Xhaka concedes ‘clear penalty’ saw him cost Arsenal two points at Palace

Granit Xhaka had no complaints over being penalised for the foul that allowed Crystal Palace to peg Arsenal back for a 2-2 draw.

Luka Milivojevic put the hosts ahead from the penalty spot in first-half stoppage time at Selhurst Park but Xhaka levelled with a venomous free-kick and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave Arsenal the lead amid strong handball claims against Alexandre Lacazette.

But there was a sting in the tail as Xhaka – playing in the unfamiliar position of left-back – brought down Wilfried Zaha and gave Milivojevic the chance to make it two out of two from 12 yards.

The Switzerland international initially protested to referee Martin Atkinson but accepted he was in the wrong afterwards.

“It’s difficult. I think it’s a clear penalty,” Xhaka told Sky Sports. “I touched him in the knee.

“The referee gave a penalty. That’s football.”

After his goal, Xhaka ran off to celebrate with Unai Emery – his head coach having enquired why he was not on dead-ball duties during the first half.

“I heard something from the coach in the first half. He asked me why I wasn’t taking the corners and the free-kicks,” said Xhaka.

“It was the first free-kick of the second half, I took it and I scored.

“I wanted to say thank you. I heard [Emery] enough in the first half. He told me I must take the free-kicks and the corners.”

The result meant Arsenal’s winning streak in all competitions was halted at 11 but, on balance, Xhaka was happy to accept the point.

“We know we can’t win all the games. We try,” he added.

“It was not our best performance but one point here… alright. We take the positive things from this game and move forward.”

Arsenal host Blackpool in the Carabao Cup in midweek before welcoming Premier League leaders Liverpool to Emirates Stadium.

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Clasico defeat sends Madrid tumbling to first three-match Liga losing streak in a decade

Real Madrid continued to set unwanted lows, after a heavy 5-1 defeat to Barcelona on Sunday in the Clasico sent them to their longest La Liga losing streak in a decade.

A Philippe Coutinho opener sent Barcelona on their way, while a Luis Suarez hat-trick and a late Arturo Vidal goal proved far too much for Madrid, who could only muster a single goal from Marcelo.

The defeat continues a run of terrible form for Julen Lopetegui’s side, as the coach’s seat grows increasingly hot with Madrid dropping further down the La Liga table.

While a victory over Vikoria Plzen in the Champions League provided a temporary reprieve for Lopetegui, Barcelona returned his side to their now-familiar struggles in the league, where they have not won in five contests.

That stretch saw Madrid set their longest goalless period since 1985, and very nearly surpass their longest streak of all time. 

A draw against rivals Atletico is the only point Real have managed in the league since a victory over Espanyol on September 22, and Madrid are now on a three-game Liga losing streak.

While that type of streak may not be alien to most clubs, it is at Madrid, who have not endured a such a poor run of form in almost a decade.

The last time Madrid suffered three straight losses came back at the end of the 2008-09 season, when the club dropped five straight Liga contests to close out a difficult campaign.

Barcelona started that ugly run, handing Juande Ramos’ side a 6-2 defeat at home, and Madrid would follow with losses to Valencia, Villarreal, Mallorca and finally Osasuna to finish out the league.

Ramos himself had been a midseason replacement for Bernd Schuster, who departed the club in December of 2008.

The end of Schuster’s reign had seen two straight defeats in the league that season, with Ramos’ debut coming in the first Clasico of that Liga campaign – also a defeat for Madrid.

However, since suffering those two three-match losing streaks in La Liga that season, Madrid had managed to avoid such runs in the decade since until this current sequence of Lopetegui’s side.

Whether the ex-Spain boss is at the helm or not going forward, Real Madrid will look to snap this streak next week when they host Real Valladolid.

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Arsenal pay the penalty after Lacazette’s Hand of God shocker

When you are fighting to stay in the Premier League it is usually the key decisions that seem to go against you. Those decisions can become pivotal at the end of the season when one point can be the difference between staying up and going down.

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson certainly knows all about these fine margins. As Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang wheeled away in celebration after putting Arsenal 2-1 up against his plucky Eagles side, Hodgson would have been seething.

In a moment that brought back memories of Diego Maradona’s infamous handball against England at the 1986 World Cup, Alexandre Lacazette flicked the ball with his hand into Aubameyang’s path, with the Gabonese star then poking home.

Before the game at Selhurst Park there was an unwanted record for Palace of zero Premier League goals at home so far this season. That changed when Luka Milivojevic struck the opener from the penalty spot following a poor challenge by Shkodran Mustafi on Cheikhou Kouyate.

Up to that point Arsenal had continued their familiar theme of average first half performances, as Wilfried Zaha hit the outside of the post and Palace looked threatening on the counter attack. Arsenal had their own chances with Lacazette and Hector Bellerin both having good opportunities to score, but they were well below par as a whole.

Palace’s 4-4-2 formation allowed Bellerin to push forward in the first half but Alex McCarthy blocked off the potential passes to Mesut Ozil and Alex Iwobi, essentially taking them out of the game. Neither player could replicate their dominant performances against Leicester from the last league match, but in reality this was an off day from Arsenal where their mistakes of recent weeks were finally punished by a fired up opponent who could have gone on to win the match.

Arsenal went into the game in South London on the back of an 11-game winning streak in all competitions. The run itself looked mightily impressive on paper but it’s fair to say that Unai Emery’s team have rode their luck at times, making a number of defensive errors and conceding chances throughout games. It was no different at Selhurst Park where Palace’s two goals came from the penalty spot and were the consequence of two rash fouls in the box from Mustafi and Xhaka, respectively.

Swiss midfielder Xhaka, playing at left-back for the third consecutive match, scored Arsenal’s equaliser after curling in a tremendous free-kick as the second half got underway. He ran straight over to Emery to celebrate, perhaps indicating that it was a training move which paid off. However, Xhaka’s suspect defensive qualities were exposed once again as he fouled the tricky Zaha, who looked inspired in the final third. Milivojevic stepped up and scored his second from the spot as Arsenal were left to rue their poor distribution and naïve defensive mistakes.

Granit Xhaka Arsenal 2018-19

The Gunners have conceded more goals than Palace in the league this season and while Aubameyang continued his fine run of form since joining Arsenal – he’s been directly involved in 22 goals in 23 Premier League games (17 goals, five assists) – there can be no doubt that the defensive frailties of last season still appear to be present. It’s an issue that Emery and his coaching staff will need to solve soon as their luck finally starts to run out.

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LIVE: Manchester United vs Everton

10′ Both teams are struggling to keep hold of the ball at the moment, there have been a few too many sloppy passes which is why neither team are able to build any momentum going forward.

8′ Decent chance! Bernard goes very close to getting on the end of a low Sigurdsson cross into the box, but Young defends well and just manages to keep the Everton winger away from the ball. The right-back appears to have picked up a slight knock in the collision, but he looks fine to continue.

7′ United are starting to cause the visitors a few problems with their pace in attack, Rashford and Martial are really stretching the Toffees defence at the moment, with Keane and Zouma struggling to keep up.

5′ Penalty shout! Richarlison goes down at the far post under pressure from Shaw after a deep cross came into the box. It would’ve been a very soft penalty if it was given, with the referee waving away the Everton appeals. The resulting corner comes to nothing.

3′ Both teams are just settling into the game in the opening couple of minutes, trying to find their rhythm. United enjoying more of the early possession, with much of it coming in the Everton half. A decent start to the game.

1′ We’re underway!

The teams are out on the pitch and we are just a few minutes away from kick-off. There will be a minute’s silence before kick-off, as it is United’s last home game before Remembrance Sunday and also for the tragic events at Leicester City yesterday.

Jose Mourinho has made just one change to the side that were beaten in midweek, with Lukaku dropping to the bench and he has been replaced by Fred. Meanwhile Marco Silva has stuck with the same side that beat Palace last week.

EVERTON SUBS: Maarten Stekelenburg, Leighton Baines, Yerry Mina, Cenk Tosun, Tom Davies, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Ademola Lookman

EVERTON (4-2-3-1): Jordan Pickford; Seamus Coleman, Michael Keane, Kurt Zouma, Lucas Digne; Andre Gomes, Idrissa Gueye; Theo Walcott, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Bernard; Richarlison

MAN UNITED SUBS: Sergio Romero, Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku, Jesse Lingard, Marcos Rojo, Ander Herrera, Matteo Darmian

MAN UNITED (4-3-3): David De Gea; Ashley Young, Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw; Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Fred; Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial

The team news is in, let’s take a look at how both sides will be lining up today…

Everton come into this game off the back of three straight Premier League wins, beating Fulham, Leicester and Crystal Palace, which has moved them up to eighth position.

United will be hoping to get back to winning ways today after a midweek defeat against Juventus in the Champions League and a 2-2 draw against Chelsea last weekend in the Premier League. The Red Devils currently sit 10th in the league, two places and a point behind their opponents today, Everton.

Hello and welcome to our LIVE match commentary of the Premier League clash between Manchester United and Everton at Old Trafford.

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Burnley 0 Chelsea 4: Morata, Barkley and Willian extend Blues’ unbeaten start

Chelsea maintained their unbeaten start to the Premier League season as Alvaro Morata, Ross Barkley and Willian scored in a 4-0 win over Burnley at Turf Moor on Sunday.

The Blues made light work of Burnley in Eden Hazard’s absence – the Belgian missing with a back problem – as a devastating attacking display saw off the Clarets and moved Maurizio Sarri’s side up to second in the table, two points behind leaders Liverpool.

Barkley’s deft pass in the 22nd minute set Morata up for Chelsea’s opener and the England international scored in his third consecutive Premier League game 12 minutes into the second half to put the game beyond Sean Dyche’s side.

Willian added a third after 62 minutes with a wonderful finish from distance and Ruben Loftus-Cheek scored his fourth in two games as Chelsea cruised to a victory that leaves Burnley languishing in 15th.

Joe Hart had to be alert to deny Chelsea a 12th-minute opener, the Burnley goalkeeper pawing away Morata’s instinctive header from Barkley’s scuffed shot.

Robbie Brady – making his first appearance in 10 months after a knee injury – then flashed wide for the hosts before Willian went agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock, his precise effort coming off Hart’s left-hand post.

There was no such luck for the Clarets in the 22nd minute when Morata slotted into the bottom-left corner after latching onto Barkley’s incisive through ball.

Morata then squandered two golden chances to cement Chelsea’s superiority before the interval, first dragging wide after cutting inside Ben Mee and then firing straight at Hart after being picked out by Jorginho.

The rejuvenated Barkley doubled Chelsea’s advantage in the 57th minute, bursting forward from midfield and drilling into Hart’s bottom-left corner from 25 yards.

That was followed just five minutes later by a third from Willian, who cut in from the left and whipped a fine strike past Hart for his second league goal of the campaign.

Fresh from his hat-trick against BATE in the Europa League on Thursday, Loftus-Cheek slammed home a fourth from close range in stoppage time as Chelsea sent out an ominous statement about their title intentions.

What does it mean? Sarri’s sparkling start goes on                         

Victory over Burnley means that Sarri is the first Chelsea manager to remain unbeaten in his first 10 Premier League games in charge. The former Napoli man has wasted little time in stamping his style on the Blues, who look like genuine title contenders. Burnley, meanwhile, remain three points above the relegation zone and look well short of the side that secured a remarkable seventh-placed finish last season.

Barkley’s renaissance continues

Barkley is a player reborn under Sarri. His pass for Morata’s opener was exquisite and his surge and finish for Chelsea’s second was devastating in its speed and precision. 

Mixed emotions for Morata

The Spain striker showed impressive composure to put his side ahead but really should have added to his tally with a hat-trick of further chances. With Olivier Giroud breathing down his neck, he can ill afford such profligacy in the coming weeks.

What’s next?

Chelsea host club legend Frank Lampard’s Derby County in the EFL Cup on Wednesday, while Burnley’s next match is a visit to West Ham in the Premier League on Saturday.

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