Latest Nigerian News | Naija News | Breaking News


Will Arsenal ever win the Premier League again under Wenger? – By Baba Grumpy

A few weeks ago, I was asked this question and was tasked to put my thoughts down.

I have not been motivated to write because of our poor form. In the words of a gentleman I respect, the Arsenal Team is like a “seemingly devastated side, shorn of confidence and steering wildly towards a rocky shore”.  May I add very much helped by a misguided section of the fan base that are very much determined to commit mass suicide by jumping off the cliff edge like lemmings.

Following the draw against Man City, I have found some energy and motivation to write.  Prior to Sunday’s match, it was difficult to tell where the next bit of light ahead of the tunnel was coming from. Fortunately we found something and I hope we can build on it. Not that the visitors on Wednesday will be a walk over. There is no ‘gimme’ in the Premier League plus it is a derby.  Desire, talent application, work rate & a bit of luck will do it. Should do it for us.

The simple answer to the subject of this article is: NOBODY KNOWS. Anybody who tells you they know one way or the other is unfortunately telling porkies.

At the start of 2015/16 season, at the mid point and after the Leicester loss at the Emirates that season, not one person knew Leicester will win and they did. Until The Spuds self-combust at Stamford Bridge, it was all ‘can they’? Not ‘they will’.  How many people had Chelsea down as league champions after the chastening defeat at The Emirates early this season? Less than 2 months ago, the Manchester Police Twitter account was bantering away at Liverpool FC’s inability to buy a Premier League point. Today they can’t stop vacuuming up 3 points.

At the start of this season, all the smart money was on one of the Manchester clubs winning league. See how that is panning out. Both clubs have spent close to a billion pounds over the last 2 seasons and are capable of paying over £200k per week wages to several players and are both still nowhere near Premier League winning sides.

Predicting if a side will win the league is not easy or straightforward otherwise Bookies will be out of business. Quoting generously from the same source as earlier “Football is a complex blend of tactics, egos, form and confidence”. Winning a football match is not easy let alone a league of 38 football matches.  The better team doesn’t always win for different reasons: ill luck; wrong bounce of the ball; funny / dodgy referees, injuries etc.

If you were to ask many if Everton or our poor neighbors in Middlesex can challenge for the title, you are likely to find that people are more willing to give them the benefit of doubt while not willing to cut Arsenal under Arsene any slack at all. Many will rightfully point to the last 13 years without a league championship; the inability to compete throughout the whole season, the Champions League Round of 16 exits, the inability to pay top wages, sign the very best players and potentially many more unconnected reasons like ticket prices, a non visible owner etc. as their reason why Arsenal under Arsene can’t win. They have a point. Up to a point.

What many don’t consider in all of their upset feelings on this touchy subject of Arsene Wenger’s continued stay at The Emirates is the subject of money.  The big bucks has simply been the biggest issue here. Until the billions from the Russian owner came in. Chelsea were nobodies. Now they are there or thereabout except when Jose Mourinho does a madness and threatens to bring the whole house down.

Same with Man City. 44 years with big fat zero until the Middle East Oil billions poured in. Money made a difference even in the Ferguson years. United were able to pay bigger wages and bigger transfer fees. When the Glazer debt hobbled United, their ability to compete and dominate was challenged season after season.

At the moment, Arsenal unfortunately can’t spunk money about like any of the bigger boys either for transfer fees or for wages.  Yes we have a billionaire owner. His wife and her family did not make their money from selling state assets to themselves nor did they suddenly discover some viscose liquid in their back garden. Even if the Arsenal owner had a money-printing machine in his cellar, it is his decision how to spend his money and any sane and rational person should not quarrel with that.

If Arsenal FC and its owners were to one day, decide to spend money like Chelsea, Man U and Man City are doing, it will take 2 to 3 transfer seasons of spending before we can draw level with where these troika are at the moment and there would still be no guarantees of success. If however Arsene and Arsenal can somehow contrive to magic this money and spend like Chelsea and Man City season after season, Arsene and Arsenal will compete from August to May every Premier League season, win at least one league title every 3 seasons and match the might of the European footballing elite in the Champions league.

For God’s sake, Pellegrini won the league and got to the Semi Final of the Champions League. What is this nonsense about football has passed Arsene by? What tactics did Pellegrini deploy to win his league title? Why can’t Arsene achieve the same with Arsenal with the ‘unlimited’ resources at the disposal of Chelsea or Man City?

A word of caution though. The day a leader of Russia decides he wants to be petty or the day Roman himself gets bored, what is going to happen to the unlimited resources of Chelsea? What happens when oil sells for single figures or a Mad Mullah is threatening the safety of the Middle East and they are on lockdown unable to ship oil for a few months?  Will the oil money still gush without a tap? People who think spending money like a drunken sailor is the way to go should beware the ides of Portsmouth and many others.

If Leicester is your retort to the issue of money, my simple response is that Leicester’s win was an exception. They waited for 120 years before their first bite of the cherry. Are we willing to wait that long too? I very much doubt that. Yes they did it and fair play to them. The stars aligned in their favor including dodgy refereeing decisions, Man City’s own flirtation with Pep with its detrimental effect on Pellegrini’s team and Arsenal’s own inability to capitalize on our Top of The League position after the New Year Day’s fixtures starting with the disappointing 3 – 3 draw at Anfield.

Leicester were also blessed with the fact that they are club without a playing philosophy until Nigel Pearson introduced a playing style that was adopted by Claudio Ranieri. Arsenal and Arsene have a playing philosophy and this in itself can be something of an albatross sometimes. It is easy for many who see winning as the only thing that matters to disagree with this playing philosophy issue but please listen to top managers including Pep Guardiola and you will appreciate that philosophy and identity are not like clothes that can be taken off willy-nilly. Alex Ferguson in two Champion League finals versus Barcelona did not change his style of play and lost both finals. As far as Arsene sticks to his playing philosophy and as long as we are unable to attract the top talents coming into the Premier League, it will take the same type of stars aligning as it happened for Leicester for Arsenal under Arsene to win the league.

If Arsene were to abandon his philosophy right now and right here. Put 10 men behind the ball, play dirty and cynical, cheat, create an intimidating atmosphere for referees like Ferguson did, I make bold to say we will challenge for the league like Leicester too and maybe like Ranieri achieved one title win in his 30 year managerial career, Wenger can finally add to his 3 titles by wining another one for Arsenal within the next 4 years before he retires.


Baba Grumpy works in Financial Services in the United Kingdom. He blogs mostly about football .

It’s a fact Arsenal are bigger, better club than Chelsea – Gary Neville

Manchester United legend, Gary Neville has risked a huge backlash from Chelsea fans after claiming that Arsenal are a bigger club than their west London rivals, reports

Neville’s comments look certain to anger the Blues faithful once again as they remain seven points clear at the top of the table and are 18 points ahead of the Gunners.

Arsenal have faced nothing but turmoil both on and off the pitch in recent months with Arsene Wenger’s future dominating the headlines on a regular basis.

But despite all the drama that surrounds the north London club, Neville is still adamant that Arsenal are a much bigger club than Chelsea and feels they will still attract better quality players during the summer.

“This is a better club than Chelsea,” he said on Sky Sports after Sunday’s draw with Manchester City.

“Why wouldn’t players come and play here? Look at this stadium, it’s unbelievable.

“Chelsea are a fantastic club but you’ve got to say, even Chelsea fans wouldn’t argue that Arsenal are a bigger club than them.

“Arsenal are a bigger club than Chelsea. They are, it’s a fact.

“That’s not a criticism of Chelsea. Chelsea are a club that’s really only grown in the last 10 or 15 years. They’ve done brilliantly well.

“But they’re not as big a club as Arsenal.”

Neville was one of the analysts of the match between Arsenal and Manchester City at the Emirates on Sunday.


Source: The Guardian

This season is over for Santi Cazorla – Arsene Wenger

Santi Cazorla will not play again this season, with the Spaniard failing to recover from an injury sustained last October.

The Spanish midfielder has been a long-term absence as Arsenal have struggled this year, but had been expected to return in the early part of 2017.

But on Thursday Arsene Wenger confirmed ‘the season is over for him’.

Santi Cazorla has not played since October, when he was injured against Ludogorets

Santi Cazorla has not played since October, when he was injured against Ludogorets

The injury first occurred in Arsenal’s Champions League match against Ludogorets, with manager Arsene Wenger optimistic Cazorla would miss no more than a couple of matches.

The Spaniard took a kick to his right ankle during that game, aggravating a existing Achilles problem in the process.

Arsenal at first tried to treat the injury without surgery, but Cazorla eventually had an operation in December, at which point he was expected to return this month.

However, further set-backs mean the diminutive Spaniard will not be able to play again before May, with Wenger confirming there is no chance of a return this season.

Cazorla has been an instrumental part of Arsenal’s play when fit, but this injury is the second time in two years he has missed large chunks of the season.

Last year he was a crucial player for the Gunners until late November, at which point injury ruled him out for the majority of the campaign, with Cazorla returning only for the final fixture of the season.

Arsenal star Chuba Akpom set to dump England for Nigeria

Just like his clubmate Alex Iwobi, Arsenal striker Chuba Akpom is set to join the growing ranks of English-born footballers ready to play for Nigeria.

Though Akpom, who is currently on loan at Brighton, is yet to make a categorical statement on his international commitment, he, however, joined the Super Eagles’ Barnet training camp in England this week.

The 21-year old has played for England’s U-16 and U-21 sides.

The players were invited to join the Nigerian squad for a training match on Monday, for assessment by the technical crew.


Source: The Guardian

Arsene Wenger dismisses PSG contract offer story, says it is ‘fake news’.

Under-pressure Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger dismissed as “fake news” reports that Paris Saint-Germain had offered him a two-year deal at the French champions.

The Frenchman is facing a fan backlash at Arsenal after a rotten run of form and British tabloid The Sun said on Monday that PSG had offered him a contract to replace Unai Emery this summer.

Wenger, who has reportedly decided to stay at Arsenal despite mounting pressure to quit, told beIN Sports of the PSG link: “It’s a false rumour, it’s ‘fake news’. I say formally: it is not true.”

“I know what I’ll do in my future, so you will know very soon,” he told reporters.

British media subsequently said Wenger, who has been in charge at Arsenal since 1996, was set to sign a new contract.

Cech named Czech Player of the Year

Arsenal’s Petr Cech, has been named as the Czech Player of the Year for a record ninth time.

The Arsenal goalkeeper topped a poll of players, coaches, officials and journalists, with Hertha Berlin’s Vladimir Darida in second, and Borek Dockal in third.

Cech retired from international football after Euro 2016 after making 124 appearances for the Czech Republic.

Fan protests may force me out of Arsenal – Wenger

Arsene Wenger admits an ongoing revolt among Arsenal fans will have an influence over his decision whether to leave the club at the end of the season. This comes as the Gunners have offered star midfielder, Mesut Ozil, a £280,000-a-week deal to stay in London.

Wenger’s position at the club came under renewed pressure on Tuesday after a humiliating 5-1 home defeat to Bayern Munich. The 10-2 aggregate defeat saw them eliminated at the last-16 stage for the seventh consecutive season.

Gunners’ supporters dissented against the Frenchman before kick-off, with an estimated 200 fans marching in protest against Wenger outside the stadium. The mood only soured further as the evening went on.

Wenger has an offer to extend his stay at the Emirates and insists he will hold off on making a decision until the end of the season. But, for the first time during his 20-year spell as manager in north London, he now admits the sight of fans turning on him could force him out of the club.

“I don’t know, its difficulty to judge [supporters], I have worked hard for 20 years to make fans happy,” he said speaking to reporters ahead of tomorrow’s FA Cup quarter-final clash against Lincoln City.

“When you lose a game I understand they are not [happy]. I don’t want to judge that. I said many times, you have to accept many opinions.” When asked if the rising tension between the club and supporters will have an influence over his decision whether or not to sign a new contract, he responded: “Yes, it will have influence. It may not be most important fact but you consider it, of course.

Ozil could earn around £280,000-a-week if he decides to extend his contract at Emirates. He is currently the highest earner at Arsenal with wages of around £140,000-a-week plus bonuses.

Arsenal signed Ozil from Real Madrid for a fee of £42 million in 2013 and the German has had a mixed career in England so far.According to Daily Mirror, the 28-year-old midfielder is stalling on his contract extension because he believes he can get more money at another club. Ozil has 15 months left on his current deal and could leave the club at the end of this season.

It is a similar issue with Alexis Sanchez as well. The Chilean winger has been offered wages of £200,000-a-week, but the former Barcelona star is holding out for more.

With Arsene Wenger’s future also in doubt, it seems that a massive exodus at Arsenal is definitely on the cards this summer. The French manager is out of contract at the end of this season and has not signed an extension yet.Arsenal are currently fifth in the Premier League table and will be looking to finish in top four.


Source: The Guardian

Wenger has informed the players that he’s leaving – Tancredi Palmeri

Reports in Italy have revealed that Arsene Wenger has told his players that he will quit Arsenal at the end of this season.

According to Italian football journalist, Tancredi Palmeri, the Frenchman has informed the team members about his decision but has yet to have a meeting with the club’s board to inform people running the club as well.

Arsenal are reported to have offered Wenger a two-year contract extension although the Frenchman seems intentioned to part companies with the North London club after spending over 20 years with the Gunners.

Wenger’s Arsenal faced Bayern Munich yesterday with the impossible task of subverting the first leg’s verdict as Bayern Munich trashed the Gunners 5-1 in an Allianz Arena clash three weeks ago.

Many Arsenal fans will celebrate this news although Palmeri insists that the club’s board has yet to be informed about Wenger’s decision and that “everything can still happen.”

Also yesterday, Gilberto Silva became the latest Arsenal great to say his former manager Arsene Wenger has reached the end of the road.

The World Cup-winning midfielder, a cornerstone of Wenger’s ‘Invincible’ league champions of 2003-04, believes that a new breed of Premier League managers, including Chelsea’s Antonio Conte, Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola and Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp – have the energy the 67-year-old lacks after over two decades at the Arsenal helm.

“I feel that the time has come,” the 2004 Premier League champion told Sport 360.

“The more the past is coming to a close, the more his time is coming – not because he can’t do the job any longer, but, perhaps because the other clubs have changed their way of working, the way of doings things.

“He hasn’t changed much, he hasn’t changed his way of working – not because he doesn’t want to, but it is not so easy to compete with clubs who spend a lot of money every season.

“Wenger has spent a lot more years than them (Conte, Guardiola and Klopp) in the Premier League. They are younger and motivated and they have a lot of energy to look around and source ways to win against Wenger.

“He has his own way of working, in which he believes. Irrespective of whether you are either a young or an old coach, you have to believe in something, and that’s what he does.”

Gilberto is not the only member of the Invincibles to have criticised Wenger, whose contract expires at the end of the season, in recent weeks. After last month’s 5-1 defeat former Arsenal defenders, Martin Keown and Lee Dixon said they believed the Frenchman’s time at the club was up.

Ozil out of Arsenal’s clash against Bayern Munich

Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil will miss Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 second leg against Bayern Munich after illness, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger said.

Ozil was absent from Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Saturday and although the German star has returned to training, Wenger doesn’t believe he is ready to face Bayern.

Losing the World Cup winner for the Emirates Stadium showdown is another blow for Arsenal, who face the daunting task of having to overturn a 5-1 deficit from the first leg.

“He had only one session yesterday. I don’t think he is ready physically to be in the squad.

“He should be ready for the weekend (for the FA Cup quarter-final against Lincoln).”


Source: The Guardian

“Arsenal have mental problem” – Laurent Koscielny

Arsenal defender, Laurent Koscielny has said the team have a “mental problem” in maintaining consistency against big teams.

Injury forced the withdrawal of Koscielny from last week’s Champions League match in Germany against Bayern Munich with the score at 1-1 soon after the break.

The Bundesliga champions went on to win the match 5-1.

Arsene Wenger’s side have won just once and lost four times against other clubs currently in the Premier League’s top seven, and the defender noted, “We have up and down results. It’s a mental problem.

“We have the technical and physical qualities. We have to make an effort for the whole game.

“Against big teams you need more than talent. It takes more commitment, helping your teammates to defend. You have to find other reserves.

“In certain games we lacked the knack, determination in challenges. We’re in a difficult situation and we have to stick together. We have to hate losing.”

Bad news for Arsenal as Cazorla is ruled out for the season

Santi Cazorla will not play for Arsenal again until next season, as he has been ruled out with an ankle injury.

The Spanish midfielder has not played for the Gunners since their 6-0 victory over Ludogorets in the Champions League in October last year.

Cazorla underwent surgery on his ankle in December and was expected to be out for three months.

Last month, the Premier League club activated a clause in his contract, which has seen his deal extended by two years.

The 32-year-old’s current contract was due to expire at the end of this season.

But an FA document shows that Arsenal took up the option on December 20, 2016. The club moved quickly to file the relevant paperwork with the FA, to avoid a scenario where Cazorla is eligible to speak with foreign clubs from January 1, 2017.

Cazorla has scored twice for Arsenal this season against Watford and Southampton.

Sutton United keeper resigns after eating pie in 2-0 defeat to Arsenal

Sutton United goalkeeper, Wayne Shaw, has resigned after his pie-eating stunt during their 2-0 defeat to Arsenal in the FA Cup fifth round on Monday.

The 45-year-old caused a frenzy on social media, as he ate the pie on the substitutes’ bench during the game at Gander Green Lane.

The Gambling Commission later announced they would investigate the incident, after Shaw admitted he was aware Sun Bets offered odds of 8-1 that he would eat a pie “live on air.”

Sutton manager Paul Doswell has now confirmed the keeper has offered to cancel his contract.

“It’s been very disappointing, no doubt about that,” he told Sky News.

“I woke up this morning to this storm of criticism and it’s something we have dealt with quickly as a club.

“Wayne has offered his resignation to the chairman this afternoon and its been accepted. It’s a very, very sad end to what’s been a great story.”

Wenger vows to continue as coach despite Arsenal criticism.

Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger, has emphatically declared that he has no plan of quitting the scene whether at Arsenal “or somewhere else” any time soon.

The 67-year old was speaking at the end of one of the most troubling weeks of his long term tenure as Gunners boss on Friday.

After Wednesday’s 5-1 Champions League defeat by Bayern Munich, several ex-players said they believed his time in charge was coming to an end.

The Frenchman’s contract expires at the end of this season and he said he would decide on a new deal in March or April.

“No matter what happens I will manage for another season. Whether it’s here or somewhere else, that is for sure.

“If I said March or April it is because I didn’t know. I do not want to come back on that.

“I am used to the criticism. I think in life it’s important to do what you think is right and all the rest is judgement. I am in a public job and I have to accept that, but I have to behave with my values.” Wenger was quoted as saying on BBC Sports

Much of the recent criticism of Arsene Wenger has centred around Arsenal’s underwhelming European record, with a 5-1 defeat by Bayern Munich leaving the club on the verge of failing to reach the Champions League quarter-finals for an eighth successive season.

No excuses after Munich “nightmare” – Arsene Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted his side had “collapsed mentally” in their 5-1 Champions League rout by Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

The under-pressure Frenchman said there were no excuses as the Gunners faced a seventh successive last-16 exit after their latest mauling.

“We conceded the second goal and then the most important thing was that we lost Laurent Koscielny (to injury). We collapsed mentally,” said Wenger who will now face fresh calls for his resignation.

Wenger’s post-match press conference lasted barely five minutes and was cut short after he answered just a few questions.”I am not looking for excuses. Overall I must say they were a better team than us, they played very well in the second half and we dropped our level,” he added.

“They were better than us, well done to Bayern. Their third goal was a killer — we had no response.” It is a shock of course to lose at this level.”

Wenger refused to discuss his personal mood after the match.

“How I feel I don’t think is the most important but of course it is disappointing,” he said although pundits thought otherwise.

“He looked particularly wounded. I feel for him — he almost needs to be protected from himself,” former Arsenal defender Martin Keown told BT Sport.

“This is a massive low point for him. This brings forward the change that looks likely at the end of the season.”

Arjen Robben opened the scoring after just 11 minutes at the Allianz Arena when the Dutchman beat Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina with a fine left-foot strike into the top corner.

Chile international Alexis Sanchez levelled for Arsenal on the half-hour, hitting in a rebound at the second attempt after he had a controversial penalty saved by Manuel Neuer.

But Robert Lewandowski restored the German side’s lead after 53 minutes, heading in a cross from Philipp Lahm with Thiago Alcantara adding a third just three minutes later.

Thiago piled on the misery for Arsene Wenger’s men with his second and Bayern’s fourth just after the hour with substitute Thomas Mueller adding a fifth two minutes from time.

Wenger said the loss of Koscielny just after the break — with the scores at 1-1 — turned the game.

“It was a strange game because we played quite well in the first half, we then conceded goals in quick succession,” said Wenger.

“I’d have loved to have kept Laurent on the pitch and it’s difficult to measure the impact, but the fact is we have to cope with the result. We had an extremely bad result tonight.

“It was difficult to shake off the two goals in quick succession — we lost our organisation and our centre back.”

The Frenchman said his side lost their composure after Lewandowski’s powerful header from a cross and suffered a “nightmare” final 25 minutes.

“We were badly done for the second goal and the real problems came after the third goal, because we lost our organisation,” he added.

“We were very jaded and vulnerable from that moment on. The last 25 minutes were a nightmare for us, because we had no response.”

Oshoala dumps Arsenal Ladies for mega rich Chinese Women’s Super League

Super Falcons striker, Asisat Oshoala, has taken her trade to the Chinese Women’s Super League from English side Arsenal.

The former Liverpool Ladies striker is currently training with Dalian Quanjian in their winter camp as they prepare for the new season.

According to, Chinese media sources have revealed that Oshoala, alongside Cameroonian striker Gaelle Enganamouit, have been marked as the designated foreign picks by Dalian Quanjian to bolster their squad for the new season

China has become the go-to destination for a lot of players recently, as the Chinese splash out the cash to attract players to the Asian country.

Super Eagles skipper, John Obi Mikel, Odion Ighalo, Chinedu Obasi Ogbuke and Obafemi Martins are some of the Nigerians who have headed east. But the former Rivers Angels star is the first Nigerian woman to head to China, where she has reportedly tripled her earnings.

Oshoala moved to Arsenal Ladies from Liverpool Ladies and won the FA Women’s FA Cup last season. She also led the Super Falcons to defend their African title at the 2017 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations in Cameroun.


Source: Guardian

Manchester United wouldn’t celebrate top-four finish – Carrick

Manchester United midfield Maestro Michael Carrick insists a top-four finish in the Premier League would be no reason to celebrate.

Despite a 15-match unbeaten league run, Jose Mourinho’s men are sixth in the table, albeit just two points behind fourth-placed Arsenal.

With Chelsea seemingly running away with the title, as many as six clubs are fighting for the three spots behind Antonio Conte’s team.

But Carrick – a five-time league winner whose future at United is uncertain – said no celebrations would be had if Mourinho’s side secured a top-four spot.

“It’s not something we’d celebrate, if we finished third, fourth or even second,” he told the Mirror.

“You only celebrate when you win, but the Champions League is a big part of this club. It’s where you want to play, it’s where the best players want to play.

“So in terms of attracting players and all that type of stuff, the club is geared up for that, of course it is, but you can only celebrate winning, really, and finishing top.”

Part of their long unbeaten run has seen United held by the likes of Stoke City and Hull City in recent matches.

Carrick said qualifying for the Champions League was the minimum expectation at Old Trafford.

“In terms of the top four, you can’t say it’s unthinkable not to make it because it’s there. You’ve got to achieve it, you’ve got to earn it,” he said.

“We’ve certainly got everything there to give us the best chance of reaching that goal, but the top four has got to be the bare minimum, really.”

United look to continue their top-four push when they host Watford on Saturday.

Ballack tells Ozil to quit Arsenal for Bayern Munich

Former Chelsea midfielder, Michael Ballack, has told Mesut Ozil to leave Arsenal for Bayern Munich, if he wants to win major trophies.

Ozil is in talks with the Gunners over a new deal, with the current one running out in June 2018.

Ballack feels he should not extend his stay at the Emirates and should return to Germany.

“Mesut is an amazing player. He knows that he is one of the undisputed stars at Arsenal,” Ballack told Sport Bild.

“A lot of clubs would love to have him.

“But if he wants to win a major title, he has a bigger chance to achieve that at Bayern.”

Ballack also admitted that Arsenal will not allow Ozil leave except a big transfer fee is paid.

“If you look at the recent developments in England and China, it seems inevitable that Bayern will soon pay transfer fees of €50million or so as well,” he added.

“They have to if you want to keep competing with the best.

“If you want to bring in a world-class player, you will have to invest.”



Ballack tells Ozil to quit Arsenal for Bayern Munich

We are going to show Arsenal we have changed since the 3-0 defeat – Conte

Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte, has urged his side to complete the job in “a big week for the club”, as they prepare to face Arsenal this weekend.

Conte’s men lost 3-0 in the reverse fixture at the Emirates last September, as the Gunners blew them away in a first-half blitz.

“We have to concentrate and prepare for Arsenal, because we face another great team – that’s what they are. They can fight for the title,” he said after their 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Tuesday

“This week is very important for us and we want to finish in the right way.

“This was a good result for sure, but we wasted a lot of energy in a difficult atmosphere, and don’t forget in the previous game we lost 3-0 away to Arsenal. This could be a good chance for us to show now in second half of season we are a totally different team if you compare the previous game.”

Conte also added that his squad is now secure until the end of the season, even though the Chinese transfer window is still open until February 28.

He added: “Is it still open in China? For us, the market is finished. Not buy, not sell, and I am very happy with that – our market is finished.”

Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi truly on the path to greatness – By Andrew Mangan

After a November night that saw him struggle to find his best form and score an unfortunate own goal in the 2-2 draw against Paris Saint-German in the Champions League, Alex Iwobi found himself taken out of the firing line by Arsene Wenger.

Although he started an EFL Cup game and the European match against FC Basel, Iwobi was kept in reserve in the Premier League. He was unused in the 3-1 home win over Bournemouth, came on in the 88th minute of the 5-1 win at West Ham and got about 20 minutes in each of the games against Stoke and Everton.

It was smart management from Wenger, who has illustrated his belief in the 20-year-old attacker’s talent and potential more than once.

Selecting him away at Barcelona in the Champions League in March of last year was a way of giving a side that needed it something fresh, but it wasn’t a change merely for the sake of change. Wenger saw the maturity and quality in Iwobi’s game, felt confident he could perform on a stage that grand and wasn’t let down by this belief.

Yet as with most young players, fluctuations in form are normal. There’s almost a carefree nature to the early part of their breakthrough. Expectations are low, there’s no real pressure as people understand the circumstances, and that allows them to play with real freedom.

Over time, though, that changes. Once you show you can perform to a certain level, that’s what people begin to expect. With that comes pressure, perhaps some self-doubt, and more difficulty playing to your potential.

Having given Iwobi some time out of the spotlight to work things out on the training ground and take stock of his situation, Wenger was rewarded with an excellent performance from the attacking midfielder in the 4-0 win over Swansea.

He helped force two own goals — although Iwobi says he’s going to try and claim the first — and was involved in the buildup to the fourth, which was tucked away in the end by Alexis Sanchez.

It was a display of creativity, pace and power from a young man who has serious potential and who, if he stays on the right track, is destined to be one of Gunners’ great homegrown stars. Iwobi joined the club at age nine and has come up through the academy system to become a fixture in the first team.

Only Sanchez, defenders Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal, and Mesut Ozil have started more games for Arsenal this season, and the progress Iwobi is making as a player is hugely exciting.

It might also be to his benefit that he declared for the country of his birth, Nigeria, when it comes to international football. He had represented England at junior levels, but over the last couple of years was completely ignored by the FA, thus making his decision to follow in the footsteps of his legendary uncle Jay-Jay Okocha even easier.

There’s no doubt that if he were an England international playing this well and showing so much verve in his performances, people would be talking about him a lot more. It is a double-edged sword, though, because with that comes increased scrutiny and perhaps greater pressure.

And there is not much certain sections of the football press like more than building a young player up so that they can knock him down again. Look at some of the treatment received by Raheem Sterling, for example, to see how that works.

Source: ESPN

Dream comes true for Bramall, signs for Arsenal a week after losing his job

The 20-year-old defender — who had previously failed to convince Crystal Palace and Sheffield Wednesday to take him on after trials with them — signed for a reported fee of £40,000 (46,000 euros, $48,500) from non league side Hednesford Town.


“Incredible, incredible. It’s a dream come true. I can’t believe that I’m here already,” he told the Arsenal website.

“I played a game at Birmingham City on a Monday. Then on the Tuesday, I was made redundant from Bentley Motors and on the Wednesday, Arsenal came in.


“I was gobsmacked and took the chance with both hands. I drove down on the Wednesday and trained with the first team on Thursday and Friday. Then they offered me a deal.”


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said last week that Bramall reminded him of Gunners defending great Ashley Cole.


Bramall — who may end up crossing swords with another former Hednesford product in Wales captain and central defender Ashley Williams who is at Everton — will first get a taste of Under-23 action and faces competition to make the senior first team from Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs.

Arsenal got Bayern again. See the Champions League Draw [Full List] #UCLDraw

Arsenal will meet Bayern Munich while defending champions Real Madrid take on SS Napoli in the round of 16 of 2016/2017 UEFA Champions League.

The draws, held at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, on Monday saw Bayern Munich drawn against Arsenal.

Arsenal met Bayern Munich in the round of 16 in the 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 seasons with the Bundesliga champions emerging victorious on both occasions.

Paris Saint-Germain will take on Barcelona, while English Premier League champions Leicester will square off against Sevilla.

FC Porto will face Serie A champions Juventus, Borussia Dortmund and Benfica will go head-to-head while AS Monaco will take on Manchester City.

The first legs of the round of 16 will take place on the 14th,15th, 21st and 22nd of February, 2017.

The pairings

AS Monaco Vs Manchester City

Arsenal Vs Bayern Munich

FC Porto Vs Juventus

Bayern Leverkusen Vs Atletico Madrid

PSG Vs FC Barcelona

Sevilla Vs Leicester

Real Madrid Vs Napoli

Benfica Vs Dortmund

Iwobi Needs To Score More Goals – Ian Wright

Arsenal legend Ian Wright has advised Super Eagles forward Alex Iwobi to step and improve on his goal sense and  score goals on a more regular basis.

Iwobi scored his first goal of the season for Arsenal in their 4-1 win against Basel in Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League match-day 6 tie.

The 20-year-old got Arsenal’s fourth after Lucas Perez had scored a hat-trick.

Last season, he scored two goals after breaking into Arsenal’s first team.

Speaking on BT Sport, Wright said: “That’s what I think he (Iwobi) needs more goals).

“I think he’s got everything and it’s good that Arsene Wenger eased him out of the team for a bit because he started to get a little bit stale with what he was doing.

“This goal [against Basel] will pep him up and he really did celebrate it with gusto.”

Transfer news: Manchester City seeks Alexis Sanchez

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has reportedly made a personal phone call to Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez’ in a bid to lure the Chilean away from the the Emirates.

According to Chilean publication El Mercurio, Pep Guardiola made a personal call to the former Barcelona man who hit a hat-trick to inspire the Gunners to a 5-1 victory over West Ham on Saturday in a bid to convince the Arsenal star to join him at Manchester City.

Sanchez has been in discussions to extend his stay at the Emirates, with his current deal running out in 2018. The report details how Pep has spoken with the player on at least two occasions with a view to signing the 27-year-old.

It is a tactic that the former Bayern coach used to convince Claudio Bravo to join him and replace Joe Hart in goal, according to the report.

Sanchez has been in blistering form for Arsene Wenger’s side this term after being shifted into a centre-forward role.

Sanchez who since his departure from Camp Nou in 2014 won the FA Cup with the Gunners and also inspired Chile to two Copa America triumphs has now scored 11 league goals already this term, to tie Diego Costa for the league top goal scorer and has amassed a further five assists.

Arsenal to make decision on Cazorla future in January

Arsene Wenger says Arsenal will make a decision about Santi Cazorla’s future at the club come January.

The experienced midfielder’s contract at the Emirates Stadium is due to expire at the end of the season and he has been heavily linked with a move to Atletico Madrid in recent months.

Arsenal have an option to extend his stay at the club, though, and Wenger is adamant the 31-year-old’s injury problems do not play a role in deciding whether Cazorla will stay, with the Spaniard expected to be sidelined until February with an ankle problem.

“Santi has six months left on his contract, but we have an option [to renew],” Wenger told reporters.

“We can take this option, but I would like to speak with Santi about it before making any announcements. I have not discussed it with him yet. A decision will be made in January.

“It is not down to his fitness. It is my decision only. Santi is an exceptional player.

“The dressing room needs a balance between experience and youth-team players and you need to be guided by some experienced players when you go through difficult times. They help you always to keep your feet on the ground and keep focused.”

UCL: Three Top Champions League Matches To Watch Tonight

For the concluding part of Match Day 5 games, picks a list of three key games that should be explosive tonight.


Arsenal Vs PSG 


The Gunners and the Parisians are both through to the knockout phase of the UEFA Champions League but both teams are understandably angling to finish top in the group.


Though presently tied on 10 points, Arsenal hold a slight advantage at the moment with a better goals’ difference of +9 compared to PSG’s +6.


The reverse fixture between the two teams ended in stalemate as Arsenal snatched a 1-1 draw during their visit of Paris.



Arsenal are unbeaten in 17 games and are just three points off the top of the Premier League while they have as it were breezed through to the next stage in Europe.


One character many will want to see in the Arsenal, PSG clash is French star, Olivier Giroud who was sent off in the first leg in quite debatable circumstances.


The battle ground for the two Fly Emirates teams is the Emirates Stadium where Arsenal’s invincibility is gradually returning… Happy viewing


Besiktas vs Benfica


This is arguably the most keenly-contested group in this stage of the Championship League. Presently, three teams still stand a chance of pulling through to the next phase from this group.


Yet to lose a game this season, Besiktas drew the reverse fixture and recently held the group leaders Napoli to a stalemate at home.


If the Black and Whites can muster a win this term at home, they will be on course to secure a berth in the knockout phase.



However, nothing suggests that Benfica who are joint-top at the moment will be a stroll in the park as the Portuguese team have not been push-overs by any means at home or in their travel.


Benfica are also in fine form. Unbeaten in nine, they lead the Primeira Liga by five points from Porto and have put themselves back in Champions League contention with successive wins over group whipping boys Dynamo Kiev.


Interestingly, while the coaches and players are firming up their strategies, the Besiktas fans also have some innovation they are working on.


Besiktas supporters who once set a world crowd noise record are planning to mark their Champions League tie against Benfica with the world’s first ‘silent cheer’.


On Wednesday, an estimated 42,000 fans in the new Vodafone Arena will choreograph a cheer using only sign language for one minute when the game kicks off against Benfica in Istanbul.


In all a spectacle is expected in Istanbul tonight


Match available on Supersport….


Borussia Moenchengladbach Vs Manchester City


The trip is to Germany is quite tricky for Coach Pep Guardiola and his team. With many already conceding top spot (or at least one of the tickets) in Group C to the rampaging Barcelona team, Moenchengladbach and City are in a straight fight for the other ticket.


Only victory for the Germans can reignite their slim chances but going by their poor run of form, it will be surprising to see them triumph over the Citizens.



Also, a win at Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday night will carry Manchester City through to the knockout phase of the Champions League with a game to spare.


With this development, it is safe to say that it is a winner takes all contest.


After their statement win over Barcelona, many will expect Manchester City to pass their German test in flying colours.

Al Ahly Said I Was Not Good Enough – Arsenal’s Elneny

Mohamed Elneny believes that if he hadn’t been rejected as a youngster by Al Ahly, he may not have ended up at Premier League giants Arsenal.

The 24-year-old Pharaohs player started out his career with Al Ahly as a youngster, but he was ultimately released by the team.

Elneny went on to kick start his young career with Arab Contractors, where he caught the eye of Swiss side FC Basel. From there, he was snapped up by Arsenal in early 2016.

“They [Al Ahly] told me that I am not good enough,” Elneny explained in regards to his departure from Al Ahly.

“I am happy that I got rejected, I might have not been at Arsenal if I wasn’t.

“My father was very upset, but I told him that I will make him proud,” the midfielder added.

Hector Bellerin Signs New Arsenal Contract

Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin has signed a long-term contract extension to end speculation over his future.

The Spain international, 21, had been a target for his former side Barcelona, who saw him as a potential long-term replacement for Dani Alves, while Pep Guardiola was reportedly interested in taking him to Manchester City.

Bellerin distanced himself from a potential move back to Catalunya, however, insisting he would have stayed if he wanted to play for the Blaugrana, having left to join Arsenal in 2011 before breaking into the first-team in 2014-15.

While he says he has been frustrated by the Gunners turning him into a right-back, an agreement over a new contract has seemed imminent, with his agent insisting he was happy in north London.

The new deal for Bellerin comes as a major boost to Arsenal, who are also locked in renewal negotiations with star players Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, both of whom are out of contract in 2018. Furthermore, there remains a great deal of uncertainty around Arsene Wenger’s future, with his deal expiring at the end of the current campaign.

After making his debut for Arsenal, Bellerin had a loan spell in the Championship with Watford before being recalled to the Emirates Stadium. The right-back established then himself in the Gunners’ first-team the following campaign and was named in the PFA Team of the Year last season.

Bellerin was an ever-present in the 2016-17 Premier League, until suffering an ankle injury on international duty with Spain’s Under-21 team earlier this month. He missed Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United and is expected to spend four weeks on the sidelines.

Hector Bellerin out for a month but Alexis Sanchez could face Man Utd

Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin is out for four weeks with an ankle injury, Arsene Wenger has revealed.

The Gunners boss said “a strong tackle” from Tottenham’s Danny Rose was responsible for ligament damage which will sideline the right-back for an important run of games, starting at Manchester United on Saturday.

Alexis Sanchez will need assessing ahead of Old Trafford after a hamstring problem kept him out of one of two Chile World Cup qualifiers during the international break.

And there is still no date set for the return of Santi Cazorla, who is yet to take part in training a month after suffering a recurrence of his Achilles trouble.

“Hector is out for four weeks,” Wenger said at his press conference on Thursday. “He got injured in the last 10 seconds against Tottenham in a very strong tackle from Rose.”

Wenger had urged Chile not to play Sanchez against Uruguay this week after he sat out their goalless draw with Colombia, but in the end the Arsenal forward started and scored twice before he was substituted in the 84th minute.

“He texted us that he’s in good shape,” said Wenger, who stopped short of criticising Chile’s decision. “We have to wait and see tomorrow morning to see if he can be involved in the squad.

“What I will consider is the risk of injury because he played recovering from a hamstring injury. It depends a lot on the honesty of the player.”

Bellerin, meanwhile, will miss the Champions League game with Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday and must now be considered a doubt for the Premier League trip to Manchester City on December 18.

Mathieu Debuchy has been out of the picture all season so Carl Jenkinson, who last month made his first Arsenal appearance since May 2014, is in line for a run in the side.

Cazorla’s absence is also a concern, and Arsenal have failed to win two of their three league games since the Spain midfielder was injured.

Wenger said: “Cazorla is still out. For how long exactly I don’t know. He’s not even out training.”

I play every game like it’s my last – Iwobi

Super Eagles and Arsenal star Alex Iwobi believes chances come at a premium at the top level and when they come you have to take them.


A rapid rise from the Gunners’ under-21 side saw Iwobi propelled into the first team in October 2015, and now he is fully focused on keeping hold of his place.


“Honestly I didn’t expect to be where I am today. I thought a long time ago that I’d be on loan and probably get experience there before having experience in the first team, but the fact that the boss trusted me to jump into the first team as quick as I did, I’m just grateful for it.


“The same way I was able to break into it is the same way that I take the chance now. I play like it’s almost like my last game, I treat it like it’s my last moment here, so I do my best and I always put 100 per cent into whatever I do.” Iwobi told Arsenal Player. ”


Iwobi understands the pressures that come with being a member of our first team, with a plethora of quality players all vying for a spot in the starting line-up.


“If you don’t do as well as you think you could’ve done, there’s other players, other international, great players, that can just step in,” he said. “So you just have to take the chance all the time and do your best when the time comes.


“The big thing is you need to stay fit and always need to give it your all. I mean, you’ve got to have the right attitude, you’ve got to be mentally prepared for whatever happens.


“Not everything is going to be smooth sailing for you so you’ve got to be prepared for all conditions.” the 20-year old star added.

Iwobi Will Reject Barcelona Millions To Stay At Arsenal – Father

Alex Iwobi will turn down a big-money move to mighty Barcelona to stay at Arsenal because he is still learning the trade, according to his father.

The 20-year-old Nigeria international has been at ‘The Gunners’ since he was six and he is now a first teamer.

His father, Chuka, said his son is still developing at the top London club and would rather stay put there.

“In football, you never say no. But at this point in time, he is at the right place. He’s doing well at Arsenal, but should any club come for him now, the answer would certainly be no,” said Iwobi senior, a lawyer, who also played semi-professionally in Nigeria for Vasco da Gama of Enugu.

“For him now, it’s not about the money.

“So, should a club like Barcelona come with more money, he will certainly stay back at Arsenal because now it is not about him making money, it’s about him concentrating on his career, progressing and going on to the next stage.”

He recounted: “I took him to Arsenal when he was 6 and they signed when he was 8. All he has known is Arsenal. He has never gone on loan, he has always been with Arsenal.

“He has broken into the first team and what they all talk about is his humility. Personally, that’s very important because when a player starts getting arrogant that’s when the player fails.

“It’s been good, God has been great.

“I see him being in Arsenal for very many, many years.”

October 9, 2016, was “an exceptional day” for the young Arsenal forward, according to his father.

“He scored his first goal for his country (vs Zambia) and he coped with the physicality of African football, you have to be strong to play in Africa,” he revealed.

Manchester United set to make a move for Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil

Manchester United are ready to make a move for Arsenal star Mesut Ozil, with the midfielder yet to tie his future to the Gunners, according to The Sun.

The Germany international has been in superb form this season and has helped the Gunners make an appreciable impact following their opening day disappointment, but he is yet to agree a new deal with Arsenal, which could see United sneak in, the report claims.

Ozil’s current contract expires in 2018 and he is holding out for a huge increase on his £140,000-a-week deal, something the Red Devils would be very willing to offer.

United boss Jose Mourinho has already described Ozil as ‘the best No.10 in the world’, when the pair worked together at Real Madrid and the Portuguese would surely love a reunion with the 28-year old and the prospect of pairing him with Paul Pogba in midfield.

Meanwhile, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has cried out that Chile are in danger of making a ‘suicidal decision’ which could rule out star man Alexis Sanchez out for up to three months.

Sanchez was ruled out of Chile’s game with Colombia but have instead kept him in Santiago for treatment in the hope he may be fit to face Uruguay on Tuesday, rather than send him back to London.

The Gunners’ boss has revealed that he has been told that Sanchez has suffered a hamstring injury rather than a calf problem while away on international duty, and is now ready to go to war with the Chilean FA to stop them from taking any chances on Sanchez by playing him and making the injury worse.

Former Arsenal Goalkeeper, Lehmann fined over involvement in hit-and-run.

Former Germany and Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann has been fined €42,500 for his involvement in a hit-and-run accident last year as he faced three separate charges in a Bavarian district court on Wednesday.


Starnberg district court fined Lehmann, 47, for his part in an incident in Munich city centre when he was a passenger in a car involved in a collision. Lehmann was found to have refused to cooperate when police attempted to gather details of the incident.


Prosecutors had sought for Lehmann to be fined 50 daily rates at €4,000 but his lawyers said their client, who now works as a pundit, currently earns monthly wages of €25,000. The court fined him 50 daily rates at €850, adding up to a total of €42,500.


Under German law, fines below 90 daily rates do not go down into the criminal record.


During Wednesday’s trial, Lehmann also successfully appealed against a €240,000 penalty order that he had received earlier this year.


That related to an incident from November 2014, when Lehmann was found to have tailgated a driver and then grabbed that person’s scarf through the window.


The court ruled in Lehmann’s favour on Wednesday and the €240,000 fine was dropped.


Lehmann was also charged with speeding on a motorway in March this year. He had initially claimed he was not the driver only for pictures to show he had been behind the wheel, but that charge was dropped on Wednesday.

Robert Pires eyeing up new role as Arsenal’s sporting director.

Robert Pires says he is hoping to be appointed sporting director by former club Arsenal.

Pires, who spent six years at the Gunners between 2000 and 2006, is currently the club’s ambassador.

Bu the ex-France international feels that he would be better suited to the role of sporting director given that he knows the club well and has a positive relationship with manager Arsene Wenger.

“Yes, that is my objective [to become Arsenal’s sporting director],” Pires is quoted as saying by The Sun.

“I don’t know what will happen in the future, but I need to talk about it with the owners and Arsene Wenger. I’d love this job, I love to talk with the players. If I’m given this job one day, I can stay in contact with football, especially with Arsenal.

“I have a good relationship with the manager, that’s important. I can work with the players, I can give advice to the young players, so we can find a good relationship between me and the players.

“I’m lucky because I’m still training with the first team sometimes. I maintain a good relation with the players and manager Arsene Wenger.”

Many of Pires’ former Arsenal teammates have spoken of their determination to succeed in management, with Patrick Vieira currently in charge of New York City FC and Thierry Henry an assistant manager with Belgium.

While Pires has not ruled out the prospect of managing in the future, he says he has no plans to do so currently.

“For the moment, management is not in my plans,” Pires said. “Thierry, Patrick and [Arsenal youth coach] Freddie Ljungberg have a very good future as managers. But it’s not for me, at least at the moment because I don’t have a [coaching] licence.

“Maybe, one day. But at the moment I’m an ambassador for the club. This is a good job. There isn’t too much pressure. I’m enjoying my new life.”

Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez Accused of Tax Fraud

Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez has been accused of committing tax fraud in Spain when he was a Barcelona player.

Prosecutors in Barcelona allege the 27-year-old failed to pay tax on 983,443 euros (£888,246) between 2012 and 2013.

They say the Chile international used an offshore company in Malta to avoid paying tax on image rights earnings.

A statement published by his agent said: “Alexis Sanchez has fully obeyed the laws imposed by the countries where he has resided.”

It added: “He has paid taxes to all the local tax and revenue organisations. Furthermore, all of his personal and image rights income has been declared to all of those national tax and revenue agencies.”

Sanchez joined Arsenal from Barcelona for £35m in 2014.


Dangote, Arsenal and Nigerian football. – Ogunbiyi

Billionaire Businessman, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, needs no introduction. He is currently Africa’s richest man with a net worth of $10.8 billion. His business interests cover manufacturing, oil and gas, haulage services, agriculture, among others. His sphere of influence transcends Nigeria as he has vast business interests across the African continent and, indeed, the entire globe. Without doubt, Dangote ranks among one of the highest employers of labour in the country. Indeed, a few analysts have claimed, either rightly or wrongly, that the economy of Nigeria is partly being sustained by Dangote.

What many do not know, however, about Dangote is that he is an ardent football fan. As it is characteristic of most Nigerian soccer fans, Dangote is also passionate about the English Premier League as he keenly follows and supports the London Gunners, Arsenal FC. Dangote’s romance with Arsenal FC recently came to public consciousness with reports that the Kano-born billionaire has his eyes on buying the London based football club.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Dangote announced his intention to buy Arsenal FC last year. According to the report, Dangote is only bidding for his business prospects to improve and his investments in gas pipelines and oil refinery to play out before making an audacious bid for the London club. In a recent interview with Bloomberg Television in New York, Dangote revealed his interest in acquiring Arsenal. He said: “There is no doubt that I will love to buy Arsenal FC and there is no problem about money. I am going to do it may be in three or four years’ time. Presently, I have more challenging headwinds and I need to get those out of the way first and start having tailwinds. Then, I will focus on the acquisition of Arsenal”.

Arsenal Holdings Plc, the owner of Arsenal FC trades on the ICAP Securities and Derivatives Exchange, or ISDX, has a market capitalization of 1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion). Currently, Stan Kroenke, American business entrepreneur with a net worth of $7.3 billion (Forbes-2016) and owner of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) top flight side, Denver Nuggets, holds 67 percent of Arsenal Holdings.

If Dangote eventually acquires Arsenal FC, he would be the first sub-Saharan African to own a team in the English Premier League. His desire to buy Arsenal, however, goes beyond merely creating such record. Being a keen follower of the club, Dangote essentially craves to build and sustain the club into one of the best football teams in the world. He said: “The intention is not just about buying Arsenal and just continuing with business as usual. It is about buying Arsenal and turning it around. I have run a very successful business and I think I can also run a very successful football team”.

Considering its recent dwindling fortune on the soccer field, Arsenal FC is actually in dire need of a turnaround. With 13 top flight league titles, Arsenal FC is, no doubt, one of England’s most successful teams. However, it last won the English Premiership title in 2004, something keen watchers and analysts of the English Premiership consider as not too good enough for a club of Arsenal’s pedigree.

Taking into account Dangote’s antecedent as a goal-getter and a successful business man, he might one day buy over Arsenal FC. If he does, one hopes he is able to turn around the fortune of the team. But then, that is not really one’s main goal at this point. Now that it has become evident that Dangote loves football it’s the right time to implore him to take more than a passing interest in the development of our local football.

While it is true that football in Nigeria is not in any way as profitable as it is in Europe, America and North Africa, development in the last two seasons has shown that things are really improving, especially in the management of the local national premier league.

For our football to transform into a profitable venture as it is in Europe and other such places, the involvement of well-meaning private and corporate individuals like Dangote is quite imperative. Globally, football has become a money spinning enterprise.

The organisation and management of football in Europe, for instance, is a multi million dollars project with all the teams running numerous other sports related businesses. Indeed, all sorts of professionals-doctors, physiotherapists, psychologists, grass men, scouts, etc-are employed by the various teams in their drive for soccer glory.

Therefore, in Europe, football has gone beyond a mere recreational activity. Consequently, youths across the continent have found football a means through which they could use their talents to escape poverty.

Ironically, in Nigeria, what we have is the exact opposite of what operates in Europe. The once exciting Nigeria local league, that produced household names like Segun Odegbami, Adokie Amaesimeka, Christian Chukwu, Stephen Keshi, and Rashidi Yekini among others, has become a shadow of itself. Hitherto widely followed teams such as Stationery Stores, Spartans of Owerri, Rovers of Kano, Abiola Babes, Leventis United, etc have gone into extinction while popular European clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal and AC Milan among others have been in existence for over a century. Unlike in Europe, where football clubs are purely run as business ventures, clubs in Nigeria are mostly run by governments on a non- profit making basis.

Unfortunately, football administrators in the country are largely only interested in fighting over the paltry funds that come from government rather than creatively and passionately evolving strategies to lift the game. This is why, some of our footballers travel to less known footballing nations such as Bangladesh, Sudan and India among others to further their careers.

It is, therefore, in order to reverse this trend and bring about a major transformation in the management of football in Nigeria that one is appealing to Dangote and other such spirited Nigerians and corporate organisations to key into the development of football in the country. Indeed, the private sector needs to take more active part in the project to restore the nation’s lost glory in sports. All over the world, the initiatives and funds that drive sports come from the private sector. With the much required private sector participation, the declining status of football in the country could be effectively addressed.

It is in doing this that we can discover new football talents, revive the sport and tackle the problem of job creation and youth restiveness in the country.

– Ogunbiyi writes from Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos

Sir Alex Ferguson Lauds Alex Iwobi

Legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson admits he has been impressed with the performance of Alex Iwobi for Arsenal this season.

Since breaking into Arsenal’s first team last season, Iwobi has become an integral member of Arsene Wenger’s side.

Though yet to score this season, the Super Eagles forward has already provided three assists.

In Arsenal’s 3-0 win against Chelsea in September, the 20-year-old bagged the man of the match award.

Ferguson, who won a record 13 Premier League titles as United manager, believes the former England junior international has helped to make Arsenal title contenders this term.

“You shouldn’t forget Arsenal (in the title race),” Ferguson was quoted as saying by

“The team is more sturdy, they’ve got better and more aggressive. I’m impressed with the young boy Iwobi.”

Awwww: ‘Uncle Jay-Jay asked for my shirt!’ – Iwobi

Alex Iwobi has come full circle: as a boy, the Arsenal playmaker idolized his uncle, Jay-Jay Okocha and now Okocha is enjoying watching his nephew’s meteoric rise at Arsenal.

“He was at my house the other day and when he was asking me for my shirt, I was confused. I thought it was a joke at first and then my dad got out one of my old jerseys and gave it to him.

“He said ‘I’m going to treasure this’ and I was like ‘Wow, it used to be the other way around’. For it to be like that was a moment I enjoyed, but it was crazy.

“I was always looking up to my uncle. Everyone knew that my uncle played for Bolton and he was a very big figure in Africa as well.

“He doesn’t just help me on the pitch, he helps me off the pitch, which is a key thing for me.” Iwobi told Arsenal Player.

FA back away from Wenger with preference for English manager

The FA have distanced themselves from Arsene Wenger becoming the next England manager after confirming their preference is for an Englishman.

Football Association chairman Greg Clarke, while answering questions from MPs on alleged corruption in football, said the governing body “would like an English manager if we can get one”.

He said: “But if we can’t, we’d like someone who has managed extensively in the Premier League so he understands the English football system, its development, the EPPP (Elite Player Performance Plan) etc.

“And I think we’d be crazy to appoint anyone who has never worked in English football. So it’s a taxonomy.”

Arsenal boss Wenger recently stated he was open to managing England “one day” but backed interim boss Gareth Southgate to take on the job full-time.

Southgate fits the criteria having managed Middlesbrough in the Premier League for three years between 2006 and 2009, when they were relegated.

Current Englishmen managing in the Premier League are Eddie Howe, Alan Pardew, Sean Dyce and Mike Phelan.

Steve Bruce, who recently took over at Aston Villa, was interviewed before the job was given to Sam Allardyce in the summer and is one of just five English managers outside the top flight that have Premier League experience.

Leeds United boss Garry Monk is another, as well as Neil Warnock, Steve McClaren, who failed to take England to Euro 2008 as boss, and Southend manager Phil Brown.

Facing a grilling from the Commons Culture, Media and Sport select committee on Monday, FA chairman Clarke defended their handling of Allardyce’s departure after he was filmed by a newspaper discussing how to “get around” FA transfer rules.

Clarke said Allardyce “gave 100 per cent to FA commitments as manager” and “significant enquiries” on the ex-West Ham boss “raised no significant issues” before his appointment.

Clarke confirmed a financial settlement was made with Allardyce to terminate his contract by mutual consent, but he did not disclose the amount because of a confidentiality agreement.

Asked to justify the pay-off in light of grassroots issues, including a lack of funding, Clarke said: “I obeyed the law of the land and took the advice of a QC. Any right thinking person would rather spend money on facilities. But we will always obey the law. We took external advice.”

Alex Iwobi Set for New £50,000 Per Week Contract at Arsenal, his Second Pay Rise this Year

Arsenal football club of England is set to reward Nigerian football starlet Alex Iwobi for his wonderful performances this season with a new bumper pay rise, his second pay rise this year.

20-year-old Alex Iwobi only signed a new £25,000-a-week contract in April, but having established himself as a vital part of Arsene Wenger’s starting 11, he’s in line for another extension which will represent his new status in the club’s first-team plans as the club prepare to hand him a £50,000 per week contract.
Iwobi, who is with the Super Eagles of Nigeria in Abuja ahead of World Cup qualifier against Zambia, should also expect another pay rise if his startling form continues. Congrats to him!

Source: DailyMail

EPL: Mourinho feels heat as Wenger marks anniversary

Jose Mourinho has vowed to silence the critics when Manchester United face champions Leicester, while his old rival Arsene Wenger hopes to celebrate a memorable milestone with a rare success against Chelsea on Saturday.

Mourinho finds himself under fire less than two months into his United reign after three successive defeats and an unconvincing League Cup win at third tier Northampton.

United are already trailing six points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City and another setback at Old Trafford this weekend would be a huge blow to Mourinho’s bid to stamp his authority on an team that has underachieved in recent years.

After winning their first three league matches under Mourinho, as well as beating Leicester in the Community Shield, United lost to City and Watford, either side of a Europa League defeat at Feyenoord.

Mourinho’s tactics and team selections have been called into question, while there have been suggestions the manager’s public criticism of individual players, including injury-plagued defender Luke Shaw, has not gone down well in the dressing room.

Seeing off minnows Northampton did little to quell the rising tide of discontent but, in typically bullish fashion, Mourinho has come out fighting.

“We had a bad week. I know the world is full of Einsteins. I know they tried to delete 16 years of my career,” Mourinho moaned.

“They tried to delete an unbelievable history of Manchester United and to focus on a bad week with three bad results. But that’s the new football, it’s full of Einsteins.”

That Mourinho is at a low ebb on the same weekend that Wenger celebrates his 20th anniversary as Arsenal manager won’t have been lost on the Frenchman.

Wenger, who has endured many barbs from Mourinho in the past, faces Chelsea looking to improve on a woeful record of five wins in his last 31 meetings against the Blues.

His last major milestone — his 1,000th match as Arsenal manager — was spoilt by a 6-0 thrashing at Stamford Bridge.

But having seen a second-string team win 4-0 at Nottingham Forest in the League Cup in midweek, following a 4-1 success at Hull last weekend, Wenger is confident the depth of his squad will help restore order after a sluggish start to the season.

“We have four days to prepare for the (Chelsea) game, let’s focus on that now,” Wenger said.

“The performance shows that the players who played at Hull need to be on their toes and that’s what we want — competition for places.”

– New situation –

Chelsea go into the London derby buoyed by a 4-2 League Cup win at Leicester in which they came from 2-0 down.

One player desperate to feature at the Emirates is Cesc Fabregas, who made his name as a player under Wenger at Arsenal.

The Spain midfielder is yet to start in the league this season, but having scored twice in extra time at Leicester, he is hopeful of forcing his way into Antonio Conte’s line-up at the Emirates.

“It’s a new situation for me in my career after 13 years of basically playing all the time for my club and national team,” Fabregas said.

“And it’s been tough, I’m not going to deny it. But the last thing I will do is complain or put my hands up and give in.”

Table-topping City head to Swansea for the second time this week after winning 2-1 at the Liberty Stadium in the League Cup.

City have won all nine matches under boss Pepe Guardiola, including five in the league, and the Spaniard kept his team in south Wales to aid their recovery time during a busy period.

Even so, changes are certain as Sergio Aguero is back from suspension and captain Vincent Kompany is struggling with an injury suffered in midweek.

“I want us to recover well, and train well, prepare as well as possible for our game in Swansea, for our game in the Champions League and for Tottenham away,” Guardiola said.

Second placed Everton travel to Bournemouth aiming to bounce back from their first defeat, a midweek League Cup loss to Norwich, since Dutch coach Ronald Koeman took charge.

Fixtures (1400 GMT unless stated)


Arsenal v Chelsea (1630 GMT), Bournemouth v Everton, Liverpool v Hull, Middlesbrough v Tottenham, Manchester United v Leicester (1230 GMT), Stoke v West Brom, Sunderland v Crystal Palace, Swansea v Manchester City


West Ham v Southampton (1500 GMT)


Burnley v Watford (1900 GMT)

Dangote sets deadline to buy Arsenal

Aliko Dangote who is Africa’s richest man has reiterated his desire to by London club, Arsenal on or before the year 2020.

Dangote , a Nigerian worth $10.9 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, announced his intention to buy the club last year.

He said he needs to wait for his business prospects to improve and his investments in gas pipelines and an oil refinery to play out before making the acquisition.

“There’s no doubt” I’ll buy Arsenal and “it’s not a problem” of money, Dangote said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in New York on Wednesday.

“Maybe three to four years. The issue is that we have more challenging headwinds. I need to get those out the way first and start having tailwinds. Then I’ll focus on this.”

Dangote, an Arsenal fan, has lost $4.4 billion this year, the fourth most of anyone globally, due mainly to the depreciation of Nigeria’s currency, the billionaires index shows.

If he succeeds in his acquisition bid, Dangote will be the first African owner of a team in England’s Premier League.

“It’s not about buying Arsenal and just continuing with business as usual,” he said.

“It’s about buying Arsenal and turning it around. I’ve run a very successful business and I think I can also run a very successful team. Right now, with what we’re facing, over $20 billion of projects, I cannot do both.”

While Arsenal has won 13 top flight league titles in England, making it one of the country’s most successful sides, it’s last was in 2004.

Wenger Hopes Arsenal Play Catch-Up in Title Race

Arsenal’s meeting with Southampton on Saturday marks the start of important run of six games in 18 days as Arsene Wenger’s side play catch-up in the Premier League.

The new league campaign is only three games old but Arsenal already lie five points behind Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United, who have all made perfect starts to the campaign.

And while Gunners boss Wenger is far too experienced to be overly concerned by the early league table, he knows the value of developing momentum in the title race before turning his attention to the club’s opening Champions League game at Paris Saint Germain next week.

The visit of Southampton offers Arsenal the chance to get off the mark on home turf after they lost their opening league game at the Emirates Stadium against Liverpool.

And Wenger will have a much more comfortable afternoon if Chile forward Alexis Sanchez can live up to his claim he is now ready to be compared with Lionel Messi and, Cristiano Ronaldo.

“I have reached a level where I can compete with great players,” Sanchez said.

“I do not feel inferior to anybody. I liken my qualities to Messi and Ronaldo. I have the same abilities as them.”

Wenger is able to call on Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez, who both arrived shortly before the end of last month’s transfer window.

But anything less than victory will turn the focus on Wenger’s failure to once again bring in more world-class recruits, as well as the Frenchman’s long-term future at the club, just days after Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe was linked as his successor.

Mustafi, the Germany defender signed from Valencia, is likely to come straight into the team, but Perez, a Spanish forward from Valencia, may start on the bench.

Nacho Monreal, the Arsenal left-back, believes Mustafi will have no problem settling in.

“He will find it easy to adapt to the club,” Monreal said. “He has already lived abroad, he speaks the language and he knows Mesut Ozil.

“All those elements will lessen the impact of changing environments. Luckily for him, he will feel at home from the very first day.

“Mustafi is a player I like. He is experienced and really tough to beat, which makes him very suitable for the Premier League’s style.

“We really needed to bring a centre back to the club considering Per Mertesacker and Gabriel’s injuries, as well as Calum Chambers’ departure on loan.

“I hope he feels happy here from the very beginning so he can do for us what he does best.”

Alex Iwobi is set to return after recovering from the hip injury he suffered against Liverpool, but Aaron Ramsey is expected to again miss out with a hamstring problem.

Claude Puel is still looking for his first league win since taking charge at Southampton and is hoping it comes against Wenger — his former manager at Monaco.

“It’s the first time that we can play one against one as I haven’t met him in an international game or Champions League game so far,” Puel said.

“It’s the first time we can compete against each other and it’s a pleasure of course because he was a very important person for me and he’s a great manager.

“Arsene is an example for all the coaches because for so many years he’s done really well in the Premier League, with Champions League secured every season.

“People don’t sometimes realise how good his work with Arsenal has been, and I really think he’s a good example for all the other trainers.”

Thierry Henry Becomes Belgium Assistant Coach

Former France star Thierry Henry has been named as the new assistant coach of Belgium, the national coach announced Roberto Martinez announced on Friday.

“Thierry is an important figure. He will bring something different. He agreed right away to join us,” said Martinez, who was appointed at the start of the month to succeed the sacked Marc Wilmots.

Wenger: I Could Gamble On Giroud, Koscielny And Ozil Fitness

The three Gunners stars are short of full fitness ahead of the Premier League tie with Leicester City, but the manager could be ready to put them to work regardless

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he is tempted to gamble on bringing Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny and Mesut Ozil back into the first team early.

The Gunners travel to Premier League champions Leicester City on Saturday, having lost 4-3 at home to Liverpool in their first match of the campaign.

Giroud, Koscielny and Ozil were three of the players Arsenal had to do without against Jurgen Klopp’s side after they were given extended breaks following their efforts for France and Germany at Euro 2016.

Wenger acknowledged the trio are still short of full match fitness, but revealed he could opt to take a risk on them for the trip to Leicester, with Koscielny in particular being considered due to the club’s injuries in central defence – Gabriel and Per Mertesacker are both out.

“Maybe I will take a gamble on bringing them back early but I have 48 hours to decide that,” said Wenger.

“It’s a bit early, I have three players who have not played for two-and-a-half months. Laurent is close to returning and if I have to take a gamble on one it is certainly on him.

“It’s very difficult. The clubs pay always for the fact the players play in this tournament. The Euro finished July 10, you started August 14. So what can you do?

“Do you give the player normal holiday and they aren’t ready, or they are mentally and physically jaded.

“The fact is I gave Koscielny a holiday at the start and Gabriel, Mertesacker, we lost the two of them.”

Arsenal fans will not have to wait too long for the return of Aaron Ramsey, who is out with a hamstring problem.

Wenger added: “Aaron Ramsey should be back after the international break. It is not a bad injury.”

Arsenal ‘Ready’ To Spend Money In Transfer Market – Wenger

Arsene Wenger says he is prepared to enter the transfer market before the window closes on 31 August.


The Arsenal boss has been criticised by fans for a lack of signings in recent years but his squad has suffered a spate of recent injuries.


I can reassure people we’re ready to spend the money we have,” Wenger said.


It’s important to spend money but more important to spend it the right way. There are two markets, one for English clubs, one for the rest of Europe.


The Gunners saw Aaron Ramsey and Alex Iwobi go off in their opening Premier League defeat against Liverpool on Sunday, while Per Mertesacker, Gabriel and Jack Wilshere were injured in pre-season and Danny Welbeck is a long-term absentee.

Wenger said Ramsey “should be back after the international break”, ruling him out of league matches at Leicester on Saturday and Watford on 27 August and making him doubtful for Wales’ opening World Cup qualifier with Moldova on 5 September.


The 66-year-old Frenchman, who has been in charge of the Gunners since October 1996, urged the fans to trust his judgement and said he had completed over 400 transfers during his time at Arsenal.


It is dangerous. English clubs suffocate themselves by buying players at a high price with high wages, if it goes wrong you are left with players with high wages,” he said.

The identity of the buyer multiplies transfers by two or three or even 10 times more.

This Season’s Result Will Determine My Future At Arsenal – Wenger

Arsene Wenger has acknowledged that his future as Arsenal manager hinges on the new season’s results, but stressed that he planned to keep working no matter what.


Wenger has just one year left on his contract and, as he enters his 21st season as Arsenal boss, faces pressure to deliver a major title. The Frenchman — who has said he will not make a decision about his future until next summer — told BBC Radio 5 Live on Wednesday that “what I will do after will depend a little bit on how the season goes.”


Wenger, speaking at the Premier League launch day in London, also told Sky Sports that he realised his tenure might be coming to an end. “You never know. You have to do it as if it is your whole life, but you know as well that you can stop at any moment,” he said. Discussing links to the England job following the departure of Roy Hodgson after a dismal Euro 2016 campaign, Wenger said: “I think I have shown that I respect my contracts and I respect loyalty highly. I did always that with Arsenal.”

But the manager, who recently said he was “scared” of retirement, added that he had no plans to walk away from football if he did not get a new deal with the Gunners. “What I will do is continue to work as long as I have the physical potential to work, no matter in what kind of position,” he said. “I will always work.”


Although Wenger’s future is likely to remain a topic of discussion throughout the season, Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere said it would remain business as usual. “I have not seen anything different in him,” the England international told Sky Sports. “I see the same hunger, if not even more. “For me, he has been great over the years and he continues to be. I think he shows that with his hunger every year. He just keeps going each year.


“I think he really feels like he can win and do something special with this team.”

Wenger: ‘Powerful’ Oxlade-Chamberlain Has It All

The England international was on target for the Gunners against Guadalajara and the manager is desperate to have him at full fitness for the new season

Arsene Wenger is keen to get Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fit for the start of Arsenal’s Premier League campaign because “he has it all”.

Oxlade-Chamberlain initially suffered knee ligament damage in the Champions League clash with Barcelona in February, but a further injury in May ruled him out of England’s Euro 2016 campaign.

The 22-year-old scored his second goal of pre-season in Sunday’s 3-1 friendly victory over Guadalajara with a sublime solo effort and the Arsenal boss is eager to have him ready for competitive action when they face Liverpool in the top-flight opener on August 14.

“[He gives us] power, penetration. He has it all, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. It’s difficult [to say] what he doesn’t have – that’s why I would like him to get to the level he can go to,” Wenger said.

“Maybe he doesn’t completely believe himself how good he can be and that’s the final step for him.

“It’s a very important season for him. He has been out for a long, long time. He has been injured and did not go to the European Championship, like he should have done if he had been fit.

“That’s why I’m cautious with him. I gave him 45 minutes [against MLS All-Stars], now 70 minutes [against Guadalajara]. I hope I can get him through and fit for the start of the season.”

Granit Xhaka has been Arsenal’s only big-name signing of the close-season, but the club have been linked to the likes of Shkodran Mustafi, Riyad Mahrez and Alexandre Lacazette.

Wenger, however, would not be drawn on whether any new additions were imminent.

“We have not closed any deal with anybody at the moment,” he said.

“You speak about Mustafi. Is it Mustafi or anybody else – we haven’t concluded anything at the moment.

Source –

Arsene Wenger May Buy An “Experienced Striker” Soon.

Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, has admitted that he is trying to sign an “experienced” striker this summer.


The Gunners have already signed Granit Xhaka, Rob Holding and Tasumo Akano, but with only Olivier Giroud as their recognised forward, Wenger is still searching for a new player.


Speaking after his team defeated the MLS All-Stars 2-1 in San Jose, Wenger said: “At the moment I have not too many attacking options in terms of experienced players,” he said.


“But let’s not forget we still have a few players at home.


“There are also a few players who did not play [against the MLS All-Star team], like [Santi] Cazorla and of course [Mesut] Ozil and [Aaron] Ramsey are at home. [Olivier] Giroud is also not here.


“So we have options but we will still look outside to find one more.”

EPL Transfer Funds: “Rivals’ Budget Quite Scary” – Wenger

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says “it’s quite scary” to look at the money being spent to strengthen his Premier League rivals ahead of the new season.


Wenger spent £30 million on Granit Xhaka in May, but has yet to make another major signing, while the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea have both brought in several expensive reinforcements.


Manchester City are also closing in on a big-money deal for John Stones that could reach as much as £50 million, while United have agreed a record-breaking fee of €120m to buy Paul Pogba from Juventus, sources have told ESPN FC.


Wenger is still searching for a striker and a forward as the Gunners try to improve on their second-place finish with a first Premier League title since 2004. But the Frenchman has acknowledged that the money being spent by other clubs will make things a lot more difficult in the upcoming campaign.


“It’s a big ask, because when you look at the Premier League, every club is hugely ambitious,” Wenger said after Arsenal beat the MLS All-Stars 2-1 in San Jose, California.


“You look at the cheques that everybody signs and it’s quite scary. That’s what the Premier League is about at the moment.”


Wenger is entering the final year of his contract and is under huge pressure to deliver a big title. When asked if another top-four finish in the league — which he has delivered in all 20 of his previous seasons — would be enough this time, the Arsenal boss said: “It’s never enough. I personally believe that no matter what you do, it’s never enough.


“You have to give absolutely everything to take the best out of the team. I believe that we know what we have to do, because we were second last year, we had 18 teams behind us.”


The Gunners will have to make do without Per Mertesacker for several months after the centre-back sustained a serious knee injury and Wenger reiterated in an interview with ESPN that he still wants an offensive and a defensive signing before the end of the summer transfer window.


“We were a bit short on goals scored [last season], so we will try certainly to strengthen a little bit in that department,” Wenger said. “Defensively we need to bring some more experience into our squad. I think in the middle of the park we have enough players.”


Meanwhile Arsenal’s rivals continue to splash the cash.

Mesut Ozil Dethroned As Europe’s Assist King After a Blank 2016

After drawing a blank in his last four appearances for Arsenal, the German has now been overtaken, while Tottenham fans may be surprised to see Roberto Soldado in the top 10

Thought Mesut Ozil was Europe’s assist king? Think again! After four straight blanks in the Premier League, the Arsenal star has been dethroned at the top of the creator charts.

The Germany international made a stunning start to the campaign, racking up 16 assists by Christmas and looked certain to break Thierry Henry’s long-standing record.

While Ozil still very much has his sights trained on Henry, he has nevertheless been toppled at the summit of the European assist rankings this term after failing to setup a single goal since the turn of the year.

Instead, it is now Borussia Dortmund’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan who leads the way with the most assists of any player in Europe’s top five leagues, having collected 17 in all competitions this season according to Opta.

Admittedly, the Armenian only has nine league assists compared to Ozil’s 16, but he has been prolific in Dortmund’s cup competitions while the German has yet to create a goal outside the Premier League this season.

Mkhitaryan has assisted six times in the Europa League (including qualifiers) and twice more in the DFB-Pokal, with his most recent assist coming in the 3-1 victory over Borussia Monchengladbach.

After helping Barcelona run riot against Gary Neville’s Valencia, Neymar is now tied with Ozil on 16 assists, making him the most creative member of the fabled MSN attack.

Any further competition for the European assist crown is likely to come from Angel Di Maria, currently tied in  fourth place with 12 assists, with Kevin De Bruyne’s contribution likely to stall following his injury setback.

Meanwhile, Tottenham fans may be surprised to see a familiar name sneak into the top 10, with Roberto Soldado tied with Cristiano Ronaldo and Douglas Costa with 10 assists this season.

Arsenal Paid Price For Stadium – Toure

The former Gunners defender believes the club’s move from Highbury to the Emirates in 2006 cost them several Premier League titles

Former Arsenal defender Kolo Toure says the club’s Emirates stadium is the reason behind their 10-year wait for a Premier League title.

The Gunners played at Highbury before electing to build a new 60,000-capacity ground, which they moved into in 2006.

Arsenal’s last league title came in 2003-04, when the club went unbeaten for the whole season – and they have only won four trophies since.

But Toure has heaped praise on manager Arsene Wenger for his efforts since then, after the club forced to drastically reduce costs for several years to help balance the books.

“I am not inside any more but there has been a lot of change. A lot of players left the club, guys like Patrick Vieira, leaders left the club and it was quite difficult, but this policy started when they started the new stadium,” the Liverpool defender

“Everything changed. They needed to sell some players, cut the wage bill and that is all about it.

“I think they lost so many experienced players. Patrick Vieira was a leader, Robert Pires was a top player, Thierry Henry left and sometimes you need experience at the club and then a young player can learn, that is one of the things.”

He added: “Wenger is a top manager, he has shown that unbelievably. The thing I like is this manager can make an average player one of the best players in the world.

“He did that with so many players – [George] Weah… Vieira was in Milan not playing a lot… Thierry Henry was at Juventus and he made him one of the best ever.

“He did that with me because I started from nowhere. He took me to the next level and I always respect him for that.”

Arsenal are top of the Premier League ahead of Wednesday’s clash against Liverpool at Anfield.

Ozil Is Another Bergkamp, Says Wenger

Arsene Wenger hailed Mesut Ozil as the best player in the Premier League and an equal of Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp following another influential display in a 2-0 win over Bournemouth.

German midfielder Ozil made one goal and scored another at the Emirates Stadium on Monday to help Arsenal back to the top of the table, leaving pundits running out of superlatives to describe his performance.

Ozil’s statistics are astonishing even by his own high standards.

So far this season he has made 16 assists and score five goals in the Premier League -– closing in fast on the all-time record of 20 assists set by another Arsenal great Thierry Henry.

Mesut Ozil

Against Bournemouth he set another mark, too, creating nine goalscoring opportunities for team-mates -– the highest figure registered in the league this season.

No wonder Gunners boss Wenger was happy to suggest his midfielder has been peerless in the league this season.

When asked if Ozil is now the best player in the Premier League, he said simply: “Look at the number of the assists and they speak for him.”

The Frenchman also acknowledged comparison with Dutch forward Bergkamp, who was such an inspiration in Wenger’s early days in north London.

“Bergkamp was more of a goalscorer than him. But now Ozil becomes a goalscorer too. They could be comparable,” he said.

All this from a player who last season was labelled as a luxury by some onlookers, singled out by Henry as a someone who needed to “step up his game” and accused of drifting out of matches by German legend Lothar Matthaus.

Throughout it all, however, Wenger remained staunchly loyal to a player he signed from Real Madrid, insisting that Ozil would eventually become a Footballer of the Year in England.

– Focal point –

“Ozil was the focal point of our team,” Wenger said after goals from the German and defender Gilberto, from an Ozil corner, clinched a crucial victory against Bournemouth that sent Arsenal one point clear at the top of the Premier League.

“I don’t know if it was his best performance, I have seen a few good games from him this season.

“What is important is that he convinces everyone he’s not only a fantasy player, but he’s a player who is ready to work for the team very hard.

“He’s added scoring goals to his assists as well. Overall he’s a complete player.”

Ozil’s transformation into Arsenal’s talisman has been fascinating to watch, but what has impressed most this season is his level of consistency –- and at the age of 27 Wenger does not yet believe he has reached his peak.


“What’s important is that he becomes as good as he can be — and he’s on the way. Is there a lot left? I don’t know but at the minute what he’s doing is absolutely fantastic,” Wenger said.

“In a career you have to be better every game. Some people manage to have that focus, that consistency — and some cannot.

“He shows that he is always consistently going upwards.”

Ozil is not the only player at Arsenal setting records.

Goalkeeper Petr Cech reached a new Premier League mark of 170 clean sheets in his career by keeping out Bournemouth, drawing praise from his manager ahead of a home game against Newcastle on Saturday.

“I think he can be very proud of that,” said Wenger. “It’s a remarkable achievement. People don’t realise how much commitment, how much focus is behind that.

“And on top of that he’s a remarkably talented goalkeeper.

“Consistency for me is the most important achievement for somebody.”

Arsene Wenger: Paris Attacks Hurt Laurent Koscielny Deeply – I Didn’t Recognise Him Against England

Arsene Wenger admits he may have to leave Laurent Koscielny out of the Arsenal side for Saturday’s trip to West Brom as he fears the defender has not recovered from the trauma of the Paris terror attacks.

The Gunners boss, who was in Paris on Friday when at least 129 people were killed, said Koscielny was ‘deeply affected’ by the atrocities and was unrecognisable during France’s 2-0 defeat by England on an emotional Tuesday night at Wembley.

And Wenger will consult the central defender to decide whether he is 100 per cent focused on football before deciding whether he can play at the Hawthorns.

Koscielny played in Friday’s friendly against Germany which was targeted by suicide bombers before both squads spent the night inside the Stade de France because of ongoing security concerns.

In pictures – The build-up to England vs France:

Asked about the difficulty of players focusing on football, Wenger said: “I think Koscielny is a good example because he had a fantastic game against Germany. And you could see that on Tuesday night he was not himself.

“It affected him deeply and I didn’t recognise the player I saw on Friday night on Tuesday night.

“I will talk with him. It’s a big game for us on Saturday, so I will talk to him to see if he is completely recovered and focused.

“You have to trust the player in these situations. Today in the Premier League you don’t get away with it with 80 per cent focus. You have to be completely committed.

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud also played against Germany and came on as a substitute at Wembley.

And Wenger said: “They both will need to show resilience and desire to play. I will look how deeply they are affected.

“Sometimes it hits you more two or three days later than on the night. On the night you protect yourself or not know what’s going on. But slowly you realise the shock is always a bit after. They have gone through that game but I will talk to them to see how much they are up for it.”

Wenger had been due to attend Friday’s match at the Stade de France but watched the game from a nearby hotel and was shocked by news of the terrorists’ attacks.

He said: “I was not at the game but I was not far from the event and I think everybody who was in Paris on Friday night was in shock. The whole city was shocked.

“France is, like England, a tolerant and generous country and to discover how much your own citizens hate you and hate the country is of course a huge shock for everybody. You wonder what is going on there. Why does this country get this kind of treatment?

GettyEngland fans display the colours of the French flag remember those who lost their lives in the recent Paris attack prior to the International Friendly match between England and France at Wembley Stadium on November 17, 2015 in London, England
GettyA fan wearing a blazer in red, white and blue as flags are waved around him before the international friendly between England and France
ReutersFans in the stands display a banner before the match

“I believe at the moment nobody in France has found an answer or a real explanation for what’s going on and why, because what was targeted was the way of life, basically. Football, going out, listening to music. It’s more way of life that is targeted than any individual community.

“I was more under shock than fearful for my safety, but you could be scared of what was going on because it was four different places attacked in the centre of Paris so you don’t feel secure anywhere.

“I was late for an appointment, I was late to the stadium so I decided to watch the game in the hotel where I was. In the end in the hotel we were quite secure, but the streets were empty, completely empty.”

Despite the traumas of his own players, Wenger insists the French FA president Noel Le Graet was right to declare that the Wembley friendly should go ahead without consulting the players.

He said: “The French Federation decided to play the game. If you make a a vote of players, you might have half who wants to play and half who doesn’t want to play. What do you do then?

“At some stage we have to be responsible adults and show strength and not to lie down. You must stand up and in England you have a history of that, and I felt England have dealt always with the situation very well by saying, ‘Let’s get on with our lives and show we are strong’.”

Wenger praised the response of the FA and England fans during Tuesday’s tributes at Wembley.

He said: “I would like to thank the English community and English football who have shown great solidarity. Of course, it was a shock, a huge shock for our country and our football as well. The football world has responded the way you want it to respond in a big union and a big togetherness.

“You always think after this kind of event: do you continue or do you stop your life, to play? For me they made the right decision and I believe the event on Tuesday night has shown that it was the right decision.

“I think it was fantastic for France and it showed the class of England to see the arch of Wembley in French colours was something that had a strong significance for French people. England handled this situation with a lot of class.”

Kent Gavin/The Daily MirrorFrance player Lassana Diarra flanked by Paul Pogba and Eliaquim Mangala during the French National anthem
GettyBoth teams stand together for a moment of applause prior to the International Friendly match between England and France at Wembley Stadium on November 17, 2015 in London, England
Stephen Pond – The FA

Wenger claimed that it was an ‘over-reaction’, albeit an understandable one, for Germany’s friendly with Holland to postponed after a security alert but believes it was the right decision for Belgium’s clash with Spain to have been called off as police were targeting Brussels as they hunted fugitive terrorists.

The Arsenal manager said: “I feel the danger in this kind of situation is to over-react a little bit. I think that’s what happened with Germany and Spain-Belgium I’m not sure, because in Belgium was a big centre of terrorists who live there. I think that was cautious. Germany maybe overreacted a little bit but you can understand that.

“You have a bit more of a question of security, because it looks like it’s not the end of it, in France especially.

“A way for us is just to get on with life and to respond in a positive way to the situation, because you cannot cannot stop just everything. We have to continue with our lives and try to get as well people to focus on something else.”

Wenger Reveals The Quality He Admires Most In Sir Alex Ferguson

The pair were rivals during Arsenal’s title battles with Manchester United but the Frenchman has revealed that he keeps in touch with his former adversary

Arsene Wenger admits the quality he admires in Sir Alex Ferguson is the former Manchester Unitedmanager’s ability to “reinvent himself”.

The duo were long-time rivals during United’s title battles with Arsenal but the Frenchman has revealed that he remains in contact with Ferguson, who won 38 trophies in his time at Old Trafford.

“For me, at this level, Ferguson is an example,” the Arsenal manager said in an interview with L’Equipe’s Sport & Style Magazine.

“For starters, he always knew how to reinvent himself, how to evolve. He did not stand still in success. It is a quality of his that I appreciate. He always knew how to challenge himself. Even if he did it instinctively.

“But he had other passions. He liked horses. Wine. He knew red wine better than I did. Recently, I met with him and I said to him: “Alex, do you not miss it?”. He responded to me “not at all”. I was at that moment disappointed and comforted. It gives me a reason to hope for myself.”

When asked about the prospect of retirement and whether he had a passion outside of football, Wenger replied: “No. That is where my natural anxiety comes from.

“I am not Ferguson. I do not have a substitute and I am not interested in looking back either. Like writing a book about what on my experiences. I suffer when I see former players who come back to see me and who are no longer fully happy.

“To be presented as Mr X, the former Arsenal player, and not for what he is today is painful. Having to be what you once were is a form of suffering. I hope, in my after-life [life after football], that I can be something other than the former manager of Arsenal. Coach kids. Be useful.”

Bayern Were Superior To Arsenal, Admits Cech

The former Chelsea goalkeeper has acknowledged the Gunners were not good enough to hold off the German giants, but is adamant they can still progress in Europe

Petr Cech has admitted Bayern Munich were superior to Arsenal in Wednesay’s Champions League encounter at the Allianz Arena, but refuses to give up hope of reaching the knockout stages.

Arsene Wenger’s men had recorded a 2-0 win over the Bundesliga champions in the reverse fixture, but were outclassed in Munich as Bayern cruised to a 5-1 win.

“It’s tough to take but in a way you have to accept that the team you were playing against was superior to us today in everything they did, especially in the first half,” Cech told the official Arsenal website.

“You now need to win two games and we need to make sure that the head to head against Olympiacos is in our favour. Then you can go through.

“Everything is possible. We have two games to play, we have to regroup and continue fighting until the last minute.

“It was not a day we wanted, but every game comes thick and fast. You need to make sure that you recover and move on to the next one.”

Arsenal sit fourth in Group F with three points from four games, trailing second-placed Olympiacos by six points.

Wenger: ‘World-class’ Ozil Needs To Score More Goals

The Germany international scored against Manchester United and Bayern Munich but the former Monaco boss feels that he needs to continue finding the net as well as creating chances.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hailed the “world-class” Mesut Ozil but says that the playmaker needs to score more goals.

Ozil has provided six assists in eight Premier League appearances but has scored just one top-flight goal this season.

The £42 million midfielder scored in Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Bayern Munich on Tuesday night and Wenger has now challenged him to produce more in front of goal.

“A player of his calibre, you want him to add goals to his assists. He is world class,” Wenger told reporters.

The Gunners take on Everton on Saturday and the manager will be forced to make changes to his side after the hamstring injury suffered by Aaron Ramsey in midweek.

Wenger says that Ramsey is expected to miss three or four weeks of action and is joined on the sidelines by Mikel Arteta but that defender Gabriel is fully fit and available for selection.

The Frenchman has not decided whether to start with Theo Walcott or Olivier Giroud up front but wants a repeat of the memorable performance that his side produced against Bayern.

He added: “The most important thing is [the strikers] contribute goals. You have to accept no club in the world can play one striker for the whole season.

“You want to do well in the big games at home. We want to produce the same performance again.”

Wenger Blames Wales For Ramsey And Bale Injuries

The Arsenal boss confirmed the midfielder will be out for the next month with a hamstring injury and criticised his appearance in The Red Dragon’s game against Andorra

Arsene Wenger has pointed the finger at Wales after Arsenal lost Aaron Ramsey for the next month to a hamstring injury.

The Welsh midfielder was taken off during the Gunners’ 2-0 win over Bayern Munich on Tuesday and the first game he will miss is this weekend’s Premier League clash with Everton.

However, Wenger feels Ramsey and Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale — who is currently sidelined with a calf problem — could have avoided their injuries if they hadn’t played in their country’s dead-rubber against Andorra after qualifying for Euro 2016.

“[Ramsey] had a scan [on Friday], but he’s out,” the Arsenal boss confirmed to the club’s official website.
“I believe he will be out until after the next international break [November 13]. With the last international break, the fact he played against Andorra certainly cost him and Bale as well.”

Wenger also confirmed that Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina will be out for a similar amount of time as Ramsey.

Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck and Tomas Rosicky, meanwhile, will be out of action seen until “the new year”.

Cech: Arsenal Could Have Lost To Bayern Munich Without My Saves

The custodian was delighted with his contributions in Tuesday’s 2-0 Champions League win over Bayern Munich, and hopes the result can kick-start their European season

Petr Cech believes Arsenal could have lost their Champions League encounter with Bayern Munich had it not been for two crucial saves he made when the tie was still goalless.

The experienced goalkeeper denied Thiago Alcantara early on at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday, before preventing Robert Lewandowski from opening the scoring after the break.

Late goals from Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil then helped Arsenal to a vital victory, keeping alive the Gunners’ ambitions of progressing from the Champions League group stages.

The win prompted Cech, an off-season recruit from Chelsea in the summer, to state how delighted he was with his own contribution to the team’s success.

“I think there were two key moments,” Cech told Arsenal’s official website.

“Obviously if Thiago had scored early in the game then they would have had control of the game so it was a very important save at the start.

“And then I’m obviously glad I made the save against Lewandowski as in that moment we could have been 1-0 down, but instead in a few minutes we were 1-0 up and [that] basically decided the game.

“As much as it went up and down and there were chances and shots and it was very entertaining, it looked like one goal might decide it.

“Arsenal Are Better Off Without Champions League Football” – Ian Wright

Ahead of the clash with Bayern Munich, the Gunners legend claims an early European exit would allow Arsenal to concentrate on the Premier League title race

Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright believes an early elimination from the Champions League would give the Gunners the edge in the Premier League title race.

Arsene Wenger’s side find themselves in a difficult position in Group F with no points from two games after defeats to Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos, and a double header against leaders Bayern Munich looming.

Domestically, however, Arsenal are on sizzling form and currently sit in second place, two points behind early Premier League pace-setters Manchester City, following Sunday’s 3-0 win at Watford.

Wright claims it would not necessarily be a disaster if his former club don’t make it out of their Champions League group, as it would give them an advantage of their domestic title rivals.

“We all saw with Liverpool a couple of seasons ago how not being in Europe at all can really boost your chances,” Wright wrote in his column for The Sun.

Ifreke Inyang: 5 Things To Look Out For As The EPL Returns This Weekend

1. Flying without Ings

What a welcome Jurgen Klopp has received. But that will count for nothing, if he does not get a positive result at Tottenham in the early kick-off on Saturday. Already, the former Dortmund boss has to deal with a double injury blow, as Danny Ings and Joe Gomez are both out for the season. Roberto Firmino, Christian Benteke and Jordan Henderson are all unavailable this weekend. But the media will be unforgiving if it goes wrong. He needs to hit the ground running.

2. Are they Gunner beat Watford?

It is almost a surprise that Arsenal are second in the league, after such an uncertain start to the campaign. But this is the Premier League and anything can happen. Before the international break, the Gunners were at their mesmeric best, tearing Manchester United apart at the Emirates. Up next is a trip to Watford, with an in-form Odion Ighalo. Let’s see how they square up to a different challenge.

3. Martial arts

Anthony Martial has been rewarded for his excellent start to his United career, with the September Player of the Month. The 19-year-old has brought pace and directness to Louis van Gaal’s side, although he could not save his team, as Arsenal ran riot the last time. It is time to fight back though. They are away at Everton. And Roberto Martinez’s men enjoying playing against the big boys.

4. Mou misery for Chelsea?

Jose Mourinho looks like a man possessed these days. The Portuguese is renowned for his caustic soundbites and mind games, but nothing seems to be working. Chelsea has come out to back their manager, but you do feel that anything other than a win against Aston Villa on Saturday might spell the end for the Special One.

5. Salt to injuries?

It has been a bad international break for Manchester City and Manuel Pellegrini. Sergio Aguero – who scored five times against Newcastle – and David Silva will miss the next month through injuries. Vincent Kompany does not appear fully fit either. The table toppers welcome Bournemouth to the Etihad this week and will be eager to put their injury woes behind them.


‘Ifreke Inyang tweets via @Ifreke

Views expressed are solely that of author and does not represent views of nor is associates

Cazorla: Arsenal’s Changed Mentality Made The Difference

Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla was delighted with the win over Manchester United and feels their changed mentality made the difference.

Santi Cazorla has voiced his delight with Arsenal‘s 3-0 Premier League win over Manchester United and feels it was crucial they changed their mentality and believed in themselves again after the surprise loss in the Champions League versus Olympiacos last week.

A brace from Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil’s goal saw Arsene Wenger’s men grab a three-goal lead within the opening 20 minutes and they were never really troubled in the remainder of the game.

Sunday’s victory at the Emirates saw Arsenal climb to second spot in the table, leapfrogging United in the process and moving to within two points of leaders Manchester City

“We needed to believe after the loss against Olympiacos. We needed to change the mentality and the team was very compact and focused for the game against a big team,” Cazorla told the official Arsenal website.

“This is the most important thing for the team. It was very important for us. Together we played very well. Three points is very important for us and we need to keep at the same level in the next game.

“We need to play together and in the first half we did very well and this is vital for us. United have very good players with [Michael] Carrick, [Juan] Mata and [Wayne] Rooney.”

After the international break, Arsenal resume their league campaign with an away game against Watford. 

‘Mourinho Is Obsessed With Wenger’ – Ian Wright

The two managers have clashed repeatedly in recent seasons and their war of words has continued following Chelsea’s recent 2-0 win over Arsenal

Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright says Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is “obsessed” with Arsenal bossArsene Wenger.

The two managers have clashed repeatedly in recent seasons, with the latest spat between the pair coming on the back of Chelsea’s 2-0 win over the Gunners two weeks ago.

Mourinho was incensed that Diego Costa received a retrospective three-match ban after Wenger had urged officials to punish the striker in the aftermath of the game following an incident involving Laurent Koscielny.

The Portuguese then claimed his rival boss receives preferential treatment from officials before again criticising his failure to win the Premier League in the last 10 years.

“His obsession with Wenger is mystifying. I just can’t understand it,” Wright told The Sun.

“There’s something that happens with him whenever he talks or thinks about Arsene. He gets antagonised all the time.

“I think the big problem is that Jose looks at Arsene and his treatment from the media.

“Jose rightly feels Arsene hasn’t achieved as much as he has. I think his issue is that Arsene has not won as much or achieved as much as he has – yet still gets as many plaudits. It just irks him that Arsene doesn’t get more criticism.

“What I can’t understand is why it irks him so much when he’s got the medals to show everybody what he’s about. He just can’t be happy with himself, for some reason, even though what he does is brilliant.”

Arsene Wenger and wife split, Couple file for divorce

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and wife Annie have reportedly separated after their marriage collapsed.


According to The Sun, Arsene and Annie filed separation papers at a family court in Paris, France.


Rumors of a split had been swirling around the couple, who have been married since 2010.


Arsene and Annie have an 18-year old daughter, Leah, and filed for “separation of bodies” judgement, meaning they are free to see other people.


A French legal expert told The Sun: “This is a legal separation, which means that the couple are not legally obliged to live together, and they can have separate lives, and no longer had intimate relations.


“He will have to still keep his responsibilities to look after the family.


“If the judgment is not overturned within two years, a divorce will be automatically granted.


“This is something which is not often done anymore, often Catholic families use this, as they are reluctant to get a divorce, but legally there is little difference.”


In 2008, Wenger had previously spoken about how being manager of a top European club took a stress on his marriage.

‘In my job I travel, but the problem is not so much the quantity of time you spend with your family, it is the quality,’ admitted Wenger.


‘That’s where this job is more damaging. You do not always give them the quality they deserve when you are at home because you are thinking of the next game.’

Niger gov under fire over trip to London to watch Chelsea, Arsenal match

Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani has come under criticism following his trip to London to watch Saturday’s Premier League game between Chelsea and Arsenal.

Residents of the state on Monday described the governor’s visit to Stamford Bridge as “frivolous” considering the financial problems of the state.

However, the governor explained on his Twitter page that he was at Stamford Bridge to watch the match at the instance of Chelsea midfielder Mikel Obi, who plans to set up a football academy in the state.

“I was at Stamford Bridge to watch the derby between Chelsea and Arsenal at the invitation of John Obi Mikel,” he wrote.

According to him, Mikel approached the state government to partner with the state in developing its   sports, stressing that it will be wrong to turn down an investor who is willing to invest in the state.

The Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Ibraheem Dooba, said Bello was in Europe and his visit to Stamford Bridge was part of his itinerary since he was to meet other international development partners, adding that he was invited by Mikel.

But a trader, Moses Akwu said, “Things are hard for us in Niger while our governor is travelling to watch matches. I heard they said he was invited but is it not government resources that he used to go on the trip?

“We did not vote him in to watch football, we voted him because we want him to work and bring back the lost glory of the state. Watching matches is not governance, it is absolute recklessness.”

Another resident, Gambo Mohammed, said the governor needed to focus on governance.

“Sports development is not what Niger State needs now. We need jobs for our unemployed youths, boost for our economy and agriculture, and good roads.”

Bello had on August 31 warned sports officials not to use his name to organise sports competitions. He made this known when board members of the Nigeria Chess Federation and the state hockey team that won the National Super League visited him.

The President of Nigeria Chess Federation Suleman Gora had requested to organise a national championship in his honour which he objected saying, “I am not a billboard.”


Zouma Sorry For Costa ‘Cheat’ Remark

The defender says he didn’t mean to label his team-mate a “cheat” after attempting to defend him over his role in Gabriel’s red card in Chelsea’s victory over Arsenal on Saturday

Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma has apologised for calling Diego Costa a “cheat” while trying to defend him in an interview on Monday.

Costa was roundly criticised for his part in Gabriel’s red card as the Blues beat Arsenal 1-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, and has repeatedly been singled out for his aggressive behaviour during his time in both La Liga and the Premier League.

But Zouma, who scored the opening goal against the Gunners, insisted he and the rest of his team-mates were happy with the striker’s confrontational style.

Asked whether he was shocked by Costa’s actions by beIN Sport, he replied: “No, we’re not surprised because we know Diego.

“Everyone knows Diego and this guy likes to cheat a lot and put the opponent out of his game.

“That happened in the game but he’s a really nice guy. We’re proud to have him, like the other players, and we’re happy to win this game.”

However, in a message later posted on Twitter, Zouman apologised for his use of the word “cheat” but reiterated his support for Costa.

Arsenal Offer Aid To Syrian Refugee Crisis

Arsene Wenger has called the need to help those fleeing the war-torn country for Europe “immediate” as the Gunners team up with Save the Children.

Arsenal will donate £1 for every ticket sold for their Premier League meeting with Stoke City at the Emirates Stadium to Save the Children’s Refugee Crisis Appeal.

A number of football clubs, including Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich have all pledged money to aid those who have fled conflict in Syria and arrived in their respective countries.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has called for other clubs to contribute in a similar way in order to offer significant help to those in need.

“The need is immediate so we decided to be immediately helpful,” Wenger told the club’s official website.

“You know that we are always involved with a helpful attitude, we have our own foundations and charity and this is a special case where people are in the need of special help.

“It’s an exceptional circumstance and I’m very happy that our club contributes to help refugees to settle in countries where they come without anything. We’ll give £1 for every ticket sold [against Stoke] and if everyone can contribute like we do then I think we can give very, very strong help.”

Beating Arsenal & Wenger Is Nothing Special – Mourinho

The Frenchman is yet to beat his Chelsea counterpart in 13 attempts, with the two set to face off in the Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday


Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says beating Arsenal and Arsene Wenger is “nothing special” as he prepares to take on the Gunners in Sunday’s Community Shield at Wembley.

Mourinho and Wenger have a long-standing rivalry, with the Frenchman yet to beat his counterpart in 13 attempts, while the Blues manager described the 65-year-old as a “specialist in failure” 18 months ago.

The pair come face to face this weekend as Arsenal look to win the Community Shield for the second consecutive year, but Mourinho is unconcerned by the make up of his opponents with silverware on the line.

When asked if he takes pride in his record against Wenger, Mourinho replied: ”No. It doesn’t matter, Arsenal, the manager, whoever.

“I think [the Community Shield is] in between. It’s more than a friendly, like with Barcelona and PSG [friendlies], but it’s less than a league game. Different motivation.

“Who knows?” he said when questioned on Wenger’s ability to win. “I’ve never made a special thing about wins over Arsenal. I don’t explode with happiness when I beat them, and I won’t make drama when I lose.”

Mourinho has confirmed that Gary Cahill and Diego Costa will be fit to play on Sunday after picking up knocks against Barcelona.

Credit –

Wilshere: Arsenal Can Be Successful This Season If…

Jack Wilshere is confident Arsenal can challenge for the Premier League title this season provided they are quick out of the blocks.

Arsene Wenger’s men won 19 of their last 26 matches in all competitions in a strong finish to the 2014-15 campaign but a worst ever start under the manager saw them win two of their opening eight league matches.

Arsenal finished the season in third place -12 points adrift of eventual champions Chelsea – and Wilshere is keen to build on their late-season form, highlighting Petr Cech’s arrival as a sign of the club’s ambition.

“We didn’t start the season well last year but the way we finished it, if we had played the whole season like that then we could have been champions,” Wilshere told the club’s official website.

“If we continue our form from the end of last season when we dominated games with our possession, and we won the ball back in better positions high up the pitch, then we’ve got a real chance.

“We want to win the league, of course we do. We feel we’ve been together a few years now, we’ve brought in world-class players who have had time to settle, we’ve added a world-class keeper with all of his experience, he’s been there and he’s done it, he’s won everything.

“So we really feel we’re in a strong position.”

Dangote Explains Why He Wants To Buy Arsenal

Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, has disclosed his reason for seeking to acquire a stake in English Premier League team, Arsenal.

Few weeks ago, Dangote, 58, attracted widespread criticism from various quarters in Nigeria when he re-iterated his interest in acquiring the Premier League team. Many Nigerians called him out, insisting that his money would be better spent by acquiring a local Nigerian football team and promoting the Nigerian Premier League rather than spending on a foreign club.

But speaking to senior Nigerian journalists in Lagos on Saturday, the Nigerian billionaire explained that he is interested in buying the Premier League team to promote Nigeria internationally.

“The issue is that if I buy all the Nigerian clubs, the Nigerian flags will continue to remain here. But buying Arsenal will take the Nigerian flag worldwide. Just like whenever Abramovich is mentioned, the name of his country, Russia comes up. Everyone knows he’s Russian,” Dangote said.

Read More: forbes

Petr Cech Sent Death Threats And Labelled ‘A Snake’ By Angry Chelsea Fans Following Arsenal Move

New Arsenal signing Petr Cech may have left Chelsea with a heartfelt letter to the fans, but that has not stopped a small proportion of them sending the goalkeeper death threats and brandishing him a “snake”.

Cech completed a reported £11m transfer to the Gunners on Monday afternoon, having decided to leave Chelsea due to a lack of first team football following the emergence of Thibaut Courtois last season. After 11 years of loyal service at Chelsea, Cech was given permission by club owner Roma Abramovich to discuss a move to their London rivals Arsenal, and the 33-year-old announced the move himself before thanking those who used to cheer him on every week for his time at Stamford Bridge.

However, despite a number of fans thanking Cech for his time at the club, some supporters have been unable to contain their anger and fury at seeing him join not only another Premier League side, but one that could be challenging for the Premier League title next May.

One Twitter used named @Enegali10 posted two disgusting messages aimed at Cech before deleting their account. The first read: “F**KKKKK OFFFF JUST SAW CECH SIGNED GO F*** YOURSELF F****** BRAIN DAMAGED UGLY C*** HOPE UR KIDS HAVE CANCER F****** NONCE.”

A second added: “I’m going to bring my SR-25 sniper rifle to the Bridge when we play Arsenal. Will be so f****** good to see Cech’s blood on the pitch.”

Meanwhile, one Chelsea fan in Kuwait posted a video of him burning a Chelsea goalkeeper shirt.

Petr Cech Joins Arsenal: Key Dates For The Goalkeeper After Chelsea Move – Including Stamford Bridge Return On 19 September

Petr Cech has confirmed his move to Arsenal, moving for a reported £11m.

The 33-year-old leaves the Blues after 11 trophy-laden years at the club. As a goodwill gesture, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich allowed Cech to decide his own destination when he left, with PSG also interested.

Cech’s preference was to stay in London – PSG were also interested in the Czech international.

So, what are the first batch of key dates for Arsenal’s new signing next season?

Sat 25 July – Lyons

A potential debut against the Ligue 1 side in front of the home support as part of the Emirates Cup friendly competiton. If he does not feature against Lyons, there is always

Sunday 2 August – Chelsea (Community Shield)

The Community Shield at Wembley Stadium. Time for Cech’scompetitive debut, straight in against his former side.


Saturday 22 August – Liverpool (h)

In the Gunners third Premier League game of the season, Cech will come up against Liverpool at the Emirates. Will there be a certain strikeforce of Christian Benteke and Daniel Sturridge to keep out?

Saturday 19 September – Chelsea (a)

In the Gunners sixth Premier League game of the season, they travel to Chelsea for Cech’s return to Stamford Bridge. A warm applause from the home support is to be expected.

Saturday 3 October – Manchester United (h)

The Gunners will be looking to lay down a marker in their quest for the Premier League title against rivals United.

Arsenal Aside, Aliko Dangote To Also Start Cement Factory In Asia

Aliko Dangote has expressed his desire to start a Cement empire in faraway Asia. According to the richest man in Africa, the project will commence in 30 months’ time. It has received 90 percent of the regulatory approvals needed to start construction in the south Asian nation.

‘’It’s going to be one of the first factories for us to build outside our comfort zone, outside Africa,’’ Dangote said, during a Tuesday interview at his Lagos office.

Unexploded Bomb Found Near Wembley Stadium. Tomorrow’s FA Cup Final Threatened

Homes have been evacuated as the Army works to defuse an unexploded World War II bomb discovered near Wembley Stadium.
The 50kg explosive, which is believed to have been dropped over London during Nazi bombing raids in the the early 1940s, was discovered by builders working near the stadium.
The British Army has warned of a “genuine risk to life” as homes and businesses, reportedly including the studio in which the ITV show Britain’s Got Talent is filmed, were evacuated outside a 400-metre police cordon.

This bomb is a live munition in a potentially dangerous condition so it’s important that people listen to the police and evacuate their homes if asked.
We will do all we can to minimise the disruption but ask the public to bear with us – any bomb, even under a controlled explosion, could cause significant damage to property and there is a genuine risk to life.

– British Army spokesman.

Dangote Cannot Afford To Buy Arsenal Football Club – Etcetera Writes ..

You have sold some shares and you’ve got some money to spend. Now you want the ultimate: Your own football club. Hold on there, are you sure? Football clubs are a nightmare to run. In fact, almost two-thirds of premiership clubs have been in receivership at some point. Remember Portsmouth FC ploughed through four owners some seasons back and landed itself a debt of £60m and relegation in the Championship.
Think of Leeds United’s tragicomic collapse; the balls-up at Cambridge United; Rotherham going into receivership in 2006 and 2008; Southampton’s sorry saga. And, of course, Crawley Town getting a winding up order years back. So, what do we know? Don’t buy a football club for the glory. So, before Dangote aspires to join Abrahamovic, Glazers and Al Mansours, he should make sure he
knows his stuff.
But does Dangote know how much these football clubs really cost?
No, he can’t. New UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations already in place, require clubs to balance their income and expenses. Dangote cannot operate under such rules. The premiership is too organised and transparent for any businessman to easily manipulate. The wage structure of footballers is too large for a businessman like Dangote to take on. Let us forget that those goons at Forbes have told us that Dangote is Africa’s richest man. As it stands, he cannot afford the outright purchase of a big football club like Arsenal. It is as simple as that. He will go broke. It is a possibility if we are talking about a club in the coast of West Africa. Dangote has most of his wealth in shares and physical assets and the football business requires liquid cash to sustain. Have we all forgotten that the same Dangote got a 3G licence and sold it to Etisalat? He is a very smart businessman who knows how to pick his areas of investments.
Can he get Bank backing?
Unlikely! No serious private equity firm would get involved with a football club. They are not proper businesses. Too much politics, too many egos. And there’s no proper exit route – the history of football clubs on the stock market is chequered, to say the least. They are rich men’s toys, great for entertaining your mates, and that’s about it. I don’t think Dangote can afford such an expensive toy.
A lot of people think it is relatively easy to make a million pounds by being the owner of a football club. That all you have to do is put in that first two million pounds. But these people should also know that since the English Premier League was formed in 1992, football finances have dried up to the extent that making a million pound profit is no longer a walk in the park. It is also the case that buying a football club is unlikely to yield that much of a return. Despite the significant TV and other commercial revenues, football clubs in England’s top flight still struggle to break even. This is ironic, given the goal of setting up the Premier League was to stabilise club finances.
Is Dangote putting his heart over his head?
Yes I think so. Simon Jordan, in his autobiography, tells the story of how owning a football club can go terribly wrong. Jordan amassed a fortune of £75m in the early days of the mobile phone revolution. In 2000, he paid £10m to take control of South London football team Crystal Palace, becoming the youngest football club chairman at the age of 32. He was warned by many not to do it, but having watched the club since his childhood, he could not resist. Fast-forward 10 years and the club was in administration and Jordan’s personal wealth largely wiped out. It is reported that Roman Abramovich, the Russian owner of Chelsea, has written off more than one billion pounds he ploughed into the club since acquiring it in 2003.
 Catching him up fast is Sheikh Mansour from Abu Dhabi, who has invested close to one billion pounds in Manchester City since 2008. Can Dangote write off such a huge amount of money? It is in fact the amount of money he borrows to invest in businesses. But again, I think Dangote is just trying to hype himself. Most of the serious money flowing into football recently has come from the Middle East. The Qatar Investment Authority (the country’s sovereign wealth fund) bought the French Ligue 1 side Paris St Germain in 2011 and has gone about transforming them in the same way Sheikh Mansour has Manchester City. Forget those guys at Forbes, Dangote is not in the same league as these guys.
The Glazer Family bought Manchester United in 2006, recognising the immense value of its global brand as a cash generator and the opportunities to enhance it even further. The cost of buying the club was loaded on to the club itself, with the revenues it generates used to pay the debt and interest that the Glazers undertook to buy the club. Eventually, the hope is that the club will essentially pay for itself leaving its American owners in possession of a multi-billion pound asset but till date, the Glazers are still gnashing their teeth and are still neck deep in debt. When it was speculated that a Middle East consortium was willing to pay £1.5bn for Arsenal Football Club, it was stated that Stan Kroenke, the American who owns about 63 per cent of the shares in the club, would have made just £400m on his shares. So, given the appalling financial returns, why do people buy football clubs?
Who can buy Arsenal football club?
Anyone can buy Arsenal football club, but that anyone doesn’t include anyone who obtains bank loans to fund a business. Sir John Madejski, chairman of Reading Football Club, describes the ideal football club owner as having deep pockets, mercurial, and not faint-hearted.
It is often mistaken that these clubs go for a quid. For instance, Swansea City was bought by investors for £100, and sold four years later for a £1. But beware: underneath those figures lies a pile of debt.
Does Dangote have the cash, can he do an Abramovich?

Why I Want To Buy Arsenal- Aliko Dangote

Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, has said he still wants to buy Arsenal despite failing in a 2010 bid to acquire a stake in the club.

The Nigerian billionaire is now worth nearly eight times as much as when he tried to buy into the Gunners, and the passionate Gooners has not given up on his dream of getting involved with the north London club.

“I still hope, one day at the right price, that I’ll buy the team,” Dangote, 58, told Bloomberg.
“I might buy it, not at a ridiculous price but a price that the owners won’t want to resist,” he continued, before ominously adding, “I know my strategy.

Interestingly, Dangote has publically stated that Arsene Wenger “needs to change his style a bit,” claiming the team “need new direction.”

Dangote – valued at over US$15billion – is worth more than both Arsenal majority shareholder Stan Kroenke and Uzbek Billionaire Alisher Usmanov, who have been fighting for control at the Emirates in recent years.

But his bid to take over the club won’t be coming immediately, with the cement and commodities tycoon wanting to get his portfolio of businesses in order first.

“We have $16 billion-worth of investments in the next few years,” he said. “Right now I want to take my own business to a certain level. Once I finish on that trajectory, then maybe”

Majority owner Kroenke recently bought more shares in Arsenal, and is not believed to have any interest in selling the club.


5 Things To Expect In The UEFA Champions League This Week By Ifreke Inyang

Arsenal might come close
When Arsenal hit top gear and find fluidity in their game, their football is right up there. Like last weekend, when they battered West Ham, even without trying. I expect them to carry on against Monaco on Tuesday night. But it is looking a little too late for the Gunners. And the Ligue 1 side are a tough nut defensively – they have conceded just four goals in their last 17 matches.
City heading out

Manuel Pellegrini’s men were lazy and limp at Burnley last weekend. It appeared the season is over in their minds and they can’t wait to be on some random beach this summer. Elsewhere in Spain, Barcelona prepared for the second leg of their tie, with a comfortable 2-0 away win against Eibar. The signs are not looking good for Manchester City really.
Messi magic

Barca would have had one leg in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, if Lionel Messi converted his last-minute penalty at the Etihad. But they still lead 2-1 on aggregate and you would expect the little Argentine, to make up for that blip with a sterling performance. Of course, there is also the little matter of surpassing Ronaldo in the scoring charts.
Dortmund to overturn it

Jurgen Klopp’s men almost got a decent result in Italy, but were defeated because of silly defensive errors. With the return leg to be played at Signal Iduna Park, I expect the Bundesliga side to turn it around and progress to the quarter-finals of the competition.
Final eight confirmed

On Wednesday night, the last eight teams standing in the Champions League will be confirmed. Put a gun to my head and I will go for Monaco, Barcelona, Dortmund and Atletico to join PSG, Bayern, Real Madrid and Porto.

‘Ifreke Inyang tweets via @Ifreke

I Wish Manchester City, Arsenal Do Better Than Us – Mourinho

Jose Mourinho launched a passionate defence of his Chelsea team on Friday, two days after elimination from the Champions League in acrimonious circumstances by Paris Saint-Germain.

The Premier League leaders, who are at home to Southampton on Sunday, were knocked out on away goals after extra time despite the fact that PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic had been sent off as early as the 31st minute.

Jose Mourinho

Ibrahimovic accused Chelsea players of behaving like “babies” by crowding around the referee once the Swede had fouled Brazilian play-maker Oscar. The inference was that they had tried to influence the official, a tactic captain John Terry insisted afterwards was perfectly legitimate and that had also been employed by the opposition.

Mourinho, who claimed after the reverse fixture with Southampton, a 1-1 draw on December 28 last year, that there was a conspiracy amongst domestic referees to punish his side unfairly, was adamant that Chelsea were no more guilty of that than any other Premier League club.

“If my players surround the referee, we are charged,” he said. “We have to pay a fine and if we do that, the players pay the fine. At this moment we have eight months of competition, we have been charged once and we paid for that. It’s as simple as that.

“Go to the Premier League and see how many teams are charged. The only thing I know is Chelsea were charged once. It is my responsibility to train the players and help them cope with the pressure.

“The people that were out of the Champions League on Wednesday are the same people that won the League Cup and the same people that are going to win the Premier League. It is the same people.”

Mourinho also rounded on television pundits Jamie Carragher and Graeme Souness after the ex-Liverpool players had been highly critical of Chelsea’s performance and behaviour.

“Maybe because of diet and maybe the quality of the products we are eating, memories are getting shorter,” said. “Because when Jamie Carragher and Graeme Souness speak about it, it’s because they are having a problem for sure.

“Just to close the chapter on the Champions League, the game finished and I was in the tunnel. One by one – not just the players but the coaches and everybody from PSG – I shook their hands. I told them they deserved it. I wished them good luck for the future.

“This was the way we behave after a defeat. This is the example my players get after a defeat. I went to my dressing room, I put everybody together – not just the players – and because I am normally very calm and deserve to go home and reflect and think and speak without any doubt or emotion, this is what we did.

Arsene Wenger: Arsenal ‘Suicidal Defensively’ In Monaco Defeat

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger accused his players of losing their nerve and blamed “suicidal” defending after a 3-1 home defeat by Monaco left them on the brink of Champions League elimination.

Goals from Geoffrey Kondogbia and Dimitar Berbatov put Monaco in control of the last-16 first-leg tie.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain gave Arsenal hope, but Yannick Ferreira Carrasco added a third for the visitors.

“It is just not right to give goals away the way we did,” said Wenger.

“We missed chances and were suicidal defensively.”

Arsenal must now score at least three goals when the sides meet at Stade Louis II on 17 March if they are to avoid exiting at the last-16 stage for the fifth straight season.

No side has lost a European Cup or Champions League first-leg knockout tie at home by two goals and progressed since Ajax in 1969.

5 things We Learnt From Manchester City vs Arsenal By Ifreke Inyang

Wenger finally delivers a master class
Today is the day most Arsenal fans have been waiting for. When the Frenchman will tactically set up his men against a big team, to grab a result. Last season, the Gunners left themselves exposed and were hammered 6-3. Today, Wenger opted to control City and their waves of attack, while hitting them on fast breaks. It worked a great treat.

No Yaya, no party
The statistics are damning. When the big Ivorian doesn’t play, City hardly win. Gooners may be forgiven for feeling a tingle, as they saw Aguero and Silva on City’s team sheet, but at the end of the day, they missed the power and drive of Yaya Toure. Pellegrini must be praying for Cote d’Ivoire to exit the Africa Cup of Nations quickly.

Cazorla, the two-footed magician
What a time to hit form for the little Spaniard. The former Malaga man has been sensational for Arsenal in the past few games and he was magnificent today again. He expertly tucked away the penalty after Vincent Kompany fouled Nacho Monreal and then provided a pin=point free-kick for Olivier Giroud to seal the points in the second half. All that, with a certain Mesut Ozil watching from the bench.

What did you mean to say, Pellegrini?
So first, Pellegrini claims it was not a penalty. Then he turns around and says Kompany shouldn’t have barged into Monreal the way he did. I really don’t understand what the Chilean was on about. Whatever the case, Mike Dean – who Arsenal fans have been moaning about all week – pointed the spot.

It’s all going down at the Bridge
City’s next Premier League clash? Away to Chelsea. What a tasty tie this will be! Arsenal’s victory means the Premier League champions are now five points behind the Blues. They need to get a result against Jose Mourinho or else the title race might well and truly be over.

‘Ifreke Inyang tweets via @Ifreke

Views expressed are solely that of the author and do not represent the views of nor its associates

Arsenal Transfer News: 4 Players Linked In Latest Rumors

With Lukas Podolski now an Inter Milan player for at least the rest of the season, Arsenal are expected to press ahead with their plans to add to their squad in the January transfer window. Podolski completed his loan move to the Italian giants on Monday, and it would be a surprise were that to be Arsenal’s last activity in the transfer market this month.

With injuries currently ruling out Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere, manager Arsene Wenger recently stated that his priority was to reinforce his midfield. However, it appears that the Gunners will have to wait for a man long linked to the Emirates and who seemed ideally equipped to bring some much-needed steel to the side. Despite pushing for a transfer last summer, Morgan Schneiderlin has stated that he now expects to remain with Southampton for the remainder of the season.

Also thought to be interesting Tottenham, Schneiderlin has been a key part of Southampton’s impressive first half of the season that sees them riding high in fourth place in the Premier League. And he has suggested that he won’t be trying to force through an exit this month as he did in the last transfer window.

“It’s always difficult to leave in January,” he told French football show Téléfoot, according to the Daily Mail. “I think I’ll finish the season at Southampton and we’ll see what will happen next. I don’t set my mind on these things anymore. What should happen will happen. Since this summer, I learned that you should never think that you’re gone before you actually did.”

Arsenal have also suffered more than their fair share of injuries in defense, where the club’s options are already limited. With Laurent Koscielny and Mathieu Debuchy now fit, it remains to be seen whether Wenger still intends to sign a reinforcement, as he has previously suggested. If he does, he could again find that one of the club’s leading targets is unavailable until the summer. Among the center-backs most keenly linked with Arsenal has been West Ham’s Winston Reid. His manager Sam Allardyce has previously insisted that the New Zealand international won’t be going anywhere in January, although he now appears resigned to losing him when his contract expires at the end of the season.

“There is not future for Winston Reid at West Ham United at the moment,” Sam Allardyce said at a press conference on Monday. “The only future for Winston at the moment is that his contract finishes the 30th June. He hasn’t said that he is or he isn’t going to sign but you’d air on the back that he isn’t by the feel of it, by the look of it at this moment of time. So I’d say that its highly unlikely that Winston’s going to sign for us based on what people are saying to me.”

Certainly it now appears that Arsenal have some interest in Saint-Étienne center-back Loic Perrin. The 29-year-old was recently reported as something of a surprising target for the Gunners and he has confirmed that there has been an approach, although as yet not an official one.

“I was contacted personally. Arsenal are interested,” he told French publication Le Progres, reports the Daily Mirror. “But for now, there is still no contact with Saint-Etienne.”

The performance of Wojciech Szczesny in the 2-0 defeat to Southampton on New Year’s Day, when the goalkeeper was at least in part culpable for both goals, has led to further rumors that Wenger could be looking for a new signing between the posts. With Arsenal having only signed Colombia international David Ospina last summer that looks unlikely, especially with Chelsea now confirming that the most coveted goalkeeper around right now won’t be moving this month. Petr Cech has lost his place this season to Thibaut Courtois, but as third-choice goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer completed a transfer to Leicester City, Jose Mourinho stated that there was “no chance” that Cech would follow suit.


Switch To 4-4-2 Means £25m Rated EPL Striker Could Become A Gunner

When a transfer window is close to reopening, smaller clubs inevitably starts getting weary about the possibility that the financially endowed clubs could come knocking for some of their prized assets. One of such club and player is Swansea’s Wilfred Bony. The Ivorian international who is in his second season with the Welsh side has again started attracting interest from other clubs. The 25 year old is currently the highest scorer in the Premier League for the calendar year, 2014. And he is likely to keep that record until the year ends.

As a result of renewed speculations about his future, Swansea City manager Garry Monk has claimed that it would take something huge to take Bony away from the Liberty Stadium.

“We are not a selling club, we don’t have to sell anyone. We’re very much committed with our players and they are committed to us. It’s a good achievement for Wilfred (to be the top Premier League scorer in 2014) because he works incredibly hard on the training ground. Money does dictate things but it would take an astronomical fee for anyone to take him anywhere.” he said.

In one go, he claims that Swansea City are not a selling club, and in another go, he states a huge fee could force the club’s hands to part with the player. Going by the goals he has scored since he joined Swansea from Dutch side FC Twente for £12 million, his price is expected to have doubled since that time. Reports last summer claim the player could be bought for £25m.

Now, his availability is subject to how high any club is willing to go to pay for his services, this could arouse a number of clubs including Arsenal. Arsene Wenger’s recent switch to a 4-4-2 formation could open the door for the club to sign another striker. And what better player than Wilfred Bony who has strived in the Premier League since he arrived England, making mockery of the myth that players from the lesser European leagues cannot hit the ground running when they come to the Premier League.

He has remained in the radar of Arsenal for sometime, and the club followed his progress when he was lighting up the Dutch League, he was linked several times to Arsenal when speculation heighten in January that Arsene Wenger could bring in a striker to complement Oliver Giroud. But it still did not go further than speculations.

Having proved that he can indeed extend his art and craft from the Eredivise to the Premier League, he is very unlikely to stay in Wales for a long time; it would be a matter of time before he joins a bigger club. And if Arsene Wenger decides to embrace a 4-4-2 formation with more regularity, then the club could well have need for another striker after all.

Source – arse talks .com

Van Gaal Slams EPL December Fixtures

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal, has labelled the Premier League’s December fixtures as ‘crazy’.

The Red Devils are preparing to play six league games in December, starting with the visit of Stoke City on Tuesday.

United will also play three matches in the space of eight days over Christmas against Aston Villa, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur.

“I cannot change it, I don’t think it is good for the players that they play within two days of a match,” said Van Gaal.

“December shall be like that, and we have also family. I also have a wife, and kids and grandchildren and I cannot see them at Christmas.

“But, I want to work in the Premier League so I have to adapt and I shall adapt.”

The Old Trafford outfit are not in the Champions League this season, but the 63-year-old insists it does not give them any advantage in the league.

Aaron Ramsey To Miss Six Weeks With Hamstring Tear

Aaron Ramsey will be out of action for up to six weeks, after scans confirmed a grade two hamstring injury.

The midfielder picked up the injury during Saturday’s North London derby, as Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw.

Injuries is beginning to take its toll on Arsene Wenger’s team, as there are doubts over Jack Wilshere’s fitness. The England international turned his ankle under a challenge from Danny Rose in the first half. Mikel Arteta will also miss up to three weeks with a calf complait.

“I don’t know how long they will be out but they will be out next week,” Wenger said post-match. “I think Ramsey is a hamstring, and Arteta is a calf. Wilshere is an ankle.”

He added: “Ramsey [is] a concern. He had a good rest this week, I didn’t play him against Southampton on Tuesday night, it’s a surprise because he’s usually a resistant boy.”

Olivier Giroud and Mathieu Debuchy are almost certain not play again this year too.

Piers Morgan Quits CNN

Ace Tv presenter and staunch Arsenal fan Mr piers Morgan has resigned his job at  CNN he just announced. Piers morgan who said  he was offered a two year deal from CNN to host 41 interviews and shows said he took the decision not to accept the two year deal as he has  decided to go try his hand on another job. 

download (35)

Morgan’s first major position in national media was as de facto editor of The Suns show business column, Bizarre, under the editorship of Kelvin MacKenzie. In 1994, aged 29, he was appointed editor of News of the World by Rupert Murdoch, becoming the youngest national newspaper editor in more than half a century.He quickly gained notoriety for his invasive, thrusting style and lack of concern for celebrities’ privacy, claiming that they could not manipulate the media to further their own ends without accepting the consequences of a two-way deal.

securedownload (1)

Morgan left this post in 1995 shortly after publishing photographs of Catherine Victoria Lockwood, then wife of Charles, Earl Spencer leaving an addictive disorders clinic in Surrey. This action ran against the editors’ code of conduct,a misdemeanor for which the Press Complaints Commission upheld a complaint against Morgan. Murdoch was reported as having said that “the boy went too far and publicly distanced himself from the story. Fearful of a privacy law action if he had not criticized one of his employees, Murdoch is said to have apologized to Morgan in private.

The incident was reported to have contributed to Morgan’s decision to leave for the Daily Mirror  editorship.Morgan’s autobiography The Insider states that he left the News of the World of his own choice and somewhat against owner Rupert Murdoch’s wishes when he was offered the job of Editor at the Daily Mirror.

We would keep up with more developing stories from Piers Morgans camp on this new development after many years with CNN .


The so called Super Eagles finally met their waterloo against a depleted Ghana team. Their pretense to the semi finals of the Nations cup was finally exposed when they were shown the better way to play the game against the Ghanaians. It is a regular thing for Nigeria to get to the semi-finals of the African cup so Amodu will not come over here to tell us he has done enough to lead to South Africa. 2010. He needs to work with someone who is more technically adept and who will be ready to motivate this obviously limited footballers we deceive by calling Eagles. More on this later but I already stated my position on another article

They may be neck deep in depth but Manchester United will be at Wembley for the umpteenth time. They may not yet be backed by sort of money their neighbours can call on whenever there is a need for that but still they showed to us again, there is still only one united and only one king in Manchester and you know who it was and still is, Manchester United Football Club. Carlos Tevez scored three goals against his old club but those were not enough to deny United yet another shot at a trophy. Man U laughs last but not because they didn’t get the humour but because they chose to strike when it mattered most, at the tail end of the two legged affair when the venom of losing would sting harder on their city rivals. Wayne Rooney’s stoppage time header was enough what they needed to deny City a final appearance at any competition for 29 years. When Tevez levelled the tie at three apiece with an exquisite backheel flick in the 76th minute, his celebrations showed how much he believed the tie had been saved but aren’t United the masters of late goals? When Wayne Rooney is hot, no goal keeper can stop him, not even an inspired Shay Given
The Craig Bellamy coin incident may have taken a little shine off United victory but no one will remember that when they file out against Aston Villa next month in London. United have once more put City in their place.
Chelsea brought Birmingham back to earth after their over three months long unbeaten league run. The game ended 3 nil with Frank Lampard earning a brace after Malouda set them on the right path. That was birmingham’s first loss since losing 3-1 to Arsenal at the Emirates in October. Arsenal on their part found the bar, the post but not the back of the net as they could only manage a nil-all draw with Aston Villa. They will be hoping for a better result against Manchester United this Sunday at the Emirates . There were also wins for Everton, Blackburn .
To the Australian Open, Justine Henin will face defending champion Serena Williams in the final of the Australian Open after both women won their semi-finals in straight sets.
Williams reached her fifth Melbourne final with a hard-fought 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-1) win over China’s 16th seed Li Na.
And wildcard Henin then thrashed the unseeded Zheng Jie 6-1 6-0 in the day’s second semi-final.
Henin is playing only her second tournament since coming out of retirement after 18 months away.
And the Belgian is now one win from emulating compatriot Kim Clijsters, who won the US Open last September in her first Grand Slam event since ending her own spell out of the game.
This weekend I will love to be at the Emirates in London but that won’t happen so I will be watching Manchester United take on Arsenal at home. Y’all know what’s at stake…Have all the fun you can get, celebrate your victories BIG or small.cheers