Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gets Arsenal back to winning ways against AFC Bournemouth

Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates scoring their second goal against AFC Bournemouth. (Action Images via Reuters)
Updated 25 November 2018
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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gets Arsenal back to winning ways against AFC Bournemouth

BOURNEMOUTH: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang extended Arsenal’s unbeaten run to 17 matches with the goal that sealed a 2-1 win at Bournemouth on Sunday.
Unai Emery’s side took the lead through Jefferson Lerma’s bizarre own goal before Josh King equalized on the stroke of half-time at Dean Court.
Aubameyang netted his eighth league goal of the season midway through the second half to lift the fifth placed Gunners within a point of the top four in the battle to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
The club has been revitalized since Emery replaced Arsene Wenger in the close-season and this was another test passed by the Spaniard.
After three successive home draws against Liverpool, Sporting Lisbon and Wolves, it was essential Arsenal got back to winning ways.
Emery left German playmaker Mesut Ozil on the bench and was without French striker Alexandre Lacazette due to a groin injury.
But Arsenal were still strong enough to consign Bournemouth to a third successive defeat as Emery’s decision to switch to a back three for the first time paid dividends.
Bournemouth thought they were ahead early on, but David Brooks was flagged offside as he slotted home King’s through ball.
Arsenal went up the other end and Lucas Torreira rattled the foot of the post with a fierce shot, with Alex Iwobi only able to lash the rebound high and wide.
Arsenal took the lead in the 30th minute when Lerma accidently volleyed Sead Kolasinac’s cross past Bournemouth goalkeeper Asmir Begovic as he stretched in a failed attempt to clear.
Iwobi drew a smart stop out of Begovic as the visitors looked to double their advantage before the break, but instead their run of not leading at half-time this season continued.
When Aubameyang spurned a good chance after Henrikh Mkhitaryan had rolled in his team-mate, Arsenal fans began to call for the introduction of Ozil.
But the supporters who made the trip to the south coast were celebrating the lead in the 67th minute.
Aubameyang made amends for his earlier miss, sliding in to score from six yards after another Kolasinac cross.
Ryan Fraser shot straight into the arms of Bernd Leno as Bournemouth chased a second equalizer.
Lerma almost atoned for his own goal but struck a post with his low drive before Leno had to be alert to push the ball behind after it looped toward goal off the foot of Sokratis.


Petra Kvitova positive ahead of Dubai final against Belinda Bencic

Updated 22 February 2019
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Petra Kvitova positive ahead of Dubai final against Belinda Bencic

  • World No. 4 wins third three-setter of the week beat Hsieh Su-wei and claim place in the final.
  • Swiss star Bencic deals a forehand smash to Svitolina's chances of unprecedented hat-trick.

LONDON: If Petra Kvitova does get her hands on the Dubai trophy against Belinda Bencic on Saturday, she will be quick to admit she did it the hard way.
The two-time Wimbledon champion was once again made to toil at the Aviation Club as she finally overcame Hsieh Su-Wei 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. It was her third three-setter in four days and came about as much through sheer grit and determination as any superior groundstrokes or serves.
“Yeah, it was (tough),” the Czech said.
“It was a tough one, for sure. She really didn’t give me anything for free.
“It was a tough first set. I’m glad that I was able to came back in the second. Anyway I didn’t play great at the end of the first.”
Coming into the event the world No. 4 admitted she was undercooked and in need of some game time. While, in hindsight, the three-setters against Katerina Siniakova and Jennifer Brady in the first two rounds probably did her some good, another match that went the distance was probably not in the ideal script for the 2013 Dubai champion.
But Hsieh is a tricky opponent and she proved it once again on Centre Court. The world No. 31 hits two-handed shots off both sides and was trying to beat her fourth top-10 seed of the week. That included wins over Angelique Kerber in the third round and Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals.

Bencic will try to upset Kvitova in Saturday's final at the Aviation Club (AFP) 


She started off in much the same vein as she had finished against Kerber and Pliskova, hurrying Kvitova around the court and making life as uncomfortable as possible under the hot Dubai sun.
“She’s very tricky,” Kvitova said about Hsieh, who grabbed five games in a row to take the opening set and go up 1-0 in the second.
“I didn’t really play the best at the end of the first set. But I calmed down afterwards a little bit,” Kvitova said.
“With Hsieh, I need to be a little bit patient. ... It’s not really that easy to make those winners against her.”
While she has 
not consistently displayed her A-game this week it should come as no shock that Kvitova has made today’s final. It was the second seed’s 17th victory of 2019 — a feat bettered by no one — and it will be her third final of the season and 35th of her career. She revealed that her presence in the showdown is thanks to her mental toughness and she admitted that after a long week she will have to draw on that a lot today.
“I think I’m pleased with my kind of mental focus after losing the first set, that I was more calmer when I came back and played from the beginning of the second set,” Kvitova said.
“I still kind of felt that I can do that somehow — it was something weird.
“I’m a bit tired right now, to be honest. I have a final, so I don’t know how I going to recover. Hopefully I have a few hours to do something with me.”
Of her sparkling form so far this year she said: “It’s a bit weird, to be honest. I didn’t really expect anything like that. Well, to be honest, I didn’t expect anything, which I already achieved this year. For me, everything is just bonus.
“As I mentioned, the tennis, it’s a bit like escape this week. This is unbelievable to be in the final when I’m escaping from something. Yeah, very interesting.”
In the other semifinal Bencic once again upset the odds to overcome world No. 6 Elina Svitolina 6-2, 6-3, 7-6. The Swiss went into the clash as the underdog, but from the off the world No. 45 was aggressive and deservedly won.
In doing so she ended Svitolina’s 12-match winning streak in Dubai and ended the two-time defending champion’s hopes of becoming the first woman to win three Dubai titles in a row.