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.

Sunday Mba; Super Hot Target For Clubs In Europe

Nigeria’s Afcon 2013 sensation; 24-year-old midfielder Sunday Mba he is being wooed by many Premier League clubs as he plots a move away from his Nigerian side Warri Wolves.

Mba’s exploits and performance at the just concluded Afcon 2013 where Nigeria emerged eventual winners of the competition in South Africa attracted a number of scouts to monitor his progression.

Though, still with his local club Warri Wolves, Mba revealed that he is open to a move from the club to Europe after being inundated with offers from several top clubs in Europe.

It is understood Andre Villas-Boas had a scout keeping a close eye on him, but the north-London club are expected to face competition from Everton and Reading for the £4million man.

“I won’t lie, I have been inundated with offers from England, Spain, Italy and some other countries but I will not be hasty in reaching a decision now,” Mba ended.

QPR wants Osaze Odemwingie

In the English premier league Queens Park Rangers boss, Harry Redknapp has confirmed he wants to sign West Brom forward Osaze Odemwingie .

Redknapp revealed his interest for the Nigerian international after goalless draw against his former club Tottenham and his optimistic that the club’s chief executive, Phillip Beard will be making a suitable offer soon.

There were however reports earlier in the week that Rangers had a bid for the West Brom forward Osaze but his club rejected the offer.

Rangers will be returning to the negotiation table to try and come up with a better offer.

Villas-Boas unhappy with Tottenham’s sloppy display

Former Chelsea manager now Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas expressed his displeasure the lacklustre display of his team Tottenham over the weekend against Norwich secure a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

Spurs are yet to claim their first win of the season after an opening day loss to Newcastle and a disappointing home draw against West Brom.

New signing Moussa Dembele made the perfect start to his career as a Tottenham player when he found the net in the 68th minute but Norwich levelled with just five minutes remaining to secure a valuable away point.

It was the second time in a week that Tottenham had conceded a late equaliser with James Morrison and Robert Snodgrass denying a first competitive win for Villas-Boas.
The former Chelsea manager was unhappy with the performance of the side as he felt they failed to concentrate for the full ninety minutes.

Villas-Boas will now have some time to work with the squad, due to the international break, and will hope that he can secure his first win of the season when Spurs take on newly-promoted Reading at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday 16 September.

Villas-Boas said it was a different game as they didn’t play as well as last week.

He said the team fought hard in the second half, mainly because the first half was poor as the play look a little sloppy in passes.

He admitted that there was a little improvement in the second half for the players wanted to win and they worked hard but couldn’t earn it, so they deserve it.
Villa Boas said the team has assumed responsibility for what is happening, even though it is disappointing.

“We got the goal but again, we conceded in the last minutes so we have to improve on this sharpness, this reaction, this concentration’ he concluded.

Bolton offers Muamba off-field role after retirement

Bolton Wanderers offered Fabrice Muamba a place in the management of his club Bolton Wanderers after his announcement that he is retiring from football as a player.

This was necessary for the player after his heart attack in last season’s FA Cup tie against Tottenham Hotspur.

Before his retirement, Muamba sounded his determination to resume his career after his incredible recovery which left him effectively dead for 78 minutes.

So in order not to go against medical advice from several specialists Muamba had to bow out of the game.

Muamba has been described by sources close him as “shattered” that he will be unable to continue his career. But after consultations with experts in England and with Pedro Brugada, the Belgium-based cardiologist, the former England Under-21 midfielder has retired.

Muamba said: “As part of my on-going recovery, last week I travelled to Belgium to seek further medical advice from a leading cardiologist. But the news I received was obviously not what I had hoped it would be, and it means I am now announcing my retirement.

“Football has been my life since I was a teenage boy and it has given me so many opportunities. Since ­suffering my heart attack and being discharged from hospital, I have remained utterly positive in the belief I could one day resume my playing career and play for Bolton Wanderers once again.

Russian FA shortlists Capello,Guardiola and Redknapp

Former Barcelona boss, Pep Guardiola and England’s former coach, Fabio Capello are amongst the high profiled candidates running eagerly for the position of Russia coach.

The Russian Football Union (RFU) revealed on Tuesday that the union is planning to discuss further with the contenders so as to determine who takes up the job as head coach of the National team.

Other top contenders for the position are Harry Redknapp who is the former boss of Tottenham Hotspur, former Liverpool boss, Rafael Benitez, Marcelo Bielsa and Marcelo Lippi.

Local media and football pundits tipped Capello and Guardiola who are the early front-runners as possible two contenders after the filtering must have been completed but also ruled the chances any Russian taking up the position as Valery Gazzayev, Anatoly Byshovets and Yuri Semin, who coached the national team in the past but were sacked or quit following a string of poor results were amongst the list as Russians.

Much against the will of the Russian Football Union the list of the candidates were released claiming it was due to intense media speculation about the job, which became vacant following Dutchman Dick Advocaat’s departure after Russia’s failure to get past the group phase at Euro 2012.

One name conspicuous by its absence was Manchester City’s Italian manager Roberto Mancini who agreed a new five-year contract with the English Premier League champions on Monday.

On Monday, Russian media, quoting RFU and Sports Ministry sources, said Mancini had agreed a four-year deal to become Russia’s new coach after officials found a “signed contract” in the safe of former RFU chief Sergei Fursenko.

EURO 2012: Jermaine Defoe loses father, flies home

England football squad for the EURO 2012 tournament is one man short as Striker Jermaine Defoe returned home from Poland where the tournament opened today with news of father’s death Jimmy who died overnight.

On hearing the sad news, Jermaine flew back to England and it has been confirmed that the striker could miss England’s opening game against France which will be played on Monday.

Jermain’s father; Jimmy has been battling throat cancer for a while now before he died early hours of today.

The English Football Association released a statement to confirm the return of the Tottenham star saying: “England striker Jermain Defoe has returned home to England this morning following the passing of his father overnight. Jermain will re-join the England Euro squad in due course. There will be no replacement player called in.’

Defoe left England’s hotel ten minutes before the rest of the squad boarded a coach for their first training session in Poland having only arrived in the country on Wednesday evening.

Tottenham Hotspur passed on their condolences to the forward. A statement on their website said: “Jermaine Defoe has returned home from the England squad base in Poland this morning after receiving the sad news of the passing away of his father overnight.”

England players paid their respects to Jermaine, who grew up in Beckton and is currently a supporter of many local charities, at press conferences this afternoon.

Fabrice Muamba collapses on pitch during FA Cup match

Tottenham’s FA Cup game against Bolton Wanderers has been abandoned after Trotters midfielder Fabrice Muamba collapsed and stopped breathing.

Medics spent 10 minutes trying to resuscitate the 23-year-old on the field before the players were taken off by referee Howard Webb.

The score was 1-1 when he collapsed with no players close-by on 41 minutes.

Medical staff gave Muamba mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and tried to revive him with a defibrillator. In total six medics were treating the player.

Both sets of supporters chanted Muamba’s name as he was taken off the pitch on a stretcher. ESPN reported that he was not breathing as he was taken down the tunnel.

The former Arsenal midfielder has been taken to hospital.

Referee Webb called the visibly shaken players off the field after consulting with managers Owen Coyle and Harry Redknapp.

Minutes later the match was abandoned.

Soon after the incident, messages of support flooded in for the former Arsenal man.

England international Jack Wilshere, who played with Muamba at Bolton, tweeted: “Hope Muamba is okay. Thoughts with him.”

Middlesbrough defender Justin Hoyte, who played in the Arsenal youth team with Muamba, said: “I seriously hope my best friend in football is OK. Stay strong bro [sic] please please stay strong. God is with you remember that.”

Muamba joined Wanderers from Birmingham City in 2008 and has made 130 league appearances for the club.