WEST HAM 1,
Arsenal, playing without its highest-paid player, Mesut Ozil, whom Manager Unai Emery chose to leave at home, lost its London Derby match to West Ham, 1-0, on Saturday.
“I decided the idea of the players that I think are the best for this match,” Emery said. “Today the players who were here are the players who deserved to be in this match. We could’ve won or lost.”
But Arsenal lost — for the third time in six English Premier League matches — after Declan Rice’s first goal for West Ham three minutes into the second half earned the victory at Olympic Stadium.
Arsenal fell six points out of fourth place. Wining the Europa League — something Emery achieved three times at Seville — might be Arsenal’s only route back into the Champions League. In Emery’s first season in charge, Arsenal is only two points better off after 22 games than in Arsene Wenger’s final campaign.
Without a Premier League title since 2004, Arsenal looks far from being a contender anytime soon. . . .
After being linked with a departure from Stamford Bridge, Willian insisted his “future is at Chelsea” after curling a winner into the top corner of the Newcastle goal in the 57th minute as the hosts beat Newcastle, 2-1.
Chelsea should have completed the job far sooner against a struggling team after Pedro Rodriguez netted the opener in the ninth minute. But Ciaran Clark equalized in the 40th minute after leaping to reach Matt Ritchie’s corner and heading past goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Newcastle dropped into the relegation zone, a point from safety.
Chelsea strengthened its hold on fourth place and the final Champions League qualification place. . . .
Liverpool is well placed to end its 29-year title drought. After the leader’s unbeaten start was ended by Manchester City and then it was knocked out of the FA Cup by Wolverhampton Wanderers, Liverpool beat Brighton, 1-0, thanks to Mohamed Salah. The African player of the year netted a penalty four minutes into the second half after being brought down by Pascal Gross.
It put Liverpool seven points ahead of City ahead of the defending champion playing Wolves on Monday.
“It was not the best performance of the season in a few departments but from a maturity point of view, I would say it is the most mature performance in the season,” Liverpool Manager Juergen Klopp said. “We are not the Harlem Globetrotters. We have to deliver results.”
●ITALY: Cristiano Ronaldo was among several regular players who didn't start in Juventus' 2-0 victory at Bologna in the Italian Cup. Juventus, the Serie A leader, moves into the quarterfinals.
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said on Friday that Ronaldo would play at Bologna and insisted the superstar was calm after being asked this week by police to provide a DNA sample in a rape investigation.
Kathryn Mayorga alleges Ronaldo raped her in his Las Vegas hotel room in 2009 and paid her to keep quiet.
●FRANCE: Kylian Mbappe struck his French league-leading 14th goal as Paris Saint-Germain won, 3-0, at Amiens.
The 20-year-old Mbappe has 14 goals in only 13 games. The win moved PSG 13 points clear of second-place Lille in Ligue 1, having played two games less.
●SPAIN: Valencia was held at Mestalla Stadium once more, conceding late to relegation-threatened Valladolid in a 1-1 draw, adding pressure on embattled coach Marcelino.
With only four wins, Valencia sits 10th in the Primera Division standings.
●ASIAN CUP: Iran and Iraq advanced to the knockout stages of the Asian Cup with a game to spare.
Three-time champion Iran beat Vietnam, 2-0, and secured its spot in the round of 16 when 2015 semifinalist Iraq beat Yemen, 3-0, in another Group D game in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.