Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah strikes twice to down battling Tottenham Hotspur

Mohamed Salah
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring their first goal against Tottenham Hotspur at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, Britain, on November 6, 2022. REUTERS/David Klein

LONDON, November 7: Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah cleverly fashioned one goal and was gifted another as the visitors won 2-1 at Tottenham Hotspur despite a battling display by the home side after the break in their Premier League clash on Sunday.
Egyptian Salah opened the scoring after 11 minutes with a precise finish while his second goal just before halftime was a gift from Eric Dier who miscued a header straight to him.
Tottenham had their moments, with Ivan Perisic hitting the woodwork in each half, and they could have had a penalty when Ryan Sessegnon was bundled over by Trent Alexander-Arnold.
In the second half, Spurs raised their game, boosted by Dejan Kulusevski returning from injury off the bench late on. He had an instant impact as he fed Harry Kane who scored in the 70th.
But Liverpool weathered the storm to claim the win and end a run of two Premier League defeats, leaving them eighth on 19 points after 13 games. Spurs slipped to fourth on 26 from 14.
“I think we were lucky in the first half, we played quite good and managed to score two goals,” said Salah. “In the second half we could’ve scored but were unlucky.
“We did well to get the three points. It is always a tough opponent. I’m focused on making a difference and managed to do so today.”
Liverpool took the lead when Salah controlled a pass from Darwin Nunez inside the area, turned and expertly fired a low shot into the corner with his left foot.
Spurs were under pressure but four minutes later they almost equalised when Kane broke down the right and crossed to the impressive Perisic whose header hit Alisson and then the post.
Salah was handed his second goal on a plate after 40 minutes when Dier’s attempted header came off his shoulder from a long kick by Alisson and the Egyptian dinked the ball past Lloris.
Tottenham started the second half much brighter, as they usually do, and Perisic was desperately unlucky to hit the bar when he met a cross to the far post from Dier.
A huge cheer greeted Swede Kulusevski when he made his first appearance for seven weeks in the 68th and two minutes later he set up Kane who fired home to rally the Spurs fans.
But despite a late Tottenham onslaught, including a close-range header from Rodrigo Bentancur, Antonio Conte’s side could not find an equaliser and Liverpool left with the points.
“It has been the story of our season so far — we haven’t played well enough in the first half and got punished,” said England striker Kane.
“We fought until the end and we knew if we got one back we would have chances to get a second but unfortunately we couldn’t do it and it’s disappointing.”
EPL: Gabriel sends Arsenal top as Chelsea crash again
Arsenal moved back to the top of the Premier League as Gabriel Magalhaes sealed a gritty 1-0 win against Chelsea after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s revenge mission fell flat on Sunday.
Mikel Arteta’s side made it 11 wins from 13 league games thanks to a close-range finish from Brazilian defender Gabriel in the second half at Stamford Bridge.
The Gunners are two points clear of second-placed Manchester City after the champions briefly took pole position with a win against Fulham on Saturday.
With only one round of games remaining before the World Cup brings the Premier League to a halt, Arsenal have emerged as genuine contenders to end City’s grip on the tite.
After beating Tottenham and Liverpool at home earlier this season, winning in west London was another significant statement from Arsenal as their unexpected challenge gathers pace.
This was an even sweeter victory than their other landmark successes this term as it came at the expense of former Arsenal star Aubameyang.
Aubameyang was anonymous in his first meeting with his old team since he was stripped of the captaincy and sold to Barcelona in January after Arteta lost patience with the Gabon forward’s repeated disciplinary issues.
Exiling Aubameyang has proved an inspired move by Arteta as Arsenal look a far more unified and determined group without the sulking striker.
Booed by the travelling Arsenal fans, Aubameyang was so underwhelming that it might not be long before he becomes unwelcome at Chelsea as well.
Chelsea boss Graham Potter might also be feeling the heat soon after his side’s winless league run extended to four games with a second successive top-flight defeat, prompting jeers from Blues fans at full-time.
Seventh-placed Chelsea lacked Arsenal’s urgency and now trail the leaders by 13 points, with even a top four finish far from certain.
Arsenal have not won the title since Arsene Wenger’s Invincibles in 2004, but no Gunners team has amassed more points at this stage in the Premier League era.
Facing the latest test of their title credentials, Arteta’s men were quickly into their stride, probing the Chelsea defence with authority and intent.
Ben White fired narrowly wide from the edge of the area after a flowing move cut through the Blues rearguard.
Snapping tigerishly at Chelsea, Arsenal were first to every 50-50 ball.
Gabriel Jesus robbed Ruben Loftus-Cheek and the Brazilian’s menacing run took him into the Chelsea area before Thiago Silva snuffed out the danger with a superbly-timed sliding tackle.
Aubameyang struggled to make any impact and lost his cool with a reckless lunging foul on White that earned a booking from Michael Oliver.
Gabriel Martinelli was a constant threat and his floated cross picked out the unmarked Jesus, whose face was a picture of frustration after his diving header missed the target from just six yards.
Aubameyang’s booking had raised the temperature in an increasingly fractious encounter.
Bukayo Saka was accused of diving by Potter after failing to win a foul when he went to ground after a shoulder barge from Marc Cucurella.
Arteta joined a furious exchange between the two coaching staffs and Saka responded by scything down Cucurella moments later as the Arsenal star was booked.
Having managed just four touches in the first half, Aubameyang finally had a sight of goal after William Saliba’s miskick but the Arsenal defender recovered to block the shot.
Played in by Saka’s deft pass, Jesus forced a good save from Edouard Mendy and from the resulting corner Arsenal took the lead in the 63rd minute.
Chelsea’s defending was woeful as Saka’s delivery was missed by three Chelsea players before Gabriel reacted fastest to poke home on the goal-line.
The sight of Aubameyang being substituted moments after Gabriel’s goal only added to the glee among the Arsenal fans crammed into one corner of the Shed End as they start to dream of title glory. (Agencies)