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Ranking the candidates to replace Wenger

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Arsene Wenger still has another year to run on his Arsenal contract, but the Frenchman’s 21-year stay with the Gunners appears to be edging towards an end, once again.

[ MORE: Wenger’s bizarre reaction

Following their 3-0 hammering at the hands of Manchester City in the League Cup final on Sunday, The Telegraph are among several outlets who have released a list of managers reportedly lined up to replace Wenger, 68, at the end of this season.

Unless Wenger leads Arsenal to the UEFA Europa League title, which would ensure a return to the Champions League as finishing in the top four of the Premier League now seems increasingly unlikely, his time seems to be up.

Wenger has delivered a trophy or a top four finish in each of his 21 campaigns in charge of Arsenal but with that streak potentially coming to an end, it appears the Arsenal hierarchy are concerned with the dwindling chances of a Premier League title race in the past few season and for the foreseeable future.

Here’s a closer look at the five candidates being mentioned in dispatches.

1. Joachim Low – It feels like Joachim Low’s time as Germany’s manager may be up after the 2018 World Cup, but he does have a contract through 2020. Arsenal should break the bank to get Die Mannschaft’s main man on board and Low’s ability to develop a strong team identity and have a structured plan for a youth system would surely translate well from the national team to club level. Low would be perfect to bring defensive balance to Arsenal, while also keeping their flair intact. Low could also be key in getting the best out of Mesut Ozil after his long-term deal at Arsenal.

2. Patrick Vieria – Not mentioned as being on the shortlist, but the current New York City FC boss should be. An Arsenal legend, the former captain of the “Invincibles” deserves to be in this discussion. His relationship with Arsene Wenger may not be the best and that could be a sticking point as Wenger will likely move upstairs in some capacity after his time managing Arsenal comes to and end. Still, Vieria has done extremely well in Major League Soccer with NYCFC but his relationship with the City Football Group may complicate things.

3. Leonardo Jardim – Monaco’s manager led them to the French title last season and they’re in second in Ligue 1 this season despite selling on Kylian Mbappe, Benjamin Mendy, Tiemoue Bakayoko and others. Wenger’s close links with Monaco in the past may make this attractive as the French connection would continue, with Jardim perhaps being able to bring plenty of Monaco’s stars (Thomas Lemar and Fabinho) with him. Jardim’s teams play attacking, attractive soccer and the Portuguese coach could perhaps reinvigorate the squad rather than totally demolish it. That would be a more frugal option than a complete squad overhaul.

4. Eddie Howe – Seen by many as the long-term appointment Arsenal need, Howe’s Bournemouth side play attractive, flowing soccer and Wenger letting Jack Wilshere go on loan to the Cherries last season showed how highly he rates Howe. Do Arsenal’s board feel the same? Howe has no experience of European action but his feat in taking Bournemouth through the leagues and now establishing themselves as a PL club has been remarkable. May be too big of a job too soon for the 40-year-old.

5. Brendan Rodgers – Stylistically this would make sense but there’s no doubting that Rodgers’ record in the Premier League is a little tainted after his project at Liverpool unraveled so quickly. He’s had plenty of success with young players at Celtic to rebuild his managerial career, but it seems like he may fancy a move back tot he Premier League sooner rather than later. Arsenal may be too big a move for Rodgers who could have to take charge of a mid-sized PL club, overachieve and then get his move back to one of the big boys. Wouldn’t be the worst appointment but not one that would excite Arsenal’s fans.

5. Carlo Ancelotti – Ancelotti’s sublime experience and resume speaks for itself. He’s won trophies wherever he has managed and he’s currently out of job and has been seen back in London recently. Reports say he’s ready and willing to take charge of Arsenal whenever they need him as the former AC Milan, Chelsea, Real Madrid, PSG and Bayern Munich boss would be the type of coach to excite fans. You just get a sense that Ancelotti isn’t quite why Arsenal are looking for as he’s used to going into established teams and working with star players to fulfill their potential. This Arsenal project would be a major rebuild.

6. Mikel Arteta – Another name mentioned on the shortlist, Arteta, 32, only stopped played 18 months ago but he has been part of Pep Guardiola‘s coaching squad ever since. Arteta is a former Arsenal skipper and the Spanish midfielder is highly thought of at the club. Like Howe, could be a case of too big of a job too soon, but then Arsenal gave Wenger a chance back in the mid 1990s when hardly anyone had heard of him.

Dream hire: Diego Simeone – The fact that he’s not mentioned on the shortlist proves that this is very much a pie in the sky appointment. What Simeone has created at Atletico, while also balancing the books impressively, is totally different stylistically to what Wenger has created over two decades a Arsenal. Simeone’s arrival would spark a wholesale clear out of the playing squad

Video: Mbappe taps home to give France first blood

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The match is really opening up now, and France has begun to assert itself with an opener just beyond the half-hour mark.

[ MORE: Denmark, Australia draw, leaving Group C wide open ]

Kylian Mbappe has given Les Bleus a 1-0 lead over Peru after a deflected Olivier Giroud cross found the Monaco attacker just in front of goal for a tap-in finish.

The sequence began after Paul Pogba dispossessed Peru deep in their own half, before dishing the ball off to Giroud.

The goal for Mbappe is his first at a World Cup, as the 19-year-old continues to impress for both club and country.

American referee Geiger accused of asking for Portugal kit

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Morocco’s World Cup journey will conclude after the group stage, but the African side isn’t pleased with how their second match transpired on Wednesday against Portugal.

[ MORE: Spain gets win after Iran sees equalizer ruled off ]

The Moroccans have lodged a complaint with FIFA against referee Mark Geiger — an American who has become one of the most well-known officials in Major League Soccer.

Geiger was alleged to have asked Portuguese captain Cristiano Ronaldo for his jersey at halftime of the 1-0 win over Morocco, to which Geiger has categorically denied the claims.

FIFA released the following statement on the matter:

The claims stemmed from Morocco player Nordin Amrabat, who addressed the matter in an interview following the match.

“I don’t know what [Geiger] is used to, but he was very impressed by Cristiano [Ronaldo],” Amrabat said. “I’ve been just told by Pepe that in the [first half], he asked if he could have his shirt. Come on, man. What are we talking about? … We are at the World Cup, not a circus here.”

Geiger returned to action on Thursday as video assistant referee for the Denmark-Australia match, which included an important alteration in a call that led to an Australia penalty kick.

Group C wide open as Denmark, Australia settle for draw

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Denmark and Australia settled for a 1-1 draw on Thursday, as this exciting Group C affair had nothing to separate the two nations at the end of 90 minutes.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

As it stands, the Danes lead the group with four points, while Australia earned its first point of the World Cup.

France will meet Peru later on Thursday, with Les Bleus having won its first match and Peru having suffered defeat to Denmark.

The Danes broke through after seven minutes when Nicolai Jørgensen picked out a perfect back-heel pass to Christian Eriksen at the top of the box, before the Tottenham Hotspur attacker volleyed home for a 1-0 lead.

Jørgensen nearly doubled the Denmark advantage in the 24th minute when the 27-year-old had an open header from close range that skewed just wide of the target.

Australia worked its way into the match following the opener, and were awarded a penalty kick in the 37th minute after VAR Mark Geiger altered an initial decision for a handball inside the box.

Mile Jedinak converted the spot kick to level the match at 1-1, giving the Socceroos life.

A dangerous free kick four minutes later almost gave Denmark the lead once again, however, Eriksen couldn’t get a crucial touch on the ball to knock it over the goal line before Ryan collected.

The second half continued with lightning pace from both sides, and Aaron Mooy‘s 71st minute blast came inches away from giving Australia an improbable lead.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

The two nations will conclude Group C play on June 26, as Denmark faces France and Australia takes on CONMEBOL side Peru.

Video: VAR awards Australia penalty, before Jedinak converts

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The Socceroos battled admirably in the latter stages of the first half, and Australia was rewarded for their efforts.

Australia has leveled the match at 1-1 after a Mile Jedinak penalty kick cancelled out Christian Eriksen’s stunning opener in the seventh minute.

After an initial decision to play on by the head referee, VAR Mark Geiger opted to award a penalty kick to the Aussies after Yussuf Poulsen was caught with his hand away from his body on a Mathew Leckie header.

Poulsen was also shown a yellow card for the infraction, which rules him out for Denmark’s group-stage finale against France.