New Year Matchday: Arsenal 1-2 Man City. 10-man Gunners punished by Rodri’s 90+2′ late winner, Mahrez cancels out Saka’s opener, Gabriel sees red

Happy New Year! Welcome to Apex Football Match LIVE! No matter where you are, Apex Football sincerely hope you can have a very great new year! Ready to welcome the first big game in 2022? Let’s have a quick look at every update!

Live Updates

FULL TIME! The Arsenal players are on the floor, while Man City celebrate a big win which takes them 11 points clear at the top of the table!

90+3′ GOAL! Arsenal 1-2 Man City (Rodri, 90+3)

Arsenal’s spirit is broken!

The ball is clipped forward and Laporte gambles.

His shot is blocked by White but the ball drops kindly for Rodri, who pokes the ball home to spark wild celebrations from the visitors.

Rodri celebrates right in front of the Arsenal fans and objects rain down on him by the corner flag!

87′: SAVE! White flicks a deep cross away from goal, but the ball drops to Sterling.

He gets a shot away from a tight angle, but the ball takes a flick off Tomiyasu, and Ramsdale makes a comfortable save.

Now Mahrez’s shot takes a deflection and crashes into the side netting.

69: YELLOW! Holding brings down De Bruyne and the Arsenal frustration continues as the substitute is booked.

68′: YELLOW! Just a bit of house keeping…

Saka was booked for a bit too much chat to the referee when Rodri fouled Lacazette a few moments ago,

The England international was asking for a second yellow for the City midfielder, but the referee didn’t take too kindly to it.

66′: OVER! Sterling nips inside Tomiyasu, but he can only fire a shot high over the crossbar.

59′: RED CARD! GABRIEL SENT OFF FOR ARSENAL!!!

An incredible few minutes. Gabriel was booked in the aftermath of the penalty incident and then he stops a Jesus counter on half-way. Stuart Attwell gets the second yellow out. This game has gone potty. Arsenal down to 10.

58′: WHAT HAS HAPPENED HERE?????

Laporte loops a header over the onrushing Ederson and Ake is forced to rush back and clear off the line.

However, he can only clear as far as Martinelli, who can only slice his shot wide of the near post. He basically had an own goal!

What a passage of play, but City survive!

57′ GOAL!!! Arsenal 1-1 Man City (Mahrez pen)

Up steps Mahrez and the big delay doesn’t affect him!

he emphatically slots the penalty, sending Ramsdale the wrong way!

Game on!!

55: PENALTY TO MAN CITY! The referee has overturned the decision…

Xhaka has been booked for the tackle.

Arsenal are not happy about this and are probably asking the referee about their appeals for a first half penalty.

53: NO PENALTY! Bernardo Silva goes down under a challenge from Xhaka, but the referee waves away the appeals of the Manchester City players.

However, VAR will take a look at this…

51: CHANCE! From the resultant corner the ball drops kindly for Martinelli just inside the Man City penalty area.

However, the Brazilian fails to make a clean connection with his attempted volley.

Arsenal do get the ball back as Saka swing in a cross but City hold firm.

HALF TIME! A final chance for City to test the Arsenal defence as Mahrez stands over a free kick in a dangerous area, but the winger’s cross can only pick out Lacazette, who heads clear.

The half time whistle then sounds and it is greeted by a huge roar from the home fans. They’ve enjoyed that performance from Arsenal, who lead thank to Bukayo Saka’s goal.

It’s a deserved lead for the Gunners, but City have had their chances with the best one falling to Ruben Dias, who glanced a header wide.

It’s been a superb game so far and let’s hope for more of the same after the break.

43: WIDE! What a run from Martinelli, who skips past Cancelo.

He drives into the box and gets past Dias, but Cancelo gets back and then doesn’t, as Martinelli gets a shot away.

He pokes the ball past Ederson, but wide of the far post.

31′ GOAL!! It’s Saka again! And what a lovely goal!

The passing is superb from the Gunners.

They work the ball from right to left to Tierney, who picks his head up and slides the ball into the path of Saka, who sweeps the ball past Ederson and into the bottom corner for his seventh of the season.

30′: This has been City’s best chance so far! Dias should have buried it.

20′: CLOSE! Tomiyasu points to the space in behind the City defence and White obliges.

The full back plays a testing first time cross into the penalty area, but Ake is there to head clear.

Good defending from the Dutchman!

19′: WIDE! The ball finds its way to De Bruyne on the edge of the penalty area and the Belgium international wraps his boot around the ball, sending it towards goal.

You immediately expect the net to bulge, but there’s just not enough bend on the ball to bring it back into the top corner!

9′: Already 78 per cent of the ball for Man City, who are trying to suffocate the Gunners.

7: CLOSE! Arsenal win the ball back through Tomiyasu and they spring forward as White goes direct.

Lacazette and Saka both give chase but the ball skips off the turf and into the arms of Ederson, who was quickly off his line.

5: WIDE! Another let off for the Gunners!

They don’t react to City’s short corner, which allows De Bruyne to pick out his cross under no pressure. He finds Jesus, who gets above Gabriel, but the striker can only head wide.

4′: CHANCE! An early warning for Arsenal…

De Bruyne slides the ball past White and into the path of Sterling. However, Gabriel comes across well to mop up the danger.

1′ Arsenal 0-0 Man City
KICK-OFF! The visitors get us underway…

Countdown to kick off!

What a game to get 2022 underway!

Arsenal Line-ups

Arsenal, with manager Mikel Arteta watching from home while self-isolating due to Covid-19, show just one alteration from their 5-0 victory at Norwich as Takehiro Tomiyasu returnes following his own bout of Covid-19 to replace Rob Holding.

Man City Line-ups

Joao Cancelo keeps his place in the Manchester City side to face Arsenal despite being assaulted during a burglary at his home.

The Portugal full-back suffered facial injuries during the attack on Thursday but stayed in the side as Pep Guardiola makes three changes with City going in search of an 11th consecutive Premier League win.

Fernandinho, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish drop out – with Foden not among the substitutes – as Rodri, Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling come in.

Match Tips

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Man City love a trip to Arsenal…

Man City have won each of their last four away league games against Arsenal, by an aggregate score of 9-0.

It’s as many victories as City had picked up in their previous 50 league visits to Highbury/Emirates Stadium combined (W4 D14 L32)

Tomiyasu reunited with his defensive axis…

“The Arsenal back four is reunited. Mikel Arteta, who is of course watching from home after testing positive for Covid, has made just one change from the Boxing Day thrashing of Norwich. And it’s a popular one with Takehiro Tomiyasu returning at right-back, meaning Rob Holding misses out.”

Can Arsenal find the net against City?

Arsenal have failed to score in their last five Premier League games against Man City – only against Chelsea (6 between 2013 and 2016) and Liverpool (6 between 1997 and 2000) have the Gunners failed to score in more consecutive league games against an opponent.

Don’t hesitate to refresh your page anytime you want – always big updates during the match!

Match Preview

Manchester City will be bidding to take a double digit lead at the top of the Premier League as they bring the curtain up on 2022’s English game away to Arsenal. With Chelsea and Liverpool facing off the following day, the trip to the Emirates Stadium offers the reigning champions the opportunity to carve out yet more daylight between them and the chasing pack, turning what threatened to be a three team scrap into something of a procession.

Pep Guardiola’s side have an exceptional record against the red half of north London in the top flight, but he would be the first to admit that this Arsenal might offer his toughest test yet with the Gunners riding high in fourth place. Here is what you need to know:

Viewing information

Date: Saturday, Jan. 1 | Time: 12:30 p.m. UTC
Location: Emirates Stadium — London
Odds: Arsenal +480; Draw +33; Manchester City -188 (via Caesars Sportsbook)

Storylines

Arsenal: Mikel Arteta, the man whose diagnosis with COVID-19 in March 2020 brought English football to an abrupt halt in a matter of hours, will be missing from the sidelines again on Saturday after testing positive for the virus once more. He is not the only member of Arsenal’s coaching staff who has been isolating with assistant Albert Stuivenberg to lead from the dugout with his boss keeping in touch over audio equipment. For one of the league’s most hands on coaches it will be tough to be miles away from the action.

“I never experienced what I’m going experience tomorrow but it’s what it is,” he said. “It’s going to be easy to feel frustrated and with a lack of options because of not being in training sessions, not being able to prepare things like you want, to pass the message like you want, to have the players feeling that you are next to them. It’s a different experience. But we have to adapt to it and we have tried to do that the best possible way to get well prepared for tomorrow.”

Manchester City: Relatively free of COVID-19 and with a squad so deep Guardiola was able to make no changes in victory over Brentford last time out, City look to be in menacing mood, seemingly keen to squash any dreams of a title race and get the league wrapped up swiftly. They will surely feel at home at the Emirates, where they have won their last four league matches, scoring inside the opening two minutes in their last two trips down the Holloway Road.

Raheem Sterling has often been Arsenal’s tormentor, with eight goals and three assists against the Gunners. The England international returns to London in fine form and has scored in his last four Premier League matches. He and his team mates are determined not to take their foot off the gas. “It has been a decent start so far,” Sterling said. “We need to keep the focus and go into the new year with the same mentality. We need to keep going and that is all we can do.”

Prediction

Arsenal are a better team than the one trampled under foot by City at the start of this season but not so good that they can expect anything more than a defeat. PICK: Arsenal 0 Man City 2

High-press and fluid formations: Rangnick’s Man Utd revolution off to the perfect start

Fred’s long-range winning goal against Crystal Palace capped off a hugely encouraging first outing for the Red Devils under their new interim boss

Ralf Rangnick went into his first Manchester United game with two aims: to win, and to oversee a controlled display from his new team.

On Sunday, he succeeded on both counts.

The 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace did not mark a blistering start to the new regime at Old Trafford, but this was a performance to bring hope and promise that Rangnick, with a bit more practice, could bring success back to United.

Much like the end result is unlikely to cause major headlines once the dust settles, Rangnick arrived in the dugout for the first time to little fanfare.

He walked out merged in with the rest of the coaching staff, and stadium announcer Alan Keegan made no special declaration that a new manager was in town.

But even those who may have had their heads in the sand for the last three weeks and were not aware that United had made a new coaching appointment would have realised from the off that this was a different side to the one that has struggled through the early months of the season.

He may have picked the same line-up that had beaten Arsenal on Thursday – which given he only had one training session with his new players was hardly a surprise – but the team’s style of play was already markedly different.

Right from kick-off United pressed with purpose. It is not that they had not pressed in the past, but this time there seemed to at least be a structure to it.

Gone were individuals aimlessly hounding opposition players hoping for the best as they did so many times under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Here they pressed as a pack, and it almost bore fruit after just three minutes, as Alex Telles saw a shot pushed out for a corner after the ball had been won back deep in Palace territory.

A switch of formation to Rangnick’s favoured 4-2-2-2 resulted in the team being more direct in their attacking play, too. With half-an-hour gone, Marcus Rashford had created three chances, Cristiano Ronaldo had attempted five shots and Jadon Sancho looked lively as he switched positions with Bruno Fernandes behind the front two.

In total, United managed 12 efforts on goal during the first half, with all that was missing was that final clinical pass or shot.

Rangnick, who spent the majority of the match in the technical area, seemed encouraged by what he was seeing, as he applauded each attempt on Vicente Guaita’s goal. Their pressing was clearly paying off, as across the duration of the match they won possession 12 times in Palace’s defensive third. Their previous best in a league match this season was seven times.

“It has been an average season so far, there is no avoiding that, but the club has players who are much better than the position we currently occupy, and it is my job to improve those players and that position,” Rangnick wrote in his first programme notes. “The first step in doing that is a shift in how the collective approaches games.

“If you want to win a football match, you have to control it, so the aim right now is to help the team control games more. That means being more proactive with and without the ball.”

That proactivity was clear, though the energy levels required to keep that up over the course of 90 minutes is something United’s players will need to reach going forward as they began to flag after just 20 minutes of the first half.

That said, they still recorded season highs for first-half passes into the final third (48), first-half touches in the opposition box (26) and first-half passes into the opposition box (26), among other metrics.

“I didn’t expect us to play on that level after only one-and-a-half training days with the players,” Rangnick told Sky Sports post-match. “The first half-hour was amazing. It was high-intensity, high-speed, high-tempo.

“The way we played against the ball, the whole game was in their (Palace’s half). I was positively surprised.”

Rangnick did his best to maintain his team’s intensity after the break, and could be seen wildly gesturing with his arms on the touchline as he looked for a solution to break down Patrick Vieira’s visitors.

The ex-RB Leipzig boss introduced Mason Greenwood and Anthony Elanga from the bench in a bid to spark his attack back into life, but in the end it was Fred who provided the moment of magic that United required.

The Brazil international’s curling shot from 20 yards out earned a celebratory punch of the air from his new manager as the home faithful were sent into raptures by the unlikeliest of goalscoring heroes.

Despite the win, this was not a perfect 90 minutes from United. There was, though, clear progress, and having only met his players for the first time 48 hours ago, that is as much as Rangnick could have asked for.

The control he demanded in his programme notes was certainly there as David de Gea was rarely tested on his way to securing United’s first clean sheet at Old Trafford since April, and with consecutive league wins for the first time since September, the fight for a top-four finish is on ahead of what looks to be a forgiving run of fixtures.

The Rangnick revolution has begun, and the signs are encouraging for all those related to Manchester United.

Watch: Ronaldo scores 800th career goal as Man Utd defeat Arsenal

The forward has continued to pour in goals in important situations for the Red Devil as he becomes the first professional footballer to reach 800 goals milestone

Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 800th career goal in all competitions on Thursday against Arsenal to briefly give his side a 2-1 lead before converting the match-winning penalty for No.801 after the Gunners had equalised.

The forward is recognised as the all-time top men’s goalscorer, and he has continued to reach significant milestones upon his return to the Red Devils.

Ronaldo has made a habit of netting in important moments this year, as he’s scored at least once in each of his five Champions League appearances, including two late winners, and scored six times in the Premier League.

Watch: Ronaldo scores 800th career goal

Ronaldo found the back of the net by sliding in a low pass from Marcus Rashford for his 800th goal.

What has been said?

“Incredible,” midfielder Bruno Fernandes told Amazon of Ronaldo. “We all know he is improving game by game, year by year.

“He wants to keep being the best and that’s what he did. He knows how to self-motivate.”

Ronaldo’s goalscoring by team

Ronaldo has scored the most goals at Real Madrid with 450.

He’s now bagged 130 at Manchester United, as well as 115 with the Portugal national team, 101 with Juventus and five with Sporting CP.

Further reading

‘Factos’ – Cristiano Ronaldo Comments On A Post Saying Messi Robbed The Ballon d’Or

Carrick ends 15-year Man Utd stay as interim boss announced departure following Arsenal victory

Will Chelsea still be at the top of the EPL table by January 2022? 

Will Chelsea still be at the top of the EPL table by January 2022? 

December is usually a jolly month with folks excited for Christmas and an official countdown to the new year. The Chelsea camp might not be so jolly because this December is crucial for their title chances. 

Photo Credit: Twitter/ Chelsea FC

Tuchel’s men sit at the top of the table after 14 games with 33 points. Manchester City is second with 32 points, while Liverpool is third with 31 points. The title race is already looking intense and it would take a lot for Chelsea to remain top. 

EPL Table after 14 games

Remember that the Blues are still in contention for the League cup and they have one more Champions League game for the year.

Chelsea would be facing 8 opponents for the remainder of the year, which means they would average 2 games every week. This would make the manager, Thomas Tuchel, rotate the team to avoid injuries. From the game against Watford, we can see that it might be difficult for Chelsea to always perform their best when rotating players and resting their best men. 

Another key factor is the recent injuries that have hit the team. N’golo Kante, Ben Chilwell, and Kovacic are currently out injured. While Timo Werner and Lukaku are still trying to get integrated into the team after being injured as well. It would be difficult for Chelsea to be at their best when they keep rotating team members. 

Photo Credit: Instagram/Chelsea FC

A head coach who likes to use data to make informed decisions, Tuchel will no doubt lean on his coaching staff, medical department, and analysts to make sure he keeps all of his available players at or near peak condition throughout the busy period.

Manchester City and Liverpool are also out for blood. Salah is having an outstanding season, he has scored 19 goals in all competitions and looks likely to finish the year on a high. Pep’s Manchester City are doing their best to make it a back-to-back title win. 

Below are all the fixtures for Chelsea this December:

Chelsea’s fixture for December

Below are all the fixtures for Manchester City this December:

Man City’s fixture for December

Below are all the fixtures for Liverpool this December:

Liverpool’s fixture for December

Chelsea would need to get 18 points out of the next 6 games to guarantee the top spot. Anything short of that might see either of Manchester City or Liverpool leap-frog to the top.

It is really a close call, but let us know what you think about this – will Chelsea still be at the top of the EPL table by January?

Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

Messi wins historic SEVENTH Ballon d’Or; Chelsea awarded ‘Club of the Year’; Donnarumma gets Yashin Trophy; Lewandowski picks up the ‘Striker of the Year’; Putellas wins Women’s Ballon d’Or

Argentina and Paris Saint-Germain forward Lionel Messi won the 2021 Ballon d’Or, his record-extending seventh player of the year award in his career. He beat out Bayern Munich and Poland forward Robert Lewandowski, who was the other top contender.

FC Barcelona star attacking midfielder Alexia Putellas won the women’s award, PSG goalkeeper Gigi Donnarumma was voted the best goalkeeper in the world, and another Barcelona player, 19-year-old Pedri, was named the best men’s Under-21 player in the world.

Robert Lewandowski was named the inaugural Striker of the Year as the top scorer for club and country, while Chelsea FC took home the Club of the Year with the most candidates across the Ballon d’Or awards.

LIONEL MESSI WINS HIS SEVENTH BALLON D’OR🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆

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Lionel Messi has won an historic seventh Ballon d’Or after picking up the prestigious individual award at a ceremony in Paris.

The 34-year-old has now won the Ballon d’Or in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019 and 2021, meaning he has lifted the prize handed to the best player in world football more times than any other male player in its history, two clear of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Messi beat out Robert Lewandowski who finished in second place and Chelsea midfielder Jorghino who was ranked third in the voting.

The forward added to his 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2019 trophies after winning the Copa America for the first time with his country last July.

“It’s incredible to be here again. Two years ago I thought it was the last time. Winning the Copa America was key”, Messi said at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris.

Messi, who joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer from Barcelona during the summer, collected 613 points, with Bayern Munich’s Lewandowski, named best striker on Monday, getting 580.

Jorginho, who won the Champions League with Chelsea and the European Championship with Italy, ended up third on 460, ahead of France’s Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante in fourth and fifth places respectively.

Club of the year: Chelsea FC

2021 was a memorable one for Chelsea and they have been handed the award for the Club of the Year!

Of course, Thomas Tuchel’s team won the Champions League and are top of the Premier League while Emma Hayes’ side made the final of the Women’s Champions League last season.

N’Golo Kante: 5th in the Ballon d’Or

Jorginho: 3rd in the Ballon d’Or

Chelsea: 2021 Club of the Year

What a run for Chelsea!

Best Goalscorer Award

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Robert Lewandowski and the newly-created Striker of the Year award

Bayern Munich and Poland striker Lewandowski has won the Striker of the Year award! He enjoyed an excellent 2021, breaking Gerd Muller’s long-standing record for the most Bundesliga goals in a single season!

Yashin Trophy

Italy and PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma has won the 2021 Yashin Trophy, beating out Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy who had been tipped for the award.

Donnarumma won the Best Player award at Euro 2020 and made the switch from AC Milan to the French capital in the summer.

Gianluigi Donnarumma beats out the likes of Edouard Mendy (2nd), Jan Oblak (3rd), Ederson (4th), Manuel Neuer (5th), Emiliano Martinez (6th).

Women’s Ballon d’Or

What an extraordinary year it’s been for Women’s Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas, who is crowned the winner ahead of stars Jenni Hermoso, Sam Kerr and Vivianne Miedema.

Congratulations, Alexia!

Kopa Trophy

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Pedri has won the Kopa trophy handed to the best male player age 21 or under. It’s certainly true that the teenager had an incredible year for Barcelona and Spain!

Bukayo Saka came sixth in the voting with Mason Greenwood fifth and Jude Bellingham in second place!

2021 Kopa Trophy Ranking:

1 | Pedri
2 | Jude Bellingham
3 | Jamal Musiala
4 | Nuno Mendes
5 | Mason Greenwood
6 | Bukayo Saka
7 | Florian Wirtz
8 | Ryan Gravenberch
9 | Giovanni Reyna
9 | Jérémy Doku

More to follow… Keep refreshing the page to getting more information!

Men’s Ballon d’Or Rankings (2nd to 10th)

Lewandowski at 2nd place in the Ballon d’Or rankings

Kante 5th, Benzema 4th, Jorginho 3rd!

Ronaldo 6th, Salah 7th De Bruyne 8th

There will be no sixth Ballon d’Or for Cristiano Ronaldo this evening with the Portuguese forward finishing sixth in the ranking! Sixth-place Ronaldo finishes outside the top five in the Ballon d’Or for the first time since 2010.

Kevin de Bruyne has been ranked sixth in the Ballon d’Or voting with Mohamed Salah in seventh place! Both players have enjoyed brilliant years with Salah arguably in the form of his life right now!

Of course, de Bruyne helped Manchester City to their third Premier League title in four years.

MBAPPE 9TH, DONNARUMMA 10TH!

Kevin De Bruyne is set to miss three crucial games after testing positive for Covid-19

Kevin De Bruyne has tested positive for coronavirus while on international duty with Belgium; Manchester City midfielder is self-isolating for 10 days, says manager Pep Guardiola; De Bruyne will miss matches against Everton and Paris Saint-Germain.

The 30-year-old playmaker has been away on World Cup qualifying duty with his country, helping Roberto Martinez’s side to book their place at Qatar 2022.

He is, however, about to take another enforced break at club level, with Pep Guardiola also waiting to discover whether Jack Grealish and Phil Foden will be ready to face Everton on Sunday following their respective efforts with England.

De Bruyne, who is vaccinated, scored for Belgium in their World Cup qualifying draw with Wales on Tuesday. “The symptoms will be minor hopefully,” said City manager Pep Guardiola.

“As soon as possible, he can come back. We do not worry about what we are going to miss. The person is more important. We have to help him and hope it goes well while he’s isolated.”

BREAKING: Mohamed Salah is the EA Sports Premier League Player of the Month for October!

Mohamed Salah wins monthly award after an outstanding month that saw him score five Premier League goals, including a hat-trick against Manchester United; Phil Foden, Aaron Ramsdale and Ben Chilwell among the other nominees.

The Egyptian maestro produced an astonishing 9-goal contribution for Klopp’s men. Salah also continued his scoring exploits on the European stage with a brace in a 3-2 Champions League win over Atletico Madrid.

Salah beat off competition from Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell, Burnley’s Maxwel Cornet, Manchester City’s Phil Foden, Southampton’s Tino Livramento, Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, and Youri Tielemans of Leicester, to win the accolade.

Liverpool returns to action after the international break with a home game against Arsenal on November 20 – live on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event.