Daily Archives: November 7, 2017

Manchester City continues strident form on top of Premier League

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Manchester City continued their brilliant form to stay above the Premier League with an easy 3-1 victory over Arsenal.

Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling could have both scored but it was the influential Kevin De Bruyne who broke the deadlock, after the Belgian playing a one-two with Fernandinho and angled the ball inside the far post via Cech’s fingertips.

Aguero then converted a penalty off the post five minutes after half-time, before Arsenal mustered a reply through substitute Alexandre Lacazette — whose shot went through the legs of Ederson.

City did not waver, and merely struck for their third goal through their own substitute Gabriel Jesus at close range.

The blue side of Manchester has now gathered a total of 38 goals from only their opening 11 games, even though the scoreline in this encounter against Arsenal slightly trims their rate of average goal per game.

This was a markedly different performance for the Gunners, who lost four of their first six away games since 1981. Their defeat also leaves them sixth, 12 points from the top, with coach Arsene Wenger left fuming, saying that Raheem Sterling “dives well” and criticising the referee, Michael Oliver.

City were only leading by 1-0 when Oliver awarded a penalty for Nacho Monreal’s challenge on Sterling after 50 minutes, which Aguero converted.

“I believe it was no penalty. We know that Raheem Sterling dives well, he does that very well,” Wenger said. “And the third goal was offside. I am very upset because at 2-1 we were in the game. The third goal was the killer and it is not by coincidence that mistakes always go for the home team, as we know.

“It is unfortunate that the game finished the way it finished. I am disappointed. You can accept it if City win in a normal way, they are a good side, but this is unacceptable. Last season we lost two offside goals and it has happened again.”

Juventus survives Benevento scare to go second in Serie A

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Juventus survived a scare as they came from behind to beat Serie A’s bottom club Benevento 2-1 at home on their 120th anniversary.

The win moves the defending champions to within a point of leaders Napoli, who were held to a 0-0 draw at Chievo, and a point above third-placed Inter, who were held to a 1-1 draw against visiting Torino.

Juve started brightly and were unlucky not to take the lead in the early stages, with Douglas Costa hitting the woodwork twice in three first-half minutes, first having his 13th-minute cross turned onto the post by visiting goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli before clattering the bar shortly after.

It was Benevento, who are rooted to the foot of the table after losing all of their league games this season, who shocked the Turin crowd as they broke the deadlock in the first half when Amato Ciciretti’s free kick found the bottom corner at the 19th minute.

Not wanting the ignominy of becoming the first side to concede points to Benevento in Serie A, the hosts threw everything at Benevento as they searched for a leveller but the champions could not find a way past the impressive Brignoli in the first half, with Paulo Dybala and Cuadrado among those to be denied before the break.

It was in the second half when Juve flew out of the traps and levelled things up 12 minutes after the interval when Gonzalo Higuain fired in his fifth goal in four games in all competitions after Blaise Matuidi had headed Mattia De Sciglio’s cross into his path.

They then finally found their winner after another period of intense pressure as they scored again eight minutes later when Juan Cuadrado nodded in after getting on the end of Alex Sandro’s deep cross.

The home side pushed for a third in the closing exchanges but Brignoli was again on hand to keep out substitute Rodrigo Bentancur in added time, as Juventus celebrated their 120th anniversary with the home team wearing ‘1897’ shirts.

Alvaro Morata header edges Chelsea to victory over United

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Alvaro Morata scored his first goal since September for Chelsea to defeat Manchester United by 1-0 and move the Blues to one point behind the Red Devils in the Premier League.

Morata went unnoticed into the space between United’s centre-halves with Chris Smalling drawn towards Tiemoue Bakayoko’s run, to plant his header beyond a static David de Gea.

In comparison, Romelu Lukaku, Morata’s counterpart at United, was subdued and quiet throughout, and did not have a single touch inside the Chelsea area.

Both United and Chelsea were in a struggle for the Belgian in the summer, with United coming out on top with his signature in a £90m deal after supposedly long-standing interest from his former club Chelsea, while Chelsea coach Antonio Conte insisted he had got the man he wanted all along when he completed a £65m move for Morata.

However, it was Morata who will prove himself in this game by leading Chelsea forward with pace and energy and making the game’s decisive contribution with a towering header after being given far too much space by the United defence.

“It’s an important victory,” Conte said after the game. “When you play against Manchester United it’s always a massive game. We know very well this team is very strong. This type of win is important for our confidence. We showed great desire and passion to win this kind of game.”

“We can win or lose but our spirit must be this. Last season our spirit was in every game — we started this season with a lot of problems. We were up and down. This game showed if we want, we can.”

The defeat summed up another miserable week for United coach Jose Mourinho, whose homecoming at Chelsea was ruined for the third time in a game that follows a goalless draw at Liverpool and a loss to Huddersfield Town. The Portuguese, who was Chelsea manager on two different spells, lost 4-0 against his former club in the Premier League and was inflicted 1-0 defeat in the quarter-final of the FA Cup.

Indeed, the visitors had only pressured the hosts after Morata scored for Chelsea, with Marcus Rashford coming close with a snapshot and a free-kick, while substitute Marouane Fellaini forced a save from Thibaut Courtois.