Sports El Ghazi's early goal earns Villa 1-0 win at Leeds in EPL
‘He knows how much he cost’ – £45m man Partey backed by Arteta to deliver on Arsenal’s show of faith
The Gunners boss remains confident that a midfielder who has struggled with injury since moving to England will provide considerable value for moneyThe Ghana international was snapped up during the summer transfer window of 2020, with those at Emirates Stadium landing a long-standing target after many years of admiring him from afar.
LEEDS, England — Anwar El Ghazi’s early goal clinched Aston Villa a 1-0 win at Leeds and lifted his side to within a point of the English Premier League top six on Saturday.
El Ghazi was left unmarked to turn home the only goal from close range in the fifth minute and dogged defending saw Villa avenge its 3-0 home loss to Leeds in October.
Villa secured just its second win in seven league games on the road, while Leeds’ up-and-down first season back in the top-flight continued.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side was denied back-to-back home wins after Tuesday’s 3-0 defeat of Southampton and was rarely allowed to hit the same heights.
Maja scores first EPL goals, Fulham wins 2-0 at Everton
LIVERPOOL, England — Josh Maja scored twice on his full Premier League debut as Fulham won 2-0 at Everton on Sunday to end a 12-match winless run. The 22-year-old striker, who is on loan from Bordeaux, netted three minutes into the second half and in the 65th minute. While Fulham remains in the relegation zone, the London club moved within seven points of Newcastle in 17th to offer some hope of an escape. Seventh-place Everton was toothless without injured top scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin and also lacked the necessary competitiveness to make Fulham’s first league win at Goodison Park in 28 attempts anything other than comfortable.
When Raphinha went close to scoring inside the opening 30 seconds — he just failed to connect with Patrick Bamford’s cross — it appeared this would be another entertaining game at Elland Road.
But while it ebbed and flowed in the first half, Villa shut down its opponents after the interval and, for Leeds, the game ended in a whimper.
Villa had a penalty appeal turned down when a corner struck Luke Ayling on his arm and then capitalized on sloppy Leeds defending to take the lead.
Ollie Watkins slipped as he fired at goal, but the ball found its way to the unmarked El Ghazi in the six-yard box and, although he also lost his footing, he steered home his sixth league goal of the season.
Leeds responded through midfielder Tyler Roberts, but his thumping effort was well saved by Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez and then El Ghazi twice went close to extending Villa’s lead.
Fantasy soccer game offers up inside info, vexing EPL coach
If a Premier League team wants the inside track on an opponent’s injury status ahead of a game, there’s an online resource it can increasingly lean on to get crucial information. The Fantasy Premier League soccer competition. The absence of Jack Grealish proved to be a major blow for Aston Villa in its 2-1 loss to Leicester on Sunday, though an injury to the England midfielder had been extensively trailed ahead of the game via chat on social media — specifically by participants of the fantasy game played by more than 8 million people worldwide.
The Dutchman’s first shot was tipped over the crossbar by Illan Meslier and he pulled his second, a low effort, just wide.
Stuart Dallas fired in a low shot and home skipper Liam Cooper headed straight at Martinez as Leeds chased an equalizer.
El Ghazi maintained his shoot-on-sight policy, but was wayward with another effort and at the other end Helder Costa’s low shot was blocked and Roberts fired over, with Leeds restricted to half-chances as halftime beckoned.
Leeds' players continued to force the issue at the start of the second period, but the killer pass eluded them.
Cooper did just enough to divert Villa captain Tyrone Mings’ header wide from a corner, but the free-flowing action before the break made way for a more scrappy affair.
Leeds struggled to break down a resilient defence and when substitute Jack Harrison’s late cross offered the team its best chance of rescuing a point, Raphinha fluffed his header.
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The Associated Press
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