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Soccer-Arsenal knock West Ham out of top four with derby win

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Arsenal moved into the Premier League’s top four at West Ham United‘s expense as goals by Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe earned a 2-0 win in a lively London derby on Wednesday.

Brazilian forward Martinelli struck just after halftime with a clinical finish and substitute fellow youngster Smith Rowe eventually gave a dominant Arsenal some welcome breathing space with a superb 87th-minute effort.

It could have been a more comfortable night for Arsenal had Alexandre Lacazette, captain again in place of the disciplined Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, not had his penalty saved midway through the second half.

West Ham, for whom Vladimir Coufal was red-carded after conceding the penalty, failed to produce the kind of form that has seen them stationed in the top four since October.

They huffed and puffed and threatened sporadically but home keeper Aaron Ramsdale’s only real save was from a Jarrod Bowen effort shortly after Martinelli’s opener.

Victory hoisted Arsenal up two places into fourth spot with 29 points from 17 games with West Ham on 28.

The pre-match build-up had been dominated by Arsenal’s decision to strip Aubameyang of the captaincy for another lapse of discipline. But just as in the comfortable win against Southampton at the weekend, Arsenal did not miss him.

Mikel Arteta’s side responded with a vibrant second-half display after a rather scrappy opening half hour, with French forward Lacazette, who also wore the armband against Southampton, leading by example.

“Really pleased with the attitude, the commitment, the quality that we showed in the game,” Arteta told reporters.

“The players play for the club and the pride that we expect from them. I was really happy from the beginning, because we knew that we had to play really good today to beat West Ham.”

On Lacazette’s leadership, Arteta added: “He’s next in line. It’s in his nature. He’s not a selfish player. He’s a player that’s happy when he makes the team better.”

‘GOOD INTENSITY’

Disappointing as they were, West Ham’s players were furious at Anthony Taylor’s decision to show Coufal a second yellow card. Replays showed he had made contact with the ball before sending Lacazette tumbling for the penalty, although Moyes was in no mood to make excuses.

“I didn’t think a lot of our performance generally, Arsenal played well with good intensity and we couldn’t deal with it,” Moyes said. “(Coufal) got the ball but he should have got more of the ball.”

A frantic opening half saw West Ham’s Craig Dawson slice the first chance of the night high and wide while Pablo Fornals curled a right-footed effort wide for the visitors.

But as halftime approached Arsenal were dominating and were close to taking the lead when Kieran Tierney’s fiercely-struck shot was touched on to the crossbar by keeper Lukasz Fabianski.

Fabianski was then alert to keep out Lacazette’s shot before Dawson produced a goal-saving tackle to stop Martinelli pouncing on the rebound.

It did not take Arsenal long to take the lead in the second half as Lacazette was given too much space and time to slide a pass through to Martinelli who calmly shot past Fabianski.

Lacazette was a constant menace and went down under a challenge from Coufal and the referee pointed to the spot, before showing the Czech defender a second yellow card.

Fabianski saved Lacazette’s spot kick and as further chances went begging it seemed Arsenal might pay for their failure to finish off the lacklustre visitors.

But Smith Rowe came off the bench and soon raced on to a pass by the impressive Bukayo Sako before curling home left-footed to make the points safe.

(Reporting by Martyn HermanEditing by Toby Davis)

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Defense trade targets for the Maple Leafs, Sheldon Keefe's "soft" comment, and how many games should Petr Mrazek start the rest of the way? – MLHS Podcast Episode 38 – Maple Leafs Hot Stove

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Founded in 2008, Maple Leafs Hotstove (MLHS) has grown to be the most visited independent team-focused hockey website online (Quantcast).
Independently owned and operated, MLHS provides thorough and wide-ranging content, varying from news, opinion and analysis, to pre-game and long-form game reviews, and a weekly feature piece entitled “Leafs Notebook.”
MLHS has been cited by: ESPN, Sports Illustrated, CBC News, USA Today, Fox Sports, Yahoo! Sports, NBC Sports, TSN, Sportsnet, Grantland, CTV News, CBSSports, The Globe & Mail, The National Post, The Toronto Star, The Toronto Sun, Global News, Huffington Post, and many more.

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Tennis-‘I’m not God! Can’t win every match’ – Osaka proud despite early exit

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Naomi Osaka was at peace with herself after yet another failed attempt at defending a Grand Slam title at the Australian Open and the former world number one was especially proud of the way she has managed to mould her mindset to deal with tough losses.

The former world number one crashed out from Melbourne Park after a third round loss in the deciding set tiebreaker to American Amanda Anisimova — the same stage the four-times major winner exited the U.S. Open four months back.

Following the Flushing Meadows defeat, a tearful Osaka told a news conference that she was taking a break from the sport, raising more concern about her mental health struggles that forced her to miss parts of the tennis season.

The soft spoken and self-confessed introvert declared at the start of the 2022 season that she was looking to have more fun on court and enjoy playing the sport.

“I would definitely say I’m proud of myself for this,” the Japanese player told reporters on Friday. “Though to me it didn’t feel like a short amount of time. It felt like ages ago.

“This for me is the biggest step. Even though I lost. I was really focused throughout the entire match, and I didn’t have a dip. So that’s really good. Hopefully as the season continues, I’ll be able to keep this up, and get even better at it.”

It was the fourth time that Osaka had failed to defend a Grand Slam title but on Friday she held two matchpoints against the American – something that also made her proud.

Osaka felt her defeat by 60th-ranked Anisimova showed the depth of women’s tennis.

“I fought for every point. I can’t be sad about that,” Osaka said, adding that she was yet to decide on her schedule before the WTA 1000 event in Indian Wells in March.

“I’m not God! I can’t win every match. The last match that I played in New York I think I had a completely different attitude.

“Of course I lost, but I’m happy with how it went. I just want to go into this year knowing that I’ll play the whole year and I’ll just have the greatest attitude ever.”

 

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Christian Radnedge)

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Canadiens' Allen to miss eight weeks with lower-body injury – TSN

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Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen will miss eight weeks with a lower-body injury, the team announced early Friday morning.

Allen, 31, sustained the injury during the second period of a 5-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on Jan. 12.

The 6-foot-2 goaltender has been the primary goaltender for the Canadiens this season with Carey Price unavailable due to his knee injury.

The Fredericton, N.B., native has a 5-16-2 record with a .901 save percentage and 3.15 goals-against average.

Allen has a 164-122-33 record with a .911 save percentage and 2.56 GAA in his career.

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