Arsenal 2 Chelsea 2

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Jan 3 (Reuters) – Arsenal and Chelsea made a mockery of talk of player fatigue at the end of a festive slog of Premier League action as Hector Bellerin’s stoppage-time stunner earned the hosts a 2-2 draw in a scintillating derby on Wednesday.

From beginning to end at the Emirates Stadium, both sides traded chances with Arsenal keeper Petr Cech and his opposite number Thibaut Courtois responsible for keeping the scoresheet blank until past the hour mark.

Jack Wilshere gave Arsenal a 63rd-minute lead but Bellerin’s trip on Eden Hazard gave the Belgian wizard the chance to level from the penalty spot four minutes later.

A flowing Chelsea move ended with Marcos Alonso putting the visitors ahead in the 84th minute but they were denied the victory that would have put them above Manchester United into second spot with Bellerin’s sumptuous 92nd minute half-volley.

There was still time for Chelsea substitute Davide Zappacosta to hit the crossbar but defeat would have been harsh on Arsenal who had 14 goal attempts to Chelsea’s 19.

Chelsea remained in third place with 46 points, 16 behind leaders Manchester City, who have a 15-point lead over second-placed Manchester United, while Arsenal stayed sixth.

It was manager Arsene Wenger’s 60th match against Chelsea in his long Arsenal reign but few could have provided as much goalmouth action as this classic.

“It was a fantastic football game and overall it could have gone both ways,” Wenger said. “Maybe it’s a fair result.

“The penalty was a farcical decision. When we looked as though maybe mentally we were shot, we had the resources to come back to 2-2.”

Alvaro Morata, strangely profligate all night, wasted a great chance early on for Chelsea when he took advantage of a yawning chasm in the Arsenal defence to go through on goal but his sidefoot finish was dreadful.

At the other end Alexis Sanchez’s shot struck both uprights after a superb save by Courtois who shortly afterwards did brilliantly to keep out Alexandre Lacazette’s shot.

Tiemoue Bakayoko and Cesc Fabregas both wasted chances for Chelsea while Mesut Ozil drew a fine save from Courtois.

Former Chelsea stopper Cech, seeking a 200th Premier League clean sheet, showed his class to deny Hazard as the second half began with another flurry of attacks.

Not to be outdone, Courtois then blocked Sanchez’s powerful close-range effort after the Chilean’s sublime piece of trickery.

Wilshere finally beat Courtois, the midfielder lashing a left-foot shot high into the top corner on the stretch after a deflected pass found him at the far post.

Arsenal were buoyant but were flattened four minutes later when Bellerin dangled a leg and Hazard went down theatrically — much to the annoyance of Wenger, whose side were denied victory at West Bromwich Albion by a late penalty on Sunday.

Hazard sent Cech the wrong way from the spot.

A sweeping crossfield move in the 84th minute saw Zappacosta get the better of Arsenal’s inexperienced left back Ainsley Maitland-Niles before rifling in a low cross that Alonso met sweetly to give Cech no chance.

To their credit Arsenal refused to accept defeat and when Alonso failed to get proper distance on a clearing header the ball feel for Bellerin to send a half-volley curling away from the helpless Courtois.

Morata spurned another one-on-one before Zappacosta’s dipper cannoned against the crossbar to leave honours even to the frustration of Chelsea manager Antonio Conte.

“I think it is a pity because when you have so many chances to score you must win the game,” said Conte.

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Barcelona Edge Real Madrid On Income

BARCELONA (Reuters) – La Liga leaders Barcelona received a record 146.2 million euros (£129.6 million) last season from television rights, figures from La Liga show, earning seven million euros more than champions Real Madrid.

The 20 clubs in Spain’s top flight took in 1.247 billion euros, rising from 1.237 billion from the previous year, with Barca earning an extra 6.2 million than the year before.

The income is distributed according to results in the last five years, explaining why Barca, champions in 2013, 2015 and 2016, earned more than Real, who won the title last season for the first time since 2012.

Real earned the second biggest amount, 140 million euros, Atletico Madrid picked up the third largest share, 99 million, while Athletic Bilbao took the fourth largest sum, 71 million.

Leganes, who in 2016 were promoted to the top flight for the first time ever, earned the smallest amount of all the teams, pocketing 39.3 million.

Barca are nine points clear of Atletico at the top of La Liga, which resumes on Saturday after taking a two-week winter break.

Last season was the second campaign in which La Liga sold its television rights collectively following a change in the Spanish law in 2015. Under the previous system, based on club’s negotiating their deals individually, the league earned a total 851 million euros from television rights.

La Liga, which controls the top two divisions in Spanish football, distributes 90 percent of income to the top flight, with 10 percent going to the second tier Segunda Division.

The league is currently negotiating its next television deal, coming into effect from 2019-20, which the organisation’s president Javier Tebas says could be worth 2.3 billion.
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Samuel Eto’o

Samuel Eto’o Fils  born 10 March 1981) is a Cameroonian professional footballer who plays as a striker for Turkish club Antalyaspor. He is the most decorated African player of all time, having won the African Player of the Year award a record four times: in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2010. He was third in the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 2005.

Eto’o scored over 100 goals in five seasons with Barcelona, and is also the record holder in number of appearances by an African player in La Liga.In 2010, he became the first player to win two European continental trebles following his back-to-back achievements with Barcelona and Inter Milan. He is the second player in history to score in two UEFA Champions Leaguefinals and the fourth player, after Marcel Desailly, Paulo Sousa and Gerard Piqué, to have won the trophy two years in a row with different teams.

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Full name Samuel Eto’o Fils
Date of birth 10 March 1981 (age 36)
Place of birth Douala, Cameroon
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Playing position Striker

Didier Drogba

Didier Yves Drogba Tébily born 11 March 1978) is an Ivorian professional footballer who plays as a striker for American club Phoenix Rising. He is the all-time top scorer and former captain of the Ivory Coast national team. He is best known for his career at Chelsea, for whom he has scored more goals than any other foreign player and is currently the club’s fourth highest goal scorer of all time. He has been named African Footballer of the Year twice, winning the accolade in 2006 and 2009.

After playing in youth teams, Drogba made his professional debut aged 18 for Ligue 2 club Le Mans, and signed his first professional contract aged 21. After finishing the 2002–03 season with 17 goals in 34 appearances for Ligue 1 side Guingamp, he moved to Olympique de Marseille, where he finished as the third highest scorer in the 2003–04 season with 19 goals and helped the club reach the 2004 UEFA Cup Final.

Didier_aug_2014

Full name Didier Yves Drogba Tébily
Date of birth 11 March 1978 (age 39)
Place of birth Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Playing position Striker