As Aston Villa thrash Arsenal 3-0 at home, Mikel Arteta says we were not a team – Newstrends
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As Aston Villa thrash Arsenal 3-0 at home, Mikel Arteta says we were not a team

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Arsenal boss left frustrated after Aston Villa ran riot with 3-0 win at The Emirates; Ollie Watkins scored twice in a dominant performance from Dean Smith’s side; Arsenal drop to 11th in Premier League table.

Mikel Arteta took full responsibility for Arsenal’s 3-0 defeat at home to Aston Villa on Sunday, saying “we weren’t a team”.

Victory at Old Trafford last weekend was another step in the right direction under Arteta, and the Spaniard would have expected his side to build on that morale-boosting result.

However, they slipped to 11th with this defeat and Arteta wasn’t impressed with what he saw.

“First of all congratulations to Aston Villa for the way they played and the victory,” he told Sky Sports.

“After that, we performed below our standards and I have to say it’s the first time I’ve seen us play and we weren’t a team.

“I take full responsibility. We didn’t start well enough, we got away with VAR for an offside situation but we lost all the races, the duels and we were sloppy on the ball. When we created chances we didn’t hit the target. It’s a really bad combination. We left spaces and on the counter we looked really vulnerable.

“I take full responsibility. I am responsible to make the team perform on the pitch and today we were not a team and it is my job. It is why I am standing here.

“It is a frustration. It takes a lot to build momentum, to build a way of being, living and performing and when something like that comes up it’s a hard one to take but in a hard moment you learn more than in a positive moment and I want to see how we react.”

Speaking in his press conference, he added: “I didn’t see the spirit for the first time – and it’s totally my fault as that’s why I’m here. Today I’ve not managed to get the team to play at the highest level like we need to every three days.

“I’m struggling to find the reason but obviously there was something there today. They wanted it more than us. If you can’t defend your box, it’s a really complicated way to win football matches.

“We need to be more ruthless but today it was about how we went about the job and who we were as a team. I didn’t like it from the first whistle when we got away with the goal and then afterwards. It just wasn’t good enough.”

Smith: Just as good as Liverpool performance

Dean Smith was delighted with his side’s performance in their win over Arsenal, particularly the defensive side of their game.

The fine away victory was a real statement of intent from Dean Smith’s Villa, who have now beaten Liverpool, Leicester and Arsenal this season. It’s a result that lifts them up to sixth in the Premier League – with a game in hand. Win that and they would go level on points with leaders Leicester.

“Personally, I felt it was as good a performance as when we beat Liverpool 7-2,” Smith told Sky Sports.

“Our work without the ball was the most pleasing aspect of it. We worked with the whole 11 to restrict a good Arsenal team.

“We looked so composed and played with such intensity with and without the ball. We were a threat whenever we went forward. It was a really top performance. The players are really excited about the win after the last two results. We were in no doubt we had to be at our best tonight.”

Ollie Watkins, who helped himself to a hat-trick against Liverpool, has adapted quickly at this level – but Smith was never in doubt that the 24-year-old would swiftly make the step-up in class.

“I was always confident that he would hit the ground running,” he added. “The kid’s a young lad but he’s played 250 games. He was a regular at Exeter and at Brentford. When you’ve played that number of games, you understand it. Working with better players helps him, that’s for sure.”

What’s next?

Arsenal travel to face Leeds live on Sky Sports Premier League on Sunday, November 22; kick-off is at 4.30pm, while Aston Villa host Brighton on Saturday, November 21 at 3pm.

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Lookman scores stunning hat-trick in Atalanta vs Leverkusen Europa League final

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Ademola Lookman

Lookman scores stunning hat-trick in Atalanta vs Leverkusen Europa League final

Ademola Lookman was the star of the night as his hat-trick ended Bayer Leverkusen’s unbeaten run and secured Atalanta’s first European Cup title.

Lookman’s three goals marked the first hat-trick in a European final in 49 years, delivering Atalanta their first-ever continental trophy.

The club from Bergamo, often overshadowed by AC and Inter Milan, has enjoyed a resurgence under Gian Piero Gasperini. This victory adds silverware to their impressive record, which includes four Champions League appearances in recent years.

Leverkusen, known for their late comebacks during their undefeated Bundesliga campaign, couldn’t recover from a slow start this time. Atalanta’s aggressive play was rewarded early when Davide Zappacosta set up Lookman, who exploited Exequiel Palacios’ lapse to score from the back post after just 12 minutes.

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Lookman, whose career has seen him move from the lower ranks of the Premier League to finding stability in Bergamo, cemented his hero status with his performance. His second goal, a brilliant nutmeg of Granit Xhaka followed by a powerful shot into the far corner, showcased his skill.

Despite Leverkusen’s efforts, including near-misses by Alex Grimaldo and Jeremie Frimpong, they couldn’t break through Atalanta’s defense. Gianluca Scamacca’s fortunate escape with only a yellow card for a rough tackle on Florian Wirtz also highlighted Leverkusen’s missed opportunities.

Coach Xabi Alonso, having quickly risen as a top coaching prospect and choosing to stay with Leverkusen despite interest from Liverpool and Bayern Munich, made tactical changes at halftime, including bringing on Victor Boniface. However, the early damage proved insurmountable.

Atalanta, content to absorb pressure and counter-attack, sealed the win with another stunning goal from Lookman. Skipping past Edmond Tapsoba, he blasted into the top corner with his left foot, clinching the victory.

This triumph is particularly sweet for Atalanta, who had previously lost all three finals under Gasperini, including a recent Coppa Italia defeat to Juventus. Their passionate fans, clad in blue and black, celebrated their historic win in Dublin.

Atalanta’s victory also marks the first time an Italian side has won the competition since Parma lifted the UEFA Cup in 1999, ending a long wait and underscoring the club’s remarkable journey to European glory.

Lookman scores stunning hat-trick in Atalanta vs Leverkusen Europa League final

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Why Usyk will be stripped of title despite win over Fury

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Oleksandr Usyk

Why Usyk will be stripped of title despite win over Fury

Oleksandr Usyk secured a victory over Tyson Fury in their undisputed world heavyweight title bout in Saudi Arabia, but the Ukrainian could lose one belt before their rematch

Despite his victory over Tyson Fury in Riyadh on Saturday, Oleksandr Usyk won’t be able to hold on to all of his world title belts.

Usyk claimed victory over his British opponent by split decision, with two judges scoring the bout 115-112 and 114-113 in his favour and the other going 114-113 in favour of Fury. The Ukrainian got emotional after the fight when speaking after his victory about how much he misses his late father.

The win means Usyk remains unbeaten throughout his professional boxing career. His record now stands at 22 fights and 22 wins, with 14 of the 22 coming via knockout.

In beating Fury, he added the WBC heavyweight title to add to his other belts and become the undisputed champ. However, he’s set to have to give up his IBF title before he next steps into the ring.

Fury is expected to get a chance for revenge in an autumn rematch. “We’ll go back, have a rest up then get back to it in October,” he said after his defeat. “As I said, I believe I won the fight.”

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“I don’t think about boxing now, please,” Usyk said after the Fury bout when asked about a rematch. “My camp started in September 2023, I worked for nine months. Yes of course, rematch I am ready. Listen, we have more time to do a good fight,”

While Fury and Usyk will take a few months to recharge, one man less willing to wait is Filip Hrgovic. The Croatian is the IBF’s mandatory title challenger, and Usyk’s belt is expected to be vacated in time for Hrgovic to battle Daniel Dubois for the honours in early June.

The winner of Hrgovic vs Dubois is expected to then meet Anthony Joshua in September, with Usyk and Fury to do battle the following month. There is no word yet on whether the winner of that rematch would subsequently attempt to reclaim the IBF belt.

“He’s [Usyk] done something no one else has done,” promoter Frank Warren told Sky Sports. “He’s unified the four belts. Four belts on the line is the start. I’m quite sure they’ll fragment after that. And then it’ll happen again.

“We’re in such a good place as a sport and they’re such good things happening you just can’t see it ending, because there’s so many good fights to be made,” he added, while indicating Joshua can remain in the mix providing he keeps winning. “Hrgovic and [Dubois] is a great fight and the winner of that, I think everybody’s going to be happy with who the winner fights,” Warren continued.

Hrgovic, who turns 32 in June, boasts a 17-0 career record with 14 knockouts. His last victory came by first round TKO against Mark de Mori, on the undercard of Joshua’s December victory over Otto Wallin.

Why Usyk will be stripped of title despite win over Fury

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Pochettino quits Chelsea after crisis talks with club owners

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Mauricio Pochettino

Pochettino quits Chelsea after crisis talks with club owners

Mauricio Pochettino parts ways with Chelsea after a positive end to the season that saw European qualification having started working for the club in July 2023

Mauricio Pochettino has left Chelsea by mutual consent.

Pochettino departs the club after less than a year in charge having agreed a two-year deal last summer. Jesus Perez, Miguel d’Agostino, Toni Jimenez and Sebastiano Pochettino have left the club in addition to Pochettino.

Chelsea finished sixth in the Premier League in a massive improvement from the previous year, but the former Spurs boss becomes the third permanent coach the club have parted ways with since the 2022 takeover.

The decision comes following a season of uncertainty around the Argentine coach’s position after a difficult start to life at Stamford Bridge. For much of 2023/24 the team languished in midtable before a turn in fortunes from February saw them march up the table.

A meeting between Pochettino and sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley and co-owner Behdad Eghbali took place in which Pochettino agreed to his departure.

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Sporting Directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley said in the club’s statement: “On behalf of everyone at Chelsea, we would like to express our gratitude to Mauricio for his service this season. He will be welcome back to Stamford Bridge any time and we wish him all the very best in his future coaching career.”

Mauricio Pochettino said: “Thank you to the Chelsea ownership group and Sporting Directors for the opportunity to be part of this football club’s history. The Club is now well positioned to keep moving forward in the Premier League and Europe in the years to come.”

T he Blues boss hinted ahead of the end of the season that a decision on his future would not only be in the hands of the club. “Look, it is not important,” he said.

“The most important thing is to keep going working if we are all happy, not only the owners happy with us, the sporting directors with us, or us with the organisation the club is building here because then we are all under assessment.

“If we are happy, perfect. But it is not only if the owner are happy or the sporting directors are happy. If we are happy, you need to ask also because we said ‘look maybe we are not happy with certain situations and maybe we are not happy and we need to split.

“It is not going to be the first time that a coaching staff decide at the end of the season not to keep going. But understand that it is always the opposite way, always the owners or the sporting director.

Pochettino quits Chelsea after crisis talks with club owners

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