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Breaking down Arsene Wenger’s record at Arsenal

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It’s time to look at the facts.

With the protests growing among Arsenal’s fans to oust Arsene Wenger following the 10-2 aggregate defeat to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League, the man who’s been at the helm for the Gunners for two decades seems to be nearing the end.

[ MORE: Fans vent anger at Wenger ]

Wenger, 67, has been offered a two-year extension on his current deal which runs out this summer but he has yet to annouce what he will do at the end of the 2016-17 season. With Arsenal still in the FA Cup and battling for a 21st consecutive top four finish under Wenger, there’s still plenty to play for.

That doesn’t mean these protests won’t get louder in the final weeks of the season as Arsenal’s fans watch on enviously across the capital with rivals Chelsea cantering towards a third Premier League title.

Wenger has delivered three Premier League titles and six FA Cups in his time in charge of the Gunners, while also taking them to the final of the UEFA Cup and UEFA Champions League but they lost on both occasions. He has also won the Community Shield six times.

He has been in charge for 7,464 days and 1,160 games in all competitions.

When all is said and done he’ll be a hero at Arsenal but right now it doesn’t feel that way at all as “Wenger Out” banners and chanting against the Frenchman were commonplace before and after their latest humiliating defeat to Bayern on Tuesday.

No matter whether you think he should stay or go, here’s a look at exactly what Arsenal has achieved each season since Wenger took charge a few months into the 1996-97 campaign.


1996-97
Premier League: Third
FA Cup: 4th round
League Cup: 4th round
Europe: UEFA Cup, first round

1997-98
Premier League: Winners
FA Cup: Winners
League Cup: Semifinal
Europe: UEFA Cup, first round

1998-99
Premier League: Runners up
FA Cup: Semifinal
League Cup: 4th round
Europe: Champions League, group stage

1999-00
Premier League: Runners up
FA Cup: 4th round
League Cup: 4th round
Europe: Champions League, group stage (UEFA Cup, runners up)

2000-01
Premier League: Runners up
FA Cup: Runners up
League Cup: 3rd round
Europe: Champions League, quarterfinals

2001-02
Premier League: Winners
FA Cup: Winners
League Cup: Quarterfinal
Europe: Champions League, second group stage

2002-03
Premier League: Runners up
FA Cup: Winners
League Cup: 3rd round
Europe: Champions League, second group stage

2003-04
Premier League: Winners
FA Cup: Semifinal
League Cup: Semifinal
Europe: Champions League, quarterfinal

2004-05
Premier League: Runners up
FA Cup: Winners
League Cup: Quarterfinal
Europe: Champions League, quarterfinal

2005-06
Premier League: Fourth
FA Cup: 4th round
League Cup: Semifinal
Europe: Champions League, runners up

2006-07
Premier League: Fourth
FA Cup: 5th round
League Cup: Runners up
Europe: Champions League, Round of 16

2007-08
Premier League: Third
FA Cup: 5th round
League Cup: Semifinal
Europe: Champions League, quarterfinal

2008-09
Premier League: Fourth
FA Cup: Semifinal
League Cup: Quarterfinal
Europe: Champions League, semifinal

2009-10
Premier League: Third
FA Cup: 4th round
League Cup: Quarterfinal
Europe: Champions League, quarterfinal

2010-11
Premier League: Fourth
FA Cup: Quarterfinal
League Cup: Runners up
Europe: Champions League, Round of 16

2011-12
Premier League: Third
FA Cup: 5th round
League Cup: Quarterfinal
Europe: Champions League, Round of 16

2012-13
Premier League: Fourth
FA Cup: 5th round
League Cup: Quarterfinal
Europe: Champions League, Round of 16

2013-14
Premier League: Fourth
FA Cup: Winners
League Cup: 4th round
Europe: Champions League, Round of 16

2014-15
Premier League: Third
FA Cup: Winners
League Cup: 3rd round
Europe: Champions League, Round of 16

2015-16
Premier League: Runners up
FA Cup: Quarterfinal
League Cup: 3rd round
Europe: Champions League, Round of 16

Wenger: Sanchez likely to leave for Man United

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Alexis Sanchez’s move to Manchester United is close to completion.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Sanchez is “likely to leave” for Jose Mourinho’s side, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan thought to be heading in the opposite direction plus a sizable transfer fee.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday ahead of Arsenal’s clash with Crystal Palace on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET online via NBCSports.com), Wenger revealed the deal for Sanchez is almost complete.

“I worked on transfers for 30 years so it is likely to happen, but at any moment it can break down,” Wenger said. “As long as it’s not over the line you have to accept it may not happen, these kind of things are not guaranteed. I have no problem with Sanchez’s attitude. He was in training fully committed. He is 29 years old and the next contract will of course be very important to him.”

So, there you have it. Sanchez to United is happening and with the numbers being mentioned, it’s easy to understand why he will leave. Sanchez will be paid $19.2 million per year, after tax, and he will also receive a $27.7 million signing-on fee and his agent will get $13.8 million.

United will get a new star No.7 in his prime and Sanchez getting a fresh start and being hungry to impress will certainly be music to the ears of Mourinho. Whether or not the Chilean international will have the same impact as Eric Cantona, who joined United in his late 20’s and helped led them to multiple PL titles, remains to be seen, but this deal does remind you of that circumstances. One player doesn’t make a team but a special player like Sanchez can make a heck of difference overall.

Wenger also spoke about the possibility of Mkhitaryan being part of the deal and it seems he is very keen on signing the Armenian international who almost joined the Gunners in the summer of 2016 before joining United instead.

“I like the player. We played many times against him when he was at Dortmund. He appreciated the quality of our games. The wages would not be a problem,” Wenger said.

It seems like everyone will be happy with this deal. Of course, Arsenal wanted Sanchez to stay and that’s why they didn’t sell him to Manchester City in the summer. Wenger couldn’t persuade him to sign a new deal and now, less than six months before he leaves on a free, they are getting a decent chunk of change and playmaker who, on his day, can unlock any defense in the world.

For United, Mkhitaryan is out of favor under Mourinho and they will get him off their wage bill, while they also get Sanchez in his prime and get one over on Man City where everyone thought he would end up.

All in all, this tricky situation seems to have worked out best for everyone, especially Sanchez and his agent.

Timbers sign Peruvian winger Andy Polo from Liga MX’s Morelia

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) The Portland Timbers have acquired winger Andy Polo on loan from Liga MX club Monarcas Morelia for the upcoming season.

The 23-year-old native of Peru played in 25 matches last year for Morelia and made six starts with two goals.

He’s also World Cup-bound, having appeared in Peru’s two-legged playoff against New Zealand in November. Peru won 2-0 on aggregate. Overall, he’s appeared with the Peruvian national team 15 times since his senior debut in 2016.

“Andy is a versatile, young player who will add another element to our attack, and we believe that he has further upside to his development,” Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese said in a statement.

The Timbers used targeted allocation money and have a purchase option. Polo’s arrival is pending a physical and receipt of a visa.

He will occupy an international roster spot.

Can Man United still sign Sanchez without Mkhitaryan swap?

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The answer to the (first) titled question is, undoubtedly, yes.

[ MORE: Wednesday’s transfer rumor roundup | Tuesday | Friday ]

The latter question — the “will they?” — remains a relative unknown at this point, but if reports out of the UK are to be believed, Manchester United are just as likely to send $40 million (or so) Arsenal’s way in exchange for Alexis Sanchez, should Henrikh Mkhitaryan refuse the move by declining any contract offers from the Gunners.

[ MORE: Conte bewildered VAR not used in Chelsea PK controversies ]

The thinking, at least for the last few days since Man United somewhat unexpectedly entered the Sanchez sweepstakes, was that swapping the Armenian for the Chilean was the obvious — and, perhaps only — way forward. Call it special circumstances or an obvious audible, but that’s not necessarily the case — from the Guardian:

“It is understood that if Mkhitaryan does not leave Mourinho believes that, given the club’s robust finances, [Man United executive vice-chairman] Ed Woodward could still sanction a move for a player who would potentially vastly improve United.”

By the time Sanchez is signed, sealed and delivered, United will have also paid Sanchez and his agent, Fernando Felicevich, massive signing-on fees that could total another $30 million. No matter the order in which the Sanchez-Mkhitaryan saga plays out, United will come out ahead with a superior player at a massively discounted price — should Sanchez ultimately move to Old Trafford, of course.

Conte bewildered VAR not used in Chelsea PK controversies

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If the FA, English football’s governing body, is insistent upon testing video-assistant refereeing (VAR) as they have done in recent FA Cup and League Cup fixtures, Antonio Conte believes they should darn well use it.

[ MORE: Wednesday’s transfer rumor roundup | Tuesday | Friday ]

Following his Chelsea side’s penalty-shootout victory over Norwich City in an FA Cup third-round replay on Wednesday, Conte was equal parts frustrated and confused by the fact that video-referee Mike Jones failed to prompt referee Graham Scott to consult the on-trial system on multiple occasions.

Most notably, Chelsea’s 92nd-minute (extra-time) penalty shout following Timm Klose‘s tackle on Willian. Scott, instead, booked the Brazilian for diving — one of three cards, all shown to Chelsea players, for simulation on the night — and that was that.

“If you watch the replay you see very clearly it is a penalty,” said Conte after the game — quotes from the BBC:

“I think that there was a penalty but not on [Alvaro] Morata — on Willian.

“With Willian, the referee heard what the other referee watched and decided to continue to play. If we want to try to use this new system, it is important for the referee to wait, especially in this incident that is not so clear.

“And then when the referee that is watching had a doubt, he has to call the referee to watch and he can make a decision. The referee on the pitch has to make the decision, not one off the pitch.

“We can improve it for sure but we need to try to take the best solution. The final decision is for the ref on the pitch. Otherwise, why is there this ref?

“The mistake wasn’t of the ref on the pitch but the person watching. When you see this, you have to call the referee.”

VAR was used in another third-round replay, on Tuesday, and helped to correctly rule Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho as being in an onside position when he scored his side’s second goal. While offside/onside calls are much clearer, cut-and-dry decisions to make — and with the aid of a natural stoppage in play — clearly much work lies ahead with regard to the process of determining whether the referee has made a “clear and obvious error,” which remains the threshold for using VAR, in instances of fouls/diving.