Stephane Lichtsteiner

Firmino, Liverpool torpedo Arsenal

Leave a comment
  • Arsenal takes early lead
  • Firmino scores two, the second a wonderful solo goal (video)
  • Salah with goal, assist

Liverpool ran roughshod over Arsenal, continuing to buttress its championship credentials behind a Roberto Firmino hat trick and a 5-1 win over the Gunners at Anfield on Saturday.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles put the Gunners ahead after 11 minutes, but the Reds answered four times by half. Firmino scored twice, with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane also netting before the break.

The win gives Liverpool a nine-point lead on second-place Spurs, while Arsenal is two points back of fourth-place Chelsea.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

It was a thrilling first 20 minutes at Anfield, with Arsenal taking a surprise lead off a Virgil Van Dijk giveaway. Maitland-Niles lost his mark and poked a seeing-eye cross from Alex Iwobi past Alisson.

But the Gunners were down one within minutes, both times due to Firmino.

The goals were not equal. His first came when a Mohamed Salah pass made several turns before the hustling Firmino was alone with the loose ball inside the six.

The second came moments later, as the Brazilian made his way through the entire Arsenal defense to beat Leno.

Mane made it 3-1 in the 32nd, blasting a sublime first touch pass from Salah beyond Leno off a long distance pass from Andrew Robertson.

The fourth goal came from Salah, who went down rather easily after slowing his run behind Sokratis. No matter, he capped the Reds’ outstanding half in style from the spot. 4-1. Goodnight, Unai.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Fabinho was denied a bid to make it 5-1 in the 63rd minute when Leno dropped low to make an arm save.

Sokratis then conceded a penalty when Dejan Lovren hit the deck, and Firmino used the penalty spot to complete his hat trick.

Arsenal advances to Europa League knockout rounds

AP Photo/Frank Augstein
Leave a comment

Arsenal’s dull 0-0 draw with Sporting Lisbon was enough to earn a spot in the Europa League knockout rounds, though the Gunners have two fresh injury concerns including a potentially serious ankle ailment for Danny Welbeck.

[ MORE: Chelsea beats BATE ]

The 87th minute saw Sporting’s Jeremy Mathieu pick up a red card for denial of a goal scoring opportunity for a takedown of Aubameyang following a poor back pass.

Qarabag’s 1-0 win at Vorskla Poltava means Arsenal has clinched a berth in the Europa League knockout rounds. Premier League mates Chelsea clinched earlier in the day.

The match cost Arsenal a pair of players, with Danny Welbeck and Stephane Lichtsteiner lifted before the end of the match.

Welbeck’s first half injury was especially distressing, the Arsenal and England striker stretchered off with teammates visibly concerned for the 27-year-old.

Aside from being forced to use Aubameyang in the 30th minute, Unai Emery‘s plan to have some regulars fresh for Sunday’s visit from Wolves went well.

Mesut Ozil, Hector Bellerin, Granit Xhaka, Nacho Monreal and Alexandre Lacazette were not in the 18, while Lucas Torreira and Shkrodan Mustafi were unused subs.

League Cup wrap: Chelsea, Arsenal outlast upset bids

Nick Potts/PA via AP
Leave a comment

Six of eight quarterfinalists’ slots have been earned in the League Cup, with Arsenal and Chelsea each dodging Wednesday upset bids.

[ MORE: PL Player Power Rankings ]

Burton Albion and Bournemouth won Tuesday matches, with Leicester City-Southampton and Man City-Fulham still on the docket.

Chelsea 3-2 Derby County

All the fireworks came in the first half, with the visiting Rams responsible for two goals on each side of the scoreboard. Chelsea loanee Fiyoko Tomori and Richard Keogh both posted own goals that Derby answered through Jack Marriott and Martyn Waghorn.

But Cesc Fabregas deposited a Davide Zappacosta pass into the goal before halftime, and Chelsea survived to reach the quarters.

Marriott’s goal was assisted by another Blues loanee, Mason Mount, as Frank Lampard‘s feverish bid to upset his former club came up just short.

Arsenal 2-1 Blackpool

Stephan Lichtsteiner and Emile Smith-Rowe scored on either side of halftime, but the Gunners did not cruise to the win. Arsenal’s Matteo Guendouzi was sent off in the 56th minute, and Paudie O’Connor scored a 66th minute goal to put the Tangerines back in the mix. O’Connor then saw red himself in the 84th.

West Ham United 1-3 Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs made a statement at the London Stadium, having played Man City just 48 hours prior. Heung-Min Son scored twice, and Fernando Llorente added a 75th minute goal four minutes after Lucas Perez pulled one back for the Irons.

Middlesbrough 1-0 Crystal Palace

Lewis Wing’s goal was enough for Tony Pulis to get one over on his former Premier League employers, as Palace left several big names out of the Starting XI including Wilfried Zaha, Luka Milivojevic, and Patrick Van Aanholt.