Wenger frustrated by fourth, but really should be frustrated by injuries

1 Comment

Arsenal finished their season on a high, going to Carrow Road and winning 2-0. That was the Gunners’ 24th win of the season, putting them on 79 points total…and securing another fourth place finish for the club.

Despite adding eight points to the 71 earned last season, and grabbing three more wins, Arsenal finish their season exactly in the same position that they finished last year. No wonder Arsène Wenger is a bit frustrated:

Unfortunately it’s the first time in the Premier League that you finish fourth with 79 points and it was very tight. I believe that Liverpool can be frustrated tonight, we can be frustrated, Chelsea can be frustrated because only one team can win it. But at the top the number of points made by all the four teams is top quality.

That’s a surprisingly restrained statement from a man whose side spent much of the first half of the year sitting first in the Premier League table. It sure seemed as though this, this would finally be the year that Arsenal would lift a trophy.

Instead injuries took a toll. Aaron Ramsey fell to a thigh problem on Boxing Day, limping off for over three months. Considering he’d scored thirteen goals in all competitions prior to that match, it was a rather big blow for the side.

But Ramsey wasn’t the only Arsenal player to fall victim to injury. Abou Diaby missed nearly the entire season, playing only the final few minutes at Hull. Jack Wilshere was out for nearly two months, again returning for just a few minutes against Hull. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain missed much of the season.

Overall, it was the amount of injuries preying on the squad that should be what frustrated Wenger. Who knows what sort of trophies Arsenal may have lifted, had they had, say, a healthy Ramsey for the entire season?

Of course, they still have a chance to add a trophy to the dust that’s gathering in the cabinet. Next weekend, Arsenal face Hull at Wembley, battling to lift the FA Cup. Perhaps after that match, we’ll hear what’s really on Wenger’s mind.

Moyes: Chicharito could miss two weeks with hamstring strain

Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images
Leave a comment

David Moyes has given Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez assurances that he’ll have the opportunity to compete for a starting role with the Hammers, but the Mexican international will have to wait a bit for a chance.

[ MORE: North London Derby takes center stage Saturday morning ]

Hernandez, 29, is currently nursing a hamstring strain, leaving his status for this weekend against Watford in doubt.

“I think everyone knows he [Chicharito] has got a hamstring injury,” Moyes said during Friday’s press conference. “It could take a week, it could take two weeks.”

Moyes didn’t mince words recently when speaking about Chicharito and other players within the squad, essentially pointing out that no player will be awarded a starting role simply because of their stardom.

Hernandez has scored four goals in 13 matches this season for West Ham, who currently sits 18th in the Premier League. The Hammers have won just two matches to start the 2017/18 campaign and sit on nine points.

Alessandro Nesta steps down with NASL side Miami FC

Twitter/@LemonCityLive
Leave a comment

Miami FC quickly put itself on the U.S. soccer map in two short seasons, and much of the club’s success can be attributed to manager Alessandro Nesta.

[ MORE: Chris Coleman steps down with Wales, expected to take Sunderland job ]

The former Serie A defender has managed the club in its first two years of existence, but Nesta’s time in South Beach is coming to an end.

Nesta revealed on Friday that he won’t be returning to the NASL club in 2018, as he prepares to fnd a “new challenge” in his managerial career.

With NASL’s future as a league very much up in the air, Nesta could be seeking a more stable position entering 2018, especially given that his name has been thrown around with several MLS jobs over the last few months.

Orlando City raised over $300,000 in friendly for Puerto Rico hurricane relief

Twitter/@OrlandoCitySC
Leave a comment

It isn’t always the score at the end of the match that matters, and Orlando City proved that with its recent friendly to benefit those affected by hurricanes in Puerto Rico.

[ MORE: Whitecaps announce USL affiliation with expansion side Fresno FC ]

Orlando City faced off with the Puerto Rico national team on Nov. 4, which the Lions won 6-1, but it was the club’s humanitarian efforts that proved to be the real story from the event.

The club announced that it raised $327,530 from the match, with all proceeds from the event going directly to the Puerto Rican people.

“I’m very proud of what our Club and our partners were able to accomplish,” Orlando City SC owner Flavio Augusto da Silva said in a team statement. “What we did meant more than just raising funds for Puerto Rico. Once again, we came together as a community to rally behind something bigger than us all.”

Whitecaps announce USL affiliation with expansion side Fresno FC

Twitter/@FresnoFC2018
Leave a comment

The Vancouver Whitecaps will continue their stake in USL next season, but it won’t be with their current affiliate.

[ MORE: Caleb Porter out with the Portland Timbers ]

The Western Conference side announced on Friday that it will bring a new affiliate into USL in 2018 as Fresno FC makes its debut in the Division II league.

In the wake of this decision by the Whitecaps, the club’s current USL side, Vancouver Whitecaps 2, won’t be returning to the league in the near future.

“First of all, we would like to thank every person who has worked tirelessly with Whitecaps FC 2 over the past three seasons,” said Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi. “With both the USL and Canadian soccer landscapes evolving, now is the right time to make this change for our club. We are delighted to be working with Fresno FC, where the USL will provide the opportunity for high-level competition that will benefit our first team in MLS in the future. We expect that the internal competition for playing time at Fresno FC will provide a tremendous and challenging environment for our top young players.”

The relationship between Vancouver and Fresno will operate similarly to the club’s former status with Whitecaps 2, which allows the senior team to send players down and sign them to MLS contracts when seen fit by the club.

Former MLS manager Frank Yallop serves as general manager for the new USL side, while Adam Smith has been named Fresno’s first head coach.