Tag Archives: emirates

Arsene Wenger tells Arsenal fans to respect Robin van Persie

Show some respect! Wenger tells Arsenal not to boo Van Persie on Emirates return

By
Sami Mokbel

PUBLISHED:

08:43 GMT, 26 April 2013

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UPDATED:

09:05 GMT, 26 April 2013

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Arsene Wenger has demanded Arsenal supporters respect Robin van Persie when the former captain returns to the Emirates.

Wenger sold Van Persie to United for 24mllion last summer and the Dutchman went on to win the Premier League title at Old Trafford.

And ahead of his first return to the North London club, Wenger has pleaded with the Emirates fans to be respectful.

Show some respect: Arsene Wenger wants Arsenal fans not to boo Van Persie

Show some respect: Arsene Wenger wants Arsenal fans not to boo Van Persie

He said: 'I can only reiterate I want the
player to be respected. I've said that for every player who has left,
even players who have left in more controversy than RVP.

'RVP has a massive talent an is a
world class player. Fantastic technique and has plenty of experience.
He's played in a World Cup final.

'You don't focus on what we've lost.
We just want to get round it. We always miss a big player. It took us a
while to get round it, but we've scored a similar number if goals this
season.

'It's always difficult to lose big players

Wenger confirmed that the Arsenal players will give the United players a guard of honour ahead of kick off and says he hopes it will spur his side on to challenge for the title next season.

He added: 'They have been remarkable, especially at home. They've won it in a convincing way.

'What we know is that we will need a great performance to beat Manchester United. That's what we will focus on.

'I have a respectful relationship with Sir Alex. We spoke personally about RVP, that's the only way the deal could be done.

I'm French, but I want the English tradition to be respected. I hope we can have a guard of honour next year.

'We can only focus in out own performance. We are on a good run'

As for the remainder of Arsenal's season, Wenger says the Gunners must focus on making the top four and qualify for the Champions League.

He added: 'We can only focus in out own performance. We are on a good run.

'I'm confident we will make top four. But we need total focus and willingness to do that. We have no room to drop points.'

On the subject of Liverpool striker Luis Suarez's 10-game ban for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic, Wenger believes the Uruguayan's previous indiscretions worked against him.

He added: 'What has gone against Suarez is his history. That's the only explanation I can find for the severity of the punishment.'

The Footballers" Football Column – Steven Reid: I carried on playing with a broken leg – there

STEVEN REID: Liam Ridgewell went to a Justin Bieber gig… he didn't even have the excuse of taking his kids – he went with one of the other West Brom lads!

PUBLISHED:

10:01 GMT, 11 March 2013

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UPDATED:

10:16 GMT, 11 March 2013

Steven Reid

Steven Reid is the kind of player everyone wants in their team. He played on with a fractured leg at the Emirates this season and took it upon himself to thrash things out with Peter Odemwingie following the striker's decision to drive to QPR on transfer deadline day. He has just celebrated his 32nd birthday and is now hoping his West Brom team can qualify for Europe… even if some of his team-mates are going to Justin Bieber concerts. Before you read his Footballers' Football Column, watch his video…

Footballer's Football Column: Steven Reid, West Brom

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I didn't know it at the time that I was playing with a broken leg against Arsenal. It happened after about 10 minutes when our keeper, Boaz Myhill, cleaned me out. I knew straightaway that I had a problem. His knee has hit my knee, which was my first concern.

I was struggling for the rest of the half. Then a penalty was given against me (following a 'tackle' on Santi Cazorla) and in my own head at least I thought: 'There's no way I'm coming off now.'

When you have just given a penalty away
and then you come off… you want to stay on the pitch and turn it
around, especially with 60,000 people watching you.

Taking a tumble: Santi Cazorla (19) goes down after a challenge from Steven Reid

Taking a tumble: Santi Cazorla (19) goes down after a challenge from Steven Reid

Penalty: Arsenal are awarded a penalty after Cazorla goes down after a challenge by Reid, who was playing with a fractured leg

Penalty: Arsenal are awarded a penalty after Cazorla goes down after a challenge by Reid, who was playing with a fractured leg

I didn't have anything done at half-time. I was too annoyed about the penalty decision. I went out in the second half and, to be honest, it didn't really affect me too much. I wasn't that conscious of it.

But for two days afterwards, I couldn't walk on it.

I went for an X-ray which didn't show up anything. Then I had a scan and that shows the bone in greater definition and it came up as a fracture and I ended up being five or six weeks out.

Failed move: Peter Odemwingie could not secure his transfer away from West Brom on deadline day

Failed move: Peter Odemwingie could not secure his transfer away from West Brom on deadline day

Starting out: Reid played for Millwall alongside Tim Cahill and Neil Harris in 2001

Starting out: Reid played for Millwall alongside Tim Cahill and Neil Harris in 2001

Irish eyes: Reid won 23 caps for the Republic of Ireland

Irish eyes: Reid won 23 caps for the Republic of Ireland

More from The Footballers' Column…

Curtis Davies – The Footballers' Football Column: I knew I'd score against Blackpool, I always get goals when I play the B-teams
07/03/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Mark McChrystal: I haven't given up hope of winning my first full cap… And don't judge James McClean unless you know him or understand Northern Ireland
05/03/13

Ruud Gullit – The Footballers' Football Column: German teams are doing better in Champions League because they have homegrown players… English clubs have too many overpaid foreigners
02/03/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Brian Clark: Newcastle's 28m super scout on discovering the Ameobi brothers… oh and a chubby lad called Gascoigne
28/02/13

The Footballer's Football Column – Carolyn Radford: Life in non-League It's all fast cars and 70-year-old club secretaries
25/02/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Zesh Rehman: The best manager I played for was Chris Coleman at Fulham, but Robbie Fowler will go onto be a top boss… he has great man-management skills
23/02/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Ashley Williams: Pressure That's not playing in a final at Wembley… it's not being able to afford Christmas presents for your family. We must enjoy this moment
21/02/13

FRANK McPARLAND: Playing Real Madrid in Qatar was all well and good… but a cold, wet night in Histon is what really makes a Liverpool player
18/02/13

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Obviously when you are out for that long, you get the chance to watch a few games and
I went and sat with the West Brom fans at Wigan. I was under cover, a
big woolly hat covering my face, a big coat on. I was trying to keep
under the radar.

You don't
get to sit with the supporters too often, going to a game as a fan, it
gives you a different perspective. I didn't sing along with the songs –
but then I also shied away from giving the players a bit of stick.

I have played in different positions over my career, but I consider myself a right back now.
I'd like to think I could do a job in midfield if there was an injury
crisis but I feel that I have developed that side of my play.

Roy Hodgson was good for us, he did wonders for us. I was learning the defensive side of my game under him. I'm happy to play there.

Since the time I've been here the club has evolved and pushed forwards, that is why we are doing so well. They are getting a better quality of player, the right sort of player.

For example, G-Mac (Gareth McAuley) has been sensational since he arrived. He trains every day the way he plays every game – especially coming from the Championship because he hadn't played much Premier League football.

There are a few lads who have been here for a long time – such as James Morrison – he's arguably our player of the season.
The scouting department isn't going to go out and spend massive money
but we have brought in Claudio Yacob on a free. He's a tough
Argentine, a good character.

And then you have got the likes of Liam Ridgewell…he went to see Justin Bieber the other night! I'd like to offer up the fact that he went with his kids as an excuse – but he didn't…I think he went with George Thorne [West Brom's 20-year-old midfielder].

If we were to qualifying for Europe it would be an amazing achievement.
I was with Blackburn when we qualified for the UEFA Cup after finishing
sixth and it's one of the biggest achievements of my career.

It was a relatively small squad that we had at Blackburn, pretty much the same size as the one we have here at West Brom.

I think it would be the same here. When you are in it, it's tough.

Playing Thursday somewhere in Europe and then again on Sunday.

I don't think the fans get that. It's a
tiring week. It's one thing I can't have that you can't be tired if you
are playing three games in seven days. With the travel, it's hard.

Liam Ridgewell

Justin Bieber

Bieber-mania: Liam Ridgewell (left) went to a Justin Bieber (right) gig with Baggies team-mate George Thorne

NYSTAGMUS NETWORK
I am the patron of the Nystagmus Network which is a charity close to my heart. They support people with a serious eye condition. My son, Harry, aged three was diagnosed with it a while ago. It involves involuntary movement of the eye and hopefully one day there will be a cure but there's not much that can be done at the moment, sadly. Click here for more information…

Arsenal set for 1.5bn takeover from Middle East consortium

We'll bid record 1.5bn for Arsenal (twice as much as the Glazers paid for United)… but they MUST finish top four, say Arab consortium

By
Dave Wood

PUBLISHED:

22:32 GMT, 2 March 2013

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UPDATED:

10:48 GMT, 3 March 2013

Arsenal's eagerly-anticipated north London derby with Tottenham on Sunday was given an added edge with reports that a Middle East consortium will launch a 1.5billion takeover bid for the club in the next few weeks.

The group, made up of investors from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, hope to tempt owner Stan Kroenke with the world record sum, reports the Sunday Telegraph.

But the group warned that Arsenal, currently fifth in the Premier League and three points behind fourth-placed Spurs, must act quickly amid fears that the club miss out on a Champions League place and fall into a cycle of decline like Liverpool.

Money talks: World record takeover would put Arsenal in the same financial league as Manchester City and PSG

Money talks: World record takeover would put Arsenal in the same financial league as Manchester City and PSG

Arsenal's Jack Wilshere

Prize asset: Arsenal's Jack Wilshere

American Kroenke is the club's majority shareholder, while Uzbek Alisher Usmanov also holds a significant stake.

The offer for Arsenal would reportedly see the potential investors bid around 20,000 per share, making Kroenke's holding worth 830m.

It would be the world’s biggest ever bid for a football club, dwarfing the 800m paid by the Glazers for Manchester United.

Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke

Alisher Usmanov an Arsenal shareholder

Money men: Owner Stan Kroenk (left) and majority shareholder Alisher Usmanov (right)

Big fans: The consortium want Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to stay on

Big fans: The consortium want Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to stay on

A meeting has already been reportedly been requested with the American to discuss the proposed
offer. The seriousness of the bid is reinforced by the recent successful
takeovers of Manchester City and Paris St-Germain by Middle East backers.

It is unlikely Usmanov will want to sell his shareholding, given his 'dream' of taking control of Arsenal himself, but the Middle East consortium
believes it will be able to work with the billionaire, who does not
currently have a seat on the board.

Any takeover would inevitably raise questions over the future of manager
Arsene Wenger but the Frenchman is understood to be highly-regarded by
the consortium.

A bid source was quoted as saying: 'Arsenal is at a pivotal position at
the moment. The fear is that the club is facing a cycle of decline like
Liverpool. From our point of view it is the perfect moment to make this bid
because at this moment in time you can still genuinely justify this
extraordinary valuation on the club.

'We will not bid for Arsenal if they go into decline. Kroenke and Usmanov will
not get this kind of valuation if Arsenal do not succeed and will not get
this kind of valuation ever again.

'The amount of capital required to pump into Arsenal to make it competitive
within England, Europe and the world means that the valuation cannot go any
higher.'

Wembley set to be renamed in EE deal

Wembley could be RENAMED as FA consider shock 8m rights deal for the home of football

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

07:16 GMT, 18 January 2013

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UPDATED:

08:16 GMT, 18 January 2013

The Football Association are considering renaming Wembley Stadium in a controversial move that will outrage fans.

In a deal worth a reported 8million-a-year, the historic ground will be known as 'Wembley Stadium in association with EE' in a tie in with the mobile phone operator.

The FA agreed a similar deal for the FA Cup, which is officially known as the FA Cup Sponsored By Budweiser.

Rebrand: Wembley Stadium supported by EE looks set to be the new name of the famous London ground

Rebrand: Wembley Stadium supported by EE looks set to be the new name of the famous London ground

Wembley

According to the Daily Telegraph, the FA insisted that naming rights, in the way Arsenal's stadium is known as the Emirates, were not up for grabs and that 'Wembley' had to remain in place.

Wembley has a number of current commercial deals including a deal with Carlsberg as the 'Official Beer of Wembley Stadium'. EE was formed when Orange and T-Mobile merged in 2010.

The FA has been seeking a lead sponsor for the stadium since it was opened in 2007 and the original stadium, built in 1923, was known as the Empire Exhibition Stadium.

With a capacity of 90,000, Wembley is the second biggest stadium and Europe and cost 757million to build.

The stadium also hosts major rugby league games, including the Challenge Cup and International Rugby League. The stadium has also played host to the NFL.

Roberto Mancini will appeal Vincent Kompany red card

Mancini to appeal Kompany red card despite risk of increasing ban to four games… but Kompany holds 'no grudges' with ref Dean

PUBLISHED:

19:05 GMT, 13 January 2013

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UPDATED:

19:46 GMT, 13 January 2013

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini outlined his plans to appeal Vincent Kompany's red card, regardless of the fact an unsuccessful appeal could see a three-match ban turned into a four-game absence.

But Kompany took to Twitter after the match to say he did not blame referee Mike Dean and that he understands 'the difficulty of the job'.

Kompany slid in on Arsenal midfielder
Jack Wilshere during City's 2-0 victory at the Emirates, their first at
Arsenal since 1975.

Red Vincent Kompany was sent off for this tackle on Jack Wilshere in the second half against Arsenal

Red Vincent Kompany was sent off for this tackle on Jack Wilshere in the second half against Arsenal

No grudges: Kompany tweeted his congratulations and said he holds 'no grudges' with referee Mike Dean

No grudges: Kompany tweeted his congratulations and said he holds 'no grudges' with referee Mike Dean

The
City captain received a straight red from Dean, who deemed
that the Belgian went in recklessly on the England international.

Kompany wrote: 'First. Massive congrats to
our team and fans, great game! Also. No grudges against the referee, I
understand the difficulty of the job. 🙂

'About the tackle: If the ball is
overrun by the opponent and a 50/50 challenge occurs, collision is
inevitable.'

Kompany, who has been sent off in similar circumstances in the past, vowed not to change his approach to tackling.

'Ultimately I'm a defender: Appeal may
work or not. I will never pull out of a challenge, as much as I will
never intend to injury a player.

'Finishing on a positive: It's about the team and our team looks strong at the moment. We need to maintain this level of performance. :-)'

Mancini also claimed that the referee got the decision wrong, and will appeal for the red card to be rescinded.

'This is not a red card, absolutely not,' he said.

'He has one foot in and takes the ball. I think the referee made a mistake.'

Gutted: The Manchester City captain looked distraught as he is directed off the field by Mike Dean

Gutted: The Manchester City captain looked distraught as he is directed off the field by Mike Dean

Mediator: Kompany had to hold back Pablo Zabaleta (right) as the Argentinean sought to have words with Lukas Podolski

Mediator: Kompany had to hold back Pablo Zabaleta (right) as the Argentinean sought to have words with Lukas Podolski

The Italian did concede that his
side's task had been made easier by Koscielny`s dismissal, but praised
his men for finding a way through regardless.

'If you play 10 players, it can be difficult,' he said.

'We started the game very well, played high up and pressed. We wanted to win this.

'It was easier after the sending off but in the second half we were too soft and missed three or four goals.'

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger refused to blame the early red card for his side`s demise, instead telling his players they had not done what they should have done after going a man down.

'It was frustrating (to go down to 10 men) but we got away with it (with the penalty miss),' he said.

'We were down to 10 men with 80 minutes to go and knew it would be a difficult game.

'But we were too timid and did not have enough authority on the game. We let them dictate the game to us and when we went 1-0 down it was difficult.'

Off you go: Laurent Koscielny was dismissed early in the match after giving away a penalty

Off you go: Laurent Koscielny was dismissed early in the match after giving away a penalty

Wenger added on Koscielny's sending off: 'I've not seen it. I was surprised but I have heard it was a penalty. We have to live with the decision but it doesn't mean we have to lose the game.

'We gave away two cheap goals. At 10 men you keep it 0-0 and you never know.'

On Kompany's red card he said: 'It looked as though they were both playing the ball to me.'

Kompany received a red card after a similar incident last season during an FA Cup tie against bitter rivals Manchester United.

The centre back slid in on Portugal winger Nani before referee Chris Foy sent Kompany to the stands. As it was Kompany's second dismissal of the campaign, he was forced to serve a four-game ban, leaving Montenegro's Stefan Savic to partner Joleon Lescott at the heart of City's defence.

Remember this Kompany was sent off at the Etihad after sliding in on Nani in the FA Cup last season

Remember this Kompany was sent off at the Etihad after sliding in on Nani in the FA Cup last season

Manchester City return 900 tickets to Arsenal

Champions Man City return almost HALF of 2,000 tickets for Arsenal match after fans are asked to pay 62

By
Joe Ridge

PUBLISHED:

15:24 GMT, 8 January 2013

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UPDATED:

15:52 GMT, 8 January 2013

Manchester City have returned 900 unsold tickets of the 2,000 allocation for Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash with Arsenal at the Emirates.

The champions were expected to sell out their away tickets but it appears travelling fans have been put off by the 62 Arsenal are charging each fan.

Arsenal were revealed to be the hosts of English football's most expensive day out by the BBC's Price of Football survey back in October.

London calling: City lost 1-0 on their last visit to the Emirates

London calling: City lost 1-0 on their last visit to the Emirates

Back in blue: Belgian defender Boyata

Back in blue: Belgian defender Boyata

Meanwhile, City have recalled defender Dedryck Boyata from his loan at Eredivisie side FC Twente.

A statement on their official website read: 'The Belgian defender could well continue his education at another club in the coming weeks having played just eight games for Steve McLaren's side.'

The 22-year-old spent also last season on loan with Bolton, but was unable to prevent the Trotters being relegated to the npower Championship.

City have also revealed that Italian striker Luca Scapuzzi, 21, has joined Serie B side AS Varese on loan until the end of the season.

Arsenal to talk with Southampton about Luke Shaw transfer

EXCLUSIVE: Arsenal step up pursuit of 5m-rated Shaw with talks to be held TODAY

|

UPDATED:

22:24 GMT, 31 December 2012

If Arsene Wenger has anything to do with it, Luke Shaw will be Arsenal’s next Saint.

Gunners officials will use New Year's Day's trip to St Mary’s to hold talks with Southampton in their attempts to land the 17-year-old left back.

Arsenal will make an offer for Shaw this month and it is hoped Tuesday’s discussions will pave the way for the club to end their two-year quest to land the latest jewel to emerge from Southampton’s ultra-productive academy.

Shaw thing: Luke Shaw has been tipped to be better than Gareth Bale

Shaw thing: Luke Shaw has been tipped to be better than Gareth Bale

'We produce some technically-gifted players but not as many as Southampton,' said Wenger. 'It is exceptional what they have done. The three wingers [Gareth Bale, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott] and Luke Shaw, that is a good way to study what they have done.

'The question of Southampton’s academy set-up is a very good one because they have done a fabulous job.

'Why It is down to the quality of their scouting, the quality of their coaching and education. They have fantastic scouting.'

Wenger and his chief scout Steve
Rowley knew they had to have Shaw – tipped to be even better than Bale –
as soon as they first saw him.

Arsenal saw a summer offer rejected by Saints chairman Nicola Cortese,
who knows the youngster will soon be worth a small fortune. Chelsea, are
also keen.

Whether he can resist Arsenal’s
advances this month remains to be seen, but what is for certain is that
Shaw is an England regular in the making.

Should Shaw arrive at the Emirates Stadium, he will not be short of a friendly face willing to take him under their wing.

Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain both make emotional first returns to the club that gave them their big break on Tuesday.

The elder of the two's impact on the Gunners has been well-documented this season – but his fellow former Saint has had to bide his time.

Saints made it easy: Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have both taken the step into international football after moving to Arsenal from their first club Southampton

Saints made it easy: Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have both taken the step into international football after moving to Arsenal from their first club Southampton

An exceptional first campaign with Arsenal resulted in him gatecrashing England’s Euro 2012 squad. But only now are we starting to see the form that persuaded Roy Hodgson to take a punt on Oxlade-Chamberlain in the summer.

The 19-year-old was excellent in Saturday’s win over Newcastle, scoring his first Premier League goal of the season in the 7-3 win.

And his return to the form that made him England’s joker in the pack last summer does not surprise his manager, who insists he knew Oxlade-Chamberlain would be a top player the minute he set eyes on him.

‘The first time I watched him was on tape, he was at that level where he played he looked lightning quick and a good dribbler as well and we like that,’ said Wenger.

‘I had enthusiastic reports about him and we sent different people and everybody said he is something special.

‘When I saw him you could see in his movement and first touch that he had something special. ‘

Theo Walcott given deadline by Arsenal to sign new contract

Arsenal set two-week deadline for in-form Walcott to sign new deal to keep him at Emirates

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UPDATED:

22:50 GMT, 30 December 2012

Arsenal want Theo Walcott's long-term future secured within the next fortnight.

Club officials are working to set up a second round of formal contract discussions with the player and his representatives in the next 14 days.

Arsenal are increasingly optimistic a deal can be reached. Sportsmail understands the 23-year-old's preference is to stay.

Main man: Theo Walcott was in exceptional form against Newcastle

Main man: Theo Walcott was in exceptional form against Newcastle

But the original 75,000-per-week offer made on August 28 must be improved, while Walcott also wants assurances over his chances of playing as a centre forward on a regular basis.

The England star wants a package closer to 100,000 per week, but it is believed a deal of 85,000 or 90,000 would suit both parties.

Meanwhile, Arsenal will this week make their move to sign Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha.

The Gunners are set to increase their starting offer to beat Manchester United to the England player's signature.

Arsenal had originally planned to make an 8million opening bid for the 20-year-old starlet, who wants to leave Selhurst Park in January.

However, they are considering a more lucrative starting offer to ensure Zaha's arrival.

Deadline: Arsenal want Walcott's new deal sewn up within the next two weeks

Deadline: Arsenal want Walcott's new deal sewn up within the next two weeks

Icing on the cake: Walcott scores his third and Arsenal's seventh

Icing on the cake: Walcott scores his third and Arsenal's seventh

Theo Walcott is proving he is a centre forward

He's been saying it for years and now Walcott's proving that he really is a middle man

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UPDATED:

23:37 GMT, 30 December 2012

If Theo Walcott needs reminding of what being Arsenal's No 1 centre forward entails, he will get it at training this morning.

Thierry Henry will be there. The way Walcott opened his body up before sliding the ball past Tim Krul for the first of his three goals in Saturday's 7-3 demolition of Newcastle had Henry's influence written all over it.

However, it also displayed the hallmarks of a clinical Premier League striker, something Walcott wants to become so desperately.

Expertly done: Theo Walcott showed his ability to play in the middle for Arsenal

Expertly done: Theo Walcott showed his ability to play in the middle for Arsenal

Sign him up: Arsene Wenger is hoping Walcott will commit his future to Arsenal

Sign him up: Arsene Wenger is hoping Walcott will commit his future to Arsenal

Having the luxury of working with
Henry each day will only enhance the 23-year-old's efforts to complete
the transition from pacy winger to world-class centre forward.

Who better to learn from than
arguably the best goalscorer the club have ever had Saturday's
brilliant display against Newcastle will help convince his doubters that
he can develop into an out-and-out centre forward.

But, truth be told, the man he
really needs to convince still needs persuading. Wenger has put a centre
forward at the top of his shopping list.

David Villa, Adrian Lopez and Edin
Dzeko are targets. Should any of that trio arrive at the Emirates next
month, then Walcott could be shifted back out wide.

'I've always said I'm a striker and the manager is giving me the opportunity to play up front,' said Walcott.

'I'm not saying I'll play up front all the time, but it's just nice to have a different option.

'Olivier (Giroud) came off the bench
and showed great qualities. I switched to the right so it can work. We
are scoring goals from every position. I believe I am a striker.'

Walcott is finally adding substance to those claims, a fact underlined by Saturday's breathtaking performance.

His first against Alan Pardew's side
displayed all the precision of a top-class goalscorer as he expertly
side-footed his effort past Krul.

The England man's second demonstrated
all the instinctiveness of a quality finisher, ramming home from 12
yards under pressure from Gael Bigirimana.

Main man: Walcott was in exceptional form against Newcastle

Main man: Walcott was in exceptional form against Newcastle

It must be love: The Arsenal manager was impressed with Walcott's performance against Newcastle

It must be love: The Arsenal manager was impressed with Walcott's performance against Newcastle

10 GAMES, 10 GOALS

Theo Walcott's recent form means Arsene Wenger must be seriously considering handing him the main striker's role on a permanent basis.

In his last 10 matches, Walcott has scored hat-tricks against Reading and Newcastle and goals against Schalke, Tottenham, Everton and Reading.

When Walcott has scored this season, Arsenal have not lost.

And his third showed the
single-mindedness of a seasoned centre forward, picking himself up off
the floor to curl a shot past Krul to complete his hat-trick.

Walcott is silencing his doubters;
those who have questioned his credentials as a central striker are being
forced into a rethink.

Yes, he has to do it on a regular
basis, but 14 goals from 11 starts this season provides a clear
indication that his long-term future can be as a bona fide middle man.

Whether that is at Arsenal remains to
be seen, but it is to Walcott's credit he has managed that exceptional
goal ratio with uncertainty looming large.

'Even with the speculation going on,
he's stuck to his task. He's been a great professional ,' said
team-mate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

'He's a good lad in the dressing room
and we need him to keep doing that for the rest of the season. We've
all been giving him a bit of banter (about his future) but that's for
Theo's people to sort out.'

Saturday's hammering of Newcastle was
Walcott's third successive outing in his preferred position, a period
in which he has scored four times.

Duel: Walcott got the better of Tim Krul on a number of occasions

Duel: Walcott got the better of Tim Krul on a number of occasions

Options: Wenger also likes to pick Olivier Giroud (right) through the middle

Options: Wenger also likes to pick Olivier Giroud (right) through the middle

However, his contribution has not
stopped at goals. Walcott set up both of Giroud's strikes against
Newcastle and won the decisive penalty in the 1-0 victory over Wigan
last week. Sunday's FA Cup third-round tie at Swansea is likely to see
Walcott given another chance to nail down the role.

'He bangs them in for fun in
training,' added Oxlade-Chamberlain. 'Someone with pace is a nightmare
to defend against. When he gets the service, he can punish teams. In
training, he's no different.

'When Theo first came, he was
training with players like Thierry, (Dennis) Bergkamp and (Robert)
Pires. He's learned from the best, he's getting better and better, and
there's no one better to learn from.

'From the player that I first
started watching to the man he is now, he is only getting better and
better and he's still only 23.

'He's got such a mature head on his
shoulders. He's great on and off the pitch so he's so important for us.
He was great for me when I first arrived. He took me under his wing,
helped me. 'When he came along, it must have been even more daunting
because I think Ashley Cole was the only English player around at the
time.

'They had experienced players like
Henry and Bergkamp. It must have been daunting so he realised it must
have been hard for me coming in. So he helped me through that.

'He was the first person to really
help me. 'I sit next to him in the dressing room and he's been really
good for me.' Walcott is really good for Arsenal at the moment, too.

How Theo got his third

Theo Walcott believes Arsenal contract "will be sorted"

Walcott says Arsenal contract 'will be sorted' and he's shown Wenger his striking potential

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UPDATED:

23:09 GMT, 29 December 2012

Theo Walcott turned up the pressure on Arsenal in his ongoing contract negotiations with a stunning hat-trick in an extraordinary win over Newcastle at the Emirates Stadium.

Walcott, whose representatives are due to meet Arsenal’s chief negotiator, Dick Law, in the coming days, took his goal tally for the season to 14 in a frenzied second half which saw eight goals scored.

The 23-year-old England forward continues to thrive in the central striker’s role he covets and has made a major part of his contract negotiations.

Sign him up: Arsene Wenger is hoping Theo Walcott will commit his future to Arsenal

Sign him up: Arsene Wenger is hoping Theo Walcott will commit his future to Arsenal

Walcott said: ‘Talks are ongoing and I
am sure something will be sorted. I’ve been saying that I want to play
up front and I am showing the manager what I can do. I believe I will be
a striker and it’s about taking the opportunity when I get it.

‘I enjoy playing in whatever position but it was just telling the manager to give me the opportunities to play up front.

‘I’m not saying I’m always going to
play there but it’s just showing what I can do. Hopefully, I’ve opened a
few eyes and it’s provided a different option.’

With just six months left on his
current deal and Walcott free to sign a pre-contract agreement with a
foreign club on New Year’s Day, Arsenal will be expected to fix a firm
date for talks and to increase the 75,000-a-week offer that is on the
table.

Walcott departed the Emirates Stadium
yesterday with the match-ball held above his head and the crowd chanting
‘Sign him up’. After his side moved into fifth place in the Barclays
Premier League, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger reiterated his desire to
keep the in-form forward at the club.

‘I think he loves the club and the club love him and reciprocity in love is the most difficult thing to find,’ said Wenger.

‘The intensity of my desire is exactly
the same as before the game. My desire is to extend the contract and I
think that he belongs here and, hopefully, we can do it.

‘Commitment to a club is a long-term
process. I don’t think it should depend on one game. If he had a
disastrous game today, it would not have altered my determination to
extend his contract and to sign him. That does not depend on one game.’

The most positive sign is that Wenger
has now trusted Walcott in the central striking role, something the
London-born player was keen to establish before he confirmed his
continued commitment to the club.

Walcott has benefitted from
practising alongside Arsenal legend Thierry Henry, who is currently
training with Arsenal and is expected to sign a short-term loan deal
from the New York Red Bulls next month.

Walcott said: ‘I’ve learned a lot
from Thierry and just to have him around in training is great. You
learn from the best. He showed great qualities on loan here last season
so, hopefully, that can be sorted out.’

It must be love: The Arsenal manager was impressed with Walcott's performance against Newcastle

It must be love: The Arsenal manager was impressed with Walcott's performance against Newcastle

It was Arsenal's fourth consecutive Barclays Premier League win, which lifts them up to fifth, and midfielder Jack Wilshere insists they have not been stung by recent criticism.

'We just get on with it. We know we've got great players here and we showed it today,' he said.

'Theo was great and okay we conceded three and we're not happy about that and we'll look at that but to score seven in any game in the Premier League is a great achievement.'

Wenger was also quick to hail Newcastle's resilience, although he lamented his side's slow start.

'It was not as comfortable as the score indicated,' he added. 'We played against a good team. They were always a threat going forwards, they gave us many problems.

'I believe we started a bit nervous, not completely relaxed, and at half-time 1-1 was a fair result.

'Second half we were on the ball higher up and were much more dangerous but they always came back.'

Options: Wenger also likes to pick Olivier Giroud (right) through the middle

Options: Wenger also likes to pick Olivier Giroud (right) through the middle

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew admitted his side had no energy left in the final 20 minutes of the game.

Despite scoring three goals apiece away at Manchester United on Boxing Day and today at the Emirates Stadium, Pardew's side have come away empty-handed on both occasions.

And the former West Ham and Charlton boss is aware some of his side's defending has been unacceptable.

'The last 15-20 minutes was a fresh team against a tired team and perhaps a bit of inexperience on our bench resulted in the scoreline,' he said.

'We're just so disappointed that we didn't get something out of it before then.

'The goals we conceded before then were not, not good and that's been our problem.

'For 70 minutes it was pretty tight, I thought we were giving a good account of ourselves but their freshness and the brightness towards the end of the game was just too much for us and we couldn't cope.

'The game really hurt us today but we know at the back we need to do better.'