Arsenal

French trio sign new contracts at Arsenal

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Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny and Francis Coquelin have all signed new contracts at Arsenal.

[ MORE: Lackluster Liverpool lucky ] 

The deals for the French trio were announced on Thursday morning with Koscielny announcing he has signed on until 2020, but the Gunners haven’t revealed any length on the deals apart from saying they are “long-term contracts” for Giroud, Koscielny and Coquelin.

Here’s what Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has to say about the deals.

“We are very pleased that three important members of our team have committed to us for the long term,” Wenger said. “Francis has made tremendous technical strides over the past few years because he’s so focused every day. Olivier has big experience in the game now and has become a more and more complete player since joining us. Laurent is of course a key part of our squad and I believe one of the best defenders in the world today. So overall, this is great news for us.”

Giroud has scored four goals in his last four games in all competitions, including an incredible scorpion kick goal against Crystal Palace over the festive period, and he scored 24 goals last season as Arsenal’s top scorer. The 30-year-old has had to be patient for his chance this season as Alexis Sanchz has led the line but Giroud has been in fine form with a better goals per minute played ratio than any other player in the Premier League.

Koscielny’s importance to Arsenal is clear with the French international defender, who joined in the summer of 2010, captaining Arsenal in Per Mertesacker‘s absence. His calming presence is key on Arsenal’s defense, while Coquelin has added extra bit to midfield over the past two seasons as he’s become an integral part of the side and one of the first names on the teamsheet in the holding midfield role.

Of course this is all great news for the Gunners but there are three other current members of the team/staff who need to commit their future to the club.

Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil (both have 18 months left on their deal) and manager Wenger (his deal runs out this summer), you’re next.

Stampede at stadium in Honduras kills multiple people

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TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) Officials in Honduras say thousands of soccer fans trying to force their way into a stadium for a championship match stampeded in panic when police fired tear gas, and at least four people and an unborn fetus were killed in the crush and 25 others were injured.

A spokesman for University Teaching Hospital says the victims died from suffocation and multiple broken bones from being trampled Sunday. Spokesman Miguel Osorio says a fetus died when its mother suffered severe injuries.

The stampede happened at the National Stadium as fans tried to push their way into the jammed venue to see the game between Motagua and Honduras Progreso.

About 600 police officers were guarding the stadium and used water cannon and tear gas trying to push back the crowds.

LIVE, at the half: Huddersfield miss glorious chances v. Reading

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It is tough to explain how Huddersfield Town aren’t ahead at half time of the Championship playoff final at Wembley Stadium on Monday.

[ LIVE: Follow the action from Wembley

The Terriers had two glorious chances early on but Michael Hefele headed wide and then Izzy Brown — on loan from Chelsea — somehow put his effort wide from a yard out.

Reading only had a few forays forward but Jaap Stam’s men held firm with the score locked at 0-0 at the break.

Will David Wagner’s Huddersfield live to rue those missed chances?

Follow the second half live from Wembley by clicking on the link above.


 

LIVE: Playoff final – Huddersfield v. Reading for PL spot

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The richest game in world soccer is here.

[ LIVE: Follow the action from Wembley ]

Huddersfield Town and Reading clash at Wembley Stadium in the Championship playoff final, one win away from the Premier League with the final promotion spot up for grabs after Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion clinched automatic promotion.

Whoever wins this match will alter the path of their club for the foreseeable future.

The winner will not only receive a place in the PL but also a huge sum of $218 million for next season and if they stay up for just one season in the Premier League it is estimated to be worth $372 million.

Below is the team news…

Click on the link above to follow live updates from Wembley, while we will have analysis, reaction and more during and after the game.

VIDEO: Watch Francesco Totti’s emotional Roma farewell

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After a 25-year career at AS Roma, Francesco Totti was handed a fitting farewell on Sunday.

The hometown hero, now 40 years of age, called time on his incredible Roma career and looked overwhelmed.

[ MORE: Totti’s incredible career

Coming on for the 786th and final appearance of his stunning career, the all-time leading scorer for Roma (307 goals in all competitions) helped his team secured a dramatic last-gasp 3-2 win over Genoa to seal second place in the Serie A table and an automatic spot in the UEFA Champions League next season.

Totti spurned big money moves to Real Madrid and Barcelona where he could have won the biggest trophies and individual titles in the game to stay at Roma. He won just one Scudetto with Roma but famously said that was worth 10 league titles had he played for another team.

[ MORE: Serie A final day roundup ]

Following the game it was all about Totti as his teammates and manager broke down in tears, and so too did Totti as he went on a lap of honor with his wife and children at a sold-out Stadio Olimpico.

Rome’s favorite son said goodbye and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Watch the emotional farewell in the videos below.

I know. I have something in my eye too…