Arsenal’s top-four hopes suffer a fresh blow with comprehensive defeat at Leicester

first_imgMichael Oliver sent Ainsley Maitland-Niles off for two bookings in the first half (Getty Images)Arsenal’s first chance of the half arrived after 35 minutes when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang latched onto a ball forward and teed up Alex Iwobi but his low, left-footed shot from inside the penalty box lacked conviction and was easily saved by Kasper Schmeichel.Less than 60 seconds later and Arsenal were reduced to ten men when Ainsley Maitland-Niles was dismissed for a second bookable offence for a late challenge on Maddison. While Maitland-Niles could have few complaints about his second yellow, his first for another foul on Maddison, looked slightly harsh.Unai Emery was furious with the decision, chucking his coat towards the Arsenal bench shortly after remonstrating with the fourth official. His team remained on the back foot for the remainder of the half, Leno again making a smart stop to deny a low Vardy strike before the break. Eventually, Leicester got their second goal to kill the game five minutes from time as Vardy finally got on the scoresheet. Schmeichel’s booming kick upfield deceived the Arsenal back four with Vardy sprinting onto the loose ball, lobbing a shot off the bar and then nodding in the rebound.In the final minute of injury time, Leicester capped a wonderful performance with their third through Vardy tapping into an empty net following an excellent run and pass from Pereira.AdvertisementAdvertisementMore: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing Arsenal Leicester ran out 3-0 winners over Arsenal at the King Power Stadium (Getty Images)Arsenal’s top-four hopes took another huge dent as they slumped to a third successive Premier League defeat as Leicester City beat them 3-0 at the King Power Stadium.Much has been made of Arsenal’s problems away from home this season and should they fail to make the top-four their results on the road will be a big reason why.Following a couple of half-chances for the hosts, James Maddison came closest to breaking the deadlock on 19 minutes as his low drive from the edge of the area whistled inches past the post, with Bernd Leno relieved to see it end up outside the posts.AdvertisementAdvertisementTen minutes later and Leno was called into action, impressively palming a goal-bound Wilfred Ndidi header to safety after the Nigerian had been picked out by a pinpoint Maddison corner. Shortly after, Jamie Vardy had his first sighter, latching onto a Marc Albrighton long ball before lobbing a volley over the bar.ADVERTISEMENT Youri Tielemans celebrating with James Maddison for Leicester’s opening goal (Getty Images)Laurent Koscielny was introduced at the interval for Iwobi with Mustafi switching to right-back and perhaps in expectation at that change, Brendan Rodgers swapped Ndidi for Harvey Barnes with the 21-year-old taking his place on Leicester’s left flank.Just before the hour mark, Arsenal’s resistance was finally broken. The influential Maddison collected the ball on the right wing and flighted a wonderful cross into the box for Youri Tielemans to run onto and head confidently beyond Leno into the bottom corner. It was the Belgian’s third goal since joining from Monaco in January.Tielemans, who is sure to have his pick of clubs this summer, was inches away from doubling his and Leicester’s lead with 20 minutes remaining with a wonderful effort from distance that flew wide before Ricardo Pereira, Barnes and Maddison drew a triple stop from Leno.8 – Since Brendan Rodgers became Leicester manager, Jamie Vardy has scored more Premier League goals than any other player. Hatful. #LEIARS— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 28, 2019 Arsenal’s top-four hopes suffer a fresh blow with comprehensive defeat at Leicester Comment Advertisement Metro Sport ReporterSunday 28 Apr 2019 1:59 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link252Shares Advertisementlast_img read more

USC notches win over Arizona in wild game

first_imgMatt Barkley saw a lot of Carson Palmer, when the Heisman Trophy winner played for USC in the early 2000s. Growing up in nearby Newport Beach, Barkley, now a junior quarterback for the Trojans, remembers Palmer’s 2002 season — the year he won the award while throwing for 3,942 yards and 33 touchdowns.On Saturday, in front of a crowd of 63,707 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Barkley shattered the former Trojan signal caller’s single-game record for passing yards with 468 of his own. Along with four touchdown passes, Barkley’s record-setting display helped lead USC (4-1, 2-1) to a narrow 48-41 victory over Arizona just one week removed from the team’s first loss of the season at Arizona State.Kelvin Kuo | Daily Trojan“It’s crazy because I remember looking up to Carson Palmer and he’s one of my heroes,” he said. “I did want to be in his shoes.”The offensive outburst, the most points USC has scored in a game this season, was needed to stave off a Wildcats team (1-4, 0-3) that also moved the ball successfully, scoring four second-half touchdowns. Behind its own seasoned signal caller in senior Nick Foles, who completed 41-of-53 pass attempts, Arizona outscored USC 29-21 in the final two quarters.“That’s a great team with some great receivers,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said of the Wildcats.For the second week in a row, USC’s defense surrendered more than 40 points, allowing 554 yards of total offense before nearly relinquishing a late two-touchdown lead. The Trojans also allowed Arizona to convert 37 first downs, the most in school history.“They went down the field a bit too easy in the second half,” Kiffin said. “We just need a full defensive game.”Leading 48-34 with under two minutes remaining in the game, USC opted to try and convert a fourth-and-one play from its 47-yard line, but Barkley’s pass to senior wide receivers Brandon Carswell was incomplete, giving the Wildcats, who scored six plays later on a four-yard touchdown pass from Foles to freshman wide receiver Austin Hills, a shorter field.“You have the opportunity to put the game away,” Kiffin said of the decision not to punt. “That’s how our players know our head coach. We’re going to believe in our players.”But in the first half, the Trojans defense, which had forced just three interceptions all season, looked slightly different, as evidenced by its two interceptions of Foles, who had a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 10:0 prior to Saturday’s game.With 7:19 remaining in the first quarter, junior safety T.J. McDonald intercepted Foles when a pass sailed over the middle of the field. Minutes later, on the next Arizona drive after a 46-yard field goal from freshman kicker Andre Heidari gave USC a 10-0 lead, Foles was picked off by McDonald again.“To get them early changed the momentum of the game,” McDonald said. “It pumped up the team and they were able to go put points on the board.”Three plays later, Barkley connected with freshman wide receiver Marqise Lee on a 38-yard touchdown pass, ballooning USC’s lead to 17. The Trojans would go on to score again in the second half on another Barkley pass, his third of the game.“They just sat back and gave us a lot of routes,” Barkley said. “And across the board, I had protection.”Perhaps even more telling, the defense limited Arizona to just two scores despite 227 yards of total offense.“I was just happy with the turnovers,” Kiffin said. “It was good to see.”But the offense, which finished just 18 yards shy of 600 total yards, outshined whatever noteworthy plays the defense made.In addition to Barkley’s performance, sophomore wide receiver Robert Woods finished with 14 receptions for 255 yards and two touchdowns. Similarly, his high school teammate, freshman wideout Marqise Lee totaled 144 receiving yards and one touchdown following eight catches.“[Barkley’s] putting the ball on the money, on point every time,” Woods said. “He’s making it really easy on us because he puts it right where it needs to be.”Equally, Woods and Lee have made it easy on Barkley. Of his 32 completions, 22 went to Woods and Lee, who are both in just their second and first year with the program respectively.“I’ve played with him since high school, and it’s exciting to see him grow,” Woods said of Lee. “I’m real proud of him.Similarly, despite a young offensive line that looked particularly young a week ago in the Trojans’ 43-22 loss to Arizona State, Barkley was not sacked once against the Wildcats.“Our line was a huge component because of the protection,” Barkley said of the unit, which on average is allowing less than one sack per game. “I didn’t get touched once, except when I rolled out of the pocket. They were huge.”With the Trojans heading into a bye week before an Oct. 13 contest against California at AT&T Park in San Francisco, most players appear content with the win — at least for now.“In a sense, it is what it is,” freshman linebacker Dion Bailey said in the moments following the game. “We’ll take our wins.”last_img read more