Ozil absent, Arsenal falls
Trailing 1-0 in a dreary London derby, what Arsenal manager
Unai Emery needed was a creative spark to inspire a comeback at West Ham. Mesut Ozil,
perhaps? The playmaker wasn’t in the starting lineup, but he wasn’t on the bench either. And he was not injured.
Arsenal’s highest-paid player — reputedly earning 350,000 pounds a week — wasn’t in Emery’s tactical plans so he didn’t make the trip across London to the Olympic stadium.
“I decided the idea of the players I think are the best for this match,” Emery said. “Today the players who were here are the players who deserved to be in this match. We could’ve won or lost.”
But Arsenal lost — for the third time in six English Premier League matches — after Declan Rice’s
first goal for West Ham three minutes into the second half earned the victory.
Recovering league positions is proving harder. Fifth-place Arsenal fell six points behind Chelsea, which extended its grip on the fourth and final Champions League place after labouring to a 2-1 win over Newcastle. Liverpool beat Brighton 1-0
Mohamed Salah. thanks to The African player of the year netted a penalty four minutes into the second half after
Pascal being brought down by Gross.
It put Liverpool seven points ahead of Manchester City ahead of the champion playing Wolves on Monday.
SPANISH LA LIGA
Missed chances and home setbacks — it’s been a familiar plot for Valencia this season. And it happened again on Saturday.
Valencia was held at Mestalla Stadium once more, conceding late to relegation-threatened Valladolid in a 1-1 draw in the Spanish league, adding pressure on
Marcelino. embattled coach
was among several regular players who didn’t start though defending champion Juventus nevertheless eased into the quarterfinals of the Italian Cup on Saturday.
Juventus, which achieved the league and cup double in the past four seasons, won at Bologna 2-0 and will next face Atalanta or Cagliari.