Arsenal Mkhitaryan delighted to link up with ‘best friend’ Auba at Arsenal Harry Sherlock 18:02 2/14/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Arsenal Premier League Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Östersunds FK v Arsenal UEFA Europa League The pair previously played together at Borussia Dortmund and have reunited in north London under Arsene Wenger Henrikh Mkhitaryan has revealed his delight at Arsenal signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund.The pair spent three years together at Dortmund, and reunited in January, as Mkhitaryan moved to the Emirates from Manchester United in a swap deal that saw Alexis Sanchez go the other way, while Aubameyang was recruited in a club-record £55 million deal.The two played together for the first time since their Dortmund days against Everton, with Aubameyang netting his first goal in a 5-1 win, and Mkhitaryan providing three assists. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player While the two did little to harm Tottenham in the north London derby at the weekend – the Gunners slipped to a 1-0 loss – Mkhitaryan has hailed the club’s recruitment of one of his “best friends”.“We did not have too much time to train together (before the Everton game),” Mkhitaryan told the club’s website.”He came a bit late, like two days before the game and he had been training only twice.”I thought it could only be in a dream that we could join another club other than Dortmund but I am very happy for that.”I know him very well, he is one of my best friends and one of the best team-mates I have ever had.”I am very happy to have him here and I think all the fans are happy to see him in an Arsenal shirt. What can I say? I love playing with him.”Arsene Wenger expressed his hope that the two players would provide a fresh impetus in north London following the win over Everton, but the Gunners are currently sixth, seven points behind fifth-placed Spurs and eight behind Chelsea. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Arsenal ‘Wilshere the most overrated player on the planet’ – Keane slams Arsenal star Sacha Pisani Last updated 1 year ago 11:47 2/23/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(4) Getty Images Arsenal Arsenal v Östersunds FK Östersunds FK UEFA Europa League The former Manchester United star took aim at the Gunners, with special criticism pointed at the midfielder, after their loss to Ostersund Roy Keane let his feelings about Arsenal be known after their stunning loss to Ostersund in the Europa League, taking particular aim at midfielder Jack Wilshere who he called the “most overrated player on the planet”.Arsenal advanced to the last 16 courtesy of a 4-2 aggregate victory but it was a night to forget for the Londoners, who crashed to a 2-1 defeat Thursday.A pair of first-half goals within 70 seconds from Hosam Aiesh and Ken Sema had Swedish visitors Ostersunds dreaming of the unlikeliest of upsets at the Emirates Stadium. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Sead Kolasinac ended Ostersunds’ hopes in the second half as Arsenal avoided an embarrassing exit but former Manchester United captain Keane took aim at the Gunners, with Wilshere firmly in his sights.”Arsenal are a great example of how not to start a game of football,” Keane said on ITV . “They are so slow out of the blocks. Poor attitude, no energy, no desire. It’s not like a light switch, you can’t just turn it on and off.”A lot of that will come from the manager and his coaching staff, but ultimately it has to come from the player. You have to motivate yourself. You have your pride and you want to do well for yourself, your team-mates, your family and to turn up like that was a shambles.”We have seen it so many times from Arsenal. They went to Nottingham Forest [in the FA Cup last month] with exactly the same attitude and lost. You make excuses for Arsenal all the time, but it’s a load of rubbish. The Arsenal players must drive you crazy. A shambles.”You look for your senior players to lead by example…when Wilshere is your captain, to me, he is probably the most overrated player on the planet.”Arsenal will find out who their next opponent in the Europa League will be on Friday , but must put Thursday’s performance behind them quickly. The Gunners face Premier League leaders Manchester City in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final.
Manchester United Why Mourinho was wrong to question Lukaku’s injury against Chelsea Kris Voakes Man Utd Correspondent 06:00 5/23/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(6) Getty Manchester United José Mourinho Chelsea v Manchester United Chelsea Premier League FA Cup Romelu Lukaku The United manager blamed the front man’s decision to declare himself unfit for the FA Cup loss, but the player had every right to protect his body Manchester United’s 2017-18 season is over but the fallout from Saturday’s FA Cup final is not. Jose Mourinho’s decision to publicly question Romelu Lukaku’s desire to play at Wembley has developed into just the latest in a string of stand-offs between fans of the manager and those who question his motivational methods.Lukaku had not played for three weeks following the ankle injury he sustained in a collision with Arsenal debutant Konstantinos Mavropanos on April 29, and Mourinho had admitted on the eve of the final that he still didn’t know if the striker would be fit to play in the showpiece clash with Chelsea.“We will have to wait until the last moment,” the manager said on Friday. “I don’t want to lie to you and say Lukaku doesn’t play, then he plays, or vice versa. We will have to wait on Lukaku.” Article continues below Editors’ Picks Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sorry, Cristiano! Pjanic is Juventus’ most important player right now But Mourinho was seemingly ill-prepared for the eventuality of the 25-year-old not declaring himself fit, with United’s stunted approach in attack in Lukaku’s absence being one of the key factors in Chelsea’s 1-0 win.While the Belgian did come on in the 73rd minute, he appeared immobile and was completely ineffective as United tried in vain to grab a late leveller, if anything underlining the view that he wasn’t fit enough to start the game.Yet afterwards Mourinho identified the decisions of Lukaku and countryman Marouane Fellaini to rule themselves out of a start as being vital to United’s defeat.“When a player tells you he is not ready to start, then the question is how many minutes do you think you can play,” he said. “How can I convince a player who tells me he is not ready to play?“[Chelsea] are not stupid, they know without Lukaku we don’t have a presence, without Fellaini we don’t have a presence.”It is far from the first time that Mourinho has bemoaned a player’s insistence on not playing unless fit to do so, with Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling having come under fire early in his United reign at a time when the Reds were stretched defensively for a trip to Swansea.And on this occasion the fact that both players are due to meet up with Belgium soon for World Cup duty has apparently made Mourinho suspicious of their motives. But why is he so keen to show such distrust in his players’ decision-making?Lukaku had every right to rule himself out. While Mourinho will have received medical reports on the front man’s rehabilitation and could make an educated guess on his condition, only the player himself will have known whether he truly felt able to stretch himself physically. What made Mourinho so convinced that Lukaku could have given him more that he went as far as to publicly question him?What also must be remembered is that this is the same Lukaku who threw his hands up in frustration when he realised he was about to be substituted for Marcus Rashford following the tackle by Mavropanos against Arsenal, such was his desire to get back on the field straight away.It is also the same Lukaku who has averaged 35 league games per season over the past six years, demonstrating a thirst for going toe-to-toe with defenders and for big, physical battles week after week. Lukaku thrives on the workload of a regular starter, on the ability to keep turning up game after game and finding the net, and it will not have come easily to him to tell his boss that he was in no position to start an occasion as big as the FA Cup final.He made his desire to work hard for the cause clear from the start, telling ESPN after his United medical last summer: “United are the biggest club in the world, and I always said I wanted to play for a team that’s challenging for every trophy that there is, and Manchester United wants to be that dominant force. Now it’s time to work hard, work harder than I ever did before, and I’m willing to do it.”Even as he was warming up on the touchline before his late introduction, Lukaku appeared to be moving quite gingerly. All indications were that he was not physically fit enough to be in the right mental frame of mind to commit to any more minutes than were entirely necessary. But apparently that was not enough for Mourinho. He wanted his key striker to act as though there was absolutely nothing wrong, whatever the consequences.Maybe Mourinho was right, and Lukaku had the World Cup in his mind. Maybe if this was 2019, with only potential UEFA Nations League involvement to look forward to, the striker might have decided to risk his ankle.But in publicly demonstrating such distrust, the Portuguese has done nothing but wear away a little more of his credibility as a man-manager. It hardly helps that his dig at Lukaku and Fellaini came hot on the heels of his claim that Michael Carrick is a “proper man” the like of which football and society are in short supply.The bottom line is that football careers are short, and players have every right to squeeze every last minute of participation out of them they can. In some cases that means people placing their bodies on the line when it seems ill-judged, while for others it is more about managing their injuries well in a bid to prolong their careers at a later point. And neither standpoint is wrong, so long as the final decision has the blessing of the player themselves.Managers who feel the need to exert their own arbitrary parameters on players are bullies, and football as a sport ought to be learning from past errors in that regard.Mourinho’s ‘woe is me’ attitude knows no bounds. It is one thing to complain about a two-faced press pack, a vital refereeing decision or an annoying adversary, but this constant need to find a scapegoat for every single poor result that stretches as far as outing his own players for caring about their physical well-being is winning him few friends.
132 teams, including five each from Japan and Papua New Guinea, have expressed interest in participating in the 2014 X-Blades National Touch League. For more information and to see who has nominated for each division, please click on the attached memo below. Related Filesntl_memo_-_29-11-2013-pdfRelated Links2014 NTL