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Theo Walcott agrees deal to stay at Arsenal

Walcott finally agrees new deal at Emirates with forward set to stay at Arsenal until 2016

PUBLISHED:

12:19 GMT, 18 January 2013

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UPDATED:

13:00 GMT, 18 January 2013

Theo Walcott appears to have ended the drawn out contract saga at Arsenal by agreeing a new deal that will keep him at the club until 2016.

After lengthy negotiations the England forward has finally agreed, in principle, a three-and-a-half year deal at the Emirates.

The 23-year-old is likely to join fellow Britons Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who all signed five-year extensions last month.

Finally: Theo Walcott has agreed a new deal with Arsenal after lengthy negotiations

Finally: Theo Walcott has agreed a new deal with Arsenal after lengthy negotiations

On alert: Arsene Wenger was concerned that another of his prized assets would leave the club

On alert: Arsene Wenger was concerned that another of his prized assets would leave the club

Walcott was expected to agree a deal
sooner, but he baulked at a deal worth 75,000 per week in
August as he held out for a contract closer to 100,000.

Arsene Wenger has seen some of his brightest
talents leave the Emirates in the past two summers.

Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri,
Alex Song and the Premier League's leading goalscorer this season Robin van Persie have
all departed and the Frenchman was desperate to keep Walcott
on board.

Wenger had
said that he was '99 per cent' certain that Walcott would agree terms
before the weekend, and it appears his prediction has come to fruition.

He told The Sun: 'I hope it will be signed before the weekend. There is a possibility. My optimism is at 99 per cent now.'

He added that he was concerned
Walcott would follow the other big names out of the club but it appears
he is set to stay in north London.

Wenger said: 'Yes I was scared at
some stage, that he could leave because it is like that with the
experience I have in negotiations.

'When things last too long, it is never a good sign. It took us some time to get where we want to get. It is still not finalised, but hopefully it will be done by this weekend.'

Walcott joined the Gunners in 2006, when Wenger signed the 16-year-old Southampton academy graduate.

The Englishman is Arsenal's top scorer this campaign with 14 goals in all competitions.

Problem solved: Arsene Wenger managed to convince Walcott to stay at the club

Problem solved: Arsene Wenger managed to convince Walcott to stay at the club

Crisis averted: Samir Nasri moved to Manchester City

Crisis averted: Cesc Fabregas joined Barcelona in 2011

Crisis averted: Samir Nasri (left) moved to Manchester City and Cesc Fabregas (right) left for Barcelona in 2011

Big loss: Robin van Persie left Arsenal last summer for Manchester United

Big loss: Robin van Persie left Arsenal last summer for Manchester United

Roy Hodgson says England needs to stop asking what has gone wrong and instead look to the future

Hodgson urges England to forget the failures since '66 and look to the future

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UPDATED:

16:38 GMT, 15 December 2012

Roy Hodgson cannot see the point in England handicapping themselves by constantly lamenting what has gone wrong since 1966.

After a solid start to their World Cup qualifying campaign, the Three Lions visit San Marino and Montenegro next March before an autumn push towards the World Cup in Brazil.

If England do achieve their first objective, Hodgson knows references to their sole World Cup win are bound to be raised, plus the inevitable debate about why progress has been so slow since that memorable occasion.

England boss Roy Hodgson says England need to stop lamenting past failures and focus on the present and future

England boss Roy Hodgson says England need to stop worrying about what has gone wrong since 1966 and focus on the present and future of the team

But England's coach feels that assessment is counter-productive.

'One of my concerns for England has always been that we're not trying to win in the present, we're trying to win in the past and we can't do that,' Hodgson told FATV.

'I know there's 1966 and that it's 50 years and that we've failed here and there and missed penalty shoot-outs, but unfortunately there's not very much I can do now to change anything that's historical.

England manager Roy Hodgson

'You can't turn back the clock and you can't win yesterday. You can only win today and while winning today, you can only have an eye on how we can win tomorrow.'

Hodgson cannot be faulted for the number of younger players he has introduced to the Three Lions fold since he took charge in May.

Raheem Sterling and Carl Jenkinson were amongst those to make their debuts in Sweden last month, whilst others, including Danny Welbeck and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were part of his Euro 2012 squad despite their limited experience.

With the exception of Sterling, none of that quartet could be regarded as first-choice for their clubs in a league where so many of its top men are foreign.

Hodgson sees little point arguing against the mass continental influx.

Instead he feels the onus is on those young English players to prove themselves indispensable.

'Clubs will do what they have to do and I can't expect that a manager who is under pressure to get results is thinking long-term for the benefits of the English national side,' he said.

'If he thinks his interests are best served by getting a player from Montenegro, Russia or Israel, they're entitled to do that.

'Rather than complain that there are a lot of foreign players, let's turn it on its head and make certain that our players do better.

'Take Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for example, who plays some games but not others. He has got to become so good that Arsene Wenger doesn't want to look elsewhere.

'That's what I've got to hope for and that's got to be their ambition.'

Challenge: Hodgson has said that players like Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (pictured) have to 'become so good that Arsene Wenger doesn't want to look elsewhere'

Challenge: Hodgson said that players like Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (pictured) have to be 'so good that Arsene Wenger doesn't want to look elsewhere'

Arsenal 2 West Brom 0 – Match report

Arsenal 2 West Brom 0: Arteta doubles up from the spot after Cazorla goes down easily to earn dubious first penalty

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UPDATED:

17:45 GMT, 8 December 2012

Mikel Arteta struck twice from the penalty spot – the first after a dive by fellow Spaniard Santi Cazorla – as Arsenal returned to winning ways with a Barclays Premier League victory over West Brom at Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners had started brightly but took the lead through controversial fashion, after Cazorla flung himself to the floor following a challenge by Steven Reid when replays showed there was no contact.

The Baggies, who lost twice last week to halt their fine start to the season, never really recovered from the sense of injustice and there was no way back once Arteta converted from the penalty spot again on 64 minutes after Chris Brunt had tripped Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Easy as that: Mikel Arteta scored his first goal from the spot

Easy as that: Mikel Arteta scored his first goal from the spot

MATCH FACTS

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Coquelin 77), Cazorla (Podolski 87), Giroud, Gervinho (Rosicky 81)

Subs not used: Martinez, Squillaci, Jenkinson, Ramsey

Booked: Mertesacker, Giroud

Goals: Arteta 26 (pen), 64 (pen)

West Brom: Myhill, Reid, Olsson, Ridgewell (Popov 6), McAuley, Morrison, Brunt, Mulumbu, Gera (Rosenberg 75), Long, Odemwingie (Lukaku 62),

Subs not used: Daniels, Tamas, Dorrans, Fortune

Booked: Olsson, Brunt, Reid

Referee: Mike Jones

Attendance: 60,083

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It was a lively start by the home
side, who had not won in four games, but recalled most of their
first-team regulars missing from the midweek Champions League defeat at
Olympiacos, although forward Theo Walcott was sidelined by a calf
injury.

A high pass into the West Brom
penalty area was palmed away by Boaz Myhill, but Gervinho missed his
kick and could only hack the ball wide from six yards.

West Brom were forced into an early change when defender Liam Ridgewell hobbled off, replaced by Goran Popov.

On 17 minutes, Oxlade-Chamberlain
darted to the goalline on the right and looped the ball back across
goal. Cazorla arrived at pace, but could not keep his left-foot volley
down and fired the ball high into the Clock End.

West Brom were dangerous on the
counter and almost snatched the lead when captain Chris Brunt curled a
20-yard effort just wide of the top right corner.

Arsenal were awarded a penalty on 24
minutes. Cazorla cut into the left side of the area, and as he turned
back inside Steven Reid, went to ground as the defender stuck out his
leg.

Arms aloft: Arteta wheels away after the penalty hit the back of the net

Arms aloft: Arteta wheels away after the penalty hit the back of the net

Bust up: Mike Jones is surrounded by West Brom players after awarding the first penalty

Bust up: Mike Jones is surrounded by West Brom players after awarding the first penalty

Referee Mike Jones immediately
pointed to the spot, although television replays showed there looked
little contact, if any at all. Arteta stepped up to drill the ball past
Myhill.

There was more than a sense of injustice from the visitors, who soon went in search of swift recompense.

However, Arsenal soaked up the pressure and then resumed their counter attacks.

Gervinho ghosted down the left and
pulled the ball back across the face of goal, but Jack Wilshere's
sliding touch stabbed it just wide.

West Brom felt they had a penalty
shout when Per Mertesacker handled a high ball in the Arsenal box, but
the assistant on the far side flagged for a foul on the big German
defender by Jonas Olsson.

Contact Santi Cazorla won the penalty but there appeared to be no touch from Steven Reid

Contact Santi Cazorla won the penalty but there appeared to be no touch from Steven Reid

Not even close: Cazorla went down easily in the box

Not even close: Cazorla went down easily in the box

At the other end, Myhill pushed a low
shot from Gervinho around the post before Oxlade-Chamberlain sent an
acrobatic scissors kick over the crossbar.

West Brom started the second half with some purpose, yet not really stretching the Arsenal defence.

The Gunners went forwards quickly on
the counter, with Oxlade-Chamberlain floating a ball across the face of
goal before Olivier Giroud and Olsson squared up on the edge of the
penalty area, with the referee soon restoring calm after showing both
players a yellow card.

Gervinho was off target again when he glanced a free header wide on the penalty spot.

The Ivory Coast forward was enduring
one of those afternoons when moments later he failed to connect with
Giroud's knockdown into the six-yard box.

Up and away: Jack Wilshere battles for the ball

Up and away: Jack Wilshere battles for the ball

Mismatch Wilshere squares up to Jonas Olsson

Mismatch Wilshere squares up to Jonas Olsson

On 64 minutes, Arsenal were awarded
another penalty. This time there was no controversy as Brunt chopped
down Oxlade-Chamberlain after the England midfielder had charged down
the right.

Arteta took it again and with the same outcome as the Spaniard blasted the spot-kick down the middle.

With a two-goal cushion, Arsenal had
some breathing space and started to produce the slick, passing football
which had been so lacking in recent performances.

Catch me if you can: Goran Popov slides in on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Catch me if you can: Goran Popov slides in on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

With 13 minutes left, Wenger sent on defensive midfielder Francis Coquelin for Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Arteta tried for a hat-trick when he whipped a 22-yard free-kick around the wall, but also just past the left-hand post.

West Brom substitute Markus Rosenberg tested Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny with a low shot from 20 yards.

German international Lukas Podolski
came off the bench to somehow lift the ball over from six yards as
Arsenal closed out what was in the end a comfortable victory to edge
back up towards the top four.

You again! Arteta scored his second penalty of the game

You again! Arteta scored his second penalty of the game

Vying: Olivier Giroud and Jonas Olsson battle for possession

Vying: Olivier Giroud and Jonas Olsson battle for possession

WENGER WATCH

Wenger watch: Arsene Wenger

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger went into today's match against West Brom under pressure following four matches without victory. Here, Nicholas McAvaney takes a look at how he performed.

BODY LANGUAGE
Looking sharp in his suit, Wenger (right) lasted five minutes before donning his winter coat – not because of a frosty reception from the fans however.

Often out of his seat in the opening half, Wenger stormed to the bench on 22 minutes after venting his frustration on the turf following Gervinho's missed.

Even Mikel Arteta's goal three minutes later could not remove the Frenchman's scowl, which remained until the whistle. Arteta's second goal also failed to excite the manager, who was a touch more animated in the second half, mostly in the final 10 minutes when the victory was assured.

At full-time and following a quick handshake with Steve Clarke, he was off the pitch without hesitation.

TACTICS
Opening with a 4-4-2 formation, Arsenal dominated possession and regularly peppered the opposition goal, albeit with little success.

Wenger resisted the urge to shake up his forward line soon after the break, much to the frustration of fans who grew tired of Gervinho's wasted opportunities 15 minutes into the second half and vehemently appealed to Wenger for an urgent substitution.

Francis Coquelin and Tomas Rosicky helped strengthen his midfield with 10 minutes remaining at the expense of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gervinho.

INTERACTION
The Frenchman was unusually quiet with the officials across the first 45 minutes, only once questioning a call that saw Oliver Giroud writhing on the ground clutching his lower back just past the half hour.

He was quickly out of his seat in the second half, though, exchanging words with the fourth official to little effect.

He vented with greater aggression five minutes later after a questionable call against Arsenal, then spent the remainder of the half with his hands in his pockets, only occasionally commanding player movements in the final 10 minutes.

FANS
The home fans reserved any stick for the manager for prior to kick off. An ironic cheer erupted on 10 minutes as the manager craftily flicked the ball back from the bench for a throw in, but few had anything to say to the Frenchman throughout the half.

Fans seemed happy with Arteta's brace all but assuring Arsenal of the three points, and dutifully applauded the boss for a job well done on 90 minutes.

Wilfired Zaha and Raheem Sterling must be committed to England, says Roy Hodgson

Commit to England cause or it's on your bike, says Hodgson as Three Lions boss issues fierce warning to Zaha and Sterling

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UPDATED:

23:08 GMT, 13 November 2012

Roy Hodgson has warned Raheem Sterling and Wilfried Zaha that unless they commit to England he will pick players who are prepared to ‘cycle to training’ with senior stars.

Hodgson revealed here that he will hand international debuts to Sterling, Steven Caulker and Leon Osman against Sweden this evening, but he wants assurances from Sterling, Zaha and Carl Jenkinson that they see their future with his team.

Scroll down for video
Centre of attention: England's Wilfried Zaha warms up during a training session at the Friends Arena in Stockholm

Centre of attention: Wilfried Zaha warms up during a training session at the Friends Arena in Stockholm

Plenty to ponder: Zaha must choose between representing England or the Ivory Coast

Plenty to ponder: Zaha must choose between representing England or the Ivory Coast

The England manager was in combative
mood on the eve of the match, insisting that the trio – all eligible to
play for other countries – should feel honoured to receive his call.

Zaha has said he is torn between
playing for England and Ivory Coast after receiving a telephone call
from Didier Drogba, while Sterling could play for Jamaica and Jenkinson
for Finland.

Debut delight: Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling trains with the England squad on Tuesday

Debut delight: Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling trains with the England squad on Tuesday

But Hodgson said: 'When people are
called up I expect them to come running, get on a bicycle and cycle to
the training session if they have to. Then they shake hands with
everyone and tell everyone how happy they are to be there.

'All this nonsense about players
receiving phone calls and being enticed away… if they are going to be
enticed away, they will be enticed away. But if they are being enticed
away they are not the right player for us.

In focus: Zaha trains alongside Spurs midfielder Tom Huddlestone and Stoke's Ryan Shawcross

In focus: Zaha trains alongside Spurs midfielder Tom Huddlestone and Stoke's Ryan Shawcross and, below, the boot he will wear against Sweden should he feature on Wednesday

Wilfried Zaha's boot

'To be asked to play for England is a major honour and a major feather in people's caps.

'I am not interested in people who
are deciding whether England is where they want to be or whether they
want to be somewhere else.

'I made it clear to Zaha that I am inviting him because I expect him to be an England player.

Training day: England's players are put through their paces ahead of Wednesday's friendly against Sweden

Training day: England's players are put through their paces ahead of Wednesday's friendly against Sweden

Grand opening: Wednesday's friendly takes place at the new Friends Arena in Stockholm

Grand opening: Wednesday's friendly takes place at the new Friends Arena in Stockholm

'If you are not sure you want to be an England player then you are better off telling me and I will pick someone else.

'We don't stand or fall on you. We
have chosen you because we think you are a good one. 'If our national
team and the chance to play for them is not a strong enough motivation
for players, they are not the type we want anyway.

Waiting game: Carl Jenkinson (far R) is awaiting international clearance, England manager Roy Hodgson has confirmed

Waiting game: Jenkinson is awaiting international clearance, England manager Roy Hodgson has confirmed

'I have spoken to Sterling and Zaha.
Both have assured me that they have started with England and that's
where they want to end up. Let's wait and see.'

England's clash with Sweden is
classified by FIFA as a non-competitive fixture and therefore a player
will not be tied to the Three Lions if they make their debut on
Wednesday night.

Good to talk: Hodgson is looking forward to Wednesday's clash in Stockholm

Good to talk: Hodgson is looking forward to Wednesday's clash in Stockholm

That applies to Liverpool winger
Sterling but Zaha, the Crystal Palace star who was called into the squad
on Sunday, and Arsenal defender Jenkinson, who is expected to receive
international clearance this morning, could also feature.

Jenkinson's team-mate Jack Wilshere
will be on the bench but the midfielder could play a part despite just
226 minutes for Arsene Wenger's side after a 17-month layoff.

Hodgson added: 'It is ridiculous to suggest Jack is not available for England and Arsene understands that too.'

VIDEO: Hodgson talks about his team selection and praises Gerrard

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Arsenal transfer latest: Wilfried Zaha, Charlie Austin, Liam Trotter and Will Hughes scouted

Revealed: Zaha, Austin, Hughes and Trotter – the four stars Arsenal scouted last week

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UPDATED:

11:39 GMT, 13 November 2012

Arsenal spied on four of the Football League's most promising stars on Saturday.

Liam Trotter, Charlie Austin, Will Hughes and Wilfried Zaha – a quartet of England's best emerging talent outside the top-flight – were the subject of Arsenal's attentions last weekend.

Influential chief scout Steve Rowley attended Millwall's 2-1 win over Derby at the Den to cast his eye over Trotter and Hughes.

In demand: Arsenal have scouts watching Wilfried Zaha

Hot shot: Burnley striker Charlie Austin

In demand: Arsenal have scouts watching Zaha and Burnley's Charlie Austin (R)

Gunners spies have kept close tabs on Lions' box-to-box midfielder Trotter from the start of last season, with his performances this term earning rave reviews.

Rams midfielder Hughes, 17, has been hailed as a future England international and has made 15 starts for Nigel Clough's side this season as well as breaking into Stuart Pearce's Under-21 set-up.

Meanwhile, a senior Gunners spy ran the rule over Burnley goal-machine Charlie Austin in the Clarets' 2-1 defeat against Ipswich.

Wanted: Derby ace Will Hughes

Interest: Millwall midfielder Liam Trotter

Wanted: Derby ace Will Hughes and Millwall's Liam Trotter are also being tracked

Austin, 23, has scored 20 goals in just 18 appearances for the Lancashire club this season.

The Gunners have found the lower leagues a productive talent pool in recent years with the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott and Carl Jenkinson all plucked from either the Championship or League One.

Plans: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger wants to bolster his squad in the January transfer window

Plans: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger wants to bolster his squad in the January transfer window

Wilfried Zaha lands England call up for Sweden friendly

EXCLUSIVE: England win Zaha tussle as Hodgson hands shock call-up to Palace wonderkid

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UPDATED:

23:09 GMT, 11 November 2012

Wilfried Zaha will join up with England on Monday after a night spent agonising over his dramatic call-up from Roy Hodgson.

The Crystal Palace sensation was due to be picked up in an FA car at 5am on Monday from his south London home and driven to Manchester, to link up with the squad for Wednesday’s friendly in Sweden, but only after two hours of frantic negotiations between the 20-year-old’s representatives, Palace officials and the FA.

Zaha took a phone call from Ivory Coast captain Didier Drogba on Wednesday urging him to play for the country he was born in at the Africa Cup of Nations in January.

The only way is up: Wilfried Zaha is floored against Peterborough on Saturday but is on the rise as a player

The only way is up: Wilfried Zaha is floored against Peterborough on Saturday but is on the rise as a player

Zaha, 20 on Saturday, tweeted after Sportsmail revealed online that he was in the squad: ‘Wow everything’s happening so fast’.

Hodgson had been at Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool when he decided to
add Zaha, man-of-the-match in Palace’s 2-1 win at Peterborough on
Saturday, into his squad. The manager also called up Spurs’ Tom
Huddlestone and Arsenal right back Carl Jenkinson last night for the
game in Stockholm.

Ruled out are Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott, Jonjo Shelvey, Kyle Walker and Aaron Lennon.

Tussle: Didier Drogba was hoping Zaha would commit to play for the Ivory Coast

Tussle: Didier Drogba was hoping Zaha would commit to play for the Ivory Coast

Young Lion: Zaha has five Under 21 caps

Young Lion: Zaha has five Under 21 caps

Palace winger Zaha, who turned 20 on Saturday, was reluctant to accept
the invitation because he feared it would force him to choose a country.
He was locked in talks with Palace officials, his agents and his family
on Sunday night after the dramatic England call-up, but made a decision
at 9pm.

Hodgson was on a train north on Sunday night and initially unable to
control the chaos going on behind the scenes with the national team. But
eventually he persuaded Zaha to join the full squad.

He expected Zaha’s inclusion to be a formality but the winger, named the
best young player in the Championship last season, wanted time to
consider his decision over his international future.

As this is viewed as a ‘non-competitive friendly’, Zaha could yet commit
to Ivory Coast even if he plays for England on Wednesday. The same
situation applied to Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling, 17, who is also being
courted by Jamaica, having been born there.

Drogba was understood to be persuasive in his approach to Zaha, who will
continue to consider his options after the former Chelsea striker
phoned him. Last week, Zaha told Sportsmail he was ‘50-50’ over the
decision.

Having been born in Abidjan, Zaha moved to England with his extended
family and eight siblings when he was just four years old. He was named
the ‘best player in the Championship’ by Peterborough boss Darren
Ferguson after Palace’s win there on Saturday, and was originally in
Stuart Pearce’s Under 21 squad.

Top form: Zaha has helped Palace to the top of the Championship

Top form: Zaha has helped Palace to the top of the Championship

ZAHA FACTFILE

Name: Dazet Wilfried Armel Zaha.

Born: November 10, 1992 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Height: 5ft 11in. Weight: 10st 6lb.
Club career: Joined Crystal Palace in 2009 – 98 appearances, 11 goals.

International: England Under 21 five caps.

Honours: Football League Young Player of the Year 2011-12.

He celebrated his birthday with friends in London on Saturday night
after yet another incredible performance for table-topping Eagles. Zaha
was capped by Pearce last month when he played twice in the European
Championship play-off with Serbia. He was due to go with Pearce’s squad
for their clash with Northern Ireland at Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road on
Monday.

Rooney pulled out with an ankle injury he picked up during Manchester
United’s win at Aston Villa on Saturday. Walcott, Walker and Shelvey
were also forced to withdraw with muscle strains. It was unclear why
Lennon had withdrawn.

Steven Gerrard twisted his knee during Liverpool’s draw at Chelsea but
finished the game and hopes to be fit to captain his country and win his
100th international cap. Jenkinson is called up for the first time
after FIFA completed his paperwork to change his allegiance from
Finland, who he represented at Under 21 level.

Additional reporting: MATT BARLOW

Arsenal 3 Fulham 3 – Match report

Arsenal 3 Fulham 3: More woe for Wenger as profligate Gunners waste two-goal lead

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UPDATED:

17:16 GMT, 10 November 2012

Arsenal blew a two-goal lead for the second time in a week as Fulham battled to a 3-3 draw at Emirates Stadium, where Mark Schwarzer saved a penalty in stoppage-time.

Just as they had been in their midweek Champions League's game at Schalke, the Gunners were in control after early goals from Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski.

Fulham, though, rallied after Dimitar Berbatov reduced the deficit and Alex Kacaniklic levelled before half-time.

Gunner stunner: Fulham took a point in the enthralling clash at the Emirates

Gunner stunner: Fulham took a point in the enthralling clash at the Emirates

MATCH FACTS

Arsenal: Mannone, Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Coquelin (Ramsey 55), Arteta, Cazorla, Walcott (Arshavin 84), Podolski (Oxlade-Chamberlain 77), Giroud.

Subs: Szczesny, Andre Santos, Jenkinson, Chamakh.

Booked: Ramsey

Goals: Giroud 11, 69, Podolski 23.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise, Ruiz, Baird, Sidwell, Richardson (Kacaniklic 24), Berbatov, Dejagah (Duff 85).

Subs: Stockdale, Senderos, Petric, Karagounis, Rodallega.

Booked: Sidwell.

Goals: Berbatov 29, 67, Kacaniklic 40.

Attendance: 60,093

Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

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The visitors then went ahead from the penalty spot when Berbatov slotted home after Mikel Arteta had fouled Brian Ruiz.

Although Giroud quickly levelled at
3-3, the Gunners could not find a winner – but were then awarded a
penalty in stoppage-time for handball, only for Fulham keeper Schwarzer
to produce a brilliant stop from Arteta's low effort.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger admitted
the atmosphere had been 'flat' at Emirates Stadium for the last two home
games, and challenged his team to lift the fans with an all-action
display this afternoon.

However, it was Fulham who showed early promise as Ruiz's 20-yard effort was deflected wide.

Theo Walcott, retained in the starting XI after his European goal, looked lively down the right channel.

Arsenal took the lead after 11
minutes. Walcott delivered a corner into the six-yard box, where Giroud
powered in his second headed goal of the week.

Fulham were then forced into a change
when Kieran Richardson pulled up with what looked like a hamstring
injury and Kacaniklic came on.

Arsenal then doubled their lead after
23 minutes. Arteta drove into the right side of the penalty area and
pulled a low cross back through the six-yard box, where Podolski got
ahead of his marker to stab the ball past Schwarzer.

Dimi double: Berbatov scored Fulham's first (above) and third (below) goals

Dimi double: Berbatov scored Fulham's first (above) and third (below) goals

Dimi double: Berbatov scored Fulham's first (above) and third (below) goals

Dimi double: Berbatov scored Fulham's first (above) and third (below) goals

Fulham, though, halved the deficit
after 28 minutes when Berbatov nodded home with a free header from a
corner. Arsenal's confidence was dented and the hosts failed to recover,
losing the midfield battle.

It was no real surprise to see Fulham level five minutes before the break.

Berbatov strolled down the right
channel and effortlessly floated a lovely ball back over to Kacaniklic,
who dispatched a header into the bottom corner past the diving Vito
Mannone.

Fulham almost went ahead in stoppage
time when John Arne Riise's low centre from the left went straight
across through the six-yard box.

Bounce back: Kacaniklic's strike brought Fulham level at the Emirates

Bounce back: Kacaniklic's strike brought Fulham level at the Emirates

The visitors started the second with
intent. Walcott, though, continued to provide Arsenal's threat down the
right, and his cross was just too high for Giroud.

The England forward then took the ball
on himself from the halfway line and driving forwards before firing a
curling shot just over the top-left angle.

Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey replaced
Francis Coquelin. Arsenal were pushing Fulham deeper, if without really
stretching the visitors' defence.

Fulham midfielder Steve Sidwell, who
had been cautioned in the first half, upended Santi Cazorla 25 yards
out, but was given a final warning by lenient referee Phil Dowd.

Flying start: Giroud fired the hosts in front after 11 minutes of the fist half

Flying start: Giroud fired the hosts in front after 11 minutes of the fist half

Flying start: Giroud fired the hosts in front after 11 minutes of the fist half

The official, however, got it right a
few minutes later when Ruiz robbed Arteta on the right side of the
penalty area and was pulled back by the Spaniard.

Berbatov confidently sent Mannone the wrong way from the spot to turn the match on its head after 67 minutes.

The drama was not over yet, though, as Arsenal quickly levelled.

Giroud's shot came back off the post
and Walcott send the rebound into the six-yard box, where the France
striker guided a cushioned header over Schwarzer to make it 3-3.

Luk at me! Arsenal looked to be out of sight after Podolski's strike on 23 minutes

Luk at me! Arsenal looked to be out of sight after Podolski's strike on 23 minutes

Luk at me! Arsenal looked to be out of sight after Podolski's strike on 23 minutes

As Arsenal pressed forwards, Fulham
were dangerous on the break and it needed a brilliant last-gasp tackle
from Laurent Koscielny to deny Berbatov a clear shot on goal.

With 15 minutes left, Podolski was
replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who had been out since the defeat
at Norwich with a hip problem.

Schwarzer pushed behind a goal-bound
effort from Giroud, before both sides made another change as Walcott,
who looked to have picked up an injury which could rule him out of
England duty next week, was replaced by Andrey Arshavin and Damien Duff
came on for Ashkan Dejagah.

Arsenal pressed for the winner during the closing stages, but Giroud could only plant his free header wide.

Making a point: Giroud's header salvaged something from the game for the Gunners

Making a point: Giroud's header salvaged something from the game for the Gunners

Making a point: Giroud's header salvaged something from the game for the Gunners

However, there was more drama in stoppage time when Arshavin's cross hit Sascha Riether on the arm and Dowd pointed to the spot.

Arteta struck his shot well enough
towards the bottom right corner, but Schwarzer – once an Arsenal
transfer target – produced a brilliant save at full stretch to earn the
Cottagers a share of the spoils in the final action of an entertaining
encounter.

Late drama: Arteta is disconsolate (below) after Schwarzer saved his penalty (above)

Late drama: Arteta is disconsolate (below) after Schwarzer saved his penalty (above)

Late drama: Arteta is disconsolate (below) after Schwarzer saved his penalty (above)

Steven Gerrard set to become sixth England player to reach 100 caps

Gerrard on century duty as Liverpool man set to become sixth England player to reach 100 caps

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UPDATED:

23:23 GMT, 7 November 2012

Steven Gerrard will on Thursday be named in Roy Hodgson's squad for next Wednesday's friendly in Sweden where he is set to become the sixth England player to reach 100 caps.

Hodgson plans to select some younger players to offer them a taste of international football but it is a prestigious game for the Swedes, to mark the opening of the 150million national stadium, the Friends Arena, built near the site of the stadium which hosted the 1958 World Cup final.

Century duty: Steven Gerrard is set to reach 100 caps

Century duty: Steven Gerrard is set to reach 100 caps

Barring injury, Gerrard will lead his country out in Stockholm.

He follows David Beckham, Peter Shilton, Sir Bobby Charlton, Bobby Moore and Billy Wright into the band of England centurions.

Ashley Cole, also on 99 caps, is unlikely to be included because of his hamstring injury, and Frank Lampard is also out with a calf injury.

Wayne Rooney is expected to be inthe squad and Arsenal's Carl Jenkinson could earn a call-up.

How many Gerrard chats to Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers in training on Wednesday

How many Gerrard chats to Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers in training on Wednesday

Shuffling the pack: Roy Hodgson (right) is ready to pick a crop of young stars for the Sweden clash

Shuffling the pack: Roy Hodgson (right) is ready to pick a crop of young stars for the Sweden clash

Schalke 2 Arsenal 2 – match report

Schalke 2 Arsenal 2: Rocky road for Gunners after Walcott's flying start

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UPDATED:

00:03 GMT, 7 November 2012

Theo Walcott may have put himself closer to a new deal at Arsenal with a goal on Tuesday night but manager Arsene Wenger may feel he would be better spending the money on shoring up his leaky defence.

Walcott hit the opening goal and Olivier Giroud added a second soon after as Arsenal raced into a 2-0 lead.

On target: Jefferson Farfan's second-half strike goes in off the outstretched foot of Thomas Vermaelen (below)

On target: Jefferson Farfan's second-half strike goes in off the outstretched foot of Thomas Vermaelen (below)

Thomas Vermaelen

Match facts

Schalke: Unnerstall, Uchida (Hoger 25), Howedes, Matip, Fuchs, Jones, Neustadter, Farfan, Holtby (Barnetta 90), Afellay, Huntelaar, Hoger (Papadopoulos 66).

Subs Not Used: Hildebrand, Moritz, Draxler, Kolasinac.

Booked: Matip, Fuchs, Jones.

Goals: Huntelaar 45, Farfan 67.

Arsenal: Mannone, Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Arteta, Wilshere, Walcott, Cazorla (Coquelin 90), Podolski (Andre Santos 90), Giroud.

Subs Not Used: Shea, Djourou, Arshavin, Jenkinson, Chamakh.

Booked: Cazorla, Podolski.

Goals: Walcott 18, Giroud 26.

Attendance: 50,000

Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Italy).

Latest Champions League results, fixtures and table

But it was the Gunners' defensive
frailties – evident in Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Manchester United on
Saturday – that came to the fore yet again as they threw away their
advantage to remain a point behind leaders Schalke in Group B with two
games remaining.

The England winger's eighth goal in four starts this season – and 50th for Arsenal – put his side ahead.
An increase on the 75,000-per-week five-year deal offered to him and a
regular chance to play as a centre forward remain the two sticking
points in talks over a new deal.

But while Wenger may not be able to
guarantee the 100,000-per-week deal Walcott is asking for, giving him a
chance to play up front is something he can control and Walcott did his
chances of being the club's No 1 striker no harm with a cool finish,
although he missed a glorious chance to snatch a dramatic victory with
the last kick of the game.

Walcott was the shock name on Arsene
Wenger's teamsheet, recovering from a stomach illness to make his first
Premier League or Champions League start since rejecting a new contract
at the end of August.


Theo joy: Walcott pounces to open the scoring

Theo joy: Walcott pounces to open
the scoring

French fancy: Giroud celebrates after giving his side a two-goal lead over the German outfit

French fancy: Giroud celebrates after giving his side a two-goal lead over the German outfit

Touch of Klaas: Huntelaar scores on the stroke of half-time

Touch of Klaas: Huntelaar scores on the stroke of half-time

As the Eye of the Tiger boomed out of
the Veltins-Arena PA system ahead of kick-off, Wenger – who returned
to the Champions League touchline after a three-match ban – knew it
would take the iron will of Rocky Balboa to keep Schalke's attacking
quartet of Lewis Holtby, Ibrahim Affelay, Jefferson Farfan and Klaas-Jan
Huntelaar off the scoresheet.

Inevitably, the Germans, who
comfortably won 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium two weeks ago, started much
the brighter, dominating early possession with right back Atsuto Uchida
looking dangerous down the Arsenal left.

Christian Fuchs had the first clear
chance of the night when his strike was blocked by midfielder Mikel
Arteta after a rapid counter-attack before Arsenal goalkeeper Vito
Mannone was forced into an excellent low stop to deny Afellay's low
effort.

Huub Stevens's side went close again 60 seconds later as captain Benedikt Howedes headed narrowly over the bar.

Arsenal were rocking and should have
been behind. But somehow, against the run of play, they conjured up a
surprise opening goal for Walcott. Roman Neustadter's dreadful defensive
header in the 18th minute gave Giroud the opportunity to bear down on
goalkeeper Lars Unnerstall but just as the Frenchman was about to shoot,
Howedes slid in with a brilliant last-ditch challenge.

But following up was Walcott, who
picked up the rebound before stroking the ball into an empty net.
No-one, not even Wenger, could say his side deserved their goal.

Blow: Arsenal let slip a two-goal advantage in Germany

Blow: Arsenal let slip a two-goal advantage in Germany

So, you can only imagine what was
going through his mind when eight minutes later his side doubled their
advantage. Schalke made a mess of clearing their lines after Walcott and
Jack Wilshere combined down the right, with the ball eventually
breaking to Lukas Podolski, whose cross was nodded home by Giroud. It
was the France striker's first Champions League goal for the club.

Giroud missed a glorious chance to
double his tally with a poor header from Santi Cazorla's free-kick. But
Huntelaar dragged the home side back into the game with the final kick
of the first half, firing past Mannone from 12 yards after Holtby's
intelligent flick.

Lukas Podolski

Arsene Wenger

Fury: Podolski was booked after kicking the ball away in frustration as Wenger (right) watches on

Arsenal had Mannone to thank in the
51st minute when he thwarted Huntelaar in a one-on-one after
Neustadter's through-pass. Schalke were throwing everything at Arsenal
and had an appeal for a penalty turned down after Per Mertesacker looked
to have handled in the box.

But the Germans deservedly dragged
themselves level in the 66th minute when Farfan fired home from close
range, via a Thomas Vermaelen deflection, as Arsenal failed to clear
Afellay's cross.

Yellow peril: Walcott is mobbed after opening the scoring in Germany

Yellow peril: Walcott is mobbed after opening the scoring in Germany

Level pegging: Schalke egualise with 67 minutes gone

Level pegging: Schalke egualise with 67 minutes gone

Huntelaar, Farfan and Jermaine Jones
missed decent chances to give the hosts the lead their dominance
warranted. And the Germans' wastefulness in front of goal was nearly
punished with the final kick of the game. But it was Walcott who fluffed
his lines after capitalising on defensive uncertainty as, with only
Unnerstall to beat, he shot straight at the goalkeeper.

It would have been an epic end for Walcott and his side. But an end they would not have deserved.

Schalke v Arsenal

Reading 5 Arsenal 7: match report

Reading 5 Arsenal 7: Hat-trick hero Walcott leads stunning Gunners comeback

|

UPDATED:

23:10 GMT, 30 October 2012

Theo Walcott scored a hat-trick as Arsenal completed a dramatic extra-time victory over Reading after coming from four goals behind.

Marouane Chamakh scored twice and Walcott completed his treble to give Arsene Wenger’s side the most unlikely of victories. Trailing by four goals after 37 minutes Arsenal fought back, Walcott levelled the game with the last kick of normal time.

Chamakh put Arsenal in front for the first time only for Pavel Pogrebnyak to level matters again. The game appeared to be heading for a penalty shootout but Walcott and Chamakh scored to break Reading hearts.

Main man: Arsenal's Theo Walcott celebrates as he helps his side to a stunning victory

Main man: Arsenal's Theo Walcott celebrates as he helps his side to a stunning victory

Match facts

Reading: Federici, Gunter, Gorkss, Morrison, Shorey, Tabb, McCleary (McAnuff 73), Leigertwood, Robson-Kanu,
Roberts (Church 90),Hunt (Pogrebnyak 73).

Subs Not Used: Stuart Taylor, Pearce, Le Fondre, Harte.

Booked: Leigertwood, Morrison.

Goals: Roberts 12, Koscielny 18 og, Leigertwood 20, Hunt 37, Pogrebnyak 116.

Arsenal: Martinez, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Djourou, Miquel (Meade 105), Arshavin, Frimpong (Giroud 62), Coquelin,
Walcott, Chamakh, Gnabry (Eisfeld 62).

Subs Not Used: Shea, Squillaci, Bellerin, Yennaris.

Booked: Miquel, Chamakh, Giroud, Koscielny, Martinez, Eisfeld.

Goals: Walcott 45, 90, 103, Giroud 64, Koscielny 89, Chamakh 103, 120.

Att: 23,980

Ref: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire).

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They may have progressed but Arsenal’s first-half performance was shambolic as Reading stormed into a four-goal lead.

Wenger made 11 changes from the side that started in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Queens Park Rangers. Theo Walcott was given a chance to show why he is worth the 100,000-per-week new contract he so desperately craves, while Serge Gnabry was hoping to show why Wenger is tipping him to become Arsenal’s next bright young thing.

Reading boss Brian McDermott was not as carefree with his changes, making six from the side that started in the dramatic draw against Fulham at the weekend.

And the home side nearly made the perfect start in the third minute when Sean Morrison rattled Damien Martinez’s crossbar with a header from Nicky Shorey’s floated corner.

Walcott thought he had a clear run at goal two minutes later after Andrey Arshavin located him with an inch-perfect lofted pass — but Reading skipper Kaspars Gorkss made a timely challenge with the England forward primed to pull the trigger.

Martinez showed why he has already been called up into the Argentina national squad at the tender age of 20 with a smart stop to deny Jay Tabb who had wriggled his way into the box.

Off and running: Jason Roberts fires home to put Reading in front against Arsenal

Off and running: Jason Roberts fires home to put Reading in front against Arsenal

But Reading were awarded for their enterprising start in the 12th minute when Jason Roberts, who easily evaded the attentions of Ignasi Miquel, slid home Hal Robson-Kanu’s low cross to give the Premier League new-boys a deserved lead.

And Reading’s night got even better just six minutes later as they doubled their lead to stun a shell-shocked Arsenal side.

Right back Chris Gunter came flying down the flank before firing a low cross into the Arsenal box that Laurent Koscielny failed to clear, instead slicing the ball into his own goal to double the home side’s lead.

McDermott and the home supporters were in dreamland.

Dejected: Laurent Koscielny scores an own goal to gift Reading a second

Dejected: Laurent Koscielny scores an own goal to gift Reading a second

Bullet: Mikele Leigertwood fires home to extend Reading's advantage further

Bullet: Mikele Leigertwood fires home to extend Reading's advantage further

So, God knows what must have been going through their mind when Reading took an incredible three goal advantage in the 20th minute.

As Arsenal’s backline struggled to clear after yet another Reading attack, midfielder Mikele Leigertwood picked up the ball 20 yards from goal before unleashing a powerful drive that somehow Martinez only parried into his own net.

And Arsenal’s embarrassing opening half got worse in the 37th minute, this time Noel Hunt climbing highest in the box to nod past the stunned Martinez after Garath McCleary’s excellent cross.

That was the cue for dozens of Arsenal supporters to leave the Madejski Stadium.

Heads you win: Noel Hunt finds the back of the net to add Reading's fourth

Heads you win: Noel Hunt finds the back of the net to add Reading's fourth

Back in the game: Theo Walcott scored a fine goal just before half time for Arsenal

Back in the game: Theo Walcott scored a fine goal just before half time for Arsenal

They had obviously seen enough. And who could blame them as they launched into cries of ‘We want our Arsenal back.’ There was a riposte, finally, from Wenger’s men as Walcott cooly finished past Adam Federici after Arshavin’s through ball on the stroke of half-time to cut the deficit.

If there was a half-time rocket from Wenger then it did not show as the home side came out with all guns blazing.

The impressive Robson-Kanu forced Martinez into a good save low down to his right with a close range header before Miquel nearly put though his own net after another dangerous Shorey corner.

Nodding off: Olivier Giroud grabbed a second goal fro Arsenal as the comeback continued

Nodding off: Olivier Giroud grabbed a second goal fro Arsenal as the comeback continued

Making amends: Koscielny scores at the right end to reduce Arsenal's arrears even further

Making amends: Koscielny scores at the right end to reduce Arsenal's arrears even further

Level pegging: Walcott fires the ball home to complete a stunning comeback

Level pegging: Walcott fires the ball home to complete a stunning comeback

Leigertwood then went desperately close to notching his second of the night with a vicious drive from 15 yards after Roberts’ cut back that flew narrowly over Martinez’s bar.

Walcott saw his attempts to cut Reading’s lead further thwarted by Federici 10 minutes into the second half as his low effort, after a trademark pacy run, was well saved.

Marouane Chamakh was then yellow carded for running 20 yards to remonstrate with a linesman after seeing his half-hearted attempts to win a penalty turned down.

And another: Marouane Chamakh makes it five for Arsenal as the Gunners scrape through

And another: Marouane Chamakh makes it five for Arsenal as the Gunners scrape through

Level again: Pavel Pogrebnyak equalised for Reading in extra time

Level again: Pavel Pogrebnyak equalised for Reading in extra time

Wenger threw on summer signing Olivier Giroud in the 62nd minute in an effort to somehow inspire his men. And the substitution paid off instantly as the France striker nodded home Walcott’s corner in the 65th minute to give Arsenal hope.

The visitors then took control of the game but couldn’t force a third goal until the 89th minute when Koscielny scored at the right end. Reading looked to have held on but in the fifth minute of added time Arsenal pumped a hopeful long ball into the box.

Giroud nodded on and Walcott reacted first, making some space and poking a shot towards goal which just crossed the line to force extra-time.

Seventh heaven: Arsenal celebrate after Chamakh scored their final goal at Reading

Seventh heaven: Arsenal celebrate after Chamakh scored their final goal at Reading