News of The Week (20th – 23rd April)
This week, we discuss Arsenal’s men and women teams making two-goal comebacks and Spurs’ 6-1 hammering by Newcastle. We also look at the FA Cup semis and the NBA Playoffs. Before we delve into these games, head to our Cross Sport Specials page to check out some of the special offers we have. You can also read about our new feature; the Pick 11 Jackpot Bet here.
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Arsenal Draw 3rd Consecutive League Game
The Gunners suffered their 3rd successive draw and despite being 5 points clear on top of the standings, their chances of winning the Premier League has taken a significant hit with Man City having played 2 games less. Prior to Friday’s clash, Arsenal had given up two 2–0 leads to Liverpool and West Ham, but this time, it was the Gunners who trailed by two goals at different points in the game. Carlos Alcaraz put the Saints 1-0 up just seconds into the game following a loose pass from Aaron Ramsdale, before former Arsenal winger, Theo Walcott doubled the lead for the visitors. In-form Gunners forward, Gabriel Martinelli pulled one back for the league leaders but Duje Caleta-Car restored Saints’ 2-goal lead in the 66th minute with a header to make it 3-1. The Gunners mounted a very late comeback effort with goals from Martin Ødegaard and Bukayo Saka in the 88th and 90th minutes, respectively, but they couldn’t get the 4th goal to secure the 3pts.
Up next for the Gunners is a must-win trip to the Etihad to face a Man City side whom they’ve lost 11 straight Premier League games to.
Newcastle United Stun Spurs in 6-1 Rout
Spurs’ fans were understandably frustrated as they stormed out of St. James Park a little over 20 mins into their Sunday afternoon game with Newcastle United. Goals from Jacob Murphy (2) and Joelinton put the Magpies 3-0 up inside 9 mins before a quick brace from the red-hot Alexander Isak before the 21st minute made it 5-0 and put to bed any hope of a comeback by Spurs. Having lost to Aston Villa last weekend, Eddie Howe was looking for a response from his team and was delighted to have gotten it very early in the game. It was the first time in club history they had scored 5 goals in the first half of a Premier League game and the second earliest a team had gone 5-0 in Premier League history after Man City had done so against Watford inside 18 minutes back in 2019. Harry Kane pulled one back for the visitors early in the second half but substitute Callum Wilson scored with his first touch of the game to make it 6-1 as they moved into 3rd position ahead of Manchester United, having played a game more.
First Ever Manchester Derby in the FA Cup Final
The 3rd of June will see both Manchester teams lock horns in the FA Cup final – the first ever to feature both sides. The bitter rivals’ semi-finals couldn’t have been more opposite. Manchester City secured a routine 3-0 win over Championship side, Sheffield United and didn’t have to get out of first gear. 32-year-old Riyad Mahrez grabbed all 3 goals, making him the oldest player to score a hat-trick under Pep Guardiola while Man City became the first side since Everton in 1965/66 to reach the final without conceding a goal. Manchester United, meanwhile, had to go through penalties to book their return to Wembley after a goalless 120 minutes. The Red Devils and Brighton seemed evenly matched all game, and each had chances to win it before the shootout but couldn’t capitalize. Just as he had done in the Capital One cup shootout loss to Charlton Athletic back in December, Solly March once again missed his penalty as he blazed it over the top right corner and Victor Lindelöf made no mistake in converting his kick right after and handing Manchester United the win.
Bayern Lose to Mainz as Dortmund Move Top of Bundesliga
With each passing weekend, the sacking of Julian Nagelsmann by Bayern Munich appears to be even more puzzling, and this weekend was no different. Thomas Tuchel suffered his 3rd loss in just 7 games since he took charge, this time to his former side, Mainz. Sadio Mané had given the Bavarians a first-half lead, but Mainz grabbed 3 second-half goals to turn the game around as it finished 3-1. With Dortmund winning 4-0 against Frankfurt, Bayern Munich have now dropped to 2nd and are in danger of not winning the Bundesliga for the first time in 11 seasons, having won every edition (10) since the 2012/13 season.
Warriors Even Up Series with Kings + Knicks, Celtics, Suns & Nuggets One Win Away From Advancing
The Golden State Warriors’ 126-125 win over the Sacramento Kings made the series 2-2 with both teams defending home court. An uncharacteristic mistake from Warriors’ icon, Steph Curry turned what looked like a certain victory to a nervy ending as his timeout call (when they were out of timeouts) resulted in a technical foul against him and possession for the Kings. Having cut the Warriors’ lead from 5 to 1 point with seconds on the clock, the Kings had a chance to steal it very late but former Golden State Small Forward, Harrison Barnes missed what could have been a game-winning shot.
Elsewhere in the league, the Nuggets (vs. the Timberwolves) and Celtics (vs. the Hawks) are one win away from booking a place in the conference semi-finals, with both sides having a chance to do that on Tuesday on home court. The Suns will also have a chance to put their series with the Clippers to bed on Monday night after taking both games in Los Angeles. The Clippers were without Kawhi Leonard in both Games 3 & 4 due to a knee sprain and the Suns capitalized on this huge miss. The Knicks also took a commanding 3-1 lead over the Cavaliers in the East, much to everyone’s surprise. Julius Randle had a poor game and was benched for the entire 4th quarter but his teammates, most notably Obi Toppin, stepped up in his absence to take the Knicks to within 1 win of a first Eastern Conference Semi-Final appearance since 2013.
- Correct Series Score: Suns vs. Clippers / 4-1 @1.56
- Correct Series Score: Knicks vs. Cavaliers / 4-2 @4.50
- Series Winner: LA Lakers vs. Memphis Grizzlies / Lakers @1.41
Ryan Garcia Takes A Knee Against Gervonta Davis
“Tank” Davis extended his record to 29-0 in one of the biggest flights of the year, thanks to a vicious body shot to Ryan Garcia in the seventh round. Both fighters came into this fight with unbeaten records on the line with Ryan Garcia holding a 23-0 record prior to Saturday night. Garcia had landed two rights to Davis’ face in the 6th round but Tank’s response with a left hook forced the 24-year-old to take a knee, prompting referee Thomas Taylor to end the fight. According to Garcia: “I couldn’t breathe. I was going to get back up, but I just couldn’t get up. He caught me with a good shot, and I just couldn’t recover.” Gervonta Davis was boastful but focused after his victory saying: “I’m definitely the face of boxing. But the job is never done until I retire so I’m going to keep my head down, stay humble and continue to work.”
Napoli Move To Within Touching Distance of Scudetto With Late Win
The Neapolitans are just 4 points away from securing the Scudetto, thanks to a very late win in Turin over Juventus on Sunday. Juventus – who had seen their 15-point deduction reversed with the case suspended until the Federal Court of Appeal makes a new assessment – had the momentum going into this following their midweek triumph over Sporting CP in the Europa League. However, it was Napoli who put their own midweek Champions League elimination behind them with a 1-0 victory, thanks to Giacomo Raspadori’s 93rd minute volley. With a 17-point advantage, Napoli are just 4 points away from being officially crowned Italian Champions, although a win against Salernitana on Saturday coupled with Lazio loss to Inter the next day could wrap it up for them.
Wrexham Gain Promotion
Gaining promotion from the 5th tier of English football is usually not the most exciting news for the casual football fan, but an exception has to be made if the club is owned by Hollywood stars, Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney. Follwoning a 15-year absence from the Football League, Wrexham – the world’s 3rd oldest club – were crowned champions of the National League with one game to spare having already accrued a league record 110 points and will return to the Football League next season. Wrexham’s transformation since being bought for $2.5m by Reynolds and McElhenney has been inspiring, with the club adding over 1 million social media following, tripling season ticket purchases and signing sponsorship deals with TikTok, Expedia and more since then.
Djokovic Out of Madrid Open
The Madrid Open organizers have confirmed that world number one, Novak Djokovic has pulled out of this week’s tournament. The 35-year-old Serbian suffered a quarter-final defeat to countryman, Dušan Lajović in the Srpska Open on Friday and expressed concerns of an elbow injury. Djokovic joins Rafael Nadal who already withdrew from the tournament with a hip injury, but both men are expected to be fit for the French Open (Roland Garros) set to start on the 28th of next month.
Women’s Champions League Update
Barcelona grabbed a vital away win at Chelsea in the first leg of the Women’s Champions League semi-final while Arsenal came back from two goals down to make it 2-2 at Wolfsburg. Barcelona’s Caroline Graham Hansen put them ahead inside 4 minutes, and they held on to win 1-0 in a game that featured 5-time African Player of the Year, Asisat Oshoala.
In Germany, reigning Frauen-Bundesliga champions, Wolfsburg went 2-0 up inside 24-minutes following goals from Champions League top scorer, Ewa Pajor and Sveindís Jane Jónsdóttir (who assisted Pajor’s opener) but the Gunners pulled one back just before half-time through a Rafaelle Souza header before a series of poor marking by the hosts led to Stina Blackstenius scoring a tap-in midway through the second-half to make it 2-2. The second leg of the Barcelona vs. Chelsea game will be played on Thursday (27th April) while Arsenal & Wolfsburg’s will be played on Monday (1st May).
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