Thursday 14 December 2017

SOCCER IN BRIEF

Gunners fire seven past 'All Star' outfit

Arsenal enjoyed a successful start to their tour of the Far East, hammering an Indonesia All Stars XI 7-0 in Jakarta.

England forward Theo Walcott slammed home the opener after 19 minutes, before the floodgates opened after the interval.

Chuba Akpom slotted home nine minutes after the restart and Olivier Giroud's quickfire brace had stretched the Gunners' advantage to 4-0 by the 73rd minute. Lukas Podolski, Kristoffer Olsson and Thomas Eisfeld added their names to the scoresheet in the final eight minutes to seal the rout.

NO JOY FOR MARTINEZ

AS EVERTON SLIP UP

Everton's pre-season preparations did not start well as they fell to a 2-1 loss at Austria Vienna.

In what was manager Roberto Martinez's first match in charge, two goals from Marko Stankovic after 14 and 37 minutes did the damage for the Austrian champions.

Greek striker Apostolos Vellios' reply seven minutes before the interval sparked hopes of an Everton fightback, but they were unable to add to their tally.

Aston Villa recorded their third successive 1-1 draw on their pre-season tour of Germany as they were held by Bochum.

New signing Nicklas Helenius grabbed his second goal in three matches to put Villa ahead two minutes into the second half. However, they were denied a win late on when Yusuke Tasaka smashed an equaliser past goalkeeper Jed Steer, another recent arrival in the Villa squad.

REDS OFFERED HOPE IN ERIKSEN PURSUIT

LIVERPOOL have been offered encouragement in their pursuit of Ajax attacking midfielder Christian Eriksen.

Manager Frank de Boer has said he would not stand in the Dane's way if he wanted to move to Merseyside and the Reds are being linked with a £22m double swoop on Eriksen and his team-mate Toby Alderweireld.

After losing out on top target Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Borussia Dortmund and with Luis Suarez looking increasingly likely to leave, Brendan Rodgers needs to strengthen his options and he will be encouraged by what the former Barcelona man said.

"It is up to Christian what he wants. If he feels good going to Liverpool, then it is up to him," De Boer said. "I would want nothing more than having him with us for a few more years. But we realise the interest in this kind of player is huge. And I can also understand that he wants to make another step in his career. I can't stop him."

NAPOLI AT HEAD OF QUEUE FOR CESAR

Rafa Benitez looks set to land QPR's Brazilian international goalkeeper Julio Cesar at Napoli.

The 33-year-old joined the London club last summer and produced some impressive performances, although he was unable to save them from relegation.The former Inter stopper looks likely to move to Naples on a one-year loan deal.

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