Home Sports SOCCER TIT-BITS

SOCCER TIT-BITS

319
0
SHARE

By Williams ‘Bantu’ Irubor

Here is a quick run down of some of the major soccer headlines around Europe in the last 24 hours…

*Chelsea had to settle for a draw against a much-improved Liverpool at Anfield after Diego Costa’s late penalty was saved by Simon Mignolet – but still extended their lead at top of the Premier League to nine points.

Liverpool keeper Mignolet made amends for his first-half embarrassment when he had been caught off guard by David Luiz’s superb free-kick from 25 yards.

Georginio Wijnaldum’s close-range header 11 minutes after the break gave Liverpool a draw they fully deserved, ending a run of three successive home losses, two of which knocked them out of the EFL Cup and the FA Cup.

However, it could have been much better for Chelsea and worse for Liverpool when Costa went to ground under challenge from Joel Matip 14 minutes from the end. Referee Mark Clattenburg pointed to the spot but Mignolet dived low to his right to save the Spain striker’s spot-kick.

Roberto Firmino wasted Liverpool’s two best chances, shooting high over an open goal and heading straight at Thibaut Courtois in the closing seconds.

*Arsenal’s Premier League title hopes suffered a huge blow with a shock home defeat as Watford secured their first top-flight win over the Gunners since 1988.

Former Tottenham defender Younes Kaboul lashed in the opener within 10 minutes for Watford with a shot from outside the area which deflected off Aaron Ramsey.

Just two minutes and 57 seconds later, the visitors doubled their lead as Troy Deeney tapped in the rebound after Etienne Capoue’s fine run ended with his shot being saved by Petr Cech.

The Arsenal goalkeeper was called into action again as he tipped Sebastian Prodl’s header over the crossbar and pushed away Daryl Janmaat’s curling strike.

The hosts improved significantly in the second half and Alex Iwobi pulled a goal back by steering Alexis Sanchez’s cross home.

Lucas Perez struck the crossbar with a powerful drive, but they could not find the equaliser.

*Crystal Palace finally earned a Premier League victory under Sam Allardyce as goals by Scott Dann and Christian Benteke secured the points against Bournemouth at a rain-swept Vitality Stadium.

After a goalless first half, Dann broke the deadlock shortly after the restart from Damien Delaney’s flick-on to set Allardyce on his way to a first league win as Eagles boss at the sixth attempt.

Benteke added a second in the closing moments, heading home a pinpoint cross by Andros Townsend, who before kick-off had been strongly linked with a deadline-day move back to Newcastle.

Palace will also take heart from a first away clean sheet in the Premier League since Boxing Day 2015, although the hosts were unlucky to draw a blank with Joshua King and Junior Stanislas both seeing well-hit efforts deflect narrowly wide.

Palace had only earned two points from the last available 24 before this result and remain inside the relegation zone, two points behind Swansea.

The result also brings the relegation dogfight a little closer to Bournemouth’s door. Eddie Howe’s side drop to 14th place and are now seven points above the drop zone after a run of just one win in seven.
*Watford have sold Nigeria striker Odion Ighalo to Chinese Super League side Changchun Yatai for £20m.

Ighalo, 27, joined the Hornets in 2014 from Italian side Udinese and helped Watford win promotion to the Premier League in the 2014-15 campaign.

He scored 15 top-flight goals in 2015-16, but has only one Premier League goal this season and has gone 15 games without scoring in all competitions.

Watford are 14th in the Premier League, eight points above the relegation zone.

During his time with the Hornets, Ighalo played 100 times in all competitions and scored 39 goals.

In the calendar year of 2015, he scored 30 goals in 38 games. He has netted six times since.

Facebook Comments

comments

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.