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Jonathan Cook’s World Game Wrap-Up

Potter gets the axe

The costly Graham Potter experiment is over after the Chelsea manager was sacked in the wake of a 2-0 home loss to Aston Villa.

Chelsea have spent big on players, and also threw cash at the managerial situation, spending a hefty whack on sacking previous manager Thomas Tuchel, paying Brighton compensation for Potter and plenty more on his wages.

Against Villa, Marc Cucurella’s wayward header had allowed Ollie Watkins to lob Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga for the opener, and Villa made the points safe thanks to Scotland star John McGinn’s second-half screamer.

It was a familiar tale for Potter and his players with chances wasted and a chorus of boos at the final whistle.

Newcastle climb above old rivals

Newcastle United took a massive step towards returning to the UEFA Champions League with a memorable 2-0 win over top-four rivals Manchester United on Sunday.

Second-half goals from Joe Willock and Callum Wilson lifted the Geordies above their opponents and into third place at the final whistle.

And if Newcastle do go on and make it back to European football’s premier competition after 26 years away, then they can look forward to more occasions like this in front of a raucous St James’ Park.

Manchester United had no answer to the sheer force of the home side and the only surprise was that it took until the 65th minute for the deadlock to be broken as Willock headed home.

Possibly fired up by their Carabao Cup final loss to Erik ten Hag’s side earlier this year, Newcastle were relentless and got the second on 88 minutes when Wilson headed past David de Gea.

Aguerd’s Hammer blow for struggling Saints

Awful match, great result for David Moyes’ West Ham, who won’t care a bit about how the game was won.

Sunday’s 1-0 win over Southampton, the only team below them before kick-off, moved the Hammers up five places to 14th before Everton’s Tuesday morning clash with Spurs.

Nayef Aguerd headed the only goal in the first half, which was confirmed after a lengthy VAR check.

Southampton, who remain bottom, were toothless until very late on when Paul Onuachu nodded against the bar. With Manchester City to come next, the Saints will need some inspiration.

Dazzling Grealish leaves Liverpool in knots

What a game for Jack Grealish to produce a statement performance for Manchester City.

Liverpool have had their opponents’ number too often for Pep Guardiola’s liking, and the devastating fashion in which they sprung City’s press for Mo Salah to score the opener will have worried the City manager.

But then Grealish took over with a display to thrill the Etihad faithful, starting with the perfect square ball for Julian Alvarez to net City’s equaliser.

Kevin De Bruyne punished Liverpool’s stretched defence immediately after the restart for 2-1, Ilkay Gundogan dug out the third then Grealish got his goal after a brilliant link-up with De Bruyne.

A 4-1 win was the least City deserved and all done without goal machine Erling Haaland, whose groin injury did not prevent him from dancing in the stands. He was far from alone.

Jesus double keeps Gunners eight points clear

It is a mark of Arsenal’s assuredness that Manchester City’s brilliance in the early game simply triggered a similar result, as Mikel Arteta’s side brushed aside Leeds United 4-1 to re-establish their eight-point advantage at the top of the Premier League.

Gabriel Jesus marked his first start since November by converting a penalty to put the Gunners in front. And before Leeds could settle into the second half it was 2-0 as Ben White ghosted in at the back post.

Leeds had not been bad, but the game was up when Jesus met Leandro Trossard’s return pass for the third. Rasmus Kristensen at least got Leeds on the board 14 minutes from time, but Granit Xhaka headed home Arsenal’s fourth to set the league leaders up for their visit to wounded Liverpool.

Rodgers pays price for Foxes’ slump

Two seasons after guiding Leicester to their first FA Cup triumph, Brendan Rodgers was sacked as his side finished the weekend second from bottom on the back of their 2-1 loss at Crystal Palace.

His post-match mood was in sharp contrast to opposite number Roy Hodgson, whose first game in charge since returning to Palace brought a glorious stoppage-time win.

Substitute Ricardo Pereira had given Leicester the lead 11 minutes into the second half, although Palace soon levelled as Eberechi Eze’s free-kick hit the bar and went in off keeper Daniel Iversen. A draw might have been enough to earn ex-Liverpool and Celtic manager Rodgers another week. Instead, Jean-Philippe Mateta won the game for Palace at the death and Rodgers was gone.

Bournemouth out of drop zone

Bournemouth climbed out of the bottom three with a vital 2-1 win against Fulham, whose excellent season seems to be tailing off.

Andreas Pereira’s goal for Fulham was cancelled out by substitute Marcus Tavernier’s stunning equaliser, and Bournemouth got the winner 11 minutes from the end through Dominic Solanke.

Nottingham Forest and Wolves, two other sides in the thick of the relegation battle, fought out a 1-1 draw at the City Ground. Brennan Johnson put Forest in front late in the first half, but Daniel Podence struck for Wolves seven minutes from the end.

There was a six-goal thriller between Brighton and Brentford at Amex Stadium, where Argentina World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister scored a last-minute penalty to earn the hosts a point.

Three times Brentford led, through Pontus Jansson, Ivan Toney and Ethan Pinnock, and each time they were pegged back thanks to Kaoru Mitoma, Danny Welbeck and the nerveless Mac Allister.

Glory’s parting gift

Perth Glory signed off from their temporary home at Macedonia Park in style as they came from behind to beat Macarthur 2-1.

Glory have played most of their regular home games at local club Stirling Macedonia’s venue this season, while HBF Park is upgraded for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup.
And despite a mood of celebration and a strong first-half performance, Ruben Zadkovich’s side were behind at the break thanks to Lachlan Rose’s low drive.

However, Glory have connected with the Macedonia Park crowd and they finished on a high thanks to excellent second-half headers from Adam Taggart and Mark Beevers which leaves them a point out of the A-League finals berths with
four games remaining.

Max sets new record to save City

Ten-man Melbourne City needed a stoppage-time goal from teenager Max Caputo to salvage a draw against Newcastle Jets.

The A-League leaders are two points ahead of Adelaide United, who defeated Western Sydney 3-2 on Friday.

Beka Mikeltadze’s 31st-minute penalty gave the Jets the lead and they played all the second half against 10 men after Scott Jamieson was dismissed before the break.

But with City facing only their fourth loss of the season, 17-year-old Caputo headed in to become the club’s youngest A-League Men’s scorer.

Benzema’s quick-fire treble

Karim Benzema scored a seven-minute hat-trick as Real Madrid beat Real Valladolid 6-0 at the Bernabeu on Sunday.

The French striker struck in the 29th, 32nd and 36th minutes. Rodrygo, Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez also scored for the reigning European champions.

Barcelona remain 12 points clear of their rivals after Robert Lewandowski’s double helped them to a 4-0 win at Elche.