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10/01/2014
 
 
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02/19/2014
 
Bayern Munich are in pole position to reach the Champions League quarter-finals after a sublime strike from Toni Kroos inspired the holders' 2-0 win against 10-man Arsenal on Wednesday. Pep Guardiola's side rode their luck in a dramatic last 16 first leg clash at the Emirates Stadium, but their class eventually told as Kroos produced his moment of magic and Thomas Mueller bagged the killer second goal in the closing stages.

Bayern survived an early penalty miss from Arsenal's Mesut Ozil and a squandered spot-kick of their own by David Alaba. But Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny had been sent off in the incident that led to Bayern's penalty and the visitors eventually capitalised on their numerical superiority through Germany midfielders Kroos and Muller.

Bayern will be expected to finish the job in the second leg on March 11, but Arsenal can take heart from their 2-0 win in Munich at the same stage last season, even if that result wasn't enough to stop Arsene Wenger's team bowing out on away goals. Wenger, who sprang a selection shock when he opted to pick raw French striker Yaya Sanogo ahead of experienced France international Olivier Giroud, was left to curse his misfortune as Arsenal's promising start fizzled out.

Bayern, treble winners last season, swaggered into north London widely acclaimed as firm favorites to win both the tie and eventually the competition itself to cap another majestic campaign. But Arsenal tore into Bayern with a relish that seemed to shock the Germans and quickly carved out two decent chances, with first Sanogo and then Santi Cazorla denied by Manuel Neuer.


Arsenal's frenzied start had clearly rattled the visitors and they should have been ahead in the ninth minute. Jack Wilshere slipped a perfectly-weighted pass behind the Bayern defense and Özil took a touch before cleverly clipping the ball inside Jerome Boateng, wrong-footing the center-back who responded by clumsily stretching out his leg and sending the Germany midfielder crashing to the turf. 


Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli awarded the penalty, but Özil has been in poor form of late and he appeared hesitant before sending a tame effort straight down the middle which his childhood friend Neuer kept out with a fine one-handed save. With Bayern laboring, Boateng, booked after conceding the penalty, was fortunate to escape a second yellow card following a heavy challenge on Wilshere but Guardiola's men gradually recovered their equilibrium and should have taken the lead in the 40th minute. 


Arjen Robben played a simple pass to Kroos and he burst into the penalty area for the chipped return ball without being tracked by the statuesque Arsenal rearguard. Robben's first touch took the ball past Szczesny, who caught the Dutch international with his leg, conceding a penalty and in the process earning a red card, the 100th of Wenger's 18-year reign.


After a long delay, Lukasz Fabianski came on as the replacement goalkeeper and Austrian left-back Alaba, perhaps put off by the stoppage, hit a poor penalty which clipped a post and bounced wide. Bayern's inconsistent first half prompted a tactical reshuffle at the break, with Guardiola sending on Rafinha for Boateng and moving Javi Martinez to central defense, allowing right-back Philipp Lahm to move in midfield and dictate the tempo. 


The changes worked wonders and Mario Götze and Robben tested Fabianski before the Germans broke the deadlock in the 54th minute. With Arsenal defending too deep, Lahm was under no pressure as he teed up Kroos and the midfielder, in space on the edge of the penalty area, curled a sumptuous first-time shot into the roof of the net. 


Substitute Mueller appealed in vain for another penalty following Laurent Koscielny's trip, but he picked himself up to deliver the knockout blow in the 88th minute. Timing his run to meet Lahm's cross, Mueller found space in the centre of Arsenal's defense and directed a diving header past the exposed Fabianski.

 
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02/08/2014
 
After being demolished by Liverpool 5-1 Saturday afternoon, Arsenal's players and manager Arsene Wenger were quite candid in expressing their pure disappointment over the heavy road defeat. The Gunners were down 4-0 within 20 minutes in their vital trip to Anfield, suffering their heaviest defeat of the season. 

Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny had clearly the most response that probably echo the sentiments of Arsenal fans across the planet. "That was f....ing embarrasing!" the young Polish goalkeeper wrote on his Facebook page. "Apologies to anyone who sat through 90 mins of that game." 

Though not as angry with his comments, forward Olivier Giroud wrote on his Twitter page his obvious disappointment, saying, "Was a really poor performance today from me! We have to face our responsibilities and bounce back V united! So disappointed but keep the head up!" 

Former legendary club midfielder Fredrik Ljungberg shared his dismay at seeing his old club torn apart. 
 
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11/16/2013
 

Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny has committed his future to the club by signing a "new long-term contract", the Premier League leaders announced on Saturday.


The 23-year-old Poland international joined the club from Legia Warsaw in 2006 and has been manager Arsene Wenger's first-choice goalkeeper since breaking into the first team during the 2010-11 season.


"I am very pleased to have signed a new contract," Szczesny told the Arsenal website. "Arsenal is like my family and I'm so happy to be committing my long-term future here.


"I've been at this club for over seven years now and I'd just like to take the opportunity to thank everyone for their support towards me during my time here."


Arsenal did not reveal the precise length of Szczesny's new deal, but Wenger said: "I have always believed he is an extremely talented player, with excellent reflexes and good mental strength.


"He continues to grow and improve all the time too, so he has the potential to be even better. He can be an important part of Arsenal Football Club for many years to come."


 
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08/02/2013
 
If Arsenal fans were jumping with delight at the start of the summer, when the club owners gave their manager a treasure chest to spend on summer signings, Wenger's latest cogitations on the transfer market should bring those fans back to earth with a thud.

If the Frenchman is to be believed, his current players will do better this season than in the last and that should be more than enough, thank you very much. As for the transfer market, Wenger doesn't need it. The absence of a major signing has already frustrated Gunners fans who won't be jumping for joy at Wenger's latest "revelation" that he doesn't plan to spend the $105m transfer kitty that the owners of the North London club have given their manager.

According to Wenger, players like Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Carl Jenkinson and Wojciech Szczesny are quite capable of taking the club to Premier league glory and beyond. Wenger considers it especially important that these players began their league career with Arsenal and continue to remain with the club, something no other team can boast of over the last decade. Wenger believes that the named players are all on an upswing and cites the surge at the end of the last league season when Arsenal won 8 of their last 10 games and drew the other two. The French manager at the Emirates also believes that the change at the helm at the other big teams, United, City and Chelsea, will help Arsenal as they bid to win their first league title in nine years.

Meanwhile, Wenger continues to add to speculation about Arsenal's purported move for Liverpool's Suarez though in the absence of other activity in the transfer market, such speciulation is unlikely to bring comfort to disgruntled Gooners.
 
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06/29/2013
 

Arsene Wenger has finally decided it is wise to sign players earlier than finding bargains until the last day of transfer window. He has also finally decided to spend the £70 million transfer fund he has been so tightly clinging on to.


Brazilian goalkeeper, Julio Cesar, is set to be the summer buy of Arsenal after Confederations Cup. Wenger seems to wearing his thinking cap on during this transfer season as he is looking to add more experience to the goalkeeping department of the club. Rather than depending on Szczesny and Fabianski, Arsene has decided to give them some competition to keep the goalkeeping quality intact.


This is an intellectual move considering Arsenal has been known to lose its key players to big spending clubs. The on-going trophy drought doesn’t help keeping the players at Emirates either. Therefore, a step towards adding competition and quality in the squad is progress.


Gunners are already in talks with Cesar representatives as the Queens Park Rangers’ keeper is free to leave Loftus Road after QPR’s relegation from the Premier League. Italian side Roma has also kept Cesar on their radar but Arsenal are by far ahead, and look to be sealing the deal as soon as the Brazilian is off of international duty.


Queens Park Rangers are ready for a £2 million for Cesar. Arsenal will most probably agree to continue paying his £70,000 per week wages. Another player heading to Emirates is Higuain and the final news may officially be announced on Monday.


Currently Julio Cesar has been busy in the Confederations Cup performing impressively for Brazil. He saved a penalty during the match against Uruguay. Brazil face Spain in the finals tomorrow, June 30th, hoping to win the cup for the third consecutive time. Spain will aim to continue their domination on the world stage.  

 

 

 

 
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