‘Big Six’ among nine ex-Super League clubs who commit to UEFA

Nine of the original Super League clubs – including the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ – have declared their commitment to UEFA and its competitions at continental and domestic level.

However, the three who have not renounced the Super League – Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus – are set to face “appropriate action” under UEFA’s disciplinary action.

The 12 clubs announced themselves as founder members of the breakaway league on April 18, but within 72 hours it had fallen apart with the English clubs withdrawing after fan protests and Government pressure.


Kaveh Solhekol reports the latest as the ‘Big Six’ English clubs involved in failed plans for a European Super League have declared their commitment to UEFA – however Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus are yet to do so.

The clubs will make a combined 15m euro (just over £13m) goodwill contribution to benefit children’s and grassroots football across Europe.

They will also have five per cent of UEFA competition revenues withheld for one season. This money will be redistributed.

They face fines of 100m euros (almost £87m) each if they seek to join an unauthorised competition in the future, and a fine of half that if they breach any other terms of the declaration, UEFA said in a statement.

They will also rejoin the influential lobbying group the European Club Association.

A spokesperson for Manchester United confirmed the Glazer family would personally cover their club’s share of the goodwill money requested and the withheld funds.

It is expected that the amount the Glazers would be liable for is between five and 10 million euros.

Avram Glazer refuses to answer questions over Manchester United


Manchester United owner Avram Glazer refused to apologise to fans over the disastrous attempt to form a breakaway European Super League, when approached by Sky News

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: “I said at the UEFA Congress two weeks ago that it takes a strong organisation to admit making a mistake especially in these days of trial by social media. These clubs have done just that.

“In accepting their commitments and willingness to repair the disruption they caused, UEFA wants to put this chapter behind it and move forward in a positive spirit.

“The measures announced are significant, but none of the financial penalties will be retained by UEFA. They will all be reinvested into youth and grassroots football in local communities across Europe, including the UK.

“These clubs recognised their mistakes quickly and have taken action to demonstrate their contrition and future commitment to European football. The same cannot be said for the clubs that remain involved in the so-called ‘Super League’ and UEFA will deal with those clubs subsequently.”

On those clubs – Real, Barca and Juve – the tone was strikingly different in UEFA’s statement.

“UEFA has reserved all rights to take whatever action it deems appropriate against those clubs that have so far refused to renounce the so-called ‘Super League’,” the statement concluded.

“The matter will promptly be referred to the competent UEFA disciplinary bodies.”

The Football Association said in a statement: “We welcome today’s announcement from UEFA confirming that they have resolved matters with all of the English clubs involved in the proposed European Super League. We’re delighted that these clubs have committed to UEFA’s club competitions going forward.

“The FA has an ongoing inquiry into the involvement of the six English clubs and we have formally requested all relevant information and evidence regarding their participation. Once we have the required information, we will consider what appropriate steps to take.”

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Arsenal vs West Brom: Xhaka may return for hosts

Team news, stats and prediction ahead of Arsenal vs West Brom in the Premier League on Sunday (kick-off 7pm).

Team news

Granit Xhaka could be in contention for Arsenal’s Premier League clash with West Brom on Sunday.

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Former Arsenal striker Alan Smith feels Mikel Arteta ‘cuts a different figure’ to how he was before and says the belief ‘is being drained out of him’

The midfielder missed Thursday’s goalless draw with Villarreal – which saw the Gunners eliminated from the Europa League – after complaining of a tight muscle in the warm-up, but the issue is not believed to be serious.

Dani Ceballos is available having been banned for the previous game, while David Luiz (hamstring) is still likely to be sidelined.

West Brom will be without Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

West Brom manager Sam Allardyce (PA image)


West Brom manager Sam Allardyce says the club are planning for the future, whether it be in the Premier League or the Sky Bet Championship

The midfielder is unable to face his parent club as part of the terms of his loan agreement from Arsenal.

Albion have no new injury concerns but Branislav Ivanovic, Robert Snodgrass and Kieran Gibbs remain on the sidelines.

Relegation permutations

  • West Brom will be relegated if they lose. Also down if they draw and Burnley avoid defeat. Also down with a win if Palace avoid defeat and Brighton, Southampton & Burnley all win.
  • Fulham will be relegated if they do not win.

How to follow

Follow Arsenal vs West Brom in our dedicated live match blog. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.

Last time out…

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Arsenal’s win over Newcastle in the Premier League



FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from West Brom’s draw with Wolves in the Premier League

Jones Knows’ prediction

West Brom will be relegated here if they lose. Sam Allardyce’s reputation as a relegation firefighter hasn’t taken too much of a hit though. He’s shaped the Baggies into a far more accomplished outfit, one that would probably stay up next season if they were a Premier League team while posting the performance levels of the past two months. But it’s all too late for them.

Meanwhile, Mikel Arteta has a talented crop of young talent to work with and nurture, it’s proved the most exciting part of a mind-numbing season for the Gunners. Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe have shone, but the real jewel in the crown could be Gabriel Martinelli, who does remind me of Alexis Sanchez in his pomp. He’s aggressive, direct and is capable of making a difference in the final third. Arsenal are unbeaten in all six matches he’s started in the Premier League this season. Yes, he’s only 18 years old but the young guns are full of responsibility in this Arsenal set-up. They are the future of this club and should be let loose in the final few games.

If selected, West Brom will need to keep a lid on Martinelli’s clever movement, something that Fulham, Sheffield United and Newcastle all struggled with. His expected goal data shows a return of 0.59 per 90 minutes from his last five appearances in the Premier League, which is the fifth-highest of any player, and he is averaging just over three shots a game on his current numbers. That all equates to the 6/1 with Sky Bet for him to score first looking devilishly juicy.


BETTING ANGLE: Gabriel Martinelli to score first (6/1 with Sky Bet)

Opta stats

  • Arsenal have won 10 of their 12 home Premier League games against West Brom, failing only in November 2004 (1-1) and September 2010 (2-3).
  • West Brom have lost each of their last seven Premier League away games against Arsenal by an aggregate score of 15-1.
  • Arsenal have scored in all 25 of their Premier League meetings with West Bromwich Albion, the best 100% scoring record one side has against another in the competition.
  • Victory for Arsenal would see West Bromwich Albion relegated from the Premier League for a joint-record fifth time (along with Norwich). It would be their 11th top-flight relegation (only Birmingham with 12 have suffered more), while it would be manager Sam Allardyce’s first relegation from the Premier League.
  • West Bromwich Albion have lost more top-flight matches against Arsenal (65) than they have versus any other side in their history, with 39 of those defeats arriving in London.
  • Arsenal have lost seven home Premier League games in 2020-21; they last lost more home league matches in a single campaign in 1929-30 (9), a season in which the Gunners finished 14th in the table.
  • After winning consecutive away Premier League games in April 2018, West Bromwich Albion have won just two of their subsequent 18 away games in the competition (D5 L11). Indeed, only Sheffield United (4) have collected fewer away points in the Premier League this term than the Baggies (11).

Pitch to Post Preview: Jamie Redknapp on Man City vs Chelsea; Plus: what next for Arsenal, Man Utd after EL ties, and the top-four race

Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp joins Peter Smith to discuss Manchester City and Chelsea reaching the Champions League final ahead of their clash at the Etihad this weekend.

He also picks out some standout performers from both sides, explaining how Ruben Dias has transformed City, and praising the rise of Phil Foden and Mason Mount.

Sky Sports football writers Oli Yew and Ben Grounds are also on the show to discuss Arsenal’s Europa League exit and Man Utd’s progress to the final – and what comes next for both sides, with Mikel Arteta under pressure and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side looking to kick on.

Ben also assesses the top-four race, with some key fixtures coming up, and makes his pitch for what he thinks will happen in the Premier League this weekend!

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Ek remains committed to Arsenal takeover bid

Spotify co-founder Daniel Ek remains committed to his proposed Arsenal takeover despite the club facing a first season without European football in 25 years.

Swedish billionaire Ek is expected to make his opening bid – believed to be in the region of £1.8billion – for Arsenal but did not want to cause a distraction by doing it before the Europa League semi-final exit to Villarreal on Thursday.

Ek believes his plans and vision for Arsenal will transform the club, who are ninth in the league, and return them to a position where they will be challenging for the Premier League and Champions League again.

Stan Kroenke, who owns Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE), has been Arsenal’s owner since April 2011 and Ek will not comment publicly further on the bid.

The Kroenkes responded to Ek’s interest by saying they were “100% committed” to Arsenal and “are not selling any stake”.

Arsenal legends Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira have backed Ek’s takeover bid.

Henry confirmed to Sky Sports on Monday that Ek has “reached out” to the Kroenke family to present an offer to buy Arsenal and wants to “reinject the Arsenal DNA”.

Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry in the Monday Night Football studio on May 3, 2021


Thierry Henry spoke about Daniel Ek’s proposed Arsenal takeover on Monday Night Football

“I think it is going to be long and not easy – if it does ever happen,” the former Arsenal striker added.

“One thing that I want to reiterate is that Daniel will not move away, he will be there waiting to see if they want to sell.

“That is going to take a very long time, we know what we want to do, but first and foremost we need to make sure that we can take over if they are listening.”

Arsenal and Mikel Arteta fail to learn lessons as they exit Europa League

Arsenal v Villarreal - UEFA Europa League - Semi Final - Second Leg - Emirates Stadium
Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gestures during the UEFA Europa League Semi Final at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Thursday May 6, 2021.

Arsenal were held to a goalless draw by Villarreal on Thursday, consigning them to a 2-1 aggregate defeat in the Europa League semi-final and denying them a chance to save their season…

Mikel Arteta bemoaned Arsenal’s bad luck in his post-match press conference. The injury to Granit Xhaka in the warm-up. The two Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang efforts that struck the post.

But there is only so much that can be put down to bad luck. Arsenal bowed out of the Europa League having only mustered one shot on target, at home, in a semi-final they had to win. Their season is effectively over. And it is precisely what they deserve.

Arsenal are just fortunate the fans protesting Stan Kroenke’s ownership outside the Emirates Stadium before the game were not inside to watch it. The wild Villarreal celebrations that greeted the final whistle would have been drowned out by boos.

Nicolas Pepe’s penalty in Spain last week had given Arsenal a lifeline in the tie – albeit one they scarcely deserved. Arteta said they “had so much enthusiasm and desire” to go on and reach the final. But there was little evidence of that out on the pitch.

Instead, Arsenal’s under-performing players produced another display to highlight the need for a rebuild but the pressure is rising on Arteta too. He loaded his team with attackers as he sought to overturn the 2-1 deficit but it seemed the plan ended there.

Read more here…

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Emery’s Villarreal end Arsenal’s EL hopes

Arsenal’s season was left in tatters as Villarreal held on for a 0-0 draw at the Emirates Stadium to secure a 2-1 aggregate victory and a place in the Europa League final against Manchester United.

Following a 2-1 defeat in Spain in the first leg last week, the Gunners were sluggish as they tried to find the goal they so desperately needed, but they did have chances.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s volley struck the outside of the post in the first half and the Gunners skipper’s header hit the inside of the upright and bounced out with 11 minutes remaining.

The hosts, who threw on Gabriel Martinelli, Alexandre Lacazette and Willian in the closing stages, piled forward, but it was not to be their night as Unai Emery got the better of his former side, with Villarreal reaching their first European final, where they will face United in Gdansk on May 26.

Meanwhile, defeat in the tie capped yet another bad night in what has been a difficult campaign for Mikel Arteta and Arsenal. The Gunners now face the prospect of not qualifying for European competition for the first time in 25 years.

How Arsenal’s season was left in tatters…

Villarreal players celebrate their Europa League victory over Arsenal
Villarreal players celebrate their Europa League victory over Arsenal

Arsenal were forced into a late change to their starting line-up as Granit Xhaka pulled up with an injury in the warm-up. Kieran Tierney, making his first appearance since April, came into the side at left-back after returning from injury, and he was made to work straight away after a confident start from Villarreal.

There were nervy moments for the Gunners in the opening 20 minutes and the closest the visitors came was a Dani Parejo free-kick, which flew just over Bernd Leno’s crossbar.

At the other end, Arteta’s men were yet to click into gear, but they almost snatched the lead in the 27th minute. The ball dropped kindly for Aubameyang and his well-struck volley had goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli beat, but the ball clipped the outside of the upright.

Player ratings

Arsenal: Leno (6), Bellerin (4), Holding (6), Mari (7), Tierney (6), Partey (4), Smith Rowe (6), Odegaard (5), Pepe (6), Aubameyang (6), Saka (5).

Subs used: Martinelli (6), Lacazette (n/a), Willian (n/a), Nketiah (n/a).

Villarreal: Rulli (5), Pedraza (7), Pau Torres (8), Raul Albiol (8), Gaspar (7), Parejo (8), Coquelin (8), Trigueros (7), Gerard Moreno (6), Chukwueze (6), Alcacer (6).

Subs used: Bacca (6), Alberto Moreno (n/a), Gomez (n/a).

Man of the match: Francis Coquelin.

Villarreal then had to contend with an injury blow of their own and they were forced into an immediate change when Samuel Chukwueze, who went down with no one around him, was stretchered from the field and replaced by Yeremi Pino.

It was a tight, tense affair at the Emirates Stadium, but Arsenal eventually injected some life into the game as Emile Smith Rowe burst forward before releasing Aubameyang. The striker, in his favoured position over on the left, cut inside before forcing Rulli into action, and the goalkeeper clawed the ball away from goal after spilling the initial strike.

Villareal's Mario Gaspar, left, and Arsenal's Nicolas Pepe challenge for the ball during the Europa League semifinal second leg soccer match between Arsenal and Villarreal at the Emirates stadium in London, England, Thursday, May 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Villarreal’s Mario Gaspar and Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe challenge for the ball

Villarreal would have been happy with their work in the opening 45 minutes, keeping Arsenal relatively quiet, but, after a lacklustre first half, the Gunners came out with much more urgency for the second half.

Nicolas Pepe fired wide of the far post before Smith Rowe’s chipped effort drifted agonisingly wide of the far post after Rulli had made a mess of Hector Bellerin’s cross.

Villarreal were still a threat on the counter attack, and with the game starting to get stretched, Gerard Moreno had a glorious chance to make Arsenal’s task even more difficult, but the Spanish forward could only hit his shot straight at Leno.

Team news

Arsenal made eight changes for the second leg semi-final clash. Manager Mikel Arteta rested a host of first-team regulars for Sunday’s win at Newcastle. Only Hector Bellerin, Martin Odegaard and captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang kept their places.

Bernd Leno returned in goal with Rob Holding and Pablo Mari recalled at the heart of defence, while Thomas Partey, Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Nicolas Pepe – who scored the away goal in the first leg – all came into the side.

The Gunners were also forced into a late change to the starting XI as Granit Xhaka picked up a knock in the warm-up. Kieran Tierney came into the side at left-back.

Villarreal made two changes from last week’s first leg. Former Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin came into the XI along with Mario Gaspar. Etienne Capoue was suspended while Juan Foyth remained sidelined after picking up an injury last Thursday.

Arteta looked to his bench for inspiration, bringing on Martinelli, and the hosts began to build some pressure again as Rob Holding headed agonisingly wide after meeting Pepe’s cross.

There was more frustration moments later as Aubameyang rose highest to meet Bellerin’s cross but his header hit the inside of the post and bounced out.

It proved to be his final contribution as fit-again Lacazette replaced the Arsenal captain, while Willian came on for Tierney as the Gunners searched for the goal they needed, but Villarreal defended resolutely as they held on for a famous victory.

Arteta: We are devastated

Arsenal v Villarreal - UEFA Europa League - Semi Final - Second Leg - Emirates Stadium
Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gestures during the UEFA Europa League Semi Final at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Thursday May 6, 2021.
Arsenal’s Europa League hopes were ended by Villarreal

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta speaking to BT Sport:

“We are devastated. Really disappointed. We have to congratulate Villarreal. We tried everything until the last minute. I think we deserved to win the game but the details define these ties.

“We had three big chances, they didn’t have anything but they are through. So many things happened to us, and so many players were just trying to compete not at their best.”

On why Arsenal lost, he added: “It’s various things. The way we started in Villarreal wasn’t good enough. We didn’t arrive here in the best moment with everyone in their best condition. For 90 per cent of them it was their first semi-final and we have to learn.”

“The only way [to qualify for Europe] is through the Premier League so we know what we have ahead of us. Today is a big disappointment because we tried everything.”

When is the Europa League final?

The final will take place in Gdansk, Poland on Wednesday May 26 with the game kicking off at 8pm, UK time.

The Gdansk Arena was originally intended to host the 2020 showdown but the coronavirus outbreak caused the closing rounds of the 2019/20 competition to be staged in Germany.

The Polish authorities have confirmed that up to 9,500 spectators – 25 per cent of the stadium capacity – will be permitted.

VAR will continue to be used in the final, while five substitutions are allowed, with a sixth permitted for each side if the game goes to extra-time.

Man of the match – Francis Coquelin

Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, left, and Villareal's Francis Coquelin challenge for the ball during the Europa League semifinal second leg soccer match between Arsenal and Villarreal at the Emirates stadium in London, England, Thursday, May 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Villarreal’s Francis Coquelin challenge for the ball

If it was not a hard enough night already for Arsenal fans with the Gunners crashing out of Europe at the hands of their former manager Unai Emery, it was another former Gunner, who bossed the game from central midfield.

Coquelin was superb for the Spanish side, shielding his defence excellently, putting out plenty of fires and covering so much of the ground he knows so well.

Opta stats – Emery’s love affair with the Europa League continues

  • Villarreal have reached the final of a major European competition for the very first time, having been eliminated from each of their previous four semi-finals – UEFA Cup/Europa League in 2003-04, 2010-11, 2015-16 and UEFA Champions League 2005-06.
  • Having progressed from each of their first six semi-finals in major European competition, Arsenal have been eliminated from three of their four appearances at this stage in Europe since (2008-09 UEFA Champions League, 2017-18 and 2020-21 UEFA Europa League).
  • Since the competition’s rebranding in 2009-10, Unai Emery has reached the final of the UEFA Europa League on more occasions than any other manager (5 – 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16, 2018-19 & 2020-21) – indeed, the Spaniard has won the competition on three of the previous four occasions he has reached the final.
  • Villarreal remain unbeaten in 14 games in European competition (W12 D2), last suffering defeat in April 2019 (0-2 v Valencia in the UEFA Europa League quarter-final 2nd leg).
  • Arsenal have failed to score in 10 home matches within a single season in all competitions for the first time in the club’s history. The Gunners have failed to win in three consecutive home matches in Europe (D2 L1) for the first time since September 2003 (a run of six).

What’s next?

Wednesday 12th May 7:30pm

Kick off 8:15pm

Sky Sports Main Event HD
Sky Sports Main Event HD

Arsenal face West Brom in the Premier League on Sunday; kick-off 7pm. They then face Champions League finalists Chelsea on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 8.15pm. Villarreal are also back in league action on the same day, hosting Celta Vigo; kick-off 5.30pm.

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