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Wolves beat Arsenal 2-1 as Gunners Luiz, Leno sent see red

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David Luiz and Bernd Leno were sent off as nine-man Arsenal imploded to hand Wolves a 2-1 victory at Molineux on Tuesday.

Arsenal were seconds away from going in ahead at the break, thanks to Nicolas Pepe’s solo strike, but things turned sour in first-half stoppage time when Luiz was shown a straight red card for bringing Willian Jose down in the box and Ruben Neves levelled from the penalty spot.

Joao Moutinho’s stunning first Molineux goal swung the momentum in Wolves’ favour two minutes after the restart, and the game was put beyond the Gunners 18 minutes from time when goalkeeper Leno was given his marching orders after inexcusably handling the ball outside his area.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a late chance to snatch a point for Arsenal but their seven game unbeaten run came to an end as Wolves held on for a vital first victory since December 15, which sealed a first league double over the Gunners since the 1978/79 season.

Arsenal arrived at Molineux unbeaten in seven and were confident and dominant from the outset as they nearly put the game beyond Wolves’ reach inside the opening 10 minutes.

With barely 45 seconds on the clock, the returning Bukayo Saka latched onto Thomas Partey’s eye-of-the-needle pass, only to see his left-footed drive cannon back off the post.

After drawing Rui Patricio into a decent save, Saka thought he had given Arsenal an overdue lead with a clinical shot into the far corner, but Alexandre Lacazette was found to have been offside in the build-up.

Adama Traore and Ruben Neves returned as Wolves made two changes from Saturday’s defeat at Crystal Palace. January signing Willian Jose made his home debut.

Bukayo Saka replaced Gabriel Martinelli in Arsenal’s only change from Saturday’s goalless draw with Man Utd.

Having nearly been blown away early on, Wolves established a foothold in the game, albeit without creating clear-cut opportunities, but Arsenal still posed a threat whenever they ventured forward.

A stunning fingertip save from Patricio diverted Pepe’s near-post drive onto the bar on 25 minutes, but the Gunners were not to be denied much longer as their next meaningful attack yielded the breakthrough.

Pepe capitalised on poor defending from Nelson Semedo and Neves, skipping past two weak challenges before curling an unstoppable effort into the top corner.

That looked to have secured Arsenal a deserved half-time lead until Luiz’s costly trip on Willian Jose as he raced through on goal. The Brazilian was shown a straight red card and the Gunners’ triple jeopardy was sealed by Neves’ ruthless finish into the top corner.

With the whole dynamic and complexion of the game turned on its head, Wolves needed little time to take advantage as Moutinho – at the 61st attempt – scored his firsts home goal for Wolves with a spectacular 30-yard drive than cannoned in off the post.

Arsenal still posed a threat to Wolves’ one-goal lead but their task turned insurmountable on 72 minutes when Leno raced out of his area to prevent Adama Traore gathering a long ball and, in a moment of madness, punched the ball out of play.

Referee Craig Pawson was forced to brandish the red card for a second time after the deliberate handball, and despite Aubameyang’s late blocked chance, there was nothing Arsenal could do to deny Wolves a first win of 2021.

Wolves registered their first win in nine Premier League games (D3 L5), since a 2-1 victory over Chelsea in December.

Arsenal suffered their first defeat in eight Premier League games (W5 D2), conceding as many goals against Wolves as in their previous seven in the competition (2).

Wolves completed their first league double over Arsenal since 1978-79.

Since Mikel Arteta’s first game in charge of Arsenal on Boxing Day 2019, the Gunners have been shown nine Premier League red cards, six more than any other side.

Arsenal winger Nicolas Pépé has scored in three consecutive away league appearances for the first time since January 2019, when he scored in four in a row on the road for Lille.

Since making his Premier League debut for Arsenal in August 2019, David Luiz has picked up more red cards (3) and conceded more penalties (6) than any other player in the competition.

João Moutinho scored his first home goal for Wolverhampton Wanderers in all competitions (61 games at Molineux), while all three of his Premier League goals have come from outside the box.

Bernd Leno became only the second Arsenal goalkeeper to be sent off in the Premier League, after David Seaman in November 1993 against West Ham.

What the managers said

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo: “It’s a very welcome win, it means a lot. We are in a tough moment and it is important. We did many beautiful things in the past seasons and we want to emulate them again.

“The game was very difficult, Arsenal played some very good football; they broke, counter-attacked, had possession, it was a tough first half.

“Every changed with the penalty, the dynamic of the game changed. The referee didn’t have any other option [but to show a red card] in both situations.”

Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta: “I’ve seen the replay [of David Luiz’s red card] 10 times from five different angles, and I cannot see any contact. I would like to see if VAR have different angles. I don’t want to think that [the decision was made on David Luiz’s reputation] I’m sure they made the decision based on seeing something. I was expecting to see something but didn’t see anything.

“I am super proud about our team, the way we played and how we dominated in the first half. We should have been three or four goals up, we didn’t do that, and then we put ourselves in a really difficult position conceding a goal and going a man down.

“The way we lost the game really hurts, it’s painful But I have to take the positives from the way the team is evolving, the way the team played against this opponent and the amount of chances we created.”

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French Open: Djokovic beats Tsitsipas to win 19th Grand Slam

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Novak Djokovic on Sunday came from behind to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7 (6-8) 2-6 6-3 6-2 6-4 to win the 2021 edition of the French Open.
The Serbian top seed Djokovic by the victory has claimed his 19th Grand Slam title.
His opponent, the Greek fifth seed Tsitsipas, was appearing in maiden major final.
“I tried my best,” says Stefanos Tsitsipas, but his speech is almost drowned out by the fifth seed’s adoring fans in the Chatrier crowd.
He says, “I had a good run and am happy with myself, but let’s give it to Novak because he has shown us over the past couple of years what a great champion he is.
“I am inspired by the things he has achieved and I hope one day I can maybe do half of what he has done so far!
“I would like to thank the Greek fans who came, my team who have been constantly backing me up and helping me achieve my dreams. It is a difficult journey and takes a lot of work every day.
“I hope to be back next year and put out a good show again.”

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Eriksen may not play football again, after recovery– Cardiologist

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Christian Eriksen is not likely to play football professionally again after his collapse during the Euro 2020 match between Denmark and Finland, an expert has said.
The former Spurs midfielder suddenly fell to the ground just before half time and was treated on the pitch before being taken to hospital, where he remains in a stable condition.
Sanjay Sharma, a professor of sports cardiology at London’s St George’s University, said there were several reasons Eriksen could have suffered a cardiac arrest, such as high temperatures or an unidentified condition.
“Clearly something went terribly wrong,” he said. “But they managed to get him back, the question is what happened? And why did it happen?
“This guy had normal tests all the way up to 2019 so how do you explain this cardiac arrest?”
Sharma also said that it would be up to both the player and the club to assess the risks of continuing to play but claimed that the English FA would probably not allow him to play.
“I don’t know whether he’ll ever play football again,” he added. “Without putting it too bluntly, he died today, albeit for a few minutes, but he did die and would the medical professional allow him to die again? The answer is no.
“I think the Football Association will be very strict about whether he plays again or not. In the UK he wouldn’t play. We’d be very strict about it.”
One of the doctors who treated Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba said it would take time to establish whether Eriksen could make a complete recovery.
Cardiologist Dr Sam Mohiddin told BBC News, “It sounds like he has had successful CPR and he has regained normal cardiac rhythm because of defibrillation but there are other things that will have to be worked through.”
He said that some stars with underlying heart disorders have had to stop playing sport because they are considered to be at risk.
Dr Mohiddin added, “The moment of extreme peril is the time of the cardiac arrest and treating that is a matter that requires people to promptly recognise what is happening and really address it quickly with CPR and a defibrillator.
“CPR saves lives. Most of us should learn how to perform CPR for all sorts of reasons and not just because cardiac arrests can affect sportspeople. Many other people will die of cardiac arrest.”
Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest during the first half of Bolton’s FA Cup quarter-final at Tottenham Hotspur in March 2012.
He recovered but announced his retirement from professional football six months later, aged 24. More recently he has worked as a youth coach.

 

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Federer pulls out of French Open

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Roger Federer has withdrawn from the French Open after winning and qualifying to the fourth round, citing a desire not to rush his return from injury.

The 39-year-old Swiss prevailed 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (7-4), 7-5 over Dominik Koepfer on Saturday night.

It was the longest match he has played in 18 months, following double knee surgery. The contest lasted three hours and 35 minutes.

The 20-time grand slam winner has played few tournaments over the past 18 months and said a need to rest his body was behind his decision to withdraw.

Federer was due to play the ninth seed Matteo Berrettini in the last 16 on Monday.

In a statement released by the French Open, Federer said, “After discussions with my team, I’ve decided I will need to pull out of Roland Garros today (Sunday).

“After two knee surgeries and over a year of rehabilitation, it’s important that I listen to my body and make sure I don’t push myself too quickly on my road to recovery.

“I am thrilled to have gotten three matches under my belt. There is no greater feeling than being back on court.”

Tournament director Guy Forget said, “The Roland Garros tournament is sorry about the withdrawal of Roger Federer, who put up an incredible fight last night.

“We were all delighted to see Roger back in Paris, where he played three high-level matches. We wish him all the best for the rest of the season.”

Federer entered the clay-court major with a 1-2 win-loss record for the year, most recently losing to Pablo Andujar in Geneva last month, and little was expected from him.

However, three wins on the spin showed he is not finished yet at the highest level.

His withdrawal suggested he wants to preserve himself for Wimbledon, which starts at the end of the month.

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