Tag Archives: munich

UEFA take 1 million pounds from English TV money pot for Champions League fixture clashes

UEFA take more than 1MILLION quid from the English TV money pot for scheduling fixtures on Champions League nights

PUBLISHED:

16:09 GMT, 26 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:21 GMT, 26 April 2013

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UEFA have taken more than a million pounds from the English clubs' pot of Champions League television money for scheduling domestic matches against the competition.

The 1.3million euro fine was imposed after UEFA's disciplinary panel found 'clashes relating to the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons.'

The cash, which relates to 10 per cent of payments that were due to The Football Association in 2010-2011, was previously withheld.

Fine: UEFA have fined English clubs more than a million pounds for scheduling domestic matches against the Champions League. UEFA President Michel Platini stands with the trophy

Fine: UEFA have fined English clubs more than a million pounds for scheduling domestic matches against the Champions League. UEFA President Michel Platini stands with the trophy

Heartbreak: The fines relate to the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 seasons. Inter Milan beat Bayern Munich in the former, and Leo Messi (centre) broke Manchester United hearts at Wembley the following year

Heartbreak: The fines relate to the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 seasons. Inter Milan beat Bayern Munich in the former, and Leo Messi (centre) broke Manchester United hearts at Wembley the following year

UEFA says the money will be spread among clubs in other countries, with the majority of it to be spent on youth training.

The FA have also been fined 50,000 euros (42,000) for their involvement.

English officials are said to have been repeatedly warned about league and cup matches clashing with the Champions League.

A UEFA statement said it will 'establish a working group, which will involve representatives of the FA, in order to avoid calendar clashes in future.'

Return of the Special One: Jose Mourinho (centre) returned to Stamford Bridge with Chelsea in 2010 - his Inter side went on to win the competition

Return of the Special One: Jose Mourinho (centre) returned to Stamford Bridge with Chelsea in 2010 – his Inter side went on to win the competition

One fixture that invoked UEFA's anger was Liverpool's 3-0 derby win in March 2012, the game Steven Gerrard scored a hat-trick.

At the time the Premier League said that clashes are sometimes unavoidable and refused to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU).

Speaking in April 2012, Dan Johnson, the Premier League's communications director, said: 'We have refused to sign the MOU because although we would never seek to go head-to-head with European games, sometimes it's inevitable.

'We don't believe Uefa have the right to say when domestic leagues can and can't schedule their fixtures, especially when Uefa have themselves increased the number of European nights by spreading out their match days and moving the Champions League final to a Saturday.'

Fixture clash: Steven Gerrard celebrates scoring a hat-trick against Everton in March 2012, a night when Champions League matches were taking place

Fixture clash: Steven Gerrard celebrates scoring a hat-trick against Everton in March 2012, a night when Champions League matches were taking place

Basle v Chelsea – live Europa League

EUROPA LEAGUE LIVE: Basle v Chelsea – follow the semi-final as it happens from St Jakob-Park

By
Dan Ripley

PUBLISHED:

03:00 GMT, 25 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:17 GMT, 25 April 2013

Live scores

Click here for the live goals as they go in

Basle v Chelsea

Fenerbahce v Benfica

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Europa League as Chelsea visit Basle in the first leg of their semi-final at St Jakob-Park.

The Blues remain on course to win a European trophy in successive years following last season's Champions League triumph, but face a tough test when they travel to the Swiss league leaders.

Basle have already proven their pedigree against Premier League opposition having eliminated Tottenham in a penalty shootout in the quarter-finals.

Send me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or via Twitter @Ripinho.

*This page will auto refresh every two minutes*

18.16: From Sportsmail's Neil Ashton:

Interesting Chelsea team in training last night. Luiz defensive midfield, Ramires right, Moses left, Hazard in behind Nando, but no Mata.

18.13: If that's not good enough for you though, if the Europa League ends up at Stamford Bridge this season, Chelsea will become only the fourth side to win all three of UEFA's major club competitions.

They would join Juventus, Ajax and Bayern Munich (good company) in having won the Europa League, the Champions League and the European Cup-Winners' Cup.

Chelsea won the latter in 1970/71 and 1997/98 and it's still a competition I miss after being scrapped in 1999 (bring it back UEFA!)

The Italian job: Chelsea's Gianfranco Zola and Gianluca Vialli lift the 1998 European Cup-Winners' Cup

The Italian job: Chelsea's Gianfranco Zola and Gianluca Vialli lift the 1998 European Cup-Winners' Cup

18.10: For a club often accused of lacking history compared to its current stature, you sure can't fault Chelsea's recent record at trying to make up for lost time.

After becoming the first London club to be crowned European champions last year, the Blues are now attempting to become the first team to win the Europa League a year after becoming champions of Europe.

It's not quite the desired order to achieve the double – but it's uncharted territory nonetheless.

18.05: Kick-off is not for another two hours but we have plenty to keep us going between now and then, including the team news which should be with us in around an hour's time – possibly quicker.

18.00:
At many times this season, the Chelsea ship has taken a number of
hammer blows and has looked anything but stable, but for all the
turbulence we have seen at Stamford Bridge, the Blues are
just one step away from yet another European final.

Rafael Benitez may not be a manager
remembered fondly by the majority of the west London club's fans, but the Spaniard is on the brink of leading Chelsea into the record books

Good evening folks, welcome to Sportsmail's live coverage of the Europa League semi-finals.

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On the charge: Chelsea remain on course to lift the Europa League trophy

On the charge: Chelsea remain on course to lift the Europa League trophy

Bayern Munich v Barcelona – live Champions League

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LIVE: Bayern Munich v Barcelona – as it happens from the Allianz Arena

).

25min: GOAL! BAYERN MUNICH 1-0 Barcelona

It's been coming and finally the German side's pressure pays off. A corner eventually finds Dante inside the area and his headed effort back across goal is powerfully nodded home by Thomas Muller.

22min: Bayern are slightly fortunate to win a corner as Jordi Alba was adjudged to have failed in keeping the ball in play, but Robben's set-piece is punched clear by Valdes before the visitors win a free-kick for an infringement inside the box.

19min: The home side continue to look dangerous as they go forward but whether it's by handball or other means, the Barcelona back-four isn't struggling too much to cope with the German side. Going forward though it's a different story as Lionel Messi and Co have yet to get into the game.

Clash of the titans: Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery fight for the ball

Clash of the titans: Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery fight for the ball

16min: A strong penalty claim from Bayern Munich, as Philipp Lahm's shot is clearly blocked from a raised Pique arm. It's very subtle from the defender but he is very fortunate to get away with that.

14min: From InfostradaLive:

Bayern have never lost a CL semifinal match at home (5W – 1D). Their only draw was in April 1995: 0-0 against Ajax.

11min: A very even opening to a game which neither side has yet to take control of. Barcelona's passing looks better at this stage but it's Valdes who has had to make the only save of the match so far.

Aiming low: Bayern Munich's Arjen Robben sees a shot saved by Barcelona's Victor Valdes

Aiming low: Bayern Munich's Arjen Robben sees a shot saved by Barcelona's Victor Valdes

8min: In fact one or two players are slipping on other areas of the watered pitch as Barcelona win their first corner, which is headed wide by Gerard Pique.

5min: The home side have settled now but we have the bizarre case of a waterlogged pitch.

There's been no rain in Munich today but the centre-circle is holding standing water from what is most likely from the sprinklers that watered the pitch before the game.

2min: It takes nearly 80 seconds for Bayern to touch the ball but they carve out the first opportunity. Arjen Robben's through pass feeds in Javi Martinez, and after the forward returns the favour with a cut-back, the winger's low shot is well blocked by Victor Valdes.

Ready to go: The players arrive on the pitch at the Allianz Arena

Ready to go: The players arrive on the pitch at the Allianz Arena

Kick-off: Away we go at the Allianz Arena as Barcelona possession is immediately jeered by the home crowd.

19.41: Both sets of teams are on the field, as the home fans raise red and white cards to represent Bayern Munich's colours.

19.36: From InfostradaLive:

Bayern are the first German team to play two consecutive Champions League semifinals since 1998/1999, 1999/2000 and 2000/2001, when they themselves achieved this feat.

Preparing: Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer saves a shot warming up

Preparing: Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer saves a shot warming up

19.31: Viktor Kassai is in charge of tonight's game – with the Hungarian a lucky charm of some sort for Barcelona.

He oversaw their 4-0 win over AC Milan at the Nou Camp earlier this year and was also in charge of the 2011 Champions League final at Wembley where the Spanish side defeated Manchester United 3-1.

Bayern Munich last had the official in their 2-1 defeat at Real Madrid in last year's semi-final.

19.26: They may be stars everyone wants to see but Barcelona were greeted by jeers from the home fans as they took to the pitch for their warm-up.

19.23: Whatever you think of this current Bayern Munich team there is no denying how impressive their current form is. They have won 19 of their last 20 matches in all competitions – with that one blemish being the second-leg defeat against Arsenal in the last 16.

Jupp Heynckes' team have won all 13 Bundesliga games this year and are on course for the treble having reached the final of the German cup following a 6-1 semi-final win over Wolfsburg.

Club legend: Bayern president Uli Hoeness arrives at the Allianz Arena

Club legend: Bayern president Uli Hoeness arrives at the Allianz Arena

Flying the flag: Bayern Munich and Barcelona fans gathered outside of the Allianz Arena

Flying the flag: Bayern Munich and Barcelona fans gathered outside of the Allianz Arena

Flying the flag: Bayern Munich and Barcelona fans gathered outside of the Allianz Arena

19.18: From InfostradaLive:

Victor Valdes plays his 48th CL KO match, overtaking Ryan Giggs (47) as player with most CL KO appearances.

19.13: Full line-ups from the Allianz Arena:

Bayern Munich v Barcelona
Bayern Munich: Neuer, Lahm, Boateng, Dante, Alaba, Javi Martinez, Schweinsteiger, Robben, Muller, Ribery, Gomez. Subs: Starke, Van Buyten, Shaqiri, Rafinha, Pizarro, Gustavo, Tymoschuk.

Barcelona: Valdes, Dani Alves, Pique, Bartra, Jordi Alba, Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta, Sanchez, Messi, Pedro. Subs: Pinto, Fabregas, Villa, Thiago, Montoya, Abidal, Song.

Referee: Viktor Kassai (Hungary)

19.08: From OptaPaolo:

25 – Bayern have always scored at home in the Champions League against Spanish opposition (13 games), scoring 25 goals in total. Assurance.

Way back when: Bayern Munich's Stefan Effenberg (right) tracks Barcelona's Sonny Anderson

Way back when: Bayern Munich's Stefan Effenberg (right) tracks Barcelona's Sonny Anderson

Revenge: First leg goals from Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto'o and Thierry Henry helped Barcelona thump Bayern Munich 5-1 on aggregate in the 2009 Champions League quarter-finals

Revenge: First leg goals from Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto'o and Thierry Henry helped Barcelona thump Bayern Munich 5-1 on aggregate in the 2009 Champions League quarter-finals

Revenge: First leg goals from Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto'o and Thierry Henry helped Barcelona thump Bayern Munich 5-1 on aggregate in the 2009 Champions League quarter-finals

19.05: Bayern Munich won two Champions League group stage meetings in 1998, but Barcelona finally triumphed over the German side when they strolled to a 5-1 aggregate victory in the Champions League quarter-finals four years ago.

In fact they effectively won the tie by half-time of the first leg at the Nou Camp, following a brace from Lionel Messi and strikes from Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto'o.

19.00: Despite their regular participation in Europe's top competition – these sides have only clashed in three previous seasons.

The first was in the 1996 UEFA Cup semi-final when Bayern edged through 4-3 on aggregate – a tie where in the clash at the Nou Camp, Sergio Busquets' (who starts tonight) father Carles featured – as did Pep Guardiola.

18.55: Mario Mandzukic is suspended for Bayern, so therefore Mario Gomez plays up top. The more agile Jerome Boateng starts in front of Daniel van Buyten.

French following: A fan holds a France flag with Bayern's Franck Ribery on the front

French following: A fan holds a France flag with Bayern's Franck Ribery on the front

18.50: So Messi returns for Barcleona and will lead an attack along with Pedro Rodriguez and Alexis Sanchez. Marc Bartra starts in defence in place of injured pair Javier Mascherano, Carlos Puyol and the suspended Adriano.

18.45: Barcelona starting XI:

Valdes, Alves, Bartra, Pique, Alba, Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta, Pedro, Messi, Alexis.

18.40: Bayern Munich starting XI:

Neuer, Lahm, Boateng, Dante, Alaba, Schweinsteiger, Martinez, Robben, Muller, Ribery, Gomez.

On the move: Mario Gotze (centre) will join Bayern Munich this summer

On the move: Mario Gotze (centre) will join Bayern Munich this summer

18.35: Bayern Munich have already been making headlines today, after it emerged Mario Gotze will join the club from Borussia Dortmund for 32m in what will be Pep Guardiola's first signing when he takes over at Munich this summer.

A huge statement of intent that, with the 20-year-old midfielder one of Europe's most highly sought after players.

18.30: From OptaJean:

1 – Barcelona have only won one of their 6 competitive encounters with Bayern Munich (D2, L3). Stress.

18.25: The fact that Barcelona are not huge favourites (if they are favourites at all) to win tonight shows just how far Bayern Munich have come this season.

They continue to shine in Europe of course but their domestic form has been nothing short of devastating – it should be quite a contest.

Back in business: Lionel Messi is poised to return for Barcelona

Back in business: Lionel Messi is poised to return for Barcelona

18.20: It's been a lovely sunny St. George's Day in the UK, and the weather is looking good in Munich too ahead of tonight's game. It's 16 degrees at the Allianz Arena where fans are already arriving.

18.15: No full team news yet but it seems Lionel Messi is fully fit for Barcelona, having not featured since coming off the bench in the quarter-final win against Paris Saint-Germain in the last round. That's a big boost for Barca who have stuttered at times on their travels around the continent this term.

18.10: There may be no English teams left but what a final four we have in this season's Champions League!

As it turns out it will be a double dose of Spain v Germany, and while Real Madrid are favourites to edge past Borussia Dortmund, it appears much closer between Bayern Munich and Barcelona – the latter of course, the main event this evening.

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On the ball: Bayern Munich's Bastian Schweinsteiger trains in preperation for the semi-final

On the ball: Bayern Munich's Bastian Schweinsteiger trains in preperation for the semi-final

Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott out of Arsenal"s Premier League clash with Reading

Crocked Wilshere STILL missing for Arsenal and Walcott is out, too… but Wenger confident Gunners will finish in top four

By
Sami Mokbel

PUBLISHED:

09:56 GMT, 28 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:17 GMT, 28 March 2013

Jack Wilshere has been ruled out of Arsenal's Barclays Premier League clash with Reading on Saturday.

The Arsenal midfielder hasn't played for the North London outfit since he injured his ankle in their defeat at Tottenham earlier this month.

Theo Walcott, who picked up a pelvic muscle tear on international duty, will also miss the visit of the relegation-threatened club this weekend.

Sidelined: Jack Wilshere will not be fit to face Reading at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday

Sidelined: Jack Wilshere will not be fit to face Reading at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday

Theo Walcott

Theo Walcott

Blow: Theo Walcott left the England camp early after picking up a groin strain before the San Marino clash

'Wilshere is still out,' said Wenger. 'Walcott is an accident that could have happened.'

The Arsenal boss also insisted he had no issue with England manager Roy Hodgson.

'When it’s competitive for England, like it was in the last two games, the manager has to pick his best team,' added Wenger.

'There's no ideal way when your
international manger is under pressure to deliver. There can be
complications between the two medical departments – because you can send
a player who is half-injured and they still play, so it is about
communication. But we have a good relationship with England.'

Arsenal host Reading on Saturday four
points adrift of rivals Tottenham having played one game less, and
despite the injury concerns at Arsenal, manager Arsene Wenger remains
confident the Gunners will qualify for the Champions League.

'There are nine games to go, five at
home and four away, and with the form we showed at Bayern Munich and
Swansea, I think we have a very good chance of finishing in the top
four.

'We have a special desire to be together at this club. This is a good opportunity for us and we want to grab this chance.'

Reading will arrive at the Emirates
seven points adrift of safety and under a new regime after former
Southampton boss Nigel Adkins was appointed earlier this week.

'We may play a team who are fighting
not to go down, but we fight to get in the top four so those games are
just as important for us, too,' added Wenger.

More follows…

Wales" Gareth Bale is back in the frame to play Croatia

Bale back in the frame for Wales clash with Croatia after coming on leaps and bounds

By
Thom Drake

PUBLISHED:

16:03 GMT, 25 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:04 GMT, 25 March 2013

Wales winger Gareth Bale has been training as he recovers from both a stomach virus and the ankle injury which forced him off early against Scotland on Friday.

Bale was a doubt for Wales' World Cup qualifier with Croatia, but he seemed as athletic as ever bounding around the training session.

If Wales want to stand any chance of going to Rio they have to overcome a seven point gap between themselves and both Belgium and Croatia who lead the group on 13 points.

Flying high: Gareth Bale appears to be fit again by the look of this acrobatic celebration

Flying high: Gareth Bale appears to be fit again by the look of this acrobatic celebration

Smiling wide: Wales will be hoping Bale can get round the Croatian defence as easily as he did this marker

Smiling wide: Wales will be hoping Bale can get round the Croatian defence as easily as he did this marker

Aaron Ramsey is ruled out of the game through suspension because of his sending off against Scotland.

Wales came from behind to with two goals in two minutes. Grant Hanley had put Scotland ahead on the stroke of half-time, but when Robert Snodgrass fouled Chris Gunter, not only was he given a red card but Ramsey put away the penalty.

Only a minute later Wales scored the winner as Hal Robson-Kanu headed past Alan McGregor.

Man down: Ashley Williams keeps Bale in his sights as they train

Man down: Ashley Williams keeps Bale in his sights as they train

Cheeky: Wales lost the away fixture with Croatia 2-0

Cheeky: Wales lost the away fixture with Croatia 2-0

Bale's incredibly season has included 23 goals for club and country, and has taken his tally of international strikes up to 10 in 37 appearances.

He failed to get on the score-sheet against Scotland when he was hampered by injury, and will be chomping at the bit to continue his goalscoring run.

Croatia's biggest threat will come from former Tottenham and now Real Madrid playmaker Luka Modric, Bayern Munich's Mario Mandzukic and Wolfsburg's Ivica Olic.

Gently jog: Bale and Craig Bellamy warm up before their session

Gently jog: Bale and Craig Bellamy warm up before their session

Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale

Star man: Manager Chris Coleman will be delighted to have Bale back in his first 11

Star man: Manager Chris Coleman will be delighted to have Bale back in his first 11

Puffed out: Even Bale has to take a rest at some point

Puffed out: Even Bale has to take a rest at some point

Luka Modric wants to join Manchester United from Real Madrid

Exclusive: Modric eyes move to Manchester United… just days after sending them packing in the Champions League

By
Ian Ladyman

PUBLISHED:

23:00 GMT, 11 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

02:01 GMT, 12 March 2013

Manchester United’s Champions League heartbreaker Luka Modric still has his heart set on a move to Old Trafford.

Real Madrid star Modric smashed in a wonder goal to help the Spanish champions beat United on a controversial night of European drama in Manchester a week ago.

Now it has emerged that the 27-year-old Croatian midfielder still harbours dreams of a move back to the Barclays Premier League with United.

Heartbreaker: Luka Modric's goal sent Real Madrid through at the expense of Manchester United

Heartbreaker: Luka Modric's goal sent Real Madrid through at the expense of Manchester United

Modric was high on the wishlist of United boss Sir Alex Ferguson two summers ago as he tried to replace Paul Scholes. But United were put off by the prospect of another summer of haggling with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy, with whom they clashed over the purchase of Dimitar Berbatov in 2008.

Modric eventually left White Hart Lane for Real in a 33m deal last summer but has not been a guaranteed starter in Jose Mourinho’s team and his goal at Old Trafford last week was only his second of a difficult season. The diminutive midfielder is not in a rush to quit Real but did let it be known when in Manchester last week that he would be very keen on a future switch to Old Trafford.

Since missing out on Modric first time round, United have of course bought Japanese international Shinji Kagawa.

Exposed Modric has found first-team football difficult to secure at Real, where Mesut Ozil is a rival for his place

Exposed Modric has found first-team football difficult to secure at Real, where Mesut Ozil is a rival for his place

Nevertheless, Scholes is expected to retire this summer, Ryan Giggs has perhaps just a season left and Wayne Rooney will attract strong interest from PSG and Bayern Munich at the end of the season.

Still only 27, Modric is young enough to tempt Ferguson, who has been a huge admirer since he first arrived in England from Dynamo Zagreb in 2008.

United, meanwhile, are still waiting to find out if defender Rio Ferdinand will be punished by the FA for an off-the-ball clash with Fernando Torres during Sunday’s 2-2 FA Cup draw with Chelsea.

Controversial: Rio Ferdinand is waiting to hear if he'll be punished by the FA

Controversial: Rio Ferdinand is waiting to hear if he'll be punished by the FA

The FA are likely to make a decision this morning while Ferdinand himself has warned that United cannot let their Champions League setback affect the rest of the season.

He said: ‘That won’t happen. We will go into training and start working towards the weekend. Cup competitions are different from the league. We know what we have to do.’

Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna set to miss Arsenal game at Bayern Munich through injury

EXCLUSIVE: Wilshere in race to be fit for England after being ruled out of Arsenal's showdown with Bayern

By
Sami Mokbel

PUBLISHED:

22:25 GMT, 11 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

00:09 GMT, 12 March 2013

Jack Wilshere could miss England’s crucial World Cup qualifying double header against San Marino and Montenegro.

Arsenal’s brilliant midfielder is out of Wednesday’s Champions League trip to Bayern Munich after failing to recover from the ankle injury he collected in the 2-1 defeat by Spurs nine days ago.

He will be left behind when the team flies to Bavaria today, and is not expected to recover in time for Saturday’s vital trip to Swansea.

Injury doubt: Jack Wilshere is in a race to be fit for England's trips to San Marino and Montenegro

Injury doubt: Jack Wilshere is in a race to be fit for England's trips to San Marino and Montenegro

Blow: Jack Wilshere is set to miss Arsenal's Champions League clash with Bayern Munich

Blow: Jack Wilshere is set to miss Arsenal's Champions League clash with Bayern Munich through injury

That puts England boss Roy Hodgson on a collision course with Gunners manager Arsene Wenger yet again over picking the 21-year-old for his country.

Hodgson names his squad on Thursday, and will want Wilshere in his side after his talismanic performance in last month’s friendly against Brazil – especially for the must-win trip to face Group H leaders Montenegro.

But Wenger, who sent the player on a mid-season break to Dubai to aid his recovery, will fear that he could break down on international duty and miss his club’s critical fight to retain their Champions League status for another season.

The Arsenal manager was angry last month that his star player was on the field for the full 90 minutes against Brazil at Wembley, when he believed he had an agreement that he would not play the entire game.

He also clashed with Hodgson in November over his selection for the squad for a friendly against Sweden when he had only just recovered from an injury sustained on Arsenal’s pre-season trip to America.

And England Under 21 coach Stuart Pearce also bowed to pressure from the Gunners to leave him out of his squad for last summer’s tournament.

Wenger has other injury problems as his side got to Munich searching for a way to overturn their 3-1 deficit from the first leg.

Bacary Sagna is out after failing to recover from a knee problem and is also a major doubt for Saturday’s trip to The Liberty Stadium.

Setback: Wilshere could be out for a few weeks

Setback: Wilshere could be out for a few weeks

It will leave the Gunners being forced to rush back Kieran Gibbs who has missed six weeks with a thigh injury.

With Nacho Monreal cup tied, Sagna's injury leaves Wenger short of defensive options for the clash against Jupp Heynckes men.

If the Gunners decide not to risk Gibbs, they are likely to line-up with a back-four of Carl Jenkinson, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen, the club's only available recognised defenders for the clash at the Allianz Arena.

However, the Gunners have been boosted by news that Bayern forward Franck Ribery will miss the second leg with an ankle injury.

Influential midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger and defender Jerome Boateng are suspended.

Crisis: Bacary Sagna is set to miss the last-16 clash against Bayern Munich through injury

Crisis: Bacary Sagna is set to miss the last-16 clash after failing to recover from a knee problem

Zlatan Ibrahimovic compares himself to Muhammed Ali the greatest

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, his name's Ibrahimovic and he scores for PSG… Zlatan likens himself to legend Ali

By
Charlie Skillen

PUBLISHED:

10:08 GMT, 20 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:11 GMT, 20 February 2013

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has compared himself to boxing legend Muhammed Ali as ‘the greatest’ – but the Paris-Saint Germain striker admits he is behind the former world champion in the pecking order.

The Sweden striker, who has linked up with David Beckham after the Englishman’s move from LA Galaxy to PSG, has been in blistering form this season with 21 goals in 22 Ligue 1 starts.

Never known for his modesty, Ibrahimovic used his form to joke about his position in the sporting Hall of fame, which he says is one behind Ali – seen by many as greatest sportsman of all time.

The Greatest Ibrahimovic (above) holds his arms aloft just like former heavyweight champion Ali (below)

The Greatest Ibrahimovic (above) holds his arms aloft just like former heavyweight champion Ali (below)

Ali, 1972

‘I am the greatest!’ he said to 11Freunde.

‘Wait, is that even possible All right, then I’m the greatest behind Ali!’

Ibrahimovic also hinted a fiery reunion with former boss Pep Guardiola could be on the cards, saying he would be open to a move to Bayern Munich.

Guardiola is joining the Bundesliga leaders at in the summer and signed Ibrahimovic for Barcelona in 2009, but the striker left after just one season amid rumours of a bust-up with the Catalan coach.

Future team-mates Ibrahimovic hinted he would be open to a move to Bayern Munich, celebrating Thomas Muller's (centre) goal against Arsenal last night, with former boss Pep Guardiola taking over in the summer

Future team-mates Ibrahimovic hinted he would be open to a move to Bayern Munich, celebrating Thomas Muller's (centre) goal against Arsenal last night, with former boss Pep Guardiola taking over in the summer

Reunion: But Ibrahimovic (right) and Guardiola (left) fell out during the striker's time at Barcelona

Reunion: But Ibrahimovic (right) and Guardiola (left) fell out during the striker's time at Barcelona

However, Ibrahimovic said the idea of playing for the Bavarian giants, who lead Arsenal 3-1 in their Champions League last-16 tie, is one that interests him.

‘The Bundesliga is certainly a league that attracts me. One day, maybe I will go there, I still have a little time left in my career,’ he said.

‘If I chose to go to Germany, it would have to be Bayern Munich.

‘For me they are one of the top five clubs in the world.’

AJAX Vs RODA JC KERKRADE... Ajax's Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores his team's winner against Roda JC Kerkrade.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic...Juventus' Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Sweden

Football: Euro 2004 Quarter-final: Sweden 0 Holland 0

Well-travelled: Ibrahimovic has also played in Holland (left), Italy (centre) and his native Sweden (right)

Any move to Germany would represent
the sixth country the striker has plied his trade in, which Ibrahimovic
believes has made him a better person.

He
said: ‘I’ve lived in five countries – Sweden, Netherlands, Italy, Spain
and now France. I have learned to get to know new people and cultures.

‘It has certainly made me more mature.’

Arsene Wenger rages after FA Cup defeat: "Don"t insult my players"

Wenger on the warpath: Raging Arsenal boss comes out fighting and tells critics 'don't insult my players' despite FA Cup humiliation

PUBLISHED:

12:41 GMT, 18 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:55 GMT, 18 February 2013

Arsene Wenger has launched an impassioned defence of his team and tactics in the wake of Arsenal's humiliating FA Cup defeat by Blackburn Rovers.

Wenger couldn't hide his anger during a press conference on Monday morning, but is coming under increasing pressure as the club face an eighth successive year without silverware.

The Arsenal manager has defended his team selection and laughed at the suggestion he isn't taking the world's oldest club knockout competition seriously.

Scroll down to watch the video…

Anger: Arsene Wenger attacked his critics at a press conference yesterday

Anger: Arsene Wenger attacked his critics at a press conference yesterday

Wenger press conference

Wenger press conference

Wenger said: 'I've been accused of not taking the FA Cup seriously. I've won it four times. Tell me who has won it more than me. Tell me, one name.

'I've been accused of not putting out a strong enough team – this is an insult to those who started the game, 11 internationals.'

Arsenal face a huge task to progress
into the quarter-finals of Europe's elite competition with last year's
beaten finalists standing in their way.

The players looked downcast as they arrived for training on Monday morning at the club's London Colney base, knowing that anything other than victory in the Champions League on Tuesday night against Bayern Munich would effectively end their season.

Under fire: Wenger has defended his record in the competition - despite leaving some key stars on the bench

Under fire: Wenger has defended his record in the competition - despite leaving some key stars on the bench

Under fire: Wenger has defended his record in the competition – despite leaving some key stars on the bench

Cheer up! Mikel Arteta leads a group of players onto the training pitch including Olivier Giroud, Francis Coquelin and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Cheer up! Mikel Arteta leads a group of players onto the training pitch including Olivier Giroud, Francis Coquelin and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

But Wenger has impressed on his players that they must put the defeat by Rovers behind them, and has also denied reports that the club are about to hand him a new two-year deal.

He said: 'That is the wrong information and I work for 16 years in England and I think I deserve a bit more credit than wrong information that has only one intention: to harm,' the Arsenal boss said.

'If it is good information which comes from nowhere it is all right, but this is wrong information that comes from nowhere and it is completely wrong.'

Wenger then became involved in a heated exchange with a journalist, adding: 'I look at you not because you give information, I do not know if it is you, I do not know where the information comes from. Why do you look at me I just thought you had given this information out.

Double trouble: Wenger with Jack Wilshere

Double trouble: Wenger with Jack Wilshere

'Here this is a pre-match conference
for the Champions League, if you want to talk about Saturday, that press
conference has been made after the game.

'Can we get some questions about tomorrow's game, that would be very nice.'

Wenger also confirmed Per Mertesacker is back in the matchday squad but Laurent Koscielny is unlikely to return for the clash at the Emirates.

Meanwhile, Mikael Silvestre, whom Wenger
signed from Manchester United in 2008 and made 43 appearances in the
Gunners’ defence, tweeted a tongue-in-cheek picture of an empty Arsenal
trophy cabinet, calling on Patrick Vieira to return to the club to help
his former manager.

Isolated: Wenger is under fire as Arsenal look to go another season without silverware

Isolated: Wenger is under fire as Arsenal look to go another season without silverware

All in it together: Arsenal's players train on Monday

All in it together: Arsenal's players train on Monday

Vieira, who played 406 games for the club over nine seasons, is rumoured to be the favourite to replace Arsenal’s head of youth development Liam Brady.

Silvestre said: '@OfficialVieira go back to London and give Arsene a hand bro ! #rolemodele #legend #AFC #mcfc'

Silvestre, 35, who will play for either the Portland Timbers or Seattle Sounders in the upcoming MLS season, pointed to the fact that Arsenal have not won a trophy since moving to the Emirates Stadium from Highbury in 2006.

Rovers revenge: Blackburn dumped Arsenal out of the FA Cup - 12 months after they were beaten 7-1 at the Emirates

Rovers revenge: Blackburn dumped Arsenal out of the FA Cup – 12 months after they were beaten 7-1 at the Emirates

Rovers revenge: Blackburn dumped Arsenal out of the FA Cup - 12 months after they were beaten 7-1 at the Emirates

Fans replied angrily to the
defender’s message, with one Twitter user posting: 'Thanks for all your
help in addressing that during your time at the club Mikael, one of our
worst signings ever.'

Another wrote: 'For someone who was
so bad when playing for Arsenal, you've really got some nerve posting
that. Disrespectful fool.'

Vieira is currently in a football development role at Manchester City, where he ended his career in 2011.

Mikael Silvestre

VIDEO: Heated press conference with Wenger…

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Arsenal fans call for Arsene Wenger to resign after FA Cup defeat to Blackburn

Worst ever for Wenger: Fans call for Arsenal boss to resign after FA Cup shocker

By
Andrew Warshaw and Joe Bernstein

PUBLISHED:

21:07 GMT, 16 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

02:07 GMT, 17 February 2013

Despondent Arsene Wenger rued another devastating defeat as the worst season in his 16-and-a-half-year Arsenal reign plumbed new depths amid a torrent of abuse at the Emirates.

With Bayern Munich visiting north London in the Champions League on Tuesday, Wenger made seven changes for yesterday's FA Cup fifth-round tie with Championship side Blackburn but suffered another humiliation as his team were again humbled by lower league opposition.

Colin Kazim-Richards's 72ndminute winner not only extended Arsenal's trophyless drought to eight years but was the first time under Wenger's tenure that the Gunners had lost in the FA Cup to a team outside the Premier League.

Tought to take: Arsene Wenger reacts as Arsenal slumped to defeat against Blackburn

Tought to take: Arsene Wenger reacts as Arsenal slumped to defeat against Blackburn

With Arsenal's board set to review
their manager's position at the end of the season – and Wenger himself
understood to be considering his position – Everton manager David Moyes
last night emerged as a shock contender to take over next season.

Elsewhere, seven arrests were made as
a heavy police presence at Luton's FA Cup clash with Millwall ensured
there was no chance of a repeat of the hooliganism that erupted when the
sides met in 1985.

Three hundred Bedfordshire police
were on duty in the Kenilworth Road area as a 'small minority' of fans
were involved in a tense stand-off after Millwall's 3-0 victory.

Barnsley striker Marlon Harewood was
alleged to have been abused by a fan during his side's 3-1 win over MK
Dons, with the home side's manager, David Flitcroft, intervening.

Decider: Colin Kazim-Richards fires past Wojciech Szczesny to dump the gunners out of the FA Cup

Decider: Colin Kazim-Richards fires past Wojciech Szczesny to dump the gunners out of the FA Cup

At the Emirates, Wenger's postmatch
press conference lasted barely five minutes as he was bombarded with
questions about his side's continuing frailties in a season now in
danger of going into freefall.

'It's very painful and very disappointing,' said Wenger, whose
side were knocked out of the League Cup by League Two Bradford in
December.

Even when he brought on first-choice players Theo Walcott,
Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla, they failed to find a way through
Michael Appleton's resolute side and were booed off.

Lifelong Arsenal
fan and Ryder Cup golf hero Ian Poulter tweeted: 'Utter crap Wenger
that's your lot you have to go, take a bow you've done an amazing job
over the years but enough is enough …'

Down and out: A dejected Jack wilshere reacts to Kazim-Richards' goal

Down and out: A dejected Jack wilshere reacts to Kazim-Richards' goal

'We had 11 international players
on the pitch at the start of the game,' said Wenger, whose side had 26
shots – 12 on target – and totally dominated possession.

'But we made a
massive mistake on the goal.'

Asked if the current season was his
worst, Wenger hit back: 'It is not over yet. For you maybe, but not for
me. It's important to focus on our next game. It's a good opportunity to
show we have character.'

Famous victory: Michael Appleton (left) congratulates Jason Lowe after victory at the Emirates

Famous victory: Michael Appleton (left) congratulates Jason Lowe after victory at the Emirates

Wenger's contract runs out in 2014
and he has so far refused to discuss a new one. If he leaves at the end
of the season, he may look to return to France.

Aware of Wenger's perilous position,
Moyes has told Everton he is unlikely to discuss his own future until
the summer when his current deal runs out.

Despite his close relationship with
owner Bill Kenwright, there is irritation inside Everton at Moyes's
tactics, which they regard as a form of blackmail to push for new
signings.

Into the last eight: Blackburn claimed a morale-boosting win, continuing Appleton's fine start as boss

Into the last eight: Blackburn claimed a morale-boosting win, continuing Appleton's fine start as boss