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Arsenal 2-1 Sheffield United: Saka and Pepe goals seal victory for Mikel Arteta;s men

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arsenal 2 1 sheffield united saka and pepe goals seal victory for mikel artetas men

Four devastating minutes of attacking flair ended Sheffield United’s gritty resistance and provided more tangible proof that Arsenal are back.

This was far from convincing, far from pretty. But following their first defeat of the season at champions Liverpool on Monday, the Gunners have returned to winning ways.

That is all that will matter to Mikel Arteta. Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe provided the telling blows as Arsenal withstood a brave Sheffield United fightback to clinch victory.

Nicolas Pepe's placed effort saw Arsenal double their lead at the Emirates and see out a 2-1 victory against Sheffield United

Nicolas Pepe's placed effort saw Arsenal double their lead at the Emirates and see out a 2-1 victory against Sheffield United

Nicolas Pepe’s placed effort saw Arsenal double their lead at the Emirates and see out a 2-1 victory against Sheffield United

The Ivorian was mobbed by his team-mates after his goal and immediate impact in the fixture at the Emirates

The Ivorian was mobbed by his team-mates after his goal and immediate impact in the fixture at the Emirates

The Ivorian was mobbed by his team-mates after his goal and immediate impact in the fixture at the Emirates

Pepe places home into the bottom corner to extend the Gunners' lead in the second half against the Blades

Pepe places home into the bottom corner to extend the Gunners' lead in the second half against the Blades

Pepe places home into the bottom corner to extend the Gunners’ lead in the second half against the Blades

Pepe had only entered the action moments earlier, and was given a thorough set of instructions by Mikel Arteta

Pepe had only entered the action moments earlier, and was given a thorough set of instructions by Mikel Arteta

Pepe had only entered the action moments earlier, and was given a thorough set of instructions by Mikel Arteta

David McGoldrick scored a late consolation with a sublime curled effort, but it wasn't enough to spur his side to an equaliser

David McGoldrick scored a late consolation with a sublime curled effort, but it wasn't enough to spur his side to an equaliser

David McGoldrick scored a late consolation with a sublime curled effort, but it wasn’t enough to spur his side to an equaliser

MATCH FACTS AND PLAYER RATINGS

ARSENAL (3-4-2-1): Leno 6; Luiz 6.5, Gabriel 7.5, Tierney 6.5; Bellerin 7.5, Ceballos 6.5 (Xhaka 81), Elneny 7, Saka 7 (Maitland-Niles 87); Willian 6.5, Aubameyang 6.5; Nketiah 6 (Pepe 58, 8). 

Subs: Runarsson, Lacazette, Holding, Willock.

Manager: Mikel Arteta: 7

SHEFFIELD UTD (3-5-2): Ramsdale 6.5; Basham 6 (Sharp 76), Egan 6.5, Robinson 6.5; Baldock 6.5, Lundstrom 6.5, Berge 7, Osborn 6 (Fleck 63, 6), Stevens 6.5; Burke 7 (McBurnie 56, 5.5), McGoldrick 7. Subs: Foderingham, Lowe, Norwood, Ampadu. 

Booked: Berge

Manager: Chris Wilder: 6.5

Referee: Lee Mason 5

 

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Chris Wilder should be proud of his men, Arsenal were clinging on for dear life by the end.

The Blades will be aggrieved that referee Lee Mason didn’t red card David Luiz in the fifth minute as he appeared to pull back Oliver Burke, who was about to dart through on goal.

That wasn’t Arsenal or Arteta’s concern, though. Once upon time, not too long ago, Arsenal would have caved at the end of this clash.

But under Arteta, the Gunners are made of sterner stuff – this win indicative of their growing backbone.

The first-half, much like the weather, was nothing to write home about. No lack of endeavour, but a distinct lack of goalmouth entertainment.

The closest either side went to opening the scoring was when Aaron Ramsdale, following his initial mistake, tipped over Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s wicked long-range effort that looked destined to dip underneath the bar towards.

As you’d expect, the Blades were organised and gutsy – suffocating Arsenal’s creative talent of any time to think.

On another day they may have had a man advantage when Luiz got away with grasping a handful of Oliver Burke’s shirt as the Arsenal defender tried to cover his defensive team-mate Gabriel’s sloppy pass back.

Chris Wilder’s booming protests filled the Emirates; Burke was determined to have his say too, but referee Mason was undeterred.

Burke was proving a thorn in Arsenal’s defence, his robust and direct running a lingering threat.

But Arteta would have hoped for more from his side in an attacking sense. They had bundles of possession, 73 percent by the end of the first half.

However, Aubameyang’s dipping effort and a tame Eddie Nketiah header was all Arsenal had to show for it.

Arteta’s heart started beating significantly quicker just before the break as striker Aubameyang received lengthy treatment following a clattering challenge from Sande Berge, that earned the United midfielder a deserved booking.

The second period continued in a similar fashion; Arsenal probed without joy. Aubmeyang was inches from getting a toe on Dani Ceballos’ intelligent first-time pass in the 53rd minute as Arsenal searched for an opening.

Youngster Bukayo Saka had opened the scoring with a deft, placed header following a slick passage of play

Youngster Bukayo Saka had opened the scoring with a deft, placed header following a slick passage of play

Youngster Bukayo Saka had opened the scoring with a deft, placed header following a slick passage of play

Saka, who recently earned his first call-up to the England squad, heads home into the top corner to give Arsenal the lead

Saka, who recently earned his first call-up to the England squad, heads home into the top corner to give Arsenal the lead

Saka, who recently earned his first call-up to the England squad, heads home into the top corner to give Arsenal the lead

Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had gone close after cutting inside and curling one of his trademark attempts

Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had gone close after cutting inside and curling one of his trademark attempts

Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had gone close after cutting inside and curling one of his trademark attempts

Hector Bellerin got both assists for the Gunners as they bounced back from their defeat against Liverpool in the league

Hector Bellerin got both assists for the Gunners as they bounced back from their defeat against Liverpool in the league

Hector Bellerin got both assists for the Gunners as they bounced back from their defeat against Liverpool in the league

Arteta introduced record signing Nicolas Pepe in place of the quiet Nketiah just before the hour mark in hope of igniting an attack that had so far looked pedestrian at best.

The substitution proved the key moment as the Ivorian inspired his stuttering team to victory.

Pepe had a sizeable hand in the opener during an incisive move that concluded with Saka nodding home at the back post from Hector Bellerin’s stood up cross to hand Arsenal a 61st minute lead.

It was the perfect way for Gunners youngster to celebrate his first senior England call-up; he’ll walk into St George’s Park on Monday floating on air.

But it was Pepe who was emerging as Arsenal’s hero of the hour here.

Blades defender Enda Stevens tried his best to keep pace with Pepe as the forward collected Bellerin’s pass not far from the half-way line.

Pepe powered forward leaving Stevens trailing in his wake before cooly stroking a left-foot foot finish past Ramsdale to score the decisive goal for Arteta’s side.

A quite brilliant solo effort; Arteta’s shriek of delighted said it all.

The striker was left ruing the missed opportunity after thinking he had given the Gunners first blood in the contest

The striker was left ruing the missed opportunity after thinking he had given the Gunners first blood in the contest

The striker was left ruing the missed opportunity after thinking he had given the Gunners first blood in the contest

In the early stages David Luiz was lucky to remain on the field after appearing to pull back Oliver Burke as the last man

In the early stages David Luiz was lucky to remain on the field after appearing to pull back Oliver Burke as the last man

In the early stages David Luiz was lucky to remain on the field after appearing to pull back Oliver Burke as the last man

The Arsenal boss’ impact on this game from the bench was telling too – his impressive start to life as a manager continues.

That should have been the signal for Arsenal to canter home – but Wilder’s dogged side had other ideas.

Arsenal looked like they had the situation under control when David McGoldrick had the ball at his feet around 20 yards out.

But the Gunners hadn’t banked on the United forward executing a brilliant curled effort that arced beyond Bernd Leno’s dive.

Buoyed by their first Premier League goal of the season Wilder’s men threw it all at Arsenal – an injury time McGoldrick shot cannoning off Gabriel – who was immense – for a late corner.

The defeat gallant – but a loss is a loss; Wilder will require remainder of that fact. Four defeats from four will only enhance concerns of how this season might transpire for a team that took the Premier League by storm last term.

But it’s onwards an upwards for Arteta’s Arsenal.

A memorial to Metropolitian Police Sergeant Matt Ratana was placed inside the Emirates stadium before kick-off

A memorial to Metropolitian Police Sergeant Matt Ratana was placed inside the Emirates stadium before kick-off

A memorial to Metropolitian Police Sergeant Matt Ratana was placed inside the Emirates stadium before kick-off

Coronavirus warnings seen in place inside the Emirates tunnel, warning players and staff to maintain social distancing

Coronavirus warnings seen in place inside the Emirates tunnel, warning players and staff to maintain social distancing

Coronavirus warnings seen in place inside the Emirates tunnel, warning players and staff to maintain social distancing

Sky Sports microphones were seen covered at pitch-side due to the poor weather conditions in north London

Sky Sports microphones were seen covered at pitch-side due to the poor weather conditions in north London

Sky Sports microphones were seen covered at pitch-side due to the poor weather conditions in north London

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Ajax 0 Liverpool 1 LIVE REACTION: Tagliafico own goal hands Reds all three points in Champions League group stage opener

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FT: AJAX 0-1 LIVERPOOL

Brilliant result for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, with the week they’ve had with injuries, getting off to a winning start and a clean sheet was just what the doctor ordered!

Ajax came at Liverpool in the second half but much like the first half, there was no end product when it really mattered.

Klopp wasn’t taking any risks with his fabulous front three, taking them off for Jota, Minamino and Shaqiri.

The switch of attackers didn’t really stop Liverpool from playing the way they wanted to play.

Jota and co did a good job of dropping deep and catching Ajax on a quick counter attack and it even created chances to extend the Reds lead, notably at the end when Wijnaldum was picked out with a wonderful ball by Jota.

Liverpool pick up all three points and it’s a winning start to the 2020-21 Champions League campaign.

This post first appeared on thesun.co.uk

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Manchester City 3-1 FC Porto: Ferran Torres’ second club goal adds to Ilkay Gundogan’s wonderstrike

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Manchester City were rescued by a wonderstrike from Ilkay Gundogan and a second club goal for new signing Ferran Torres after starting badly on Wednesday night.

City fell behind after 14 minutes when Luis Diaz was able to cut across the home defence before slotting the ball past goalkeeper Ederson.

But Pep Guardiola‘s side responded when Sergio Aguero struck from the penalty spot after Pepe had fouled Raheem Sterling.

Gundogan fired City into the lead with a fine free-kick from 25 yards before Torres added gloss.

More to follow 

Manchester City survived an early scare in the Champions League on Wednesday night to beat FC Porto 3-1 at the Etihad

Manchester City survived an early scare in the Champions League on Wednesday night to beat FC Porto 3-1 at the Etihad

Manchester City survived an early scare in the Champions League on Wednesday night to beat FC Porto 3-1 at the Etihad

One of City's summer signings, Ferran Torres, celebrates scoring his side's third goal against Porto to cap a fine second half

One of City's summer signings, Ferran Torres, celebrates scoring his side's third goal against Porto to cap a fine second half

One of City’s summer signings, Ferran Torres, celebrates scoring his side’s third goal against Porto to cap a fine second half

City's Ilkay Gundogan scored the home side's goal of the night when he sent a free-kick into the top corner of the Porto goal

City's Ilkay Gundogan scored the home side's goal of the night when he sent a free-kick into the top corner of the Porto goal

City’s Ilkay Gundogan scored the home side’s goal of the night when he sent a free-kick into the top corner of the Porto goal

 

MATCH FACTS AND PLAYER RATINGS 

MANCHESTER CITY (4-3-3): Ederson 6; Walker 7, Dias 6.5, Garcia 5.5, Cancelo 5; Silva 7, Rodri 6 (Fernandinho 85mins), Gundogan 7.5 (Foden 68, 6.5); Mahrez 6, Aguero 7 (Torres 68, 7), Sterling 7

Subs not used: Steffen, Carson, Stones, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Nmecha, Doyle, Harwood-Bellis, Palmer, Bernabe

Booked: Walker, Cancelo, Silva, Garcia.

Scorers: Aguero 20 (pen), Gundogan 65, Torres 73

Manager: Pep Guardiola 6

FC PORTO (5-4-1): Marchesin 6; Corona 6.5 (Nanu 77), Mbemba 6, Pepe 5, Sarr 6.5 (Evanilson 80), Sanusi 6.5 (Nakajima 76); Vieira 6 (Taremi 77), Oliviera 6, Uribe 7, Diaz 7 (Manafa 55, 6); Marega 6

Subs not used: Costa, Leite, Loum, Grujic, Baro, Anderson, Martinez.

Scorer: Diaz 14

Manager: Sergio Conceicao 6

Referee: Andris Treimanis (Latvia) 4

Player ratings by Ian Ladyman at the Etihad Stadium 

 

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A clinical strike from Porto's Luis Diaz, after a slaloming run that cut Manchester City's defence apart, finds the net

A clinical strike from Porto's Luis Diaz, after a slaloming run that cut Manchester City's defence apart, finds the net

A clinical strike from Porto’s Luis Diaz, after a slaloming run that cut Manchester City’s defence apart, finds the net

Diaz punches the air in celebration after giving his side the lead 14 minutes into the tie at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday

Diaz punches the air in celebration after giving his side the lead 14 minutes into the tie at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday

Diaz punches the air in celebration after giving his side the lead 14 minutes into the tie at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday

Shortly after Porto had taken the lead, veteran defender Pepe fouled City's Raheem Sterling inside the penalty area

Shortly after Porto had taken the lead, veteran defender Pepe fouled City's Raheem Sterling inside the penalty area

Shortly after Porto had taken the lead, veteran defender Pepe fouled City’s Raheem Sterling inside the penalty area

Pepe remonstrates with referee Andris Treimanis after the penalty was given against the Portuguese central defender

Pepe remonstrates with referee Andris Treimanis after the penalty was given against the Portuguese central defender

Pepe remonstrates with referee Andris Treimanis after the penalty was given against the Portuguese central defender

In the absence of Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero stepped up and lashed home his penalty to bring City back level

In the absence of Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero stepped up and lashed home his penalty to bring City back level

In the absence of Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero stepped up and lashed home his penalty to bring City back level

Porto goalkeeper Augustin Marchesin guessed the right way but couldn't prevent the Argentina international from scoring

Porto goalkeeper Augustin Marchesin guessed the right way but couldn't prevent the Argentina international from scoring

Porto goalkeeper Augustin Marchesin guessed the right way but couldn’t prevent the Argentina international from scoring

Aguero celebrates with central midfielder Rodri after scoring the equalising goal in City's Group C Champions League tie

Aguero celebrates with central midfielder Rodri after scoring the equalising goal in City's Group C Champions League tie

Aguero celebrates with central midfielder Rodri after scoring the equalising goal in City’s Group C Champions League tie

Sterling shows his frustration after another City chance goes begging in a difficult first half against the Portuguese side

Sterling shows his frustration after another City chance goes begging in a difficult first half against the Portuguese side

Sterling shows his frustration after another City chance goes begging in a difficult first half against the Portuguese side

City boss Pep Guardiola shouts instructions at his players during a tough contest in the Champions League group stages

City boss Pep Guardiola shouts instructions at his players during a tough contest in the Champions League group stages

City boss Pep Guardiola shouts instructions at his players during a tough contest in the Champions League group stages

Sterling attempts to burst into the Porto penalty area as he's flanked by Chancel Mbemba (left) and Wilson Manafa

Sterling attempts to burst into the Porto penalty area as he's flanked by Chancel Mbemba (left) and Wilson Manafa

Sterling attempts to burst into the Porto penalty area as he’s flanked by Chancel Mbemba (left) and Wilson Manafa

Ilkay Gundogan sends a right-footed free-kick from 25 yards towards goal after he was brought down by Fabio Viera

Ilkay Gundogan sends a right-footed free-kick from 25 yards towards goal after he was brought down by Fabio Viera

Ilkay Gundogan sends a right-footed free-kick from 25 yards towards goal after he was brought down by Fabio Viera

Gundogan is mobbed by his City team-mates after putting Guardiola's side in front for the first time on Wednesday night

Gundogan is mobbed by his City team-mates after putting Guardiola's side in front for the first time on Wednesday night

Gundogan is mobbed by his City team-mates after putting Guardiola’s side in front for the first time on Wednesday night 

Torres lost his footing after making contact with the ball but then watched as his strike soared into Porto's top left corner

Torres lost his footing after making contact with the ball but then watched as his strike soared into Porto's top left corner

Torres lost his footing after making contact with the ball but then watched as his strike soared into Porto’s top left corner

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Man City 3 Porto 1 LIVE REACTION: Aguero, Gundogan and Torres net as Pep Guardiola’s side battle back from goal down

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