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.


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


Cris­tiano Ron­aldo

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.

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