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Reports: Arsene Wenger hopes to stay at Arsenal

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According to separate reports by the Daily Mail and Mirror, Arsene Wenger has decided he wants to stay at Arsenal long-term, and hopes the club comes to a mutual decision to extend his contract.

Fans have grown increasingly vocal at their hope the club will move on from Wenger, who has been with Arsenal since 1996. Banners have been displayed – and even flown – calling for his removal in recent weeks.

The discontent has grown thanks to a growing crisis, both on and off the field. The club has lost six of its last nine games, including embarrassing defeats to lesser clubs and by large scorelines. Off the pitch, there are loud rumors that big players are pushing for large contracts the club is unwilling to dish out.

Despite all this, Wenger – whose contract expires this summer and was reportedly undecided on his own position regarding his future – has apparently come to the conclusion that he is hoping to stay, and will work with the club if they decide to offer him an extension. That’s a big if, although the team may decide that stability and experience is the best way forward.

Two players, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, have both shown signs of unhappiness in recent weeks, and the papers have followed that up with reports of their discontent behind closed doors. Sanchez’s body language on the field has been that of an exasperated figure, and there are rumors that he is looking for a mega-contract. Ozil has also reportedly asked for a large wage increase to keep him satisfied, and with the club reportedly unwilling to give in, Ozil was left out of the squad in Saturday’s loss to West Brom after complaining of hamstring discomfort in Friday’s training session, despite now being suddenly fit to join Germany’s squad for the international break.

Amid all this turmoil, it’s possible – and increasingly likely – that Arsenal could miss Champions League qualification for the first time in Wenger’s 20-year tenure. The club sits in sixth position, on 50 points, which is two back of Manchester United in fifth and six behind Liverpool in fourth. Despite that, it’s possible the club could stick by him. John Cross of the Mirror, who crafted their version of the Wenger story, posted on Twitter that he is “fully expecting Wenger to stay. Arsenal believe he’ll turn it round.” He also offered his personal thoughts on the mood in the locker room:

No matter the players’ opinions, one half of the requirements for a contract extension appear met. Now it’s up to the club to decide if he’s the best man to lead the club forward, and the sooner the decision is wrapped up, the better for everyone at the club.

MLS Snapshot: Philadelphia Union 3-0 Columbus Crew

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The game in 100 words (or less)Goals from Ilsinho, CJ Sapong, and Marcus Epps led the Philadelphia Union to a 3-0 win over the Crew, who had not one but two players sent off in the loss. Jonathan Mensah saw red in the 35th minute for denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity, and Lalas Abubakar was sent off for violent conduct with about a quarter hour to play. Sapong had two assists and Ilsinho added a helper too. Philly pulls to within five points of sixth-place Columbus, and have played one less game.

Three moments that mattered

20′  — Overhead pass gets deserved finish — Ilsinho made Zack Steffen’s diving attempt look feeble with a blast after Sapong’s bike-like ball across the box.

38′ — Alberg PK denied — Did we mention it could’ve been worse for Philly? Roland Alberg was stopped by the left hand of the law, er, Steffen. The left hand of the Steffen.

81′ — Epps puts it to bed — The man was credited with eight shots on the night, as 22-year-old Marcus Epps has his first MLS goal (He has scored in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup).

Man of the Match: Sapong.

Conte questions Spurs ambitions: “You must buy expensive players”

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Like most Spurs fans, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has noticed that Tottenham isn’t spending during this summer transfer window.

He’s also heard the remarks of Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, who said the spending from many other Premier League clubs is “unsustainable.”

Conte’s reply? Maybe not winning’s okay to you, Dan.

[ WATCH: Neymar scores vs. Man Utd ]

The Chelsea boss defends the massive money being doled out on players by, essentially, saying ambitious clubs have to keep up with other ambitious clubs. And without digging into the profit margins of Spurs and other PL clubs, perhaps he has a point.

Also, you can’t help but appreciate the subtle dig at Liverpool, as if to say, “Yeah, maybe they care.”

From the BBC:

“If [Spurs] don’t win the title, it’s not a tragedy. If they don’t arrive in the Champions League, it’s not a tragedy. If they go out in the first round of the Champions League, it’s not a tragedy. If they go out after the first game that they play in the Europa League and go down against Gent, it’s not a tragedy.

“Maybe for Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United and – I don’t know – Liverpool, it is a tragedy. You must understand this. You must understand the status of the team.

“Every team has to understand what their ambitions are. If their ambitions are to fight for the title or try to win the Champions League, you must buy expensive players. Otherwise you continue to stay in your level. It’s simple. My question is this: What are Tottenham’s expectations?”

Again, we’re not poring over the financials of these clubs, but it is saying something that Spurs have not bought any new players and sold Kyle Walker to Man City for $59 million. If the market says players are worth that, than the logic goes that Spurs cannot improve without investing that sum into players.

And look, Mr. Levy, you spent $40 million on Moussa Sissoko and close to $30m on Vincent Janssen. It’s not like we’re talking about a totally new world here.

It wasn’t all negative, or passive aggressive negative, from Conte, who said Harry Kane is the top striker worth buying in the world, and valued him at more than $131 million.

FOLLOW LIVE: Lineups as the USMNT goes trophy hunting

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Levi’s Stadium is the scene as the United States men’s national team looks to wrestle the Gold Cup back after Mexico claimed the 2015 championship.

Jamaica is the opponent, and an incredible story all things considered, as the Reggae Boyz hope their second-straight tournament final is the occasion for their first Gold Cup crown.

[ FOLLOW LIVE: Stats, scores from Gold Cup Final ]

Kickoff is slated for about 9:45 p.m. ET, with the pageantry from California getting started at 9:30.

There are no real surprises in the XI, aside from Bruce Arena’s continued use of Graham Zusi at right back. Omar Gonzalez pairs with Matt Besler in the heart of the defense, with Michael Bradley, Kellyn Acosta, Darlington Nagbe, and Paul Arriola combining for an industrious midfield.

Jozy Altidore and Jordan Morris are up top, while Jorge Villafana fills out the lineup at left back with Tim Howard in goal.

Clint Dempsey is on the bench, perhaps awaiting another super sub performance.

WATCH: Neymar dizzies Valencia, gets Suarez pick to score vs. Man Utd

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All three parts of the MSN trident helped Barcelona produce an International Champions Cup goal against Manchester United on Wednesday, though not in the most traditional of fashions.

Lionel Messi’s through ball was off target, and Neymar rushed onto it before spinning toward goal. Luis Suarez literally shoved Chris Smalling out of contention to stop the Brazilian, and Neymar did the rest with a finish past David De Gea.

[ REPORT: Barca confident of Coutinho deal ]

Say it with me, “It’s preseason for the officials, too, you guys.”

Neymar’s goal has given Barcelona a 1-0 lead over United, and the match is at halftime. Obviously, he hasn’t been sent to Paris Saint-Germain.