Monday Evening Ticker: Dos Santos shines in Villarreal victory; Arsenal win at Aston Villa; and more

GiovaniDosSantosVillarreal1-RealSociedad (Getty)

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.

Here are some more stories from around the world:

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).

QUICK KICKS

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)

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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.

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64 Responses to Monday Evening Ticker: Dos Santos shines in Villarreal victory; Arsenal win at Aston Villa; and more

  1. MLS_Soccer_Talkerf says:

    Gio and Vela having great seasons

  2. Michael Bradley says:

    I feel bad for Gio. He could be making millions more in MLS instead of wasting his life in Spain.

    • slowleftarm says:

      This is already old. If MLS offered Gio a huge salary increase, he’d be on the next plane here. When you can show us an example of someone who turned down millions to stay in a better league, get back to us.

      • Nate Dollars says:

        doesn’t this happen all the time with the chinese league trying to buy players from europe? i think that’s a pretty comparable example.

  3. Good Jeremy says:

    How are we better than Mexico? How have we finished ahead of them in almost everything (Bornstein disaster at a Gold Cup aside) since 2002? I’ll keep Bradley, Donovan, FJ, and Howard, and maybe Cameron, but I’ll take everyone else on their side and most of their bench.

    • Lost in Space says:

      We’ve finished better than Mexico because the US Team has 1 major advantage over Mexico….US Players play for the team and not themselves.
      FYI….in addition to the US players you’ve listed most would also want the following players as well:
      Brad Guzan, Aron Johannsson, Jozy Altidor, Matt Besler, Clint Dempsey (prior to his return to MLS), Cherundolo (prior to injury), Timmy Chandler, & Eric Lichaj.

      Pair the 5 you mentioned with the other 8 I’ve listed with the creative/poachers on the Mexican Squad and you’d have the makings of a very strong team that could rival some of the top nations.

      • Anthony says:

        none of those guys is better than their mexican counterparts though, even Bradley would have problems making it to a lineup with Mexico’s Hector Herrera and Carlos Peña (unless he played as a defensive midfielder instead of a box-to-box).

        • Maykol says:

          I actually felt Bradley could easily edge out Herrera and Pena. But that right back spot I could definitely see falling to Hiram mier

          • Anthony says:

            the way Peña is playing right now I doubt it, been watching Leon lately and the guy is a beast, Herrera right now is probably as good as Bradley but being 3 years younger and signed by such a great team to develop talent like Porto means that his potential is way higher than Junior’s

    • Anthony says:

      ahead at everything? how so? Mexico and the US have won the same ammount of Gold Cups since then, Mexico finished higher than the US in Copa America 2007, in Germany 2006 the US failed to make it out of the group stage after “winning the hex”, the same thing almost happens in 2010 but everyone should be thankful to Robert Green.

      Winning the hex usually means nothing at the end, remember how Costa Rica dominated CONCACAF in 2002 destroying Mexico at the Azteca? what happened next? they failed to make it out of the group stage in SK and it was the USMNT (third place in the hex) who made it farther than anyone else.

      • Uncle Grandpa says:

        Wining the hex means nothing ? Wow

        What does saving a team from being eliminated fromQualifying for the World Cup mean?

        • GW says:

          Grandpa,

          Finishing 2nd or 3rd in the Hex also gets you into the WC w/o having to do the playoff deal.

          So yes, 1st, 2nd or 3rd, it makes no difference, you are in w/o the playoff.

          • Camjam says:

            But it still means you beat the other teams more often in a tournament format.

          • Increase says:

            Sooo, who was in the Playoff this year? And needed help to get there? I forget…

            Mexico has some rather good players but honestly right now they barely count as a team.

            Who is on the team anyway European players or Club America?

            They do have players that are better than some of ours, however those are individuals not Mexico as a whole.

            Also Individual talent doesn’t seem to always matter in the WC. Donovan has a better record than Wayne Rooney in the World Cup. Rooney has zero World Cup goals.

        • Anthony says:

          nothing? like I said Costa Rica dominated CONCACAF in 2002 and couldn’t make it out of the group stage in Korea/Japan, same thing happened to the US in 2006 and almost happened in 2010 as well, Mexico barely qualified to South Africa and still destroyed the USMNT in 2011 and won gold in the olympics in 2012, history is just repeating itself.

      • John says:

        I think the Hex actually is a better representation of the teams quality. Its more matches, everyone plays each other and its over a longer period. With injuries, red cards and everything else the World Cup can be a bit random.

        • fischy says:

          I think it says more about how the USA matches up in CONCACAF than it does more broadly about which program has more talent. The USA has bigger, more athletic players that do well in CONCACAF, standing apart from the competition. The only countries that field comparable sides are Jamaica and Canada, and the USA struggles against those teams. We don’t lose to those countries because our talent is better, but the games are close.

          Mexico is more like the other teams in CONCACAF, particularly the better Central American teams — so, they struggle to stand out against those teams and they can be outmatched physically by the USA, or even Jamaica. Individually, though, the Mexican players do play at a higher level. They could slot in with bigger, faster European clubs and have the technical ability and tactical sense to earn spots there, whereas Americans are less likely to have that.

      • Good Jeremy says:

        The same amount of total gold cups, but 2/3 of those were with the B squads. Out Copa America squad was mostly a B team as well. In A Team, head to head competitions, we have beat them in 2/3 of Hex (and tied on the third), 2/3 of the Gold Cups, and in the World Cup.

        If you want to nullify those results based on Mexico going out in the Round of 16 every WC then go ahead, but I think we would be in panic mode if another team in the region had those results over us.

      • m says:

        Your reasoning make little or no sense? Your’re comparing Mexico and the US based on WC results when they played in separate brackets and against different teams.

        How they did in qualifying playing home and away against each other seems to be a better indicator. While Mexico may have better players they have not proven to be the better team.

    • Joamiq says:

      That argument is settled. Source: link to youtube.com

  4. Scooter says:

    Penalty boxes? What’s wrong with yellow cards and red cards?

    • fischy says:

      I don’t know if FIFA is getting this from me, but I’ve been posting about this for years.

      Red cards are pretty draconian — that’s why refs are very hesitant to give them out. Even a player sitting on a yellow may get more leeway than he deserves on a hard tackle or push. On the other hand, a single yellow card, by itself, is almost meaningless.

      Supposedly this is about diving and faking injuries and time-wasting. Yellow cards don’t address that, and often actually play into the offender’s wishes because more time goes off the clock while the ref is booking someone. Forcing him off the field for a few minutes would discourage a lot of that misconduct, and it would also do something to actually penalize a team(and player) that does it.

      For me, the worst thing in soccer — even worse than diving is the professional foul. It’s so hard to generate a threatening attack in professional soccer. As a result, players are willing to take a yellow to deliberately take down an attacking player on a good run — to stop a threatening counter-attack or a player about to carry the ball into the penalty area. Sure, the guy gets a yellow card, but that doesn’t do anything to restore the attacking advantage he disrupted for the other team. Putting him off the pitch for a few minutes — allowing the other team to play with a man advantage — would be a step in that direction.

    • tom says:

      Agree with fischy that this is something that could be very positive. Just amongst friends, I’ve been saying that I think there ought to be a way to hold players accountable when they’re writhing in pain on the field. For instance, if a player can’t stand up within 10 seconds (boxers get punched in the face and stand up quicker than that) or make it off the field on their own power within 30 seconds, than you must be legitimately dinged up and therefore need to sit out for at least five minutes. Eliminate that BS where players get clipped on the ankle, roll around on the ground for 3 minutes, get sprayed with cold air, walk off to the sideline, then come right back into the game having successfully milked off the clock and the dignity of the game.

  5. El Paso tx says:

    Basically ligaMX is a wanna be MLS, their are trying to do the same moves as MLS. For instance they tried to get rafa Marquez, chicharito, gio and even vela in the same season to promote their league to Europe and break MLS momentum.
    LigaMX has also tried to get ronaldinho, kaka, pato, robinho, mainly players who speak Spanish in order to adapt.
    But if MLS ever tries to get chicharito or gio or vela, good luck because ligaMX will double the price. I also think MLS did wrong by not letting red bull trade marquez to another MLS team. Marquez would have done better in a more Hispanic market, like Chicago, LA, Houston, even Seattle.
    In final thought, if chivas USA had the balls and brains, Marquez, gio, and even chicharito. Remember ligaMX pay dp salaries like nothing, but chivas USA could be a door to MLS Hispanic fans.

    • Maykol says:

      Wanna be mls? Why would they wanna be mls if they are a better league than mls? Is it because they are trying to bring players of that same nationality back? Cause I think every league in the world does that

      • Trolltossin says:

        MLS holds itself back, for now, for the betterment of the smaller market teams. If MLS dropped the salary cap then you would see NYRB, LA, TFC, SoundersFC, all dropping huge swaths of cash. Heck Paul Allen is the eighth richest owner in all of the footballing world. I know that Liga MX has a couple richer owners but if Seattle could offer ridiculous amounts of cash with no cap then they could attract a lot of great players.(please note the cap is good for competitive balance until the league can have all teams with deep pockets)

    • Anthony says:

      what?

    • Gerald says:

      Marquez was a DP so you so had to have a slot for him and the assets to trade. So what would have offered if you was any of those team

    • Tom says:

      Marquez simply didn’t like being in MLS, though I’m sure that the language barrier did have something to do with it (if I remember right, a lot of people said he wasn’t exactly a bundle of joy in the locker room). He wanted out and he got a lot of moolah for not doing much.

      If he were traded by New York, it should’ve been to Chivas. Imagine that Superclassico. Donovan vs. Marquez always made for good television.

      • Marcelo Balboa's Mustache says:

        All the players you mentioned are Brazilian, and speak Portuguese as a first language. Some may speak Spanish as well, but it is a different language.

  6. Maykol says:

    Damn gio why be in boring top talent league in Europe like Spain when you could do something “special” and have a “new challenge” here in mls with la galaxy?

    • Arthur says:

      I see a pattern here….I think Gio and Vela should accept a “special” and “new challenge” by helping Mexico to a respectable result in Brazil. Right now this looks to be about as “special” and “new” of a Mexican squad going to a World Cup in quite some time. CONCACAF needs a quality result from Mexico.

      • Good Jeremy says:

        The talent is there and they have a great group, and if they didn’t draw the teams from Group B for the round of 16 then they might do something special.
        But they did. And they won’t.

        Here’s to their traditional round of 16 exit and a completely unwarranted superiority complex!

  7. Peter says:

    Jozy totally needs to go back to the yellow submarines again.

  8. user222 says:

    Dos santos thinks he is a star… he aint any good… not even the national Mexican coach wants him…

    Gio runs like a duck…

    • Good Jeremy says:

      I’d take him over anyone on the roster minus Howard and Bradley, and he is playing better than both this season.

    • Anthony says:

      he isn’t that good? tell that to the fans in Spain that consider him one of the best players in La Liga just like Carlos Vela

      • Hush says:

        Relax buddy! Peeps in Spain don’t consider either of them them to be super stars.. Just solid players for average teams. I think Mexican fans tend to exaggerate with their NT players.. I personally wouldn’t take either of them. Freddy Adu in a USMNT jersey plays better than both of those players players, and you don’t hear U.S fans clammering over Adu … I personally wouldn’t take any Mex player over any U.S player right now. I hear the Mexican media and most fans always yapping on how great it would be if they could nationalize Michael Bradley

        • Maykol says:

          pretty sure national team fan overrates their players

          • Maykol says:

            *all national team fans

          • Trolltossin says:

            Pretty sure you are right. Mexico’s problem is theydont play as a team. Simple as that. Its a “me” first mentality and I dont see that changing anytime soon. Maybe it can and I will be wrong. When I say “anytime” I mean within the next 2-3 years.

        • Lu says:

          Lol he’s not lying. Both Gio and Vela are considered some of the best players in La Liga.

      • Nate Dollars says:

        ‘one of the best players in La Liga just like Carlos Vela’

        lol what the hell

        • Anthony says:

          they are, both were nominated to the best XI last season.

          • Nate Dollars says:

            again, what the hell? are barca and real madrid players not allowed to be nominated? i can maybe see vela getting in if there has to be another striker besides costa, but dos santos is not even one of the top ten mids in la liga.

        • Kevin_Amold says:

          One of the 100 best players.

    • Maykol says:

      Hed be an unquestionable starter for the USA

    • Increase says:

      He is good but a headcase. Can’t get it done when it matters.

  9. Benny says:

    I doubt it.

  10. Madden's Chin says:

    We all dislike Mexico, it’s fine.

    But let’s not lie to ourselves here. Giovanni Dos Santos would be a day one starter for the USMNT in whatever position he wanted. Period.

    • KNPonder says:

      All depends on which Gio that you are talking about. The Gio that is having success in Spain now . . . sure. The Gio from several months ago who looked completely lost on the pitch during qualifiers and could not hold down a starting spot . . . not so sure he even starts. Gio needs to show more consistency – particularly at the club level. He is arguably the most talented player in CONCACAF; however, his club track record is spotty. Maybe he is starting to put it together finally.

  11. slowleftarm says:

    Why did this thread turn into a bunch of people saying how great Mexico is? They may have some good individuals but they needed a miracle from the US to even make it to Brazil. Maybe they’ll get it together there but until then they don’t have anything to brag about and US fans shouldn’t be intimidated by them.

    • Boyd says:

      You need to work on your reading comprehension.
      Nobody is saying Mexico is great. They’re saying they have good players which is obvious to anybody without an inferiority complex and an open mind.
      Try it. The world is a beautiful place when you leave your bitterness and and complexes behind.

  12. Ted Tran says:

    That could have been Jozy instead of Gio…oh well.