Manchester United suffered a considerable blow away at the Emirates on Sunday, losing 3-0 to Arsenal in a defeat every bit as comprehensive as the scoreline suggests. The Gunners scored all three goals in the game’s opening quarter, and had little difficulty keeping their visitors at bay for the remainder of the match.
United could have hardly made a worse start to the match, with Arsenal able to dominate possession from the first whistle. Morgan Schneiderlin’s absence in the centre of midfield left Michael Carrick struggling to stem the tide alongside Bastian Schweinsteiger and laid bare the continued weakness of Louis van Gaal’s entire back four. If you thought Chris Smalling and Daley Blind were good enough for United to get back to the top, think again.
The opening goal came when Alexis Sánchez tapped Mesut Özil’s low cross into the back of the net after just six minutes; seconds later the German turned scorer when he stroked a smart Theo Walcott layoff beyond David de Gea for 2-0. United looked shellshocked, and though they subsequently had their first sustained spell of possession in the match, they were unable to do anything with it.
Within 20 minutes it was 3-0, with Sánchez skipping past Matteo Darmian and lashing a spectacular shot into the top corner. By then the game was all but over, and slipping into damage limitation looked a fairly sensible option. But still United continued to look poor, and their only real chance of the first half came when Anthony Martial was denied by Petr Čech.
Marouane Fellaini came on for the anonymous Memphis Depay for the second half, while Darmian was punished for another inexplicably poor performance by once again being replaced by Antonio Valencia. United saw more of the ball, but still struggled to do anything with it: save for a snapshot from Wayne Rooney and a close-range poke from Schweinsteiger, Čech was almost entirely untested, and Arsenal ran out comfortable winners.
What’s next for Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao?
By Augustine A.
What’s next for Mayweather? After improving to 48-0 with his unanimous-decision triumph Saturday at MGM Grand (judges scored it 118-110, 116-112, 116-112), Mayweather said he plans to fight just once more, in September on Showtime pay-per-view, and then call it a career.
His most likely opponent left the arena beaming. All Amir Khan has to do is beat Chris Algieri later this month. Algieri was knocked down six times by Pacquiao in November in Macao.
Mayweather will be a prohibitive favorite over Khan. He can retire in peace, but he also may feel the tug of opening a new massive arena in Las Vegas in 2016, and pursuing a 50-0 record that would top former heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record at retirement.
Mayweather, if you didn’t know, likes to call himself the Best Ever.
2. What’s next for Pacquiao? Likely surgery. His right shoulder, injured in sparring, was re-aggravated in the fourth round, and Pacquiao said he looked in the remaining rounds to find a left-handed knockout punch that he never delivered.
His shoulder injury, to be examined Monday, and then later after he returns to the Philippines, is said to be similar to Kobe Bryant’s.
If he undergoes surgery, he could be out three to eight months, depending on his recovery, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him move back down to 140 pounds, where he could knock opponents out. He hasn’t done so since 2009.
3. Will there be a rematch? Once they count up all the dollars made by this fight, greed will certainly again enter the equation and that arena-opening date could be it.
Deservedly so, there will be some distaste from consumers following Saturday’s bout, soiled by Pacquiao’s injury talk and Mayweather’s technical performance.
Asked if the outcome left the rematch idea dead, Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum told The Times early Sunday morning, “Don’t say dead.”
4. What’s the next big fight we can look forward to? It’s not scheduled yet, and both guys have fights to win, but a possible late-fall showdown between Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto would revive that always popular rivalry.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is right on the money in beating Manny Pacquiao
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is right on the money in beating Manny Pacquiao
Cotto, who fights Daniel Geale in June, might also get talked into fighting unbeaten knockout king Gennady Golovkin, who fights at the Forum on May 16.
So whoever he picks is the big one.
5. Did Pacquiao’s injury really make a difference? Did the shoulder pain cost him a victory? No. He lost the first three rounds before he said he felt the pain in his dominant fourth.
Pacquiao clearly had problems finding Mayweather and that had nothing to do with his shoulder. Mayweather landed some crisp rights and jabs that kept Pacquiao at bay, as well.
But if he could’ve used his right hook at all, maybe we would’ve seen more rounds like the fourth – more of the type of action that convinced so many to pay $99.95 for the pay-per-view.
6. Is Mayweather the greatest non-heavyweight ever? His resume is impressive, and has him in the same conversation with Sugar Ray Robinson.
Certainly, boxing purists will say Robinson, despite losses on his record, is the greatest. He fought steadily, took on his greatest adversaries repeatedly and was blessed with all of boxing’s most appealing skills.
In this era, Mayweather said he came to realize he couldn’t fight everyone who challenged him throughout a year. He’s waited too long to take on opponents after stepping up to beat Oscar De La Hoya in 2007 – including Pacquiao – but he has now beaten every fighter the experts have said he should take on and deserves deep respect for his work inside the ring.
7. Who will assume the “best” mantle when Mayweather quits? Golovkin is a candidate with his lofty knockout percentage, but he’s 32.
Mayweather defeats Pacquiao by unanimous decision
Mayweather defeats Pacquiao by unanimous decision
Among the younger breed, both of the undercard winners, featherweight world champion Vasyl Lomachenko, and super-bantamweight world champion Leo Santa Cruz, have the potential to reach lofty heights.
If Lomachenko fights Nicholas Walters next, that’s a can’t-miss, and Santa Cruz has to stop being protected right now by his manager Al Haymon and fight Abner Mares and everyone else talented around his weight to let his supreme body-punching skills shine.
8. Will fans have a bad taste after shelling out $100 for a bad fight? Yes, continuing boxing’s reputation for getting everyone’s attention and then letting everyone down.
If Pacquiao was seriously hurt, postpone the fight until he’s healthy. The payments were made on the basis that both men would be 100%. That wasn’t the case.
One fight insider who declined to be identified because of his position said, “Too many people were in too big of a hurry to get paid.”
They could’ve still been paid and staged a bout that might’ve been more competitive, without this cloud over a fight that we waited five-plus years for, yet feels like it was unnecessarily rushed in the end.
Beyond that, nationwide satellite/cable problems or not, it looked stomach-turning to delay the fight’s start by forcing fans to wait as the maximum number of pay-per-view orders could roll in.
Ironically, Magic Johnson was interviewed about the bout during the delay. He knows a thing or two about sticking it to the fans in favor of television revenue.
And, in the end, that’s how Saturday’s events made it feel: The fans don’t matter, money does.
Chelsea bade farewell to Didier Drogba before coming from behind to beat Sunderland 3-1 and lift the Premier League trophy on a day of celebration, farewells and potential goodbyes.
The title was sealed with three matches to go after a defeat of Crystal Palace and there was a strange atmosphere on the day of Chelsea’s coronation as a Diego Costa penalty and two Loic Remy strikes cancelled out Steven Fletcher’s opener.
Drogba announced prior to kick off the match would be his last for the Blues, while Petr Cech played in goal in potentially his final appearance after 11 years as a Chelsea player.
Dick Advocaat may also be leaving Sunderland after steering them to safety at Arsenal on Wednesday night.
Drogba was, bizarrely, carried off by his team-mates after 29 minutes in a pre-planned substitution.
Perhaps distracted by the celebrations, Chelsea were already a goal down as Fletcher headed in Adam Johnson’s corner.
The Black Cats are the only side to have beaten Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League, having won here last term.
This was Mourinho’s 98th home league game as Blues boss and his side responded when Costa, Drogba’s replacement, equalised from the penalty spot for his 20th Premier League goal this term.
Remy, another substitute, struck twice in the final 20 minutes to ensure a 15th win from 19 home games this term.
Chelsea paraded many of their 2004-05 title-winning squad prior to kick-off, although Frank Lampard was saying his farewells to England with Manchester City.
That was Mourinho’s first Premier League and Chelsea’s first championship in 50 years and perhaps he was making a point to his current squad, who he said on Friday had a long way to go to become great
Another point was made by a banner in the Matthew Harding End which read: “Players come and go. Legends last forever.”
Drogba is revered after an eight-year first spell which yielded 157 goals in 341 appearances and which concluded with the memorable Champions League win in Munich three years ago.
His season-long second spell has been less fruitful, but he has claimed the Capital One Cup and a fourth Premier League title, Chelsea’s first in five years.
Drogba captained the Blues in an emotional selection, with Eden Hazard fit to start despite requiring emergency dental surgery during the week.
Chelsea remain on course for a fourth Premier League title after a goalless draw with closest rivals Arsenal all-but ended the Gunners’ chances of catching the league leaders.
Referee Michael Oliver proved to be the influential figure in a pulsating first half at the Emirates Stadium as he turned down no more than four penalty claims between the two sides.
Jose Mourinho is still fully focused on gaining the five points Chelsea need for the title.
Oscar was involved on two occasions as Hector Bellerin and David Ospina brought the Brazilian down in the area, before former Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas was booked for simulation and Gary Cahill was adjudged to have not blocked Santi Cazorla’s shot with his arm.
Didier Drogba replaced Oscar at the interval after the midfielder showed signs of concussion following his collision with Ospina, but he did little to ignite a Chelsea side who seemed content with a point.
David Ospina was fortunate not to see red for challnege on Oscar
Mesut Ozil and substitute Danny Welbeck spurned glorious chances in the closing stages to hand Arsene Wenger his first victory over a side managed by Jose Mourinho, but Chelsea held on to end Arsenal’s eight-game winning run to move to within six points of their first title in five years.
They will now clinch the title if they follow victory at in-form Leicester City on Wednesday with three points against Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge next Sunday.
Arsene Wenger was happy with Arsenal’s performance apart from their decisions in the Chelsea penalty area.
Arsenal entered the match knowing anything other than a victory would end their faint hopes of a first title since 2004, and Wenger made four changes to the side which sealed their place in the FA Cup final last weekend.
Chelsea knew victory would hand them the chance to seal with title with victory at Leicester in midweek, and started the game with no recognised striker, as Drogba was dropped to the bench with Eden Hazard leading the attack as the lone front man.
The change of personnel did little to prevent a frenetic start to the game as both sides pushed for the advantage before a string of penalty incidents followed.
Cesc Fabregas: Booked for simulation by Michael Oliver
Oscar appeared to have his heels clipped by full-back Bellerin on eight minutes as the Brazilian threatened to get in behind the Arsenal defence, but Oliver was unmoved.
Oscar was involved again on 16 minutes when Arsenal ‘keeper Ospina collided with him after he was played through by Fabregas and chipped an effort towards goal. Bellerin cleared the goal-bound effort before play resumed after the Brazilian received treatment for his injuries.
Replays suggested the penalty kick and a red card may well have been warranted by Ospina’s rash challenge.
Fabregas, who made his return to Arsenal after leaving in 2011, received a hostile reception at times, none more so than when he was booked for simulation after a challenge from Cazorla on 23 minutes.
Eden Hazard: Jostle for possession with Hector Bellerin
Oliver was in the spotlight shortly after when Cahill’s apparent block of Cazorla’s shot with his arm went unpunished.
Chelsea produced the move of the game when Willian played an incisive pass into his compatriot Ramires before the Brazilian was foiled by Ospina’s smart save.
Oscar was withdrawn at the interval after developing signs of concussion at the break, and Drogba, who has often been the scourge of Arsenal, entered the fray.
The intensity of the game dropped in the second period as Chelsea sat deep and looked to hit Arsenal on the counter. The inclusion of Welbeck late injected some pace in the game as Arsenal produced a late push for the three points.
Jose Mourinho says Chelsea are far from boring and hinted that Arsenal fans may be bored by a lack of Premier League titles.
Ozil and Welbeck failed to steer Nacho Monreal’s cross from the left on target as Chelsea’s defensive unit, as it had done throughout the game, held firm until the end where the final whistle was greeted with wild celebrations by the Chelsea players.
Javier Hernandez has scored goals before. He’s scored goals for Real Madrid and Mexico before. But the Mexican-born striker has not scored any bigger in his career than his winner Wednesday, which put Real into the Champions League semifinals with a 1-0 win over local rival Atletico Madrid.
“This is the most important goal of my career, yes, because only the present is important,” he told Canal Plus. “I might have scored other important goals in my career, but what matters is the present.”
Starting in place of the injured Karim Benzema, Hernandez finished off superb work from Cristiano Ronaldo, who broke into the area, drew two Atletico defenders and keeper Jan Oblak to him, before finding Chicharito unmarked. Chicharito did not miss, passing the ball into the back of the net, sending the crowd at the Santiago Bernabeu into raptures.
“This gives me confidence and Cristiano Ronaldo gave me a great assist,” Chicharito added. “Atletico are truly a worthy rival. Thank God we got the win we deserved, though.”
The unlikely hero was subbed off minutes later, after grabbing his right leg.
The victory was the first this season in eight tries for Real Madrid versus Atletico, which had gone down to 10 men in the 76th minute as Arda Turan was sent off after a second yellow card.
After a scoreless first leg last week, the second leg of the quarterfinal tie appeared to be heading towards extra time and penalties had it remained scoreless, but Chicharito’s winner prevented those possibilities from coming to fruition.
“It’s a Madrid derby and recently these matches have not brought many positive moments as Real hadn’t won one since the Decima win in last season’s Champions League final,” Chicharito said. “It might have been me who scored the goal but it belongs to everyone – those who have had confidence in me, my teammates and my family. This goal is for all of them.”
The goal was Hernandez’s sixth of the season in all competitions for Madrid.