Arsenal returned to action for the first time on Saturday since the 2019/2020 English Premier League (EPL) was stopped because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Premier League clubs were this week given the all-clear to play friendlies ahead of the scheduled restart on June 17, following a three-month stoppage.
Arsenal hosted second tier Charlton Athletic behind closed doors and with officiating roles carried out by club staff.
Joe Willock was also on target.https://nnn.ng/arsenal-whip-charlton-athletic-6-0-in-friendly/
Nketiah’s late strike gives Arsenal 2-1 win over West Ham United
A late goal from substitute Eddie Nketiah gave Arsenal a 2-1 home win over West Ham United in the English Premier League (EPL) on Saturday.
Michail Antonio’s first half strike for the visitors had cancelled out Alexandre Lacazette’s 50th goal for the Gunners.
West Ham were more organised playing with a five-man defence than in their opening 2-0 home loss to Newcastle United as they faced an Arsenal side fresh from winning at Fulham.
But the hosts broke through in the 25th minute when captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, fresh from signing a new three-year deal, sprang onto a through ball down the left.
He then chipped across to Lacazette, who headed past goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.
West Ham levelled just before half-time with a brilliantly worked move from deep in their own half.
Tomas Soucek ran the ball through the middle and sent a pass wide to Ryan Fredericks who whipped it into the path of Antonio to net from close range.
Antonio nearly doubled his tally with another tap-in shortly after the restart, but Arsenal’s goalkeeper Bernd Leno got down at his feet to smother the ball right on the goalline.
Instead, Nketiah claimed all three points for the hosts.
He latched onto a Dani Ceballos layoff in the 85th minute, having come on less than 10 minutes before then to replace Lacazette.
Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni and Olawale Alabi)
VAR drama as Zaha double earns Crystal Palace shock 3-1 win at Manchester United
Manchester United’s season got underway with a shock 3-1 defeat by Crystal Palace as Wilfried Zaha grabbed a late double for the visitors in the Premier League on Saturday.
However, the win was not without drama, as VAR was once again the centre of attention.
United looked off the pace early on as Andros Townsend put Palace in front after seven minutes.
The home side’s campaign was starting a week later than initially scheduled due to last season’s Europa League commitments running into mid-August.
Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay went close as United chased an equaliser but the hosts could have gone in two goals behind at halftime.
Only a brilliant David De Gea save kept a goal-bound Jordan Ayew strike out.
United brought Mason Greenwood on at halftime but their task was made more difficult.
VAR decided that referee Martin Atkinson should consult the pitch-side monitor and he awarded Palace a penalty for handball against Victor Lindelof.
Ayew stepped up to take the spot kick but De Gea made a fantastic save.
The VAR drama was not done there, however, with Atkinson informed that De Gea had come off his line and the penalty was retaken, with Zaha converting this time.
New signing Donny van de Beek came off the bench to get the home side back in the contest with a goal on his debut.
However, former United forward Zaha had the last laugh as he made sure of a deserved win for Palace with a fine finish late on.
Edited By: Felix Ajide
Liverpool sign Portugal winger Jota from Wolves
Liverpool have completed the signing of Portugal forward Diogo Jota from Wolverhampton Wanderers on a long term contract, the English Premier League (EPL) champions said on Saturday.
Liverpool’s versatile 18-year-old defender Ki-Jana Hoever moved in the other direction on a five-year contract.
He played four senior games for the Anfield club following his arrival from Ajax Amsterdam in 2018.
British media reported that Liverpool agreed a five-year deal worth about 41 million pounds for Jota.
It is expected that his versatility and work rate should fit in well with manager Juergen Klopp’s hard-pressing style of play.
“It’s just a really exciting moment for me and my family,” Jota told Liverpool’s website.
“All of my path since I was a kid and now, to join a club like Liverpool —— the world champions —— is just unbelievable. I just want to get started.”
The 23-year-old Jota was left out of Wolves’ League Cup defeat by Stoke City on Thursday and was an unused substitute in their 2-0 league win over Sheffield United last weekend.
Initially arriving on loan from Atletico Madrid in 2017, Jota has scored 16 goals and provided six assists for Wolves in the Premier League over the last three seasons.
“I think I’m a team player,” Jota said. “I play upfront and my job is to find a way to score goals and to provide assists and that’s what they can expect from me…I’ll always try to help the team in the best way possible.”
Jota is Liverpool’s third signing of the close season following the arrival of Spain midfielder Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich and Greece left-back Kostas Tsimikas.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Spurs sign Bale on loan, Reguilon on permanent deal
Tottenham Hotspur have signed winger Gareth Bale and left-back Sergio Reguilon from Spanish champions Real Madrid, the English Premier League (EPL) club announced in a statement on Saturday.
Bale returns to his former club on a one-year loan deal, with British media reporting that Spurs will pay 20 million pounds in wages and fees for the 31-year-old Wales forward.
Reguilon, who spent last season on loan at Sevilla, arrives for a reported fee of 30 million euros (35.51 million dollars).
Bale made more than 200 appearances for Spurs between 2007 and 2013, scoring 56 goals with 58 assists before his then world record move to Real Madrid for 100 million euros.
He won four UEFA Champions League trophies and two La Liga titles with Real Madrid.
But he has divided opinion amongst the club’s fanbase, with some supporters frustrated by a perceived lack of commitment from the Welshman and his poor injury record.
Bale was poised for a move to Chinese club Jiangsu Suning last year before the deal fell through.
He endured his worst season at Real Madrid in 2019/2020, scoring only three goals in all competitions, and barely featured in their run to the Liga title.
His growing rift with manager Zinedine Zidane intensified when he did not travel with the squad for a UEFA Champions League clash against Manchester City last season.
The signings of Bale and Reguilon follow the arrival at Spurs of Denmark midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Ireland defender Matt Doherty and former England goalkeeper Joe Hart.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)