I’m a Gunner for life, I will never leave Arsenal – Vermaelen

Thomas Vermaelen has just pledged the rest of his career to Arsenal, after affirming that he would like to remain at the club forever.

“I will stay at Arsenal forever. There will be no transfer for me. I love London. I’ve got a house there, I’m happy there and I don’t see any reason to ever leave the club.”

Vermaelen joined the Arsenal football club  in 2009 from Ajax and has gone on to become a key component of Arsene Wenger’s defence.

Almunia getting set to leave Arsenal by season end

Goalkeeper Manuel Almunia plus seven other players will be leaving Arsenal this summer.

This is due to the expiration of Almunia’s contract thereby ending an eight-year football romance with the Gunners come 30th June when his own contract expires.

The shot-stopper kept 70 clean sheets in 175 appearances for the Gunners but fell out of favour last season.

The 35-year-old played four times during a loan spell at West Ham this term and has been linked with a return to Upton Park.

Other players leaving the Gunners are: George Brislen-Hall, Sean McDermott, Rhys Murphy, James Campbell and Jeffrey Monakana and defender Gavin Hoyte who is the only one that had first-team experience of all the players leaving the club.

Arsenal place media ban on Van Persie during Euro 2012

North London football outfit, Arsenal have banned their skipper Robin van Persie from talking to the media while on international duty at Euro 2012 with the Dutch national team, as the club’s hierarchy grow increasingly anxious about the player’s next move.

Van Persie joined his Dutch team mates on Thursday ahead of this summer’s European championship training camp, and the Dutch FA told journalist they will not be given the opportunity to talk to the premier league’s 2012 top scorer.

A Netherlands spokesman confirmed this in a statement which read: “We made a deal with Arsenal and he won’t talk to the press.”

Van Persie met with manager Arsene Wenger and the club’s chief executive Ivan Gazidis on Wednesday at the manager’s home, as they attempted to convince the striker of their plans for the future and the key role that he had in them.

However, after a seven-year trophy drought and with the player turning 29 in August, he is thought to be keeping his options open regarding a move away from the club. He only has 12 months remaining on his contract and an agreement has not been reached with Arsenal’s hierarchy over a  new deal .

Manchester City claims premier league title after 44 years

For the first time in 44 years, Manchester City football club were crowned as champions of England in a pulsating encounter where the English champion was not known until the last minute of the last game of the league.

In their final fixture, which was played simultaneously alongside 9 other games, Manchester City defeated Queens Park Rangers (3-2) to emerge as champions of the English Premier league. The victory left City with 89 points, same as Manchester United, winners of the last three editions of the Premier league.

City emerged league winners following a better goal difference over their city rivals. City have a goal difference of 64 while United have a goal difference of 56. (Goal difference is a difference between goals scored by a team and goals conceded (over the course of the season).

Manchester City would however count themselves lucky as they scored their winning goal against QPR in the 94th minute courtesy of a strike by Argentinean Sergio Aguero.

Nigerians escape relegation

Though on the losing sides, two Nigerians who played full 90 mins for QPR, Taiye Taiwo and Nedum Onuoha, have reasons to be thankful as their club escaped relegation from the premier league.

QPRs escape follows a 2-2 draw by Bolton against Stoke city. Taiwo is on loan at QPR from Italian side AC Milan.
This ensures that it is Bolton that joins previously relegated Wolverhampton Wanderers and Blackburn football club (the club Nigerian Yakubu Aiyegbeni plays for). Bolton needed a win against Stoke to escape relegation as the draw saw them finish with 36 points while QPR finished with 37 points.

Tottenham will pray against Chelsea

Fans of Tottenham football club will be hoping that a German club, Bayern Munich, beat their London city rivals on Sunday, next week. This is because Tottenham’s fourth placed finish which would ordinarily have guaranteed them a champions league play-off spot is now dependent on the UEFA champions league final between Bayern and Chelsea.

Should Chelsea win on Sunday, Tottenham would have to settle for the second tier Europa league as Chelsea would automatically fill the fourth spot meant for English clubsides. Arsenal, meanwhile have qualified for the Champions League after finishing in third place with 70 points, one ahead of Tottenham.

Chelsea, as expected rested several players who are expected to feature in next week’s Champions league final. Nigerian midfielder Mikel Obi; Frank Lampard; Salomon Kalou, Jose Bosingwa and others were rested as Chelsea came sixth in the league (their worst showing since Roman Abrahamovic took control of the Club in 2003) with 64 points.

 

Arsenal confirms Nigerian summer tour

English Premier League club, Arsenal have officially made public when their first-team will make the tour of Nigeria.

The Gunners announced on their official website on Friday that their “first-team squad will travel to Nigeria this summer for a pre-season match in Abuja on Sunday, August 5.”

“Arsenal Football Club is delighted to announce that the first-team squad will travel to Nigeria this summer for a pre-season match in Abuja on Sunday, August 5.

“In what will be the Gunners’ first match on Nigerian soil, Arsene Wenger’s side will play at the 60,000 capacity Abuja National Stadium. Arsenal’s opposition will be confirmed soon and is likely to be a leading African national team,” the announcement read on the official website of Arsenal.

“The visit to Nigeria will conclude an exciting pre-season tour schedule for Arsenal, who return to both China and Malaysia in July, following the success of last term’s Asia Tour.

“Further details regarding the match in Nigeria will feature on Arsenal.com as soon as they are confirmed.”

The Gunners will start their overseas tour in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on July 24 before travelling to China and Hong Kong in same month of July.

 

City beats United to get lifeline,back in control

The much talked about local derby between the two Manchester clubs; Manchester City and Manchester United ended minutes ago with Manchester City smiling  as victors as Manchester United sleepily lost to their arch rivals putting City back on top.

By this, the English Premier League title race which is already nosing towards the end of the season might be claimed by Manchester city as they are now in control of the table, occupying the number one spot with 83 points, same point shared with United but a goal difference of 8 points and the turnaround of events boiled down to the great move made by Vincent Kompany and it sure made the difference tonight.

A David Silva’s corner sets Vincent Kompany to rise higher above all other players with so much strength mustered to head the ball into the right direction to the astonishment of United defenders towards the end of the first half.

A definitely bewildered United after the goal by Kompany had from the beginning of the match approached the derby with a defensive mind set in a bid to frustrate Manchester City who played host to the Red Devils at Etihad Stadium.

Going into the second half United came out of their shells but it was too late as Manchester City stood grounds so hard not to concede or get complacent bearing in mind the consequence of a draw or lose on home ground to United with two games remaining for the season to end and a winner of the league to be crowned.

It would be recalled Manchester City already lost hope over the EPL title thereby conceding the title to Manchester United as he declared them most favourite the season to lift the title because according to him would have two easy games after playing Etihad Stadium while his own club will embark on two tough games after playing host to United.

However, this derby which ended in favour of Manchester City can be capped a remarkable comeback for the Manchester club after falling at Emirates Stadium to Arsenal and the defeat left them eight points behind their fierce local foe at the top of the table.

A tough and gripping two weeks of the English Premier League is being expected because nothing right now can be predictable as both teams go into their last two games of the season to decide who will be crowned.

Arsenal completes Podolski signing

Koln striker Lukas Podolski will join Arsenal in the summer for an undisclosed fee, the Bundesliga club has announced in a statement on its website.

Confirming the deal, executive board chairman, Claus Horstmann admitted that Koln had offered the player new “competitive” terms on his contract, but with just one year left on his current deal, a transfer was best for the team.

Horstmann said: “We deeply regret his step, which is not a decision against [the club] but for the good of his own career. Koln were prepared to extend Lukas Podolski’s contract on the basis of a competitive offer.

“Nonetheless, this early transfer decision offers scope and planning security for the next season. We will jump at this opportunity to reinvest these transfer earnings back into our team’s quality and into the promotion of our youth squads.

“Lukas has helped the club in many difficult situations, Lukas has left a mark on Koln’s reputation and we feel the need to thank him for numerous great football experiences at Koln.”

The move has long been in the offing, with Gunners’ manager Arsene Wenger publicly stating his admiration for the former Bayern Munich player in March, and the striker’s former boss Stale Solbakken admitting just two weeks ago that a move to England was on the cards.

And the 26-year-old has thanked the Koln fans before his summer switch to the Emirates Stadium: “The move to Arsenal provides a great opportunity for me to gain experience in international competitions at a European top club.

“I have made this decision not against Koln but for this great opportunity and the good of my own individual development.

“This was not an easy decision for me at all, as Koln, our fans and the city are something special for me.

“I will always carry Koln in my heart. We need to pool our strengths now and have to be fully focussed on our survival in the Bundesliga.”

Podolski will stay at Koln for the remainder of the campaign to help their ongoing fight against relegation before moving to England.

 

 

Newcastle powers into the EPL top 4

Newcastle United made sure that they notch up on the table of the English Premier League this weekend as their pace gathered momentum by occupying the 4th position on the table after beating Stoke City with 3 goals.

Meanwhile the fight for the 4 spot which was between Chelsea and Arsenal as it was a certain bet for pundits’ didn’t produce much result as the game ended 0-0.

Yohan Cabaye graced the day for his club against Stoke City as he scored two and one came from the boot of Papiss Cisse making it Newcastle’s sixth straight win and with this recent win the likes of Totenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Chelsea are now behind them.

Chelsea, who held on for a point at Arsenal despite making eight changes from the side that beat Barcelona in midweek, are now four points behind Newcastle with four games left and struggling to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Newcastle took the opportunity of a goalless game between the Blues and Gunners which was played at the Emirates Stadium thanks to Cabaye who opened the way for goals to come.

In the battle to finish in the top four, Arsenal have 65 points from 35 matches, Newcastle have 62 from 34 while Tottenham have 59 from 33. Chelsea is in sixth spot, with 58 points from 34 games.

News castle are already relishing the dream of appearing in the Champions League next season as they will fighting tooth and nail to keep the spot and if another opportunity avails itself they wouldn’t mind notching up further.

 

Mancini says EPL title race over for Man.City

channels_television_mario_balotelli_roberto_manciniManchester City boss; Roberto Mancini has given up the hope of his side clinching the English Premiership title this season as he once again said he does not believe  Manchester City can still win the EPL title.

He reached this conclusion when his side lost 1-0 to Arsenal as they were eight points short of meeting up with Manchester United who are the potential league leaders as of now and chances of lifting the season title and even though the margin was reduced to  five points after United lost to Wigan with a goal-line of 1-0.

Manchester City’s destruction of Norwich over the weekend in a game that ended 6-1 would have made the Italian Coach build some confidence and hope of still striving for the title but alas it thought otherwise as he said he has not changed his mind the EPL title and that his club still stands no chance to get the title.

Manchester City will be facing this weekend Wolves in Molineux as Mancini guards his players against complacency because in his words, he wants his players to finish the season on a high even though he believes that Manchester United cannot be caught.

But Wolves who will be facing relegation if they fall to Manchester City, it will be fight to finish as they will be struggling to remain in the EPL.

Arsenal unsure of players to tour Nigeria in the summer

English Barclays Premier League club, Arsenal have not confirmed if their first-team will be touring Nigeria this year.

Katie Baldwin of the club’s communications department informed SuperSport.com this week that the tour of Nigeria is still not etched in stone in spite of “preliminary trips (to Nigeria) to look at facilities.”

“As yet the club has not confirmed any plans for a tour in Nigeria, although you will know club officials have made preliminary trips to look at facilities.

“I would be happy to update you as and when there is further news,” said Baldwin.

In February, Arsenal’s marketing director, Angus Kinnear led a handful officials from the English champions to look at facilities in Nigeria ahead of the planned pre-season tour.

“It’s been a lovely time here, the energy level is absolutely unbelievable. We are still inspecting potential facilities in different states and the fans are excited about the tour.

“Essentially, the connection with the fans has been amazing. Arsenal went to Asia last year and what we’ve seen on the ground here is encouraging. Like we’ve emphasised, there is a strong desire to connect with our fans in Africa and the first step starts in Nigeria.

“Arsenal’s commitment to Nigeria is long-term. Tour can co-exist with Emirates Cup,” Kinnear said.

The Gunners will be touring the Asian nation of Malaysia in late July while the tour of Nigeria remains unconfirmed and could be decided at the end of the ongoing EPL season.

 

Van Persie equals another Premier League scoring record

Arsenal skipper Robin van Persie has equaled the record of scoring against teams in the premier league previously held by former gunner Ian Wright.

Van Persie’s early penalty in Wednesday’s 3-0 win at Wolves meant he has now scored against 17 of Arsenal’s 19 league opponents this season, having only failed to find the net against Fulham and Manchester City.

Only Gunners great Wright has previously managed such a feat, with Sunderland and Manchester United the only sides the former England international failed to net against.

Andy Cole and Alan Shearer have also managed to score against 17 separate teams in a league campaign, but when the Premier League comprised of 22 teams.

Arsene Wenger was pleased with the striker and had this to say “To achieve this in the modern game is remarkable; I would like to congratulate him. You only have 19 teams to score against so for your striker to have scored against 17 teams is something sensational,” Wenger said.

“He could have beaten it if he had scored against Manchester City on Sunday but he hit the post twice.”

Van Persie’s penalty arrived after Sebastien Bassong had been red carded for a professional foul on Theo Walcott, who added a second just two minutes later before Yossi Benayoun rounded off the win in the second half.

It was a ninth win from their last 10 in the league for Wenger’s side, who strengthened their hopes of qualifying outright for next season’s Uefa Champions League.

With just five games of the season remaining, they now enjoy a five-point cushion between themselves and fourth-placed Tottenham, who are beginning to look locked in a three-way battle with Newcastle and Chelsea for the final spot in Europe’s elite competition.

“We had a strong start and that made the difference,” Wenger added. “We played a bit with the handbrake on but they defended deeply with a great spirit.

“I am very happy we are in this position in third but I remain cautious as some teams were in that position before. From where we have come back from helps us to be focused.”

Wenger, however, insisted the referee had followed the letter of the law in sending off Bassong, who is on loan at Wolves from Tottenham.

“You could argue he was the last man,” he added. “The rules look a bit harsh but they are the rules.

“Never forget we lost Robin van Persie in Barcelona for having kicked a ball away for a second yellow card. It was a strict application of the rule. He had no choice because it was the rule.”

In other matches played in the English premier league, Manchester  United suffered a shock 1-0 loss to relegation threatened Wigan Athletic at the DW stadium with a Shaun Maloney strike in the second half separating both sides. Manchester City however cruised to a 4-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion, with Carlos Tevez scoring in his first start for the “Noisy Neighbors”. Sergio Aguero scored a brace in either half of the game and David Silva completed the route with a sublime finish to cut the lead to five points.

Queens Park Rangers were on song as they dispatched fellow relegation strugglers Swansea 3-0 J Barton, J Mackie and A Buzsaky  all scored to give the west Londoners a chance to remain in the English top flight next season.

 

Man.City will fight back- Mancini

Manchester City Coach, Roberto Mancini

Roberto Mancini has insisted that Manchester City can still spring up this season as the London club will be having an engagement that will decide their stay in hot contention for the English Premiership title this season or mar their chance this weekend.

Mancini’s boys held the topmost position for five whole months clinching to the number one position thereby making Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal jostle for the top spot, however City lost their opportunity to remain number one as they let Manchester United who are home rivals overtake them on the EPL table few weeks ago with scoring late goals no thanks to Wayne Rooney with seven games remaining to be played.

Mancini admitted earlier in the week that defeat for his team at Arsenal this weekend, coupled with a win for rivals Manchester United over QPR, would all but hand the trophy to Sir Alex Ferguson’s men – who would increase their lead to eight points.

The coach who hails from Italy has said he is no way at all giving up the fight for the title as he believes that his squad can get back to the top spot for they will be fighting to the end, in the hope that United do slip up in their remaining games – which include a trip to the Etihad Stadium.

He also said that seven games is a long way from here as anything can happen in that United can lose points by losing a few games after all they (Man. City) lost four points in two games and that they (United) win all their games then congratulation but for Manchester City the fight is still on for the title.