Tag Archives: circumstances

Derby 1 Chelsea 2: Alex Kiwomya"s late strike sends holders into FA Youth Cup semi-final

Derby 1 Chelsea 2: Kiwomya's late strike sends holders into FA Youth Cup semi-finals

By
Adam Shergold

PUBLISHED:

02:06 GMT, 9 March 2013

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UPDATED:

02:08 GMT, 9 March 2013

Chelsea's defence of the FA Youth Cup remains alive after they negotiated a tricky quarter-final assignment at Derby County thanks to Alex Kiwomya's late strike.

The Blues were matched all the way by a talented Derby side but eventually prevailed when Kiwomya, nephew of former Arsenal player Chris, found the bottom corner with a sweet drive on 82 minutes.

Extra time looked likely as Derby, who claimed a Premier League scalp in Manchester City in the last round, sniffed another when the excellent Mason Bennett equalised Lewis Baker's 16th minute penalty.

Traget man: Chelsea's Jeremie Boga has an effort on goal

Traget man: Chelsea's Jeremie Boga has an effort on goal

But when Kiwomya received a through ball from substitute Charlie Colkett, he spun and fired beyond Rams goalkeeper Ross Etheridge to kill their hopes.

The win means Chelsea will face either Hull City or Liverpool in the last four as they seek to emulate last year's success.

Chelsea took the lead in controversial circumstances just after the quarter-hour – Reece Mitchell burst through the heart of the Derby defence and was clattered by Etheridge inside the box.

The keeper was fortunate not to be sent off for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity, referee Chris Sarginson showing mercy with just a yellow card.

Lewis Baker wasn't so sympathetic, however, finding the bottom corner with a textbook penalty while Mitchell hobbled off.

The Premier League side should have added to their lead as they controlled the first half, and Alex Kiwomya was guilty of missing two golden opportunities within a minute of each other.

Goal-den boy: Alex Kiwomya celebrates his strike

Goal-den boy: Alex Kiwomya celebrates his strike

First, neat interplay between Baker and Jeremie Boga on the edge of the box teed Kiwomya up 12 yards out, but he somehow missed the target.

On Chelsea's next break, the front man was presented with an even easier chance by Baker, but his powerful shot directly in front of goal was blocked by Etheridge.

And there was nearly a sting in the tale when Bennett rose above Alex Davey to head an Andrew Dales cross against the post in the second minute of stoppage time.

It was their best effort of a first half in which they struggled to keep the ball for any length of time.

Jamie Hanson, goalscoring hero in the victories over Ipswich Town and Manchester City in the last two rounds, curled a vicious free-kick over the bar, but other sights of goal had been few and far between.

The hosts were energised by the half-time break and 16-year-old Bennett, the club's youngest first team debutant and goalscorer, and an England Under 17 starlet, began to show his class.

He warmed the hands of Mitchell Beeney with a hit from 30 yards and then scored the equaliser on 55 minutes – although whether he meant it only he knows.

Blues brothers: Chelsea are through to semi-finals

Blues brothers: Chelsea are through to semi-finals

Tearing down the left side after robbing Fankaty Dabo of the ball, Bennett cut inside and surely intended to pick out a teammate in the centre with a low ball. It took a deflection off a Chelsea foot, however, and left Beeney helpless.

With his next touch of the ball, Bennett crossed for Andrew Dales inside the box. The midfielder unleashed a powerful effort which cannoned back off the crossbar.

But when Kiwomya struck it was a decisive blow, Derby unable to respond despite the encouragement of a 4,000-strong crowd.

In fact, Chelsea could have added to their lead in stoppage time when Jeremie Boga's lopping shot struck the top of the crossbar.

With the last kick of the game, Hanson was nearly Derby's hero again but his free-kick on the left clipped the top of the bar.

Blues brothers: Chelsea are through to semi-finals

Darren Wassall, Derby youth team coach, said: 'On the balance of the second half chances and play, then certainly we could have taken it to extra time.

'We said to the lads at half time you've seen how the crowd have got up in the last five minutes of the half and that's without scoring. So if you do score, this 4,000 crowd will be right behind you.

'When we equalised and when Mason went through, we had a real lively 20 minutes after the break. We had hit the bar and had a couple of chances we easily could have scored from. That's when we were in the ascendancy and that's when we should have taken advantage of that situation.

'Chelsea have got unlimited resources and they've got a lot of qualities – they played some great stuff, but so did we. We gave them a real fight. We competed against them for 95 minutes and I'm very proud of all the players.'

Wassall singled out Bennett for special praise: 'He was almost unplayable tonight for 20 minutes early in that second half. He scored the goal and caused havoc. It's all about progression into the first team and we're delighted with his performance tonight.'

Arsenal"s Laurent Koscielny passed fit to face Bayern Munich

Koscielny shakes off bug to be passed fit for Arsenal ahead of Bayern showdown

By
Declan Warrington

PUBLISHED:

13:33 GMT, 19 February 2013

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UPDATED:

13:58 GMT, 19 February 2013

Laurent Koscielny is fit to play for Arsenal against Bayern Munich tonight.

The defender missed yesterday's training session because of a bug the Gunners feared would rule him out of the crucial Champions League fixture at the Emirates Stadium.

But manager Arsene Wenger has since learned his fellow Frenchman can be relied upon and Koscielny is likely to play at centre half alongside Per Mertesacker.

Scroll down for video

Fit: Laurent Koscielny has been made available for selection for tonight's fixture against Bayern Munich

Fit: Laurent Koscielny has been made available for selection for tonight's fixture against Bayern Munich

Captain Thomas Vermaelen is consequently
likely to feature at left back with Bacary Sagna at right back. Carl
Jenkinson will also be included in the squad as cover for Koscielny.

The defender's return represents a significant boost for Arsenal in stressful circumstances. A heavy defeat tonight will end their last hopes of ending a run of eight years without a trophy and at a time when Wenger has been under more pressure, and receiving more criticism, than ever.

Arsene Wenger

Theo Walcott

In Arsene we trust Wenger is under considerable pressure but has put his faith in Walcott as the lone striker

Predicted Arsenal line up: Szczesny; Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen; Arteta, Wilshere, Ramsey; Cazorla, Podolski; Walcott.

VIDEO Arsene Wenger at training with the squad a day after his angry outbursts

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VIDEO Bayern's Schweinsteiger and Neuer talk about the Arsenal game

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Brian Laudrup set for Rangers return

He's back! Rangers legend Laudrup lined up for role at Ibrox after talks with Green

By
John Mcgarry

PUBLISHED:

01:19 GMT, 29 January 2013

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UPDATED:

02:41 GMT, 29 January 2013

Rangers legend Brian Laudrup is poised to return to the club in an ambassadorial capacity.

The Dane, who helped take Rangers to three league titles in the mid-1990s, arrived in Glasgow on Monday for talks on the proposed role with chief executive Charles Green.

And the former winger, who won 82 caps for his country, is prepared to give something back to the club after watching it endure the most tumultuous year in its history.

'Since Rangers went into these chaotic circumstances, I have said all along that, if I could help the club in any way, I would,' he told Rangers TV.

Hero: Laudrup is set to rejoin Rangers as a club ambassador

Hero: Laudrup is set to rejoin Rangers as a club ambassador

Legend: Laudrup in action for Rangers back in the day

Legend: Laudrup in action for Rangers back in the day

'I've been here today to speak to
Charles a little bit and we'll see if we can find a way for me to do
that. 'To be able to be an ambassador for Rangers Football Club would be
absolutely fantastic and we want to see if we can find a way to work
together.

'If the club
wants me to help – and it looks like it does – I would love to do it. I
have always said I had four tremendous years at Rangers.

'The
issue at the moment is to find a way in which I can help and it has
been fantastic to meet Charles. 'He is a fantastic man to speak to and
he has a great vision for this club. Now we just have to sit down at
some point and formalise things so that we can work together. That would
be great.'

Laudrup, 43, now spreads his time between working as a televsion pundit in Denmark and his academy. A 2.3million buy by Walter Smith from Fiorentina in 1994, he is regarded as one of the finest players to have worn a Rangers jersey.

Smith has also returned to the club recently in a non-executive director capacity.

In the meantime, the independent commission set up by the SPL to investigate alleged dual contracts at Rangers begins today.

Lord Nimmo Smith is joined by Nicholas Stewart and Charles Flint, both QCs, in considering whether the Ibrox club breached SPL rules through their operation of an Employee Benefit Trust scheme.

Talks: Laudrup flew in for discussions with Charles Green on Monday

Talks: Laudrup flew in for discussions with Charles Green on Monday

Four days have been set aside for the hearing, although it is not known when a verdict will be delivered. If Rangers are found guilty, then a stripping of SPL league titles won during the period in question is among the potential punishments that the commission could recommend.

Ibrox chief executive Green is boycotting the process but the Rangers Fans Fighting Fund have pledged to fund a legal defence should trophies be threatened.

'There were allegations about a number of alleged breaches of SPL rules over a number of years,' said SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster. 'Those allegations are complicated.

'The SPL board decided that the right way to deal with those allegations was to appoint an independent commission to establish whether in fact SPL rules were broken or not.

'And, if they were, what punishment is appropriate – if any. That process will continue. I am not going to make any predictions about timescales.'

Africa Cup of Nations – Zambia 1 Nigeria 1

Zambia 1 Nigeria 1: Defending champions hold Nigeria to a draw thanks to keeper who SCORES a penalty at the death!

PUBLISHED:

17:57 GMT, 25 January 2013

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UPDATED:

18:14 GMT, 25 January 2013

Zambia goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene once again proved decisive on penalties Friday as the defending champions held Nigeria to a 1-1 draw in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Mweene first saw Nigeria's John Mikel Obi send a spot kick on to the outside of the post in the first half after diving the right way, and then scored one himself at the other end to equalise in the 85th minute.

Hero: Goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene (pictured) of Zambia scores a penalty - he also saved one in the first half

Hero: Goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene (pictured) of Zambia scores a penalty – he also saved one in the first half

Jubilant: Team-mates rush to surround him after earning his nation a point

Jubilant: Team-mates rush to surround him after earning his nation a point

Mweene's penalty-saving prowess was one of the keys during Zambia's winning campaign in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea last year and Mikel seemed to be wary of the goalkeeper's skills as his missed kick was weak.

Zambia have now given away penalties
in their last four Nations Cup finals matches and, in an incredible run
of fortune, seen their opponents fail to score on each occasion.

Emmanuel Emenike then put Nigeria ahead with a smooth finish in the 57th minute but Mweene stepped up to the spot himself to level with five minutes remaining.

Vital: Mweene saves a spot kick from Chelsea's John Obi Mikel

Vital: Mweene saw Chelsea's John Obi Mikel hit his penalty off the outside of the post

The 1-1 draw at the Mbombela Stadium between the two heavyweights in Group C leaves both teams perilously placed without a win but still with a chance to grab a quarter-final place early next week.

'I'm happy with the result because of the circumstances,' said Zambia coach Herve Renard

'Never forget we had Nigeria ahead of us. We are still alive and we are still in a good way to qualify.'

Mweene slotted home after Emmanuel Mayuka had been tugged down on the edge of the Nigerian area by Ogenyi Onanzi in what looked a harsh decision from Egyptian referee Grisha Ghead.

Battle: Nigeria's Victor Moses (right) fights for the ball with Zambia's Joseph Musonda

Battle: Nigeria's Victor Moses (right) fights for the ball with Zambia's Joseph Musonda

The champions had the better of the first half exchanges as they pinned back Nigeria, who had Victor Moses in the line-up after injury, but laboured in the second period.

Nigeria boss Stephen Keshi said: 'I have no choice but to be happy but my goal was to get three points. Zambia were never going to be easy to play against.'

Trumpets: Nigerian fans try to lift their team

Trumpets: Nigerian fans try to lift their team

Samir Nasri red card: Manchester City will not appeal

Nasri will serve three-match ban after City decide not to appeal red card for losing his head

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UPDATED:

15:37 GMT, 31 December 2012

Manchester City have confirmed they will not appeal Samir Nasri’s red card against Norwich.

Nasri was sent off in controversial circumstances for squaring up with his head to Norwich’s Sebastien Bassong in the 4-3 win at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Off: Samir Nasri (right) confronts Norwich City defender Sebastien Bassong

Off: Samir Nasri (right) confronts Norwich City defender Sebastien Bassong

City manager Roberto Mancini was angry at the decision at the time and said this morning that the club had not decided whether to appeal the card and the three-match ban that will come with it.

However, the club have now decided to accept the charge and Nasri will miss tomorrow’s game at home to Stoke, the weekend’s FA Cup tie with Watford and the game at Nasri’s old club Arsenal on January 13.

Early bath: Nasri will now miss City's three games in the league and FA Cup

Early bath: Nasri will now miss City's three games in the league and FA Cup

One of the dangers of appealing a sending off is that the FA can deem the appeal frivolous and add an extra game to the ban. City clearly decided they did not want to risk this.

Charlie Adam"s dad dies

Charlie Adam in shock as Stoke midfielder's father dies suddenly at the age of 50

PUBLISHED:

11:58 GMT, 18 December 2012

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UPDATED:

12:17 GMT, 18 December 2012

Former Dundee United and Partick Thistle midfielder Charlie Adam, the father of Stoke City star Charlie Adam junior, has died aged 50.

Police said he died suddenly at his home in Dundee on Monday night.
There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.

Tragic: Charlie Adam senior

Tragic: Charlie Adam senior

His youngest son Grant is the goalkeeper for Airdrie United in the Scottish First Division.

A police statement said: 'Tayside Police were called to Grampian Gardens in Dundee at 6.30pm on Monday after the death of a 50-year-old man.

'The deceased has been confirmed as former professional football player Charles Adam (senior) who played for Dundee United.'

Mourning: Stoke City's Charlie Adam (right)

Mourning: Stoke City's Charlie Adam (right)

Police said there were no suspicious circumstances and a report will be sent to the procurator fiscal.

Stoke issued a statement confirming the tragic
incident.

It read: 'All our thoughts are with Charlie and his family at this difficult
time.

'Out of respect to the family, players and staff at the club will not be
making any press comment over the Christmas period.'

Manchester City spend 200m a year on wages

200m a year! That's Man City's wage bill… plus disgraced Cook cashes in

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 14 December 2012

Manchester City have become the first English football club to break the 200million-a-year barrier in staff wages.

The Barclays Premier League champions announced their annual figures for the 2011-12 season on Friday and, although the club have seen a noticeable decrease in annual losses and an impressive rise in commercial income and turnover, it is the wage bill that is most startling.

The recruitment of players of the stature of Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri in the summer of last year increased the Etihad wage bill to an astonishing 550,000 every day.

It all adds up: Sergio Aguero (left and below) and Carlos Tevez (right) earn huge pay packets

It all adds up: Sergio Aguero (left and below) and Carlos Tevez (right) earn huge pay packets

Expensive: Players like Sergio Aguero are on huge salaries

Value for money Manchester City have announced an interesting set of financial figures for the year

Value for money Manchester City have announced an interesting set of financial figures for the year

The official figure in City’s accounts
is 178.1m, an increase on the previous 151.6m. However, if income tax
and National Insurance payments are taken into account, the annual
figure is exactly 201,789 as compared to 173m last time. The accounts
also show former chief executive Garry Cook astonishingly received
500,000 in compensation after leaving the club in controversial
circumstances last season.

Cook resigned after admitting ‘an
error of judgment’. He had mistakenly sent an email to defender Nedum
Onuoha’s mother mocking her struggle with cancer. She has since died.

City declared themselves satisfied
with their latest figures and indeed bullish about the increase in
revenues that cut annual losses from 197.5m last year to 97.9m this.

With City reporting turnover in the
2011-12 season of 231.1m, the highest in the club’s history, it
underlines how quickly they have moved to establish themselves as an
elite club.

The results show marginal increases in
gate receipts and TV revenue but it is in the commercial sector where
City are making gains. Revenue went up from 64.7m to 121.1m,
underlining City’s increased global exposure from merchandising to club
tours.

Nevertheless, the huge commitment to
paying players means they still face an enormous fight to comply with
UEFA’s new financial fair play guidelines.

Garry Cook

Nedum Onuoha

Cash in: Garry Cook (left) received compensation after he resigned for mocking Nedum Onuoha's (right) mother

The high cost of living: Samir Nasri is another who joined the club in the summer of 2011

The high cost of living: Samir Nasri is another who joined the club in the summer of 2011

Bright: City are able to put plenty of cash into their future, and announced plans for a new academy site

Bright: City are able to put plenty of cash into their future, and announced plans for a new academy site

Bright: City are able to put plenty of cash into their future, and announced plans for a new academy site

MANCHESTE CITY REPORT

Read City's annual report in full here

The two-year FFP monitoring period, of
which the 2011-12 figures are the first year, allow for an overall
accumulative loss of 38m and City clearly face a tough task to be on
the right side of the line over the next 12 months.

City insisted last night they remain
confident of complying with FFP and UEFA have already stated they will
view with lenience those clubs who miss the targets in the first year
but can show their losses are moving in the right direction. Clearly,
City will be one of the clubs in that category.

Also, an estimated 15m of City’s
losses are ‘allowable’ under FFP because they reflect cash spent on
infrastructure and young players, which do not count in the final FFP
count-up. Money spent on wages in contracts negotiated before June 1,
2010 is also deductible. That, for example, allows them to take out
Carlos Tevez’s wages.

Despite all this, the scale of City’s
spending has been enormous. Across town at Manchester United, for
example, the Premier League leaders always try to keep the wage bill
less than 50 per cent of turnover. At City the two figures are almost
identical.

Failure to qualify for the second
phase of the Champions League last season didn’t help. It is thought to
have cost City in the region of 20m.

New City chief executive Ferran
Soriano said: ‘I have found is a club on the verge of a historic
transformation, reinforced by a genuine commitment to doing things well.
It is a club with a rich history and the potential for an even brighter
future.’

Emile Heskey"s Australian club Newcastle Jets issued winding-up order

Heskey's Australian adventure in jeopardy as Newcastle Jets issued with winding up order

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UPDATED:

14:47 GMT, 14 December 2012


So soon Emile Heskey's time at the Newcastle Jets could be over

So soon Emile Heskey's time at the Newcastle Jets could be over

Emile Heskey faces an uncertain future after his Australian side the Newcastle Jets were issued with a winding-up order this week.

The Australian Taxation Office is chasing unpaid taxes of approximately 1.76million from Nathan Tinkler's Hunter Sports Group, which owns the Jets and NRL club the Newcastle Knights.

Heskey moved to the club in the summer which resulted in much fanfare, with many suggesting his move, and that of Alessandro del Piero to Sydney FC, would put the A-League on the map.

The former England international, 34, signed a one-year deal with the A-League club and has scored five goals in 11 appearances.

But federal court documents filed in Sydney on Wednesday revealed Australia's Deputy Commissioner of Taxation had applied for the winding-up order with a hearing date reportedly set for February 20.

In a statement on the Jets website they claimed the ATO would be paid in full before that date and that it remained 'business as usual'.

Despite that Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop has met with senior officials for Tinkler, a Singapore-based mining magnate, over the past two days to ensure the club's viability.

Happy days: Heskey was scoring at a decent rate in Australia but unforeseen circumstances could curtail his time there

Happy days: Heskey was scoring at a decent rate in Australia but unforeseen circumstances could curtail his time there

The Jets' tax bill is reportedly less than half of the total amount owing with Gallop hopeful a repayment schedule can be agreed.

'The FFA has been given assurances by Hunter Sports Group, owner and operator of the Newcastle Jets, that the club's operations will not be affected,' Gallop told The Australian.

It had been alleged some payment to the Knights players had been missed but members from the Jets, who suffered a fourth defeat in five games 3-0 at Perth Glory today, confirmed they have so far been paid in full.

Poster boys: Shinji Ono, Heskey, and Alessandro Del Piero

Poster boys: Shinji Ono, Heskey, and Alessandro Del Piero

'We've just got to go out there and do our best, and things will either work out or won't,' stand-in captain Ruben Zadkovich said.

'I don't think the Newcastle Jets are in any danger at the moment.'

Meanwhile Perth Glory owner Tony Sage has given up hope of luring David Beckham to Australia following a chance meeting with the former England captain in London this week.

Sage bumped into Beckham at the premier of the Spice Girls-inspired stage show 'Viva Forever' at London's O2 Arena and revealed he had been rebuffed when asked if a move Down Under was possible.

Viva Forever: David Beckham with his family at the launch of the musical based on the Spice Girls

Viva Forever: David Beckham with his family at the launch of the musical based on the Spice Girls

'I got the chance to chat to David, and of course I asked him about coming to Australia,' Sage, who was a guest of Spice Girl Mel B, told footballaustralia.com.au.

'He looked me in the eye and basically said, “That would be nice, but it's too far away from my businesses”.

'It would have been great to have him at Perth Glory, but it looks like that won't be happening. I just don't think he'll be coming to Australia, full stop.'

Triumphant days: Beckham enjoyed a successful time with LA Galaxy

Triumphant days: Beckham enjoyed a successful time with LA Galaxy

Beckham is looking for a new club after calling time on his five-year stay with the Los Angeles Galaxy last month.

Beckham's announcement came days after the Football Federation of Australia claimed it was in talks with the 37-year-old's representatives about the possibility of him signing a short-term deal to play in the A-League.

Despite those claims being almost immediately rubbished by Beckham and his agent, Sage and a number of Australian clubs had retained an interest in trying to sign the veteran midfielder.

Carl Frampton to fight Kiko Martinez in Belfast on February 9

Frampton out to finally nail down rival Martinez at the third time of asking

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UPDATED:

14:33 GMT, 12 December 2012

Hands up: Carl Frampton will bid to beat Kiko Martinez in Belfast on February 9

Hands up: Carl Frampton will bid to beat Kiko Martinez in Belfast on February 9

Carl Frampton will hope to make it third time lucky when he takes on European super-bantamweight champion Kiko Martinez in Belfast on February 9.

The Northern Irishman has twice seen a clash with the Spaniard called off, most recently in September when Frampton instead stopped Canadian Steve Molitor inside six rounds.

The 25-year-old is unbeaten in 15 fights and will also put his Commonwealth title on the line at the Odyssey Arena.

'He's pulled out on me twice so I
have a score to settle with him there,' said Frampton. 'It’'s a great
fight for the fans and one that I have craved for a long time. I had too
much for Steve Molitor and he was a step-up, so I am confident I can
beat Kiko and do so in style.

'Martinez
pulling out in September was a blessing in disguise really as I have
been able to mature and learn even more and on February in front of
another packed crowd at home, I’m looking to make another statement
ahead at the start of a big year.'

Martinez has not fought since July but is now working with middleweight world champion Sergio Martinez's promotional company.

And the 26-year-old intends to silence the home crowd and halt Frampton's planned march towards world honours.

'I
do not read much into Carl beating Molitor as he took the fight at late
notice and that’s his only fight of 2012,' he said. 'I will beat him by
KO – there’s no alternative outcome.

'It
is not my fault that we have not been able to do this fight so far.
There have been many circumstances around that but I know that the
Belfast fans will come out and support Carl as always and it will be an
electric atmosphere.'

Frampton’s
manager Barry McGuigan added: 'We’re pleased this fight is going to
happen. I’ve always said that Kiko is a danger from first bell to last
and I believe it’s a harder fight than Molitor. Styles make fights and
this one is going to be a barn-burner, and the team is confident that
Carl will win, and win in style.'

Meanwhile,
Martin Lindsay will lock horns with Lee Selby on the undercard for the
British and Commonwealth featherweight titles, a fight which was also
originally scheduled for September before Selby fell ill.

Arsene Wenger must go: This Arsenal fan has had enough

Wenger must go! Why this Arsenal fan has decided enough is enough after Capital One Cup calamity at Bradford

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UPDATED:

09:43 GMT, 12 December 2012

/12/12/article-2246829-1678505A000005DC-458_634x389.jpg” width=”634″ height=”389″ alt=”New low: Arsene Wenger watched his Arsenal side crash out of the League Cup at Bradford” class=”blkBorder” />

New low: Arsene Wenger watched his Arsenal side crash out of the League Cup at Bradford

Forget their current form, injuries or any other extenuating circumstances, it was a shameful night for all involved.

The League Cup quarter-final result will go down in history, the lead in those 'It's happened before' newspaper items many years from now.

'Valley of despair', one headline screamed. Valley of the damned, I'd prefer. It was the final straw.

I've known about the faults for several seasons but it took something genuinely embarrassing to finally admit as much.

For almost every other shortcoming of the last eight years, excuses have been made, but Tuesday night was inexcusable.

Unhappy hunting ground: Wenger had a night to forget at the home of the League Two outfit

Unhappy hunting ground: Wenger had a night to forget at the home of the League Two outfit

For a team like that to put on a performance so lacking in every ingredient essential to competitive sport, blame falls at the door of one man; the man who prepared them.

It wasn't supposed to be like this. A man, a revolutionary so woven into the fabric of one of world football's most prestigious clubs, who has surpassed the achievements of all those who came before him in 126 years of glorious history. A man whose name should replace that of 'Emirates' on the stadium his genius helped build. He deserves better than this.

But while Wenger has earned the right to depart on his terms, the longer the 63-year-old refuses to walk, if only from the dugout to the boardroom, the less attractive the proposition he hands over becomes.

Arsenal is not a hard sell to prospective employees – more than a century of success has seen to that.

They should be looking no further than the very top drawer for their next manager. Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer will expect an approach, and fans should have every reason to assume a name of that calibre will come in.

Paying the penalty: Arsenal's big names had to come to terms with their Capital One Cup defeat at Bradford

Paying the penalty: Arsenal's big names had to come to terms with their Capital One Cup defeat at Bradford

Wenger himself has done his part to prepare for the smoothest of transitions. But in this money-no-object-era, principles and integrity can only get you so far, and all his fine work of the last 16 years is in danger of being undone.

How would Klopp or Guardiola feel about home games in front of a three-quarter full stadium compared with near 100,000 at the Nou Camp or the infamous south stand at the Westfalenstadion

Would either be enthralled at the prospect of spending time picking up the pieces of shattered confidence strewn across London Colney, or working with players slavishly devoted to a previous manager rather than the club The answer, of course, is no.

These are worrying times at Arsenal brought on by the fact Wenger's lost his mojo. He's lost it in the transfer market, on the training ground and even in public.

Reflecting on the shootout defeat at the Coral Windows Stadium, he said he couldn't fault his team and then walked out of the broadcast interview.

Well I can pick plenty of holes. So, too, can those who travelled to support the spiritless, disinterested, shoddy excuse for a team – an almost full-strength one, no less – put out by a manger clearly desperate to win the competition this year.

Dud: Gervinho summed up Arsenal's night with a shocking miss in front of goal

Dud: Gervinho summed up Arsenal's night with a shocking miss in front of goal

And herein lies a problem. No-one has ever been held accountable for their mistakes under Wenger. In his admittedly admirable approach, he's not so much the first line of defence, but the only one, the bodyguard, the father figure for those who let him down with such worrying frequency.

With no fear of repercussions for a poor day at the office, standards inevitably slip. If your position isn't under threat – something accentuated by the dearth of quality throughout the rest of the squad – why raise your game

In the transfer window, the myth that Wenger doesn't spend exists because he sells his most valuable assets at a high price. In fact he merely replaces the departed with several significantly inferior others.

What is true is that he no longer spends wisely; you can get two Javier Hernandez's for one Gervinho, for example.

Wenger used to know where to find a deal, now all he seems to find are duds. And no longer do I believe he can turn it around.

Don't look now: Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen missed the final penalty

Don't look now: Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen missed the final penalty

On the rare occasions his team does click, it can barely hold a flame to the Invincibles team. The difference is as stark as the speed of the decline, lacking the flair and thrill, and the steal and bloody-mindedness of the 2004 Wenger vintage.

Neither does he. The smile, the suave soundbites, the touchlines jigs, even the technical area temper tantrums, they're all gone, beaten out of him by the initial burden of the Emirates Stadium move and then the Russian roubles and Arab oil money injected into the Premier League.

There is no shame having been beaten in this distorted landscape, when plenty of others would simply have walked away at the first time of asking. That isn't his style, and we're forever grateful for that, as we are for his unwavering commitment to our cause. But it is that blinkered obsession with 'the right way' that could now cost us all dear.

Sorry, Arsene, it's for the best.