Tag Archives: podolski

Arsenal 0 Everton 0 – match report: Champions League picture muddied by draw

Arsenal 0 Everton 0: Rough and tumble night ends all square as top four fight rumbles on

PUBLISHED:

20:38 GMT, 16 April 2013

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UPDATED:

20:39 GMT, 16 April 2013

Arsenal and Everton slugged it out for a share of the spoils which does little to boost either sides' top four hopes.

The two came into the match in third and sixth place respectively, and remain there after a draw which will be remembered more its blood and thunder style than it will the football on show.

Such was the ferocity of the opening exchanges that tempers flared as the players left the pitch at half-time after Everton's Kevin Mirallas squirted Jack Wilshere with his drink.

Back on the pitch, Olivier Giroud wasted the two best chances enjoyed by either side, sliding one effort wide from an excellent Aaron Ramsey cross, then falling in a heap when well found by Theo Walcott.

More to follow…

No way through: Despite the best efforts of all concerned, neither side were able to find a goal

No way through: Despite the best efforts of all concerned, neither side were able to find a goal

MATCH FACTS

ARSENAL: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs (Monreal 90), Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshere (Oxlade-Chamberlain 68), Cazorla, Walcott (Podolski 69), Giroud Subs not used: Mannone, Vermaelen, Rosicky, Gervinho

Booked: Arteta, Monreal

Everton: Howard, Baines, Gibson, Jagielka, Mirallas (Oviedo 90), Distin, Barkley (Jelavic 76), Pienaar, Coleman, Fellaini, Anichebe (Naismith 90) Subs not used: Mucha, Heitinga, Hitzlsperger, Neville

Booked: Gibson, Pienaar, Barkley

Referee: Neil Swarbrick

Attendance: 60,071

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XX.


Rough and tumble: There were meaty challenges flying in all over the field as the sides battled for supremacy

Rough and tumble: There were meaty challenges flying in all over the field as the sides battled for supremacy

Rough and tumble: There were meaty challenges flying in all over the field as the sides battled for supremacy

Rough and tumble: There were meaty challenges flying in all over the field as the sides battled for supremacy

Rough and tumble: There were meaty challenges flying in all over the field as the sides battled for supremacy

Chances: Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud had Arsenal's best moments in the first half

Chances: Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud had Arsenal's best moments in the first half

Chances: Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud had Arsenal's best moments in the first half

Spat: There was a running battle between Jack Wilshere and Kevin Mirallas that continued into the break

Spat: There was a running battle between Jack Wilshere and Kevin Mirallas that continued into the break

Enlarge

Spat: There was a running battle between Jack Wilshere and Kevin Mirallas that continued into the break

Spat: There was a running battle between Jack Wilshere and Kevin Mirallas that continued into the break

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.

Scroll down for video

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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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

Arsenal 7 Newcastle 3 – match report: Theo Walcott hat-trick

Arsenal 7 Newcastle 3: Walcott hat-trick settles astonishing game as Gunners star shows his worth up front again

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UPDATED:

19:46 GMT, 29 December 2012

Theo Walcott gave Arsene Wenger yet another reminder of his goal-scoring talents as he bagged a stunning hat-trick to sink Newcastle in a 10-goal thriller at the Emirates Stadium.

Wenger had talked up Walcott as the next Thierry Henry yesterday, and the England forward – still to pen a new deal with the club – did little to disprove that idea today, scoring three excellent goals and setting up two more to give Arsenal the win that ensures they will end 2012 in fifth place, two points behind Chelsea and three adrift of Tottenham with a match in hand.

Arsenal's record scorer Henry was in the stands watching his beloved former club and he was on his feet after 20 minutes thanks to Walcott's opener – a fine curled finish following an Henry-esque break from the halfway line.

Middle man: Theo Walcott scored a brilliant hat-trick as Arsenal thumped seven past a hapless Newcastle

Middle man: Theo Walcott scored a brilliant hat-trick as Arsenal thumped seven past a hapless Newcastle

MATCH FACTS

ARSENAL: Szczesny, Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta, Wilshere, Cazorla (Coquelin 86), Oxlade Chamberlain (Giroud 74), Podolski (Ramsey 82), Walcott. Subs not used: Mannone, Rosicky, Ramsey, Djourou, Coquelin, Gervinho.

Goals: Walcott 20, 73, 90+1 Oxlade-Chamberlain 50, Podolski 64, Giroud 84, 87.

NEWCASTLE: Krul, Simpson (Ferguson 83), Coloccini, Perch, Santon, Obertan, Bigirimana (Shola Ameobi 82), Tiote, Marveaux (Tavernier 89), Ba, Cisse. Subs not used: Harper, Sammy Ameobi, Abeid, Streete.

Goals: Ba 44, 69 Marveaux 59.

Booked: Santon

Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)

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Newcastle pulled level through Demba Ba, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored, only for Ba to grab his second to make it 2-2.

Arsenal looked set for a
disappointing draw after Sylvain Marveaux equalised Lukasz Podolski's
header, but Walcott turned on the class to put the Gunners 4-3 up.

The former Southampton man set up
Olivier Giroud twice and added his much-deserved third strike in injury
time with a deft chip over Tim Krul.

Walcott has scored four goals and won
one decisive penalty in the three games he has started up front and he
now has 14 for the season.

There were no early indications that
this would turn out to be a thriller in the opening quarter as both
teams started sluggishly.

Other than a couple of bits of skill from Santi Cazorla, Arsenal started poorly.

Walcott, eager to show he can cut it
as a striker, used his pace to break behind the Newcastle defence, but
Krul rushed off his line to clear.

Newcastle, branded a 'wee club in the
north-east' by Sir Alex Ferguson yesterday, had the best chance of the
opening quarter of an hour through Ba who somehow headed over Marveaux's
corner from eight yards.

The quiet atmosphere inside the
Emirates Stadium lifted after 19 minutes when Podolski slotted Walcott
in behind the Magpies defence and the England man raced through before
caressing the ball past Krul in to the far corner.

Remind you of someone Theo Walcott's first goal was vintage Thierry Henry, shaped into the far corner

Remind you of someone Theo Walcott's first goal was vintage Thierry Henry, shaped into the far corner

Remind you of someone Theo Walcott's first goal was vintage Thierry Henry, shaped into the far corner

Remind you of someone Theo Walcott's first goal was vintage Thierry Henry, shaped into the far corner

The goal was reminiscent of many strikes from Henry and thus brought the Frenchman to his feet in the stands.

Walcott was in the thick of the
action again just before half-time, wriggling free from his marker, but
Krul came off his line to stop the 23-year-old's shot.

Cheick Tiote, who scored the
equaliser in February's 4-4 thriller, almost brought the visitors level
six minutes before the break with a swirling 25-yard drive that Wojciech
Szczesny awkwardly punched away.

Walcott immediately flew up the other
end, but he laid a square pass behind the un-marked Cazorla, rather
than in front of him and Gael Bigirimana cut the danger out.

Arsenal were made to pay for the error just over two minutes from the break.

Bacary Sagna fouled Gabriel Obertan
25 yards out and Ba's resulting set-piece flew off Jack Wilshere's head
in to the Arsenal goal past the stranded Szczesny.

Level: Demba Ba's deflected free-kick meant the sides went in on terms at the break

Level: Demba Ba's deflected free-kick meant the sides went in on terms at the break

Level: Demba Ba's deflected free-kick meant the sides went in on terms at the break

Arsenal came out much stronger after
the break. Kieran Gibbs drew a save from Krul at his near post shortly
before Oxlade-Chamberlain beat the Dutchman to make it 2-1.

Podolski intercepted a weak throw-in,
heading the ball to Cazorla, who found Oxlade-Chamberlain and he made
no mistake with a fine low drive from 20 yards.

Walcott somehow muscled Tiote off the ball and charged at goal, but he dragged his shot horribly wide.

England expects: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain restored the lead with a fierce finish on 50 minutes

England expects: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain restored the lead with a fierce finish on 50 minutes

England expects: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain restored the lead with a fierce finish on 50 minutes

Once again Arsenal were made to pay
as Newcastle equalised. Obertan turned Sagna inside out before his cross
was deflected off Koscielny and in to the path of the un-marked
Marveaux who tapped in to an empty net from barely two yards.

Arsenal were back ahead within five
minutes, however. Wilshere charged at the Newcastle defence and chipped a
wonderful ball to the back post. Coloccini could only head his
clearance against the bar and the ball fell to Podolski who nodded home
the easiest finish of his career to make it 3-2.

The 60,000 fans inside the Emirates Stadium barely had time to draw breath before Newcastle equalised again.

Capitalising: Sylvain Marveaux slotted home his first goal in the Premier League to make it 2-2

Capitalising: Sylvain Marveaux slotted home his first goal in the Premier League to make it 2-2

Brave: Lukas Podolski swung the game back in the favour of the hosts with a smart header from close range

Brave: Lukas Podolski swung the game back in the favour of the hosts with a smart header from close range

Three's a crowd: Ba made the most of slack marking once more to get his side on terms for the third time

Three's a crowd: Ba made the most of slack marking once more to get his side on terms for the third time

Marveaux bought time with his
trickery before swinging a ball to the back post where Ba bustled Gibbs
out of the way to turn the ball past Szczesny.

The home crowd blasted their team's
sloppy defending, but Walcott dug them out of trouble five minutes later
with Arsenal's fourth.

Gibbs slotted the ball across the box
for Podolski, he missed ball, but Walcott was stood just behind him and
he fired in to the roof of Krul's goal.

Composed: Walcott's second was another clever finish under pressure from the men in black and white

Composed: Walcott's second was another clever finish under pressure from the men in black and white

Composed: Walcott's second was another clever finish under pressure from the men in black and white

Giroud then killed off the game with five minutes left, latching on to Walcott's cross to head between Krul's legs.

The Frenchman then rubbed salt in to
Newcastle's wounds by slotting past Krul to make it 6-3 after Walcott
charged at the Toon defence.

Walcott then got the hat-trick he
deserved in injury time, picking himself off the turf after being
flattened by Tiote before chipping the ball over Krul with a brilliant
finish.

Arsenal could have had an eighth in injury time, but Giroud's header hit the bar.

Walcott, wearing a beaming smile, walked off with the match-ball amid chants of 'sign him up' from the home crowd.

Welcome to the party: Olivier Giroud took just a few minutes to get in on the act

Welcome to the party: Olivier Giroud took just a few minutes to get in on the act

Welcome to the party: Olivier Giroud took just a few minutes to get in on the act
.

Arsene Wenger fears Bayern Munich in Champions League draw

Wenger fears Bayern bite and hails huge progress of German sides

|

UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 20 December 2012

Arsene Wenger’s relief at escaping yet another Champions League clash with Barcelona was short-lived as Arsenal were left with a daunting trip to Germany.

The Gunners will face last season’s runners-up — and Bundesliga leaders — Bayern Munich for a place in the quarter-finals.

Barring a third meeting in four years with Barcelona, a match against Jupp Heynckes’s side is arguably the worst-case scenario.

And speaking ahead of the draw in Nyon, Wenger, who has piled the pressure on contract rebel Theo Walcott to sign a new deal, admitted his preference was to avoid the Catalans and any German side.

Mixed emotions: Arsene Wenger was happy to avoid Barcelona but was hoping to miss out on any German teams too

Mixed emotions: Arsene Wenger was happy to avoid Barcelona but was hoping to miss out on any German teams too

Wenger said: ‘If I had a choice I would want to avoid Barcelona. Also, the German clubs have made a big, big leap forward. The Spanish clubs are traditionally there and in England we have a little deficit because usually at this level we have four but now we are only two.

‘You have the French, Paris Saint-Germain, coming in, traditionally Porto are always in there. But especially I believe the Germans have improved.’

And when discussing the draw, Germany international Lukas Podolski admitted the Gunners will find it difficult against Bayern.

‘It’s a big club but we have the chance to win against Bayern Munich,’ said Podolski, who used to play for the German giants.

‘They have a very good team with big players. They have [Mario] Gomez up front, they have [Franck] Ribery, [Bastian] Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm and Manuel Neuer. But both teams have the chance to win.’

The significant strides German football has taken in recent seasons has not gone unnoticed by Wenger and his backroom team.

Sportsmail highlighted in October how the Gunners, led by influential chief talent-spotter Steve Rowley, had expanded their German scouting network as a result of the country’s flourishing game.

Arsenal have already lured Serge Gnarby, 17, and Thomas Eisfeld, 19, from Stuttgart and Borussia Dortmund respectively, and Wenger hopes the club’s increased presence in Germany will lead to further acquisitions. Wenger is also interested in Bayern midfielder Luis Gustavo and Dortmund prospect Mario Gotze.

Of the forthcoming clash, Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: ‘We enter this match as the slight favourites, but we can’t make the mistake of underestimating them.

Out of the hat: Arsenal have a tough draw in the Champions League

Out of the hat: Arsenal have a tough draw in the Champions League

‘Arsenal have struggled at times in the league over the last few months, which a look at the standings in the Premier League will tell you. But by no means will this be an easy game for us.’

Meanwhile, Wenger has urged Walcott, 23, to repay the faith Arsenal have shown in him by signing a new contract. Walcott has rejected a five-year deal worth 75,000 per week but, as Sportsmail revealed on Wednesday, both parties have held talks geared towards persuading him to sign fresh terms.

And in his most forthright interview on the long-running saga yet, Wenger indicated that Walcott owes the Gunners.

He said: ‘I believe what is important is to keep the young players together and that at some stage I have stood up for them.

Watch out: The likes of Franck Ribery will pose a real threat to Wenger's side

Watch out: The likes of Franck Ribery will pose a real threat to Wenger's side

‘I played them at 17, 18, 19 years of age and I know I took a gamble. It is easier to take a player of 25 and put him in the team. You know what you are getting. If you put them in at 17 or 18, you have to stand up for them. You know you risk losing games while they are learning their job.

‘Once you have produced them, you want to say, “OK, let’s stay together and win together”.

‘Somewhere along the line they need to give back to the club what the club has given to them.After, when a guy gets to 30, you can understand it is his last contract and if he feels he wants a change, I can understand that.’

Wenger added: ‘Robin van Persie was 29 when he left. Theo is 23. It is important we keep him. I don’t want to compare him to Robin, but it would be a big loss. I want him to stay and have been consistent on that.

Sign up: Wenger hopes Theo Walcott will put pen to paper on a new deal

Sign up: Wenger hopes Theo Walcott will put pen to paper on a new deal

‘I am happy to pay Theo the money he deserves. But I feel as well that I bought him at 17 and spent a lot of money on him.

‘I am a big supporter and I believe he is happy here. He has always looked to me like he is an Arsenal man.’

Arsenal have put a 5million price-tag on flop defender Andre Santos, despite telling the Brazilian he is free to leave.

Santos arrived in the summer of 2011 from Fenerbahce for 6m, but the left back has failed to live up to expectations. Galatasaray have made a 2.5million enquiry but the offer has been rejected by Arsenal, who want the Turkish side to double their offer.

Santos, 29, is out of favour and angered Wenger by making a beeline for Van Persie’s shirt at half-time during the Gunners’ defeat at Manchester United.

Reading 2 Arsenal 5 – match report: Santi Cazorla delivers Christmas presents for Arsene Wenger

Reading 2 Arsenal 5: Santi delivers for Wenger with help from Walcott and Podolski as Gunners gloom lifted in romp over Royals

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UPDATED:

07:34 GMT, 18 December 2012

Arsenal relieved the pressure on Arsene Wenger with a five-star attacking display at the Madejski Stadium.

Wenger has rarely been under more strain during his 16 years as Arsenal manager, but fortunately for him only Reading were standing in his team’s way.

The Frenchman is off the hook, returning to winning ways against only the second team — after Wigan — to record 10 defeats in the Barclays Premier League this season. Santi Cazorla scored a hat-trick for Arsenal and the little Spain midfielder was the class act on show.

Main man: Mikel Arteta tweeted this picture of Santi Cazorla

Santi's Christmas cracker: Playmaker Cazorla celebrates his hat-trick at the Madejski Stadium

Top man: Mikel Arteta tweeted picture of Santi Cazorla (left) with hat-trick ball

MATCH FACTS

Reading: Federici, Cummings, Gorkss, Mariappa, Shorey, McAnuff, Leigertwood, Tabb, Kebe (McCleary 74), Hunt (Robson-Kanu 61), Pogrebnyak (Le Fondre 61).

Subs: Taylor, Gunter, Pearce, Harte.

Goals: Le Fondre 66, Kebe 71.

Booked: McAnuff

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta, Wilshere, Cazorla (Coquelin 83), Oxlade-Chamberlain (Ramsey 74), Walcott (Giroud 85), Podolski.

Subs: Mannone, Koscielny, Rosicky, Gervinho.

Goals: Podolski 14, Cazorla 32, 34, 60, Walcott 80.

Booked: Wilshere

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)

Attendance: 24,125

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Germany forward Lukas Podolski,
Arsenal’s opening goalscorer, was also a cut above, as was Theo
Walcott, up front at last and scorer of the visitors’ fifth goal.

Arsenal were good but let us not
forget the part played by Reading.They were shocking, save for the two
streaky second-half goals scored by Adam le Fondre and Jimmy Kebe that
gave Arsenal’s defence the jitters at 4-2.

These days, the Gunners can barely get
through 90 minutes without becoming nervous wrecks and their manager
is feeling the heat following the embarrassing Capital One Cup exit on
penalties to League Two Bradford last week.

Last night Wenger clenched his fist in relief each time the net bulged behind Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici.

Wenger nudged Steve Bould after
Podolski scored the opener with a tidy left-foot finish and the
assistant manager responded by smiling. It looks like they are friends
again.

The players were patting each other on
the back when Cazorla scored Arsenal’s second goal by heading
Podolski’s cross beyond Federici. They are, in Walcott’s words, a family
again.

Start of the rout: Lukas Podolski blasts the ball past the helpless Adam Federici in the Reading goal

Start of the rout: Lukas Podolski blasts the ball past the helpless Adam Federici in the Reading goal

Clinical: Germany forward Podolski celebrates his strike against the Premier League's basement boys

Clinical: Germany forward Podolski celebrates his strike against the Premier League's basement boys

In focus – by Sami Mokbel

Kieran Gibbs

Arsenal, once a team of foreigners, could soon lose that tag. The full back was one of four Englishmen, with Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Jimmy Kebe

Winger might have been feeling a bit left out as
Reading’s only midfielder not formerly to play for Crystal Palace — like Jay Tabb, Jobi McAnuff and Mikele Leigertwood.

Adam le Fondre

A 350,000 signing from Rotherham last year, the striker is now Reading’s top scorer after his
second-half consolation took his tally to five goals from nine games.

Niall Quinn

The former Arsenal striker enjoyed a pre-match bite in the press lounge. And his appetite would have been satisfied by his old club’s convincing win.

High up in the south stand, Arsenal’s
travelling throng celebrated by waving red and white scarves above
their heads every time a goal went in. They are together again.

It was just like old times as the
three-man midfield — Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere — steered
Arsenal out of troubled waters.

After 16 years at the club, Wenger —
the highest-paid Premier League manager on 7.5million a year — has
convinced himself he is in credit.

It was pay-day for Podolski and his
team-mates last night, but the bigger picture is putting together a
team that can compete for silverware. After five years of hearing all
about this great team, Wenger’s Friday morning spin at London Colney is
beginning to wear thin.

Reading were cannon fodder for them, conceding five when it could easily have been 10.

/12/17/article-2249631-168EF732000005DC-374_634x389.jpg” width=”634″ height=”389″ alt=”Head boy: Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla dives to nod in the second goal of the game” class=”blkBorder” />

Head boy: Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla dives to nod in the second goal of the game

That's more like it: Arsenal enjoyed a fine return to form after their recent struggles

That's more like it: Arsenal enjoyed a fine return to form after their recent struggles

McDermott’s side are hurtling straight
back to the Championship after this depressing start to the season.
They have picked up only nine points from their opening 17 league games.
Performances rarely come this bad at the highest level.

The general rule of thumb is that
being out-thought by Arsenal is OK but being out-fought by them is
unthinkable — and Reading lost out comprehensively on both scores last
night.

Podolski came good — and about time,
too. He began the move for Arsenal’s opener in the 14th minute and
finished it when he converted Kieran Gibbs’ cross.

Fox in the box: Cazorla fires home from inside the penalty area for Arsenal's third goal

Fox in the box: Cazorla fires home from inside the penalty area for Arsenal's third goal

Two's company: Cazorla (centre) celebrates with his Gunners team-mates after netting his second goal

Two's company: Cazorla (centre) celebrates with his Gunners team-mates after netting his second goal

Standards have been slipping of late at Arsenal, but at times last night they showed some special touches in front of goal.

Podolski set up the second, providing
the ball for Cazorla to head beyond the desperate arms of Federici. It
was fun time for the visiting fans, mocking Reading’s support with
chants of: ‘We’ll never play you again.’

Arsenal can still play a bit, no-one
ever doubted that. The midfield triangle popped the ball around the
pitch at will, all pass-and-move as they continued to expose Reading’s
defence.

Cazorla scored with another strike
just before half-time and he completed his hat-trick when he put
Podolski’s cross past Federici in the 60th minute.

It would not be an Arsenal game
without the team being gripped by fear at some stage and the moment duly
arrived when Le Fondre, on as a substitute, got on the end of Jay
Tabb’s through ball.

Consolation: Adam le Fondre finishes with ease after rounding Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny

Consolation: Adam le Fondre finishes with ease after rounding Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny

Comeback Jimmy Kebe side-foots the ball into the net as Reading briefly battled in the second half

Comeback Jimmy Kebe side-foots the ball into the net as Reading briefly battled in the second half

Panic engulfed the Arsenal defence and Kebe capitalised when he beat Wojciech Szczesny 19 minutes from time.

‘I could see the headlines,’ admitted Wenger — but he need not have worried as his team responded.

Walcott picked up on Cazorla’s pass and finished Reading off with a left-foot shot from the edge of the area.

All over: Theo Walcott, used as a central striker, rounds off the scoring with a cool finish

All over: Theo Walcott, used as a central striker, rounds off the scoring with a cool finish

Local boy: Walcott celebrates his successful return to Berkshire, the county where he grew up

Local boy: Walcott celebrates his successful return to Berkshire, the county where he grew up

Arsenal’s fans were loving it, in full voice as they urged Wenger to ‘sign him up’.

Walcott, finally playing through the
middle, thrived in the role before being replaced by France striker
Olivier Giroud as the home fans were begging the referee to blow the
final whistle.

As Arsenal’s players celebrated a decent win, Wenger leapt out of the dug-out and high into the air to celebrate.

When he landed, he was back on safe ground.

Wenger and Walcott shake on it

Walcott and Wenger hug

Shake on it Arsene Wenger congratulates Walcott on a job well done… and these pictures suggest the manager and player are united, despite the ongoing uncertainty over a new deal for Walcott

Bradford v Arsenal: Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott out injured for Capital One Cup quarter-final

Bradford out to make Arsenal pay the penalty with Giroud ruled out of cup

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UPDATED:

00:59 GMT, 11 December 2012

Of all the things Bradford City might fear about tonight’s Capital One Cup quarter-final against Arsenal, the prospect of a penalty shootout is not one of them.

You see, the League Two promotion hopefuls have won their last eight attempts at football’s so-called lottery, including the elimination from this competition of Wigan at the DW Stadium in October.

So make no mistake, if Phil Parkinson’s team send the tie into extra time, there will be a change in the level of expectation against an Arsenal team trophyless for the past seven years.

Capital concerns: Olivier Giroud (right) is out of Arsenal's clash at Bradford

Capital concerns: Olivier Giroud (right) is out of Arsenal's clash at Bradford

Arsenal team (from):

Mannone, Szczesny,
Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Ramsey, Arteta, Cazorla, Podolski,
Martinez, Coquelin, Djourou, Arshavin, Chamakh, Frimpong, Gnabry, Angha,
Meade, Miquel, Yennaris, Eisfeld, Bellerin.

Naturally, Bradford practised their
skills from 12 yards yesterday but goalkeeper Matt Duke, whose role in
the win at Wigan preceded a frenzied 100-yard dash to celebrate in front
of the club’s 5,000 travelling fans, declined.

Both he and fellow keeper Jon
McLaughlin, who featured in the other two post-match dramas this season
against Hartlepool and Northampton, have been there enough times
already.

‘Our record is there to be recognised,
and it stands up,’ Parkinson said. ‘When you have a lot of success in
those kind of scenarios, you have to be confident. We are but there is a
lot of football to be played before it gets to that stage.

‘There is no big secret to it. But we
don’t like these shortened run-ups, or trying to be clever. There is no
better feeling than sticking the ball in the net.

‘Players over the years have wanted to
do something better than that — score in an arrogant fashion — and have
not always been successful. So we have always told the players, “These
are our rules. Pick your spot and stick to it”.’

Down and out: In-form forward Theo Walcott will also be missing at Bradford

Down and out: In-form forward Theo Walcott will also be missing at Bradford

While Duke has tasted success against
Arsenal before — four years ago he was on the bench when Hull won a
Premier League match at the Emirates — this will be a significant step
up in class for Bradford.

Boss Parkinson thinks his
players will be not over-awed. ‘No, that won’t happen,’ he said. ‘I
understand we’re up against a very good side who scored seven against
Reading and six against Coventry in earlier rounds. But we’re a
confident bunch of players.’

/12/11/article-2246038-167207D5000005DC-37_468x321.jpg” width=”468″ height=”321″ alt=”Parkinson: Bradford's boss getting to grips with the Capital One Cup” class=”blkBorder” />

Parkinson: Bradford's boss getting to grips with the Capital One Cup

‘So we have had a lot of disruption
but the spirit is great, and we have tried to plan things out so that
nobody is playing too many minutes. For example, the three players who
had played more than anyone else this season, we didn’t even take with
us to Port Vale last week.

‘The demands on the players physically are just the same whatever level you are playing at.

‘We document every minute our players
play, and have heart-rate monitors in place to regulate the intensity of
training every day. Your eye tells you so much but it’s good to have
the information to back that up.’

Not that the saturated programme has
unduly affected Bradford: they have lost only twice in 16 games in all
competitions, sit fourth in League Two and remained in all three cup
competitions until expulsion from the FA Cup for fielding an ineligible
player in the draw with Brentford last week.

Parkinson said: ‘If we go out we’ll
take it on the chin and move on; if we play the replay we’ll give it a
good go. To be fair, this is the reward for our hard work. After getting
so far, we waited for the plum draw to come out and got it with what is
a great tie for us financially.’

To join the debate ahead of Round 5 of the Capital One Cup, visit Facebook.com/CapitalOneUk

Arsenal 2 West Brom 0 – Match report

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

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UPDATED:

17:45 GMT, 8 December 2012

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

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

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

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

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

MATCH FACTS

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

Subs not used: Martinez, Squillaci, Jenkinson, Ramsey

Booked: Mertesacker, Giroud

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

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

Subs not used: Daniels, Tamas, Dorrans, Fortune

Booked: Olsson, Brunt, Reid

Referee: Mike Jones

Attendance: 60,083

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE LATEST PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE, FIXTURES AND RESULTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not even close: Cazorla went down easily in the box

Not even close: Cazorla went down easily in the box

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

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

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

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

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

Up and away: Jack Wilshere battles for the ball

Up and away: Jack Wilshere battles for the ball

Mismatch Wilshere squares up to Jonas Olsson

Mismatch Wilshere squares up to Jonas Olsson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You again! Arteta scored his second penalty of the game

You again! Arteta scored his second penalty of the game

Vying: Olivier Giroud and Jonas Olsson battle for possession

Vying: Olivier Giroud and Jonas Olsson battle for possession

WENGER WATCH

Wenger watch: Arsene Wenger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arsenal players told by Steve Bould they let the club down against Swansea

EXCLUSIVE: You let the club down! Bould blasted Arsenal flops in changing room tirade after Swansea defeat

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UPDATED:

22:45 GMT, 2 December 2012

Arsenal assistant manager Steve Bould accused the current crop of stars of letting themselves and the club down in a dressing room tirade on Saturday.

The Arsenal stalwart was left seething by his side’s poor display as they slumped to an embarrassing 2-0 home defeat against Swansea.

The loss leaves Arsenal in 10th place, 15 points behind leaders Manchester United with a third of the season gone.

Flop fury: Steve Bould hit out at Arsenal's under-performing stars after they slipped back to 10th in the Premier League with home defeat by Swansea

Flop fury: Steve Bould hit out at Arsenal's under-performing stars after they slipped back to 10th in the Premier League with home defeat by Swansea

Flop fury: Steve Bould hit out at Arsenal's under-performing stars after they slipped back to 10th in the Premier League with home defeat by Swansea

And according to sources, Bould ripped into the club’s under-performing players during a post mortem, claiming the performance was a let-down.

The 50-year-old is also said to have blasted players for not taking responsibility against Michael Laudrup’s side. It is also understood Arsenal players were given the chance to air views in front of their team-mates.

Certain players are believed to have complained that the club’s busy fixture list has left them leg weary in recent weeks.

Bould was promoted to Arsene Wenger’s assistant in the summer after 11 years working in the Arsenal youth set-up. He won seven major honours, including three league titles, at Highbury and made 372 appearances. With the pressure building on Wenger, his right-hand man decided it was time for some home truths.

The players who complained of tiredness are likely to get a rest in Europe this week.

Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Lukas Podolski will not fly to Greece on Monday afternoon for the Champions League tie against Olympiacos and Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta could also be rested.

Former Arsenal academy player Leon Britton was one of the chief architects of Swansea’s win. The 30-year-old midfielder had seven years at the north London club during their glory years so he can measure how far they have fallen.

Unrecognisable: Leon Britton was at Arsenal during happier times

Unrecognisable: Leon Britton was at Arsenal during happier times

CHEER UP, ARSENE

This is Arsenal’s worst start to a Premier League season in 18 years. They have not had fewer than 21 points after 15 games since 1994 when they had 19 at this stage. That season they finished 12th.

However, in 1998 under Arsene Wenger they had only four more points after 15 games but still finished second.

‘Things have changed a bit from when I was at Highbury and they were winning stuff,’ said Britton after his club leapfrogged Arsenal to go seventh.

With 21 points, Arsenal are as close to QPR at the foot of the table as they are to leaders United.

Britton, who was sold to West Ham aged 16 in 1998 for a then-record 400,000, added: ‘It was a great performance, Arsenal had a lot of possession but on chances we probably edged it.

‘It’s nice to come back. It’s a great football club, everyone knows the class Arsenal have got. I was here from nine to 16 so it’s a great day for me as well.

‘In the first half against West Brom, we played the best I’ve ever played in a Swansea team. There was a danger coming to Arsenal thinking that we’d get above ourselves. But we make sure that doesn’t happen.

Signing of the summer: Miguel Michu, the 2m man, grabbed his 10th goal

Signing of the summer: Miguel Michu, the 2m man, grabbed his 10th goal

‘I don’t know if we came here knowing we’d get a result but the game plan was to sit back a little bit and when they got into our half try to hit them on the break. It worked perfectly.

‘At home, Arsenal have not picked up the results they would like. But it’s still a tough place to come and when they get their football going they’re still one of the best teams in the country.’

Michu’s brace against Arsenal took him to 10 Premier League goals in 15 games. Not bad for a 2million purchase from Rayo Vallecano, which Michael Laudrup could rightly claim is the bargain of the season.

Theo Walcott and Bacary Sagna not on Arsenal"s 2013 calendar fuelling exit rumours

EXCLUSIVE: Is Theo out of the picture for 2013 Walcott omitted from Arsenal's new calendar as fears over imminent exit grow

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UPDATED:

02:41 GMT, 28 November 2012

Theo Walcott and Bacary Sagna have been omitted from Arsenal’s official 2013 calendar, fuelling speculation they will become the next big-name players to leave the club.

Walcott, who had been on the front cover in each of the previous four calendars, is stalling on a new five-year deal worth 75,000 a week. Meanwhile, Sagna’s future remains far from certain as he enters the final 18 months of his contract.

Manager Arsene Wenger said the club had started talks with the France full back. ‘We are hopeful. He had some big injury issues but with him and (Carl) Jenkinson, you need two players and we want to keep them,’ he said.

Movember contender: Theo Walcott wont be in Arsenal's calendar

Movember contender: Theo Walcott wont be in Arsenal's calendar

Arsenal's 2013 calendar

But Inter Milan want to sign the right back with Arsenal ready to listen to offers for Sagna next summer if a new deal cannot be agreed.

It is the absence of Walcott from the calendar that will cause the biggest stir given his status as one of Arsenal’s poster boys.

Thomas Vermaelen, Mikel Arteta, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski, Wojciech Szczesny, Aaron Ramsey, Andre Santos, Kieran Gibbs, Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla and Per Mertesacker have all been included.

In September, the club sent out
‘Junior Gunner’ membership packs with Robin van Persie on the front,
despite the fact he left the club in August, causing major discontent
among fans.

Arsenal insisted the omission of Walcott and Sagna from the calendar bears no indication over their futures.

Walcott,
23, is hoping for an instant recall for Wednesday clash against Everton
after recovering from a shoulder injury with Arsenal wanting to bounce
back from Saturday’s disappointing goalless draw at Aston Villa.

Wenger was heckled by his own supporters at Villa Park, but the 63-year-old insists he is unfazed by the disgruntled fans.

On their way Andrey Arshavin and Bacary Sagna are two more players that could be heading for the Arsenal exit door

On their way Andrey Arshavin and Bacary Sagna are two more players that could be heading for the Arsenal exit door

‘That some fans are not happy when you play 0-0 at Aston Villa, I can understand because I am not happy,’ he said.

‘But look, I am not worried about me. I am worried about the club and the team, and to do the best for the club and the team.

‘I think I have always shown my 100 per
cent commitment and loyalty to this club. I can only give my best and
let people judge. The criticism does not hurt at all.’

Jumping for joy: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is one player who is part of Arsenal's future

Jumping for joy: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is one player who is part of Arsenal's future