High Stakes as Arsenal Host Chelsea in London Derby

first_imgWith the draw being the second stalemate in succession after holding Everton at Goodison Park, Arsenal head into the weekend sitting in 11th position in the table after recording just five wins from 19 matches.There remains just an eight-point gap between themselves and today’s opponents, however, and Arteta will regard the upcoming contest as a window of opportunity.The former Manchester City assistant will also have been delighted to see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang get on the scoresheet against Bournemouth at a time when the club captain’s future remains up in the air.With just 18 months left on his contract, there is the suggestion that showdown talks will soon be held between the pair, but his goal on the South coast reiterated that he remains an important part of this squad until the end of the season.Arsenal have been at their weakest at the other end of the pitch, although conceding just twice in their last three away games will only suggest to Arteta that this group of players are pulling in the right direction.Despite the contrasting positions of the two clubs, Lampard will be feeling frustrated with his squad’s inability to build on what the Englishman considered to be their best performance of the season against Tottenham Hotspur.Having successfully switched to a 3-4-3 formation against another of their London rivals, Lampard kept the same shape for the meeting with Southampton, only to witness his side put in another below-par outing at Stamford Bridge.Finding a solution to their issues at their West London home will wait for another day, with Lampard needing to ensure that his players are in the correct frame of mind before heading into a second derby showdown in quick succession.While Lampard may opt to revert to the same team which began at Spurs, the surprise element of using Mason Mount and Willian has gone, likely making it easier for Arsenal to construct a game plan.The form of Callum Hudson-Odoi has become a talking point with the academy graduate having struggled since the start of November, but the 19-year-old does not necessarily deserve to be singled out at this time with no-one in a Chelsea shirt showing the level of performance required on a regular basis.While Lampard is unlikely to cause many surprises with the personnel, this is one of the final chances for his current crop to show what they can do before their manager enters the transfer market for fresh faces.Having missed out at the weekend, Nicolas Pepe could be handed a starting role by Arteta as he looks to freshen up his starting lineup.Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic has also completed his one-match suspension, with the Croatian potentially being preferred to Jorginho.Mount may come into the team in place of Hudson-Odoi, while Reece James is an option on the right side of defence if he is able to shake off an ankle problem.Today’s encounter represents the 199th competitive meeting between the two clubs, with Arsenal registering 77 wins in comparison to 67 victories for Chelsea.Neither side have been able to put together successive triumphs in this fixture over normal time since Chelsea recorded 6-0 and 2-0 successes in 2014.This will be the first contest between the teams since Chelsea recorded a 4-1 win in the Europa League final in May.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Arsenal host Chelsea in the Premier League this afternoon as Mikel Arteta takes charge of his first game at the Emirates Stadium. The Blues make the short trip across London holding a three-point advantage over the chasing pack in the race for fourth position.After picking up a point from his first fixture in charge at Bournemouth, Arteta suggested that his new side had exceeded his expectations given their previous indifferent performances.However, while earning a share of the spoils at the Vitality Stadium was a respectable result, the Spaniard will know that the result needs to be the start of a positive turnaround at the club.last_img read more

For women’s hockey, shoot, score, repeat

first_imgIn the first period of Saturday night’s game against conference rival Ohio State, an errant puck coming from the Buckeye’s defensive zone found its way to the stick of Wisconsin team captain Meghan Duggan. And as head Coach Mark Johnson has instructed her and the rest of her teammates, Duggan wound up and fired.“I don’t know if it deflected off a stick or a skate or whatever, but the puck was kind of bouncing and I figured I’d just throw it on net. Coach always says good things happen when you throw the puck on the net so that’s all I did and it went in,” Duggan said.Early on in this season the Badgers have drowned opposing goaltenders with all types of shots on goal and with a 6-0 record after this weekend’s sweep of Ohio State, the strategy seems to work.In the two games this past weekend the Badgers outshot the Buckeyes 98-40 and two weeks ago Wisconsin outshot Bemidji State 79-22. According to Johnson, there is a method behind the madness, as simple as it may sound.“One thing I’ve always told the players and the teams that I’ve coached is that you’re not going to score unless you shoot,” Johnson said.The success of Johnson’s philosophy shone throughout this past weekend’s games. With a stubborn goaltender between the pipes for Ohio State, the Badgers knew that putting one past her would prove difficult.When shots from the deep slot didn’t get through, the Badger’s resorted to crashing the net and putting bodies in front of Buckeye net minder to create pressure.“She made some great saves but as I told the team, if you keep coming and you keep creating those opportunities, eventually things are going to go in your favor,” Johnson said.The Badgers’ persistence led to eleven goals this weekend against a squad who gave up only four total in their previous four games. However, Ohio State has likely not experienced an offensive attack such as the one Wisconsin possesses.“Coach said, ‘just keep shooting.’ You’re going to get your chances and its going to go in, so we just had to keep going at them,” sophomore center Brianna Decker said. Decker recorded a hat trick in Friday night’s game.However, the other number that jumps out from the stat sheet this weekend is the save percentage for Wisconsin’s two goaltenders. Over the two games the freshman Alex Rigsby and sophomore Becca Ruegsegger had a combined save percentage of 82 percent.With the talent that the Badgers will come across throughout the course of the year, to have success, the young net minders must put up better numbers no matter how few or how many shots they see during a game.“You sit down there and watch for a long period of time and then all of sudden here comes (OSU forward) Natalie Spooner and boom, here comes a quality shot from a great player. It’s hard to do that. You’ve got to stay focused,” Johnson said.The Badgers don’t believe the fact that they don’t allow many shots is a problem.“I definitely have full trust and faith in our goalies and that’s one of the most important things,” junior winger Hilary Knight said.Although Johnson and the Badgers know that limiting the opposing team’s scoring opportunities is important, the goaltender must stay on task. In past years the Badgers have experienced a similar trend.“You’ve got to stay focused. It’s no different from when Jessie [Vetter] was here, it was the same type of thing. You might out shoot a team 45-14 but those 14 are important,” Johnson said.The bottom line for the Badgers is that they are winning games. If they continue to barrage opposing teams with the puck, stick with it on rebounds and continue to create second chances they are going to score a lot of goals. And at that point it won’t matter what the save percentage is.last_img read more