Injuries mount up for Arsenal, what will Arsene Wenger do now?

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Well, Arsene Wenger may have to start acting a lot faster than he thought between now and September 2.

Injuries are piling up already at the Emirates, he may now have to act fast to try and grab his transfer window targets.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mikel Arteta are both out injured and all of a sudden, Arsenal are short of midfield options. Hence the sudden influx of bids being tabled by Wenger and the Gunners early this week.

(MORE: Arsenal 1 – Aston Villa 3; Benteke double beats Gunners on opening day – Video)

Oxlade-Chamberlain, 20, will be out until November with a posterior cruciate ligament injury, while Arteta will miss at least a month due to a thigh injury. These untimely absences are further magnifying the issues Wenger is having in player recruitment, while Arsenal also let 17 players leave over the summer with their squad now looking threadbare at best.

While Wenger certainly got plenty off his chest during a press conference yesterday. Arsenal’s under-pressure manager defended his clubs tactics in this summer’s transfer window, slamming the negative commits from pundits, other Premier League managers and everyone else in between.

The proud Frenchman, in his seventeenth season in charge of Arsenal, is standing firm on the clubs transfer policy following his sides surprise opening day Premier League home defeat to Aston Villa. As Steve Davis wrote yesterday, Wenger hit out at critics who’ve demanded more signings in North London.

I would just like to reiterate to you that in the last 16 years we have been very successful with transfers. If you look at the players we have, they are top quality and you should never forget that. It is not always to think what is outside is better than what you have. What is important as well is to rate what you have and our fans have to understand that as well. It’s hard but I can understand the impatience.

Wenger sympathized with the Arsenal fans, but insisted he’s doing what’s right for the club. And Wenger also stated his intends to bring in plenty of players between now and September 2.

But with the Champions League playoff round starting tonight against Fenerbache, is the 63-year-old Frenchman sweating on qualifying for Europe’s biggest club competition before he can spend big? Perhaps. But that’s a decision for the board of directors, however it’s a possibility.

Rumors continue to circle that the Gunners have bid for Paul Pogba, Wayne Rooney, Luis Suárez, Gareth Barry and Asmir Begovic, as well as Cabaye. Those moves may all hinge on beating Turkish giants Fenerbache, which is by no means a simple task, to qualify for the Champions League Group stages and grab a cash windfall.

Seems like there’s still quite a few stressful days left for Mr. Wenger between now and Monday September 2.

Pochettino calls out Xavi for Dele Alli-Man City “lie to lie to lie”

Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images
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“He tried to destroy our focus to win because he hates me because he’s Barcelona.”

Even half-kidding, the Derby Barceloni is alive and well for longtime Espanyol man Mauricio Pochettino and Barcelona legend Xavi.

At least that’s why the latter is trying to sabotage the former’s Premier League title fight, Pochettino says.

[ RECAP: Chelsea 4-2 Saints ]

Speaking from his club team in Qatar, Xavi claimed that Manchester City is going to bid high for Spurs’ young star Dele Alli.

Tottenham boss Pochettino says that’s just not true. Pochettino was joking a bit when he answered questions on the topic, but then told a story about Xavi diving for a penalty in the derby. Here are a few of his thoughts, from The Telegraph:

“It wasn’t a penalty but Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored for Barcelona and they won the game. After in the replay it was very funny because it was clear no one touched him. Come on! It goes from lie to lie to lie.”

“He is working for Manchester City, maybe? He wants to help Guardiola and [Vincent] Kompany.”

Boa Esporte goalkeeper back to prison as murder appeal denied

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The risk clearly wasn’t worth it for Boa Esporte.

The Brazilian club signed Bruno Fernandes de Souza in March, not long after the convicted murderer and goalkeeper was released from prison on appeal.

Fernandes, 32, had been jailed for ordering the murder of a lover, who was fed to dogs by the killer. Boa Esporte lost several big sponsors for signing him, but vocally defended the move.

The owner, Rone Moraes da Costa, said he’d rather move the team than not give Fernandes a chance to revive his career. Fernandes admitted his mistakes but said he wasn’t “a bad guy”.

According to the Associated Press:

“Brazil’s Supreme Court decided on Tuesday to deny an appeal to Boa Esporte goalkeeper Bruno Fernandes de Souza, who was released in March while appealing a 22-year sentence in the 2010 killing of Eliza Samudio.”

So it’s back to jail for Fernandes, and we’ll be waiting with baited breath to hear from Boa Esporte’s owner.

Conte: Chelsea “ready to fight to the end”

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Following Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal win over Spurs and Tuesday’s blowout of Southampton — the 4-2 score line didn’t tell the story of the second half — Antonio Conte is fired up for Chelsea to complete its Premier League title run.

The manager admits that his side was under pressure after Spurs narrowed the table gap to four points last week, but the wins have eased the Blues’ burden.

Chelsea had lost two of four PL matches before the weekend.

From Football.London:

“I think we passed a big, big psychological step after the defeat to United. We lost three points and had to prepare a semi-final against Tottenham and then another tough game in the league. In that moment we had a really important test and our answer was very good.

“We must think that this race is open, we have reached the final of the FA Cup. The situation in the league is totally open. We are ready to fight to the end. We must be proud for the job we are doing and to fight to the end.”

Spurs can bring the gap back to four with a win at Crystal Palace on Tuesday, but have a tougher run-in with five matches to play. As long as the gap is within six points, anything is possible, but the Blues have certainly answered the bell over the past four days.

Chelsea: Big win “feels like a massive step” to title

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“It feels like a massive step to be honest,” said game-changing goal scorer Gary Cahill of Chelsea’s 4-2 win over Southampton at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

Chelsea’s Premier League lead stands at seven points after the win, which saw a dominant second half from the hosts.

[ RECAP: Chelsea 4-2 Saints ]

Perhaps it was cued up by Cahill’s first half stoppage time header, which boosted the Blues to a 2-1 lead just before the whistle.

Cahill darted in front of Diego Costa‘s scissor kick attempt to power a header past Fraser Forster.

“(Costa) tried to claim it afterward as well,” Cahill said. “When the ball’s just lofted over, it’s dying to be attacked. We went into halftime with our tails up and it was a big boost for us.”

Cesc Fabregas said Southampton surprised the Blues tactically, leading to an entertaining first half that could’ve seen either side ahead before half.

“We needed a little bit of time to adapt to what they did because we prepared for something else,” he said.

Fabregas said the win was big with second-place Spurs watching at home. Tottenham plays at Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

“We needed a good response after the Man United game. We have to keep going with five games to go, to keep it up and make the last push. It would be a big shame if now we relaxed. We just have to push now more than ever,” he said.

“It’s a statement for (Spurs), for us, for everyone, but most of all for us.”
Eden Hazard agreed.
“We scored four beautiful goals,” said the Belgian, who scored the game’s first goal. “It’s good to play before and put pressure on them.”