Arsenal on the rise


Arsenal moved level on points with fourth-placed West Ham United after enjoying a comfortable 2-0 win over Newcastle United on Saturday.

Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli scored in the second half as Mikel Arteta’s side bounced back from suffering a 4-0 defeat at Liverpool last week.

There was a concern for Saka as he limped off the pitch with an injury later in the second half.

The result leaves Newcastle winless after 13 league games and rooted to the bottom of the table.

“I am happy with the points after losing last weekend. You have to win straight away. Overall, I’m pleased,” Arteta said in his postmatch interview.

“The word was we had to be patient. We had to play with urgency and rhythm. That’s what we did in the second half. We found spaces and that’s how we scored the goals.”

Arsenal controlled possession throughout the first half but needed goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale to make a stunning save from Jonjo Shelvey’s long-range effort after 30 minutes.

Arsenal were over-deliberate but still carved out chances with Saka just failing to score on the stretch from Nuno Tavares’s superb diagonal pass.

Newcastle keeper Martin Dubravka, recalled for his first appearance of the season in place of Karl Darlow after recovering from injury, produced an acrobatic save to keep out Martin Odegaard’s free-kick.

The hosts should have taken the lead just before the break but Dubravka saved Emile Smith Rowe’s header and then Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed a sitter from close range.

When Arsenal finally cracked Newcastle’s defence after 55 minutes, it was no surprise Saka and Smith Rowe were involved.

The latter combined well with Tavares who slipped a pass in for Saka to fire left-footed past Dubravka from a narrow-angle.

Newcastle claimed a penalty when Callum Wilson chased Shelvey’s long pass forward but was knocked off balance by the covering Gabriel and within a minute they were two down.

Martinelli, who had just replaced the injured Saka, was picked out by a flighted pass from Takehiro Tomiyasu and doubled Arsenal’s lead after 66 minutes with a smart first-time finish. It was the youngster’s second touch after coming on.

The visitors attempted to make a comeback but remain without a win as Eddie Howe watched on for the first time in the dugout after recovering from COVID-19.

“I thought it was a good performance, especially the start. We were good for the first half an hour,” he said.

“The pleasing thing today is how we started and finished the game. We created chances.”

Dominating Liverpool

Diogo Jota scored the fastest goal of the 2021-22 Premier League season on Saturday at Anfield as Liverpool thrashed Southampton 4-0.

It took the Portugal international just 97 seconds to score and he added a second to his tally later in the first half. Thiago Alcantara and Virgil van Dijk also found the back of the net in the win.

The win means Liverpool continue to keep pressure on Chelsea – who play Manchester United on Sunday – at the top of the table.

In the end, it is a good game for us. We adapted well to their three at the back. They changed again in the second half. We took advantage. There were spaces in the first half. A clean sheet too so good performance,” Jota said after the game.

“It is always easier when you start well with a goal at home. We knew in the past we have been 2-0 up and not won the game. But we did today and that is important. The most important is that we win.”

“I take advantage of playing for a good team. Fortunately for me, I can score goals and hopefully keep doing it.”

Jota opened the scoring early after Andy Robertson set him up at the edge of the six-yard box.

Alisson was called into action moments later when James Ward-Prowse was nearly in after a poor backpass.

Mohamed Salah set Jota up for his second goal on 32 minutes when he sidefooted the Egypt international’s cross into the net.

Salah’s assist means he has been directly involved in 25 goals this season across all competitions which is more than double that of any other Premier League player.

Thiago added Liverpool’s third five minutes later. It looked like Southampton had headed the ball away from danger but Thiago hit it the first time into the goal.

Van Dijk scored his first goal in 14 months on 52 minutes from near the penalty spot.


Courtesy: ESPN

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