Tag Archives: opponents

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SEMI-FINAL DRAW: Bayern Munich v Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid

Wembley Clasico on the cards after Barca draw Bayern and Real Madrid to take on Dortmund in Champions League semi-final

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

10:33 GMT, 12 April 2013

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UPDATED:

10:59 GMT, 12 April 2013

There is the chance of a Clasico in the Wembley final of the Champions League as Real Madrid and Barcelona were kept apart in this morning's semi-final draw.

Jose Mourinho's Real were drawn against Borussia Dortmund whereas Barcelona are set to take on Bayern Munich, meaning if both teams dispatch their German opponents they will meet in the final at Wembley on May 25.

Dortmund are the only unbeaten team remaining in the competition, and will be pitted against Real for the second time in this season's tournament. The Bundesliga holders won a tough group which included Real, Manchester City and Ajax.

On course: Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid could take the Champions League crown at Wembley

On course: Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid could take the Champions League crown at Wembley

SEMI-FINAL DRAW

Bayern Munich v Barcelona

Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid

Runaway Bundesliga leaders Bayern
Munich are in sensational form in the competition, having beaten
Juventus in the quarter-finals.

Dortmund scraped their way into the semi-finals, after two stoppage-time goals against Malaga at the Westfalenstadion.

Pep Guardiola's loyalties will be split when Barca take on Bayern with both sides hoping to win their fifth European Cup.

He led the Catalan giants to two Champions League trophies during his remarkably successful tenure in Barcelona.

But he will be hoping for future glories with Bayern Munich, who he will take charge of next season when Jupp Heynckes leaves his post.

Veterans: Bayern Munich beat Juventus over two legs to reach the semi-final

Veterans: Bayern Munich beat Juventus over two legs to reach the semi-final

Overjoyed: Borussia Dortmund keeper Roman Weidenfeller (left) celebrates after a dramatic win over Malaga

Overjoyed: Borussia Dortmund keeper Roman Weidenfeller (left) celebrates after a dramatic win over Malaga

Like Guardiola, Mourinho has a taste
for success in the Champions League and could become the first ever
manager to win the competition with three different clubs.

Having won the tournament with Porto and Inter Milan, he is looking to guide Real to the trophy for the first time since 2002.

Former Manchester United and Real Madrid striker Ruud van Nistelrooy drew the teams in Nyon, and was glad of the outcome.

History boy: Jose Mourinho wants to become the only manager to win the Champions League with three clubs

History boy: Jose Mourinho wants to become the only manager to win the Champions League with three clubs

On the Dortmund and Real Madrid tie,
the Dutchman told Sky Sports : 'I think over two games [with] the
quality of Real Madrid they should beat Borussia Dortmund. But this is
football and anything can happen… you can never trust these things.'

When asked to compare his former
team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, he added: 'Messi, you
can't knock him but at this moment in time Cristiano has just got the
edge.'

The
first legs of the semi-finals will be played on April 23 and April 24,
with the second legs taking place on April 30 and May 1.

Top of the charts: Cristiano Ronaldo netted twice against Galatasaray in the second leg

Top of the charts: Cristiano Ronaldo netted twice against Galatasaray in the second leg

Just about: Lionel Messi came off the bench to help Barcelona progress on away goals over PSG

Just about: Lionel Messi came off the bench to help Barcelona progress on away goals over PSG

Jose Mourinho watches Galatasaray before Real Madrid game

Mourinho spies on Galatasaray as Madrid's European opponents put on show

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

16:30 GMT, 17 March 2013

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UPDATED:

06:00 GMT, 18 March 2013

Jose Mourinho hopped on a plane just hours after his Real Madrid side thrashed Mallorca to check out his side's Champions League quarter-final opponents Galatasaray.

Mourinho, who is looking to win the competition for the third time with his third different club, made the dash to to see the Turkish giants take on Kayserispor.

And he will have been impressed with what he saw as the visitors ran out 3-1 winners thanks to a brace from Champions League top scorer Burak Yilmaz and a strike from Wesley Sneijder.

Real Madrid's coach Jose Mourinho holds a bunch of flowers

Real Madrid's coach Jose Mourinho holds a bunch of flowers

Welcome gift: Jose Mourinho arrives in Turkey before watching Galatasaray beat Kayserispor

Nacho Monreal – how did he fare on Arsenal debut?

How did Nacho Monreal fare on his Arsenal debut Sportsmail analyses his display

By
Sami Mokbel

PUBLISHED:

23:24 GMT, 3 February 2013

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UPDATED:

08:11 GMT, 4 February 2013

Nacho Monreal made a winning start to his Arsenal career as Lukas Podolski handed Arsene Wenger’s men a slender 1-0 win over Stoke.

So how did the 8.3million deadline day signing from Malaga, who is tipped to replace Kieran Gibbs as the club’s first-choice left back, cope in Saturday’s Premier League debut

Ball retention

Arsenal’s game is all about keeping the ball and Monreal will have no problem fitting into Arsene Wenger’s style. There was nothing extravagant about the Spaniard’s passing. He kept it simple, playing short passes inside to his centre backs or midfielders instead of attempting anything risky or penetrative.

His one-touch game is excellent and he looked comfortable in possession, but would you expect anything else from a Spain international

Team-mate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain said: ‘He is very good on the ball, comfortable, technically brilliant and a very good defender.’

Comfortable: Nacho Monreal was happy to receive the ball to feet

Comfortable: Nacho Monreal was happy to receive the ball to feet

Going forward

The 26-year-old was sparing with his bursts forward, but when he did make a foray looked a real threat.

His pace over 10 to 20 yards had Stoke right back Ryan Shotton worried and his combination play with Jack Wilshere before putting in a cross that narrowly eluded Olivier Giroud will fill Arsenal fans with optimism.

Defending

Monreal will have more strenuous tests to come as Stoke struggled to carry a sustained attacking threat.

On the whole he was defensively sound. Competent in the air, particularly for a man under 6ft, and strong in the tackle, he knew when to clear or pick out a pass. Yet at times he allowed opponents too much space to cross.

Rearguard action: Nacho is little but a good addition to the backline

Rearguard action: Nacho is little but a good addition to the backline

Concentration

Intelligent enough to keep things simple on his debut. It was clear he was playing within himself, but there were a couple of lapses of concentration. The first came towards the end of the first half when, under no pressure, he let a routine pass slip under his foot and the ball rolled out. This was repeated in the last five minutes, with his side trying to protect their slender advantage, but this time the error occurred on the edge of his own box.

Physicality

Any fears Monreal would not be able to deal with the rough and tumble of the Premier League were dispelled during a bruising aerial duel with Jonathan Walters before half-time.

In going up for a header, the duo were involved in a nasty clash of heads. The Stoke forward needed treatment to a bloodied gash to his forehead.

Monreal remained on his feet, hardly flinching. ‘To see him win so many headers and hold his own was great to see,’ added Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Delighted: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is pleased Monreal has joined the squad

Delighted: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is pleased Monreal has joined the squad

Brentford 2 Chelsea 2:

Brentford 2 Chelsea 2: Torres spares Rafa's blushes as holders are taken to replay

PUBLISHED:

13:54 GMT, 27 January 2013

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UPDATED:

14:14 GMT, 27 January 2013

Fernando Torres rescued Chelsea and Rafael Benitez from FA Cup humiliation today as the holders denied Brentford arguably the biggest scalp of all in this season of shocks.

Torres broke his latest miserable run in front of goal with his first of 2013, and one of the most important of his Blues career, to prevent the European champions crashing out of their second competition in five days and sixth in just six months.

It also stopped Brentford becoming the latest lower-league team to upset Barclays Premier League opponents this season, something they were seven minutes away from doing after a magnificent performance at Griffin Park.

Relief: John Terry celebrates as Chelsea earn a replay against Brentford

Relief: John Terry celebrates as Chelsea earn a replay against Brentford

Match facts

Brentford:
Moore, Hodson, Craig, Dean, Logan, Forshaw (Saunders 84), Douglas,
Diagouraga, Donaldson, Trotta (Adeyemi 70), Forrester (Barron 80).

Subs not used: Lee, Dallas, Reeves, Hayes.

Goals: Trotta 43, Forrester pen 73.

Chelsea: Turnbull, Ivanovic (Azpilicueta 79), Cahill, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Lampard, Marin (Mata 46), Oscar, Bertrand (Ba 82), Torres.

Subs not used: Hilario, Mata, Ferreira, Benayoun, Ake.

Goals: Oscar 55, Torres 83.

Booked: Cahill

Referee: Jon Moss (W Yorkshire)

The npower League One high-fliers were one in a line of sides to completely outmuscle Chelsea since Benitez took charge, Marcello Trotta firing them in front moments before half-time and Harry Forrester restoring their lead with a penalty after Oscar had equalised.

They might even have clung on had Ross Turnbull been sent off instead of cautioned for conceding the spot-kick, having already been lucky to escape a booking for holding on to the ball in a bizarre repeat of Wednesday's ball boy incident at Swansea.

As if to drive home the point that their own ball boys had come in peace, Brentford had them form a guard of honour as the European champions took the field, each of them waving a large white flag.

But there was no surrender from the 11 on the field as they tore into a Chelsea side interim manager Benitez admitted may be running on empty.

Over the rainbow: Marcelo Trotta opened the scoring for Brentford at home to Chelsea

Over the rainbow: Marcelo Trotta opened the scoring for Brentford at home to Chelsea

Running on sand was hardly going to
help their energy levels or the passing game Benitez admitted was their
only way of playing, but that was exactly the kind of surface that
awaited them in what was the archetype of the old-fashioned cup tie.

Ironically, the European champions'
millions helped pay for the pitch, as part of an agreement for them to
play under-21 games at Griffin Park.

Torres, whose 50million transfer fee could probably buy Brentford Football Club, was recalled today.

Mob rule: Brentford celebrate their shock goal against Chelsea in the FA Cup

Mob rule: Brentford celebrate their shock goal against Chelsea in the FA Cup

Fit-again John Terry also started his first game under Benitez but it was almost a nightmare return when Turnbull was penalised for clutching his captain's backpass.

Turnbull's refusal to release the ball for a quick indirect free-kick could hardly have been more ironic in the wake of the Eden Hazard saga, Forrester eventually blazing over the crossbar.

Terry and Turnbull continued to look like strangers, with Chelsea knocked out of their stride by relentless Brentford pressing and lightning breaks.

Spot kick: Tom Adeyemi is fouled by Ross Turnbull to earn Brentford a penalty which Harry Forrester scored

Spot kick: Tom Adeyemi is fouled by Ross Turnbull to earn Brentford a penalty which Harry Forrester scored

It almost led to a goal on the half-hour mark when Shaleum Logan won the ball and squared for Adam Forshaw, who drove narrowly wide.

There seemed only one outcome if Brentford could add incision to their industry, and they did just that three minutes from half-time.

Forshaw's sliding tackle robbed Frank Lampard and Forrester unleashed a shot Turbull needlessly parried straight to Trotta, who fired in the rebound.

The Italian delayed his own celebration in fear of an offside flag but the stadium was already in raptures.

Gary Cahill was booked for upending Logan before the break, which saw Marko Marin hauled off and Juan Mata tasked with orchestrating a comeback.

There was plenty of time for Chelsea to get their act together and it took them only 10 minutes to do so, Oscar pouncing on a loose clearance and bamboozling the Brentford defence before drilling into the top corner.

Mata almost finished off a sweeping move and Lampard's header from a corner was kept out by Simon Moore as the visitors began to show the kind of fight completely lacking in the first half.

But Brentford refused to panic, drawing Chelsea's sting before withdrawing Trotta for Tom Adeyemi with 20 minutes remaining.

It was inspired, the substitute winning a penalty almost immediately after being upended by Turnbull racing on to Clayton Donaldson's brilliant through ball.

Turnbull might have seen red but escaped with a booking before Forrester buried the spot-kick right in the bottom-left corner.

Chelsea briefly laid siege to the home goal, Branislav Ivanovic denied by Moore before being taken off for Cesar Azpilicueta.

Forrester followed for Scott Barron with Demba Ba finally arriving for Ryan Bertrand, who had just wasted a glorious headed chance to equalise.

Ba made the difference, challenging for an 83rd-minute ball that fell to Torres, who instinctively curled it into the top corner from 18 yards.

Lampard went close to a winner and Mata appealed furiously for handball in the box against Harlee Dean but that would have been a travesty of justice.

Carl Froch v Mikkel Kessler agreed for summer in England

This is one for the ages! Froch lands mega summer fight with rival Kessler in the UK

By
Riath Al-samarrai

PUBLISHED:

12:28 GMT, 15 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:18 GMT, 15 January 2013

Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler have agreed terms for a blockbuster summer rematch in the UK.

The date and venue have not yet been confirmed but the super middleweights are expected to clash on May 25 in London.

Froch suffered his first professional defeat and lost his WBC world title in their previous bout in April 2010, a contentious unanimous decision after a thriller in Denmark.

Scroll down for video

Home advantage: Carl Froch will get his chance to exact revenge over Mikkel Kessler in the UK this summer after losing to the Dane in 2010

Home advantage: Carl Froch will get his chance to exact revenge over Mikkel Kessler in the UK this summer after losing to the Dane in 2010

But after a run of fights against the best in the division, he has since picked up and defended the IBF belt, which will be staked in the rematch against the WBA (regular) champion.

‘This is the fight that I want more than anything in the world,’ said Froch.

‘I put Mikkel up there as one of the great warriors in boxing and I am so excited about this fight and the chance to set the record straight against him.’

‘I promised Carl we would meet again and here we are, getting ready to leave it all in the ring for a second time,’ said five-time world champion Kessler, who like Froch has only lost two fights.

Ready to rumble: Froch will be looking to celebrate what would be the biggest win of his career this summer with the support of girlfriend Rachael Cordingley

Ready to rumble: Froch will be looking to celebrate what would be the biggest win of his career this summer with the support of girlfriend Rachael Cordingley

‘I have the utmost of respect for Carl, I
feel we are very much alike. He is a great champion, a true warrior
that has fought the best opponents all over the world in some of the
most hostile places, just like me.

'Our first fight, especially the last round, showed what we are all about and I was to do it again.

‘Since that first fight, I have become even stronger. I am fresh, I am healthy and I am ready to defeat him once again. I dont care where we fight, I said anytime, anywhere. I plan to make my loyal Viking fans, as well as everybody else in Denmark, very proud once again. I am ready for war.’

Packing a punch: Froch was impressive in his comfortable victory over Yusaf Mack in his last ring outing

Packing a punch: Froch was impressive in his comfortable victory over Yusaf Mack in his last ring outing

Froch’s promoter Eddie Hearn added:
‘This is one for the ages. My hat goes off to both men for putting
everything on the line here in what can only be an epic battle. Too many
super fights fall by the wayside so to make Froch v Kessler II is a
dream come true.

‘Froch v Kessler I was a barnburner but I really feel Carl is a different fighter now, especially in the UK. These are the kinds of fights and nights that can cement the legacy of Carl Froch and no one deserves it more.

'We know what to expect from both men and either way it's going to be brutal.’

VIDEO Eddie Hearn is looking forward to the summer rematch

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Mansfield 1 Liverpool 2: Match report

Mansfield 1 Liverpool 2: Dream debut for Sturridge but Stags rage at Suarez handball

PUBLISHED:

17:55 GMT, 6 January 2013

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UPDATED:

18:19 GMT, 6 January 2013

Liverpool new-boy Daniel Sturridge made an immediate impact to leave Mansfield manager Paul Cox mulling over his honeymoon options after failing to pull off an FA Cup giant-killing.

Sturridge, a 12million buy from Chelsea a few days ago, wasted no time in getting off the mark and helping the Reds into the fourth round – and another tricky trip to Oldham – at the expense of their non-league opponents.

The Blue Square Bet Conference side had their moments, notably at the start of the second half, before Luis Suarez further crushed their hopes in the 59th minute – and not without controversy.

Dream debut: Daniel Sturridge celebrates with team mates after scoring his first goal for Liverpool

Dream debut: Daniel Sturridge celebrates with team mates after scoring his first goal for Liverpool

MATCH FACTS:

Mansfield: Marriott, Thompson, Dempster, Geohaghon, Beevers, Meikle, Clements (Rhead 81), Murray, Howell, Briscoe (Daniel 64), Green.

Subs not used: Sutton, Speight, Wright, Hutchinson, Stevenson.

Booked: Beevers.

Goal: Green 79.

Liverpool: Jones, Wisdom (Flanagan 79), Coates, Carragher, Robinson, Lucas, Allen, Shelvey, Fernandez Saez (Henderson 55), Sturridge (Suarez 55), Downing.

Subs not used: Gulacsi, Sterling, Coady, Skrtel.

Booked: Lucas, Sturridge, Flanagan.

Goals: Sturridge 7, Suarez 59.

Attendance: 7,574

Referee: Andre Marriner

If a contentious handball had been spotted then perhaps Matt Green's 79th-minute strike might have forced a lucrative replay at Anfield, but it was not to be.

Instead for Cox, who turned 41 today and who married on Friday, his new wife Natasha will have to start flicking through the holiday brochures after failing to cash in on a promise from Blue Square that they would have paid for his honeymoon if the Stags had won.

Unfortunately, they made the worst possible start as it took just eight minutes for Liverpool, and Sturridge in particular, to make their mark.

The Stags defence was scythed open with ease by a delightful through ball from Jonjo Shelvey, and with Sturridge showing a turn of speed in racing on to the pass, he slotted comfortably beyond Alan Marriott from 12 yards.

The goal allowed the visitors to take control, with Marriott firmly behind a raking low drive from just outside the area from Joe Allen five minutes later that could have deceived as it flashed through a crowded penalty area.

Within 90 seconds it should have been
2-0, and effectively game over, as the Shelvey-Sturridge partnership
combined again, with the latter clean through on to another incisive
defence-splitting pass.

Tidy finish: Sturridge slots the ball past Alan Marriott

Tidy finish: Sturridge slots the ball past Alan Marriott

On this occasion, however, Sturridge
dithered perhaps a fraction too long and shimmied once too often as his
eventual crack at goal was beaten away by Marriott at close range.

At that stage, with just 15 minutes
elapsed, that would likely have knocked the stuffing out of the Stags,
however they grew in confidence as the half wore on even if Liverpool
continued to dominate.

They were indebted to a superb sliding
tackle from Lindon Meikle in thwarting Suso on the edge of the six-yard
box, while John Thompson bravely threw his body in the way of a drive
from Stewart Downing as he raced into the area.

Handball! Luis Suarez brings the ball down with his hand before scoring

Handball! Luis Suarez brings the ball down with his hand before scoring

Moment of controversy: Luis Suarez scored after handling the ball

Moment of controversy: Luis Suarez scored after handling the ball

In it goes: Suarez taps the ball over the line

In it goes: Suarez taps the ball over the line

But with the realisation they were in
the game and there was no walkover on the cards, and with the crowd
becoming ever more vocal, they finally conjured their first chance just
after the half hour.

A quick surging move resulted in
leading scorer Green unleashing a fierce 18-yard drive that stung the
fingers of goalkeeper Brad Jones, with Jose Reina one of those rested,
along with captain Steven Gerrard.

They were amongst eight changes made
to the side following the recent 3-0 victory over Sunderland, with Jamie
Carragher taking over the skipper's armband.

With Suarez on the bench, Sturridge
was given his chance to shine and a minute before the break he again
managed to get in behind the home defence from a Shelvey pass, firing in
a shot Marriott touched beyond the far post.

In with a shout: Mansfield Town's Matt Green pulls a goal back

In with a shout: Mansfield Town's Matt Green pulls a goal back

All smiles: Green celebrates his goal

All smiles: Green celebrates his goal

Whatever Cox then said to his players
during the interval worked a treat as Town gave the Reds the fright of
their lives in the opening few minutes of the second half as they
besieged their opponent's area.

It was all sparked by a close-range shot from Anthony Howell that Jones nudged past his right-hand post.

Beyond that Howell saw another effort
blocked by Carragher before Jones saved from Louis Briscoe, made a more
fumbled attempt from Meikle, and then tipped one past his left-hand
upright as Briscoe aimed a powerful angled drive towards the top corner.

Getting stuck in: Mansfield's Lindon Meikle challenges Liverpool's Lucas Leiva

Getting stuck in: Mansfield's Lindon Meikle challenges Liverpool's Lucas Leiva

It was hair-raising stuff for
Liverpool, who eventually drew breath in the 53rd minute on a breakaway
which culminated in Sturridge dragging a Downing pass across Marriott.

It proved to be his last act of his
debut as Rodgers replaced the 23-year-old and Suso moments later with
Suarez and Jordan Henderson.

The Uruguayan's introduction paid immediate dividends, but not without typical debate for which he has become renowned.

Getting there first: Meikle and Suso battle for the ball

Getting there first: Meikle and Suso battle for the ball

Again Downing was the provider and
after Suarez's initial effort was blocked by Marriott, he then used his
hand to bundle home the rebound from a couple of yards, sparking appeals
from the Town players that went unrewarded.

The game appeared to be petering out
towards a natural conclusion until Green struck 11 minutes from time
with a right-foot shot from 15 yards that bounced off the turf and
beyond Jones, heralding a frenetic finish.

The most notable chance saw Green
lash a shot goalwards from 20 yards in the first of five minutes of
injury time, only for Jones to paw away.

In the end, there was to be no romantic ending. Cox will have to save that for his honeymoon.

Stoke manager Tony Pulis choosing gradual development over spending spree

Stoke proud of their project as Pulis claims he won't be splashing the cash in Janaury

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 25 December 2012

Tony Pulis insists Stoke City will not be ‘caught with their pants down’ by spending lots of money in January.

Stoke are sitting pretty in ninth place in the Barclays Premier League, level on points with Boxing Day's opponents Liverpool, but their manager said the club will continue their policy of ‘gradual redevelopment’.

Qualities: Tony Pulis is happy with the gradual progress being made by Stoke

Qualities: Tony Pulis is happy with the gradual progress being made by Stoke

Qualities: Tony Pulis is happy with the gradual progress being made by Stoke

In November, Stoke invested a further 6million in their Clayton Wood training ground to improve the facilities for Academy teams, having spent just 5.5m on bringing Geoff Cameron and Michael Kightly to the club last summer.

Pulis said: ‘We have a plan, and it’s gradual and gradual. It’s not one we’re going to throw loads and loads of money at and then get caught with our pants down.

‘We’ve spent on and off the pitch and we’re continuing at the moment. We’ve got a new build at the training ground and it’s going to cost us a lot of money.

‘The structure of the team is very organised. We work very, very hard on the training ground and we’ve got gradually better over the years we’ve been in the Premier League, but we are a football club that came into the Premier League after 23 years out, so we’ve had to spend a lot of money not just on the team, but on the structure.

‘The training ground, putting the stadium back into place after no investment, car parks, the lot.’

Jack Wilshere welcomes Christmas break after Arsenal win at Wigan

Wilshere looking forward to Christmas break after hailing Arsenal's win at Wigan

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UPDATED:

14:11 GMT, 23 December 2012

Jack Wilshere hailed Arsenal's fighting spirit after the Gunners ground out a victory over Wigan that lifted them back into the Champions League places.

The Gunners had been at their free-flowing best in thumping Reading 5-2 on Monday but had to show a different side to their game in Saturday's 1-0 win at the DW Stadium.

The Latics more than matched their opponents on a sodden pitch but Arsenal made it three Barclays Premier League wins in a row thanks to Mikel Arteta's hotly-disputed penalty.

Festive cheer: Jack Wilshere, alongside Theo Walcott, was delighted with Arsenal's victory at Wigan

Festive cheer: Jack Wilshere, alongside Theo Walcott, was delighted with Arsenal's victory at Wigan

Arsene Wenger's side have been criticised in the past for slipping up in such games, and Wilshere said: “We got the points and we showed a different side to our game.

'It's a tough place to come to, Wigan, and they play a strange formation compared to other teams in England. They caused us some problems but we dealt well with it.

'It was a big adjustment with the pitch and the conditions but we showed great character. We know we can come to places like this and dig out results and we have to keep doing that.

'All the big teams when they come here, maybe they don't play very well but they seem to get results and we've done that.'

It has been an excellent week for Arsenal with two victories and five players signing new long-term contracts, including Wilshere.

The 20-year-old has been in very good form since returning to action in October following more than a year out with an ankle injury.

Art attack: Mikel Arteta celebrates Arsenal's winner after scoring from the penalty spot at the DW Stadium

Art attack: Mikel Arteta celebrates Arsenal's winner after scoring from the penalty spot at the DW Stadium

He said: 'It was nice to sign the new contract and I'm thankful for all the support the club have given me.

'This is a great club, everyone can see that, and for me it's like home. My friends and family are down the road, I've grown up at this club so I really feel like part of the family.

'I think I've shown commitment to the club and they've shown it to me so I think we have a good thing going on.'

The Gunners are now in the unusual position of having a week until their next game after the scheduled Boxing Day clash against West Ham was postponed because of a threatened tube strike.

They will aim to make it four league victories in a row next Saturday against Newcastle, who gained a much-needed win over QPR to pull away from the bottom three.

Wilshere said: 'I think this will be one of my first and only Christmases at home. It's going to be quite nice to have a day with the family and then go again at the weekend.

'It's a tough game against Newcastle. They need the points, they're not in a good run of form and they'll want to prove something but we want to keep this momentum going.

'At times it's been tough this season but it seems we've got a good thing going on and we have to keep it going and end the year on a high.'

Everton boss David Moyes: I want to manage in Germany

Everton manager Moyes reveals desire to manage in Germany

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 20 December 2012

David Moyes has revealed his ambition to coach in a European league one day – and named Germany as the most appealing option.

The Everton manager is a huge admirer of German football and has been studying the framework of the Bundesliga to try to improve himself as a coach, as well as his team's performance.

Ambitious Moyes, who is set for discussions with Everton chairman Bill Kenwright next month to extend his contract, said in an interview with France Football: 'I always had the hope of being a coach abroad. If I had the choice, I would probably go to Germany, in part because of the mentality, which is similar to mine. I'm also fascinated by what happens in German football.

Part of the furniture: Moyes has been at Everton for over ten years

Part of the furniture: Moyes has been at Everton for over ten years

'They seem to have found a way of producing young players. Look at Borussia Dortmund. I saw them against Manchester City this season. They were fantastic. They put this incredible intensity on their opponents to break the tempo. It adds a new tactical level.

'If I was not working as a coach, I think I would decide to go to South America: to Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, to see how they train young people out there. That would be my project: to understand football better.'

In his 11th year in charge of Everton, Moyes has overseen a decade of massive improvement and this season they are contenders to finish in the top four.

Kenwright continues to look for investors who could make a difference and Moyes does not think a massive amount of money is required to propel Everton forward.

Flying high: Everton have been transformed under Moyes

Flying high: Everton have been transformed under Moyes

'Everton have shown stability and are going in the right direction,' said Moyes. 'We do not need a billionaire… even if we have nothing against the issue of finding one. We are a club. We are a community. Everton are for the people, for the people of Liverpool.

'From the first day I wanted to change the perception of Everton. I do not know if I could one day take Everton as far as winning titles or playing in European Cup finals but I wanted people to say, “Things are getting better. Everton are a good club, a stable club”. I wanted to make an impact.'

David Price to fight Tony Thompson in February at Liverpool Echo Arena

Price to fight Thompson in February in latest stepping stone towards world title shot

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UPDATED:

20:33 GMT, 18 December 2012

David Price will take the next step towards a challenge for a world title when he faces American veteran Tony Thompson on February 23 at Liverpool's Echo Arena.

The 29-year-old heavyweight has enjoyed a successful year, stopping all four of his opponents in impressive style.

But he will face the biggest test of his career to date when he tackles Thompson, 41, who lost to Wladimir Klitschko for the second time in July.

Impressive: David Price has won all four of his heavyweight fights this year

Impressive: David Price has won all four of his heavyweight fights this year

Price began the year without a title but needed just 73 seconds to beat John McDermott for the English belt and less than four rounds to add the British and Commonwealth straps by stopping Sam Sexton.

A brutal 82-second demolition of Audley Harrison followed before he defended his titles again last month against Matt Skelton.

Different class: Tony Thompson (right) has twice lost to Wladimir Klitschko (left)

Different class: Tony Thompson (right) has twice lost to Wladimir Klitschko (left)

Thompson meanwhile has lost three of his 39 contests and has stopped 24 of his opponents.

Price’s promoter Frank Maloney said: ‘This is the right fight at the right time for David and one where a win will propel him even higher.

‘Thompson still has ambition and I am certain that he will come to win and score a major upset.’