PODOLSKI STRUGGLING

"Initially, it's a difficult situation for me. When you buy new players for a lot of money, they have an advantage because they will play. But we've got a long season ahead of us and we'll see what happens. When I am in top shape, I am a perfect fit for the Arsenal team and I see myself in the first XI. That's what I work towards. I am not sure but I hope that that's the case." Arsenal’s Lukas Podolski said after Danny Welbeck completed his move to Arsenal a few weeks ago.

St Petersburg One Step Closer To Champions League

Zenit St Petersburg moved one step closer towards securing a place in the group stages of the Champions League after getting a 1-0 win over Standard Liège in the qualifying match. Despite this victory, manager Andre Villas-Boas has said that the players should not lose focus ahead of the return leg at home. The away goal scored by Shatov in the 16th minute gives the Russian club a huge advantage in the second leg at home. Andre Villas-Boas, who has limited experience managing clubs in the Champions League, will be looking forward to making an appearance in the group stages.

Cole Finally Leaves Chelsea

Ashley Cole is not a Chelsea player any more. After remaining at the West London club for as many as 8 seasons, the 33-year old has finally made his way away.

His contract at the Stamford Bridge is finished. So, the clubs around the world can sign him on a free transfer now.

There have been reports of a couple of Major League Soccer clubs being interested in him.

Zenith target Nicolas Gaitan

Former Manchester United target Nicolas Gaitan is reportedly close to an agreement regarding a move to Russian heavyweights Zenit St. Petersburg.

According to the Portuguese and Russian media, the Russian club, currently managed by former FC Porto manager Andre Villas Boas is keen on adding star names to their squad to increase their global profile and has earmarked the Argentine winger as one of the key players to rope in ahead of the new season of the UEFA Champions League.

Although no bid has been made from the club for the player, reports suggest that there is already an agreement regarding a move with the player and a bid will be made in due course.

Capello Wants Foerign Players Limited In Domestic Leagues

Russia’s national team boss Fabio Capello has stated that the country should limit the number of foreign players being allowed in the domestic leagues in order to benefit the national team. Russia has seen a tremendous growth in the number of foreign players due to the wealth of its club owners. They have managed to bring in star names like Hulk on massive transfer fees and wages. This has been detrimental to the national team, as there has been a reduction in the number of top players available for selection.

DORTMUND ARE NEXT TEST

Andrei Arshavin came to Arsenal in 2009 with a lot of promise, as he became the club’s record signing back then. He did seem worthy of the transfer fee during the first two years at the club.

He was instrumental in scoring and assisting goals, as Arsenal took advantage of his incredible versatility to start and end matches extremely well. However, the enthusiasm appeared to go away from his game in the last few years. This led to his return to Russian football with Zenit St Petersburg. Since his return, he has been a regular first-team player for the club.

SPALLETI MOVING ON?

Clarence Seedorf is going through his first season as manager of a club as he was offered the chance to guide Ac.Milan to success or at least to rescue them from their recent disastrous campaign.

There is a lot of talk concerning Manchester United in the Premier League but in the Serie A, there is a club that is doing significantly worse than David Moyes team and that is AC Milan.

The Italian team is struggling just to keep them themselves in the top 15 spots of Serie A and Seedorf so far is having a fairly neutral campaign with almost the same amount of victories and losses since taking over the club.

NO NEW SIGNING

The Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger, has denied the possibility of any new signings at the Emirates Stadium in the remaining days of the mid season transfer window.

The transfer window is going to be closed in about a week’s time and due to the fact that quite a few of the Arsenal players have suffered injuries in the recent past, there were speculations that a new face might arrive at the club in near future, but, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

In the ongoing season, Arsenal has the chance to win a couple of prestigious tournaments including the Premier League, but, for that, they need to have good players available as backups. So, there is no doubt that a signing is the demand of the hour for them, but, it’s not easy to finalize a deal in 7 or 8 days. A manager as experienced as Arsene Wenger would certainly not want to make a wrong decision in a hurry.

The one player who was reported to be on Wenger’s radar last week was Julian Draxler, but, after the statements that the Gunners boss made in his yesterday’s interview, it doesn’t seem that the German midfielder would be making his way to England.

When asked about new signings, Wenger said, “It’s not likely to happen. Just about a week left now and honestly speaking, we don’t have any deal which is close to get finalized.”

“Our squad is still pretty good I reckon and the great news for us is that some of our guys are coming back from injuries.”

“A new signing doesn’t necessarily make the squad strong.”

Arsenal’s next match is a comparatively easier one against Coventry City, but, that’s an important match for them. They would be playing that match in front of their home crowd.

ARSHAVIN BACKS ARSENAL

Andrei Arshavin has said that his former club Arsenal might end up lifting the Premier League trophy in the ongoing season.

The Gunners have surprised a lot of people with their performance this season. They did start on a poor note as they suffered a defeat against Aston Villa in their first match, but, after that, they have raised their game and currently, they are leading the league points table.

Arshavin who is a part of the Russian club Zenit Saint Petersburg at the moment featured for the Gunners for 4 years from 2009 to 2013. During that period, he played more than 100 Premier League matches for them.

Arshavin’s contract at the Emirates Stadium expired at the end of the last season and after that, he decided to sign for Zenit.

Talking to the reporters yesterday, Arshavin admitted that he has also been surprised by the way Arsenal has performed this season.

The Russian player said, “Arsenal’s performance so far has been a bit of a surprise for most people including me. In the last couple of seasons, they hadn’t performed that well, but, this time around; they are playing some quality football. I think they can go all the way.”

“Liverpool is another team which has been in fantastic form. So, the competition is pretty tough in the Premier League.”

According to Arshavin, Arsenal’s decision to sign the German international Mesut Ozil was a brilliant one and that has changed the fortunes of the team.

Talking about Ozil, the 32 years old winger said, “Ozil’s arrival has made the Arsenal squad more stable. He has certainly been a great signing.”

Ozil has so far featured for the Gunners in 17 matches this season and has found the back of the net 4 times.

SPALLETTI HAILS TEAM

The manager of Zenit St Petersburg, Luciano Spalletti, has hailed his team for stopping Austria Vienna to a draw in yesterday’s Champions League game.

Zenit was playing with only 10 players in the latter half of the game, but, they didn’t let the opposition take advantage of that. They showed character and ended up securing a point from the game.

However despite this draw, Zenit is still at the last position in the Group G points table. Although, they are levelled with Austria Vienna in terms of points but, they are slightly behind on the basis of goal difference.

Talking to the reporters after the game against Austria, Spalletti said, “I think our performance was good. We were clearly the dominating team in the first 45 minutes.”

“When we got reduced to ten men, things became a bit difficult for us. But, we didn’t let the game drift way.”

The Zenit manager was not looking happy with the referee’s decision of showing red card to Axel Witsel in the 44th minute of the game.

When asked about that incident, Spalletti said, “These sorts of decisions ruin a match.”
“It’s not easy for us now to reach the next round. However, we can still do it if we improve our game.”

Zenit badly needed a win in the game against Austria and they had started well too. In the first half, they were making good moves and they were not looking too far away from taking the lead, but, when Witsel was sent off, they had to get a bit defensive and they couldn’t push enough for the win.

In its next game, Zenit will be facing Porto. That game will be played on 22nd of October at Estadio do Dragao, Porto.

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