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Paul Merson admits concern for Arsenal’s top four hopes

first_imgAdvertisement Paul Merson admits concern for Arsenal’s top four hopes Emery is in his first season as manager of Arsenal (Picture: Getty)Paul Merson believes Arsenal aren’t a “shoo-in” to finish in the top four despite an easy run of fixtures from now until the end of the season.The Gunners take on Newcastle on April 1, before clashes against the likes of Watford, Leicester City and Crystal Palace later in the month.Unai Emery’s side do not play a top-six side again in the Premier League this season as they look to secure a top-four finish.More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityThey also currently sit fourth in the table with a two-point gap over Manchester United in fifth, so have an advantage over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men as well as sixth-placed Chelsea.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENTHowever, despite easier fixtures on paper, former Arsenal midfielder Merson believes they still have work to do if they are to secure Champions League football for next season.‘Newcastle are a dangerous side,’ Merson told Sky Sports. ‘They’ve been really good recently, are hard to beat and have a couple of match-winners in their team.‘But these are the kind of matches Arsenal finish off.More: Manchester United FCRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starNew Manchester United signing Facundo Pellistri responds to Edinson Cavani praiseEx-Man Utd coach blasts Ed Woodward for two key transfer errors‘If Liverpool had Arsenal’s remaining fixtures they would win the league, but you just know that Arsenal won’t win all of these games and that’s why they are not a shoo-in for the top four.’As well as focusing on their domestic campaign, Arsenal are also seeking Europa League glory under Emery this season.They take on Napoli in the quarter-final of the competition, with the first leg scheduled for April 11.MORE: Arsenal receive Ramsey and Monreal injury boostWill Arsenal finish in the top four?Yes0%No0%Share your resultsShare your resultsTweet your results Metro Sport ReporterFriday 29 Mar 2019 1:45 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy linkcenter_img Comment Advertisementlast_img read more

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FB : Syracuse defense fails to contain Cincinnati’s Pead in blowout loss to Bearcats

first_imgSyracuse knew heading into its matchup with Cincinnati that Isaiah Pead was the Bearcats‘ key player.Head coach Doug Marrone called him the best running back in the Big East during his press conference to start the week. Chandler Jones called him great. Shamarko Thomas said the Orange figured the Bearcats would try to get him the ball all over the field, especially with quarterback Zach Collaros sitting out due to a broken ankle.But what caught SU by surprise was the variety of ways Cincinnati got the ball to Pead throughout the game.‘Walking him out (as a receiver) and stuff, they did a little bit of that at times,’ defensive coordinator Scott Shafer said. ‘Not as much as they did this week in the game. They did a nice job. They knew what they had.’What the Bearcats had was a workhorse back who touched the football 28 times, amassed 246 total yards and scored twice in Cincinnati’s 30-13 rout of Syracuse (5-6, 1-5 Big East) Saturday at the Carrier Dome. Pead led the Bearcats (8-3, 4-2 Big East) with 17 carries, nine catches and even returned his first two punts of his career on the way to a huge day.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAnd his performance ultimately was the difference Saturday.‘He’s probably one of the best backs in the Big East,’ linebacker Dan Vaughan said. ‘They just wanted to give him the ball. They gave him a lot of screens out in space, and he was running up the middle, too. He was splitting us pretty good. He’s just a good back and he was making plays.’Pead’s biggest play was the backbreaker that put the game out of reach for the Orange.With SU trailing 23-13 and the clock ticking down under 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Cincinnati senior lined up in the slot to the right. The Orange had a blitz called and was in man-to-man coverage, a defense susceptible against a screen pass.Most of Pead’s nine catches came via the screen and his last was exactly that. He took one jab step forward before coming back to the middle as the SU rush flew upfield. Quarterback Munchie Legaux dumped the ball to Pead, and the back followed his blockers for a 69-yard touchdown down the middle of the field.‘They had a good play call against our defense,’ the strong safety Thomas said. ‘We had man-to-man back, so they got their blocks on all of us. That’s just a touchdown regardless of any situation. They had a great scheme on.’Though Thomas felt that play would have been a touchdown no matter who was running it against the Orange, Pead made plays throughout the game that flashed his versatility. SU held him to 36 yards on the ground in the first half, but he also hauled in seven passes for an additional 37 yards before the break.And then there was his first career punt return.SU’s Jonathan Fisher launched a 50-yard punt down to the Cincinnati 10. Pead caught the ball on the left side, weaved his way back across the field and down the right sideline for a 34-yard return that set up the Bearcats‘ first field goal of the day.‘Isaiah Pead is a great player,’ the defensive end Jones said. ‘He’s versatile. He can catch the ball out of the backfield, and you can hand it off to him and he’ll split you. He just showed exactly his ability, and they did a great job of out-executing us.’On the running back’s first touch of the second half, he scampered untouched for a 24-yard touchdown run to put Cincinnati up 17-6 just 17 seconds after halftime. He returned another punt in the third quarter, and despite muffing it at first, he picked up 20 yards to set up another field goal.Shafer said the Orange defense failed to execute at times, but Cincinnati simply did a good job putting Pead in good positions to make plays.And even though Syracuse knew entering the game he was the key to the Bearcats offense, it couldn’t stop him from having a career day in the Dome.‘I knew that I had a major role, bigger than it had been all season,’ Pead said. ‘I felt that I had to embrace it. With everything going on, it was a big game, and with a rookie quarterback, I had to be a veteran.’[email protected] Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on November 25, 2011 at 12:00 pmlast_img read more