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Eddie Nketiah’s hat-trick sees Arsenal ease to Sheff Utd win

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Arsenal moved within two points of Premier League leaders Tottenham after beating Sheffield United 5-0 on Saturday.

Mikel Arteta’s side didn’t reach top gear at the Emirates but still secured a comfortable win against the Premier League’s bottom club. Eddie Nketiah scored a sensational hat-trick, just days after fellow striker Gabriel Jesus suffered a hamstring injury against Sevilla. Fabio Vieira came off the bench to convert a penalty before Takehiro Tomiyasu completed the scoring.

Arsenal will now look to win at West Ham in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, while the Blades will try to pick up their first Premier League win of the season at home to Wolves next Saturday.

Arteta took a big risk on Saturday by benching Leandro Trossard, Gabriel Magalhaes and captain Martin Odegaard. Emile Smith Rowe was given his first Premier League start since May 2022, while Bukayo Saka was handed the armband.

With the Gunners also competing in the Champions League and Carabao Cup, it’s clear Arteta saw this game as a chance to rotate his squad. United are bottom of the Premier League and big favourites to make an immediate return to the Championship.

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Yet it’s always a gamble to rest players in English football’s top flight. Arsenal fans started to worry that Arteta had made a mistake around 25 minutes into the game, with the Blades looking confident on the ball. The Gunners needed to take control.


And that’s exactly what they did. Declan Rice picked up the ball down the middle, around 30 yards out, and took United’s defence by surprise by quickly playing a ball into the box. Nketiah read the delivery and controlled it before finishing from eight yards out.

It was the game’s first moment of real quality. The next came in the 41st minute, when Gabriel Martinelli’s left-footed strike was tipped around the post by goalkeeper Wes Foderingham. Arsenal went into the interval with a lead, but they weren’t at their best.

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Kai Havertz scores late winner sends Arsenal top with Brentford win

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Arsenal travelled to the Gtech Community Stadium on Saturday knowing three points would send them top of the Premier League, and left it very late to get the job done through super-sub Kai Havertz

Both teams had opportunities to lead at the break, but it was goalless at half-time thanks to a goal-line clearance and a narrow offside call. The visitors had only failed to score in one of their games this season, in all competitions, but were made to work hard by their fellow Londoners.

Mikel Arteta’s team needed their defenders to have their wits about them, with Declan Rice and Oleksandr Zinchenko both producing goal-line clearances. And they got their reward in the final minute as Havertz snuck home a header at the back post.

The Gunners survived an early scare after a nervy moment for goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, but grew into the first half and gradually began to pose more of a threat to Mark Flekken’s goal. They thought they had a breakthrough shortly before half-time, only for VAR to rule that Leandro Trossard had strayed narrowly offside before finding the net.

There were chances in the second half as well, but there was always a danger the Bees might take advantage of gaps at the back. Neal Maupay almost did just that, only for Zinchenko to rescue the away side.

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Just as it looked as though the game would end all square, Havertz found a late, late breakthrough with a goal which could well kick-start his Arsenal career. Here are the main talking points from West London.

Talking points:

1. Ramsdale feeling the pressure

Aaron Ramsdale was always going to start this game, with David Raya ineligible to face his parent club. The England international will have been hoping for a quiet start with limited pressure, but he brought some on himself and was very nearly caught out.

After taking too long on the ball, he allowed Yoane Wissa to nip in and take the ball off his toes. Ramsdale’s distribution has come under scrutiny, at least compared to that of Raya, and on this occasion only a goal-line clearance from Declan Rice saved the Gunners after Wissa teed up Bryan Mbeumo for what looked like a certain goal.
Late on, though, he seemed to have his mojo back. After claiming a high cross, he was praised by his team-mates for helping seal victory

2. Havertz responds to being dropped

Leandro Trossard kept his place in the Arsenal team despite Gabriel Jesus joining Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka in the front three. The Belgian operated in a deeper role occupied by Kai Havertz earlier in the campaign.

READ  Arsenal beat Leicester City 2-0 to jump to sixth on EPL table

Late in the first half, it looked as though the attacking tweak had paid off for Mikel Arteta as Trossard bundled the ball home. It wasn’t to be, though, with the narrowest of offside calls denying Arsenal’s number 19.

There were fewer positive after the break, with Brentford seemingly having more of an answer to the visitors’ tactics. Sure enough, Havertz got his introduction late on and delivered the crucial late winner for the away side. A start in Europe in midweek may well be his reward.

3. Both teams could do with Toney

For everything Gabriel Jesus offers in link-up play, he has never been a prolific goalscorer. An interview in Brazil during the international break appeared to reinforce that, and all eyes were on the number nine as he came back into the starting XI.

For all the initial debate over Trossard’s disallowed goal, Jesus could have made the flag immaterial. He timed his run perfectly to meet a Bukayo Saka cross, but gave Flekken the chance to make a save when a more accurate connection would have put Arsenal in front.

READ  Arsenal send strong message with dominant win over Everton

At the other end, Mbeumo’s early failure to convert and a mistimed second-half effort from sub Neal Maupay saw some people’s attention turn to Toney. The England striker has been linked with Arsenal himself, with a summer move appearing more likely than a January switch, but on this occasion the focus was on what Brentford are lacking without the man who hit 20 league goals last term.

4. PGMOL escape more Arteta drama

Arsenal were victims of VAR controversy in their 1-1 draw with Brentford last term, and the officials will have been keen to avoid a repeat. After all, there has already been long-running drama between Mikel Arteta and the PGMOL in recent weeks.

The Gunners boss made clear his issues with the officiating when his team lost to Newcastle before jokingly insisting he wanted to praise VAR when his team followed up that defeat with a victory over Burnley. Whatever happened at the Gtech Community Stadium, any contentious call was likely to get plenty of attention.

Fortunately, then, even Arteta couldn’t have any complaints about the disallowed goal. Well, apart from perhaps being frustrated Trossard wasn’t able to hold his run.

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Osimhen makes final shortlist for 2023 CAF player of the year award

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Nigeria and Napoli striker, Victor Osimhen has made the final list for the 2023 CAF Best Player award, a statement from the football body has shown.

“CAF has announced the shortlists for the men’s categories for the CAF Awards 2023,” the African football governing body said on Friday.

The Napoli forward, who is the overwhelming favourite, is the only Nigerian to make the cut and will be aiming to cap off an impressive year in which he won the Italian Scuddeto and top scorer gong in the league.

A few weeks ago, Osimhen finished eighth in the 2023 Ballon d’Or awards held in the French city of Paris.

Apart from the Nigerian, other top players who made the final 10 nominees for the CAF award include holder and Senegalese forward Sadio Mane; Riyad Mahrez of Algeria; and Achraf Hakimi of Morocco among others.

 

The ultimate winner of each category will be decided after votes from a voting panel consisting of the CAF Technical Committee, media professionals, Head coaches, and captains of member associations and clubs involved in the group stages of the Interclub competitions, CAF added.

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The Awards Gala is billed for Monday, 11 December 2023 in Marrakech, Morocco.

Final Shortlist For 2023 CAF Best Player Prize

Riyad Mahrez (Algeria, Al Ahli)
Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (Cameroon, SSC Napoli)
Vincent Aboubacar (Cameroon, Besiktas)
Mohamed Salah (Egypt, Liverpool)
Achraf Hakimi (Morocco, Paris Saint-Germain)
Sofyan Amrabat (Morocco, Manchester United)
Yassine Bounou (Morocco, Al Hilal)
Youssef En-Nesyri (Morocco, Sevilla)
Victor Osimhen (Nigeria, SSC Napoli)
Sadio Mane (Senegal, Al Nassr)

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Why I still live with my mum at 34 – Anthony Joshua

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British-born boxer, Anthony Joshua, has revealed why he still lives with his mother at the age of 34, insisting that any future partner would struggle to convince him to move out.

Joshua, who moved back into his mother’s two-bedroom ex-council flat in 2017 after earning an estimated £15 million from defeating Wladimir Klitschko, beat Robert Helenius in August and is on the hunt for his next fight ahead of 2024.

The British boxer sat down with Louis Theroux to discuss his close relationship with his family and warned future girlfriends they’ll need to compete with his mum, Yeta Odusanya. ‘I still live with my mum,’ the two-time world champion told the BBC.

The British boxer sat down with Louis Theroux to discuss his close relationship with his family and warned future girlfriends they’ll need to compete with his mum, Yeta Odusanya. ‘I still live with my mum,’ the two-time world champion told the BBC.

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In our culture, we grew up in our own family home, we support our parents. ‘Why am I going to move out and leave my mum by herself, for some girl? Family is the most important thing. ‘When a girl gets with me, she ain’t just marrying me, she’s marrying my family.’

The grounded boxing star, who is not publicly in a relationship, admitted that he likes to keep his personal life private as he cannot live up to the expectations people have of him. He continued: ‘Are we going to dissect everything I say and use it as a narrative to create a story?

That’s why I keep myself to myself. ‘You put all this pressure on yourself to come and be this big star and be perfect.

‘I’m telling you, they’ll pull you down. The higher you are, the bigger the drop.’ Joshua was previously in an on-off relationship with the mother of his child, former school friend Nicole Osbourne, whom he once bought a £500,000 flat not far from his home.

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