Tag Archives: koscielny

Arsenal"s Laurent Koscielny passed fit to face Bayern Munich

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

By
Declan Warrington

PUBLISHED:

13:33 GMT, 19 February 2013

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UPDATED:

13:58 GMT, 19 February 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arsene Wenger

Theo Walcott

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

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

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

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

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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.'

Arsenal boss Arsenal Wenger: Manchester City and United haven"t been spectacular

Next 12 games will reveal if Arsenal can challenge 'unspectacular' Manchester clubs for Premier League title, says Wenger

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UPDATED:

16:32 GMT, 30 November 2012

Arsene Wenger feels the next 12 matches will determine whether his side can force their way back into contention for a shot at the Barclays Premier League title.

The Gunners head into Saturday's clash against Swansea down in seventh place, some 12 points behind leaders Manchester United following their midweek draw at Everton.

However, with four of Arsenal's upcoming December league games set to be played at the Emirates Stadium, Wenger is confident his team can use home advantage to catapult themselves up the table.

Centre of attention: Arsenal will host Swansea at The Emirates on Saturday

Centre of attention: Arsenal will host Swansea at The Emirates on Saturday

'We will come back. Now we have six games, four at home, and if we do well in this block I think we have a chance to come back, but of course it is vital for us to do well in these games,' Wenger told Arsenal Player.

'At the moment the two Manchester sides [are top]. They have not been spectacular, but efficient, and they have made the maximum of the chances they have created.

'For example, Manchester United have already lost three games and have lost in the Champions League as well. It is exactly what we have done, but they took more points and had less draws than we did. That has been the difference until now.'

With Laurent Koscielny set for around a month on the sidelines after limping off at Goodison Park with a thigh strain, captain Thomas Vermaelen looks set to return to the centre of defence against the Swans.

The Belgian has been utilised on the left in recent weeks, but produced a solid display helping shackle countryman Marouane Fellaini and track Croatia frontman Nikica Jelavic.

'It was certainly his best game since the start of the season in this position,' said Wenger. 'That will boost his confidence and hopefully get out of his mind what happened before when he was not completely confident.

'He was physically sharp, confident, calm and important for us.'

Swansea come to Emirates Stadium on the back of their midweek win over in-form West Brom. Michael Laudrup's men are only a point and a place below the Gunners and Wenger maintains there can be no thoughts of complacency.

Thomas Vermaelen and Kieran Gibbs

Jack Wilshere

In training: Thomas Vermaelen, Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere are to set to face Swansea at The Emirates

'They [Swansea] have bought intelligently and of course that gives them the basis they had last year, and the addition of the players they have brought in. It makes them dangerous.

'Of course [Brendan Rodgers] has made the basis of what the club is today and Michael Laudrup has added some players he knew from Spain who are very good additions.

'They have Michu, Pablo Hernandez, (Jonathan) de Guzman, these players and keeping Britton, Rangel and the players at the back.

'Swansea are a dangerous side throughout, and having a good season. They are a complete unit, very creative, very technical and very mobile.'

Arsenal will check on the fitness of right-back Bacary Sagna, who has a foot injury, while forward Theo Walcott, who fired the Gunners ahead inside a minute at Everton, will also be assessed after taking a knock to his ankle.

Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny out until Christmas with groin injury

Koscielny KO: Gunners defender out until Christmas after groin blow

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UPDATED:

10:21 GMT, 29 November 2012

Laurent Koscielny will be out of action until Christmas after the French international limped out of Arsenal's 1-1 draw at Everton with a groin injury on Wednesday night.

The news will come as a disappointment to Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, who had to replace Koscielny just four minutes into the Barclays Premier League clash with full-back Kieran Gibbs.

Blow: Arsenal's Laurent Koscienly (R) is out until Christmas with a groin injury - FILE PICTURE

Blow: Arsenal's Laurent Koscienly (R) is out until Christmas with a groin injury – FILE PICTURE

Gibbs himself has only just returned from a similar injury problem but is certain to deputise in Koscielny's place for the next three weeks at least.

'He [Koscielny] has a groin strain. That’s usually three weeks,' Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told reporters at Goodison Park.

Arsenal had taken the lead after only 51 seconds via winger Theo Walcott but the visitors’ defensive frailties were again apparent as a poor error by Bacary Sagna allowed Everton to equalise through Marouane Fellaini.

A poor pass by the French international saw Steven Pienaar dispossess Mikel Arteta but the fullback then wasted a second chance to clear as he kicked the ball straight to Fellaini who fired home in the 27th minute.

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.

Arsene Wenger considers picking five defenders to boost Arsenal defence

EXCLUSIVE: Wenger considers scrapping classic back four in plans to reinforce defence

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UPDATED:

01:09 GMT, 14 November 2012

Arsene Wenger is considering ditching his trusted 4-3-2-1 formation in an attempt to tighten up Arsenal’s leaky defence.

The Gunners manager is toying with the idea of playing with five defenders, similar to the formation Roberto Mancini has tried to introduce at Manchester City this season.

Torn to pieces: Dimitar Berbatov ran rings around Arsenal's defence, including Per Mertesacker (left)

Torn to pieces: Dimitar Berbatov ran rings around Arsenal's defence, including Per Mertesacker (left)

Sportsmail
understands Wenger planned on making the switch for last week’s
Champions League clash against Schalke after his side’s defensive
troubles during the 2-1 defeat against Manchester United.

The Frenchman held a training-ground meeting to discuss the idea with his coaching staff.

It was eventually decided there was not enough time to implement the system on the training field ahead of the clash in Gelsenkirchen.

But it is understood the change of formation is still very much in the forefront of Wenger’s thoughts as his side continue to struggle defensively.

When Arsenal’s first-choice defenders are fit, the back five would consist of: Bacary Sagna at right wing-back, Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Thomas Vermaelen as the three central defenders and Kieran Gibbs as left wing-back.

In days gone by: Tony Adams and Wenger celebrate the 1998 Premier League title

In days gone by: Tony Adams and Wenger celebrate the 1998 Premier League title

Whether or not Wenger and his coaching team decide to press ahead with the change remains to be seen, but the mere fact he is considering such a shift in tactics underlines how concerned he is by the club’s creaky back line.

The Frenchman will have just two days to prepare his side for Saturday’s crucial North London derby due to the international break, which will cause major problems in trying to reshape his defence in time.

Shift: Arsene Wenger may play with five defenders

Shift: Arsene Wenger may play with five defenders

However, after conceding just one goal in their opening four games, the Gunners have shipped 15 in their last seven outings and Wenger knows improvements have to be made to rectify the problem.

Wenger admitted his defence looked ‘fragile’ after Saturday’s 3-3 home draw against Fulham.

Case for the defence: Mertesacker joined the Gunners in the summer of 2011

Case for the defence: Mertesacker joined the Gunners in the summer of 2011

And the 63-year-old will hope to have first-choice keeper Wojciech Szczesny and Gibbs back for Saturday’s clash against Andre Villas-Boas’ men as he looks to shore up his defence.

Meanwhile, Theo Walcott, who pulled out of the England squad with a glute injury, is expected to be fit.

Boost: Theo Walcott is expected to be fit after missing England duty with an injury

Boost: Theo Walcott is expected to be fit after missing England duty with an injury

Theo Walcott wanted by Liverpool in in January for 8m

Kop go for Theo! Rodgers tells Liverpool to launch 8m bid for contract rebel Walcott

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UPDATED:

22:45 GMT, 1 November 2012

Liverpool are poised to launch an 8million bid to prise Theo Walcott from Arsenal in January.

The England forward is out of contract in the summer and Arsenal are trying to convince him to sign a new deal before Christmas.

The 23-year-old has rejected a five-year contract worth 75,000 a week, saying he wants to switch from the wing to a central striking role and also play more regularly.

Wrangles: Theo Walcott is in fine form for Arsenal but has not agreed a new deal

Wrangles: Theo Walcott is in fine form for Arsenal but has not agreed a new deal

Saving the day: Walcott scores Arsenal's fourth goal in the comeback at Reading

Saving the day: Walcott scores Arsenal's fourth goal in the comeback at Reading

Stats add up for Theo

The leading Arsenal goalscorers in all competitions since start of 2011/12

Goals (all comps)

Robin van Persie 37
Theo Walcott 18
Gervinho 9
Mikel Arteta 7
Yossi Benayoun 6
Thomas Vermaelen 6
Laurent Koscielny 5
Alex Oxlade-
Chamberlain 5
Lukas Podolski 4
Aaron Ramsey 4

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is
ready to offer both those things. He wanted to sign Walcott in the
summer and will revive his efforts ahead of the January window.

Rodgers, who is desperately short of
strikers after loaning Andy Carroll to West Ham and losing Fabio Borini
to a broken foot, bemoaned his small squad following Liverpool’s Capital
One Cup defeat by Swansea.

He wants to sign two forwards with
Walcott his main target to share the goalscoring burden with Luis
Suarez. And Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted on Thursday that he
may be forced to sell if Walcott fails to agree a new deal.

He said: ‘I wouldn’t like to (sell
Walcott). I’ve not even thought about that, because at the moment I
think we will still manage to make a deal with him.

'But there is urgency. How much I
don’t know, but there is urgency. We want to sort it out before
Christmas, one way or the other.’

Hands off: Brendan Rodgers will have to work hard to get Walcott

Hands off: Brendan Rodgers will have to work hard to get Walcott

Hands off: Brendan Rodgers will have to work to get Walcott from Arsene Wenger

Walcott has started just three games
this season but scored a hat-trick in Arsenal’s 7-5 win over Reading in
the Capital One Cup on Tuesday. He is their top scorer with seven goals.

Wenger added: ‘I always said it is
important that he plays in the right position and that certainly would
be through the middle in the future. He showed that again on Tuesday
night.

‘The positions on the flanks are
changing – you need to do a lot of defending and he should be dedicated
more to offensive work.

‘It’s better (for Walcott to express
his views) in private. I have always come out publicly and said that I
see him in the future through the middle as well.

‘He loves to score goals. He has good
pace, makes excellent, intelligent runs, and what has changed with Theo
is he’s become a very good finisher.

‘Take, for example, his first goal the other night at Reading. It was a real finisher’s goal.

Burden: Luis Suarez is Liverpool's only fit and firing striker

Burden: Luis Suarez is Liverpool's only fit and firing striker

‘In our team, we have freedom of
movement. Nobody is handcuffed. When we have the ball, we have a lot of
freedom to move. It’s important to know where we go, but I think Theo
has learned a lot on that.’

Walcott, who has 28 England caps, joined Arsenal from Southampton, aged 16, for 12.5m in 2006.

Arsenal would want to at least recoup
that fee but Liverpool’s offer will reflect the fact that he is free to
leave in the summer.

Theo Walcott could be sold in January

Wenger faces up to Walcott exit as Arsenal boss admits winger could go in January

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UPDATED:

14:06 GMT, 1 November 2012

Arsene Wenger has hinted he could be forced to sell Theo Walcott in January if the Arsenal winger does not agree a new deal by Christmas.

Walcott's current contract expires at the end of the season and the 23-year-old rejected a new five-year, 75,000-a-week offer in August.

The England international has repeatedly stated his desire to play as a centre-forward rather than on the wing and Wenger agreed this is where he sees Walcott playing 'in the future'.

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Wrangles: Theo Walcott is in fine form for Arsenal but has not agreed a new deal

Wrangles: Theo Walcott is in fine form for Arsenal but has not agreed a new deal

The Frenchman remains confident
Walcott will commit his future to Arsenal but, when asked whether he
could sell him in January to avoid him leaving for nothing in the
summer, Wenger said: 'I wouldn't like to (sell him). I've not even
thought about that, because at the moment I think we will still manage
to make a deal with him.

'But there is urgency. How much I
don't know, but there is urgency. We want to sort it out before
Christmas, one way or the other.'

Walcott has started only three games
this season but scored a hat-trick in Arsenal's 7-5 win at Reading in
the Capital One Cup on Tuesday.

The goals took his tally for the season to seven in 12 appearances, although nine of those have come as a substitute.

Saving the day: Walcott scores Arsenal's fourth goal in the comeback at Reading

Saving the day: Walcott scores Arsenal's fourth goal in the comeback at Reading

Stats add up for Theo

The leading Arsenal goalscorers in all competitions since start of 2011/12

Goals (all comps)

Robin van Persie 37
Theo Walcott 18
Gervinho 9
Mikel Arteta 7
Yossi Benayoun 6
Thomas Vermaelen 6
Laurent Koscielny 5
Alex Oxlade-
Chamberlain 5
Lukas Podolski 4
Aaron Ramsey 4

Wenger praised the improvement in
Walcott's finishing, but said he would prefer it if the player's desire
to play up front was kept in-house.

The Arsenal boss said: 'I always
said it is important that he plays in the right position and that
certainly would be through the middle in the future. He showed that again on Tuesday night.

'The positions on the flanks are
changing – you need to do a lot of defending and he should be dedicated
more to offensive work.

'It's better (to express these
sentiments) in private than public. I have always come out publicly and
said that I see him in the future through the middle as well.

'He loves to score goals, Theo. He
has good pace, (makes) excellent, intelligent runs, and what has changed
with Theo is he's (become) a very good finisher.

'I would like to take an example on his first goal the other night at Reading. It's a real 'finisher' goal.

'In our team, we have freedom of movement. Nobody is handcuffed. When we have the ball, we have a lot of freedom to move.

'It's important to know where we go, but I think Theo has learned a lot on that.'

VIDEO: Wenger urges restraint over Chelsea referee comment

DM.has('rcpv1938539042001','BCVideo');

Brendan Rodgers leaps to Luis Suarez"s defence

Lay off Luis! Rodgers leaps to Suarez's defence… as striker fears he may not win another penalty

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UPDATED:

21:43 GMT, 18 October 2012

Luis Suarez fears he may never win another penalty as a Liverpool player after being vilified for going to ground too easily.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers revealed Suarez’s growing despair over a controversy that has attracted stinging criticism from opposing players and managers and even FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce.

Floored: Luis Suarez goes to ground against Stoke

Floored: Luis Suarez goes to ground against Stoke

Rodgers admitted he was at a loss to explain the dive that incensed Stoke boss Tony Pulis but insisted there was no justification for an outcry that has left Suarez fearing referees will now deny him even legitimate penalty appeals.

‘It is a constant theme, and it just seems too easy to jump on his back at the moment,’ said Rodgers, after being asked about Suarez being called a ‘cheat’ by Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny. ‘It just seems he’s not going to be awarded a penalty, whatever happens, and certainly he feels himself he’s not sure what he has to do to get one.

‘I get the chance to work with him every day and see the type of person and character he is. He’s had it rough, but people forget he is a box player who twists and turns and asks questions of defenders. I can’t think of too many who do as much of that type of work inside the area, so naturally he is going to be involved in more (penalty) incidents.

Going down: Suarez in action in Uruguay's midweek 4-1 defeat in Bolivia

Going down: Suarez in action in Uruguay's midweek 4-1 defeat in Bolivia

‘We don’t want players going down without cause, and, against Stoke, he hit the deck for a reason I’m not sure of. But I respect the sort of player he is and can understand why he is beginning to wonder what he has to do for a spot-kick to be given.’

Rodgers ruled out recalling Andy Carroll from his loan spell at West Ham, despite a remarkable injury jinx striking Fabio Borini once more.

‘I haven’t considered Andy coming back,’ he said. ‘He has gone to West Ham to get games under his belt. We have people watching when he plays and reporting back on how he does.

‘It is a setback losing Fabio, and you have to feel for him, considering this is the third year in succession that he has been injured in October and ruled out for three months.

‘It was a hamstring last season and shoulder injury the season before. This time, it’s a fractured foot. Each one has been in October and has kept him out the same length of time. We are thinking of sending him on holiday next October!’

Luis Suarez is a cheat, says Laurent Koscielny

Suarez is a cheat! Arsenal defender Koscielny lays into Liverpool striker

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UPDATED:

11:05 GMT, 15 October 2012

Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny has branded Luis Suarez a cheat.

Suarez has been criticised for his antics on the pitch since joining Liverpool and Stoke boss Tony Pulis took aim at the Uruguayan after a goalless draw at Anfield earlier this month.

Going down: Luis Suarez (centre) has been slated for diving

Going down: Luis Suarez (centre) has been slated for diving

The Reds striker tried to win a
penalty by going to ground too easily and FIFA vice president Jim Boyce
was also quick to condemn him.

Now Koscielny has weighed in, telling French sports paper L'Equipe, 'Who is the forward I hate to face Suarez.

'Last season I didn't feel too well. It was a match at 12.30 and I don't like that schedule.

'He is tiresome to defend against. He cheats. He pulls your shirt, giving small blows.

No nonsense: Laurent Koscielny (right) accused Suarez of cheating

No nonsense: Laurent Koscielny (right) accused Suarez of cheating

'You always want to give him a kick but you have to be careful not to be red carded.

'For example on September 2 against Liverpool, it was the case with Luis Suarez.

'He is a player who likes to dive as soon as there is contact. During a challenge we jostled a bit with each other and he fell.

'He started to talk to me in English, to say it was a penalty.'