Arsenal take a hiding from Brighton as Manchester United and Barcelona are held by Tottenham and Sevilla respectively.”
Clueless Gunners Slump To The Seagulls At Amex Stadium
Short on confidence and ideas, a hapless Arsenal side fell to Brighton at an empty Amex Stadium on Saturday.
Nicolas Pepe had given Arsenal the lead with a curling left-footed shot on 68 minutes but the celebration was cut short by a horrible goof after Rob Holding hacked clearance ricocheted off an unwitting Lewis Dunk and rebounded back into his own net.
Brighton had the last laugh after Neal Maupay latched on Aaron Moor’s cross and hurled the ball into the near post past an advancing Emiliano Martinez in added time.
Currently 10th in the table, the Gunners are yet to collect maximum points from their last nine matches in all competitions piling more misery on the fans.
Blunt Catalans Fail To Widen Gap Between Them And Los Blancos
Barcelona Friday lost a chance to solidify their position at the summit of the La Liga table after playing to a barren against Sevilla.
The Catalans sit pretty at top of the log on 65 points from 30 games but Real Madrid, in second position with 62, could probably overtake them if they manage to silence Real Sociedad on Sunday. The Los Blancos boast of a superior head-to-head record in their previous encounters with Sociedad. Sevilla are third on 52.
Barca’s Lionel Messi had hoped to net his 700th goal for club and country, but instead went home empty-handed and dejected.
Ter Stegen saved Barça from a possible defeat after he blocked Sergio Reguilon’s effort in added time, denying the hosts a golden opportunity to snatch a late winner.
Luis Suarez made his return to the first team straight from a knee surgery, partnering upfront with Messi and Martin Braithwaite to form an attacking trio in their 4-3-3 formation that saw Antoine Griezmann being relegated to the bench. Suarez almost put Barcelona ahead minutes into the second half but failed to keep his stinging shot under the bar.
Messi’s absence from the score sheet didn’t necessarily reflect his performance on the pitch. He had two free-kick attempts.
There was a moment of tension shortly before halftime when Messi shoved Sevilla’s Diego Carlos to the ground in protest of a foul on Suarez but he wasn’t slapped with a card. Sergio Busquets collected the only yellow card of the day.
United Held By Tottenham
Paul Pogba returned to action after a six months absence to help Manchester United squeeze a crucial point from Tottenham Hotspur on Friday night as the sides battled to a 1-1 draw in London.
Pogba, who had not featured for the EPL giants since December 26 after picking up an ankle injury that needed surger, came off the bench as a second-half substitute to trick Spurs defender Eric Dier into committing a foul inside the box. Pogba weaved his way into the area before he was clumsily hauled down by Dier.
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had summoned him into action in the 60th minute to pump some life into an unimpressive United side who had displayed a shoddy performance in the night up to that point. Fernandes converted from the spot nine minutes from time to leave United in fifth place, four points ahead of Spurs.
David de Gea was the day’s main villain after easily letting in a Steven Bergwijn’s rasping 27th-minute strike.