Tag Archives: gervinho

Arsene Wenger hails Gervinho after Arsenal beat Reading

Wenger hails Gervinho as Arsenal stay in the hunt for Champions League place

By
Jim Van Wijk, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

20:44 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

20:44 GMT, 30 March 2013

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hailed the confident display of Gervinho after the Ivory Coast forward set the Gunners on the way to a 4-1 win over relegation-battlers Reading which kept them in the hunt for Champions League qualification.

Gervinho has often cut a controversial figure among supporters following a string of frustrating displays following an 11million move from Lille in July 2011.

However, the 25-year-old was on the money this afternoon, opening the scoring on 11 minutes and having a hand in everything positive as Arsenal eventually broke the Royals stubborn resistance again at the start of the second half when Santi Cazorla sweeping home. Olivier Giroud added a third following a quick break by Gervinho.

Key role: Gervinho was praised by Arsene Wenger following his performance against Reading

Key role: Gervinho was praised by Arsene Wenger following his performance against Reading

Hal Robson-Kanu headed in a consolation for Nigel Adkins' men, but there was to be no recovery to mark their new manager's first match in charge as Mikel Arteta's penalty made sure Arsenal closed up on Chelsea in the race for fourth-spot and also remained within striking distance of Tottenham, on whom they hold a match in hand.

'Gervinho's performance was very strong. He was always dangerous, always looked like he could score, gave assists and scored himself,' Wenger said.

'I believe that sometimes Gervinho has lost confidence because he played in a very negative atmosphere during a period. Strikers need confidence, and [with] his game, even more.

Winning feeling: Gervinho celebrates with team mate Bacary Sagna after the 4-1 victory

Winning feeling: Gervinho celebrates with team mate Bacary Sagna after the 4-1 victory

'He was always taking the ball and going forward, and provoking. When you lose confidence, that is a very dangerous game then.

'When he has found the confidence back, he's a very dangerous player.

'At the African Nations Cup, for me he was the best striker there. He is the type of player who is difficult to find, because they always go at people.'

Wenger was pleased with the final result for his side, who have now won six of their last eight league games and also won 2-0 away over Bayern Munich in the Champions League, although still bowing out of Europe.

'I enjoyed our technical side, our creative side, our spirit and how disciplined and focused we were,' said Wenger.

Mind the gap: Arsene Wenger fighting for Champions League qualification

Mind the gap: Arsene Wenger fighting for Champions League qualification

'The regret you have is that there were more goals in this game than the number of goals we scored.

'Overall, it's a good basis to finish the season well. Let's just keep that spirit, that attitude and play the football we want to play.'

Wenger called for his side to keep their performances high over the run-in, with little margin for error if they are to gatecrash the top four once again.

'What we do is we look at the table and we are still behind Chelsea and Tottenham. We are not in a calculation mode,' he said.

'We can just win our next game and continue to do what we do at the moment.

'We are on a run so let's take care of the quality of our game and that run. After, we'll see where we stand.

On target: Gervinho was on the scoresheet

On target: Gervinho was on the scoresheet

'It (Champions League qualification) will be less predictable than it was predicted. We have a word to say in that and we want to give our best to do it.'

For Reading, meanwhile, the outlook is not so positive as the defeat sent them bottom of the table on goal difference, some seven points adrift of safety.

However, with a home clash against former club Southampton, Adkins is not about to throw in the towel just yet.

He said: 'We have had a bit of a fragmented week with the change, and players away on international duty, trying to get to grips with where we want to go and what to do is going to be challenging.

'We wanted to get something here, but didn't. Arsenal kept the ball very well.

'We will analyse it now, debrief back with the players, take the lessons from it and work very hard on the training ground for the next one.

'You can't change everything straight away, but we will all work hard together to give us a chance in the next game.'

Adkins added: 'The spirit is there in the group, and all we can do is take it one match at a time – there here and now is putting this one to bed, working hard over the course of the week for the next one.'

Injury-hit Arsenal may have to turn to Squillaci or Miquel for Sunderland clash

Injury-hit Arsenal may be forced to turn to Squillaci or Miquel for Sunderland clash

By
Jim Van Wijk, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

19:17 GMT, 7 February 2013

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UPDATED:

19:19 GMT, 7 February 2013

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger could
face a defensive headache when Barclays Premier League action resumes at
Sunderland on Saturday.

The Gunners were already sweating on
the fitness of captain Thomas Vermaelen's ankle injury before the
players left for international duty, where fellow centre-half Laurent
Koscielny limped off during France's defeat to Germany in Paris with a
reported calf problem.

Rare appearance: Arsenal may recall Sebastien Squillaci

Rare appearance: Arsenal may recall Sebastien Squillaci

Should both men fail to recover in time for the trip to the Stadium of Light, then out-of-favour Sebastien Squillaci or Spanish 20-year-old Ignasi Miquel could have to step in to the heart of the defence alongside Per Mertesacker.

Francis Coquelin is another option, but the defensive-midfielder has missed a couple of matches with a hamstring strain.

Meanwhile, midfielders Tomas Rosicky (virus) and Aaron Ramsey, who returned from Wales camp with a calf injury, are also doubtful for the trip to the north-east.

Forward Gervinho is set to rejoin the squad following Ivory Coast's elimination from the African Nations Cup, but is expected to be given some recovery time before being thrown straight back into action as Arsenal look to maintain momentum from their four-match unbeaten run.

Nacho Monreal impressed on his debut after a deadline day move from Malaga. The Spain international looks set for a run in the side with England left-back Kieran Gibbs still sidelined by a thigh problem.

It is another setback for the 23-year-old, who has suffered a string of fitness issues in recent seasons, including breaking his metatarsal in a Champions League game against Standard Liege in November 2009.

Gibbs, however, will not let that hold him back.

Injury concern: Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen

Injury concern: Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen

Speaking to the official Arsenal magazine in an interview conducted before his latest injury in the 2-2 draw against Liverpool, Gibbs revealed his positive attitude to spells on the sidelines.

He said: 'Before that I had never really had injuries, but in the next couple of years I had quite a few and it was really frustrating.

'I did my knee and rolled my ankle, and later on I had a hernia.

'However, I just got on with it and never really listened to any comments.

'I just knew the most important thing was that I got back and let people judge me on my football.'

Vermaelen, meanwhile, revealed he has taken inspiration from David Beckham's recent visit to Arsenal, where the former England captain trained ahead of his deadline day move to Paris St Germain.

'I didn't meet him for long, but I could tell straightaway that he's a very nice guy and a fantastic professional,' Vermaelen wrote in the Arsenal matchday programme.

'That was obvious in a single day – he was working after the session, doing drills and keeping himself fit, and you have to give him a lot of credit for being in such good shape at the age of 37.

'It is not easy to get to the top and stay there as he has done – you have to work really hard every single day, and if young players can see that then it is an inspiration for them.

'Training with him was a special moment for me, too. Like Beckham, I certainly want to play football for as long as I can – it's partly about how your body feels, and about luck too, but in my opinion football is the best career there is so you want to enjoy it to the maximum.'

Arsene Wenger in denial over cup exit, transfer flops and Steve Bould

I'm Arsene, trust me: Wenger in denial as he is quizzed over Bould, cup exit and transfer flops

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UPDATED:

23:33 GMT, 14 December 2012

Arsene Wenger emerged from his silver Mercedes at Arsenal’s training ground just after 9am on Friday looking like he hadn’t slept in a week.

It has been a wretched few days and Wenger’s haunted look cannot be helping with preparations for the Barclays Premier League fixture with Reading on Monday.

He was, predictably, in a particularly tetchy mood and he bit on almost everything as he fended off questions ranging from the catastrophic Capital One Cup defeat at Bradford City to his failing transfer policy.

Under pressure: Arsene Wenger was in denial about the state of Arsenal

Under pressure: Arsene Wenger was in denial about the state of Arsenal

‘Don’t worry — we will buy Lionel Messi in January and we will surprise you,’ was the icy response to a genuine query about the acquisitions of Gervinho, Chamakh, Santos, Park, Squillaci, et al.

Arsenal have gone wonky under Wenger and his skewed assessment of the club’s progress, or alarming lack of it, is in danger of affecting his standing among the supporters.

At 63 he is fighting to convince fans, along with his players, that after 16 years in the job he still represents the future of Arsenal Football Club.

During a series of strained exchanges, he stopped short of reminding people about the three Premier League titles and four FA Cups he won during the golden period.

Chelsea have the same record since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003 and they can now throw in the Champions League to boot.

‘I am here to take the flak — and I must say you (the media) do that very well,’ admitted Wenger. ‘We finished third in the league last season, but it depends on how you judge a team.

‘It’s true we have not kicked on, but we have rebuilt a team this year and we will see where we finish. We are not happy with what we have produced, but we will turn it around before the finish.

‘People have to take a little bit of distance before making a definite judgment on what we are capable of doing.

‘At the moment we have qualified for the Champions League knockout stage for 13 years out of the last 16. When I listen to the media, it must be a mistake: they talk like we are in the Championship.’

No division: Wenger has denied there is a rift between him and his assistant Steve Bould

No division: Wenger has denied there is a rift between him and his assistant Steve Bould

Naturally, Wenger was on the defensive on Friday, taking issue with a number of stories that have appeared across a broad spectrum of newspapers this week.

He referenced assistant manager Steve Bould and the distance in the relationship between the pair over the past few months.

It’s all ‘lies’, according to Wenger, although no-one is denying that fitness coach Tony Colbert was asked to take training instead of Bould when Wenger was absent the day before the defeat against Swansea.

‘I believe this is a good opportunity to show that we are strong inside the club and let other people talk,’ said Wenger. ‘We are criticised when our results aren’t good, but we have to take it on the chin.’

Wenger wasn’t finished, either. He was irritated by another question, this time about the 11million transfer fee routinely bandied around for Gervinho’s move from Lille in 2011. ‘It was 8m.’ Whatever it was, it has still been a disaster.

Disaster: Gervinho (right) missed appallingly against Bradford

Disaster: Gervinho (right) missed appallingly against Bradford

‘Gervinho is a good player, but I don’t want to get into individual assessments,’ he said. ‘You accuse us of not paying the wages, but then you accuse us of giving them the money they want.’

He was upset with another analysis after highlighting that the club’s fabled youth academy has only produced two first-team regulars — Ashley Cole and Jack Wilshere — in 16 years.

‘If you look at the players who have started at Arsenal Football Club over the past 15 years there will be more than all the clubs put together in the Champions League. ‘I don’t know where you get your statistics from but you should check them.’

They were checked and Arsenal have, indeed, only produced two first-team players from scratch. The rest, such as Cesc Fabregas, were brought into the academy from Barcelona.

‘You cannot say we have a squad without quality as they are all international players,’ he said.

Import: Cesc Fabregas came from Barcelona, where he has since returned

Import: Cesc Fabregas came from Barcelona, where he has since returned

‘I would prefer it if everyone said I am fantastic but I cannot say we were fantastic when we lost on penalties to Bradford. I am responsible for the results, but it was a cup game on an English December night in Bradford. Unfortunately we have paid the price, but do not forget they kicked out Wigan as well.’

Wigan always get kicked out of the cup but this is Arsenal and 4,500 travelling fans expected the team to show some bottle at Valley Parade. Instead they aim to rescue their season, starting at the Madejski Stadium on Monday night.

There are some bad buys in this Arsenal team and it seems inappropriate to think that it was only six years ago the last remaining members of the Invincibles competed with Barcelona in the Champions League final.

‘I am the right man for the job,’ Wenger said. ‘I am highly focused on the job and I’m very determined and hungry. I can understand that people criticise us.’

After 16 years at Arsenal, he looks in need of a good rest.

Olympiacos 2 Arsenal 1: Match report

Olympiacos 2 Arsenal 1: Yet another bad night for the Gunners… but Wenger still didn't see it

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UPDATED:

07:52 GMT, 5 December 2012

Arsenal players stood dejected as smoke wafted across the pitch from the flares going off behind Wojciech Szczesny’s goal.

It was happening again. Kostas Mitroglou had scored for Olympiacos and another Gunners defeat had been snatched from the jaws of victory.

Tomas Rosicky had put Arsenal ahead in an encouraging first half but they never looked like recovering from goals by Giannis Maniatis, scored from a corner that should not have been given, and Mitroglou.

Taking the lead: Olympiacos' players congratulate team-mate Giannis Maniatis after scoring the second goal

Taking the lead: Olympiacos' players congratulate team-mate Giannis Maniatis after scoring the second goal

MATCH FACTS

Olympiacos: Carroll, Diakite, Manolas, Contreras, Torosidis, Paulo Machado, Maniatis, Fejsa (David Fuster 60), Greco, Djebbour (Ibagaza 82), Abdoun (Mitroglou 72).
Subs Not Used: Megyeri, Pantelic, Fetfatzidis, Siovas.

Booked: Fejsa.

Goals: Maniatis 65, Mitroglou 73.

Arsenal: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Squillaci, Vermaelen, Meade (Angha 83), Coquelin, Rosicky (Arshavin 46), Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Chamakh, Gervinho.

Subs Not Used: Shea, Ansah, Hajrovic, Monteiro, Akpom.

Booked: Coquelin, Szczesny, Squillaci, Chamakh.

Goal: Rosicky 38.

Attendance: 30,000

Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco (Spain)

Click here for the latest Champions League scores and live tables

Wenger, though, insisted — once again — on remaining upbeat. ‘I believe it was a positive game,’ he said. ‘We left eight or nine players at home and we had a positive game.

‘We had a good first half. We dropped physically in the second because many players lack competition and therefore we couldn’t take the chances for a second goal.

‘We also got a bad decision on their first goal. I’m not against a fifth referee but you would like them to be concentrated on their job.’

You could argue this result did not matter as Arsenal had already qualified for the knockout stages and now avoid teams such as Real Madrid by finishing second in Group B.

But that would be to underestimate the importance confidence plays in this club’s performances, no matter who is in the starting XI. The manager fielded a second string XI but, apart from 20-year-old Champions League debutant Jernade Meade at left back, they were still experienced, boasting nine internationals. It should have been good enough to beat a Greek side who themselves made six changes from their last league game, being already assured of a place in the Europa League.

Lone striker Marouane Chamakh, making only his second start of the season, showed all the touch and confidence of a footballer who has not played since October 30, although his downward header from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s cross found Rosicky, who teed up Aaron Ramsey, only for the Wales midfielder to miscue horribly.

Strike it lucky: Olympiacos' Kostas Mitroglou scores the second goal

Strike it lucky: Olympiacos' Kostas Mitroglou scores the second goal

Going ahead: Mitroglou celebrates his goal

Going ahead: Mitroglou celebrates his goal

Olympiacos’ finishing was poor in the
first half, with Djamel Abdoun, Rafik Djebbour and Vassilis Torossidis
missing excellent chances.

Gervinho and Rosicky, though, were
impressive, combining for Arsenal’s 38th-minute opener.

Gervinho made a
strong, determined run to the byline and held off two defenders before
passing back to Rosicky, who finished with a right-foot strike into the
bottom corner for his first goal since March.

On level terms: Giannis Maniatis celebrates making it 1-1

On level terms: Giannis Maniatis celebrates making it 1-1

But Arsenal were guilty of forcing attacks without Rosicky’s guile in the second half.

Paulo Machado’s downwards header sent
Szczesny scampering across his goal. Referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco
awarded a corner, although Szczesny claimed he had not touched the ball,
and Olympiacos duly scored, with Maniatis stabbing the ball home.

Tracking his man: Aaron Ramsey challenges Djamel Abdoun for the ball

Tracking his man: Aaron Ramsey challenges Djamel Abdoun for the ball

Incidents like this tend to expose
Arsenal’s fragility and they allowed substitute Mitroglou time and space
to turn and shoot home from just outside the box in the 73rd minute.

‘We need a good Christmas present now
(in the draw),’ said Wenger. ‘The important thing now is to focus on the
championship and forget about the Champions League and get ourselves
back in decent form in the championship.’

Frustrated: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger saw his side throw away the lead

Frustrated: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger saw his side throw away the lead

Going ahead: Arsenal's players celebrate after Rosicky's goal

Going ahead: Arsenal's players celebrate after Rosicky's goal

The chase is on: Olympiakos goalkeeper Roy Caroll fights for the ball with Arsenal's Mauane Chamakh

The chase is on: Olympiakos goalkeeper Roy Caroll fights for the ball with Arsenal's Mauane Chamakh

Thierry Henry will push Arsene Wenger for another loan spell at Arsenal

Gunners legend Henry will push Wenger for another loan spell at Arsenal

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UPDATED:

13:54 GMT, 20 November 2012

Arsenal legend Thierry Henry has set his sights on a third spell at the Gunners.

The French striker has been told by
the club he can keep in shape at their London Colney training base
during the MLS off-season.

Fancy seeing you here: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger with former Arsenal player Thierry Henry before the Tottenham derby

Fancy seeing you here: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger with former Arsenal player Thierry Henry before the Tottenham derby

And Henry, aged 35, has not ruled out a second loan spell to help out Arsene Wenger's side.

He plans to hold talks with the manager when he reports for training in December.

Arsenal will lose lose Gervinho on Africa Cup of Nations duty
in January for up to six weeks and doubt still surrounds the future of Theo
Walcott.

The club's all-time record goalscorer had a fairytale seven-match
return to Emirates Stadium at the start of the year, extending his
Arsenal scoring record to 228 goals.

The striker returned to London last week after New York Red Bulls were
beaten in the MLS play-offs to end their domestic campaign.

He was principally in the capital to spend time with his family but
visited London Colney and was also at Emirates Stadium last Saturday to
watch Arsenal beat Tottenham 5-2 in the north London derby.

Ho holding back: Thierry Henry had an impressive season at New York Red Bulls

Ho holding back: Thierry Henry had an impressive season at New York Red Bulls

The Frenchman now plans to go on holiday before coming back to London in
December, where he is set to make full use of Arsenal's training
facilities on his return to maintain his fitness.

The former France international capped an excellent season for New York
Red Bulls, which yielded 15 goals in 29 games, by being one of the three
players nominated for the MLS most valuable player of the year award.
Graham Zusi of Sporting Kansas City and the San Jose Earthquakes striker
Chris Wondolowski are the other nominees.

Speaking in the summer about the possibility of another stint at
Arsenal, Henry said: 'I would like to go back to England with Arsenal
for sure.

'I wasn't planning to go back to play last season. It was only because
Gervinho and (Marouane) Chamakh went to the African Nations Cup.

'I was there to train and they asked me if I wanted to play. Who knows
what might happen in the future I've not yet spoken to Arsene about it
so I don't know what capacity I could go back in.'

Arsenal and Spurs stars in kits from 125 years ago and legends recall favourite derby moments

As Arsenal and Spurs stars pose for Sportsmail in the kits from 125 years ago, north London legends recall their favourite derby moments…

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UPDATED:

00:01 GMT, 16 November 2012

Record – all competitions

Arsenal wins: 98

Tottenham wins: 81

Draws: 62

Abandoned 2

On a wintry November afternoon 125 years ago, the beginning of something special was born on Tottenham Marshes.

The newly formed Royal Arsenal were the visitors to face Tottenham, the sides meeting for the first time in what would become the north London derby. Back then, Arsenal, who had been formed just a year earlier as Dial Square, were based in Woolwich. Spurs had been formed five years previously.

Their first meeting had to be abandoned, Arsenal arriving so late it got dark before the end of a match that Spurs were leading 2-1.

If that was a bit of a damp squib, what followed was not. There have been goalfests, Arsenal's 'Double' decider in 1971 and Invincible title in 2004, a couple of sizzling Spurs semi-final wins, great comebacks and no shortage of passion.

Here, some of the greats who have played in the fixture pick their favourite games.

The way they were: From left, Laurent Koscielny, Tomas Rosicky, Gervinho, Olivier Giroud and Jermain Defoe, Michael Dawson, Kyle Walker and Jake Livermore

The way they were: From left, Laurent Koscielny, Tomas Rosicky,
Gervinho, Olivier Giroud and Jermain Defoe, Michael Dawson, Kyle Walker and Jake Livermore

Alex Kay on the photo shoot

Doing work for the media is never going to be high up on the list of things footballers want to do. But all eight players who took part in this picture were fantastic.

We bought the kit in to them and all took an interest straight away, surprised that the clubs' crests were different 125 years ago and amazed that players used to take to the field in such thick material. Tomas Rosicky and Michael Dawson were quick to spot that you wouldn't want to sweat in the heavy tops.

There was genuine interest in the history of the derby too, as well as amazement at the length of the shorts!

It was nice that some of the players asked to keep the shirts. Olivier Giroud didn't take his off after the shoot, Jake Livermore kept his as a birthday present (it was good of him to take part on his birthday) and an excited Jermain Defoe had his name and No 18 put on the back of his before running around excitedly to show his team-mates.

It was fun to do, something different and made me realise that footballers get a hard rap sometimes.

CLIFF JONES

Tottenham 1958-68 (370 appearances, 159 goals)

I signed from Swansea in February 1958 and my first game was against Arsenal at Highbury. I was doing my national service in the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery so I was Gunner Jones, strangely enough. I travelled by Tube from St John's Wood to the Marble Halls.

Bill Nicholson said I had to be at the ground at 1.30pm. I got to Highbury and there was this big commissionaire standing at the door and he wouldn't let me in. He didn't recognise me. I said I'd just signed for Tottenham and he said: 'I've heard that one before, son.' I told him to get Bill, which he did.

Bill shook my hand, then looked at his watch and said: '/11/15/article-2233668-160CD52F000005DC-278_470x423.jpg” width=”470″ height=”423″ alt=”Olivier Giroud” class=”blkBorder” />

Laurent Koscielny

Tip top: Arsenal stars Olivier Giroud (left) and Laurent Koscielny

MICKY HAZARD

Tottenham 1978-85, 93-95 (170 apps, 25 goals)

It was in 1982, we played at Highbury. We won 3-1. I made two goals and scored a wonder goal. I was voted man of the match as well. It was the best goal I ever scored for Spurs. Ricky Villa passed the ball to me on the right-hand side a yard inside their half. I went past one player, then I went past a second. Then John Hollins, who later signed me for Chelsea, came out. He was playing right back but I skipped past him about 25 yards from goal then rifled it into the top corner with my left foot. The Arsenal players had adverts on their shirts, and in those days they weren't allowed, so the match never got televised. Very frustrating! Whenever anyone asks about a favourite memory, it's always linked to when you've played great or scored. I did both.

ANDERS LIMPAR

Arsenal 1990-94 (116 apps, 20 goals)

MY first derby was the third game into the 1990 season at Highbury. Gazza played and he kicked me down early on. I was on the floor with my shinpad split in two and he stood over me and said: 'Welcome to England you f*****g Swede.' I had to have two stitches in my leg. That was the perfect introduction to English football from Gazza. I loved it. When it came to Tony Adams firing up all the guys in the dressing room, it was amazing to see him before the games against Spurs. He was frothing like a bull. For me he was always man of the match against Spurs. He was Mr Arsenal and I was honoured to play with a captain like that. JURGEN KLINSMANN Tottenham 1994-95, 1997-98 (68 apps, 38 goals)

IT was a game late in the season, a 1-1 draw at Highbury in April 1995. I scored a header and, even though I felt we should have won, I remember the atmosphere being special. I was up front with Teddy Sheringham and he was such an intelligent player to play with. That season, I won Footballer of the Year, which was very special. I've played in many derbies but none mean more to the fans than this one.

Michael Dawson

Jake Livermore

Flash: Spurs duo Michael Dawson (left) and Jake Livermore

CHARLIE NICHOLAS

Arsenal 1983-88 (184 apps, 54 goals)

I was under a lot of pressure from
our fans, especially in my first derby because I'd not scored in 10 or
12 games. But they were really supportive. When I went to White Hart
Lane and scored twice, it helped me bed in with the Arsenal fans. A few
were questioning whether I would fit into the system and my goals
against Spurs helped. After the match we had a few drinks with the Spurs
boys in the players' room. There was no malice or anger. We'd been
kicking lumps out of each other for 90 minutes but let it go after the
game. Graham Rix and I used to go for a drink and we'd meet up with
Glenn Hoddle, even Graham Roberts at times.

JAMIE REDKNAPP

Tottenham 2002-05 (49 apps, 4 goals)

I played in that 2-2 draw against the Invincibles at White Hart Lane. At half-time, it could have been 6-0 – Pires, Henry, Vieira, Cole and Campbell were immense. We were delighted to only be 2-0 down. Then I scored after the break with a decent strike past Jens Lehmann, who then gave away a very dubious penalty to Robbie Keane in the last minute. We equalised but the draw meant they won the league. It was odd in that sense as both teams were happy. They won the title but we had a result against the best team in Premier League history. We were buzzing, we'd got out of jail. We'd been outclassed.

Smokin': Ashley Cole leads celebrations after Arsenal won the title at White Hart Lane in 2004

Smokin': Ashley Cole leads celebrations after Arsenal claimed league title at White Hart Lane in 2004

Not for faint-hearted: Tottenham's Graham Roberts and Arsenal's Charlie Nicholas end up in the crowd

Not for faint-hearted: Tottenham's Graham Roberts and Arsenal's Charlie Nicholas end up in the crowd

BILLY McCULLOUGH

Arsenal 1958-66 (268 apps, five goals)

My first derby was at Highbury when Dave Mackay and Danny Blanchflower beat us. But it is the 4-4 at White Hart Lane in October 1962 that sticks in my memory. We had a centre half, Laurie Brown, who had been transferred to Tottenham earlier in the year. He didn't take much abuse though, I don't think it was as bad then. If anyone says they're not nervous when they play in a derby, there's something wrong with them. You can feel the tension in the dressing room before you run out, but once you're out there you're just concentrating. Afterwards, we'd have a cup of tea or a bottle of beer with the other players and their wives. There was never much animosity.

STEVE PERRYMAN

Tottenham 1969-86 (854 apps, 39 goals)

I probably played more derbies than any other Spurs player. The strangest was when the great Pat Jennings – who played for both clubs and was then with Arsenal – was given the red book at the end of a game for This Is Your Life. It had to be secret so no one could tell him. Some of us from Tottenham were invited to travel on the Arsenal bus to the studios. The Spurs fans were making their feelings known to the visiting bus as it left – until they saw some familiar faces on board – one being me. It was a special event to go to, but if you were a Spurs fan you'd probably think we shouldn't have been on that bus! I got in the team under Bill Nicholson and he was the type who would pull you up if you drove a red car or had a red coat. If an office lady had a red coat, he'd make her life a misery. If there was a speck of red in your tie, watch out. I got the message. There's more respect between the two clubs than some other derbies. After my heart problems I had messages from Arsenal fans, which was particularly nice.

Tottenham's Steve Perryman takes on Arsenal's John Hollins

True colours: Spurs legend Steve Perryman got the message

Magic moment: Paul Gascoigne scores with a free kick against Arsenal in 1991 FA Cup semi-final

Magic moment: Paul Gascoigne scores with a free kick against Arsenal in 1991 FA Cup semi-final

CHRIS HUGHTON

Tottenham 1977-90 (398 apps, 19 goals)

WITHOUT a doubt our 5-0 win at home in April 1983. I'd watched from the sidelines in 1978 as Liam Brady scored a wonder goal when Arsenal won by the same scoreline, so it felt great for our fans to win so emphatically. On a personal note it was great as I scored two.

PERRY GROVES

Arsenal 1986-92 (120 apps, 28 goals)

There's no better feeling than scoring the winner in front of the North Bank – I know because I did it in March 1988. I'm probably being self-indulgent but it was magical. The game was live on ITV, which was massive back then because not many games were broadcast. We were 1-0 up thanks to Alan Smith and I was played through in the 24th minute. The ball bounced up so sweetly for me and it was in front of the Clock End. I remember thinking: 'It's only Bobby Mimms in goal, I'll definitely score this!' But somehow I screwed my shot wide and I couldn't believe it. So you could imagine what was going through my mind when Clive Allen equalised. I was going to be hung by the fans for missing that chance. But then the moment arrived. Kenny Sansom took a throw and the ball dropped on my left foot. When the ball hit the net, it was a mix of exhilaration and relief. I dived into the North Bank!

Derby surprise: Eamonn Andrews stuns Pat Jennings

Derby surprise: Eamonn Andrews stuns Pat Jennings

GERRY FRANCIS

Tottenham boss 1994-97 (146 games)

IT has to be the 1-0 win at home on January 2, 1995. It was always going to be special because it was my first as manager. We were playing well at the time, so went into it with confidence. Gica Popescu scored the only goal and White Hart Lane erupted. To make it more special, that was the last time Tottenham finished the season as London's top club.

Arsenal misery with Gervinho injured for four weeks

More Arsenal misery with crocked Gervinho facing four weeks on the sidelines

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 30 October 2012

Arsenal forward Gervinho will miss up to four weeks with an ankle injury.

The Ivory Coast international was stretchered off during the 1-0 win over Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.

Gervinho underwent a scan on Monday and the diagnosis is that the forward will be missing for around a month with the injury.

Knock: Gervinho picked up an ankle injury against QPR last weekend

Knock: Gervinho picked up an ankle injury against QPR last weekend

The 25-year-old will miss some crucial
games for the Gunners, including Saturday's trip to clash against
Manchester United, the club's Champions League clashes against Schalke
and Montpellier as well as the north London derby against Tottenham
Hotspur.

The news will come as cruel blow to Arsene Wenger, who is already short of forward options.

Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse, Kolo and Yaya Toure caught up in Senegal riot

Cisse, Ba and Toure brothers escape from danger as Senegal fans riot in stands

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UPDATED:

09:39 GMT, 14 October 2012

The African Cup of Nations qualifier between Senegal and Ivory Coast in Dakar was abandoned following crowd trouble.

Ivory Coast were leading 2-0 on the night and 6-2 on aggregate – a result which seems likely to stand, sending Senegal out – when the match was stopped in the 72nd minute at the Stade Leopold Senghor.

The incident was confirmed on the official website of the Senegalese Football Federation, www.senegalfoot.sn: 'Unfortunately the match ended in very sombre circumstances.

Unrest: Didier Drogba is shielded by a policeman as trouble rages in the stands

Unrest: Didier Drogba is shielded by a policeman as trouble rages in the stands

Heading for shelter: Manchester City star Yaya Toure is guided off the pitch in Dakar

Heading for shelter: Manchester City star Yaya Toure is guided off the pitch in Dakar

'The referee was forced to stop in the
match in the 72nd minute with the score at 2-0 because of serious
outbreaks in the stands by very unhappy Senegalese supporters.

'The police took the public out after many confrontations.'

Play had been temporarily halted in
the 65th minute when a person ran on to the pitch and almost reached
Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba before being wrestled to the ground
and escorted off the field.

Drogba had given his side the lead in
the 51st minute with a free-kick and the former Chelsea man then made it
2-0 from the penalty spot in the 70th minute.

Take cover: Kolo Toure is covered by riot policemen's shields

Take cover: Kolo Toure is covered by riot policemen's shields

Take cover: Kolo Toure is covered by riot policemen's shields

Following that second goal there were
disturbances in the stands, with small fires being set alight and
objects thrown as players and staff from both teams grouped together in
the centre circle.

A host of Barclays Premier
League-based players were involved in the match, including Newcastle
pair Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse lining up for Senegal, along with West
Ham's Mohamed Diame.

In Ivory Coast's starting line-up were
Arsenal striker Gervinho, Manchester City brothers Yaya and Kolo Toure,
and Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote.

City said on their official website:
'City's Yaya and Kolo Toure are both safe after crowd trouble halted
play as Senegal hosted the Ivory Coast in Dakar.

Stick and stones: Fans threw anything they could lay their hands on onto the pitch

Stick and stones: Fans threw anything they could lay their hands on onto the pitch

Stick and stones: Fans threw anything they could lay their hands on onto the pitch

'Disturbances broke out as Didier
Drogba put the Elephants 2-0 up, after what was deemed a controversial
penalty decision in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

'Fires were started in the stands at
Stade Leopold Senghor and missiles were launched on to the pitch before
the players were escorted to safety.

'Yaya and Kolo were both involved in the second leg clash and early reports suggest the brothers are unharmed.'

Turning nasty: Senegal fans throw rocks and set fires in the stands at Leopold Sedar Senghor Stadium

Turning nasty: Senegal fans throw rocks and set fires in the stands at Leopold Sedar Senghor Stadium

Watching on: Riot police watch from the field as Senegal fans throw rocks and set fires in the stands

Watching on: Riot police watch from the field as Senegal fans throw rocks and set fires in the stands

Fernando Llorente on Arsenal radar

Llorente is on Wenger striker list as Arsenal boss eyes long-term RVP replacement

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UPDATED:

23:01 GMT, 10 October 2012

Arsene Wenger will open his chequebook to land Robin van Persie’s long-term successor when the transfer window re-opens.

The Arsenal manager has instructed his global network of scouts to start identifying realistic forward targets the club can go for in January.

And Wenger, together with his backroom team, will hold a series of technical meetings where those players identified will be discussed and formalised into a shortlist.

Wenger has in the region of 35million to splash at the turn of the year and has made a new world-class centre-forward his top priority.

Head boy: Wenger is interested in signing Spain forward Llorente

Head boy: Wenger is interested in signing Spain forward Llorente (left)

The Frenchman accepts he has not
sufficiently replaced Van Persie after the Holland international moved
to Premier League rivals Manchester United.

Despite claims to the contrary,
Olivier Giroud’s capture was always viewed as an option to supplement
the Arsenal attack rather than spearhead it.
It was hoped that Giroud would hit the ground running after his arrival,
but the France international has scored just once in the Premier
League.

Wenger has also tried Gervinho in the
central striker role – and while the Ivory coast forward has impressed
at times – Wenger is not convinced he is the answer.

Likewise, Lukas Podolski can be
deployed as a conventional No 9 but Wenger feels the Germany
international is best suited to the left-sided role he currently
occupies.

Option: Arsenal could also turn to Lopez

Option: Arsenal could also turn to Lopez

Early contenders are Atletico Madrid striker Adrian Lopez, a player who has already been scouted intensively by Arsenal spies.

Athletic Bilbao forward Fernando
Llorente is also highly-rated by Wenger. The Spain international is out
of contract at the end of the season meaning he could be available at a
cut-price fee.

Another option is Fiorentina forward
Stevan Jovetic who has been on Arsenal’s radar for over 12 months, while
Palermo’s Abel Hernandez has also been watched.

As Sportsmail revealed
on Tuesday, the Gunners are also in the running to sign Crystal
Palace’s Wilfried Zaha – though the 19-year-old is not viewed as a
centre-forward.

Arsenal are also in the market for a
goalkeeper to challenge No 1 Wojciech Szczesny in January. Wenger is
keen on Swansea’s Michel Vorm.

Attracting interest: Michel Vorm

Attracting interest: Michel Vorm

The Gunners hope their January spending will be supplemented by a
mini-clearout. Arsenal will continue with their ongoing mission to sell
the club’s unwanted stars.

The likes of Nicklas Bendtner, Carlos
Vela, Manuel Almunia, Denilson and Park Chu-young all left on a
temporary or permanent basis during the summer.

But Arsenal are still keen to offload Marouane Chamakh, Sebastien Squillaci, Johan Djourou and Andrey Arshavin.

Meanwhile, starlet Chuba Akpom, who celebrated his 17th birthday this week, has signed professional terms at the Emirates

Chuba has represented England at a
number of development levels and scored three goals in four games for
the Under 17s at the 2011 Nordic Tournament.

Arsenal 3 Olympiacos 1: Steve Bould hails "fantastic result"

Arsenal No 2 Bould lauds 'fantastic result' as Gunners edge out Olympiacos at Emirates

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UPDATED:

21:22 GMT, 3 October 2012

Arsenal assistant coach Steve Bould felt the Gunners overcame a nervy first half to secure an important win after downing Olympiacos 3-1 in the Champions League.

Arsenal rode their luck on occasions before taking a 42nd-minute lead through Gervinho, only to be pegged back minutes later when Kostas Mitroglou glanced home a header.

On target: Gervinho opens the scoring shortly before the interval

On target: Gervinho opens the scoring shortly before the interval after a well-executed finish

The home side needed just 11 minutes of the second half to re-take the lead, though, when Lukas Podolski netted, and a fine late finish from Aaron Ramsey sealed a second successive victory in Group B.

Bould, who again sat on the bench in place of Arsene Wenger as the Frenchman continued to serve a European ban, said of the victory: 'It was tough, they made it tough for us. We started well enough but then looked a little bit nervous. 'Overall it was fantastic result.'

Job done: Ramsey completes the victory with a cool finish in injury time

Job done: Ramsey celebrates after completing the victory with a cool finish in injury time

With Schalke being held by Montpellier at home this evening Arsenal are now two points clear at the top of the group, although Bould is not getting carried away.

He told Sky Sports 4: 'It's early days, there's an awful lot of work still to do.'

Captain Thomas Vermaelen echoed those thoughts, admitting his side were not up to speed on occasion in the first half before improving after the break.

Up for the battle: Kostas Mitroglou beats Thomas Vermaelen to the ball en route to Olympiacos's leveller

Up for the battle: Kostas Mitroglou beats Thomas Vermaelen to the ball en route to Olympiacos's leveller

The centre-back said: 'The second half was better, in the first half we were sloppy sometimes with the passing, we lost a lot of balls.

'We stared well but the first half was not great.' 'We did much better in the second half.'

He added of the win: 'It gives us more confidence to have two wins from two. The most important thing is to win your home games. We want to keep it going.'

In the stands: Wenger, serving a touchline ban, watched the match alongside England boss Roy Hodgson

In the stands: Wenger, serving a touchline ban, watched the match alongside England boss Roy Hodgson