-season when he arrived from Brazil. The towering former Man City center back didn’t have a ton to do and was credited with 100 touches, five clearances, three blocks, 89 percent passing, and a quality 12-of-16 connection on long balls. Promising, albeit against a League One side.

3. Torreira injured: Lucas Torreira needed to be removed from the match with a lowe leg injury after tangling legs with Pompey’s James Bolton. A trainer was shown holding his ankle in place and Dani Ceballos took his place, though reports said he did not require a hospital visit. Torreira has played in all but three of Arsenal’s Premier League matches this season.

Man of the Match: Martinelli was clever and Mari’s strong debut adds sentimentality to the shout, but Sokratis was probably the Gunners’ top player.


Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli drove the end line to cut back for Eddie Nketiah but the chance resulted in a corner.

The Gunners went ahead when Reiss Nelson crossed into the traffic from the right flank and Sokratis burst onto the ball to smash home.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Pompey had some good moments in the latter stages of the first half, and would’ve been content to be down one.

Arsenal made it 2-0 with the help of some poor defending, Nketiah running onto a cross and keeping his cool as the ball bobbled in traffic.

FA Cup: Arsenal survive Leeds scare thanks to Nelson goal

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Arsenal are through to the fourth round of the FA Cup, barely, after surviving a noble effort from EFL Championship leaders Leeds United at the Emirates Stadium on Monday.

[ MORE: Full results from FA Cup 4th round draw ]

For 45 minutes, the Gunners were the second-best side, by some distance. The performance was so dire that defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos reportedly gestured to the crowd to calm down and ease off their criticisms moments before halftime. Manager Mikel Arteta “shouted a lot” at halftime, according to forward Alexandre Lacazette, and everything changed in the second half.

20-year-old Reiss Nelson scored the game’s only goal in the 55th minute. It came in somewhat fortunate circumstance as Nelson got on the end of a touch by Nicolas Pepe, and goalkeeper Illan Meslier couldn’t keep hold of the ball after making the initial save.

[ MORE: Tottenham end racism investigation due to lack of evidence ]

Leeds out-shot Arsenal by a margin of 14-3 in the first, before the Gunners roared to life in the final 45 minutes and dominated the second period by an 11-3 tally.

Following the fourth-round draw earlier on Monday, Arsenal will be away to fellow Premier League side Bournemouth in the fourth round on the weekend beginning Jan 24.

League Cup: Spurs shocked by Colchester United; Saints win derby

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A fierce derby returned after years away, and a League Two side outlasted a Champions League finalist while another fourth-tier entrant clinched a spot in the Round of 16 as well.

[ MORE: JPW at Fratton Park ]

The League Cup delivered the goods on Tuesday.

Colchester United 0-0 (4-3, penalties) Tottenham Hotspur

Lucas Moura smashed the cross bar with Spurs’ fifth penalty kick, and Paulo Gazzaniga couldn’t get to Tom Lapslie’s effort as the U’s advanced to the fourth round and supporters stormed the pitch.

Dean Gerkin stopped Christian Eriksen‘s opening penalty kick to start the extra set, but Jevani Brown’s miss leveled things in the third round.

Spurs were the better side by far despite a lineup with two regular starters in Davinson Sanchez and Dele Alli, as Spurs lined up: Gazzaniga, Walker-Peters, Sanchez, Tanganga, Davies, Dier, Wanyama, Skipp, Dele, Lucas, and Parrott.

The U’s had not attempted a shot by the hour mark, with Spurs taking a dozen. It was a departure from their defeat of Crystal Palace in the last round, when they went hit for hit with the Premier League mainstays and emerged with a win in penalties.

Courtney Senior was a bright spot for the U’s, lashing a shot wide in the 89th.

Portsmouth 0-4 Southampton

This is certainly one of Danny Ings‘ favorite memories since returning home to the South Coast, as the Winchester-born striker scored twice in the first half to give Saints a halftime lead in the first South Coast Derby match in close to a decade.

The game, like most between the heated rivals, was a busy one, as Kenny Jackett’s League One side Pompey punched above their weight and even out-attempted the visitors for some time. But Cedric Soares and Nathan Redmond scored late as Saints outlasted Pompey’s adrenaline to assert their class.

Preston North End 0-3 Manchester City

There was no doubt about this one, though the Championship side put up a better fight than Watford at the weekend.

And to be fair to Watford, City started a much weakened lineup. Seventeen-year-old Taylor Harwood-Bellis started, and mostly impressed, alongside fellow teen Eric Garcia.

Garcia assisted Raheem Sterling on the opener, with Sterling in turn setting up Gabriel Jesus for 2-0. An own goal made it 3-0 before halftime.

Elsewhere

Arsenal 5-0 Nottingham Forest – Gabriel Martinelli scored his first two Arsenal goals, while Emile Smith-Rowe was stretchered off after apparent head injury. Rob Holding, Joe Willock, and Reiss Nelson also scored as Kieran Tierney made his Gunners debut in the shutout.

Crawley Town 1-1 (5-3, penalties) Stoke City – Goals traded in first half as Potters go down to 10 men in 61st minute. Stoke goal scorer Sam Vokes cracked the side’s first penalty off the bar,

Luton Town 0-4 Leicester City – Pretty easy for the Foxes, who rested most of its main men for a Premier League date with Newcastle United. James Justin scores in return to hometown club. Demarai Gray was at the double while Youri Tielemans also scored.

Watford 2-1 Swansea City – Danny Welbeck gets first Hornets goal, but Watford needed a late goal from Roberto Pereyra to push past Swans.435

Sheffield Wednesday 0-2 Everton – Two early goals from Dominic Calvert-Lewin quickly put upset hopes to bed as Marco Silva gets some relief.

10 players set for breakout seasons in 2019-20 PL

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Every season, a handful of previously unknown — or even unexpected — players turn in performances of the highest quality and find themselves being talked about as the Premier League’s latest “breakout player.”

This will undoubtedly be the case again in 2019-20, but will it be? Here are 10 players primed to reach new heights over the next 10 months…

[ MORE: 2 days to go until new PL season: Is it a 2-horse race again? ]

Miguel Almiron, Newcastle United — Here’s the thing about the former Atlanta United star: he can really play. It didn’t take long for the Paraguayan to flash his skill and promise after moving to Newcastle last January. Now, try to imagine what he can do with a full offseason and preseason under his belt… if only the departure of Rafa Benitez doesn’t derail this freight train.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Mason Mount, Chelsea — With the Blues suffering through a two-window transfer ban, new manager Frank Lampard will have no choice but to rely upon a handful of academy players, beginning with the 20-year-old midfielder with whom he worked at Derby County last season. Eight goals and five assists in a solid haul for a teenager, and Mount has made the most of his every chance this preseason.

Reiss Nelson, Arsenal — After a season on loan at Hoffenheim (seven goals), Nelson faces an uphill battle for playing time in a thoroughly stacked Arsenal attack, but he’s got the complete package, plus the versatility, required to force his way into regular minutes.

Lloyd Kelly, Bournemouth — Smart clubs in the PL’s bottom half will have done extensive scouting on EFL Championship players ready to make the jump to England’s top flight, only to be held back by employment at a smaller club. Lloyd Kelly can play left back and center back, and he was outstanding for Bristol City last season. He’s one of a few potential answers to the question “who’ll be the next $60-million British defender?”

(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/WBA FC via Getty Images)

Max Aarons, Norwich City — How does a PFA Championship Team of the Year, EFL Team of the Season and EFL Player of the Year campaign sound for a potential breakout star? Norwich City’s Max Aarons achieved all of the above last season, at the age of 18 and 19, in his first season as a professional.

Morgan Gibbs-White, Wolverhampton Wanderers — The same age as Aarons, Gibbs-White is already a seasoned professional with three seasons under his belt. Now that Wolves are on the path to the Europa League group stage, Nuno Espirito Santo will be forced to rotate his team far more than last season, and he undoubtedly find that Gibbs-White is a handy option in midfield.

Moise Kean, Everton — Kean is fairly well known among those who follow the rest of Europe somewhat closely, but PL-only fans are in for a real treat when the 19-year-old Italian attacker gets his feet under him at Goodison Park.

Youri Tielemans, Leicester City — How Tielemans tumbled this far down the transfer pyramid (all due respect to Leicester, of course) is truly a mystery. It’s not as though he was unknown in any way, or that he’s untested in the PL (he spent the second half of last season on loan to the Foxes), or that any number of PL club could have used a midfielder of his caliber.

(Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City via Getty Images)

Declan Rice, West Ham United — Sure, Rice announced himself onto the PL stage last season, but 2019-20 feels like the time when he’ll go from “good young player” to “how much will Man City or Liverpool or Man United have to pay for him next summer?” West Ham being more consistent as a team and pushing for top-seven wouldn’t hurt Rice’s stock one bit.

Phil Foden, Manchester City — Is this the year Foden finally pushes his way into Pep Guardiola‘s regular rotation? We’ve been waiting for him to do so for two seasons now, yet he won’t turn 20 years old until after the 2019-20 season ends. Central midfield is still relatively thin at Man City, though that hasn’t stopped Guardiola from refusing to rotate and give Foden chances in the past.