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.”
Haaland, Foden’s hat-tricks sink United in Manchester Derby
Erling Haaland and Phil Foden scored hat-tricks as Manchester City thrashed Manchester United 6-3 to move to within a point of Premier League leaders Arsenal on Sunday.
Haaland has scored hat-tricks in each of his last three Premier League home games to take his tally as a City player to 17 in 10 competitive games for the English champions.
“You can see the passes we give each other. We always want to go forward and to attack,” Haaland told Sky Sports.
“It’s what I love about the team. In the end, it’s amazing. There is nothing more to say.”
Antony’s strike and Anthony Martial’s late double ensured United avoided a record defeat in the Manchester derby as they remain in sixth, nine points off the top.
Since also conceding four times inside the first 45 minutes at Brentford in August, United had bounced back with four consecutive Premier League wins to offer hope they are heading in the right direction under Erik ten Hag.
But the Red Devils were given a rude awakening of the gulf that still exists between the Manchester giants.
City could have scored many more than the four they managed in a blistering first half performance that swept away any doubts caused by an inconsistent start to the season from Pep Guardiola’s men.
Within four minutes it took two goal-line clearances and a fine save from David de Gea to deny Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne, and Bernardo Silva the opening goal.
Four minutes later, City did open the floodgates when Foden swept home Silva’s cross for the Manchester native’s first derby goal.
Ilkay Gundogan’s free-kick hit the post and Foden blasted another big chance wide before Haaland inevitably made his mark on 34 minutes.
Haaland’s Hat-trick Haul
United were left to bemoan the absence of Raphael Varane to defend a De Bruyne corner as he received treatment on an ankle injury that forced him off at half-time.
Without the Frenchman, there was no match for Haaland’s presence in the penalty box as his header crossed the line before Tyrell Malacia’s attempted clearance.
Moments later, City showcased their ability to counter-attack as Jack Grealish fed De Bruyne, who perfectly picked out Haaland to convert on the stretch at the back post.
Haaland then turned provider with a low cross that Foden converted to leave United trailing 4-0 at half-time for the third time in a year.
Unlike, in a 5-0 defeat at Old Trafford to Liverpool last season and at Brentford last month, there was some semblance of a United response after the break.
Antony smashed home his second goal in as many Premier League appearances since a £82 million ($92 million) move from Ajax.
But Haaland quickly reclaimed centre stage with a thumping finish to meet Sergio Gomez’s cross.
Michael Owen’s record of three hat-tricks in his first 48 appearances had stood as a Premier League record for over two decades, but Haaland has needed just eight.
City were on course to match the record margin of victory in a Manchester derby when Haaland set up Foden to smash home and complete his hat-trick.
That was Foden’s final involvement as he was withdrawn in a quadruple change as Guardiola could afford to also hand a rest to De Bruyne, Gundogan and Grealish.
United took advantage of City taking their foot off the accelerator in the final 10 minutes as substitute Martial scored twice to cut the arrears.
Ten Hag left Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench for the full match and his decision to instead give Martial a chance to impress on his return from injury proved correct.
The Frenchman headed in the rebound after Ederson parried Fred’s shot and then emphatically fired home from the penalty spot. (AFP)
Djokovic wins 89th career title with Tel Aviv final
Novak Djokovic won his 89th career title on Sunday with an impressive straight-set victory over Marin Cilic in the Tel Aviv final.
It was also the third title of the 35-year-old Serbian tennis star in 2022.
Djokovic triumphed 6-3, 6-4 to add the Israeli trophy to victories in Rome and Wimbledon this season.
It was Djokovic’s 19th win over Cilic in 21 meetings in a rivalry stretching back to 2008.
Djokovic was playing his first singles tournament since wrapping up a seventh Wimbledon crown and 21st Grand Slam title in July.
He was banned from the US Open and the entire North American hard court swing over his refusal to be vaccinated before returning for Roger Federer’s farewell in the Laver Cup team event in London last month.
On Sunday, Djokovic broke Cilic in the second game of the final and pocketed the first set with a fourth ace after 47 minutes on court.
Former US Open winner Cilic, chasing a 21st career title but the first of 2022, was broken in the first game of the second set and the 34-year-old never recovered.
The Serb only faced one break point in the final which was clinched in 94 minutes.
Djokovic, who didn’t drop a set all week, now heads to the Astana ATP tournament where world number one Carlos Alcaraz takes the top seeding
Over 120 fans die in Indonesia football stampede
At least 129 people have died in a stampede at an Indonesian football match, officials say, in one of the world’s worst stadium disasters.
The stampede happened after police tear-gassed rioting supporters.
About 180 were injured in the crush after Arema FC lost to bitter rivals Persebaya Surabaya in East Java.
The country’s chief security minister said that the number of spectators exceeded the stadium’s capacity by around 4,000 people.
President Joko Widodo has ordered that all matches in Indonesia’s top league must be stopped until an investigation has been concluded.
Videos show fans running on to the pitch after the final whistle.
Police then fired tear gas, leading to a crowd stampede and cases of suffocation, said Nico Afinta, police chief in East Java.
“It had gotten anarchic. They started attacking officers, they damaged cars,” he said, adding that two police officers were among the dead.
“We would like to convey that… not all of them were anarchic. Only about 3,000 who entered the pitch,” he said.
Fleeing fans “went out to one point at the exit. Then there was a build-up, in the process of accumulation there was shortness of breath, lack of oxygen”, he added.
Videos on social media show fans clambering over fences to escape. Separate videos appear to show lifeless bodies on the floor.
FIFA, the world’s governing football body, states that no “crowd control gas” should be carried or used by stewards or police at matches.
The Indonesian football association (PSSI) said it had launched an investigation, adding that the incident had “tarnished the face of Indonesian football”.
Violence at football matches is not new in Indonesia, and Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya are long-time rivals.
Persebaya Surabaya fans were banned from buying tickets for the game because of fears of clashes.
But Chief Security Minister Mahfud MD posted on Instagram that 42,000 tickets had been sold for the match at the Kanjuruhan stadium, which has a capacity of 38,000.
President Widodo called for this to be the “last soccer tragedy in the nation” after ordering that all Liga 1 games should be paused pending an investigation.
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