Connect with us


Arsenal 4-1 Crystal Palace: Mikel Arteta calls on his players to ‘give a little bit more’ to withstand Man City | Football News



Mikel Arteta has called on his Arsenal players to “give a little bit more” in their final 10 remaining Premier League games as the Gunners close in on a first league title since 2004.

Arsenal became the first side in English Football League history to win nine London derbies in a single league season – and their latest success means they head into the international break with an eight-point buffer over their title rivals Manchester City, albeit having played a game more.

Bukayo Saka once again starred in Sunday’s 4-1 win over Crystal Palace, scoring twice and set up the opener for Gabriel Martinelli, becoming the first Premier League player this season to reach double figures for both goals and assists.

Four years on since he swore at his own fans when his substitution in this fixture was cheered, Granit Xhaka’s fine season continued when he turned home the third after the interval.

“I’m really happy and really pleased with the way we started the game and how we reacted to Thursday,” said Arteta in reference to the Europa League penalty shootout exit at the hands of Sporting Lisbon.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of Arsenal against Crystal Palace in the Premier League

“We took any question mark away from it. We showed a lot of determination and a lot of purpose in the way we played. I’m really happy with the way we played after playing 120 minutes, after losing two players [William Saliba and Takehiro Tomiyasu], I’m really pleased with what we showed.

When asked if Saka is the best player in the Premier League on current form, Arteta responded: “The team did really well, and of course we then have very good individuals who excel at the level that we want. But he was again really good today and he really affected the result with his contribution, especially in the opponent’s box.”

Tomiyasu left the Emirates having watched the game from the stands in a knee brace and with crutches. The Japan international is expected to undergo surgery which is likely to rule him out for the rest of the season.

Bukayo Saka (12 goals, 10 assists) became the first player to reach both 10+ goals and 10+ assists in the Premier League this season
Saka (12 goals, 10 assists) became the first player to reach both 10+ goals and 10+ assists in the Premier League this season

It is a time for Arsenal to show their depth once more in a season where key personnel have been missing at regular intervals.

“We don’t know,” added Arteta when asked if Tomiyasu could miss the rest of the season. “The doctor is going to assess him. We’ve had one assessment and there will be another one tomorrow [Monday]. It’s not looking good, that’s for sure. He’s not someone who likes to exaggerate things so we know it is serious. He was concerned straight away and we are concerned.

“We hope that it’s going to be better news for William [Saliba]. We have to wait until tomorrow to have a better picture. We’ve lost players already this season. We’ve lost Gabby [Gabriel Jesus] for four months, Thomas Partey for one-and-a-half months, Oleksandr Zinchecnko for one-and-a-half months, we’ve lost Mohamed Elneny for six to eight months.

Arsenal’s final 10 fixtures:

  • Leeds (h) – Saturday April 1, 3pm
  • Liverpool (a) – Sunday April 9, 4.30pm – Live on Sky Sports
  • West Ham (a) – Sunday April 16, 2pm – Live on Sky Sports
  • Southampton (h) – Friday April 21, 8pm – Live on Sky Sports
  • Man City (a) – Wednesday April 26, 8pm
  • Chelsea (h) – Saturday April 29, 5.30pm – Live on Sky Sports
  • Newcastle (a) – Saturday May 6, 3pm
  • Brighton (h) – Saturday May 13, 3pm
  • Nottingham Forest (a) – Saturday May 20, 3pm
  • Wolves (h) – Sunday May 28, 4.30pm

“Now we’ve lost Eddie [Nketiah], Tomiyasu and Saliba.

“Everyone has to give a little bit more. It’s not a secret. If you want to maintain that level, everyone has to step in and give a little bit more. Rob [Holding] is an example of what we needed today.”

It was during the last international break that Arsenal lost Jesus to injury, and so there is naturally going to be an edginess to Arteta over the coming fortnight to ensure his international players come back unscathed from their commitments to their respective countries.

“I want to think positively and touch wood! They have to play games and they have to represent their country. They know how to look after them and hopefully everything is going to work out.

“They have to look after themselves in this period now. The players who are leaving have to come back with the same mindset of being hungry. Right now, the only important game for us is the next one against Leeds.”

McCarthy rues lack of cutting edge: When it rains it pours

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Crystal Palace’s interim boss Paddy McCarthy believes the Eagles can take many positives from their performance against Arsenal despite losing 4-1 at the Emirates

Palace were inches away from taking the lead as a deflected Wilfried Zaha strike came back off a post, the ball catching goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale on the back before squirming wide.

The Eagles, who sacked former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira on Friday, at least got themselves on the scoresheet as Jeffrey Schlupp’s second-half consolation under caretaker boss Paddy McCarthy ended a near seven-hour scoreless run.

“It’s been hectic,” interim boss McCarthy said of the past few days. “But we’ve tried to shield the players from that as much as possible. The start of the game was really encouraging and we had chance to go ahead. We knew we had to be on our game today to stop a very good Arsenal side.

“Had we taken one of those earlier chances, it might have been a different outcome today.

Arsenal's Gabriel Martinelli celebrates his opener
Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli celebrates his opener

“I’ve not had any time to think about anything other than preparing the team for today’s game. My only focus has been on this. There hasn’t been any conversations had. I’m interested in doing whatever the football club want me to do. I’ve been here for 15 years. Whatever this club needs me to do at this moment in time, I’ll do it.”

Palace remain in 12th position, but are just three points off the relegation zone as their wait for a Premier League win in 2023 goes on.

Chairman Steve Parish, who was in attendance at the Emirates, will spend the next two weeks seeking Vieira’s successor, and McCarthy has not ruled himself out of taking the position on a permanent basis.

When asked what Palace need to arrest the slide, McCarthy said: “Belief. They’ve got so much quality in there and they’ve just got to believe in themselves. The chances we created today was a positive aspect of our game. With the defending, Arsenal are always going to create chance.

Goalscorers Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli celebrate during Arsenal's clash with Crystal Palace
It is the Gunners’ most ever wins in their first 28 matches of a league campaign

“The fourth goal was disappointing as we were in the game at 3-1. It’s a completely different story but 4-1 makes it look a bit worse than it actually was.

“We’ve proven today we can create chances against one of the defences in the division so they’ll take positives from that. Joachim [Andersen] has a calf injury. He felt a twinge in his calf just before kick off. When it rains it pours.

“When you’re in this predicament, you need players who have gone through the mill. Tomks [James Tomkins] had 15 minutes warming up on the side to start and I thought he did brilliant given the circumstances.

“We will need the experience to help us. Players who have gone through experiences like this are going to play a big role in the coming weeks.”

Hits and misses: Swaggering Arsenal storm on towards the title

Bukayo Saka provided his 25th Premier League assist, aged 21 years and 195 days; only Cesc Fàbregas (20y 134d), Wayne Rooney (21y 63d) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (21y 140d) reached 25 assists at a younger age in the competition
Bukayo Saka provided his 25th Premier League assist, aged 21 years and 195 days; only Cesc Fàbregas (20y 134d), Wayne Rooney (21y 63d) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (21y 140d) reached 25 assists at a younger age in the competition

Sky Sports’ Adam Bate:

Arsenal exuded confidence and calm at the Emirates Stadium. This was the performance of a team that believes they are marching towards the Premier League title. The mood could easily have been different, nerves jangling, but that is not Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal now.

That penalty shootout defeat to Sporting in the Europa League, which featured extra-time, of course, was not the ideal build-up to this fixture against Crystal Palace. It was an awkward start too, the away team having the first two shots, Wilfried Zaha striking the post.

But Arsenal showed again that they can go through the gears. Gabriel Martinelli, who missed the crucial kick on Thursday, is the in-form goalscorer in the Premier League with six goals in his last six games. Nobody else, not even Erling Haaland, comes close. He scored the first and Palace were overwhelmed.

Bukayo Saka celebrates with Kieran Tierney after scoring Arsenal's fourth goal against Crystal Palace
Arsenal earned their 22nd Premier League win of the season, as many as they managed in the whole of last term

The brilliant Bukayo Saka’s partnership with Ben White on the right has blossomed. Both were outstanding. But there are partnerships all over the pitch for Arsenal now, new ones emerging all the time. The third goal saw Leandro Trossard feed Granit Xhaka.

An eight-point lead at the top, albeit with Manchester City having a game in hand, feels big for one very simple reason – Arsenal look the best team in this Premier League. The idea that City will rein them in is predicated on the notion that their supposed superiority will tell.

What if that needs to be recalibrated? In the first 28 games of the Premier League, there has been little sign of Arsenal’s fragility. The fixtures are being ticked off, the challenges overcome. Ten games to go and while the fans may be on edge, this Arsenal team is not.

What’s next?

Arsenal continue their title quest when they host relegation-threatened Leeds on Saturday April 1 at 3pm. They then head to Liverpool on Sunday April 9, live on Sky Sports.

When Crystal Palace return after the March international break, their next six fixtures are against teams below them in the table.

The last time the Eagles played a team below them in the league was against Bournemouth on New Year’s Eve in 2022, which was Vieira’s last win in charge.

Palace face relegation rivals Leicester at home on Saturday April 1 at 3pm before heading to Leeds on Sunday April 9. More big games follow at Southampton and at home to Everton.

Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Jim Crawford: Republic of Ireland U21s boss angered after ‘uneducated’ trolls racially abuse U15 players | Football News



Republic of Ireland U21s boss Jim Crawford has hit out at the “uneducated” trolls who sent “unacceptable” online abuse to members of the country’s U15s squad.

The Football Association of Ireland has condemned the attacks on multiple platforms, which came after the U15s boys’ team’s back-to-back 6-0 victories over Latvia earlier this week, as “vile and horrific” and is working with police and social media companies to identify and deal with those responsible.

Crawford, who was preparing his team for Sunday’s friendly against Iceland in Cork when the news broke, could not contain his anger.

He said: “I just want to get it out there that there’s certainly no place for racism in sport, in society.

“It comes from a minority, it comes from uneducated people and it comes from social media platforms where people can disguise their names, their identity. The unfortunate thing is that they have a platform.

“To hear that this morning, it just makes you angry. I just think it’s time that we all just work together on this and stamp it out because it’s unacceptable.”

The incident comes at a time when Stephen Kenny’s Ireland squad, which will face France in a Euro 2024 qualifier on Monday evening, mirrors the country’s diversity, with striker Chiedozie Ogbene, the first African-born player to represent the nation at senior level, Andrew Omobamidele and Adam Idah all of Nigerian heritage.

Crawford added: “These same people will be cheering goals if Chieo scores, Adam Idah scores, do you know what I mean?

“I just don’t know. Well, I do know. They’re ignorant, they’re uneducated, but they have to hide behind these fake accounts.

“It goes for racism, bullying and I do think social media companies have got to do something about this. They’ve got to do it because certain people think it’s a laugh and a joke, but it’s not, it’s a lot deeper than that.”

An emotional Crawford continued: “I’ve worked in the FAI now a long time and I know the work that development officers do on the ground, getting into schools, putting on Show Racism the Red Card programmes, and I’ve been involved in that myself.

“It’s something that I’m very strong about and every school I’ve been to, I’ve got the buy-in. But it’s just the minority, you know? It’s just a minority.

“I’ve run so many programmes with black kids loving football, and then I hear this goes on, you know?”

Hate Won’t Win

Sky Sports is committed to making and our channels on social media platforms a place for comment and debate that is free of abuse, hate and profanity.

For more information, please visit:

If you see a reply to Sky Sports posts and/or content with an expression of hate on the basis of race, sex, colour, gender, nationality, ethnicity, disability, religion, sexuality, age or class, please copy the URL to the hateful post and screengrab it and email us here.

Source link

Continue Reading


Tommy Fury open to Jake Paul rematch and blames Oleksandr Usyk for collapse of Tyson Fury fight | Boxing News



Tommy Fury is open to a rematch with Jake Paul and says Tyson Fury is not to blame for the Oleksandr Usyk fight being called off.

The 23-year-old beat YouTuber-turned-boxer Paul in a split-decision fight on February 26 in Saudi Arabia, and, speaking on Soccer AM, Fury said he is open to a rematch.

He said: “I’m down for a rematch. I will fight him tomorrow. Does he want it? I’m not so sure. The next fight I will take will be bigger than Jake Paul.”

Tommy was also asked about his brother, after plans for Tyson to fight Usyk for all four major heavyweight titles imploded, and he thinks the fight will happen at some stage.

“Having somebody who is the best in the world and in my opinion the best to ever do it, having him there is a privilege,” he said.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

A heavyweight title clash between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk is off – relive the recent social media war of words between the two as a fight was seemingly on the cards

“He [Tyson Fury] does not like Usyk at the minute. There is a lot of politics in boxing. The reason why this fight isn’t getting made isn’t down to Tyson at all.

“He will fight any man, he doesn’t fear any man, especially not a cruiserweight who can’t do anything anyway. He is too small. It’s not Tyson’s fault. All these fights will happen, but it takes a while to get made.”

Tommy also added that the Paul fight was difficult because of the untraditional style of the 26-year-old.

“It’s difficult because he is a big, strong man, but I knew there was nothing he can do. Anybody can go in there and fight,” he said.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Tyson Fury gives his reaction to the fight between brother Tommy Fury and Jake Paul, with the WBC heavyweight world champion keen for a rematch

“I’d sooner fight a legit experienced fighter because it would be easier. Fighting guys like that who are erratic and throwing punches from different angles, they don’t know what they are doing, and it makes them awkward. It’s a difficult challenge, but I got him with the sweet science.

“It was very frustrating because there were two setbacks and two cancelled fights. All that time when it looked like it was my fault because I knew I could beat him.

“When everything was getting made and said, there was a bit of pressure. On the night, I didn’t feel anything because there comes a certain stage where it just gets too big.”

Source link

Continue Reading


Ruben Neves is carrying Wolves and deserves to be playing in a better team | Football News



Ruben Neves appeared to have tears in his eyes as he bade an emotional farewell to the supporters after his team’s final home game against Norwich last May. It seemed inevitable that it would be his last appearance at Molineux in a Wolves shirt.

But the anticipated summer move did not materialise. In terms of revenue, Wolves now rank among the 30 richest clubs in the world. The economics of modern European football mean that only a dwindling number of teams are able to afford a player like Neves.

He waited and he waited but the transfer puzzle was never solved. Had Frenkie de Jong left Barcelona for Manchester United perhaps that would have sparked a chain reaction, earning Neves the Champions League move that his performances deserved.

Instead, Wolves fans have been treated to a sixth season – and it has been a treat. Do not make the mistake of thinking that Neves has stagnated at Molineux. He should not be typecast as a mid-level Premier League player. He is playing better than ever.

This has been a difficult season for Wolves. They were bottom of the table at Christmas. But the captaincy has brought out the best in Neves. He has emerged as the team’s leader, taking his role to heart – as any referee dealing with his chatter would attest.

It would have been easy to sulk, to behave as if life at the lower end of the Premier League was beneath a man of his talents, but he has done the opposite. Neves has seemed to take a perverse pleasure in proving that his commitment to the cause is still strong.

The problem for him and for Wolves is that his quality is not matched by those around him. Against Leeds last time out, all momentum was lost following his substitution because of a calf problem. Even with him, Wolves are not great. They are miserable without him.

It is why, in a twist on the norms of modern football, few Wolves fans would begrudge Neves his move. Having already made more appearances for the club than any continental European in the club’s history, he had provided more than enough memories.

Nobody has started more Premier League games for Wolves. Of course, the story began before that when he was the club’s player of the year in winning promotion from the Championship. His outrageous volley against Derby was the goal of the season.

It was one of six goals from outside the area in that first season, his reputation forged. Nine more have followed since, from his free-kick that marked Wolves’ return to the Premier League against Everton to the arrowed shot into the bottom corner against Newcastle.

The data scientists will tell you that Neves’ long-range shooting is the low-percentage option. They point out, a little joylessly, that there are more efficient ways to use the ball. To which the only reasonable reply is, have you seen the options ahead of him?

One suspects Neves would be able to make the adjustment if there was an Erling Haaland in the box to receive the pass. Indeed, having just turned 26, it is worth remembering how much he has already adapted his game, despite being a precocious talent as a teenager.

This is a player who was involved in a Champions League quarter-final for Porto against Bayern Munich just one month after his 18th birthday. Late that year, he became the youngest man to captain his team from the start of a Champions League match.

The coach who entrusted him with that duty was a certain Julen Lopetegui. Reunited in Wolverhampton, the experienced former Real Madrid boss explains not only what he recognised in Neves that day – but the trait that has allowed him to progress ever since.

“He started with me when he was 17,” Lopetegui tells Sky Sports. “When he started playing he showed one important characteristic that was key for a player. It is not just how you play but how you learn. His character is such that he tries to learn more each day.

“This is his character.”

Upon his arrival in England, the expectation was that Neves would be a playmaker. He has delivered on that score, displaying a range of passing that sets him apart. No midfielder has completed more long passes in the Premier League these past five seasons.

But he has become a different player to the one who broke through under Lopetegui at Porto, surprising many with his appetite to hunt down the ball. That was a non-negotiable in the Championship and his 42 appearances that season helped set him on a new path.

Wolves captain Ruben Neves' impressive stats during the current Premier League season

Tackling has become a strength. Only four midfielders have made more of them in the Premier League this season. He ranks third for interceptions too. Joao Palhinha tops the former list, while it is Idrissa Gueye and Cheick Doucoure who top the latter.

These players have a very different profile.

They cannot pass a ball like Neves.

Even that old line about him not scoring from inside the box no longer applies. As Wolves countered on Liverpool late in the game at Molineux last month, it was Neves who was bursting beyond the backtracking midfielders to apply the finish from close range.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Wolves’ Neves-inspired win over Liverpool

The arrival of Mario Lemina at Wolves has allowed him more freedom to roam into other areas and highlight the full range of his talent. This, remember, a season that had begun with him being asked to play in the centre of defence under Bruno Lage.

He has improved in tight spaces. Neves ranks fourth in the Premier League for the most passes played when put under pressure by an opponent. It is indicative of a player still adding to his game. For Lopetegui, who has followed his progress, that is not a surprise.

“These kind of characters are smart,” he adds. “If you are smart and you are open, you are going to learn and the years will go in your favour. The other way around and it goes the opposite. That is why it is about his quality but it is also about his character.

“That is key in the progress of young players.”

Neves continues to make that progress and it is natural to wonder how far it could yet take him. One of the quirks of his time at Wolves is that, despite being one of the team’s outstanding players throughout their Premier League run, he has seen others move on.

Diogo Jota went to Liverpool. Adama Traore was loaned to Barcelona. Even Matt Doherty left for Tottenham before joining Atletico Madrid. Now, reports are linking midfield partner Matheus Nunes with Liverpool. Neves has been better than all of them.

“I thought Ruben Neves would be at Wolves for a couple of seasons and then move on to a Champions League club and I am surprised he has not made that move, for whatever reason,” said Jamie Carragher, speaking on Friday Night Football recently.

“You look at him, what he was doing at Porto, captaining that team at such a young age, I thought it was a natural progression. It has not quite happened yet but he is a player you look at and think can he make that next step and I am convinced that he can.”

Gary Neville agreed with that assessment, going even further in his praise. “He has been at Wolves quite a long time,” he added. “I genuinely believe that Ruben Neves could go and sit in any midfield in Europe in any team in any league and be comfortable.”

If that chance finally comes, expect Neves to seize it.

Source link

Continue Reading


%d bloggers like this: