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Jesus, Saliba shine but Arsenal duo may take Arteta back to the drawing board



Jesus Arsenal

Gabriel Jesus and Wiliam Saliba were excellent, but an Arsenal duo provided cause for concern for Mikel Arteta at Selhurst Park…

Jesus didn’t just thrive – as most of us predicted – but dominated as the main man in the Arsenal attack. Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka flanked the new signing, and played well, but seemed superfluous to proceedings, particularly early on, as Jesus drew every eye as he dropped deep, span in behind and dazzled with his dribbling skills.

After just three minutes he illustrated his strength, quick feet and determination as he shrugged off one Crystal Palace player, nutmegged the next and sidestepped a third before Martinelli fluffed the very presentable chance that had been put on a plate for him by his wired new teammate.

Jesus’ ability to travel with the ball may turn out to be the greatest point of difference between life at Arsenal compared to Manchester City. While Pep Guardiola requires his forward players to pass and move to open opposition teams up, this first showing of Jesus under Mikel Arteta suggests the Brazilian will be given a license to make something out of nothing, should he so wish.

But the old, very useful tropes of his time at City, drilled into him over six years by Guardiola, remained evident in Arsenal salmon. His movement out of possession was excellent, and too frequently ignored by his teammates, and his desire to press high and win the ball back probably should have ended in a goal as Martin Odegaard failed to pull the trigger in the box.

Fellow new arrival Oleksandr Zinchenko played in his typical midfielder-at-left-back style, while also fairly regularly literally playing from midfield, narrowing his position at will in a trait he looks set to carry with him from City. He would be better off staying in midfield on this showing.

He had more touches (55) than any player on the pitch in the first half and created the opener with a fine header across the box as a well-worked corner routine saw Martinelli shrug off his earlier miss to score the first goal of the Premier League season. But Arsenal were so on top that the Ukraine international wasn’t troubled defensively.

The second half was a different story, as Jordan Ayew took advantage of Zinchenko’s lack of pace with the ball at his feet and through runs off his shoulder. The new signing looked shellshocked as he was replaced by Kieran Tierney late on. A rethink over Zinchenko’s role may be required when faced with similar pace on the wing in future.

Excellent though Jesus was, it was the three-year Arsenal veteran, who joined the new recruits in making his Gunners debut at Selhurst Park, that had the biggest impact on the game.

Arteta’s side would not have won without William Saliba. He was aggressive when necessary but added much-needed calm to a defence which otherwise lacked serenity as Palace controlled the game after half-time.

Ben White misplaced passes early on and grew more and more frantic in his defending against Wilfried Zaha from a right-back position in which he looked less than comfortable.

Aaron Ramsdale showed the inconsistency he had managed to stamp out of his game for the majority of last season: drilling one pass 60 yards into Jesus’ feet before hitting his next attempt straight at an opposition player; making an excellent save to deny Odsonne Edouard, then dropping a straightforward cross.

It was a very even game, with Crystal Palace arguably playing just as well in the second half as Arsenal did in the first. The home side had more possession (56%), and the same number of shots (10) and shots on target (2) across the 90 minutes.

Patrick Vieira’s side look as though they will be just as entertaining this season as they were last.

Wilfried Zaha was predictably brilliant, and produced the pass of the game as he slipped a ball through an impossible gap to find Eberechi Eze, who really should have equalised.

Joachim Andersen and Marc Guehi looked solid in the most part, while Cheik Doucoure looked as though he will prove to be a top signing as he roamed midfield breaking up play and making the odd crunching tackle.

And despite Arsenal taking all three points, Vieira may well be happier with the performance than Arteta, who admitted after the game his side have plenty to work on.

High up on his list of priorities will be what to do with White and Zinchenko, who are both good footballers, but did not look like good full-backs on Friday night. With Tierney and Takehiro Tomiyasu waiting in the wings, Arteta may have to think again.

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Everton ‘prepared to complete’ £45.5m transfers; ‘optimistic’ as £8.5m deal ‘at final stages’



Reported Everton target Amadou Onana marking N'Golo Kante during a match

Everton are reportedly ‘prepared to complete’ the signings of both Conor Coady and Amadou Onana this week and are ‘optimistic’ over another deal ‘at final stages’.

Should all three transfers be completed it would mean six players will have arrived at Goodison Park this summer following the additions of Dwight McNeil for £20m and James Tarkowski for free, both from Burnley, and Ruben Vinagre, on loan from Sporting Lisbon.

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Everton are said to have beaten West Ham to the signing of Onana, who enjoyed an impressive 2021-22 campaign with Lille, playing 41 matches across all competitions, including eight times in the Champions League.

The 20-year-old penned a new five-year contract last August after joining from Hamburg for around £6m, but the Hammers have persuaded him to move to the Premier League having reportedly agreed a £33.5m fee with the Ligue 1 side.

The Toffees are also close to announcing a deal for Wolves captain Conor Coady having agreed a fee of £12m plus add-ons.

And Fabrizio Romano claims Frank Lampard’s side are set to complete both signings this week.

Romano tweeted: ‘Everton are prepared to complete both Conor Coady and Amadou Onana signings this week, documents in progress with Wolves for the centre back who’s top of Lampard’s list.’

The transfer expert also revealed the return of Idrissa Gueye to Goodison Park is ‘at final stages’ with Everton ‘optimistic’ of getting a deal for the 32-year-old over the line.

It’s rumoured a fee of £8.5m has been agreed with Paris Saint-Germain for the midfielder.

Everton lost 1-0 to Chelsea on Saturday and Lampard said he was impressed with his side’s performance, before admitting new signings like Onana will better equip them to play the style of football he wants.

“It did please me. We’ll get the balance right,” he said. “At times we were a little bit direct when I didn’t think we needed to be. When we played through the lines we played really well and we gave Chelsea problems.

“I want us to be progressive, we’re not a Chelsea of having passes and passes and building like that. That’s not our style and it’s probably not the style the fans want to see.

“I’m very happy that we moved the ball quickly, but I think getting the balance of changing play and going longer at times with quality or playing through the lines – it’s important for us.

“The lads are working hard on it and I think adding players in midfield – like Onana who can receive the ball, accept it and move through the lines – is a big deal. As a coach you know you need your players to go out on the pitch and implement what you want to do.

“We saw a lot of it today. It’ll be great to watch the game back with the players to look at the little moments we maybe we can have an extra pass to play through, I can’t complain with the performance.

“It was one tiny moment, it was a small penalty but it was a penalty. That was the only difference and I think other than that you expect this game to be a draw against Chelsea, which would have been a decent start for us.”


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17 things we loved this weekend: Haaland, Messi, Bale, Raphinha…



17 things we loved this weekend: Haaland, Messi, Bale, Raphinha...

The 2022-23 Premier League season is now underway and the opening weekend provided lots of drama, shocks and entertainment.

Elsewhere, Sadio Mane scored on his Bundesliga debut for Bayern Munich and Gareth Bale maintained the impressive start to his Los Angeles FC career.

We’ve rounded up the best of the action on and off the field.

Erling Haaland

Two goals and a sweary interview? Yeah, he’s definitely arrived now.

Mohamed Salah

We’ve already put a bet on him scoring on the opening day of next season.

Lionel Messi

[Insert goat emoji here].

Jeremy Livolant

Messi’s goal wasn’t the best in France on Saturday though. That was scored by Guingamp winger Livolant.


Barcelona’s Brazilians really do love to put on a show.

Robert Lewandowski & Pedri

Lewandowski has already built up an impressive connection with his new team-mates.

Sadio Mane

It’s fair to say that Mane has settled in at Bayern Munich pretty quickly.

Leighton Clarkson

The Liverpool loanee made a pretty good first impression on his Aberdeen debut.

Aaron Ramsey

Did this a minute after coming on for his Nice debut, didn’t he? Classic Ramsey.

Enzo Fernandez

Close those legs, goalkeeper.

Jaivoro Dilrosun

Not a bad way to open his Feyenoord account.

Giorgio Chiellini

The high priest of shithousery was at it again for LAFC.

Gareth Bale

A few minutes after peak Chiellini, we got peak Bale.

Chicho Arango

Alessia Russo is a trendsetter.

Hassocks FC’s No.6

The FA Cup’s preliminary rounds have started and this lad was determined not to let the magic die.

Jesse Marsch and Bruno Lage

Everyone loves a bit of handbags in the dugout.

Jamie Carragher

It’s still early in the season but that’s Carragher 1-0 Neville.

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17 things we loved this weekend: Haaland, Messi, Bale, Raphinha…



17 things we loved this weekend: Haaland, Messi, Bale, Raphinha…

The 2022-23 Premier League season is now underway and the opening weekend provided lots of drama, shocks and entertainment.

Elsewhere, Sadio Mane scored on his Bundesliga debut for Bayern Munich and Gareth Bale maintained the impressive start to his Los Angeles FC career.

We’ve rounded up the best of the action on and off the field.

Read the full article here.

Continue Reading