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Arsene Wenger hails Gervinho after Arsenal beat Reading

Wenger hails Gervinho as Arsenal stay in the hunt for Champions League place

By
Jim Van Wijk, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

20:44 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

20:44 GMT, 30 March 2013

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hailed the confident display of Gervinho after the Ivory Coast forward set the Gunners on the way to a 4-1 win over relegation-battlers Reading which kept them in the hunt for Champions League qualification.

Gervinho has often cut a controversial figure among supporters following a string of frustrating displays following an 11million move from Lille in July 2011.

However, the 25-year-old was on the money this afternoon, opening the scoring on 11 minutes and having a hand in everything positive as Arsenal eventually broke the Royals stubborn resistance again at the start of the second half when Santi Cazorla sweeping home. Olivier Giroud added a third following a quick break by Gervinho.

Key role: Gervinho was praised by Arsene Wenger following his performance against Reading

Key role: Gervinho was praised by Arsene Wenger following his performance against Reading

Hal Robson-Kanu headed in a consolation for Nigel Adkins' men, but there was to be no recovery to mark their new manager's first match in charge as Mikel Arteta's penalty made sure Arsenal closed up on Chelsea in the race for fourth-spot and also remained within striking distance of Tottenham, on whom they hold a match in hand.

'Gervinho's performance was very strong. He was always dangerous, always looked like he could score, gave assists and scored himself,' Wenger said.

'I believe that sometimes Gervinho has lost confidence because he played in a very negative atmosphere during a period. Strikers need confidence, and [with] his game, even more.

Winning feeling: Gervinho celebrates with team mate Bacary Sagna after the 4-1 victory

Winning feeling: Gervinho celebrates with team mate Bacary Sagna after the 4-1 victory

'He was always taking the ball and going forward, and provoking. When you lose confidence, that is a very dangerous game then.

'When he has found the confidence back, he's a very dangerous player.

'At the African Nations Cup, for me he was the best striker there. He is the type of player who is difficult to find, because they always go at people.'

Wenger was pleased with the final result for his side, who have now won six of their last eight league games and also won 2-0 away over Bayern Munich in the Champions League, although still bowing out of Europe.

'I enjoyed our technical side, our creative side, our spirit and how disciplined and focused we were,' said Wenger.

Mind the gap: Arsene Wenger fighting for Champions League qualification

Mind the gap: Arsene Wenger fighting for Champions League qualification

'The regret you have is that there were more goals in this game than the number of goals we scored.

'Overall, it's a good basis to finish the season well. Let's just keep that spirit, that attitude and play the football we want to play.'

Wenger called for his side to keep their performances high over the run-in, with little margin for error if they are to gatecrash the top four once again.

'What we do is we look at the table and we are still behind Chelsea and Tottenham. We are not in a calculation mode,' he said.

'We can just win our next game and continue to do what we do at the moment.

'We are on a run so let's take care of the quality of our game and that run. After, we'll see where we stand.

On target: Gervinho was on the scoresheet

On target: Gervinho was on the scoresheet

'It (Champions League qualification) will be less predictable than it was predicted. We have a word to say in that and we want to give our best to do it.'

For Reading, meanwhile, the outlook is not so positive as the defeat sent them bottom of the table on goal difference, some seven points adrift of safety.

However, with a home clash against former club Southampton, Adkins is not about to throw in the towel just yet.

He said: 'We have had a bit of a fragmented week with the change, and players away on international duty, trying to get to grips with where we want to go and what to do is going to be challenging.

'We wanted to get something here, but didn't. Arsenal kept the ball very well.

'We will analyse it now, debrief back with the players, take the lessons from it and work very hard on the training ground for the next one.

'You can't change everything straight away, but we will all work hard together to give us a chance in the next game.'

Adkins added: 'The spirit is there in the group, and all we can do is take it one match at a time – there here and now is putting this one to bed, working hard over the course of the week for the next one.'

Arsenal defender Carl Jenkinson cleared for England debut in Sweden

Jenkinson finally cleared for England debut in Sweden by 9am email from FIFA

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UPDATED:

13:18 GMT, 14 November 2012

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Arsenal defender Carl Jenkinson was
finally cleared to play for England tonight when the FA received the
necessary forms from FIFA which were sent by email from Zurich to
Wembley at around 9am this morning.

The speed with which Zurich processed
the FA application for Jenkinson, who represented Finland at Under 19
and Under 21 level, to change his international colours in time for
tonight's friendly against Sweden is another sign of improved
relationships between the FA and FIFA since the nadir of the 2018 World
Cup vote debacle two years ago.

Patience: Carl Jenkinson had had to wait for his England chance

Patience: Carl Jenkinson had had to wait for his England chance

The FA first put in their England representation request for Jenkinson on the day of the World Cup qualifier against Poland a month ago – and the clearance documents needed to be signed off by a member of the FIFA ExCo committee.

But the red tape bureaucracy meant that the 20-year-old was originally omitted from Roy Hodgson's 23-man squad because the FA were not certain that they would receive the green light in time for tonight's match in Stockholm's new Friends Arena stadium which Jenkinson will start on the bench.

Highly-rated: Carl Jenkinson has received rave reviews for his displays this season

Highly-rated: Carl Jenkinson has received rave reviews for his displays this season

THE RAPID RISE OF JENKINSON

The Harlow-born defender joined Arsenal for 1million in the summer of 2011 after making just eight appearances for Charlton.

Jenkinson was quickly called into first-team action for the Gunners, making his debut in the Champions League tie with Udinese in August and went on to feature regularly before an injury put him out of action for three months.

An injury to Bacary Sagna meant the 20-year-old started the first games of this season and earned rave reviews.

Jenkinson was capped for England U17s before switching his allegiance to his mother's home country of Finland. He has since gone on to represent Finland at U18, U19 and U21 levels.

Carl Jenkinson signs new deal at Arsenal

Jackpot for Jenkinson! New five-year deal at Arsenal follows England call-up

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UPDATED:

09:05 GMT, 12 November 2012

It is fast becoming the most memorable week in Arsenal full-back Carl Jenkinson's short career after his England call-up was followed by a new five-year deal with the Gunners.

The new deal – which will keep the lifelong Arsenal fan at the Emirates until 2018 – is worth 32,000-a-week.

The news comes as the former Charlton defender waits on FIFA approval for him to join up with Three Lions squad.

Gunner stunner: Jenkinson has been handed with a five-year deal

Gunner stunner: Jenkinson has been handed with a five-year deal

Jenkinson is being made to wait after turning out for Finland Under 19s but is expected to be given the green light to face Sweden on Wednesday.

And Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has been sufficiently impressed with him during his 12 appearances – deputising for Bacary Sagna – this season, to offer him a new and greatly improved deal.

Jumping for joy: Jenkinson is waiting for clearance to play for England

Jumping for joy: Jenkinson is waiting for clearance to play for England

Manchester United 2 Arsenal 1 – match report

Manchester United 2 Arsenal 1: RVP on target as Wilshere sees red on miserable day for the Gunners

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UPDATED:

15:08 GMT, 3 November 2012

Robin van Persie struck inside three minutes against his former club as Manchester United eased to a comfortable victory over 10-man Arsenal at Old Trafford.

The prolific Dutchman was taunted throughout by visiting fans but reminded them of his talents in the opening moments in a Barclays Premier League contest United dominated from the outset.

Wayne Rooney missed United's fourth penalty of the season but Patrice Evra added a second and Arsenal's misery was compounded by the sending off Jack Wilshere before Santi Cazorla hit an injury-time consolation.

High times: Robin van Persie was the catalyst to yet another Manchester United over Arsenal

High times: Robin van Persie was the catalyst to yet another Manchester United over Arsenal

MATCH FACTS

MAN UTD: De Gea, Da Silva, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Valencia (Nani 82), Carrick, Cleverley (Anderson 61), Young, Rooney, van Persie. Subs not used: Lindegaard, Hernandez, Scholes, Powell, Wootton.

Booked: Young, Cleverley, Anderson, Rooney, Van Persie

Goals: Van Persie 3, Evra 67

ARSENAL: Mannone, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Andre Santos, Arteta, Ramsey (Walcott 52), Wilshere, Cazorla, Podolski (Arshavin 81), Giroud. Subs not used: Martinez, Koscielny, Coquelin, Jenkinson, Chamakh.

Booked: Arteta, Arshavin Sent off: Wilshere

Goals: Cazorla 90

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

Latest Premier League table and results

England midfielder Wilshere had been
making only his second appearance for the Gunners after missing more
than a year with injury.

United were superior in almost every department against a side they fought out a bitter rivalry with in the last decade.

The sight of Van Persie in their
ranks will have hurt, and the Arsenal fans made clear from the moment
his name was first read out what they now thought of their former hero.

Van Persie's eight-year stint in
north London culminated in last season's magnificent 37-goal campaign
but he was cheered when he slipped in the opening minute.

But the 29-year-old needed little
time to remind the Gunners of what they lost when he left the Emirates
Stadium in a 24million move over the summer.

Arsenal's defensive frailties were
again in evidence as United swept forward and Antonio Valencia bypassed
Andre Santos by releasing Rafael down the right with a deft backheel.

Pounced: The Dutchman punished a Thomas Vermaelen error inside three minutes... but didn't celebrate

Pounced: The Dutchman punished a Thomas Vermaelen error inside three minutes… but didn't celebrate

Pounced: The Dutchman punished a Thomas Vermaelen error inside three minutes... but didn't celebrate

The Brazilian whipped in an awkward
low cross which caught Thomas Vermaelen off balance and his attempted
clearance rolled straight to Van Persie, who fired past Vito Mannone
from inside the box.

It was his 10th goal for United in 13 games but he avoided antagonising Arsenal supporters further by deciding not to celebrate.

Conceding so early may have led to
some anxiety in the Arsenal camp after their 8-2 capitulation in the
corresponding fixture last season.

United may not have threatened a
repeat of that scoreline but they continued to control the game and the
best response the visitors could initially muster was a wayward
long-range drive from Santos.

Case for the defence: Arsenal were angry at the award of a penalty late in the first-half

Case for the defence: Arsenal were angry at the award of a penalty late in the first-half

... but luckily for the Gunners, Wayne Rooney sent his spot kick wide of the post

… but luckily for the Gunners, Wayne Rooney sent his spot kick wide of the post

... but luckily for the Gunners, Wayne Rooney sent his spot kick wide of the post

That was a rare moment of opportunity for Santos, who found himself under considerable pressure at left-back.

United may have seemed content to
build a patient game but attacking Santos' flank seemed a fruitful
avenue for the hosts, with Valencia troubling the Portuguese at every
opportunity.

Van Persie went close again as he raced onto a defence-slitting pass by Rooney but Mannone saved well.

Arsenal did show some positive intent
with Aaron Ramsey, the only starting member of their side who played in
last year's thrashing, reaching the byline but David de Gea pushed away
his cross.

Valencia predictably beat Santos to cross and Michael Carrick clipped the ball to Rooney after Bacary Sagna had half-cleared.

Doubled up: United got the second their performance deserved when Patrice Evra headed home

Doubled up: United got the second their performance deserved when Patrice Evra headed home

Doubled up: United got the second their performance deserved when Patrice Evra headed home

Rooney steadied himself to shoot but
Mannone produced another good save and Van Persie headed straight at the
goalkeeper after the ball was worked back in.

United could have doubled their lead
on the stroke of half-time after Cazorla handled an Ashley Young cross
at point-blank range just inside the box.

The Spaniard felt the award was harsh
and he could argue he was protecting his face but it did not matter as
Rooney dragged the resulting spot-kick wide.

Another goal might have been the
least United deserved for their first half superiority but it was a
reminder of their early season deficiencies from 12 yards.

Questions will certainly be asked as to why the in-form Van Persie did not take the responsibility.

Cheerio: Jack Wilshere was sent off for two yellow cards in only his second game in 17 months

Cheerio: Jack Wilshere was sent off for two yellow cards in only his second game in 17 months

Cheerio: Jack Wilshere was sent off for two yellow cards in only his second game in 17 months

United were close to doubling their
lead again after another Vermaelen error early in the second half
allowed Van Persie to break but Valencia could not turn in his low ball.

Carrick then shot wide from distance after a shot by Rafael was half-cleared as far as the England midfielder.

Arsenal continued to lack a spark but
Olivier Giroud almost provided one after a neat touch beat Rio
Ferdinand and gave him a shooting chance but he could only hit the
side-netting from a tight angle.

Van Persie was booked after a late
challenge on Sagna but was back in more familiar position just after the
hour as he was picked out by a fine cross by Ashley Young, but Mannone
got a vital hand to his low shot.

Stunner: Santi Cazorla gave an undeserved respectability to the scoreline with a stoppage-time strike

Stunner: Santi Cazorla gave an undeserved respectability to the scoreline with a stoppage-time strike

Arsenal could not hold out much
longer and from a short corner routine Rooney crossed for Evra and the
Frenchman planted a firm header inside the post.

The Gunners' agonies grew as
Wilshere, booked in the first half and fortunate to escape a second
yellow card for a bad tackle on Van Persie, was penalised for one bad
tackle too many, this time on Evra, and saw red.

Van Persie and substitute Anderson
both thought they had added a third for United but were both correctly
denied by an offside flag.

United played out the closing moments
with little alarm until Cazorla netted a fine consolation from the edge
of the box with what proved the last kick of the game.

Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna continue recovery in Under 21s

Fresh boost for Arsenal as Sagna joins Wilshere on comeback trial for Under 21s

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UPDATED:

20:11 GMT, 8 October 2012

Jack Wilshere has continued his rehabilitation from the ankle injury which kept him out for 14 months by completing 74 minutes of Arsenal Under 21s' 2-0 win over Reading.

With Arsene Wenger watching in the stands, the England midfielder was joined by Bacary Sagna, one of Arsenal's over-age players, who was appearing for the first time since breaking his leg in May.

More to follow…

Bacary Sagna playing for Arsenal U21s

Jack Wilshere playing for Arsenal U21s

Gunner be fit soon: Bacary Sagna and Jack Wilshere both got some minutes under their belt for the U21s

Another step forward: For Wilshere, it was his second run out following 14 months on the sidelines

Another step forward: For Wilshere, it was his second run out following 14 months on the sidelines

Another step forward: For Wilshere, it was his second run out following 14 months on the sidelines

Tomas Rosicky ruled out of Arsenal season opener

More injury woe for Arsenal as Rosicky ruled out following achilles surgery

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UPDATED:

08:12 GMT, 24 July 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Arsenal have suffered another injury setback after it was revealed Tomas Rosicky will miss the start of the season after surgery on an achilles tendon.

The Gunners midfielder picked up the knock playing for the Czech Republic in Euro 2012 and joins Jack Wilshere on the sidelines at the start of the 2012-13 campaign.

The news comes after Arsene Wenger warned fans that Wilshere is still some way off a return to the first-team amid fears he could be out until October.

Achilles heel: Rosicky's absence is another blow to Arsenal's midfield

Achilles heel: Rosicky's absence is another blow to Arsenal's midfield

The England midfielder missed the whole of last season and suffered a series of setbacks during rehabilitation from an ankle injury, most recently when he was sent to Sweden for an operation on his knee.

Wilshere's progress is being carefully monitored by medical staff at the club, such as the fragility of the situation.

Bacary Sagna is also a major doubt for the Black Cats clash after breaking his leg against Norwich in May.

Waiting game: Wilshere missed all of last season through injury

Waiting game: Wilshere missed all of last season through injury

Euro 2012: Samir Nasri "regrets" foul-mouthed rant

Nasri 'regrets' foul-mouthed rant as Man City midfielder seeks to avoid France ban

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UPDATED:

10:10 GMT, 27 June 2012

Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri has apologised for his outburst during France's dismal Euro 2012 campaign.

The 25-year-old was
involved in a foul-mouthed confrontation with French reporters following
his country’s 2-0 defeat by Spain in Donetsk and the French Football
Federation are now considering making an example of him.

Case to answer: Midfielder Samir Nasri is in trouble with French football bosses

Case to answer: Midfielder Samir Nasri is in trouble with French football bosses

If
they were to take such stringent action, Nasri – who told one reporter
to “f*** off” and invited him outside to continue the argument – would
be precluded from the 2014 World Cup qualifiers and, potentially, the
finals in Brazil.

Nasri took to Twitter to explain his position.

He wrote: 'Too many untruths
circulating at the moment. The fans and especially the children know
that I sincerely regret that my words could have shocked them. I love
the EDF [the France team], football and I have deep respect for the
public.

'As for the rest, this is a personal matter between me and a few journalists. I will explain when the time comes.'

Over and out: Nasri launched a foul-mouthed rant at a reporter

Over and out: Nasri launched a foul-mouthed rant at a reporter

Nasri may discover his fate as early
as next Tuesday when the FFF executive meets to decide what action to
take against him, Newcastle midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa, Yann M’Villa of
Rennes and Paris St Germain’s Jeremy Menez for various breaches of
discipline.

Should Nasri be banned for two years,
it would be the most severe punishment ever bestowed to a French player
and, significantly, a poll on the website of influential French
newspaper L’Equipe revealed that 56 per cent wanted the 25-year-old removed from the national team.

Once again another major tournament
has ended in rancour for France and Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna has
admitted that his former club-mate Nasri is too impetuous and needs to
learn to control his temper.

‘This is a sensitive issue and I was
not there but I know when something does not please Samir he speaks his
mind,’ said Sagna, who missed Euro 2012 after breaking his leg against
Norwich in May.

No way through: Nasri saw his side crash out at the quarter final stage

No way through: Nasri saw his side crash out at the quarter final stage

‘He can have a violent reaction but you have to share your responsibilities. When someone attacks the press it will not go away.

‘With the excitement of the game and
everything that was written about him it was perhaps not the right time
to respond. He should have kept his cool but it weighed on him. The
Euros had not even started and the press had already criticised him.
Everyone is human.’

Former France coach Raymond Domenech,
who was in charge of the squad that mutinied at the 2010 World Cup, was
scathing in his criticism and claimed the current generation lacks
leadership.

‘A major tournament reveals the
strength of a group,’ said Domenech. ‘The most glaring (weakness is)
their inability to see anything other than their navel. Nasri has been
the visible symbol.’

Bacary Sagna says leg break tackle was deliberate

He did it on purpose! Sagna hits out at Johnson over leg-breaking tackle

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UPDATED:

16:53 GMT, 6 May 2012

Bacary Sagna has accused Bradley Johnson of deliberately stepping on his leg shortly before the Arsenal man broke his fibula.

The Gunners defender faces a fight to be fit for the start of next season having sustained a second break to his right leg in eight months.

Sagna fell to the ground unchallenged midway through the second half of Arsenal's 3-3 draw with Norwich on Saturday, seemingly having twisted his ankle.

Down and out: Bacary Sagna suffered a broken leg in Arsenal's draw with Norwich

Down and out: Bacary Sagna suffered a broken leg in Arsenal's draw with Norwich

Down and out: Bacary Sagna suffered a broken leg in Arsenal's draw with Norwich

However it emerged that shortly
before he fell, the France international had collided with Johnson in
what at first appeared to be an innocuous challenged.

Sagna, though, believes he was stamped on deliberately by the Canaries midfielder.

'I think he did it on purpose,' the 29-year-old told French newspaper L'Equipe.

He added: 'He stepped on my leg. Play
continues, I get back on my feet. And when I tried to control the ball,
I felt a crack, just like the first time at Tottenham.

'He stepped right where the plate was. I think the plate pressured [the bone]. It's a neat break, just above the plate.'

His manager, Arsene Wenger, was more cautious in his evaluation, saying that he was unsure if there was intent from Johnson.

'The guy closed him down and walked on him. I don't know if it was deliberate or not,' the boss said.

Norwich manager Paul Lambert, though, told reporters: 'There's nothing in that [challenge].'

Sagna insisted he would come back stronger from the injury.

'It has happened to others before me. I came back once, I will come back a second time, even stronger.'

Bacary Sagna breaks his leg against Norwich

Blow for Arsenal and France as Sagna suffers second broken leg this season

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UPDATED:

15:21 GMT, 5 May 2012

Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna faces a race to be fit for next season after suffering his second broken leg of the current campaign.

The Frenchman fell to the ground with no-one around him in the second half of the Gunners 3-3 draw against Norwich, and was subsequently carried off an a stretcher.

Down and out: Bacary Sagna suffered a broken leg in Arsenal's draw with Norwich

Down and out: Bacary Sagna suffered a broken leg in Arsenal's draw with Norwich

Down and out: Bacary Sagna suffered a broken leg in Arsenal's draw with Norwich

Sagna, who suffered the same injury
against Tottenham in October, will certainly miss the European
Championships where he was expected to play a major part for France.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said: 'It is broken fibula, the same leg. He was kicked on it, it has not happened alone.

'When he was kicked, he has broken the leg. The guy closed him down and walked on him. I dont know if it was deliberate or not.'

Cesc Fabregas: Arsenal must stick with Arsene Wenger

Arsenal must stick with Wenger despite trophy drought, says old boy Fabregas

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UPDATED:

10:20 GMT, 10 March 2012

Cesc Fabregas insists Arsenal must keep faith in Arsene Wenger.

The Arsenal manager is almost certain to make it seven seasons without a trophy.

There have been calls for Wenger to step down at the end of the campaign – but former captain Fabregas says the club must keep hold of him.

Wait for silverware: Arsene Wenger looks on at training on Friday

Wait for silverware: Arsene Wenger looks on at training on Friday

Backing: Cesc Fabregas

Backing: Cesc Fabregas

The Spaniard – who joined Barcelona last summer – told The Sun: 'Arsenal have great players, great fans and a great manager.

'They’ll turn it around. There is no point to keep comparing the team to the Invincibles. That will not get you anywhere.

'Some very important players like Jack Wilshere, Thomas Vermaelen, Bacary Sagna and Abou Diaby have been injured for a long time and so they have to be patient.

'I still have a huge affection for the club and it definitely makes me sad whenever I see them lose. But Arsene Wenger knows the club and players and will turn it around. Being a manager is a very difficult job and you are always criticised when things don’t go well.

'But that happens at every club in the world and I have the perfect example of that at Barcelona, where the team has won something like 15 of the last 17 trophies yet people are now upset because this season we are second in the League to Real Madrid.

'In Spain there is 1,000 times more pressure on the manager.

'In England the fans will give the boss time and remember what he has done in the years before. In Spain they don’t even remember what you have done last week. It’s crazy.'