Hiddink Stresses Joy As Element Of Success

HiddinkChelsea manager, Guus Hiddink, has highlighted ‘joy’ as the important element of success required to get his players performing at their best.

Speaking during an interview ahead of Sunday’s Manchester City clash, the Dutchman said that ‘the best comes out of a player when he plays with joy’.

“Players, even if they are high-profile, well-paid professionals as they are at this club, deep down they must play with joy,” the manager said on Chelsea’s website.

Hiddink pointed out that Joy is not always laughing but “enjoying being a professional, enjoying training and enjoying doing your job”.

“When you feel that naturally, the performance is unconditional,” he said while he described the blues” FA Cup tie with City as an ‘early final’.

Meanwhile, Manchester City boss, Manuel Pellegrini, had resolved to rest several senior players in the team, so that youngsters such as Bersant Celina and Manu Garcia could feature.

He hinted that Bacary Sagna was back in training and might return from a knee problem.

Arsenal Completes Signing Of Mathieu Debuchy from Newcastle

DebuchyEnglish Premier League side, Arsenal have completed the sign of France right-back, Mathieu Debuchy from Newcastle.

The signing of Debuchy is seen as a replacement for Bacary Sagna who left the club on a free transfer  for Premier League Champions, Manchester City earlier this summer.

Arsenal tweeted a picture of Debuchy with the message #WelcomeDebuchy and a picture of the Frenchman’s new shirt, with jersey number two was also posted on the club’s Instagram account.

 Debuchy expressed pride at the move, and stressed the importance of Champions League football in his decision.

“I’m very proud to be joining a great club like Arsenal and to wear its colours, it’s one of the biggest clubs in the whole world”, the full back told Arsenal.com.

“I’m looking forward to working with Arsène Wenger and to helping the team build on last season’s FA Cup success. 

“Playing again in the Champions League is a big excitement for me and I will do my best to help Arsenal compete for trophies.”

Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, emphasised Debuchy’s quality and experience as a replacement for Sagna.

“We are delighted to welcome Mathieu Debuchy to Arsenal Football Club. He has shown he can perform at the highest level with his club sides and also for France. 

“He is a quality defender who has good Premier League experience and I’m confident he will fit in very well with us.”

Debuchy, who started ahead of predecessor, Sagna, in four of France’s five World Cup matches as Les Bleus reached the quarter-finals, played 46 times for Newcastle, after joining in January 2013.


EPL: Arsenal Announce 11 Player Departures

bendtner_nicklasA host of players including Nicklas Bendtner and Ju Young Park are set to leave Arsenal at end of their contracts

News on the Arsenal Football Club website has confirmed that the 11 players would be leaving the club when their contracts officially expire on June 30.

Nicklas Bendtner and Ju Young Park come to the end of their contracts, while Kim Kallstrom and Emiliano Viviano’s loan spells are set to conclude.

As already communicated by the club, Bacary Sagna, Lukasz Fabianski and Zak Ansah have completed permanent moves to Manchester City, Swansea City and Charlton Athletic respectively.

Meanwhile, academy players, Chuks Aneke, Daniel Boateng, Zach Fagan and Leander Siemann, also depart, having reached the end of their current agreements.

Bendtner‘s departure doesn’t come as a surprise after the striker failed to make a lasting impact once again last season. The 26-year-old scored two goals in 11 appearances throughout the 2013-14 campaign.

A statement from the English club thanked all of the players for their contribution to the club, and wished them well for the future.

Arsenal are expected to invest heavily in a new striker, right-back and squad improvements across the board, indicating a softened wage bill would come in handy.

EPL: Liverpool Confident Of Victory Over Chelsea

Brendan RogersLiverpool Manager, Brendan Rodgers is confident his Liverpool players possess the necessary ingredients to get the better of title rival Chelsea when the two teams meet at Anfield on Sunday.

Liverpool will go into the game five points ahead of Jose Mourinho’s side following an unexpected victory by bottom club Sunderland at Chelsea which Liverpool took advantage of with its 3-2 win at Norwich City on Sunday.

Beating Chelsea on Sunday would put Liverpool closer to its first ever Premier League title with two games left to play.

Rodgers gave an insight into the philosophy that has helped the team get to the top of the league table, crushing teams like Arsenal and Liverpool along the way.

“When they are in the changing room just before we go out, I always tell them, ‘Lose yourself, focus on the ball and focus on the team. If you do that, then we can be a real force,’ ” he said.

“You have seen all the characteristics of our team today (Sunday) — wonderful invention and creativity, courage, arrogance on the ball, goal-scoring, young players and senior players all playing, and instructions that allow them to express themselves.

“It’s going to be a brilliant game next weekend with Chelsea coming to Anfield. The supporters will be right up for it and the players as well. We are looking forward to it.”

Raheem Sterling scored two of Liverpool’s goals at Carrow Road, either side of Luis Suarez’s 30th Premier League goal of the season, and Rodgers hailed the England international for his contribution.

“He is arguably the best young player in European football at the moment,” Rodgers said.

EPL: Tomas Rosicky Determined To Win With Arsenal

Tomas Rosicky celebrates Arsenal's third goal with the scorer of the first two, Olivier Giroud. Reuters

Tomas Rosicky has pledged his future to Arsenal in the belief that the club has all that they needs to end their lengthy trophy drought.

The Czech playmaker is out of contract at the end of the 2013/14 season, but Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger revealed at the weekend that he expects that Rosicky would sign a new deal in the coming weeks.

The 33-year-old, who joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund in 2006, impressed when he took the place of Mesut Ozil in the team against Sunderland on Saturday, crowning his performance with a sublime goal.

Rosicky’s time at the club has been hampered by a number of injuries, and he missed the entire 2008-09 season due to a hamstring tendon problem that almost ended his career.

But he is back in Wenger’s plans and remains convinced he is at the right place to win silverware sooner rather than later.

“I always believed in it here at Arsenal and still do. I knew this club was the right place for me and I want to be here for as long as I can,” Rosicky told the official Arsenal magazine.

“It is obviously very difficult to predict how long I can go on for, (but) I feel very good. I don’t feel any different than in the past, I don’t feel any change in myself.

“All I can say is that I still have a big passion to achieve things and that is really important.

“You must have that force, that drive to go on and achieve something and I definitely still have that.

“I was nearly out of the game because of injury, so I have a different approach now because I know it could end at any point. I just want to be successful with Arsenal.

“I won three titles in the Czech Republic before I left (Sparta Prague), I won the Bundesliga with Dortmund and I still believe I can do it here.

“I wouldn’t stay here if I didn’t believe.

“The idea of winning the (Premier) League and the Champions League really drives me forward, I love it”, Rosicky said.

Champions League: Belief Is The Key For Arsenal – Wenger

Arsenal have the belief to challenge Champions League holders Bayern Munich in the first leg of the last-16 more effectively than they did a year ago, Coach Arsene Wenger said on Tuesday (February 18).

Having met at the same stage of the competition last season, Arsenal will be out to avenge defeat by Bayern as, despite winning the second leg 2-0 at the Allianz Arena, they were eliminated on away goals after losing 3-1 at home.

At the start of February, Wenger identified it as a crucial month for the London side and results so far in the tougher games have been mixed.

They beat Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup to avenge a 5-1 drubbing in the Premier League and drew 0-0 with defending champions Manchester United.

At a news conference on Tuesday (February 18), Wenger took heart from the FA Cup wins over Liverpool and over local rivals Tottenham in the previous round as he prepared his side to face champions Bayern.

“We know that we face the favourites of the competition and what we have is belief, because on the opposite we have had only big games in the Champions League and in the FA Cup because we played against Tottenham, we played against Liverpool. Since the start of the season we know that in every single game we have to be 100 percent. We believe we can do it but that is down to the quality of our performance tomorrow,” said the Frenchman.

“It gave us belief to finish well the season last year and from then on I think as well since the start of the season we have done well. We are in a strong position and it’s now down to us how we can from game to game show the same focus as against Liverpool.”

“I think we are in much better mental shape than we were one year ago because we lost against Blackburn (Rovers) at home in the FA Cup and it was a big disappointment for us, this time we won against Liverpool and we are really determined of course to win this game tomorrow.

“We have a strong team spirit that is for sure and a strong desire to do well and a united team. But it’s important as well; I believe we always had these kinds of qualities but not always the belief. Belief is built by the results and on that front we are stronger of course.”

Wenger is expected to ring the changes against a Bayern side that have lost once in 34 games and won 13 straight Bundesliga matches.

Santi Cazorla, Kieran Gibbs, Olivier Giroud, Bacary Sagna and Wojciech Szczcesny are all pushing for starts and with Mikel Arteta suspended, Tomas Rosicky could start in midfield alongside Mathieu Flamini.

Jack Wilshere may also bolster Arsenal’s midfield in view of the difficult task of stifling Bayern’s powerhouse midfield, with Schweinsteiger, Tony Kroos and Javi Martinez supplying balls for Thomas Mueller, Arjen Robben and Mario Mandzukic.

The 20-year-old England international is confident Arsenal can rise to the challenge posed by the German side.

“We’ve spoken about the importance of staying in the game, if it’s 0-0 at home we’ve still got a big chance of qualifying, the away goal is massive in this competition, especially when it comes to these big games.

“That’s what we saw last year, we went out on away goals and this year we’ve got to be a bit more intelligent and stay in the game,” said Wilshere, who has scored two goals in six Champions League appearances this season.

Arsenal Sign Kit Deal With Puma, Indicate Arsene Wenger Will Sign New Contract

Eurosport – Arsenal Chief Executive, Ivan Gazidis and Manager, Arsene Wenger

Arsenal has signed a new kit supply deal with German company Puma that begins on July 1, ending a partnership with Nike.

Chief Executive, Ivan Gazidis made the formal announcement on Monday (January 27) and at the same time gave the clearest indication yet that Frenchman Arsene Wenger would remain as manager at Arsenal, indicating that finalising a new contract was just a matter of time.

The Puma deal, worth around 30 million pounds (around 50 million USD) a season, will help Arsenal to compete with the top clubs in Europe in the transfer market.

“From the first of July, 2014 Puma will become our official kit partner. They will be producing our match day and training kits across all of our teams next season. They have also acquired extensive rights to produce other Arsenal-branded merchandise which will be sold all around the world,” Gazidis said.

Puma Chief Executive, Bjoern Gulden, said that the deal was something his company had sought for a long time. “We always wanted the kit deal and now we have it,” he said.

Helped by an enhanced sponsorship deal with airline Emirates, the North London club spent a club record 42.5 million pounds on German Mesut Ozil at the start of this season, and Gazidis indicated that Wenger would be at the club to spend more in the future.

“We’ve always supported Arsene, the board has always been completely behind him as has (owner) Stan Kroenke,” Gazidis told a news conference when asked about the future of the manager whose contract runs out at the end of the season.

“We are comfortable in the position, relaxed about it. As I’ve said before, Arsene will be extending with us and at the right time we’ll make that announcement,” he added.

Wenger has been Arsenal manager since 1996 and has led the club to three Premier League titles and four FA Cups.

However, the trophies have dried up since 2005 although Arsenal have continued to qualify for the Champions League, and currently lead the Premier League by one point.

Arsene Wenger Speaks About The Future Of Defender Bacary Sagna

Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger has played down concerns regarding right back Bacary Sagna, who is out of contract at the end of the season and has yet to commit to the Gunners.

Reports have linked the defender with possible interest from top French clubs Paris St Germain and Monaco.

“At the moment if Sagna doesn’t extend his contract we will have to do that, but at the moment I must say we look at Southampton’s game rather than the long term future, we try to, of course, secure Sagna because for me he is a very important player for the group, ” he said, ” But he’s fully committed and as long as he stays here he will be fully committed in every single game.”

Wenger also tried to be realistic about the fifth round FA Cup draw, which pits Arsenal against Liverpool. ” An interesting draw, and a difficult one, ” he said ” We have a little advantage by playing at home, that means we don’t travel, but overall it’s of course a great difficulty and we try again to absorb it and come out of it again in a positive way.”

Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s Premier League fixture against ninth-placed Southampton, Wenger agrees the South Coast club have been punching above their weight ” They are above expected, and the quality of their display has been very very good and everybody goes today to Southampton he , of course, knows that he will get a difficult game and that’s why we want to focus on being our best tomorrow night because Southampton, in our plan is a game where you want to take the points but you know you really have to fight to get them.”

Arsenal lead the Premier League by a single point over Manchester City, and are still in the Champions League, as well as the FA Cup.