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03/04/2014
 

German centre-back Per Mertesacker and long-serving Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky have extended their contracts at Arsenal, the Premier League title contenders announced on Tuesday.


Mertesacker, 29, has established himself as a first-team regular since signing from Werder Bremen in August 2011, while 33-year-old Rosicky is now in his eighth season at the club. Arsenal did not disclose the length of either player's contract extension. "We are delighted that Mertesacker and Rosicky have committed their futures to the club," said manager Arsene Wenger.


"They are players of exceptional quality and experience, and have consistently proven themselves at the highest level. There is a great feeling of togetherness and belief in the group and this news will only help to strengthen this further."


Mertesacker has made 110 appearances for Arsenal, scoring five goals, and has captained the team this season in the absence of Thomas Vermaelen and Mikel Arteta.


"It was easy for me to commit myself to the club," said the Germany international, who also published a picture of himself wearing an Arsenal shirt as a child on his Twitter account. I have been here for two and a half great years and feel I have great support from everyone at the club and the fans. I'm really looking forward to having more years coming up with this fantastic club."


Rosicky, who has made 209 appearances, scoring 24 goals, said: "I'm very happy that I'm staying at the club. I'm proud that I'm still here after a long time and that it still continues."


Arsenal are currently four points behind leaders Chelsea in the Premier League with 10 games of the season remaining. They are due to face Everton in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup on Saturday and trail Bayern Munich 2-0 after the first leg of their last 16 tie in the Champions League.


 
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02/24/2014
 

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is "absolutely adamant" midfielder Tomas Rosicky will stay with the Gunners when his contract expires at the end of the season.


The Czech replaced club record signing Mesut Özil, suffering from a thigh injury, last weekend and scored title-chasing Arsenal's third goal in a 4-1 Premier League win over Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium.


Rosicky, 34, joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund in 2006, but has seen his time with the north London club hampered by a string of injuries. However, Wenger said Monday: "Tomas Rosicky will stay. We have an agreement with him and it will come out soon.


"I am absolutely adamant he has to stay at the club," the Frenchman added. "He always makes things happen, not with individual dribbling but with individual acceleration of his passing and of his runs. 


"When he arrived here he was less a tactical player and more the 'Mozart from Prague' and he was purely a creative, offensive player. Today he is a real organizer on the pitch as well. I like to have him in the team because he gives a real structure to our team."

 
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01/27/2014
 

Arsenal football club are set to announce a trio of new deals in the next few days for two of their players in addition to one for Arsene Wenger.


The two players include the tall German Per Mertasacker and the slick Tomas Rosicky. The German has reportedly agreed on a new three and a half year contract, while Rosicky has agreed on a one year rolling deal.


Both players have been in fine form this season and the club was eager to extend their current contracts as a reward for their performances. In addition to the good news, manager Arsene Wenger has also agreed on a new deal which was confirmed by Ivan Gazidis on Monday but will be announced together in a couple of days.


The only player with whom a new deal has not been agreed yet is Bacary Sagna who will become a free agent this summer. However, the club are still hopeful of agreeing a deal with the Frenchman but have also lined up a replacement if any agreement fails to materialize.


Arsenal now take on Southampton on Tuesday night in a tricky away fixture as the Premier League action resumes after the FA Cup fixtures last weekend.

 
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01/14/2014
 

Arsene Wenger is sweating on the fitness of two of his Arsenal stars after his side climbed back to the top of the Premier League with a 2-1 win at Aston Villa.


Goals from Jack Wilshere and Olivier Giroud within the space of 60 seconds in the first half at Villa Park on Monday gave the Gunners a fourth successive league win and lifted them one point clear of second placed Manchester City, but the success came at a cost. Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky suffered a suspected broken nose following a clash with Gabriel Agbonlahor while Spanish left-back Nacho Monreal will go for a scan on an injured foot.


"Rosicky has a bad nose, I don't know if it was broken," Wenger said. "I don't know if it was an elbow or not, I did not see. Maybe it was an accident but Monreal needs a check on his metatarsal."


While the injuries took a little of the gloss off Arsenal's return to the top, Wenger was still pleased with his team's performance and particularly happy with England midfielder Wilshere, who made the second for Giroud after scoring the first.


"Jack has found a change of pace, these games are about that and penetration," he said. 


"He's not just a passer but someone who is incisive with the ball. For that you need to be at the top of his game physically. It was a big win. It was two different halves. We showed our passing in the first half and second we showed our defensive qualities in the second. Villa had two different styles and were very direct in the second half. Maybe we were a bit cautious at 2-0 but our defenders kept us in the game. 


"I don't know if they were too confident or cautious. We lost a bit of incisiveness and the ability to score more. We had to give a strong response tonight because everyone looks at you. You are a bit more under pressure when you play last in the weekend so you cannot drop points. I like the fact we are mentally ready for a fight."


Meanwhile, Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert refused to deny rumors he was interested in signing striker Grant Holt, who he worked with at Norwich, from Championship side Wigan: "I had Grant Holt at Norwich and he scored goals, he's a proper guy," Lambert said.


"He was fantastic for me. I've just been told there are rumors but until something is concrete we will see."


Villa scored late on when Christian Benteke headed in his first goal in 13 games from Matt Lowton's excellent cross.

But it was too little too late for Lambert's men, who had been knocked off their stride by a first half injury to young defender Nathan Baker. Baker suffered a mild concussion after being hit by Serge Gnabry's free kick.


"Nathan is a little bit groggy but is OK, he can't remember a thing about what happened," Lambert said.


"It's dangerous. I know from experience you are concussed you are all over the place. And that hit us as we'd worked on the system all week. If you are knocked out in the temple you sometimes hear it - and I heard it from the touchline. The second half was more like us. I don't think if we got an equalizer anyone could begrudge us. I said some little things at half-time and they responded fantastically. 


"We want to get the crowd going and we were playing against a top side, vying for the title and Champions League and we gave them a fright. It was around this time last season Christian started to get his run of goals. It was a great header and a great cross."

 
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01/05/2014
 
Although Tim Sherwood seems to have the right spirit when it comes to man management, his players seemed unable to come together in the same way that the Arsenal players combined in their 2-0 victory at the Emirates.

Even if Arsene Wenger’s side lacked the big centre-forwards like Adebayor and Soldado, the speed and fluidity of Arsenal’s attack was unmatched by Spurs. With Walcott as the lone striker supported by the trio of Gnabry, Rosicky, and Santi Cazorla, the short and speedy attacking line-up was always dangerous with their movement and passing. The England striker spearheaded continuous high pressing from the entire team, forcing Tottenham’s advances to be frantic and inconclusive.

Both keepers were tested early on, with Lukasz Fabianski stopping Christian Eriksen one on one early in the match (Spurs’s best chance of the game) and Lloris parrying a low goal-bound shot by Walcott. However when Gnabry slipped Santi Cazorla in behind poorly positioned Kyle Walker, Lloris couldn’t do much to stop the Spaniard’s rifled shot across and into the goal.

Kyle Walker was often one of the few sources of variety in the Spurs attack, but if he had been a bit more wary when defending he might have been able to stop Arsenal from gaining the lead. 

Arsenal’s slick passing constantly perturbed the Spurs defence, often unsupported by its attacking players. In turn, Soldado and Adebayor remained isolated as long balls and imprecise passes gave Arsenal possession.

On the other side of the defence Danny Rose faltered in possession as last man back, allowing a hardworking Rosicky to snatch the ball from him, run at Lloris, and dink in the second goal. Pinning these errors upon the fullbacks is inevitable, but when comparing the support Rose and Walker received from their midfield to Arsenal’s there was no contest.

Walcott and Rosicky pressed incessantly to stutter any of Tottenham’s attacking developments early up the field, and Santi Cazorla was often near his side’s corner flag hustling to regain possession. Yet Sherwood’s own midfielders seemed incapable of the same, a disjointed defensive display was often saved by Lloris’s reactive goalkeeping. Perhaps Tim Sherwood’s more relaxed coaching techniques of “playing like kids in the park” has some unintended side effects when it comes to defensive work rates. 

Having said this, it’s difficult to point fingers when Arsenal’s dominance was so clear.

Even in the final ten minutes playing with ten men when Walcott left the field injured (Wenger had used all three substitutions), it was the Gunners who created the best chance with a venomous shot by Ozil well parried by Lloris. With all the good signs with this important FA Cup victory, the continuous accumulation of injuries probably won’t be ignored by Wenger. Even with Giroud and Podolski returning, a mid-season reinforcement from the January transfer window would be pivotal in providing solidity to the squad which has the potential to win a variety of significant silverware this season.

Yet even if Wenger decides that new signings aren’t required, in a night where Adebayor and Soldado struggled to hit shots on target, Walcott was instrumental as Arsenal's main man up front. What could have been an understandable slip for the Gunners (especially if Eriksen had converted his early chance) is now a victory with impressive performances by Gnabry, Walcott, and many more.

Arsenal are showing a mental fortitude which was difficult to find in past seasons, and as injuries continue to crop up, Wenger’s forced experiments are yielding results in big matches.  

Also See:

Tomas Rosicky Shines in Arsenal's FA Cup Win
 
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