Rosicky calls for Arsenal to bounce back after Cup disappointment

Arsenal forward Tomas Rosicky is keen for his side to bounce back after their disappointing last minute defeat to Birmingham City in the Carling Cup final on Sunday. The Gunners lost 2-1, and in doing so failed to end a six-year trophyless spell. But Rosicky, quoted by UKPA, said: “Obviously we are very disappointed but we have to pick ourselves up immediately. We have a game on Wednesday so we have to perform. The big games are decided by who makes the most mistakes, and we made the big mistake.”…

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Arsenal 1-2 Birmingham City – Late Martins goal gives Birmingham Carling Cup success

Arsenal 1 Birmingham 2 Obafemi Martins snatched a late winner as Birmingham City beat Arsenal 2-1 in a dramatic Carling Cup final. Nikola Zigic gave the Blues a first half lead while Robin van Persie levelled the scores before half time. Arsenal pressed throughout the second half but a string of fantastic saves from Ben Foster kept parity before a mix-up between Laurent Koscielny and Wojech Szczesny gave Martins a chance he took with ease. Controversy engulfed the game from the off. Lee Bowyer was adjudged offside before a sprawling…

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Liverpool news – Dalglish: No contract offer, Hammer blow, Hull land Amoo

Hammer blow. In one of the more surprising results of the weekend, beleaguered West Ham defeated Liverpool 3-1 at Upton Park, aided by a strong attacking display. Aside from a fifteen minute period in which Glen Johnson gave Liverpool hope with an 84th minute goal, Liverpool endured a return to earlier season form. Their misery was compounded with Carlton Cole’s injury time clincher. Scott Parker gave the Hammers the lead in the 22nd minute and, to end a vibrant first-half display which made light of their Premier League woes, January…

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Man Utd news – Vidic prepared for Torres, Fergie dismisses Rooney claims, Blues team news

Vidic prepared for Torres. Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic is adamant he can quell Chelsea’s attacking force, which now includes Fernando Torres. The 29-year-old has been in imperious form this season but pundits will certainly refer to Vidic’s nightmare performance in Liverpool’s 4-1 victory at Old Trafford in 2009, where Torres ran the rule over the defender. However the Serbian international insists the media speculation surrounding his inability to cope with Torres with only serve to spur him on. “Sometimes you read people saying that certain players have a hard…

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Man City news – Huge Cavani bid, Dzeko: Goals will come, Silva credits yoga for form

Dzeko: Goals will come. Edin Dzeko has insisted that his performances will improve as he adapts to life in the Premier League and that there is much more to come from him, according to The Daily Mail. Dzeko has scored four goals for Manchester City since his £27million move from Bundesliga side VFL Wolfsburg and the Bosnian is confident that once he has found his feet in the English league, he will be scoring goals for fun: “My whole career has been step by step, so I am used to…

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Arsenal news – Wenger: Nerves to blame, Wilshere praise, New contract offers

Wenger: Nerves to blame. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that fatigue and nerves were to blame for his side’s defeat to Birmingham City in the League Cup final on Sunday. The Gunners six year trophy drought continues after Obafemi Martins gave the Blues the winner in 89 minutes after a defensive error from Laurent Koscielny and Wojciech Szczesny and the north London side’s boss said it “hurts a lot” to see his side lose the cup final. Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live after the game, Wenger said: “The…

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Man City Daily – Mark Hughes’s Fulham frustrate out of sorts City

A lacklustre performance by Manchester City saw them drop two points at home against former manager Mark Hughes’ Fulham on a frustrating afternoon at Eastlands. Mario Balotelli blasted in his ninth goal of the season from 22 yards to give the Blues a lead in the 28th minute, but Irish winger Damien Duff equalised early in the second half after a mistake from City full back Aleksandar Kolarov. City looked as though their recent hectic schedule had finally caught up with them, as they looked leggy and off the pace.…

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Club Focus – Everton – Beckford brace puts Toffees’ formation under spotlight

Two Jermaine Beckford goals gave Everton a vital three points against Sunderland as the Toffees strive to pull away from the Premier League relegation zone. They also reignited a debate that has enveloped Goodison Park for much of this goal-shy season – David Moyes’s preference for playing with a lone striker. Beckford partnered Louis Saha against the Black Cats and the two dovetailed neatly. Their partnership was not fluid – it was only the third time they have started together this season – but there were enough signs of understanding…

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Arsenal Daily – Third time unlucky as Gunners fall to Birmingham in Carling Cup

Arsenal fell at the final hurdle once again, losing the Carling Cup final 2-1 to Birmingham City yesterday. Nicola Zigic and a late Obefemi Martins goal put the Gunners to the sword. It’s the third final the North London outfit have lost since their last silverware since winning the 2005 FA Cup, having lost 2-1 both to Barcelona in the 2006 Champions League final, and to Chelsea in the 2007 League Cup. Unlike the other two though, Arsenal were clear favourites, and only an unforgettable mix-up between Lorient Koscielney and…

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Liverpool Daily – Dalglish’s European endeavours take toll in West Ham defeat

Not to take anything away from the victorious West Ham United yesterday, but this latest performance from Liverpool typifies the conundrum Kenny Dalglish faces this season, as they carry out a two-pronged assault in their search for domestic and European success. Few clubs revel in the balancing act which derives from combining European commitments and domestic matters but due to concerns over squad depth, Liverpool may have to prioritise as both campaigns gather pace. Anfield hosted a robust Sparta Prague side on Thursday night and the hosts were pushed to…

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Club Focus – Manchester City – Fulham draw ends Mancini’s Premier League title dreams

Yaya Toure last week spoke of how he envisaged Manchester City emulating Barcelona within the next couple of years. Come full time at the City of Manchester Stadium on Sunday, his prediction seemed every bit as startling as those who proclaim the end of the world in 2012. City, to be blunt, were eons away from producing the type of football Toure so evidently believes they are capable of and may even consider themselves fortunate that their insipid performance yielded a point against Mark Hughes’s Fulham. In the event it…

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Club Focus – Chelsea – A few points Ancelotti should note from United’s win against Wigan

Manchester United took on Wigan Athletic over the weekend and sent out a message to the Chelsea camp with a 4-0 win over the Latics. The war of words the league leaders and the champions has been building up since last week but it all comes down to performances now. John Terry and Sir Alex Ferguson have already fired comments at one another, but one person who has had little to say is Carlo Ancelotti. The Italian tactician is known not to involve himself with mind games against the opposition…

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Club Focus – Arsenal – Where does Carling Cup defeat to Birmingham leave Arsenal’s season?

For the masses of Arsenal fans that made their way across London, things did not go to plan. Carling Cup success was supposed to be the springboard to further silverware this season, but without their launch pad, will the Gunners’ season take off? When Birmingham City took the lead through Nicola Zigic’s flicked header, the all too familiar combination of slack marking and indecisive goalkeeping reared its ugly head. The more optimistic fans may have taken solace in the fact that Arsenal’s previous two League Cup victories had been by…

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Manchester United Daily – Rooney and United await referee’s match report

A decision should be made today on whether Wayne Rooney will be punished for an altercation with Wigan’s James McCarthy on Saturday. It is a bizarre situation as the referee – Mark Clattenburg – awarded a free-kick to Wigan but failed to produce a card. In his match report he will state whether he saw the incident or not; if he says he did not then it seems likely the FA will take action. It is an incredibly difficult time for United with visits to Stamford Bridge and Anfield in…

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Foster proves his worth with fine League Cup display

Ben Foster again showed his worth to Alex McLeish’s Birmingham City side with a man of the match performance in Sunday’s League Cup victory against Arsenal. Foster now has a hat-trick of League Cup victories as it was his third triumph in the competition in three years, having played a vital role in Manchester United’s win in 2009 and being an unused substitute in 2010. Prior to the encounter Foster spoke of his enjoyment at his continued run of games in the Birmingham first-team and also of the pleasure he…

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Club Focus – Newcastle – Taylor dismissal sends Magpies onto back foot

There was little to separate Newcastle and Bolton at the weekend as the two sides ended up sharing the spoils. The game changed with the dismissal of Ryan Taylor in the second half forcing the Magpies onto the back foot for the rest of the game. As a result Newcastle remain ninth in the league table although their chances of playing in Europe next season appear less likely due to Birmingham’s surprising win in the League Cup final. It was a day to forget for utility player Ryan Taylor who…

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Club Focus – Liverpool – West Ham smash Liverpool to ruin their run

A lacklustre Liverpool side slipped to their first defeat in seven Premier League matches as relegation-threatened West Ham secured an impressive 3-1 victory over Kenny Dalglish’s side. Prior to this important game, the Reds had conceded a total of just three goals in their previous six league matches, but the Merseysiders were uncharacteristically poor at the back at Upton Park. The home side took full advantage of Liverpool’s defensive frailties to leave the Reds well and truly out of contention for a top-four finish come the end of the season.…

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Manchester City 1-1 Fulham – Mancini’s title chase comes to a bitter end after another draw

Mark Hughes, looking to improve upon his 4-1 loss earlier in the season, set out to get at a tired Manchester City, and his side moved the ball around nicely. Moussa Dembele caused plenty of problems and linked well with Andy Johnson, who looked to exploit the channels dangerously. Mancini sent his side out with all the attacking intent he could muster, however the front three of Balotelli, Dzeko, and Tevez failed to link up effectively. Dzeko, fresh off the back of a fine brace in midweek, particularly struggled to…

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Club Focus – Real Madrid – Hoodoo strikes again as the woodwork almost ends title hunt

Real Madrid came within just a matter of inches of staying in the hunt for La Liga silverware on Saturday night, but their Riazor hoodoo struck once more to quash hopes of a title reprieve. A goalless stalemate in La Coruna against Deportivo, in a game Los Blancos commanded superior dominance of for the most part, means the Whites have now been cut adrift from rivals Barcelona. The Catalans strolled to a 3-0 success at Mallorca, extending their lead over their arch adversary at the top of the La Liga…

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Club Focus – Blackburn Rovers – Kean’s men slump to Villa defeat

Blackburn Rovers slumped to their third defeat in four Premier League games as opponents Aston Villa recorded a resounding 4-1 victory over Steve Kean’s injury-hit side. The disappointing result allowed Villa’s recent revival to continue as they leapfrogged Rovers in the table. Supporters of the Lancashire outfit will now be hoping their stuttering side can avoid being sucked into a fierce relegation battle. The Blues were without some key players for the vital clash against Gerard Houllier’s men and the absentees were sorely missed. Influential skipper Chris Samba was ruled…

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Club Focus – Stoke – Potters look to prolong West Brom hoodoo

It is pretty safe to assume that Monday’s trip to the Britannia Stadium will not be relished by either Roy Hodgson or his new West Brom charges. The former Liverpool and Fulham boss has won just one of five top-flight encounters with Tony Pulis’ men, while the Baggies’ well-documented barren run against the Potters has seen them taste victory just once in an astonishing 27 league games. West Brom arrive in the Potteries stone bottom of the form table, with just two wins since the start of December. However, it…

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Championship Analysis – Defeat to Burnley leaves Preston another game closer to relegation

A late winner by Jack Cork saw Burnley take the bragging rights in the Lancashire derby and do the double over a hapless Preston side who remain firmly rooted to the bottom of the Championship. The Lilywhites’ winless streak stretches back to December 11, 2010, and the appointment of Phil Brown last month has so far not managed to provide a change in fortune. Yet, somewhat bizarrely, you could have forgiven the Deepdale faithful for being cautiously optimistic of a win before Saturday’s fixture. Despite their woes, Preston’s three preceding…

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Football League Daily – Clough delighted with Derby’s long-overdue victory

After watching his Derby County side win 1-0 away at Sheffield United on Saturday, their first victory in 10 attempts, beleaguered manager Nigel Clough declared himself delighted, both with the performance and the result itself. “We don’t know how important that result will be,” he said in a post-match interview. “We’ll know in the coming weeks how important it is but it certainly feels important. That result has been coming, though. It’s been coming because of the effort the lads have been putting in. I thought our two centre-halves were…

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