Arsenal 0 Manchester City 3: Guardiola routs Wenger again in 100th game in charge Jamie Smith Last updated 1 year ago 05:36 2/3/2018 Getty Images Arsene Wenger’s position at Arsenal looks increasingly precarious after a second thumping defeat by Manchester City in five days. Manchester City delivered another sublime show of attacking brilliance as Pep Guardiola’s side marked the manager’s 100th game in charge with a 3-0 demolition of hapless Arsenal.City beat Arsenal by the same scoreline in Sunday’s EFL Cup final win at Wembley, giving Guardiola a first trophy after 18 months in English football.And the runaway Premier League leaders – now 16 points clear of rivals Manchester United – blew Arsenal away before the break, becoming the first team to score three goals away to the Gunners in the first half of a Premier League match. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Arsenal made a decent start but Leroy Sane fed Bernardo Silva for a glorious opener after 15 minutes, and the Germany international was then involved in a stunning team goal as David Silva – who was on target at Wembley – added a second.Sane scored the third before the break, finishing off another superb move, as Arsenal were regularly sliced open at a half-empty Emirates, the stadium adorned with blue lines in the snow.Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a second-half penalty saved and another heavy defeat increases the growing pressure on Arsene Wenger, whose side are 10 points outside the Champions League qualification places, as sensational City close in on the title.3 – Arsenal have conceded three goals in the first half of a Premier League home game for the first time ever. Overwhelmed. pic.twitter.com/BGR7ok0X7f— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 1, 2018Henrikh Mkhitaryan urged Arsenal to “fight” for Wenger in the build-up to the game and Ederson had to save an early sighter from the Armenia international, while Vincent Kompany deflected a cross from Aaron Ramsey into the chest of City’s goalkeeper.But the visitors scored with their first meaningful attack, Bernardo Silva netting a brilliant strike.Sane drove at the Arsenal defence with pace and skill, slipping in the Portugal international, who worked the ball on to his left foot and bent a glorious curler into Petr Cech’s top-right corner.Ederson beat away Granit Xhaka’s long-range free-kick, the goalkeeper then diving to his right to cling on to a sharp Ramsey strike.But City’s clinical cutting edge sliced Arsenal open with another breathtaking attack after 27 minutes.Sane was at the heart of it again, bamboozling Shkodran Mustafi and feeding Sergio Aguero, who laid the ball into David Silva’s path. The Spain international’s first touch was perfect, the second lashing a left-footed finish beyond a helpless Cech.If you dont like this you dont like football !!! #SharkTeam— Benjamin Mendy (@benmendy23) March 1, 2018City were rampant, a glorious third arriving within five minutes, Sane this time on target.Aguero’s clever touch on the halfway line created acres of space in the Arsenal defence, Kevin De Bruyne sliding Kyle Walker clear to square a low cross for Sane to roll the ball home.Nicolas Otamendi’s poor challenge on Mkhitaryan offered Arsenal a lifeline shortly after the restart – the Gunners having been booed off at the break – but Ederson dived to his left to keep out Aubameyang’s tame penalty.11 – Manchester City have saved 11 of the last 19 penalties they have faced in all competitions (excludes penalty shootouts). Intimidating. pic.twitter.com/zF0ZcQeTzc— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 1, 2018With the game won before the break, City were understandably less incisive, some sloppy passing marring their second-half display, while Walker limped off with 20 minutes remaining.Cech denied Aguero his 200th goal for the club but Guardiola could not have hoped for a more comprehensive victory to mark his City century, with Wenger left to wonder how to fix a team that has been heavily beaten three times by the league leaders this season. Key Opta stats:- Arsenal suffered their joint-heaviest home Premier League defeat, having also lost by three-goal margins to Coventry (1993), Middlesbrough (2001) and Chelsea (twice in 2009).- Manchester City have now scored more Premier League goals this season (82) than they scored in the entirety of last season (80).- This was Manchester City’s biggest away win at Arsenal in any competition since a 4-0 triumph in November 1912.- The Gunners have lost more matches in all competitions in 2018 than any other Premier League team (seven).- Arsenal are now on their longest Premier League run without a clean sheet (10 matches) since February 2002 (11 matches).- David Silva is only the third David to score on St. David’s Day in the Premier League, after David Dunn (Blackburn v Man City in 2003) and David Luiz (Chelsea v Man Utd in 2011).- This was the first time Arsenal conceded three goals in the first half of a home Premier League game and the first time they’d done so in a home league game since March 1989 against Nottingham Forest. read more
MLS Bob Bradley’s LAFC makes statement with debut MLS win in Seattle Ives Galarcep @soccerbyives Last updated 1 year ago 14:31 5/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Steven Bisig MLS Los Angeles Seattle Sounders v Los Angeles Seattle Sounders The expansion side enjoyed a dream start to life in MLS, with Diego Rossi’s winning goal and Tyler Miller’s big saves sparking an season-opening upset Bob Bradley hadn’t coached a match in more than a year, the longest such stretch of his coaching career, but he was rewarded for that wait on Sunday, as his Los Angeles FC made a dream start to life in Major League Soccer.The expansion MLS side went into CenturyLink Field and knocked off the two-time defending Western Conference champion Seattle Sounders, 1-0, to become the first team since those very same Sounders in 2009 to kick off an expansion season with a shutout victory, and first since the 2011 Vancouver Whitecaps to win their MLS debut.It was far from a dominant performance, and came, at least in part, with the help of the fact the Sounders rested some starters. But that doesn’t take away from the reality that LAFC looked like and played like a real team and not a collection of parts hastily thrown together, which can sometimes be the case with first-year squads. Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp “When you’re starting out as a team, you have to learn how to win different kinds of games,” Bradley said. “A lot of guys gave big efforts.”The dynamic duo of Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi figured to be the focal point of LAFC’s attack this season and needed just 11 minutes to let the rest of the league know just what a problem they will be to defend. Rossi’s one-time blast was the fastest debut goal by an MLS expansion team in league history, and while LAFC couldn’t generate a second, Rossi’s thunderbolt was a worthy first strike.Just as impressive was the defense Bradley was able to build, one that will help LAFC contend in year one. Even with Walker Zimmerman forced out of the lineup before kickoff, the defense was still good enough to keep a dangerous Sounders attack at bay, though it needed goalkeeper Tyler Miller to make a handful of excellent saves against his former team.The Sounders made LAFC earn it, even though veterans Clint Dempsey and Chad Marshall sat the match out to be ready for a vital CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal clash with Chivas on Wednesday. Seattle still had enough firepower to spoil the visiting team’s MLS debut, especially with second-half substitutes Magnus Wolff Eikrem and Handwalla Bwana giving the Sounders a much-needed spark, forcing Miller into a total of seven saves on the night.As much as Seattle was missing key players, LAFC was also without some top options as well. Egyptian midfielder Omar Gaber was left on the bench after having been injured in preseason, Zimmerman was forced out, and newly-acquired Colombian midfielder Eduard Atuesta had yet to integrate into the squad. Throw in long-rumored designated player target Andre Horta, who could still be signed during the current transfer window, and you realize how far away LAFC still is from being the finished product.Nobody knows how much further there is still to go than Bob Bradley, who took the expansion Chicago Fire to an MLS Cup title 20 years ago. He knows how important a good preseason foundation was to build on, but also knows there is no rush to have his team reach its full potential just yet. Unlike his last job — Bradley’s doomed stint at Swansea City — the former U.S. national team coach actually had a hand in building this team. From Miller, who Bradley took first in the MLS expansion draft, to Benny Feilhaber, who he took to the 2010 World Cup during his time as U.S. coach, to first-round draft pick Joao Moutinho, who showed well in his professional debut.“I don’t think we showed, football-wise, what we’re capable of, but that’s only going to get better,” Bradley said. “I’m very confident that, as we build this team, that we’re going to see some real football.”LAFC still has plenty to work on, including how better to hold onto the ball in order to avoid being bombarded with pressure like we saw on Sunday, but the foundation is clearly there for LAFC to be a strong expansion team, rather than a pushover. With a tough defensive nucleus, and the Vela-Rossi tandem up top, the newest MLS team is already a handful and will only get tougher as the final pieces to the puzzle are added in the coming weeks.Things won’t get any easier for the club though. LAFC faces a tough opening schedule, with five more road games looming before unveiling its new stadium with a visit from none other than the same Sounders team it just defeated. Earning points during this season-opening road trip is key to improving the team’s chances of being a serious playoff contender.”A lot of positives, great to win, but still a lot of work to do,” Bradley said.Could LAFC follow the path of Bradley’s previous expansion team and win a title? It’s way too early for that sort of talk, but what was made clear on Sunday is that Bradley made the most of his time away from the sidelines and has put together a team ready to be competitive against the very best that MLS has to offer.
World Cup Pele impressed by Tite’s ability to cope with Brazil’s modern challenges Peter Hanson 08:00 17/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images World Cup Russia v Brazil Germany v Brazil Brazil v Switzerland Brazil The ex-Corinthians coach has made a brilliant start in one of football’s most demanding jobs, qualifying with ease for Russia 2018 Brazil coach Tite has a more difficult job to do than many of his national team predecessors, according to Selecao legend Pele. Tite was appointed to the top job in June 2016 after Dunga was dismissed following Brazil’s poor showing at the Copa America Centenario.The 56-year-old has drawn plenty of plaudits for Brazil’s performances under his stewardship and the team is considered among the favourites for World Cup glory in Russia this year. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Brazil’s latest 25-man squad for friendlies with Russia and Germany includes just three domestic-based players, and Pele sympathised with the challenges Tite faces.”I don’t want to say that I was the one that supported Tite the most, and it’s not because I wasn’t sure of what he could accomplish, no one can say for a fact what is going to happen but God, only God knows what is going to happen in the future,” he told ESPN. “But Tite, whenever I was with him or talked to him, I could feel he is a serious person with a lot of character. He always talked with confidence. He could even make mistakes as no one is perfect. “But he said something that really made sense to me about our national team in the 70s and 80s. “Tite said ‘Pele, if I have the chance to become the coach of Brazil, and stay there for a while, I want to build a team that will be able to compete for two or three years, so everyone can better understand each other’.”Furthermore, in a fun tone, he said ‘I can’t build a team like the ones you were part of. Back in your day, the best players of Brazil didn’t leave the country to play overseas. Only a few players went on to play abroad. Even you, during your 25-year career played all those years in Brazil, you only left at the end of your career, when you played for the New York Cosmos.”To manage the national team at that time was easy. The players were excellent so it was easier to build the national team. In our modern age, I need scouts everywhere. Three to four Brazilian players are playing in each part of the world. It is harder now, but I want to build a team that can be steady.’ “And I liked a lot what he had to say, I pray to God that he can accomplish his goals.”
José Mourinho Matic was an island of personality – Mourinho questions United mentality Jamie Smith Last updated 1 year ago 06:49 18/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(3) José Mourinho Manchester United Romelu Lukaku Brighton & Hove Albion FA Cup Manchester United v Brighton & Hove Albion Videos Despite seeing Manchester United progress into the semi-finals of the FA Cup by beating Brighton, the manager was annoyed by his side Jose Mourinho singled out Nemanja Matic as an “island of personality” as he criticised the mentality of his Manchester United players despite booking a place in the FA Cup semi-finals.Romelu Lukaku and Matic converted United’s only two efforts on target in a 2-0 win against Brighton and Hove Albion at Old Trafford on Saturday to set up a trip to Wembley.Mourinho had told his players to “grow up” following Tuesday’s surprise defeat to Sevilla in the Champions League and the Portuguese left Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez as unused substitutes against Brighton. Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Luke Shaw was hauled off at half-time despite playing a role in Lukaku’s opener, with Mourinho unimpressed with United’s performance in a dour display against the Seagulls.”I didn’t like the game,” Mourinho told BT Sport. “I think we deserved to win because I think the game was in control for the majority, we scored two and they didn’t score, so we clearly deserved it but we didn’t play the way I want.”I had a reaction from some. Some players were mentally strong enough with football quality and that was the reason we won, but a team of 11 must have six or seven performing and wanting responsibility to play. I’m not happy with the performance, I’m happy with the result.”When I spend two days with faster build-up and ball arriving earlier between lines and in attacking areas it depends on decisions in possession and movement in attack, I spend two days working on it but attacking players don’t want the ball, defenders taking square passes, I have to feel frustrated.”The biggest frustration is not a bad result because this can happen, it’s when I work on the [training] pitch and don’t see the situations on the pitch.”Many, many times Matic was an island of personality and desire and control, surrounded by a lack of personality, class and desire.”[Scott] McTominay lost more passes than in all his games altogether but he was a Manchester United player, he gives to the team.”It was a question of mentality. The perfect Manchester United player has quality and personality and is consistent. When you play bad you must have personality.”#MUFC in the @EmiratesFACup this season:Played Scored Conceded Bring on the semi-finals pic.twitter.com/Ryci0MgS6e— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 17, 2018Although Mourinho did not single out individuals for criticism, Shaw’s withdrawal for Ashley Young at half-time was a sign the United manager remains doubtful over the left-back’s qualities.”It was a decision, one player for another in the same position,” Mourinho said. “I wanted to defend better, I want my defensive line to be more solid in response to some situations and I want more personality in the team.”
While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. The Cowboys emerge from a bye week looking to get right against the unbeaten Baylor Bears. Will there be a happy ending to Homecoming Weekend? The Kyles convened to chat about that, a much-needed bounceback for Spencer Sanders and the latest in hoops recruiting. Hope you enjoy.Kyle Cox: As Porter pointed out, not all 6-0s are created equal. What about Baylor makes you nervous and what makes you confident in an OSU win Saturday?Kyle Porter: I think they’re starting to feel themselves a little bit — which is problematic — and I think Brewer is good. When he came in last year at the end of that game it looked like they went from Bom Trady to Tom Brady in a single series. But yeah, I don’t think we talk enough about momentum and confidence as it relates to college athletes. They have it. OSU does not.Cox: For me, while Baylor has eked out a couple of close wins, I think that finding the way to win those games goes a long way toward building momentum. Reminds me of the 2015 Cowboys. I never thought they were ever out of any game. That is until Rudolph got hurt.Brewer just had his worst game of the year against Texas Tech (sounds familiar) and they still found a way, thanks partially to #Big12Refs, to come out with the W.Porter: Shout out to Big 12 refs on that 2012 OSU-Texas game. #neverforgetCox: I know I said this two weeks ago (after K-State), but Spencer Sanders seems due for a bounceback (knocks on wood) and I think the defense has shown that it can keep OSU in the game. That being said, I think I agree with KP that the pressure is on OSU. 5-2 is a lot different than 4-3 when you look ahead into late October/November. Gotta get this win.Porter: Totally. The only fan base more invested in Spencer Sanders’ next six games than OSU is Arizona (or Louisville or Arizona State). Shane Illingworth’s future could depend on it.That’s hyperbole — I think — but in the same way Rudolph solidified himself as QB1 for as long as he was in Stillwater with those last few games in 2014, Sanders has a chance to do so over the next six. Otherwise, this maddening merry-go-round of QB chatter will continue into the next few years. Kyle Boone: I actually think there’s a lot of pressure on Mike Gundy, and I’m not sure that’s actually all that dramatic. His teams have played miserably as favorites over the last few seasons and surprisingly bad at home. A loss in homecoming would continue that awkward trend and only further the questioning about whether he’s lost his fastball or not.I don’t think he’s going to lose his job or anything if OSU doesn’t beat an unbeaten Baylor team, but it could get a little uncomfortable for OSU fans expecting more and continuously getting less every year.Porter: It’s tough to have too much pressure when your contract is always guaranteed for five years.I don’t disagree with you @boone — like, I think the concept is correct, but I don’t know exactly how that plays out. Everybody just remains mad for the next seven years?(never do lifetime contracts)Unfortunately OSU didn’t have previous experience in signing a head men’s coach to a too-long contract and have to eat a ridiculous amount of money when that contract didn’t work out.Boone: To me, a lifetime contract and a five-year rolling contract are different. The way coaching contracts are drawn up these days, almost every coach — on the hot seat, first year coaches, veterans — has at minimum three years. Five seems like a lot, but if the product is bad it’s not gargantuan. And I’d imagine OSU has a clause to get out of it (unless, you know, Travis Ford’s agent drew up the deal).Semantics, though. I mean Gundy has a lifetime deal whether he goes to the Texas Bowl or to the Stillwater Bowling Alley.Porter: I don’t want to get into a “is Gundy toast” vortex. That’s what The Chamber is for. But broadly-speaking, I agree with you about Gundy feeling a little heat if all of a sudden they’re 4-3 with Ames and Bedlam on deck.Cox: Yeah, either way things start looking pretty dark in The Chamber and on Twitter if OSU sniffs .500 ball in October.Porter: The Chamber of Darkness.Cox: Is it just me or did Gundy completely change the way he handles QBs since before Rudolph was there? He seems as bought-in with Sanders as he was with Cornelius. Which I think is a good thing.Porter: I agree, too. I do wonder how much that has to do with the guys behind them though. Clearly Sanders wasn’t ready last year, and I don’t think Brown is as good as Brown thinks (and others think) he is.Boone: I don’t know if we can draw any grand conclusion from the way he’s handled the QBs this season. Corn was a vet who gave OSU the best shot to win right away. Sanders is the most talented on campus who gives OSU its best shot to win big down the road. This is like an investment period for Gundy to have Sanders take his lumps now for payoff later.Cox: I’m all in for Sanders’ first 300-yard passing game. Didn’t think that would be this elusive this far into the season.Porter: Seriously, that’s crazy. Chuba almost had a 300-yard rushing game before Sanders had a 300-yard passing game. Still might, I guess.Boone: That is wild. I think the trade off to that is that Sanders is a WAY better runner than I expected but also maybe a slightly less accurate thrower than I expected.Porter: Yeah, I agree.Boone: (Sanders is completing 63.3% of his passes this season; Cornelius completed 59.4% last season.)Porter: Don’t trigger me @booneCorn wouldn’t have thrown those picks against Tech!Boone: And air yards/target are pretty much identical!Cox: I believe. (There’s our next t-shirt)Porter: I B3LI3V3Cox:Cox: Okay, the important question — Is Cade headed to Lexington, @boone?Boone: I don’t think so.Porter: Cade going to Kentucky would be such a dagger. As has been pointed out, it would be the first time at this level that a family hiring didn’t work. Add it to the list of systems OSU has ended.Boone: Actually, there is exactly one time a family member has been hired to a coaching staff and the prospect tied to the family member went elsewhere.Cox: Gunnar hasn’t committed yet.Porter:Boone: That instance was when SMU hired Tyrese Maxey’s dad. And months later, Maxey committed to Kentucky.Porter: Gary Parrish lied!Boone: It definitely happened. I think it’s the only other time. But of course it was Kentucky that was involved.Porter: Of course. I’m just ready for something to happen. Anything. Rondel. Bryce. Thor. Cade. All of them within 30 minutes. Whatever. Not too much to ask, IMO.Cox: You might have to start a second website if that happens.Boone: We’re officially less than a month until the early signing period starts, so I’d imagine shoes will start dropping soon.Gun to my head, the order of those commitments I’m guessing will be: 1. Rondel Walker 2. JT Thor 3. Bryce 4. Cade.Cox: How many to OSU?Porter: I want them all.Boone: I think three. Dunno which three.Porter:CadeBryceThorRondelBooneBooneWatsonLikekeleYorAndersonHiddeThat’s a legit Elite 8 team.Boone: Hidde should’ve been listed first.Porter: True.Cade is Cade, but if OSU gets three of those four — any three — I will be beside myself with delight. Might give Boynton equity in the company.PFB+ membership for life.Cox: Basketball schoolBoone: They could take all four of those blue-chippers, but IDK if they can land them all. The Bryce-Cade dynamic is a fascinating one that no one seems to know about. Do they even want to play together? Have they been scheming to go to the same school together? They seem really connected to how successful (or how big a failure, relatively speaking) this class could be.Porter: You have me all worked up again. You know this is what happens.Boone: Boynton would deserve it all if he gets one of the big two between Cade and Bryce. And he’d deserve HOF enshrinement if he gets both.Porter: Boynton > Boeheim don’t at meBoone: Not even close.Zone defense > man to man