Saturday, 16 January 2016
Friday, 15 January 2016
The Gunners take on Stoke City at Britannia Stadium on Sunday in their Barclays Premier League fixture.Full name: Stoke City Football Club
Manager: Mark Hughes
Club colours: Red and white striped shirts, white shorts, red and white socks
Nickname: The Potters
Three facts about Stoke City:
- 11 of the 14 goals Stoke have scored against Arsenal in Premier League history have been netted in the first half.
- Stoke scored with three of their four shots on target against Arsenal in this fixture last season and all of them came in the first half.
- Olivier Giroud has the best minutes per goal ratio of any Premier League player this season to score more than five times, netting every 117 minutes on average.
The silky winger was signed from Inter Milan in one of the most surprising deals of the summer. A Champions League winner with Bayern Munich, the highly rated trickster is the man to watch.
Arsène Wenger has revealed the latest team news ahead of Sunday's Premier League match at Stoke City:
on the team news...From Liverpool we have no injuries, so that’s good news.
on whether Elneny will play... Elneny is available for selection, I haven’t decided yet [whether I will play him]. I have to see how everyone has recovered. Elneny is a possibility to be in the squad for Sunday.
on Alexis... Alexis I would say has a 60:40 chance to be available and be back in the squad. He has two decisive days - Friday and Saturday. He is fit, he has worked very hard and the decision we have to take is whether to take a gamble or not on his injury.
on Rosicky... Tomas needs first to have a game somewhere. We hope for maybe an under-21 game or at least a bit more training with the first team.
Arsène Wenger says his side have identified “little details we have to work on” ahead of their trip to Stoke City.
This weekend’s match at the Britannia Stadium follows four days after Wednesday’s entertaining 3-3 draw at Liverpool - a game in which the Gunners looked set for victory before Joe Allen’s last-minute equaliser.
What is most important is that we looked like a real team who is up for the fight
Arsenal have conceded seven goals in their last two matches on the road but the boss is backing his team to respond on Sunday.
“There are periods in the season… overall 90 per cent of the time we are very solid defensively, but on these two occasions [Southampton and Liverpool] we certainly looked vulnerable defensively,” the manager said.
“There does not look to be a special reason. At Southampton we looked a bit jaded after the Man City game, at Liverpool maybe we lacked a little bit of calmness and when we played against Benteke we should have moved out of the box because it is difficult to win a header on a long ball against him. Little details we have to work on and improve.
“My regret [from the Liverpool game] comes from the fact that at 3-2 we had two or three good opportunities to kill them off that we didn’t take.”
Wenger was happy with the overall performance against Liverpool.
“Overall for me personally it is a positive team performance. What is most important is that we looked like a real team who is up for the fight,” he said.
“Above the result, what is more important is that we have shown that we are a real team and we are ready in every single game to fight for a positive result.”
Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink has told his players ahead of the visit of Everton they cannot afford to drop more points at home if they are to have any chance of finishing in the Premier League's top four.
The champions are unbeaten in the league since Jose Mourinho's sacking last month, but only two of those five matches have been wins, with the other three draws, including Wednesday's feisty contest at home to West Brom, which ended 2-2.
Real Madrid will return to action after their FIFA-imposed transfer ban when they take on struggling Sporting Gijon in Zinedine Zidane's second match in charge.
The build-up to Sunday's game has been overshadowed by Madrid and city rivals Atletico being handed a suspension for the next two windows - which both clubs will appeal - as a consequence of alleged breaches "relating to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18".
Real Madrid C. F. has today received the decision from the FIFA disciplinary committee, dated 23th July 2015, sanctioning the club with a transfer ban that prevents them from registering any players for the next two complete and consecutive registration periods as well as fining the club 360,000 Swiss francs.
Thursday, 14 January 2016
Rafa Benitez returns to Anfield to watch Liverpool draw with Arsenal after being sacked as Real Madrid manager
Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal calls journalist 'fat man' in press conference following 3-3 draw against Newcastle
Louis van Gaal has been involved in another angry bust-up after snapping and calling a journalist a ‘fat man’ following a question about Wayne Rooney.
The Dutchman refused to talk about his Manchester United captain who had scored twice in Tuesday’s 3-3 draw at Newcastle, then walked out of his post-match press conference.
Wednesday, 13 January 2016
England Six Nations squad set to include 13 new faces including Maro Itoje as Eddie Jones ditches host of World Cup flops
Newcastle United 3-3 Manchester United: Paul Dummett screamer in last minute rescues point for Magpies in thriller at St James'
The wisdom is that a point is no good for a team in Newcastle’s position. Not this one. This was an absolute gold dust point, a great point, a superlative point, a point well made, in fact.
And maybe a turning point, too. Newcastle were 2-0 down, then drew level; went 3-2 behind, and equalised. Paul Dummett’s mighty strike, in the 90th minute, could yet transform their season.
He is a local lad, Dummett, which makes his intervention all the sweeter. Newcastle should be a team of local lads, really, rather than this rag-bag of imported proteges, the north east of England a mere stopover halfway to the next destination. Through history, the calibre of players from this region has been remarkable, yet Dummett is a rarity. Maybe that will change, in time. Priority is to survive in the Premier League, and on Tuesday night made that a more realistic prospect.
Tuesday, 12 January 2016
Benik Afobe finally has a shot at Premier League redemption with Bournemouth after Arsenal rejection
Dele Alli signs new £25,000-a-week five-year deal with Spurs after impressive start to career at White Hart Lane
Real Madrid have netted 52 times in the first half of the La Liga season.
The Santiago Bernabéu once again enjoyed their team record a handsome victory. By the half-way stage of the season, Real Madrid have netted 52 goals (averaging 2.7 goals per game), making the Whites the highest scoring team across all of Europe's major leagues. Behind Real Madrid lie French side, PSG, who having played one game more, have netted 50 goals.
Arsène Wenger is expecting a “ferocious battle” at Anfield on Wednesday night.
Arsenal travel to Merseyside having lost just once on their last seven trips to Liverpool.
Last season’s corresponding fixture finished 2-2 after Martin Skrtel equalised in the seventh minute of stoppage time - and Wenger expects another committed fixture this week.
They had a very strong manager before, they have a very strong one now and Klopp has the personality to do well there
“Every time we go to Anfield, we face a team who is up for it,” he said. “It’s always a ferocious battle, no matter who the manager is.
“They had a very strong manager before, they have a very strong one now and Klopp has the personality to do well there.
“[We need to] play our game at a good pace. We are used to pressing. It is not just Liverpool who do that, everybody in the modern game [does it].
"Pressing has been created in England basically because there is a history of teams who have done that very well so it is part of the modern game to make quick decisions, be very short with your first touch and play your game.”
Arsenal travel to Anfield in good form, with only one defeat in their last 10 matches.
“The momentum creates confidence and confidence is vital at that level,” Wenger said. “In December and now in January we have been consistent and we go into a very important part of the season because we play many games.
“That consistency is a good basis to go into the next game with
Manchester United will seek to extend a good recent record at Newcastle United on Tuesday night in the first of back-to-back away games in the Barclays Premier League.
The Reds have won the last three encounters at St James’ Park, scoring eight goals without reply, and overall have only lost four of 21 trips to the Magpies’ home in the Premier League.
Newcastle lie third from bottom in the table after losing their last four games 1-0, including a battling reversal at leaders Arsenal at the start of the month, but may take encouragement from their backs-to-the-wall goalless draw at Old Trafford in August.
Five months before that, it took an 89th-minute Ashley Young goal to snatch the points on United’s most recent visit to Tyneside, during a six-game winning streak that ultimately helped Louis van Gaal’s men seal a top-four place.
Recalling last season’s corresponding fixture, van Gaal told MUTV: "It was a late win and a very important one, but it's not an easy ground. I also think Newcastle played very well at Arsenal [on 2 January] but they lost and that's football – you can lose despite playing a good way of football."
Among several players on the Newcastle sidelines are Dutchmen Vurnon Anita and long-term injury victim Tim Krul, who helped thwart the Reds at the start of the season and was famously brought on by van Gaal to help the Netherlands win their World Cup quarter-final penalty shoot-out against Costa Rica in 2014.
Three other Oranje internationals could start for the Magpies, including Siem de Jong and two other men who were part of van Gaal’s squad in Brazil two years ago.
"They have Darryl Janmaat and Georginio Wijnaldum also, who played for me in the Dutch national team, so I'm happy to see them again," the boss added.
United are bidding to extend the winning run at the start of 2016 to three games, following the victories over Swansea City and, in injury-time in the FA Cup on Saturday, Sheffield United.
And after Tuesday's tussle with Steve McClaren’s side, the Reds’ attentions will turn to Sunday’s big clash with Liverpool at Anfield.
It all adds up to an important few days but van Gaal insists: "It’s always a big week for Manchester United because the expectations are always high, we have to win and the pressure is big."
Wayne Rooney's picks for Coach of the Year at the FIFA Ballon d'Or ceremony were for the three managers most strongly linked with replacing Louis van Gaal at Manchester United, while he also selected Lionel Messi and Thomas Muller above former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo in the player vote.
The England and United captain made Jose Mourinho his first selection, followed by Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola and Chile manager Jorge Sampaoli.
The award was won by Luis Enrique but Rooney did not deem the Spaniard worthy of a vote, despite the fact he guided Barcelona to the treble last season.
Wayne Rooney's choices for Ballon d'Or coach of the year were for the men linked to replacing Louis van Gaal
And it was another Barcelona hero who took the player award, as Messi beat Ronaldo to win his fifth Ballon d'Or with almost 14 per cent more votes.
But Rooney's choices make interesting reading.
Mourinho has been continuously linked with the managerial job at United, with his departure from Chelsea coinciding with a slide in form at Old Trafford under the Dutchman Van Gaal's risk-averse style of play.
While the Portuguese is the obvious front-runner for any vacancy which could emerge from a Van Gaal departure, Guardiola would also be considered after announcing he is leaving Bayern at the end of the season.
Sampaoli, meanwhile, is perhaps an alternative name but led Chile to the Copa America title as host nation in 2015.
Rooney also favoured Messi over his former United team-mate Ronaldo - placing the Portugal man in third.
Messi was first on Rooney's voting slip, Germany and Bayern Munich forward Thomas Muller second and Ronaldo third, while Roy Hodgson once again went for an unorthodox option in his choices.
The England manager selected Chelsea's Eden Hazard as the third best in the world and also ranked Cristiano Ronaldo above the winner, Lionel Messi.
Hazard spearheaded Chelsea's Premier League title triumph last season but has not replicated anything near to similar form this season at Stamford Bridge.
Cristiano Ronaldo picked former Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti as his top selection in the vote
Real Madrid No 7 and Ronaldo gives the thumbs up with a beaming smile after being interviewed on stage
Lionel Messi topped the voting for the Ballon d'Or with an emphatic 41.33 per cent of the vote on Monday
Last year, Hodgson was derided for making Javier Mascherano his top pick, followed by Philipp Lahm and Manuel Neuer.
Captains and managers of each national side vote in the Ballon d'Or, with first picks taking five points, second picks having three and third picks winning one.
Messi topped the overall voting with 41.33 per cent of the vote, with Ronaldo second on 27.76 and Neymar third, having amassed 7.86 per cent.
Ronaldo's top pick as manager was Carlo Ancelotti, who he was disappointed to see leave Real Madrid at the end of last season. Mourinho was second and Guardiola third.
His player choices were all for his Madrid team-mates, plumping for Karim Benzema, James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale.
Messi's coaching selections placed Barcelona boss Enrique in first, followed by Sampaoli and fellow Argentina countryman and Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone.
In the player vote, he went for Luis Suarez, Neymar and Andres Iniesta. Similarly to Ronaldo, he only voted for his club team-mates.
A pick of the voting for the Ballon d'Or award for best player from international captains across the world
England manager Roy Hodgson picked Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Eden Hazard as his top three respectively
Shortlisted duo Neymar (centre) and Messi (right) voted for each other and Luis Suarez in their player picks
Barcelona forward and Brazil captain Neymar - with bow tie and bowler hat - was third for the main award
Messi is congratulated by Barcelona team-mate Neymar after receiving 41.33 per cent of the votes
Messi was the top pick for fellow Ballon d'Or shortlisted nominee Neymar. The Brazil captain placed Suarez and Ivan Rakitic in second and third.
Elsewhere, Wales manager Chris Coleman unsurprisingly went for Bale as the best player, but Ronaldo and Hazard occupied second and third with no place for Messi.