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.

Muamba able to recognise family, says hospital

Muamba hale and hearty before his cardian arrest

Bolton Wanderers’ Fabrice Muamba has been able to recognise family members and respond to questions appropriately after suffering a cardiac arrest during an FA Cup quarter-final, the hospital has confirmed.

But although the 23-year-old midfielder is continuing to show signs of improvement but his condition remains serious in intensive care, the London Chest Hospital said in a statement.

“He is currently able to breathe independently without the aid of a ventilator,” the statement continued.

Earlier, the hospital said Muamba’s heart was beating without the help of medication and he was moving his arms and his legs but his long-term prognosis remained unclear.

Muamba collapsed on the pitch at Tottenham Hotspur where he was given CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) before being taken to hospital.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter was among those to offer support for the England Under-21 international with a letter to Bolton chairman Phil Gartside.

“On behalf of the worldwide football family, I would like to express my shock and distress on hearing about the cardiac arrest suffered by Fabrice Muamba during Saturday’s FA Cup tie and wish him strength as he continues to fight to recover from this critical condition,” Blatter wrote.

“Moments like these show us what is truly important in life and also illustrate the great solidarity that exists between football fans in times of trouble.”

PLAYERS OVERWHELMED

Bolton captain Kevin Davies told the club website (www.bwfc.co.uk) the players had been overwhelmed by the reaction following Muamba’s collapse.

“We all owe a big thank you to everyone that was on the scene; the paramedics and medical staff from both our club and Tottenham Hotspur. I’ve been at the hospital with the chairman and the manager, and we’re all thankful for the amazing help and support everyone has shown for Fabrice,” Davies said.

“Fab is not only one of our colleagues and a workmate but he’s a friend, father and son – he’s one of life’s good guys.

“I think I was in the same position as everyone else. We were following the play and suddenly someone said ‘Fabrice has gone down’. Then it all unfolded from there really. It became very serious within a matter of seconds,” added the Bolton striker.

“I think it was the first time in my 19 years as a professional that I’ve seen a football stadium unite. It was touching.”

Supporters from both clubs sang Muamba’s name at White Hart Lane when it became clear his condition was serious while players gathered round in shock.

The match was abandoned at 1-1 just before halftime and Bolton’s game with Aston Villa on Tuesday has been postponed.

Tottenham players have been offered extra heart checks following the incident, Spurs manager Harry Redknapp said.

“We will be providing players with whatever support they need in order to help them move on from what has happened while obviously always keeping Fabrice at the forefront of our minds and willing him to make a recovery,” he told the Tottenham website (www.tottenhamhotspur.com)

“We already had a cardiologist visiting the training ground today for routine screening so we are able to offer any player who wishes to be tested for the purpose of reassurance an additional opportunity to be screened.”