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Wenger says Arsenal can win title; fans should follow Spurs example

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“Don’t stop believing!”

[ MORE: Why Klopp deserves time

Arsene Wenger has obviously dusted off his “Journey: Greatest Hits” album this week as he looks for inspiration following two defeats on the spin in the Premier League.

The Gunners lost 3-1 at Chelsea last weekend to fall 12 points behind the current PL leaders (that defeat came hot on the heels of their shock home defeat to Watford) and their title hopes appear all but over for another season. After admitting at the weekend that he’s been offered a new two-year contract extension, Wenger didn’t give any update on how he’s feeling about his future.

Speaking to the media ahead of their clash against Hull City on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), Wenger isn’t giving up just yet.

“It is never over. Even if you [the media] think it is, I don’t – we can’t think like that,” Wenger said. “We’re in a pack that is very tight and the fight for every position will be massive, maybe more this season than before. If it is over for us, it is over for everyone else as we are all in the pack.”

The Frenchman reiterated his point that Chelsea is in a very strong position as they do not have European action to contend with in the second half of the season, keeping their players fresher than their title rivals, but he’s obviously not giving up hope of securing a first PL title in 13 years.

Still, after plenty of late-season collapses in recent years, Arsenal’s fans won’t be holding their breath.

Speaking of fans, Arsene told the Arsenal supporters to look across north London to their rivals for how they should support a team…

“Of course, our fans have been consistent and have a high level of expectation, as I have as well,” Wenger said. “But I don’t feel it is absolutely clear. You cannot be a fan until last Tuesday and not be a fan anymore and not be behind the team this Saturday. It doesn’t make sense. All the other clubs, everywhere we fight with – Man United, Man City, Liverpool… they have big expectations as well and big histories.

“We are in a fight there, we absolutely have to be united or we have no chance to do it. You have Tottenham, everyone is in the fight and everyone is behind their team. We have to do exactly the same, even if we had two disappointing results.”

That will go down well with the fanbase, Arsene…


In other news Wenger also completely rubbished transfer reports stating he would make a move for Manchester City’s Joe Hart this summer.

Hart, 29, is currently on a season-loan with Serie A side Torino but reports stated Arsenal were interested in England’s No.1 goalkeeper. Wenger said he already has three world class goalkeepers, so he’s good.

With Petr Cech at 34 years old, plus David Ospina around, the rumor regarding Hart joining Arsenal seemed a little off the mark to begin with. With no place for him at Man City, his search for a new permanent home will continue as Liverpool and West Ham continue to be linked with a summer move.

And when it comes to Jack Wilshere, it doesn’t seem like he will be on the move this summer according to Wenger who also said there have been no talks about the Arsenal academy product, currently on loan at Bournemouth, joining the Cherries permanently.

“We have, at the moment, had no move from Bournemouth for Jack Wilshere,” Wenger confirmed.

Wilshere said himself on Thursday that he’s focused on digging Bournemouth out of a relegation battle they currently look like being sucked in to and any decision about a new deal at Arsenal or a move away from the Emirates Stadium will be contemplated in the summer.

The England international continues to grab assists and look tidy in midfield as he gets back to full fitness and back to his best. Arsenal could certainly do with his bite back in midfield next season but if Wenger can’t guarantee him regular minutes then Wilshere may well look elsewhere.

Honduras holds Costa Rica 1-1

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Honduras did the United States a favor by taking a point from visiting Costa Rica in Tuesday’s CONCACAF World Cup qualifier in San Pedro Sula.

Anthony Lozano pushed a 35th minute chance past an indecisive Keylor Navas, as Los Catrachos set the stage for a hopeful three points.

[ STREAM: T&T-Mexico, Panama-USMNT ]

Vancouver Whitecaps center back Kendall Waston’s haphazard defending helped allow the goal, but he scored off a late Costa Rica corner kick to ensure Costa Rica will finish the international break in second place.

With four points, Honduras moves ahead of Trinidad and Tobago and the United States before both sides play Tuesday.

Costa Rica beat the U.S. 4-0 in 2016, while the Yanks battered Honduras 6-0 on Friday.

WATCH: Video Assistant calls back Griezmann goal

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France and Spain used the Video Assistant Referee program on Tuesday in a friendly, and the French likely rue that decision.

Antoine Griezmann had an incorrectly allowed goal reverse for offside, while Gerard Deulofeu saw an initially ruled offside goal allowed upon review in Spain’s 2-0 win over France.

[ MORE: Bolivia stuns Messi-less Argentina ]

Here’s an example, as Griezmann’s barely offside goal was overturned in less than a minute (Both calls took less than a minute to decide):

At the risk of sounding like a caveman, I really don’t like these razor thin offside calls being subject to review.

When you consider the improbability of timing the moment of contact with the ball — how many times have you seen a freeze frame conveniently used to make a case? — it just seems to mess with the spirit of sport.

What do you think?

Bolivia stuns Messi-less Argentina in World Cup qualifying

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Argentina took steps backward Tuesday in its pursuit of a 2018 World Cup berth, on and off the field.

It started as Lionel Messi was suspended four matches for verbally abusing a referee in Argentina’s Friday win over Chile.

Then La Albiceleste made another move in reverse with a shocking 2-0 loss to Bolivia in La Paz. Argentina started Sergio Aguero, Paulo Dybala, and Ezequiel Lavezzi on the bench in what many presumed to be an easy win.

[ MORE: Three keys for USA v Panama ] 

Juan Carlos Arce and Marcelo Martins scored as ninth-place La Verde picked up its third win of qualifying with a win over powerful Argentina.

The bad news kept coming for Argentina (and Everton), as Ramiro Funes Mori left the match in the 36th minute with injury.

Bolivia will finish the international break at least 10 points back of the playoff spot, while Argentina could finish as low as that fifth-place spot.

STREAM: CONCACAF tripleheader concludes with USMNT

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CONCACAF’s bottom three sides in the Hex standings look to make the table incredibly tight as World Cup qualifying finds three-straight matches on the docket beginning at 5 p.m. EDT.

Honduras vs. Costa Rica

Los Catrachos were creamed 6-0 by the U.S. on Friday, and return home hoping a wounded Costa Rica remains vulnerable. Honduras is dead last on goal differential, but three points would be huge and put them level with Los Ticos. Costa Rica won its first two matches before falling to Mexico on Friday.

Trinidad and Tobago vs. Mexico

El Tri has two wins and a draw from their first three Hex matches, and will be without Rafa Marquez on Tuesday. A win guarantees Mexico the top spot heading into the next round of matches in June. The Soca Warriors surprised some with their 1-0 win over visiting Panama on Tuesday. Mexico is a different class.

Panama vs. USMNT

Despite its miserable start, the U.S. can find itself as high as second with a win and help from Honduras. The injuries remain plenty for the Yanks, who are without Fabian Johnson, Bobby Wood, Sebastian Lletget, and John Brooks. Panama has allowed just a single goal through three Hex matches, but also has only managed one.