Connect with us

Premier League

Arsenal denied huge win as Liverpool hit back to draw

Published

on

Premier League - Liverpool v Arsenal - Anfield, Liverpool, Britain - April 9, 2023 Liverpool's Roberto Firmino scores their second goal REUTERS/Phil Noble

Arsenal’s grip on the Premier League title race was loosened as Liverpool produced a storming comeback to snatch a 2-2 draw in super-charged clash at a raucous Anfield on Sunday.

The north Londoners were heading for a first league win at Liverpool since 2012, an eighth successive league win and a massive three points in their quest to win the league as they powered into a 2-0 lead.

But Liverpool woke from their slumber and with the crowd cranking up the volume, they surged back and Roberto Firmino headed an 87th-minute equaliser that sparked delirium in the stands and would have been heartily cheered by fans of Manchester City too.

It could have got even worse for Mikel Arteta’s side too as Mo Salah, who scored Liverpool’s first goal and then missed a second-half penalty, blazed a late chance over and was then denied brilliantly by Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

Ramsdale then made an even more miraculous save from Ibrahima Konate in a breathless period of stoppage time.

Advertisement

When the dust settled on a rambunctious contest that had everything, Arsenal, bidding for a first title since 2004, lead Manchester City by six points but the reigning champions have a game in hand and also face Arsenal at home later this month.

Arsenal have 73 points from 30 games, while Liverpool are eighth with 44 points.

A game which began in sombre mood as the 34th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster was marked by a moment of silence, exploded into life and even included an alleged elbow by an assistant referee on Liverpool’s Andy Robertson.

“Wow! Very intense game. The game was under control but after that we concede a really sloppy goal and the game shifted momentum,” Arsenal manager Arteta said.

“It became a very transitional game, very chaotic. Liverpool could score three or four. It is true we could have scored two or three so maybe at the end the score is fair.”

Advertisement

Arsenal had taken an early lead when forward Gabriel Martinelli wriggled through in the eighth minute after a flowing move involving Bukayo Saka and managed to squeeze in a shot under pressure past Liverpool keeper Alisson.

With Liverpool in disarray, Martinelli then crossed for Gabriel Jesus to head home in the 28th minute.

Arsenal were cruising but everything changed when Gunners midfielder Granit Xhaka and Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold got involved in an ugly scuffle.

Suddenly the decibel level went up and Salah pulled one back in the 42nd minute when Diogo Jota ran on to a pass from Curtis Jones and sent in a cross that Jordan Henderson stretched to poke forward and the Egypt striker finished off.

“When the Anfield crowd is sleeping, don’t wake them up. Leave them be. Xhaka woke the crowd up,” former Manchester United defender and Sky Sports analyst Gary Neville said.

Advertisement

Liverpool took charge after the break and were awarded a penalty in the 58th minute after Rob Holding fouled Jota. But Salah missed his second successive penalty as he fired wide.

His blushes were partially spared though as Firmino, on as a substitute, rose to head in Alexander-Arnold’s cross.

Asked what the result did for their title hopes, Arteta said: “We move on. Convince them to keep playing like we did in the first 30 minutes.”

-Reuters

Advertisement

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Premier League

June 12 relief for Ten Hag…to stay at Old Trafford

Published

on

Manchester United Can Still Finish Fourth, Says Erik Ten Hag -

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag will remain in the job for next season and has entered into talks with the Old Trafford club over a contract extension despite the team’s lowest ever Premier League finish of eighth, British media reported.

The decision comes after an end-of-season review by the club’s board for the 2023-24 campaign, which finished on a high with a shock FA Cup final win over favourites Manchester City.

Ten Hag’s contract runs until the end of next season, with the club having the option of extending it a further 12 months.

Former Ajax Amsterdam coach Ten Hag had come under increasing pressure after 20-times English champions United suffered their worst start to a season since 1962-63 with eight defeats in their first 15 matches in all competitions.

They ended up eighth after 14 defeats in their 38 league games and bowed out of the Champions League in the group phase.

Advertisement

Ten Hag’s job security had been the subject of speculation all season and many pundits believed the FA Cup final would be the Dutchman’s last game with the team, win or lose.

But moments after their thrilling triumph, the 54-year-old insisted he had no doubt he would be back and said he had received the backing of the club’s owners all season.

“I’m in a project and we are exactly where we want to be. We’re constructing a team. When I took over it was a mess at United, and we are on our way to construct a team for the future,” he told reporters at Wembley.

“The team is developing, the team is winning and the team also plays to an identity. What you need to play is to be available, you need a strong squad in top football, and especially when you play in England, the Premier League is so competitive.”

INJURY WOES

Ten Hag pointed to United’s revolving door of injuries last term, the most of any Premier League team and concentrated in key positions such as central defence.

Advertisement

He also spoke about the breakout seasons of young players such as midfielder Kobbie Mainoo, who is part of England’s Euro 2024 squad in Germany, and Argentina winger Alejandro Garnacho.

In Ten Hag’s two seasons in charge, United have played in three Wembley finals and lifted two trophies, having also won last season’s League Cup.

Media reports said that all eventualities were considered in the club’s post-season review and the clear preference was for Ten Hag to remain in charge at Old Trafford.

Among coaches linked to the job as potential replacements were Thomas Tuchel and England manager Gareth Southgate.

Ten Hag is United’s fifth permanent manager since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 as the club have searched for someone to lead them back to the heights of their glory years.

Advertisement

He guided United to third in the league in his debut season

-Reuters

Continue Reading

Premier League

Another Nigerian blood to flow in Chelsea veins

Published

on

Carabao Cup - Quarter Final - Everton v Fulham - Goodison Park, Liverpool, Britain - December 19, 2023 Fulham's Tosin Adarabioyo celebrates after the match REUTERS/Carl Recine

Chelsea have signed centre back Tosin Adarabioyo from fellow west London club Fulham on a free transfer, the Premier League side announced on Friday.

Adarabioyo, a former England youth international is of Nigerian descent. He is the latest Nigerian linked with Chlesea after Celestine Babayaro, Mikel Obi and Victor Moses among others.

The 26-year-old Adarabioyo who will join the Stamford Bridge side on a four-year contract beginning on July 1, has made one appearance for the England Under-19s and has played 78 times in the Premier League.

He is the first player to join Chelsea since they announced the arrival of new head coach Enzo Maresca, opens new tab earlier this week, and will bolster their options at centre back following the departure of veteran Thiago Silva.

“We are delighted to bring Tosin to Chelsea,” Chelsea co-sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley said.

Advertisement

“Throughout his career, he has showcased his maturity and defensive qualities and has gained a wealth of experience in the Premier League in recent seasons.

“He is ready to make the step up to Chelsea and work alongside the talented players in our squad. We look forward to Tosin joining up with us for pre-season.”

Chelsea are looking to revive their fortunes under Maresca after finishing sixth in the standings last season.

“I’m looking forward to starting work with Enzo and I’m sure the boys are too,” Adarabioyo said.

“It’s going to be exciting. We’re going to play good football and win a lot of games. There are top players in this squad and I’m eager to play with them all.”

Advertisement

-Reuters

Continue Reading

Premier League

Nigerian-born Ogbonna leaves West Ham after nine-year stay

Published

on

Premier League - West Ham United v Luton Town - London Stadium, London, Britain - May 11, 2024 West Ham United's Angelo Ogbonna applauds fans as he is substituted REUTERS/Tony Obrien/File Photo

West Ham United centre back Angelo Ogbonna is leaving the club after nine years in east London, the Premier League side said on Wednesday.

Ogbonna was born to Nigerian parents who emigrated to Italy from Nigeria in 1983, settling in the city of Cassino in the central part of the country, but managed to obtain Italian citizenship only after his 18th birthday. He is now 36.

The  Italy international made 201 Premier League appearances for the club and was part of their Europa Conference League-winning side last year.

The former Juventus player struggled with several injuries during his time at West Ham, including a cruciate ligament tear suffered in 2021 that kept him out for almost a year.

“When he was not playing, Ogbonna was always a willing supporter of the club’s community work,” West Ham said in a statement. “He will always be a beloved member of the West Ham United family

Advertisement

-Reuters

Continue Reading

Most Viewed