Arsene Wenger cautious on Jack Wilshere’s full fitness for World Cup

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Arsenal have certainly missed their talented homegrown midfielder Jack Wilshere in recent weeks, as the Gunners starlet has once again been sat on the treatment table.

Wilshere, 22, broke his foot whilst on England duty on March 5 in a friendly against Denmark and when asked about Wilshere’s availability for the World Cup this summer, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger remained laid back but insisted he would be fine as long as he was “completely fit.”

What Wenger is alluding to is that he doesn’t want Wilshere forced into having to play in numerous warm-up games before heading to Brazil with the Three Lions.

Our friends over a Soccerly take up the story below, as Wilshere could make his long-awaited return this weekend against West Brom and then feature in Arsenal’s first FA Cup final since 2005 when they play Hull City on May 17.

Also, Wenger gave an update on another of Arsenal’s England internationals who has been out injured: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

The Gunners had hoped to have him back for this weekend’s Premier League match against West Bromwich Albion, but he might not now be available until their league finale at Norwich ahead of the FA Cup final on May 17. England have three warm-up matches and a training camp ahead of their World Cup Group D opener against Italy in Brazil on June 14 and Wenger believes that will give the 22-year-old Wilshere sufficient time to get to full fitness.

“It is not a gamble if he is completely fit. It is a strengthening of the (England) team,” Wenger said Friday. “If there was a medical doubt then yes it would be a gamble, but I think he will be completely safe and on that front medically he should be all right.”

Wilshere’s fellow Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is also hoping to be a member of Hodgson’s World Cup squad. Oxlade-Chamberlain missed Monday 3-0 win over Newcastle at the Emirates Stadium, that cemented Arsenal’s grip on fourth position and a place in next season’s Champions League, because of a niggling groin problem,

“Chamberlain at the moment has an inflamed groin,” said Wenger. We will see how he progresses. “For the World Cup he should be okay, for us, will he come back for the end of the season? I don’t know,” the veteran French manager added. “It is not a gamble if he is completely fit. It is a strengthening of the (England) team,” Wenger said Friday. “If there was a medical doubt then yes it would be a gamble, but I think he will be completely safe and on that front medically he should be all right.”

FIFA force pace on $25B Club World Cup, global league plan

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GENEVA (AP) FIFA is forcing the pace on talks over a $25 billion offer to revamp the Club World Cup and create a global national team competition.

FIFA says President Gianni Infantino hosted a meeting last Friday with invited officials from some top European clubs.

[ MORE: Everton gets past Newcastle behind Walcott strike ]

The European Club Association has strongly opposed FIFA’s hope for a four-yearly club tournament starting in 2021, which could rival the UEFA-organized Champions League.

UEFA has also proposed a Global Nations League. A similar project is tied to the FIFA-controlled $25 billion, 12-year offer from a consortium including investors from Saudi Arabia and China.

FIFA says it’s holding “informal ongoing discussions with different stakeholders on the topic of the future Club World Cups.”

Infantino is set to meet confederation presidents and general secretaries “in the near future,” FIFA says.

Video: De Rossi, Roma make classy visit to Hillsborough memorial

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On many occasions there are instances where teams and individuals exemplify the fact that real-life occurrences are more meaningful than sports.

Ahead of Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League meeting, Italian giants AS Roma visited Anfield –where they will face Liverpool in the competition’s semifinals.

After walking around the venue where the two sides will compete in less than 24 hours, Roma captain Daniele de Rossi and the rest of the Roma squad visited the Hillsborough memorial at Anfield to pay tribute to the 96 victims lost in the 1989 event that rocked the entire country.

De Rossi was seen laying a floral arrangement on the site, along with a note from the club that read, “In memoria delle vittime di Hillsborough AS Rome.”

Liverpool, Roma ride major emotions into the UCL semifinals

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Four clubs remain in this season’s UEFA Champions League competition, and while two of the teams have been considered heavy dogs in the fight all year long the other two sides look to continue on their storybook run.

Liverpool, Roma, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have found themselves in the semifinals of this season’s UCL, creating a strong mix of storylines as the tournament heads towards its most critical point.

[ MORE: Everton gets past Newcastle behind Theo Walcott’s strike ]

Anfield will be the site for Tuesday’s first leg between Liverpool and Roma, with both sides still riding major highs from their victories in the last round.

The Reds enter the final four after having disposed of fellow Premier League side Manchester City in relatively dominating fashion. Meanwhile, Roma completed a seemingly impossible comeback against Barcelona to progress in the competition.

Liverpool is led by three of the year’s top goalscorers, including Mohamed Salah — who has scored eight goals in the UCL and 41 across all competitions.

For Roma, much of the side’s success has been predicated on finding defensive strength at the right moments throughout the tournament.

Despite falling behind 4-1 in their first leg defeat to Barca in the previous round, Edin Dzeko and Co. rallied for a 3-0 win at the Stade Olimpico to stun the Catalan club by holding Lionel Messi and his side in check.

Manager Eusebio Di Francesco will have to find creative ways to halt the Liverpool attack though over the course of two legs, with the Reds boasting the top attack in this year’s UCL.

Liverpool has scored 33 goals in 10 UCL matches, while only conceding seven in the process.

Keeper Ederson hopeful he can score this season for Man City

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The prospects for a goalkeeper scoring during a match are usually uncommon, but that hasn’t halted Manchester City’s number one choice from aiming to break the trend this season.

Ederson — who has moved into the starting role at the Etihad Stadium with relative ease in 2017/18 — has dreamt of scoring a goal of his own for the Premier League champions in waiting.

“I heard the fans chanting my name, asking me to take the penalty but Gabriel went there,” Ederson said. “Unfortunately he missed it and Bernardo happily scored. But if the manager have asked me to go there, definitely I’d score.

“I’m not sure if I would be able to do set-pieces, but I’m good at penalties, either using power or technique on shooting it. But City have [their] regular penalty-takers and we are well-served.

Citizen supporters chanted for the goalkeeper to take a penalty kick over the weekend in the team’s 5-0 win over Swansea City.

However, Gabriel Jesus was the man selected for the opportunity, but had his attempt saved by Lukasz Fabianski before Bernardo Silva was in the right spot to score the game’s fifth goal.

“If Pep asks me to take it, I’m there,” Ederson said of the penalty kick. “Hopefully it will happen [before the end of the season], I’d like to score.”

This isn’t the first time Ederson has discussed exploring opportunities outside of the net, though.

The Brazilian shot-stopper has long been a fan of former Brazil international goalkeeper Rogero Ceni — who scored 65 goals for club side Sao Paolo.

Earlier this season, the 24-year-old joked around with the media, saying that he’d be more than happy to fill a role in the midfield when City was experiencing some injury issues within the squad.