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City’s Mahrez misses late penalty in goalless draw at Liverpool

Soccer Football - Premier League - Southampton v Chelsea - St Mary's Stadium, Southampton, Britain - October 7, 2018 Chelsea's Ross Barkley celebrates scoring their second goal Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

LIVERPOOL 0 MANCHESTER CITY 0
Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez missed an 86th minute penalty as the Premier League champions were held to a 0-0 draw at Liverpool in a top of the table clash on Sunday.

Substitute Leroy Sane was brought down in the area by the lunging Virgil van Dijk but Algerian Mahrez blasted the spot kick high over the bar at Anfield.

The result leaves the pair level with Chelsea on 20 points although City stay top on goal difference.

Liverpool, who remain unbeaten in their last 18 home games against City, came out roaring and dominated the opening 10 minutes but Pep Guardiola’s visiting side weathered that early storm and were the more dangerous after the break.

Mahrez twice forced good saves out of Liverpool keeper Alisson Becker but then failed to find the target from the pnelaty spot when it mattered most.

SOUTHAMPTON 0 CHELSEA 3
Ross Barkley scored his first goal for Maurizio Sarri’s unbeaten Chelsea to help move them provisionally top of the Premier League in a 3-0 win at Southampton on Sunday.

Willian had a shot deflected on to the crossbar and Danny Ings missed a golden opportunity from close range at the other end, before Barkley created the opener for Eden Hazard.

The English midfielder pressed high to win back the ball and set up Hazard, the division’s top scorer, who netted his seventh of the league season after 30 minutes at St. Mary’s.

Barkley, who signed for Chelsea in January from Everton, bundled in the second with his knee from Olivier Giroud’s acrobatic cross although TV replays suggested David Luiz had committed a foul in the build-up.

Hazard played in substitute Alvaro Morata to seal the win in stoppage time.

Barkley’s goal and assist completed a memorable few days for the midfielder, who has just been recalled to the national squad for the games against Croatia and Spain.

The 24-year-old impressed at the heart of Chelsea’s midfield, linking well with Jorginho and Hazard as the home side completed their ninth win in 11 games across all competitions this season.

“Ross Barkley is playing well. He scored and made an assist. He is doing well and working hard on the training ground,” said Hazard.

Although Southampton should have taken a first-half lead through Ings, who blasted over from just a few yards out, they struggled to match Chelsea’s pace and precision.

Ings was lucky to stay on the pitch after a wild second-half challenge on Mateo Kovacic as Southampton, who had six players booked, resorted to increasingly physical methods.

“It’s too early to be thinking about the title, we know it is tough to win,” said Hazard. “But it is good to be up there.

“We are enjoying playing well and scoring goals. The first half was not so easy, they missed big chances and then we have had a bit of luck for our first goal, but we controlled the match in the second half.

“I don’t know if I’ve played better (than I am now), I’m just playing good football because we are playing good football. I want to keep doing it and keep everyone happy.”

Ramsey wonder goal reminds Arsenal what they would miss
Aaron Ramsey produced a contender for goal of the season in Arsenal’s 5-1 rout of Fulham on Sunday to underline why he will be such a loss if, as expected, he leaves the club when his contract expires at the end of the season.

The 27-year-old midfielder began and ended a wonderful free-flowing move at Craven Cottage to score Arsenal’s third just 39 seconds after coming on as a 67th-minute substitute.

First he dinked the ball over a defender deep in his own half before running on to make two key headers around the halfway line to allow the push forward to keep its momentum.

Finally he met Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s low cross with a delicate flick with the inside of his boot to beat Marcus Bettinelli in the Fulham goal and conjure memories of the sort of goals Dutch great Johan Cruyff used to score.

“It was an important goal for Aaron and an important goal for us,” said manager Unai Emery with more than a touch of understatement.

“The best performer for us is every player.”

With Ramsey also providing a superb through ball to set up Aubameyang’s second — and Arsenal’s fifth — his contribution to the win was immense, with all five of Arsenal’s goals beautifully worked.

Earlier this month, Ramsey’s representatives Avid Sports & Entertainment Group confirmed he is likely to depart as a free agent at the end of the season after the club chose not to continue discussions over a new contract.

“There is nothing we can do, the club made a decision. Life goes on,” it said in a tweet which has since been deleted.

Although Emery has said he would like to keep Ramsey, who is Arsenal’s longest serving player after joining in 2008, Arsenal are keen to keep their 200 million pound ($262 million) wage bill under control and look willing to allow the Welshman to leave on a free transfer, just as Jack Wilshere did during the close season.

Yet, even if Ramsey does leave, Emery is clearly not short of midfield options, with Alex Iwobi impressing before being replaced by the Welshman and Germany’s Mesut Ozil to come back in after missing Sunday’s game with injury.

“Our performance over the 90 minutes was very important; to be together and with our performance we found each moment and each player,” said Emery.

The win was Arsenal’s ninth in succession in all competitions — their best run since stringing together eight successive wins from March to April 2015 — and put them into the top four.

“I believe in us, we believe in our process but also we must keep taking confidence. I think we are in the first competition in the war. It is very difficult but we must prepare, continue improving and show big commitment,” said Emery.



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