By DAN KARELL
While Giovani Dos Santos’ form for El Tri has suffered in recent months, his club form with Villarreal has been sky high.
On Monday afternoon, Dos Santos had arguably his best game in a Villarreal shirt, scoring two goals and assisting on two others in his team’s 5-1 rout of UEFA Champions League side Real Sociedad. The win moved Villarreal above Sociedad in the La Liga standings (up to 5th place with 34 points) and gave Dos Santos his seventh and eighth goals of the year.
The Mexican midfielder opened his account in the 16th minute as teammate Mario saved a ball from going out of bounds and centered it into the box for Dos Santos, who sent home a first-time finish. Eleven minutes later, Dos Santos teed up his teammate Ikechukwu Uche with a beautiful cross to the far post that Uche fired home. Dos Santos scored his second in the 33rd minute, working a nice one-two and finishing nicely into the side netting.
Dos Santos’ final contribution was another feed to Uche, who beat the offside trap and finished one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
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ARSENAL RETURN TO PREMIER LEAGUE PEAK
Arsenal were forced to prove their title credentials on Monday afternoon with a difficult trip to Aston Villa.
Taking a two-goal lead into the second half, the Gunners conceded in the 76th minute and needed to lock down Aston Villa in the final 15 minutes to earn all three points. Behind strong work from midfielder Mathieu Flamini and centerback duo Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, Arsenal did just that, defeating Aston Villa, 2-1, to return to the top of the English Premier League standings.
Arsene Wenger’s side scored the opening with two goals in 59 seconds, starting in the 34th minute. Mesut Özil played Nacho Monreal down the left wing before the Spaniard crossed across the penalty box. Jack Wilshere took a touch before calmly slotting past Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan. Less than a minute later, Guzan was again picking the ball out of his goal after Wilshere set up Olivier Giroud, who scored between two defenders.
The match was delayed for seven minutes in the first half when Aston Villa defender Nathan Baker suffered a concussion and needed to be stretchered off.
CHELSEA SET TO REPLACE DE BRUYNE WITH MATIC
With Kevin De Bruyne nearing a permanent Stamford Bridge exit, one former Chelsea player is nearing a permanent move back to London.
Talented Benfica midfielder Nemanja Matic is reportedly on his way to Chelsea for a medical examination ahead of completing a £22 million ($36 million) transfer move. Matic was on the books at Chelsea from 2009-2011 and was sent to Benfica in the deal that brought defender David Luiz to Stamford Bridge. The Serbian international made just three appearances for Chelsea in all competitions before heading to Vitesse in Holland and then Benfica in 2011.
With Benfica, Matic has matured as a player, helping lead the Portuguese club to a UEFA Europa League final (where they lost to Chelsea) and finishing as the runner up in the Portuguese league and Portuguese Cup.
Chelsea are expected to help pay for the transfer of Matic with the sale of De Bruyne to Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg for a reported £16 million ($26.2 million).
Inter Milan failed to gain any ground in the Serie A table with a disappointing 1-1 home draw against Chievo. (REPORT)
Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri confirmed on his official Twitter account that he will miss the next eight weeks with a knee injury suffered at Newcastle on Sunday. (REPORT)
FIFA are ready to consider the use of a penalty box or sin-bin punishment system, which would keep players off the field for ten to 15 minutes. (REPORT)
Tottenham head coach Tim Sherwood believes that young winger Andros Townsend will make England’s World Cup squad. (REPORT)
Zenit St. Petersburg have offered Benfica €30 million for Matic’s teammate Rodrigo. (REPORT)
What do you think of these developments? Impressed with Dos Santos’ performance? Think Arsenal have proven they are real title contenders? Think that Matic is what Chelsea needs right now?
Share your thoughts below.