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Galaxy’s Cole admits he enjoys Arsenal struggles

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LA Galaxy left back Ashley Cole left Arsenal for Chelsea more than a decade ago, but that hasn’t erased the bitter memories of the departure from his boyhood club.

Cole was famously involved in a “tapping up” meeting with Chelsea without Arsenal’s permission in 2005, but signed a contract extension with the Gunners. Still, he was gone a year later in messy circumstances.

[ MORE: Guardiola close to adding $43m GK? ]

As the most capped fullback in England’s history who boasts both Premier League and Champions League titles with Chelsea, Cole easily could rest on his own laurels and move on from the divorce.

But when asked whether he’s enjoying Arsenal’s current struggles, Cole couldn’t help himself.

“If I’m honest, yeah, I still think to this day. I laugh to myself. I had a lot of history there and I think the way I left was maybe a bit dodgy but the lack of respect they showed me as well.”

Cole accepts a share of the blame for his time ended at Arsenal, but says he doesn’t regret it. Still, his response is not a picture of class.

Next time, just laugh and say, “Next question,” Ashley.

Podolski after golazo finale: “This is like a great movie”

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Lukas Podolski has won a EURO, a World Cup, and the Bundesliga with two different sides.

Only Lothar Matthaus and Miroslav Klose have been capped more than Germany’s Polish born Podolski, and he received a hero’s send-off from the home crowd at Germany’s 1-0 win over England on Wednesday.

And of course he sent himself off in style with a gorgeous goal.

[ MORE: Guardiola close to adding $43m GK? ]

Podolski said there were more than 30,000 people from Cologne at the match, where he won one of his two Bundesliga titles.

“That’s when you know where you home is, and that you’ve done a lot of good, also off the pitch,” Podolski said. “That makes me very proud.”

It was a perfect night to say goodbye, and the goal made it almost surreal (Thomas Muller called it “cheesy”).

From Goal.com:

“This is like a great movie,” he told ARD. “We win 1-0 and I score the goal.

“I know I have a left foot that was probably gifted to me by God, or someone up there, and I can always rely on it. I am proud of these last 13 years.”

Feel good hit of the Spring.

Podolski goes out with super goal; Germany tops England

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The highlight of Wednesday’s international friendly docket was Lukas Podolski‘s final match for Germany, and the former Arsenal man did not disappoint his crowd.

But first, Canada plays its first match since unveiling new coach Octavio Zambrano.

[ MORE: Zlatan still bitter with Guardiola ]

Scotland 1-1 Canada

Zambrano saw plenty to like from his new side, as Canada went ahead early with a goal from former Scottish youth Fraser Aird. Toronto-born, the ex-Rangers and current Falkirk man got his first Canadian goal against the team he represented at U-17 and U-19 levels.

Norwich City’s Steven Naismith redirected Tom Cairney‘s shot to make it 1-1 before the break, but Scotland never found its way back into Canada’s net.

Germany 1-0 England

Lukas Podolski scored his 49th international goal in his final cap for Germany, and it was spectacular.

Joe Hart didn’t stand a chance.

The match saw big stops from both ‘keepers, as Hart thwarted Leroy Sane on a second half break after Marc-Andre Ter Stegen defied Dele Alli in the opening 45.

Podolski subbed off in the 84th minute to wild applause, but it must sting slightly to know you finished an illustrious career one goal short of a nice, round 50. We guess he’ll have to rest on his millions and millions of earnings and loads of on-field honors.

Elsewhere
Vietnam 1-1 Chinese Taipei
Philippines 0-0 Malaysia
Cyprus 3-1 Kazakhstan
Yemen 0-1 Palestine
Cambodia 2-3 India

Premier League preseason: Big boys heading to USA, Far East

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With the announcement that Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur are all coming to the U.S. this summer to take part in the International Champions Cup, teams across the Premier League are starting to plan out their preseason plans.

[ LIVE: Stream every PL game live ]

Five of the current top six teams in the Premier League have their schedule sorted for the offseason, with Liverpool rumored to be heading to the Far East with Hong Kong and Shanghai said to be their likely destination.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

We will update this page as the preseason tour announcements are confirmed by more PL clubs, but for now here’s what we have.


Arsenal 

Thursday, July 13 — vs. Sydney FC – ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Saturday, July 15 — vs. Western Sydney Wanderers – ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Wednesday, July 19 — vs. Bayern Munich – Shanghai Stadium, China
Saturday, July 22 — vs. Chelsea – Beijing, China

Chelsea

Saturday, July 22 — vs. Arsenal – Beijing, China
Tuesday, July 25 — vs. Bayern Munich – National Stadium, Singapore
Friday, July 28 — vs. Inter Milan – National Stadium, Singapore

Manchester City

Thursday, July 20 — vs. Manchester United – Venue TBD
Wednesday, July 26 —  vs. Real Madrid – Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Saturday, July 29 — vs. Spurs – Nissan Stadium (Nashville)

Manchester United

Saturday, July 15 — vs. LA Galaxy – StubHub Center
Monday, July 17 — vs. Real Salt Lake – Rio Tinto Stadium
Thursday, July 20 — vs. Manchester City – Venue TBD
Sunday, July 23 — vs. Real Madrid vs. Manchester United – Levi’s Stadium (Santa Clara)
Wednesday, July 26 — vs. Barcelona – FedEx Field (Maryland)

Tottenham Hotspur

Saturday, July 22 — vs. PSG – Camping World Stadium (Orlando)
Tuesday, July 25 — vs. Roma – Red Bull Arena
Saturday, July 29 — vs. Man City – Nissan Stadium (Nashville)

Arsenal won’t discuss Ozil, Sanchez deals until summer

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After staying quiet on this topic for many months, Arsene Wenger has given an update on the futures of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.

This saga will rumble on for another few months, folks.

[ MORE: Costa to leave Chelsea?

Speaking to BeIN Sports during the international break, Wenger had the following to say when asked about the current contract negotiations surrounding Sanchez and Ozil who are both entering the final year of their deals with the Gunners.

“At the moment we don’t have an agreement,” Wenger said. “We’ve decided to focus on end of season and talk about it in the summer. Once you don’t find an agreement and it lasts, it is not good. So it’s better if you get it out and sit down in the summer.”

So, there you have it.

With 15 months left on the contracts of Sanchez and Ozil, Arsenal is not budging and will not sit down to discuss the future of their two world-class stars until the summer.

This seems like a slightly risky move, especially as other clubs from across the world circle like vultures. Still, the duo will be Arsenal players until at least the end of the season and if no agreement is made by the end of the summer then Arsenal will have to offload the duo or risk losing them for nothing in 2018.

Can we question this stance from Arsenal?

Well, when you think about the finances, offering both Sanchez and Ozil huge deals with no guarantee of UEFA Champions League action next season (that threat is very real for the first time in Wenger’s 20-year tenure following four defeats in their last five Premier League games) would be severe financial mismanagement by the Gunners hierarchy. That’s not something they can ever be accused of.

Given the fact that Wenger has yet to confirm whether he will stay on in charge of Arsenal next season is part of this too, but Arsenal is playing hardball with the agents of Sanchez and Ozil who want their clients to become two of the best paid players in the Premier League.

In Sanchez’s case, it’s hard to argue he’s not worth a deal in-excess of $300,000 per week. And if you pay him that much, Ozil will want something very similar.