Saka sparkles as Arsenal opens EPL season with win. Brighton routs newcomer Luton
Arsenal wingers Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka have lit up the opening Saturday of the Premier League season with an audacious assist and a curling long-range strike that helped the team start the campaign with a 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest.
Guardiola defends his plea for 'more fans' at Man City game
A clash has broken out between Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and a section of the team’s fans after he called for “more people” to attend the Premier League home match against Southampton on Saturday than had come to the Champions League win over Leipzig in midweek.
Man City into FA Cup semifinals, keeps quadruple dream alive
Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan, right, celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the English FA Cup sixth round soccer match between Everton and Manchester City at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England, Saturday, March 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Jon Super, Pool)With an unprecedented quadruple still a possibility for Manchester City, the pressure on Pep Guardiola is intensifying heading into the final two months of the season. I will not watch games.”Few would begrudge him the break, with an intense 34-match, four-month stretch -- featuring games every three or four days -- concluding with a 2-0 win over Everton in the FA Cup quarterfinals on Saturday. AdIndeed, Guardiola’s players are sweeping all before them this season, having also reached the final of the English League Cup, the quarterfinals of the Champions League and forged a 14-point lead in the Premier League. "I’m looking forward to everyone coming back safe.”Southampton is the other team through to the FA Cup semifinals after beating second-tier Bournemouth 3-0 earlier Saturday.
Man City moves closer to title; Chelsea held in top-4 bid
(Adam Davy/Pool via AP)LONDON – Manchester City only needs to win five of its remaining eight games to secure the Premier League trophy. Sergio Aguero then fired the ball into the corner of the goal for his first Premier League goal in 14 months. "We want to still fight for the position in Europe.”TUCHEL UNBEATENChelsea extended its unbeaten start under Thomas Tuchel to 10 Premier League games with the draw at Leeds. ZAHA STANCEWilfried Zaha became the first Premier League player not to take a knee before his Crystal Palace team beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0. Zaha had already indicated that he thought taking a knee has lost meaning after being brought in by the Premier League in June as an anti-racism message when football resumed.
Winning run ended by Man U but City running away with title
Manchester United won 2-0. Manchester United's 2-0 victory on Sunday halted City's winning run at 21 matches in all competitions. The most important number to Guardiola is 11 — the points advantage City holds over second-place United. City running away with the title seemed unimaginable in November when it lost to then-leader Tottenham. After a one-two with Marcus Rashford, the left back scored his first league goal since 2018, putting the ball through Rodri’s legs.
United ends City winning run at 21 with Manchester derby joy
Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes, center right, scores the opening goal from the penalty spot past Manchester City's goalkeeper Ederson during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, Sunday, March 7, 2021. (Peter Powell/Pool via AP)MANCHESTER – Success for Manchester United these days is being the spoiler as Manchester City goes on to eventually claim the league titles. City manager Pep Guardiola's pursuit of a world-record winning streak ended after United won the derby 2-0 on Sunday. Just like three years ago when Jose Mourinho's derby win prevented City sealing the title that April day. United goalkeeper Dean Henderson threw the ball out to Shaw, who was gifted time and space to run into the penalty area.
Man City earns 18th straight win, Spurs lose again in EPL
Manchester City players celebrate after Manchester City's Raheem Sterling scored his side's opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Manchester City at the Emirates stadium in London, England, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. (Julian Finney/Pool via AP)Exactly three months ago, Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham was outwitting Manchester City to go top of the Premier League and leave Pep Guardiola doubting the direction he was taking his slumping midtable team. Things are changing fast in the lives of two of soccer’s most storied managers, whose teams are going in opposite directions this season. City beat Arsenal 1-0 thanks to Raheem Sterling’s second-minute header to preserve its 10-point lead over Manchester United and Leicester, who also won Sunday. “The Europa League is a window of opportunity that is open for us.”United beat Newcastle 3-1 to stay in second place on goal difference from Leicester, which won 2-1 at Aston Villa.
Man City making case for defense in latest EPL title charge
Sheffield United's Oliver Burke, right, is challenged by Manchester City's Ruben Dias during the English Premier League match between Manchester City and Sheffield United at the the City of Manchester Stadium in Manchester, England, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021. (Laurence Griffiths/Pool via AP)A last-minute consolation and a bundled effort from a long throw-in are the only goals Manchester City has conceded in nine games across all competitions in 2021. City's lead grew to three points on Saturday after its battling 1-0 win over last-place Sheffield United was followed by second-place Manchester United's latest slip-up, a 0-0 draw at Arsenal. Arsenal managed to keep Man United scoreless at Emirates Stadium, meaning Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team has dropped five points in three days after losing 2-1 to Sheffield United on Wednesday. City has a game in hand over United and is now the strong favorite for a third league title under Guardiola.
Watch and admire: Man City goes top of EPL after 5-0 win
West Bromwich Albion players react after Manchester City's Joao Cancelo scoring his side's second goal during the English Premier League soccer match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester City at the Hawthorns stadium in West Bromwich, England, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. City was on course to match its biggest league win of the season and, on the evidence of this game and the last couple of months, Pep Guardiola's team is going to be hard to stop. City became the ninth side to finish a day in first place this season, the most within a single top-flight campaign since 1986-87. “But this time I want to dedicate the win and my two goals to my wife. Arsenal came from behind to win for the first time in a Premier League game this season, having trailed after three minutes.
FA Cup holder Arsenal eliminated, Man City survives scare
Arsenal's Nicolas Pepe, center, battles for the ball with Southampton's James Ward-Prowse, left, and Stuart Armstrong during the Emirates FA Cup fourth round soccer match at St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton, England, Saturday Jan. 23, 2021. (Catherine Ivill/PA via AP)SOUTHAMPTON – Last season’s FA Cup winner Arsenal was eliminated from the competition in the fourth round on Saturday thanks to Gabriel’s own-goal in a 1-0 loss to Southampton, while Manchester City survived a scare to beat fourth-tier Cheltenham 3-1. In an otherwise close game, Gabriel's decision to try to block a shot from Kyle Walker-Peters proved decisive for Arsenal losing its hold on the cup. It was the first goal Arsenal had conceded since Dec. 26 after five consecutive shutouts. CITY UNDER PRESSURECheltenham came close to one of the biggest shocks in the 150-year history of the FA Cup before Pep Guardiola's City team scored three late goals.
The Latest: Nebraska-Maryland basketball game postponed
4 UConn says it also must reschedule Wednesday’s women’s basketball game against Seton Hall. The Villanova game was postponed because the Wildcats also are dealing with COVID-19 issues within their women’s basketball program. ___Richmond’s men’s basketball team has paused team activities in response to the results from the latest COVID-19 testing and contact tracing. ___The Atlantic Coast Conference announced Tuesday that the Syracuse women’s basketball game at Georgia Tech on Thursday has been postponed. ___The women’s basketball game between No.
Spurs show no mercy to 8th-tier Marine, Crawley stuns Leeds
It was left, then, to Crawley to provide the so-called “giant killing” long associated with the storied competition, with a British reality TV star helping the fourth-tier team complete a stunning 3-0 win over Leeds. For Crawley, the road to Wembley Stadium is still very much open, with the dominant win over Leeds proving a fairy-tale moment for one of its late substitutes, in particular. After some time at Brentford, Tsaroulla is making his way in the game at Crawley and was in tears after the full-time whistle having scored his first senior goal. Timo Werner scored for the first time in 13 games to help Chelsea to a 4-0 win over fourth-tier Morecambe. On Saturday, sixth-tier Chorley eliminated second-tier Derby and Premier League team West Bromwich Albion was ousted by third-division Blackpool.
The Latest: Oaklawn Park to allow limited attendance
(Stu Forster/Pool via AP)The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___Oaklawn Park in Arkansas plans to allow limited fans during its winter-spring horse racing meet that runs Jan. 22-May 1. Current season box seat-holders and Oaklawn Jockey Club members can enter the grandstand with weekly reservations. The switch gives St. Pete promoters hope that more spectators will be permitted to attend the popular street festival as pandemic restrictions loosen. That move opened room on the schedule for St. Pete to request a later race date. The season ultimately did not start until June and St. Pete was moved to October as the finale.
Man United gaining respect from rivals ahead of crucial week
Manchester United's manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer waves towards the directors box as he walks to the technical area ahead of the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Friday, Jan. 1, 2021. (Lindsey Parnaby/ Pool via AP)Over the next seven days, Manchester United can reach a cup final and climb to the top of the Premier League — all at the expense of its two biggest rivals, Manchester City and Liverpool. First up is a meeting with Man City in the League Cup semifinals, a repeat of last season but this time being played over only one leg because of the condensed, coronavirus-impacted season. “I hear now,” Klopp said, “that Manchester United had more penalties in two years than I had in five-and-a-half years (at Liverpool). The Norwegian coach said there have been no lingering effects of the losses in the semifinals last season — in the League Cup, FA Cup and Europa League.
The Latest: ETSU to allow 10% capacity for basketball games
(AP Photo/Darren Abate)The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___East Tennessee State will allow 10% of capacity for basketball games starting Wednesday night at the Buccaneers’ men’s game with Western Carolina. No single-game tickets will be available, though 100 student tickets will be available for games at Freedom Hall and 50 for women’s games at Brooks Gym. ___The Atlantic Coast Conference announced that the men’s basketball game between No. ___Syracuse's women’s basketball game against North Carolina scheduled for Thursday has been postponed. ___Vanderbilt women’s basketball has postponed the first three Southeastern Conference games of the league schedule as it deals with positive COVID-19 tests, contact tracing and quarantines.
No fans, no goals: United, City draw Manchester derby 0-0
Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne takes a shot at goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, England. There have been 150 top-flight Man U v Man City derbies with United having won 58 and City 45, with 47 draws. (AP Photo/Paul Ellis/ Pool via AP)MANCHESTER – Being shut out of the Manchester derby might not have seemed so bad for fans after all. United and City drew 0-0 in a drab Premier League encounter that saw the rivals manage only two shots each on target between them on Saturday. So the 183rd Manchester derby was the first one in an empty stadium.
Fans return to the EPL as Chelsea, Man U enjoy comeback wins
The fans — 2,000 from West Ham, 2,000 from Chelsea — had contrasting experiences on opposite sides of London. Chelsea’s players treated their select group of attending fans to a comeback of their own at Stamford Bridge. The match saw respective managers Frank Lampard, of Chelsea, and Marcelo Bielsa, of Leeds, meet for the first time in the Premier League. Meanwhile, Guardiola didn’t make a single substitution, at a time when he is pushing the Premier League to increase the number of replacements from three to five for player-welfare reasons. It’s now 11 goals in 11 games for the Everton striker after scoring the equalizer in a 1-1 draw at Burnley.
Steffen US No 1 keeper despite lack of Man City playing time
Manchester City's goalkeeper Zack Steffen warms up ahead of the English League Cup third round soccer match between Manchester City and Bournemouth at the City of Manchester Stadium in Manchester, England, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. “I’m really happy with where I’m at right now,” Steffen said Tuesday. 1 over 36-year-old Brad Guzan, 29-year-old Bill Hamid and 31-year-old Sean Johnson heading into the start of 2022 World Cup qualifying next September. Xabier Mancisidor is the goalkeeper coach after following Manuel Pellegrini from Real Madrid and staying on. Their goalie coach is really detailed and is very eager to make me a better goalkeeper,” Steffen said.
City lacking usual spark amid injuries, fixture pile-up
Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez reacts during the English Premier League soccer match between West Ham and Manchester City, at the London Olympic Stadium Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. Star midfielder Kevin De Bruyne will be on board, recently back from injury and fresh from protestations about the workload being forced on soccer players this season. “I try to demand everything from my players,” City manager Pep Guardiola said at the weekend, “but there is a limit for human beings.”Sympathy is usually in short supply when it comes to Man City and the debate over workload and fixture congestion. In short, being the busiest team in English soccer in recent years appears to be taking its toll. If he is to add to his collection of trophies won at City since 2016, don’t expect them to come easily this season.
'It's really crazy': Late goals cap another wild day in EPL
(AP photo/Matt Dunham, Pool)A two-week break for international matches has done nothing to suppress the relentless unpredictability of this season’s Premier League. No team had previously avoided defeat when 3-0 down as late as the 81st minute in the Premier League. “It’s really crazy at the moment,” said West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, who added that the feeling after Lanzini’s last-gasp strike was one of the best he has had in his career. Spurs were leading 3-0 at the time, thanks to goals by Son Heung-min and Harry Kane (2) in the opening 16 minutes. Palace had just one shot all match, and that was the contentiously awarded penalty converted by Wilfried Zaha in the 19th minute.
Van Dijk injury causes concern for frustrated Liverpool
Early in what proved to be a painful Merseyside derby for Liverpool, Van Dijk was the subject of a reckless lunge by Jordan Pickford that saw the Everton goalkeeper clatter into the extended right leg of the Netherlands defender. Van Dijk roared in agony and, tellingly, stayed down. There was no official word from Liverpool on the potential length of his absence, but Van Dijk reportedly left hospital on crutches in the evening. Van Dijk might have been marking Keane and Calvert-Lewin for both of those Everton chances. For Southampton’s second goal, Kurt Zouma underhit a back pass before goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga made two errors in a matter of seconds to allow Che Adams to score.
Man City slips further behind leader Everton with Leeds draw
Manchester City's head coach Pep Guardiola, left, talks with Leeds United's head coach Marcelo Bielsa at the end of the English Premier League soccer match between Leeds United and Manchester City at Elland Road in Leeds, England, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020. What to make of seeing his Manchester City side held 1-1 by Bielsa's Leeds on Saturday? While Leeds had seven shots on target, Raheem Sterling's 16th-minute strike low shot inside the far post was one of only two for City. We must do more and better.”Especially with City already eight points behind Everton, which is the early leader after beating Brighton 4-2 to make it four wins out of four. Fifth-place Leeds, which like Everton has played a game more than City, is still three points ahead of Guardiola's side.
Guardiola takes on his guru, Bielsa, for 1st time in England
Leeds United's head coach Marcelo Bielsa looks out during the English Premier League soccer match between Leeds United and Fulham at Elland Road Stadium, in Leeds, England, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. Within two years, Guardiola was at the helm of Barcelona and leading what would become perhaps the greatest ever team at club level. Indeed, Bielsa would feel the full force of Guardiola’s team when returning to Spanish soccer in charge of Athletic Bilbao in 2011. Guardiola never played under Bielsa, though he dearly wishes he had. “Leeds have a specific way of playing, completely different to all the teams in the league,” Guardiola said.
Handball rule draws widespread ire in penalty-dominated EPL
Tottenham coach Jose Mourinho gestures during the English Premier League soccer match between Tottenham and Newcastle at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. Almost inevitably, a penalty was awarded after the referee took the opportunity to view the incident on the pitchside monitor. The Premier League has fallen in line with the rest of European soccer this season and applied the ruling in a stricter way rather simply than judging it on intent. Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson said the newly adopted rule was “killing the game” after his team lost 2-1 by conceding a handball penalty for the winning goal. Mourinho chose not to criticize the rule for fear of collecting a fine from the Football Association, but his Newcastle counterpart had his say.
PREMIER LEAGUE 2020-21: Rodriguez, Havertz among signings
James Rodriguez joined Premier League club Everton on Monday, Sept. 7, 2020 in an attempt to revive a career that faltered at Real Madrid. Now, they are both at Everton, a team without a trophy since 1995 and living in the shadow of neighbour Liverpool, the recently crowned Premier League champion. KAI HAVERTZ (Chelsea)The most expensive signing of the offseason at a fee rising to $92 million, Havertz might also be the most interesting. Havertz is the youngest player to reach 100 Bundesliga appearances and scored 36 goals in four seasons with Bayer Leverkusen in the German league. With Timo Werner, Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech making up Chelsea's likely attack, Havertz won't be short of quality around him.
Where next, Messi ? Few clubs can meet his financial demands
The money in that contract is daunting: a reported 100 million euros ($118 million) annual salary package and release clause demanding a 700 million euros ($827 million) transfer fee. What coach says no to Messi? said Tuchel, whose side lost the Champions League final to Bayern Munich on Sunday. GERMANYBayern Munich appears in little need of reinforcement after winning a Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup treble. The Bavarian powerhouse has grown on and off the pitch thanks to smart financial management, with revenue of 750 million euros ($886 million) in the most recent annual accounts and profit after tax of 52 million euros ($61.5 million). When World Cup-winning France defender Lucas Hernndez arrived last year for a club-record 80 million euros ($95 million) from Atltico Madrid, it was an exception.
France vs Germany semis mark Champions League power shift
(Franck Fife/Pool Photo via AP)LISBON Emmanuel Macron was quick to appropriate France's unexpected Champions League prowess for political purposes. It has never happened before: two French teams in the Champions League semifinals after two nights of incredible results in Lisbon. You have to go back even longer to find a Champions League semifinals that didn't feature Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. With Pep Guardiola twice a Champions League winner as Barcelona coach outwitted by Lyon's Rudi Garcia, the last of the managerial heavyweights exited this mini-tournament. Diego Simeone, who has lost two Champions League finals with Atletico Madrid, was dumped out by Leipzig on Wednesday.
Lyon stuns Man City 3-1 to reach Champions League semifinals
Lyon's Moussa Dembele, centre, celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's third goal during the Champions League quarterfinal match between Manchester City and Lyon at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. (Franck Fife/Pool Photo via AP)LISBON Lyon stunned Manchester City to reach the Champions League semifinals for the first time in a decade, with Moussa Dembl scoring twice for the French outsiders Saturday to seal a 3-1 win that sets up a meeting with Bayern Munich. It leaves Pep Guardiola without a Champions League title since 2011 with Barcelona, falling short in three attempts with Bayern Munich and once again in his fourth season at City. Guardiola's decision to deploy an unfamiliar five-man defense to match Lyon's system backfired with the back line easily beaten for Maxwel Cornet to score in the 24th minute. And there was a glaring miss by City forward Raheem Sterling, blazing the ball over an empty net, before Dembl scored again.