EPL

Chelsea 0-1 Arsenal: Smith Rowe pounces on Jorginho howler to give Gunners derby joy

By Sports Desk May 12, 2021

Arsenal checked Chelsea's top-four hopes after Jorginho's dreadful error gifted Mikel Arteta's side a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge.

The midfielder's ill-conceived backpass caused havoc in the 16th minute, with Emile Smith Rowe the beneficiary, ensuring the Gunners doubled up on their 3-1 Boxing Day win over Chelsea.

Thomas Tuchel made seven changes to the side that beat Premier League champions and forthcoming Champions League final foes Manchester City last Saturday, seemingly with an eye on this weekend's FA Cup final against Leicester City.

Chelsea, who remain fourth having missed out on the chance to climb above their Wembley opponents, almost levelled when Kurt Zouma and Olivier Giroud both hit the crossbar in the final minute, as the battle for Champions League qualification took another twist.

Kai Havertz caught Pablo Mari napping and surged through on goal in the 10th minute, only to lift his shot wastefully over.

That mistake paled next to the wild backpass Jorginho sent fizzing towards his own net. A scampering Kepa Arrizabalaga did very well to push the ball off his goal line but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang got to the rebound quickest and set up Smith Rowe to finish.

Mason Mount led the Chelsea response, first having a shot blocked from Christian Pulisic's cutback before linking well with Havertz to draw a sharp stop from Bernd Leno.

Arsenal wing-back Bukayo Saka erred in trying shepherd the ball out in the 36th minute, his England colleague Ben Chilwell drilling at Leno before Mohamed Elneny cleared behind with Mount lurking.

Tuchel made an attacking half-time substitution, with Callum Hudson-Odoi coming on for Billy Gilmour and Mount reverting to a deeper midfield role.

Chelsea remained on the front foot and thought they were level with an hour played, although Pulisic was offside when he converted Havertz's flick on from Mount's left-wing corner.

Elneny was tackled by Mount dangerously near to the Arsenal area but Giroud – freshly on for Havertz against his former club – sliced wildly off target.

A stretching Pulisic shot too close to Leno with five minutes to play and the Arsenal goalkeeper touched Zouma's header onto his bar before Giroud went similarly close with the follow-up.

What does it mean?

Liverpool play twice before Chelsea are next in league action, by which point they could be a point behind the Blues, while West Ham can also cut the gap. Next Tuesday's league encounter with Leicester could yet prove every bit as important to Chelsea as what lies in wait at the national stadium.

What's next

Chelsea will look to add a trophy to their phenomenal revival under Tuchel in Saturday's FA Cup final. Arsenal are next in action seven days from now at Crystal Palace.

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  • France star Pavard: I was knocked out for 15 seconds France star Pavard: I was knocked out for 15 seconds

    Benjamin Pavard revealed he was knocked out for "10 to 15 seconds" before returning to the field in France's 1-0 win over Germany at Euro 2020.

    Pavard sustained a head injury following a collision with Germany's Robin Gosens as world champions France opened their Group F campaign with victory on Tuesday.

    France defender Pavard was left on the floor before receiving treatment for several minutes in Munich, where he was eventually allowed to continue.

    "I took a hell of a shock," Pavard told beIN Sports post-match.

    "I was a little knocked out for 10 to 15 seconds. After that, it was better."

    A "concussion charter" was signed by all 24 teams at Euro 2020 – a commitment to taking a series of measures to improve the care of players and includes neurological baseline testing and access to in-match television replays for team doctors.

    But the incident involving Pavard has raised further questions about concussion protocols in football.

    FIFPro has long called for temporary concussion substitutions and the enforcement of a minimum six-day gradual return to play.

    "The issue of concussion is a very serious issue. It's a health and safety issue, which is related to their work place. In my point of view, I don't think it's been addressed in the proper manner it should be addressed," FIFPro vice-president Francis Awaritefe previously told Stats Perform.

    "We've seen the medical data around the long-term risks of concussion and how they can have a deleterious long-term effect for people who suffer concussion when it's not managed properly.

    "We're really worried about it because football seems to be a long way behind some of the other sports in terms of protocols and just in terms of the way how seriously they're taking concussion.

    "For me, it's a massive issue. We don't want to wait until a player has a serious injury that it might end their career or worse, we have a player die on the field or soon after because of a concussion issue that wasn't treated properly.

    "As a sport, we need to reflect on this and get together with experts to come up with smart and proactive solutions to deal with this really, really serious issue."

    Brendan Schwab – executive director of the World Players Association – also told Stats Perform previously: "When concussed, it's not the time for the player to make a decision as to whether they should continue in a game. That is a decision that needs to be placed in the hands of independent medical assessors who have no duty other than to act in the best interests of the player.

    "There needs to be independent medical assessors on the sidelines. But we do expect this to be resisted because it is resisted in other sports. We now have independent medical assessors on the sidelines of the NFL and it's only because the NFLPA fought for that right. It was a battle.

    "Now the suggestion that the club doctor knows the player better than another doctor, again, is not a medically-based comment. What we do know, however, is that the club doctor who is employed by the club has a conflict of interest. That conflict of interest needs to be minimised and voided in circumstances when dealing with head injuries.

    "If FIFA doesn't change, what we will see is football leagues at the national level collectively bargain their own variation of the laws of the game. In Australia, the knowledge is clear that the clubs as employers would be in breach of health and safety requirements, and acting against the wishes of the unions, by putting players back into the game when they're clearly in a vulnerable position. What's to prevail there? Laws of the game or national health and safety laws? National health and safety laws have to prevail. It won't be a defence to any action for an employer to say 'we were simply providing an unsafe work practice at the behest of FIFA'."

  • France must accept favourites tag at Euro 2020 – Pogba France must accept favourites tag at Euro 2020 – Pogba

    Paul Pogba insisted France must deal with being labelled as favourites to win Euro 2020 after he led the way with a supreme performance against Germany.

    Mats Hummels' own goal gifted Euro 2016 runners-up France a 1-0 win over Germany in their opening Group F encounter in Munich on Tuesday, putting Les Bleus well on their way to progressing to the last 16.

    France – who finished with just one attempt on target – had opportunities to add to their lead, with Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema having goals disallowed for offside, though Joachim Low's Germany ultimately failed to make their luck count as they lost their opening game of a European Championship for the first time.

    The winner came in fortuitous circumstances, with Hummels turning in from Lucas Hernandez's cross.

    Pogba's exceptional pass played in France's left-back, however, and the Manchester United midfielder was on top form, attempting more passes (52) and more in Germany's half (31) than any Les Bleus player.

    He also amassed a team-high 78 touches – albeit that total was 50 less than game-leader Toni Kroos (128) – and went in for 20 duels, the most of any player.

    With the world champions having been tipped to lift the trophy they missed out on against Portugal on home soil five years ago, Pogba is adamant France must live up to the billing.

    "The performance of the team is the most important. Without them, I would not have been so efficient," Pogba, who was also involved in a flashpoint with Antonio Rudiger when he appeared to complain that the Germany defender had bitten him, told M6.

    "They helped me, they have everyone made the effort. This victory is for everyone, those who are also on the bench and in the stands to support us.

    "Everyone was talking about our status as favourite, our attack, the group of death. We must assume our status with humility."

    Didier Deschamps is aiming to become the first person to win the European Championship and World Cup as both a player and coach, and was delighted with a resilient display.

    "We had a big match against a very good opponent," Deschamps told M6.

    "I knew that my players were going to be ready, we were fighting for everything, even if in the first half we could have got the ball out a little better. We did not suffer that much in the second period. It's a tough game.

    "This is our first game. In our group, taking these three points is important. We were at the level, this victory is good for us."

    Deschamps' counterpart Low said he could not have asked for any more effort from his Germany side, who mustered 10 attempts to France's four, albeit only one of them hit the target.

    "We really gave everything. We fought until the end, for 90 minutes," Low told beIN Sports.

    "What we missed was a goal. We conceded a goal that we could have avoided, but otherwise I have no criticism to make. We lost a match, but we continue."

    Germany next host defending champions Portugal, while France travel to Budapest to face Hungary.

  • France 1-0 Germany: Hummels' own goal settles heavyweight clash France 1-0 Germany: Hummels' own goal settles heavyweight clash

    Mats Hummels' Germany comeback was marred by an own goal as Euro 2020 favourites France started their campaign with a 1-0 victory in Munich.

    Hummels, who scored the winner when Germany knocked France out of the 2014 World Cup, had been in international exile since 2018, yet his return hardly went to plan as he turned into Germany's net 20 minutes into the Group F encounter.

    Joachim Low's side never seemed to settle against France's press, and were perhaps fortunate to see Antonio Rudiger go unpunished for a possible bite on Paul Pogba.

    Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema had goals disallowed for offside, but Les Blues – who also hit the post through Adrien Rabiot – were not made to pay as they went unbeaten in a Euro opener for a ninth straight time.

    A scrappy opening should have been punctuated by a France goal, yet Paul Pogba sent a free header over after meeting Antoine Griezmann's excellent corner.

    Making his 100th start for Germany – the first goalkeeper in the nation's history to do so – Manuel Neuer had to parry Mbappe's strike as France purred.

    France soon had their opener, however. Mbappe was well placed to finish from Lucas Hernandez's cross, but instead it was Hummels who sliced into his own net with Germany's defence caught cold by an exquisite Pogba pass.

    Thomas Muller wasted an immediate chance to equalise, before Pogba seemed to complain Rudiger had bitten him, though the replays were inconclusive. 

    France looked all set to double their lead early in the second half, only for Rabiot to hit the near post from close range after ignoring a simple pass to the waiting Griezmann.

    Rabiot's chance kicked Germany into gear – Serge Gnabry's volley skidding off the turf and just over Hugo Lloris' crossbar.

    A delayed offside flag denied Mbappe a spectacular solo strike in the 66th minute, before the Paris Saint-Germain star skipped beyond Hummels with ease.

    To his credit, Hummels recovered with a last-ditch tackle, and though Benzema then had a goal on his major tournament comeback disallowed, three-time champions Germany failed to make their good fortune count.

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