Tag: Santi Cazorla

Premiership: Crystal Palace 1-2 Arsenal

Arsenal moved up to third in the Barclays Premier League with a hard-fought 2-1 win at Crystal Palace.

The Gunners went ahead through an early penalty from Santi Cazorla following a trip by Pape Souare on Danny Welbeck, which the Palace bench protested had been just outside the area.

Referee Mark Clattenburg and his assistant were central to another big call on the stroke of half-time when Welbeck was waved onside and Olivier Giroud netted a second from the rebound after the England forward’s shot had been blocked.

Palace showed plenty of endeavour to try to get back into the match, and grabbed a stoppage-time consolation through substitute Glenn Murray, who then hit the post with a flying header as Arsenal held on to close out victory to climb back above Southampton, who play Liverpool on Sunday, and Manchester United, beaten at Swansea.

The tone for what was a hard-fought contest was set early when Fraizer Campbell was caught on the chest by a high boot from Francis Coquelin, Arsenal’s new midfield enforcer.

However, Clattenburg gave only a free-kick and no card – much to the disbelief of the Palace bench.

The home management team could then not believe it moments later when Arsenal were awarded a penalty.

Souare, making his Premier League debut after signing from Lille, came across to try to block Welbeck, but tripped the Arsenal forward as he darted away down the right.

The initial contact looked right on the edge of the penalty area, and Clattenburg immediately pointed to the spot.

Cazorla made no mistake from the spot as he sent Julian Speroni the wrong way for his seventh goal of the season.

Palace looked to make an instant response, pushing Arsenal back with some direct balls into the danger area.

Coquelin eventually went into the notebook for a late trip on Campbell as the match continued to be played with plenty of positive aggression.

Arsenal doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time.

Alexis Sanchez played a perfectly-weighted pass into the left side of the penalty area for Welbeck, who was adjudged onside as he ran across the Palace backline.

The England forward sent in a low, angled drive, which Speroni palmed out and Giroud was alert to get to the loose ball ahead of three defenders to stab home his 50th Arsenal goal.

Palace looked to make a positive start to the second half, and pushed Arsenal back as Wilfried Zaha caused problems down the right channel, forcing a string of corners before a looping header from Mesut Ozil dropped onto the top of the crossbar.

The German, who has returned from a knee injury a much stronger player, broke away on 57 minutes and fed Sanchez on the overlap down the left.

Arsenal’s leading scorer burst into the box and then stabbed the ball just wide of the far post, when both Welbeck and Giroud were screaming for a pass.

Palace were forced into a change when Campbell limped off with what looked like a hamstring problem and was replaced by Yannick Bolasie.

There was a stoppage when David Ospina went down a few minutes after the goalkeeper had come racing out of his penalty area to jump over Per Mertesacker and head a long ball clear.

After some treatment for what appeared to be a back problem, play continued.

Palace continued to push Arsenal back, as Dwight Gayle sent a bullet header just over before Jason Puncheon’s 20-yard free-kick curled just wide.

With 15 minutes left, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, whose side host Monaco in the Champions League next week, looked to shore up the side as defender Kieran Gibbs came on for Welbeck and Ozil was replaced by Tomas Rosicky.

Palace boss Alan Pardew sent on Murray for Gayle and Shola Ameobi made his debut to replace Joe Ledley.

Murray saw a late close-range header saved on the line by Ospina, who was then beaten in another goalmouth scramble during five minutes of added time.

Palace almost snatched a dramatic equaliser at the death as Ospina flapped at a left-wing cross, which Murray crashed against the base of the post with a flying header.

Read more at ESPN

Premiership: Arsenal 5-0 Aston Villa

Arsenal hit five goals in rout of Aston Villa, Santi Cazorla stars

Arsenal closed the gap on the top four of the Premier League as they romped to a 5-0 win over Aston Villa, whose goal drought continued at the Emirates Stadium.

Olivier Giroud put the Gunners ahead on eight minutes, latching onto a brilliant flick by Mesut Ozil.

Following an improved spell by Villa, whose last Premier League goal came against Manchester United on Dec. 20, Ozil doubled Arsenal’s lead early in the second half with another well-taken breakaway finish.

Theo Walcott scored his second in as many games to make it 3-0 on 63 minutes, with Santi Cazorla adding a fourth from the penalty spot before full-back Hector Bellerin rolled in his first senior Arsenal goal in stoppage time.

Arsenal, who head to Tottenham next weekend, started brightly as Aaron Ramsey fired wide from the edge of the Villa penalty area.

The visitors were cut open again on eight minutes as Arsenal took the lead. Ozil clipped an expert volleyed pass from the centre circle over the high Villa backline, which allowed Giroud to race clear.

The France forward kept his composure, carrying the ball into the penalty area as Jores Okore tried to get back to cover, before chipping an angled, left-foot shot across Brad Guzan and into the bottom right corner.

Arsenal remained on the offensive. Villa defender Ciaran Clark was alert to nod the ball behind after Laurent Koscielny’s header flew across the six-yard box towards Per Mertesacker at the far post.

Villa had settled into a spell of possession, without making progress in the final third, when Arsenal suddenly sprung into life again on 26 minutes.

Cazorla weaved to the edge of the Villa penalty area and sent a low shot goalwards, which beat Guzan but cannoned off the foot of the left-hand post.

Arsenal thought they had doubled their lead when Ozil exchanged passes with Cazorla in the right side of the penalty box before lashing the ball past Guzan. However, the assistant referee on the nearside raised his flag against the Spaniard, who looked level in the build-up.

Guzan then beat away Ramsey’s 18-yard snapshot.

On 41 minutes, Villa were close to breaking their goal drought when a bullet header from Andreas Weimann was saved brilliantly at point-blank range by David Ospina, again preferred to Wojciech Szczesny in the Arsenal goal.

Villa had, though, set an unwanted record of some 570 minutes without a league goal, which continued to rise as the Clock End ticked on into the second half.

After taking time to get into a rhythm again, Arsenal doubled their lead on 56 minutes.

Walcott broke down the right, feeding Giroud in the centre. The France forward laid the ball off to Ozil rampaging down the left.

The German took one touch to set himself at the edge of the penalty area, before clipping a left-foot finish into the bottom right corner with a finish of the highest order.

Arsenal were in cruise control, and went 3-0 ahead with another quality finish on 63 minutes.

Walcott collected a throw-out from Ospina, and darted forwards.

The England forward, who was out for the best part of a year with a knee injury, exchanged passes with Cazorla before taking the ball inside at the edge of the Villa penalty area and then dispatching it into the right corner.

Villa, just three points above the relegation zone, made a double change as Scott Sinclair, signed on loan from Manchester City, made his debut, with Gabby Agbonlahor also coming on as Tom Cleverley and Weimann went off.

Giroud’s flicked header hit the crossbar from a free-kick by Cazorla.

Arsenal were awarded a penalty on 75 minutes when Guzan upended substitute Chuba Akpom.

Cazorla struck his spot-kick down the middle of the goal, and although Guzan got a hand to the ball, he could not keep it out.

In stoppage-time, Guzan got down quickly to deny Akpom, before Bellerin stroked home a fifth from just outside the box, low into the far corner.

Read more at ESPN

Premiership: Man City 0-2 Arsenal

Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud land Arsenal victory at Man City

Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud struck in each half as Arsenal stunned lacklustre champions Manchester City 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium.

Cazorla converted a 24th-minute penalty and Giroud headed home from a set-piece with 67 minutes gone to put a dent in City’s Premier League title defence.

City, despite the return of Sergio Aguero, created little in what was a generally dull game and the result left them five points behind leaders Chelsea with a trip to Stamford Bridge to come in a fortnight.

Arsenal’s victory put aside their well-documented recent struggles against top-four opponents and considerably enhanced their prospects of finishing in the Champions League positions this term.

The Gunners were thrashed 6-3 in the corresponding fixture last season and the odds again seemed against them as Aguero and Vincent Kompany returned to the City starting line-up.

But Aguero, who played up front alone in the first half, had a quiet game and City struggled to get anything going even though they dominated possession.

Arsenal looked the more incisive at times and fit-again captain Kompany was made to look rusty.

Kompany’s defensive partner Martin Demichelis also had some moments of uncertainty and Arsenal went close to taking the lead from one of them.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain seized on a weak Demichelis header and burst down the right before whipping in an inviting cross for Giroud but the Frenchman glanced his header wide.

The Gunners broke through five minutes later as Nacho Monreal attempted to play a one-two with Giroud and was impeded by Kompany as he continued his run into the box.

The Spaniard may have gone to ground easily but referee Mike Dean was in no doubt about the contact and Cazorla took full advantage from the spot.

City were unable to muster a dangerous response despite controlling plenty of the ball.

One good Pablo Zabaleta break yielded nothing and Aguero was off-target with a header from a James Milner cross.

Kompany’s frustrating afternoon continued as he was booked for a heavy challenge on Giroud.

City boss Manuel Pellegrini reverted to his default 4-4-2 set-up after the break as Stevan Jovetic replaced Milner and moved alongside Aguero.

The change of approach initially appeared to work and Aguero had their first serious shot with an effort that deflected wide. Jesus Navas was the first to test David Ospina, the deputy keeper again preferred to Wojciech Szczesny, with a powerful effort that was parried away.

But the game also opened up and Sanchez curled an effort across goal after turning Zabaleta out wide. Dean then overlooked two possible fouls on the edge of the City area as a chance opened up for Aaron Ramsey on his return to the side but the Welshman shot over.

City produced another good move but Laurent Koscielny made a vital interception as Navas fired a cross in Aguero’s direction.

Arsenal applied the killer touch after 67 minutes after Sanchez was fouled by Jovetic. Cazorla clipped a free-kick into the area and Giroud reacted quickest, losing his marker Fernando to head home in simple fashion.

It was not dissimilar to an Everton equaliser which also cost City points last week and the defending of set-pieces could be a concern.

Sanchez threatened another with a powerful strike from the edge of the area but Joe Hart saved well.

City tried to hit back and Monreal cleared unconvincingly over his own bar but the hosts did not consistently trouble their visitors.

Arsenal efficiently and professionally played out the remainder of the game as City, despite the introduction of Frank Lampard, lacked inspiration.

As in previous years, it appeared the absence of Yaya Toure due to the African Nations Cup had proved costly and City will be anxious to raise their levels when they face Chelsea.

Read more at ESPN

Premiership: West Ham 1-2 Arsenal

Arsenal moved above West Ham in to the Premier League top five after inflicting a first home defeat on the Hammers since August.

Alex Song had a 20-yard volley ruled out for offside for the hosts.

Santi Cazorla put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot, following a foul by Winston Reid, before Danny Welbeck put Arsenal further in front.

Cheikhou Kouyate’s header gave the hosts hope but West Ham were unable to avoid a second successive defeat.

It was Arsenal’s ninth win in a row in all competitions against West Ham as they moved level on points with fourth-placed Southampton and just three points behind Manchester United in third.

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce, who opted to rest key players Song and Diafra Sakho for the 2-0 defeat at Chelsea on Boxing Day,disagreed strongly with the decision to disallow Song’s goal, claiming Sakho was not in the eyeline of the goalkeeper when he was adjudged to be offside.

The Hammers had won six of their last seven league home games but, despite heavy late second-half pressure, lacked the quality needed for the leveller.

Former Arsenal man Song, on loan from Barcelona, almost made an instant impact with a low volley into the bottom corner of the net from 20 yards early on. Sakho was penalised for standing in an offside position in front of goal, though, despite not touching the ball.

While Allardyce’s men have exceeded expectations this season, Arsenal have had a mixed start to the campaign and they were very much on the back foot in the opening stages.

But the Gunners had failed to score in only one of their last 11 away matches in the Premier League and they were at it again before the break.

Cazorla punished Reid’s high leg in the box to roll home the resulting penalty for the opener. The lead was doubled minutes later as Welbeck was on hand to slide the ball in to the net from close range after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s low cross from the right.

Stunned by the deficit, West Ham restored hope soon after the break with Kouyate bundling Sakho’s cross from the right in to the net via Mathieu Debuchy.

But it was Arsenal who had the better chances, with Hammers keeper Adrian brilliantly denying Alexis Sanchez and Oxlade-Chamberlain, before the visitors survived a late aerial bombardment.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: Arsenal 4-1 Newcastle

Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla net braces in easy Arsenal win

Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla both scored twice as Arsenal closed back up on the Barclays Premier League’s top four with a 4-1 win over Newcastle at the Emirates Stadium.

The recent antagonism directed towards the club’s manager also looked to have died a death as supporters chanted “There’s only one Arsene Wenger” in support of the Frenchman.

Arsenal maintained momentum from the midweek 4-1 Champions League win over Galatasaray in Istanbul to see off the challenge of Alan Pardew’s men, who last weekend inflicted a first defeat of the season on leaders Chelsea.

Giroud powered in a header on 15 minutes and, after Danny Welbeck had seen a goal perhaps harshly disallowed, birthday boy Cazorla made it 2-0 at the start of the second half with a neat chip.

French striker Giroud then produced another fine left-footed finish at the near post, and after Ayoze Perez had reduced the deficit, Cazorla clipped home a late penalty as the feel-good factor returned for Wenger’s side after the fall-out from their defeat at Stoke.

The Gunners had been forced to start with a makeshift defence because of injury and suspension, so right-back Mathieu Debuchy was deployed at centre-half against his former club.

Arsenal went close to opening the scoring on eight minutes as Per Mertesacker’s flicked backwards header from a corner hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced away.

It was 1-0 after 15 minutes when right-back Hector Bellerin won the ball in midfield, before it went out to Sanchez, one of several players rested in midweek.

The Chile forward held up possession on the right before chipping the ball across the six-yard box, where Giroud powered a header into the top-right corner.

Arsenal soon had the ball in the net again as Welbeck cut in from the left, brushing off Daryl Janmaat before dinking his shot over goalkeeper Jak Alnwick. However, referee Lee Mason had already blown for what he saw as a foul by Welbeck on the Newcastle defender.

Welbeck fired an angled volley just wide after a clever chip from Sanchez into the right side of the Newcastle penalty area.

Despite their dominance, Arsenal looked vulnerable to set-plays, and a superb double save from Wojciech Szczesny kept the scores level after 33 minutes.

A free-kick was curled in from the right, which Yoan Gouffran glanced goalwards, but the Pole made a fine reaction save and was then in the right place to block the follow-up from Papiss Cisse at point-blank range.

The hosts doubled their lead after 54 minutes with another goal of the highest order.

Sanchez played a sliderule pass into the Newcastle penalty area, which Cazorla collected and skipped over Fabricio Coloccini’s sliding challenge. The diminutive Spaniard stumbled, but stayed on his feet before clipping a sublime finish into the far corner to celebrate his 30th birthday in style.

Before Newcastle could regroup, it was 3-0 after 58 minutes.

Bellerin got to the right touchline before crossing for Giroud, who expertly guided the ball past Alnwick at the near post with the outside of his left boot.

Newcastle reduced the arrears after 63 minutes when Perez headed in a free-kick from Jack Colback.

Arsenal soon regained composure, with Kieran Gibbs firing wide after the ball bobbled around a crowded penalty area.

After Arsenal appeared to have weathered the storm, chants in support of Wenger rang around the Emirates Stadium, with hope and belief again restored heading into the hectic Christmas schedule.

Newcastle defender Paul Dummett tripped Welbeck in the right corner of the area after 88 minutes, and Cazorla stepped up to calmly slot home a ‘Panenka’ chipped penalty straight down the middle.

Read more at ESPN

Premiership: Stoke 3-2 Arsenal

Stoke held on to beat Arsenal 3-2 after a dramatic afternoon at the Britannia Stadium.

The Gunners are the team Stoke relish taking on more than any other and the home fans were in dreamland after Peter Crouch, with the fastest goal of the Premier League season, Bojan Krkic and Jonathan Walters put them three up at half-time.

But, after Bojan had a fourth ruled out for offside, Santi Cazorla pulled one back from the penalty spot and two minutes later Aaron Ramsey reduced the deficit further.

There were still 20 minutes to play but the sending off of Calum Chambers for two yellow cards reduced the heat a little and Arsenal could not find a third.

The result brought an end to Arsenal’s run of three successive wins and ended a losing sequence of three for the hosts.

The bad blood between these teams dates back to the challenge made by Ryan Shawcross on Ramsey nearly five years ago that broke the Arsenal player’s leg.

Arsene Wenger was unhappy with pre-match comments from Shawcross hyping up the rivalry and the Stoke captain’s name was greeted with loud boos from the visiting fans.

But they were silenced only 19 seconds into the match as Steven Nzonzi got away down the right and sent over a cross that Chambers failed to clear under pressure from Mame Biram Diouf.

The ball ran to Crouch, making his first start in more than a month – and he had the simple task of tapping it in after goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez lost his balance and fell over.

Teenage defender Hector Bellerin was making only his second Premier League start for Arsenal and his fine cross in the 11th minute should have set up an equaliser but somehow Olivier Giroud headed wide.

Bojan has grown into Stoke’s main creative force and his link-up play, in particular with Crouch, was causing Arsenal real problems.

Stoke were relishing the lively atmosphere and tempo and full-back Phil Bardsley got into the spirit with a fierce shot that Martinez could only push uncomfortably away.

Fortunately for the Arsenal keeper, Chambers reacted quickly to ensure Crouch could not take advantage of the rebound.

Arsenal looked sporadically dangerous and Asmir Begovic may well have been struggling had Cazorla’s 20-yard effort been on target rather than just over the bar.

But largely the game was being controlled by Stoke and it was no more than they and Bojan deserved in the 35th minute when the Spaniard classily converted Walters’ terrific cross.

The gleeful chant of ‘2-0 to the rugby team’ rung around the stadium – mocking a famous Wenger jibe about Stoke’s style of play under former manager Tony Pulis.

But even the Arsenal boss must have been impressed by the fluidity of Stoke, who were simply outplaying his side.

Begovic had to be alert to preserve the lead in the 38th minute when a Giroud header deflected off Shawcross, but just before half-time Stoke added a third.

Bojan’s corner was headed down by Crouch and an unmarked Walters slammed the 100th club goal of his career high into the net.

Unsurprisingly, Wenger shuffled things around for the second half, sending on Danny Welbeck for Bellerin, with Mathieu Flamini moving to right-back.

Welbeck was straight into the action, seeing a shot deflected wide, but Stoke continued to pose plenty of problems.

Martinez was having an uncomfortable afternoon and he was caught out by a Bojan free-kick in the 51st minute.

The keeper had to dive back towards his goal to keep it out and was fortunate the ball arrived at Geoff Cameron’s feet too quickly for the defender to do anything with it.

At the other end, Alexis Sanchez almost made Nzonzi pay for a poor error when he ran through on goal, beating Shawcross and Begovic, but shot against the post.

It looked curtains for Arsenal when Bojan found the net for the second time in the 65th minute – but a belated offside flag cut short the celebrations.

The Gunners went down the other end and won a penalty when Diouf tripped Flamini. Begovic got a hand to Cazorla’s shot but could not keep it out – and two minutes later Ramsey reduced the deficit to a single goal.

Begovic produced a fine save from Welbeck but Sanchez’s corner picked out Ramsey at the back post and he shot through a crowd of players.

Arsenal pushed hard for an equaliser but found themselves reduced to 10 men 12 minutes from time when Chambers was shown a second yellow card for pulling Bojan.

And, despite putting Stoke under a lot of pressure, the third did not come.

Read more at ESPN

Football: Arsenal 3-0 Manchester City 0: Arsene Wenger’s men coast to Community Shield victory

Arsenal sent out a statement of intent for the season as they impressively dismissed Manchester City in the Community Shield at Wembley.

The FA Cup winners took the lead through Santi Cazorla’s angled shot and added to that when Aaron Ramsey drove in a strike to finish a counter-attack.

Premier League champions City came close when Stevan Jovetic had a header hit the post and a shot saved.

But Olivier Giroud’s dipping 25-yard strike secured Arsenal’s win.

The victory is the first for Arsene Wenger’s side in the English season’s curtain raiser since 2004, and should give them plenty of belief before they start their top-flight campaign against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

The Gunners fielded three of their four summer signings as forwardAlexis Sanchez, right-back Mathieu Debuchy and defender Calum Chambers started, with the trio appearing to have effortlessly slipped into Arsenal’s trademark one-touch free-flowing football.

City were missing eight key players and, while manager Manuel Pellegrini may play down the defeat, it will serve as a warning sign before they begin the defence of their top-flight title at Newcastle on Sunday.

Pellegrini had insisted he had a stronger squad at his disposal this season as he gave two of his five summer signings in midfielderFernando and keeper Willy Caballero starts.

However, he was not helped by the absence of Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta, Fernandinho, Sergio Aguero, Martin Demichelis, Frank Lampard, Bacary Sagna and Alvaro Negredo for the game.

Read More on BBC Sport