Image:Real Sociedad’s players beat virus-depleted Granada Valencia’s teenage forward Lee Kang-in almost struck a third early in the second period but Courtois turned his shot onto the post.The home side kept up the momentum though and won two further penalties, for a foul by Marcelo on Maxi Gomez then a handball by Sergio Ramos.Soler converted each time, becoming only the third player in the history of La Liga to score three penalties in a single match.Five in a row for Real Sociedad Soler saw his spot-kick saved by Thibaut Courtois and then hit the post on the rebound, while team-mate Yunus Musah netted the loose ball, only to see the goal ruled out after a VAR review showed him encroaching in the area.A re-take was ordered and Soler made no mistake at the second attempt.Valencia took the lead before half-time through a freak own goal from Raphael Varane, who unwittingly sent the ball flying over his head and just over the line, the goal being awarded several minutes later following another VAR review.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – Earlier, Real Sociedad beat a nearly unrecognisable Granada side 2-0 to return to the top of La Liga.The visitors’ attempt to get the game postponed due to a spate of coronavirus cases was turned down by authorities, meaning they were forced to make nine changes from last week’s 1-1 draw with Levante and started with five players aged 20 or under.Granada’s makeshift side made a bright start but Sociedad took the lead midway through the first half through left-back Nacho Monreal, before a Mikel Oyarzabal penalty five minutes later doubled their advantage.Brazilian forward Willian Jose had a spot-kick saved by Granada’s 18-year-old ‘keeper Angel Jimenez in the second half and Sociedad ended the game with 10 men as defender Robin Le Normand was shown a straight red card in the 86th minute.Granada earned a penalty in added time but Darwin Machis was denied by an excellent save from Alex Remiro and the Basques celebrated a fifth consecutive La Liga victory.Other La Liga results:Getafe 1-3 VillarrealLevante 1-1 AlavesValladolid 2-1 Athletic Bilbao Valencia forward Carlos Soler scored a hat-trick of penalties as his side beat La Liga champions Real Madrid 4-1 at home in an extraordinary match on Sunday.Karim Benzema put Madrid ahead with a scorching strike from outside the area only for Valencia to pull level eventually with the first of Soler’s three penalties after a most unusual turn of events.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –
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So far, Arsenal’s only confirmed signing this summer has been France Under-21 forward Yaya Sanogo, a free transfer from Auxerre who was handed a start in attack against Galatasaray. Spaniard Arteta, however, confirmed the club is working hard behind the scenes to help strengthen the squad ahead of their crucial Champions League play-off later this month. “I think we are going to start the season with new faces. That is what we are all hoping for. That will give us a big boost and everyone is very positive,” said Arteta, himself a deadline day signing from Everton in August 2011. “It will happen. I have no doubts about it. It takes time, but I know the boss is working really hard on it, and the board as well. It will happen for sure. “I am very convinced but the great players normally come at the end of the transfer window. The clubs work hard to keep their best players and I think Arsenal will do well in the transfer window.” Arteta knows Arsenal must make the most of the momentum gained from the superb 10-match unbeaten run at the end of last season which saw them snatch fourth place from north London rivals Tottenham. “We know that we need to start really well from the start,” he said. “We can’t afford to drop points as we have done at the start of the last couple of seasons. We will start by hitting the ground running.” Arsenal must now regroup for next weekend’s final pre-season friendly against Manchester City in Helsinki, before the action kicks off for real with the visit of Aston Villa on August 17. The Gunners showed some form in patches on their return from a gruelling Asia tour during the Emirates Cup at the weekend, coming from behind to draw 2-2 with Rafael Benitez’s Napoli on Saturday, but then throwing away a 1-0 half-time lead against Galatasaray when a double from Didier Drogba secured the pre-season tournament trophy for the Turks. Arsenal’s protracted pursuit of Liverpool’s wantaway striker Luis Suarez has dominated the headlines, though, with the Anfield club insisting their star man is not for sale and rejecting a £40million plus £1 bid, which was believed would trigger the Uruguayan’s release clause. Press Association Arteta added: “We need to close the gap with the teams that are trying to win the titles. We have been too far in the last few seasons. We will start and see how it goes, but we won’t be as far this season.” Arsenal are, meanwhile, shortly expected to confirm the sale of Ivory Coast forward Gervinho to Roma and also Morocco striker Marouane Chamakh to newly-promoted Crystal Palace. Elsewhere, versatile young Gunners Nico Yennaris and Ignasi Miquel, both 20, are reported to be joining Leicester on loan. Arsenal are also said to be keen on Al Ain talent Omar Abdulrahman, offering the United Arab Emirates London 2012 Olympian a trail according to his club’s chairman. Vice-captain Mikel Arteta has told Arsenal fans to be patient as new big-money signings are on their way to lift the squad ahead of the new season and help fight for the Barclays Premier League title.