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Arsene Wenger defiant, wants to help stamp match-fixing out of English soccer

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As his Arsenal side prepare for their trip to Cardiff on Saturday, Frenchman Arsene Wenger was in a defiant mood during his pregame press conference on Friday.

Amid match-fixing accusations and investigations in England’s lower-leagues, Wenger is adamant that “99.9 percent” of English soccer is clean.

“I don’t believe that in England people fix matches,” Wenger said in his meeting with the press. “But we live in an international world and you cannot just stop it at the border any more. It is a new problem that we all face.”

Fresh talk of betting scandals in the English game arises after three soccer players have reportedly been arrested in conjunction with an ongoing investigation into individuals fixing games, buying off players, referees and teams across the English game. Delroy Facey, once of Bolton Wanderers is amongst the players to be detained as English soccer tries to get to the bottom of, and stamp out, any irregularities threatening to ruin the fabric of England’s national sport.

(MORE: Former Bolton striker among six arrested in English match-fixing investigation)

Wenger believes despite the recent findings, English soccer across the board is in a much better place than many other nations.

“I still think that 99.9%, the English game is completely clean,” Wenger said. “When you see the happiness of the players when they score goals, even in the lower divisions, the passion of the fans when I was at Barnet for example, I can’t believe there is a match-fixing problem in England.”

In a defiant mood throughout speaking on the topic, Wenger obviously feels extremely strongly about the sporting integrity in his adopted nation. The Frenchman has coached in the Premier League since 1996 and believes the lower levels are where the problem could persist if more isn’t done to eradicate it.

“I think we absolutely have to fight against that with the strongest severity to get that out of the game,” Wenger said. “Maybe the lower divisions are a bit more under threat because it is a bit more anonymous, there is less money so it is easier to buy people, but I don’t think that exists in the Premier League at all.”

How can Man United qualify for last 16 of Champions League?

Wayne Rooney, Manchester United FC

Heading into the their final UEFA Champions League Group B game, Manchester United hold their destiny in their own hands, but any slip-up could mean it’s Europa League on Thursday nights for Louis Van Gaal‘s men.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

The Red Devils would have advanced to the knockout stage with a victory over third-place PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday, but slumped to an ugly 0-0 draw instead.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Man United 0-0 PSV ]

So, here’s all of the scenarios for the final matchday of the group stage, away to Wolfsburg, in which United would advance to the round of 16 advance:

  • A Man United win will see Man United finish top of Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV draw or loss (vs. CSKA Moscow), will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV victory, will see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV loss, will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United loss by more than one goal, coupled with a PSV draw, would see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV win, would see Man United finish third in Group B

[ MORE: Champions League schedule

There are your scenarios for Man United as it’s pretty simple to break it down: Win, and they go through. Fail to win, and their fate is completely in the hands of PSV.

VIDEO: Can Leicester stun the world? Man United title favorites?

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The Foxes are top of the Premier League and are led by a surging Jamie Vardy but how long can they keep shocking the world?

With six tough games coming up between now and the start of 2016, Claudio Ranieri‘s men will be pushed to their limit but so far this season they’ve been sensational and Vardy has equaled Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistlerooy’s record of scoring in 10-straight PL games.

[ MORE: Full PST Extra archive ]

Can he make it 11 in a row on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) when United visit the King Power Stadium? As for the Red Devils, they sit in second place and are just one point behind the flying Foxes’. Louis Van Gaal‘s men have certainly flown under the radar so far and our churning out wins at an impressive rate.

Jenna Corrado and I discuss that and more in the latest edition of PST Extra. Click play on the video above to see our chat in full.

Men in Blazers podcast: The Leicester fairytale goes on

Men In Blazers - Sept. 22
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Rog and Davo revel in another chapter of the Leicester City fairytale, break down Liverpool’s shock dismantling of Manchester City and discuss Arsenal’s slip against West Brom.

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

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Pellegrini updates status of Joe Hart’s hamstring injury

Joe Hart, Manchester City FC
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Joe Hart was forced to leave Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat to Juventus in UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, which he seemed to incur while making a spectacular one-on-one kick-save late in the second half.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini confirmed after the game that Hart’s injury is indeed a hamstring issue, and went on to say that he would need further tests once the team arrives back in Manchester to determine the severity and how long, if at all, City and England’s no. 1 would be out of action.

Man City, currently third in the Premier League on 26 points, will host eighth-place Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).