Injury worries for Arsenal ahead of North London derby

Arsene Wenger has admitted that Arsenal have several injury concerns ahead of Sunday’s crucial north London derby with Tottenham Hotspur. The Frenchman has confirmed in a Sky Sports story that defenders Kieran Gibbs and Bacary Sagna will definitely not make the short trip to White Hart Lane. Abou Diaby is also a major doubt after he was substituted in the victory over Aston Villa last weekend with a calf problem. It is the latest disappointment for Diaby, who was widely tipped to become Alex Song’s long-term replacement at the Emirates,…

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Man Utd on alert as Lewandowski set for Dortmund exit

Manchester United might be alerted to reports of Robert Lewandowski’s expected summer departure from Borussia Dortmund. The Pole has scored 44 goals in 87 appearances since moving to the club from Lech Poznan in 2010, and has helped them to two successive Bundesliga titles. However, he won’t sign a new contract to stay at the Westfalenstadion. With his current deal due to expire in the summer of 2014, it is expected that Die Borussen will cash in on one of their assets rather than risk losing him for free. Dortmund’s…

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Chelsea skipper Terry wouldn’t be respected says Marsh

QPR legend Rodney Marsh claims Chelsea club captain John Terry wouldn’t cut it as a manager because the players will never respect him, according to the Daily Mail. The former Sky Sports Soccer Saturday pundit, who won nine international caps for England in the early 1970s, believes Terry’s indiscretions in his private life mean he will struggle to win over the dressing room at Stamford Bridge. Terry has been quoted at 50-1 by some bookmakers to be the next Chelsea boss, following Rafa Benitez’s outburst at the fans and the…

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Hefty fine but no stripping of titles for Rangers

The Daily Express is leading with the story of a hefty fine but no stripping of SPL titles for Rangers. The Oldco Rangers group were fined £250,000 following an investigation into undisclosed payments to players between 2000 and 2011. However, the three-man team of Charles Flint, Nicholas Stewart and Lord Nimmo Smith decided that although the club was guilty of failing to make logical disclosure of the arrangements, a fine was the suitable penalty of action. The strongest sanction that could have been taken would have been the stripping of…

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Cazorla praises ‘complete footballer’ Wilshere

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has been branded a “complete footballer” by Gunners team mate Santi Cazorla, according to the Daily Express. The Spanish international has spoken of his admiration for the young English starlet who has been in dazzling form for Arsene Wenger’s side since returning from a long injury lay-off in October last year. And Cazorla believes that the 21-year-old adds “something extra” to the club, who are currently chasing a top-four Premier League finish. The 28-year-old said: “I didn’t know much about him [Wilshere] when I came to…

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Tottenham plan Soldado move

Tottenham Hotspur will look to exploit Valencia’s financial woes by targeting a cut-price deal for Roberto Soldado, says the Metro. The striker has been one of the Spanish club’s most indispensable players since signing from fellow La Liga side Getafe in 2010. But with the big debts of Los Che continuing to rise, Soldado could be one of the first players out of the door at the Mestalla – with Spurs ready to offer £8million in an attempt to secure his services on the cheap. Andre Villas-Boas’ club have been…

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Man Utd explore Cristiano Ronaldo possibility

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo could be set for a sensational return to Manchester United, according to the Daily Mail. The prolific Portuguese forward will go head-to-head with his former employers next week in the second leg of the Champions League last 16 tie between Real and United. But the Daily Mail say that Sir Alex Ferguson’s side are currently assessing whether a multi-million pound Ronaldo swoop would be feasible, with the club becoming more confident about a potential reunion. Ferguson spoke about the possibility of Ronaldo returning to Old…

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Benitez could be sacked following Roman attack

Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez could be sacked from his role after launching an extraordinary broadside aimed at Blues owner Roman Abramovich, says the Daily Star. Speaking after Chelsea’s 2-0 win at Middlesbrough in the FA Cup on Wednesday, Benitez criticised the club for labelling him as ‘interim manager’, claiming it undermines his position. He also condemned the section of Blues support who have continued to voice their disapproval at the Spaniard’s appointment. Abramovich is now likely to dispose of the former Liverpool boss’ services – despite Benitez admitting that he…

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Middlesbrough v Chelsea – FA Cup preview and team news

Chelsea look to get back to wining ways when they travel north to face Middlesbrough in the FA Cup 5th round. The Blues come into the clash on the back of two games without victory – a 1-1 draw with Sparta Prague, and a 2-0 away defeat to Manchester City last weekend. Chelsea have fallen below Tottenham into 4th position in the Premier League, and will be looking to play themselves into form in Teeside. Middlesbrough meanwhile are in worse form, recording just two wins in nine, a run that…

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Benitez hints at Chelsea exit

Interim manager at Chelsea, Rafael Benitez, has given his biggest hint yet that he will not be at Stamford Bridge next season, ESPN has reported. The former Liverpool boss said: “You know, more or less, how things go (at Chelsea) in terms of what happens if you lose or win. I have a job to do and the players are clever enough and realise they will be here next season with long contracts. “I will be working hard until the end. My job is to concentrate on the next game,…

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Man City’s Maicon on the sidelines again

Manchester City’s issues on the right-hand side of their defence have continued, as ESPN has confirmed the news that Maicon has returned to the sidelines. The 31-year-old has had an injury-hit first season in the Premier League since moving to the Citizens for £3m on August deadline day from Inter. He has only featured in 11 games in all competitions for the club, and has now undergone surgery on his knee that will keep him out of action until at least the end of March. Maicon had only just returned…

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Baines targets FA Cup glory for Everton

Everton’s energetic left back Leighton Baines believes the club has unfinished business in the FA Cup, and feels his side can go all the way this season. The Merseysiders were beaten in the final by Chelsea in 2009, and were edged out in the semi-finals at Wembley last season by Liverpool. However, the 28-year-old has told the Liverpool Daily Post of his confidence he has in the Toffees landing silverware this season. He said: “We have got unfinished business with the FA Cup. We have gone close a couple of…

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Swansea confident of agreeing new Laudrup deal

Swansea City’s ambitious chairman Huw Jenkins believes that he can agree a new deal for his in demand manager Michael Laudrup, understands Eurosport. The Swans returned to Wales on Tuesday with a bus parade around the city centre following their Capital One Cup success at the weekend. The Welsh side recorded the biggest ever League Cup final victory against Bradford City. The 5-0 triumph not only was their first major trophy in their history, but also guarantees Europa League football for next season. Laudrup has promoted an attractive brand of…

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Arsenal Focus – Cazorla brilliance disguises yet another below-par display

After a turbulent week, Arsenal saved themselves from further scrutiny and embarrassment with a 2-1 victory over struggling Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium. It was three points gained for the Gunners but that hardly told the full story. Possibly shaken from the demoralising events of the last week, the Arsenal defence retained a familiar unsteadiness, and creativity at the other end of the pitch was stifled by Villa’s deep, rigid defensive setup. In the end, it was Santi Cazorla’s double – the second of which came late on –…

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Swansea Focus – Europe awaits Laudrup’s Swans

Some might of said the game was won before it even began. After all, Swansea are a whole four divisions above fellow Capital One Cup finalists Bradford, but anything can happen in football – just ask Arsenal and Aston Villa, beaten by Bradford along the way. The romance of the cup was not on Bradford’s side Sunday however. They looked fatigued and stunned by the occasion from the get-go – their first corner of the game came after 85 minutes, with their first shot on target coming in the 88th.…

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Norwich Focus – Everton late show provides comfort

An inspired substitution and good fortune helped Norwich City to a much-needed win over Everton at Carrow Road on Saturday. Chris Hughton’s men ended a winless drought stretching back two months, and it eases some comfort from being dragged into a relegation battle – especially with defeats this weekend for Reading and Aston Villa. With five goalless draws before this game in the Premier League this season, Norwich certainly knew how to keep a clean sheet, but also have severe problems in the scoring department. In Kei Kamara, they might…

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Tottenham’s Parker upset by boos from West Ham fans

Tottenham Hotspur’s former West Ham midfielder Scott Parker has revealed he was disappointed by the reception he received upon his return to Upton Park when the sides met in the Premier League on Monday, Teamtalk has reported. Parker spent four years with West Ham, making more than 100 appearances, and was named the club’s player of the year three times. He also won the Football Writers’ Association footballer of the year award in his last season at the club for his performances as West Ham were relegated, having moved to…

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Sagna to return for Arsenal in north London derby

Bacary Sagna will make his Arsenal return this weekend when the Gunners meet Tottenham Hotspur in the final north London derby of the Premier League season, the Daily Mail has reported. Sagna missed Arsenal’s 2-1 win over Aston Villa last weekend and was doubtful for the match at White Hart Lane after injuring knee ligaments, but is said to be on course to play, where he will come up against the division’s form player, Gareth Bale. If Sagna does not make it then Carl Jenkinson is expected to continue at…

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Tottenham turn down Anzhi offer for Kaboul

Tottenham Hotspur have rejected an offer from wealthy Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala for defender Younes Kaboul, the Daily Mail has reported. Kaboul has been suffering with a serious knee injury for the overwhelming majority of the current Premier League season, making only one appearance – in the campaign’s opening game at Newcastle – and is still said to be weeks away from a return to action. Anzhi though are understood to be seeking a replacement for Christopher Samba, who joined Queens Park Rangers in January, and were prepared to take…

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Three Premier League clubs among suitors for Everton midfielder Fellaini

Three Premier League clubs – Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea – and Real Madrid are chasing Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini with a view to a summer move, the Daily Mail has reported. Fellaini is understood to want to play in the Champions League and if Everton cannot over participation in the competition next season, the Belgium international could look to move to a club who can. Both Manchester clubs and Madrid are all-but-certain to be playing in the tournament next season, while Chelsea are currently fourth in the league,…

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Sterling feeling Premier League demands, says Liverpool boss Rodgers

Raheem Sterling will be protected by Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers as the winger begins to show signs of struggling with the physical demands of the Premier League, the Daily Mirror has reported. Sterling burst onto the scene earlier in the season, forcing his way into the Reds line-up and remaining there for much of the campaign – only Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez have appeared for the Reds more times than the 18-year-old. But the last few games have seen Sterling sitting on the substitutes’ bench, making sporadic appearances often…

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Rodwell promises more to come at Man City

Jack Rodwell has insisted that he will prove he belongs at Manchester City after impressing in the Premier League champions’ 2-0 win over Chelsea on Sunday, Sky Sports has reported. Rodwell moved to the Etihad Stadium from Everton last summer but has struggled to hold down a place in Roberto Mancini’s side, spending much of the season on the sidelines through injury. A hamstring problem has meant Rodwell has made only 10 appearances for the club, with his last start for City prior to the weekend coming in September. The…

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Man Utd send scouts to watch Porto star Rodriguez

Manchester United have again sent scouts to watch Porto winger James Rodriguez, the Daily Mail has reported, although the cost of signing the Columbia international has rocketed in the past few months. The 21-year-old Rodriguez has a release clause in his contract that previously stood at around £24m. However, after what is described by the Mail as a “readjustment” the clause was increased to £36m. Rodriguez has been earmarked as a star of the future, drawing comparisons with iconic Columbian playmaker Carlos Valderrama, former Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo and…

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Bale could be Premier League’s best, says Cole

West Ham midfielder Joe Cole believes Gareth Bale could one day be the greatest player the Premier League has ever seen, after the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder scored twice in victory over the Hammers to take Spurs third in the table, according to ESPN. Bale scored the first and last goals of the game, netting in the first-half and the dying seconds of the game to help Tottenham to a 3-2 victory. Gylfi Sigurdsson scored the other goal for the White Hart Lane club, with Cole adding to an Andy Carroll…

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Benitez plays down reports of Chelsea bust-up

Interim Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez has dismissed claims of a row between himself and the Chelsea squad after the Blues’ Premier League defeat to Manchester City, the BBC has reported. It was alleged that Benitez criticised the Chelsea players heavily after they lost 2-0 to the champions, which allowed Tottenham Hotspur to leapfrog Chelsea into third place in the table. Captain John Terry was said to have argued the players’ case in a heated exchange. However, Benitez denied the incident was anything out of the ordinary. Speaking at a press…

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